Appetite for Destruction: The Barbarian's Handbook

881 posts / 0 new
Last post
Appetite for Destruction: The Barbarian's Handbook


Here comes the pain|You're destruction manifest... -Slayer, Here Comes the Pain

Gather 'round the fire, young ones. No, you're not here to eat, put that meat away! You are here because I am going to teach you how to destroy things. Why, you ask? Because some things in this world can only be solved by destruction, and I get the fun secondary task of knocking you senseless while I teach you that. Now, get as angry as you can. I'm gonna show you how to turn that anger into power!

Selling Points: Why You Would Want To Play A Barbarian

Since there are more Strikers than any other class in the system, the Barbarian has to be good at something in order to merit being picked over another class. Here are some perks to life as a Barbarian:

Barbarians hit hard - Even by Striker standards, you will pack a wallop when you hit someone, especially if you decide to focus on charging into the fray and taking the fight to the enemy. Your specialty is usually producing explosive bursts of offense that shorten encounters, though you can produce a consistently high offensive output by continually charging about the battlefield.

Barbarians can take hits - A prominent feature of the Primal power source is the ability to take a solid hit and keep on going, and you are no exception. You are able to withstand more punishment than most other Strikers, which helps you get your damage across, so this class appeals to those of you who aren't fond of the "glass cannon" archetype.

Barbarians work well in a team - A final note on Barbarian is how effectively they incorporate aspects of other roles into their game plan. Barbarians in general feature a prominent secondary role they can use to reinforce a party, and the streaky nature of their powers means you are much more dangerous when you have allies to support you.

This Handbook will use the following system for ratings:

Red: Garbage, or completely overshadowed by another option.
Purple: Situationally useful, but overall pretty meh.
Black: OK. You could do worse than pick this.
Blue: Good stuff. You probably want this.
Sky Blue: You want this. Period.
Gold: Why haven't you taken this yet? A defining choice for a build, or even the whole class.

This Handbook covers the following sources:

AP - Arcane Power
AV - Adventurer's Vault
AV 2 - Adventurer's Vault 2
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
DMA 2009 - Dragon Magazine Annual 2009
DP - Divine Power
DSCS - Dark Sun Campaign Setting
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
HoS - Heroes of Shadow
- Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
HotFL - Heroes of the Fallen Lands
MM - Monster Manual
MM 2 - Monster Manual 2
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
MP - Martial Power
MP 2 - Martial Power 2
PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB 2 - Player's Handbook 2
PHB 3 - Player's Handbook 3
PHH 1 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1
PHH 2 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 2
PHR: DB - Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn
PHR: TF - Player's Handbook Races: Tieflings
PrP - Primal Power
PsP - Psionic Power


AP - Action point.

BBEG - Big bad evil guy.

Burst/Nova/Spike Damage - Generally understood to mean the highest amount of damage a character can inflict in the space of a single round. Usually, calculations for this allow 1 round of setup before the actual damage.

CA - Combat advantage.

DPR - Damage per round, which is generally meant to mean the character's expected damage value using At-Will powers against a standard enemy of the same level (eloquently described by Adslahnit as the Official CharOp Inanimate Block of TofuTM).

ED - Epic destiny.

HP - Hit points.

LX - Level X.

MAD - Multiple attribute dependency, which is defined as needing 3 or more ability scores for a given build.

MBA - Melee basic attack.

MC - Multiclass or multiclassing.

NAD - Non-AC defense.

OA - Opportunity attack.

Permafrost - the combination of Wintertouched, Lasting Frost, and a Frost Weapon to impose permanent combat advantage and cold vulnerability 5 on an enemy.

PP - Paragon path.

RBA - Ranged basic attack.

SAD - Single attribute dependency, which is defined as a build that really only needs 1 ability score.

THP - Temporary hit points.

Props to:

Everyone posting
Power Source and Role: The Purpose of Destruction

Your power source is Primal, and your role is Striker. Overall, the Primal power source is characterized by being tougher than most other characters that share the same role as they do, and you are no exception. Additionally, you share a common theme in the Striker role in that you hit plenty hard. That said, that's not all the role entails. Let's see how you measure up in the categories Strikers are judged by:

Burst/Nova/Spike Damage - Usually referred to as the largest amount of damage you can lay on a single target on short notice, and it's an area you're real darn good at, thanks to a combination of encounter-long buffs from your Rage Daily powers, additional attacks from class features, and some vicious multiattacking Encounter powers. While you may not always be able to control when your damage bursts occur, you're always a threat to split the encounter wide open. However, some builds of Barbarian trade some of this power punching ability for accuracy and consistency, and are thus not as good at this.

Damage Per Round (DPR) - This is a bit of a blind spot for most Barbarians (literally - the reason why they're not all that good at it is quite simply accuracy issues): you either come in for massive damage, or you simply miss. However, certain builds have made it a point to increase their accuracy to the point where they're significantly better at this sort of thing; they usually pay for it in burst damage, though.

Debilitating Effects - While a Barbarian has a solid collection of powers to inflict some of the more minor adverse effects (such as forced movement or knocking prone), you're not really going to see a large host of powers dedicating to crippling your opponent's ability to act; that's what your damage is for.

Survivability - As a Striker, and doubly so for a primarily Melee one, the ability to stay alive is important, because if you're down, you deal no damage. The Barbarian has more HP, healing surges, and AC than most other Strikers by default, and he supplements that with some nice features to allow him to absorb more hits. It's pretty easy to make a Barbarian who can hold his own in combat.

Targeting Capacity - The charge-happy bent that serves Barbarians so well, along with the fact that their extra damage is rolled right into their powers, means that you should have little to no problem in attacking the target that you want to attack full steam ahead.

Secondary Role Effectiveness

Controller - Given your rather tame array of status effects, coupled with a marked focus toward pounding through enemies with pure damage, most Barbarians are poor Controllers. Polearm Barbarians, however, are better at it, thanks to the combination effects of their weapon type.

Defender - The great majority of Barbarian builds are sturdy and attract plenty of attention (and the power list can even let them pick up the ability to mark, should it be needed), so you are a pretty good fill-in for a Defender.

Leader - Most of the Leader functions really just aren't there on the typical Barbarian, though a Thaneborn Barbarian (and his buffing/debuffing repertoire) is better at it than others of his kind.

Baseline Mechanics: The Mechanics of Destruction

You stand with the majority of classes in 4th Edition D&D in that you're what is called an A-class, which means that you have a global primary ability score, and secondary scores that vary by the chosen build (and are usually build-specific, so other builds likely can't access them anyway).

Apart from that, your baseline mechanics show a few defensive upgrades over the stereotypical Striker chassis (though the stereotypical extra damage feature is rolled into your powers and thus absent here), as well as a nice extra damage feature in Rampage.

Game Mechanics

Hit Points - 15 + Con score at level 1, and 6 each level thereafter. Defender-caliber HP on a Striker is super sweet.

Healing Surges - 8 + Con modifier. You have some extra healing surges over the standard Striker fare, which is also nice.

Defense Bonuses - +2 to Fortitude. A big boost to your strongest defense, though kind of one-dimensional.


Armor - Hide armor and no shields is all you get, but you can work with that.

Weapons - Military melee is all you really need; simple ranged is icing.

Class Features

Barbarian Agility - An excellent defensive feature designed to keep you in light armor, it can combine with some Dexterity focus to give you a quite formidable AC value.

Rage Strike - If you have rages left over, burn them up as part of a heavy-damage smash. That said, the only reason you should have rages left over is because the encounter workday was cut short for some reason, or you were able to recover one or more of them somehow.

Rampage - Extra attacks after a critical are nice to have, especially given that they're free.

Feral Might

Rageblood Vigor (PHB 2) - This build is concerned with two things; allowing you to charge about via its associated power, and keeping you upright with extra THP. Given that these are two of the things Barbarians are best suited to, this makes for a very strong, if a bit specialized, route of Barbarian building.

Thaneborn Triumph (PHB 2) - This build has a nice Leader-y bent to it, which allows you to buff allies and debuff enemies. The associated power and feature reflect this, and this is a very strong set of abilities to add to the Barbarian's offensive repertoire.

Thunderborn Wrath (PrP) - This build's power line and effects seem to involve spreading out area damage, which can be nice for a Barbarian who gets bogged down in combat too much. That said, the encounter power associated with the build is kind of underwhelming, and I'm not that big a fan of the power line.

Whirling Slayer (PrP) - The dual-wielding and AoE-centric focus of this build I feel takes away from what a Barbarian really does well, which is rush into combat for massive damage instead of hacking away at clusters of enemies, though having all your riders key off Dexterity is nice. It can work, but I'm not a fan.

Skills: The Talents of Destruction

You really got the short end of the stick here: 3 skills isn't exactly a deep repertoire, but at least your list is pretty nice and covers just about anything you'd actually want to take.

Class Skills

Acrobatics - While I highly recommend that you have a decent to good Dexterity score on your Barbarian, this skill is pretty redundant with Athletics for you, and you really don't have all that many skill slots available to you.

Athletics - It keys off your main ability score, and it has plenty of overall utility. A strong pick.

Endurance - This skill is usually involved in some pretty crucial checks, and when it comes up, you don't want it to be low. It also lets you fluff your character as a tough guy, which is always nice.

Heal - Rather redundant with Endurance, and odds are your Constitution will trump your Wisdom.

Intimidate - A great flavor skill on a Barbarian, and the Thaneborns in the audience can actually wring some use out of it.

- A knowledge skill on a Barbarian? Blasphemy! That said, this can be a pretty solid pickup.

Perception - Arguably one of the most important skills in the game, and though your Wisdom is unlikely to rock anyone's socks off, this is still an excellent pickup.

Recommended Non-Class Skills

Bluff - A Thaneborn Barbarian could make some use of this.

Diplomacy - Arguably the most prevalent Charisma-based skill in the game. A solid, if rather odd, pickup.

Stealth - Your Dexterity should allow to wring at least a bit of use out of this skill should you pick it up.

Ability Scores: Profile of Destruction

While the particular ability scores depend on a build-by-build basis, these guidelines hold true for virtually every Barbarian.

Strength - This is your main stat. No exceptions. Boost it every chance you get.
Recommended Starting Score: 16-18, before racial adjustments.

Constitution - More HP and healing surges are always nice, and the secondary effects for Ragebloods and Thunderborn key off of this attribute. To boot, any feats to improve Hide armor's AC value require this, so a solid score here is very common among Barbarians.
Recommended Starting Score: 12-14, before racial adjustments.

Dexterity - And now we come to the Barbarian's secondary ability score, regardless of build. A good score here allows you to stay in Hide armor (which results in good AC and Reflex defenses and thus the ability to survive in combat longer), favors a lot of weapon groups Barbarians are partial to, and opens up feat slots for a Barbarian. To boot, Whirling Slayers use it for their secondary effects. While the starting score here doesn't have to be overwhelmingly high, this should be the recipient of the majority of your ability score boosts (along with Strength).
Recommended Starting Score: 12-16, before racial adjustments.

Intelligence - Quite simply a dump stat. Redundant with your secondary ability (Dexterity) defensively, it boosts no skills you use, and is a prerequisite for no feats you want. Dump it and forget about it.
Recommended Starting Score: 8-10, before racial adjustments.

Wisdom - It has its place in your skill list, shows up in some feat pre-requisites and it helps boost your Will defense, so you shouldn't flat-out ignore it (unless you're a Thaneborn: in that case, dump away). That said, a moderate score here will do for most, though Polearm Barbarians likely want it to be a bit higher.
Recommended Starting Score: 10-14, before racial adjustments.

Charisma - It boosts your Will defense, has a role in your Intimidate skill and some feat pre-requisites, and it is the secondary ability for Thaneborns, who would like to have a good score early on. That said, it's not as good by default for other Barbarians, since Wisdom offers them more goodies.
Recommended Starting Score: 8-14, before racial adjustments.

Races: Scions of Destruction

If I were building a Barbarian, I would likely be picking between these races:
Charger Rageblood - Goliath, Half-Orc, Minotaur, or Warforged.
Polearm Rageblood - Half-Orc, Longtooth Shifter, or Minotaur.
Thaneborn - Dragonborn.
Thunderborn - Human.
- Half-Orc.

Races - Player's Handbook

Dragonborn - This race offers bonuses to Strength and Charisma, an attack bonus when you're banged up, an incentive to have a good Constitution, and a neat racial power in the Dragon Breath, which is very well supported. A prime choice as a Thaneborn, and pretty good at most other builds too.

Dwarf - Strength and Constitution are some good ability scores for most Barbarians, and the ability to use your Second Wind as a minor action only sweetens the deal. The lower speed kind of stinks, but it's not a crippling flaw. An excellent race.

Eladrin - While the racial bonus are kind of hit-and-miss (Dexterity = good; Intelligence = bad), it does have some quality racial support, especially with regards to Spear wielding and shaking off charm effects. While it's not quite a top choice, it's not bad at all.

Elf - Extra movement is nice, Dexterity is always welcome, Wisdom can see use on some builds, and a racial power to salvage a bad attack roll is excellent on a Barbarian. A pretty good choice.

Half-Elf - Bonuses to Constitution and Charisma (or Wisdom) are decent, and Dilettante can bring you a nice toy from another class to play with, but overall this race doesn't really have something that makes it a high-echelon Barbarian.

Halfling - The good news is that Barbarians can use Dexterity and Charisma (or Constitution), and the racial power is pretty neat. The bad news is that you have no Strength bonus and you are Small, and the latter is a very bad thing as a Barbarian.

Human - While getting only one ability score bump sounds lame, you can likely get your ability scores where they need to go without it, and an extra feat, At-Will (or Heroic Effort), and skill all suit the Barbarian very well. Throw in the bonus to your NADs and the racial support, and this is one of the best Barbarian races out there.

Tiefling - While the ability scores are kind of marginal (though Constitution can be of use to you), it has ways to compensate (such as Hellfire Blood and a Flaming weapon), and the racial support makes this choice pretty serviceable.

Races - Player's Handbook 2

Deva - A rather marginal pair of ability scores to have as a Barbarian, and the only ability that is really appealing at all is the racial power, and the Elf does it better. Skip this.

Gnome - For the most part, a collection of traits that Barbarians don't want. The Dexterity bonus is cute, but you're still Small and have low speed even if you pick it.

Goliath - The racial support is there, the ability scores are good for you, it compensates for what will likely be your weakest defense, and the racial power helps you stay alive. One of the frontrunners.

Half-Orc - Bonuses to arguably your most important ability scores, a racial power for extra damage, and a nice feature that triggers when you get roughed up. Additionally, the racial support is superb. One of the top picks.

Shifter, Longtooth - A bonus to Strength combined with a racial power that provides extra damage and regeneration while bloodied are excellent, and the Wisdom can help make you a very effective Polearm Barbarian. An excellent choice.

Shifter, Razorclaw - Two good attribute bonuses, and extra defense and speed while bloodied are hardly bad. A pretty nice choice.

Races - Player's Handbook 3

Githzerai - Good but not great ability score, but the defensive racial power and rock-solid feat support make some arguments in its favor.

Minotaur - The abilities are perfect for a number of Barbarian builds, it offers extra toughness, and the racial features are all about rushing in and mixing it up. A great Barbarian race.

Shardmind - Regardless of what combination of ability scores you pick, the fact of the matter is that they're not all that applicable to Barbarians, and the rest of the race is simply better suited to other classes.

Wilden - It can have some pretty nice ability score bonuses, and the racial powers certainly provide it with some options you could explore.

Races - Other Rulebooks

Bladeling (MOTP) - Essentially a weaker version of some of the other races that share its attribute bonuses because of its lack of palatable racial support, this makes for a solid but not a special Barbarian.

Changeling (EPG) - Dexterity and Charisma can both be useful, and the racial utility is serviceable. A surprisingly solid choice.

Drow (FRPG) - Decent ability scores, but the emphasis of its racial support in bringing the pain to your opponents is what pushes it over the top and makes it a good racial choice.

Genasi (FRPG) - The bonus to Strength is there, and the manifestations mesh well with what a Barbarian likes to do (which is deal lots and lots of damage). A great choice.

Kalashtar (EPG) - There's simply not much synergy to be had here.

Mul (DSCS) - Bonuses to Strength and Constitution AND the ability to partake in Dwarf support? Don't mind if I do.

Revenant (HoS) - The ability scores can give you some nice mileage, and the ability to mooch stuff from other races and be very hard to kill is nice on a Barbarian.

Shade (HoS) - The stats are decent but not amazing, and it has a free trained skill, but losing a surge for no good reason kind of hurts the stock.

Thri-Kreen (DSCS) - Strength and Dexterity are excellent ability boosts for you, and the extra speed and minor action attack certainly don't hurt. A top choice.

Vryloka (HoS) - The surge penalty while bloodied can be annoying, but you will have the hit points and surges to mitigate that flaw, and everything else about the race is excellent.

Warforged (EPG) - The bonuses are where you usually want them to be, you patch up a weak defense, you have a nice racial power, and the racial support heads you in the right direction. One of the best Barbarian races.

Races - Dragon Magazine

Gnoll (D 367) - Dexterity and Constitution work well here, as do damage-oriented incentives for charging and being Bloodied. A very good race.

Shadar-Kai (D 372) - The ability scores are so-so, but there are a few things you can take advantage of in the racial support department. Not quite a top choice, but you'll live

Races - Monster Manuals

Bugbear (MM) - Oversized and your two most important attributes? Sold!

Bullywug (MM 2) - Totally unsupported, but the ability scores are solid.

Doppelganger (MM) - A pretty lame combination of racial abilities to have.

Duergar (MM 2) - A lamer version of the Dwarf. Not really appealing.

Goblin (MM) - The ability scores are only semi-applicable, and it's Small. Nah.

Hobgoblin (MM) - I'm not a fan of the ability scores, but the racial power can serve you well, so it's at least decent.

Kenku (MM 2) - While they seem to like flanking more than charging in, they can be of some use.

Kobold (MM) - While he may be small, he has some pretty nice ability scores for this line of work, and the ability to shift as a minor action allows you to generate enough distance to charge every round. A surprisingly good choice.

Orc (MM) - The ability scores are nice, as is a self-healing attack power, but it's not quite as good as the others who share the ability score combination.
At-Will Powers: Fundamentals of Destruction

Given that there are several powers in this list that can only be used if you're wielding a weapon in two hands or wielding two weapons, I will be separating this list into categories to make the process easier.

This section boils down to what you're taking apart from Howling Strike, because that is the quintessential Barbarian At-Will. Most Barbarians will be partial to Pressing Strike, though I could see some builds taking Recuperating Strike, Savage Reach, or Whirling Rend instead.

Any Weapon:

Foe to Foe (PHH 1) - This At-Will is a plain old MBA unless you have dropped a non-minion enemy this encounter, at which point it becomes marginally more damaging than a non-charging Howling Strike at Heroic Tier, and strictly inferior thereafter. Painfully bad.

Howl of Fury (PrP) - Essentially an MBA that spreads out a bit of area damage based on your Constitution, and it grows somewhat if you're raging. This is a pretty neat way to check if any nearby enemies are minions, as well as soften up one opponent while you damage another, which makes it a decent choice.

Pressing Strike (PHB 2) - Shifting 2 squares for free before the attack is good. Being able to move through enemy squares during that movement is great. Extra damage while raging is just icing. The second At-Will on the majority of Barbarians.

Two-Handed Weapon:

Devastating Strike (PHB 2) - It offers a hefty bonus to damage over a normal MBA, but it also comes saddled with an effective -2 penalty to all your defenses unless you're raging. Given that Howling Strike offers marginally lower damage, charge capability, and no drawback, I find this power a tough sell.

Howling Strike (PHB 2)
- This is THE definitive Barbarian At-Will: it has its extra damage rolled right into the power, it can be used on a charge, and offers some extra speed while raging and charging. Given how invested a Barbarian is in charge optimization and the fact that this offers extra damage over a normal attack, I find that this power is an absolute must for Barbarians (if you're a Whirler, I recommend a double weapon or some way to draw and stow weapons as a free action so you can use this as well).

Recuperating Strike (PHB 2) - Some solid temporary hit points as an additional effect of an otherwise plain attack, with some extra damage attached as levels go on, as well as a sizable jump in the amount of THP granted when you are raging, especially at lower levels. It's a pretty nice power to have.

Savage Reach (D 384) - It requires a Reach weapon, but an At-Will slide that becomes larger when you rage is a pretty nice boost for the niche of characters that is interested in them (aka the Polearm users). While I prefer the overall package that Pressing Strike brings to the table, I won't be all that shocked if a Polearm Barbarian takes this instead.

Two Weapons:

Whirling Rend (PrP) - An At-Will meant for Whirlers to take, and it's pretty good, as you will be dealing plenty of damage to two targets simultaneously. Likely the second At-Will on a Whirler, but no one else can (or should) even use it.
Powers - Heroic Tier: Seed of Destruction

As was the case before, I will be pointing out which powers require having a two-handed weapon, which require having two weapons equipped, and which do not require either.

Level 1, Encounter

The Barbarian Encounter list starts off with some build-specific divergence: Ragebloods will want Desperate Fury, Thaneborns are partial to Escalating Violence, Whirlers like Whirling Frenzy, and Thunderborn will likely go for Resurgent Strike.

Level 1 Encounter List

Any Weapon:

Avalanche Strike (PHB 2) - Big damage, especially for a Rageblood, but the effective -4 to all defenses is a pretty hefty drawback.

Bloodletting (PHB 2) - It doesn't do anything special unless the opponent is bloodied, and even then it's flatly outclassed by other powers here. Not all that good.

Desperate Fury (PrP) - A nice and solid attack with an emergency reroll attached. While the reroll may cost a little of your HP, it's nothing compared to what you'll likely lose from say, Avalanche Strike's defensive penalty, for instance.

Escalating Violence (PrP) - A hit with a conditional buff for you, and a buff for your ally if you're a Thaneborn. This is actually a pretty sweet power.

Great Cleave (PHB 2) - A close burst attack with a bit of extra damage depending on how deep of a mess you're in. Solid.

Rending Strike (D 386) - A decent hit, with a teamwork-oriented extra damage + slide effect. It can be good if you have a zone laid down by an ally you can shove the opponent into.

Resurgent Strike (PrP) - Removing adverse conditions or adding some nice THP to a solid attack.

Shout of Terror (PrP) - An MBA with a close blast 3 slowing secondary effect, as well as a decent damage bonus for Thunderborn against these targets. Serviceable enough.

Vault the Fallen (PHB 2) - Essentially a standing Howling Strike against two targets, with a shift in between. Solid.

Two-Handed Weapon:

Room for Carnage (D 384) - This reach weapon-only attack is basically an MBA with a mass push, and as such is thoroughly underwhelming.

Two Weapons:

Whirling Frenzy (PrP) - While it does have a bit of a drawback, a close burst that hits Reflex for this kind of damage this early on in your career is very nice.

Level 1, Daily

At this level, the great majority of Barbarians are choosing between Swift Panther Rage's no-questions-asked extra mobility, Thunder Hooves Rage's extra damage, and Tyrant's Rage's forced movement options.

Level 1 Daily List

Any Weapon:

Always Falling Rage
(D 380)
- The initial attack is decent, if a bit low on the damage side, but a marginal repositioning effect brings this power's stock down. While the shift can be used to position yourself for another charge, there are multiple powers at this level that can do that and do it better.

Blood Bear Rage (PrP) - While I like autodamage as much as anybody, a grab action is hard to maintain without having a build that is dedicated to it, you're going to have to spend a standard action to do this to another target, and it doesn't do anything else. Nah.

Bloodhunt Rage (PHB 2) - A decent bonus to damage if you or your opponent is banged up. Simple enough, and actually rather effective.

Bloodseeker's Rage (D 380) - While very conditional, this can provide additional attacks, so it's not all bad.

Life Thane Rage (PrP) - It carries a heal, and gives out THP for allies. Rather Leader-y in outlook, but decent.

Macetail's Rage (PHB 2) - While I'm not the biggest fan of close bursts on a Barbarian (especially when the damage is this low), this one hits Reflex and knocks prone, and the THP ability makes this a solid pick.

Rage Drake's Frenzy (PHB 2) - Extra hits when you score a kill, and the entry attack comes with a conditional buff. Can be useful.

Savage Juggernaut Rage (PrP) - This power actually doesn't do anything until the first kill in an encounter, and unless you have huge amounts of enemies coming at you, it likely won't do much else either.

Skull-Taker's Rage (D 380) - Taking damage every turn for +1 to hit? Nonsense.

Swift Panther Rage (PHB 2) - Extending your shifting distance can allow you to spam charges, and that is awesome.

Thunder Hooves Rage (PrP) - Extra damage if you're willing to take a gamble and walk through their squares. If you're not, Pressing Strike will get you that damage boost with little trouble.

Tyrant's Rage (PrP) - A dazing initial attack, and a push effect that can help set up chargespam.

Level 2, Utility

Your first list of Utility powers has some nice choices. Although I am personally partial to the effect-ignoring Shrug it Off, I recognize that Combat Sprint's safe movement and the easy-to-access heal that is Feral Rejuvenation merit some mention as well.

Level 2 Utility List

Bounding Stride (PrP) - A speed bonus to your move once per encounter, and it gets much meatier if you are bloodied when you use it. Given that it's a plain old move, I'm not very impressive.

Bloothirsty Resurgence (D 386) - Some THP for your allies when you heal. The range is rather small, though (and you're not exactly the paragon of self-healing).

Combat Sprint (PHB 2) - A large bonus to speed, and a sizable bonus to any attacks you may provoke along the way. This is a pretty good power.

Feral Rejuvenation (PrP) - An easy-to-trigger Daily heal, with a sizable bonus to the amount healed for a Thaneborn. Sweet.

Primal Vitality (PHB 2) - This power grants you some THP, and a bit more of it on a rage. Not quite worth only being usable once per day.

Savage Comeback (PrP) - While the effect is pretty darn good, being a Daily makes it lose some luster.

Savage Growl (PrP) - Allows you to play Defender by adding a free action mark on your power (a la Fighter), and it buffs both your damage and the enemy's. A bit risky, but it can certainly be useful.

Shrug it Off (PrP) - Getting rid of a (save ends) effect before it gets a chance to do you any harm every encounter can be a great way to keep yourself in a fight, and you even a bit of repositioning as icing. A good choice now, and it gets even better as levels go on and monsters pack more debilitating effects.

Stonebreaker (PHB 2) - While it is admittedly marginal in combat, this can be better if you spend a large amount of time outside a fight, because the ability to solve a situation with sheer brute force can be useful on occasion.

Tiger's Leap (PHB 2) - Here's the thing about this power; you likely will need some massive Athletics optimization or a very lucky roll to beat your base speed, and it provokes OA's anyway. Nope.

Level 3, Encounter

At this level, we have a few front-runners on the power list: Thaneborns will want Shatterbone Strike, Whirlers will love Whirling Step, and everyone else picks a side on the Brutal Slam v. Thundering Howl debate.

Level 3 Encounter List

Any Weapon:

Blade Sweep (PHB 2) - An attack that deals a smidge of autodamage to those around you. It can be decent on a Rageblood.

Blood Strike (PHB 2) - While the condition this requires to be better is not the hardest thing to pull off, the fact that you have to rely on something to happen for this power to not be an inferior choice isn't the a good selling point.

Brutal Slam (PrP) - It hits a NAD, it deals some decent damage, it pushes, and it knocks prone. That's a pretty nice mix of effects to have for you.

Daring Charge (PHB 2) - Not only is the effect risky (and not likely to even happen if you pick the gear you're supposed to pick as a Barbarian), but this doesn't offer much damage over a Howling Strike in Heroic, and it's likely less damaging at Paragon. Skip it, especially after Heroic.

Hammer Fall (PHB 2) - Absolutely identical to Brutal Slam... except it doesn't push. Obsolete.

Reckless Rampage (PrP) - An attack that has a move your speed action beforehand (a bit extra for Ragebloods), and gives you CA should you provoke an OA on a generic attack. I'm not impressed.

Roaring Challenge (D 386) - A neat way to fish for Rampage, and it can slap out a penalty to hit (don't worry about accuracy: even though you're using Cha on the secondary attack, you're hitting Will, so it evens out in the end).

Shatterbone Strike (PHB 2) - An attack with an AC penalty is nice to have, especially for Thaneborns, who get to apply on a bigger one (which makes the power better for them).

Thundering Howl (PrP) - A wimpy attack, but it gives you the chance to apply some modifiers against your target twice, and lays on a push as well, which is nice.

Two-Handed Weapon:

Longstrike Charge (D 384) - A charge with more weapon damage than Howling Strike, plus a rider for a bit more damage. Decent enough when you get it, though likely worthless after Heroic.

Two Weapons:

Whirling Step (PrP) - You get the ability to apply some mods twice on one target while only having to roll one attack, and it can even autodamage another opponent once if you're in the right position (that, and you get to shift around). An excellent power for Whirlers.

Level 5, Daily

At this level, Barbarians have an awesome power in Rage of the Crimson Hurricane, which offers some nice autodamage benefits. That said, there are a couple of powers that can give it a run for its gold pieces.

Level 5 Daily List

Any Weapon:

Ambusher's Rage (D 380) - While shifting as a minor action is neat, the restriction on it is kind of a killjoy.

Ancient Berserkers' Rage (PrP)
- Every turn, you gain a hefty buff against any adjacent enemy. The one problem with that is that keeping enemies adjacent is easier said than done. If you can find a way to keep them close consistently, it's excellent; otherwise, it's garbage.

Clawfoot Berserker Rage (PHH 2)
- While the "revenge" style benefit this power grants has a conditional trigger, the benefit is strong enough to make this power a pretty solid choice.

Earthquake Dragon's Rage (D 380) - While it seems like a nice effect at first glance, it's party unfriendly, and range 5 means you're very likely to hurt your guys. Nope.

Frost Wolf Rage (PHB 2) - The entry attack can be a little meatier if the enemy decides to make an "OA" of sorts against you (I'm not really enthused by that trade in most circumstances), and you get to give out a bit of damage when you get hit. Average.

Longstrike Slayer Rage (D 384) - The entry attack is a reach attack for decent damage, and it provides a modest damage bonus against targets who are not adjacent to you. Solid, if a bit odd.

Rage of the Crimson Hurricane (PrP) - The entry is a close burst with some ongoing damage (eh), but the effect is a real good one, since dealing damage equal to your highest ability score modifier all around you will result in an increase in your single-target damage while helping you do multi-target damage. That said, it doesn't work as well with multiattack powers as it used to, but those come later on for you anyway.

Razor Wind Rage (PrP) - While this does some formidable enhancement to your Rampage class feature, criticals are very luck-dependent at this stage of the game, and as such you could stand to gain pretty much nothing from this power apart from the normal rage benefits.

Silver Phoenix Rage (PHB 2) - While the entry attack is not all that impressive, regeneration 3 and an emergency heal button are very good benefits to have.

Thunder Hawk Rage (PHB 2) - A dazing entry attack, and the ability to knock an enemy adjacent to you prone every turn. While there are a few nice benefits to this, the attack does conflict with Rampage for the free action attack of that turn, which makes its stock dip a little.

Tiger's Claw Rage (PrP) - While the entry attack is pretty plain, the rage benefit makes you a heck of a lot more consistent by making sure you get most of your At-Will damage across, regardless of what side the d20 feels like showing you.

Vengeful Storm Rage (PHB 2) - It's a close burst for some so-so damage, and the effect is a tiny bit of damage for adjacent enemies every turn. I'm not a fan of this power.

Level 6, Utility

At this fairly competitive level, you can either go for the do-over button that is Combat Surge, or you can pick up more insurance against getting pinned down in the form of Run Rampant. Laugh it Off and Loss of Will may also be an option you could consider in the early game, though I would eventually retrain either into one of the first two. I like Combat Surge the most here, but it's not a huge edge.

Level 6 Utility List

Climber's Claws (PrP) - How many times will you really need to climb up things at extra speed during combat? Not enough to justify this power choice, I'd bet.

Combat Surge (PHB 2) - A reroll while raging is a very nice power by default, and it gets even better later on when you pick up those big multi-attacking powers that serve Barbarians so well; you want to make sure all of those hit their target.

Indomitable Shift (PHB 2) - An average shift with some THP attached. Only being usable once per day is not worth this kind of benefit.

Instinctive Charge (PHB 2) - A decent self-buff Utility to throw yourself into combat and get your damage across. Not as good if your Leader is a Warlord with Combat Leader, since the initiative bonus will not stack with the default initiative boost, which means this power is virtually obsolete the second the Warlord gets Combat Commander.

Laugh it Off (PHH 1) - You take a bit less damage from an attack, but that's not what you're here for; you're here for the out-of-turn buff to hit and damage you can get every fight.

Loss of Will (PHB 2) - A penalty to hit against an enemy who missed you? Sounds good to me.

Primal Charge (PrP) - The vast majority of times, a move action and the charge speed will be enough to get you where you need to go, so it's a pretty unnecessary power.

Relentless Surge (PrP) - A decent batch of THP for a minor action. Simple, but effective.

Run Rampant (PrP) - Mobility denial conditions can make doing your job harder; use this power to stand a very good chance of getting rid of them. Gets better later on, when these conditions become more common and your Strength makes it easier for you to make the save against them.

Snarling Defiance (PrP) - Chops the damage of an incoming attack in half, and gives you +2 to hit against the enemy responsible. Though the fact that it's a Daily makes it a bit weaker, it's still a solid choice.

Level 7, Encounter

At this level, the dominant choice is the out-of-turn wallop that is Curtain of Steel. If for some reason you don't want that, Fearsome Smash looks good on a Thaneborn, and a Whirler can live with Slash and Slash Again.

Level 7 Encounter List

Any Weapon:

Blood Sacrifice (PrP) - A generic attack against Fortitude that can deal some solid extra damage if you're willing to take some of it. It can be useful.

Curtain of Steel (PHB 2) - This power has a lot of things going for it; it's got big damage for an Encounter power, it happens outside your turn, it's easy to trigger, and Thaneborns get extra accuracy on it. A truly excellent choice.

Fearsome Smash (PrP) - While the trigger is not as generous as Curtain of Steel and neither is the damage, it can provide a penalty to attack rolls against you (a pretty nice one if you're a Thaneborn, too), which is still a pretty good effect to have around.

Feast of Violence (PHB 2) - The risk this attack requires to be truly worthwhile could get you into pretty deep trouble. Skip this.

Great Shout (PHB 2) - A rather plain attack, but an area penalty to attack rolls can be a strong benefit, even if it looks kind of weird on a Barbarian.

Harbinger of Doom (PrP) - A rather weak attack, but it lays on mass vulnerability to all damage. It's better if you have a way of hitting multiple opponents simultaneously and thus exploiting that vulnerability, or if you have fellow Strikers in the party, especially if they can multiattack.

Looming Threat (PrP) - Overriding your Defender's mark is of rather dubious value, especially if the enemy's turn lies somewhere between yours and his, but it can set you up pretty decently. Still, it's a weak power unless you fulfill the conditional targeting clause, and that makes me not like it.

Tide of Blood (PHB 2) - The attack itself is quite vanilla, and the extra damage feature is not all that good, even if you're a Rageblood. Skip this.

Wheat to the Scythe (D 386) - A close burst that knocks prone and gives you a little HP and a push if you're a Thaneborn. Still, the pitiful damage holds it back somewhat.

Two-Handed Weapon:

Devastating Leverage (D 384) - By the time this power shows up, a Polearm Barbarian should be knocking people prone with any attack that slides anyway; if the pieces haven't materialized for you yet, this is better, but you should retrain it as soon as the combo comes together.

Two Weapons:

Slash and Slash Again (PrP) - A generic hit, that offers a turn's worth of a Rain of Steel-esque effect. Pretty cool for Whirlers.

Level 9, Daily

At this level, I am partial to Oak Hammer Rage's control power, or to Rage of the Death Spirit's Defender-esque quality combined with a very welcome accuracy boost. If you're not into either, Serpent Fang Rage can allow you to increase your accuracy another way, and Stoneroot Rage will make you tougher.

Level 9 Daily List

Any Weapon:

Black Dragon Rage (PHB 2) - Another rage that can help you get free combat advantage, and this time it blinds everyone around you. That said, it ends during your turn (so no CA for your buddies), and you have no guarantees regarding the enemy staying adjacent here. Still a pretty good power, since blind means no OA's for charging in headfirst every turn.

Carver's Raging Glory (D 380)
- A solid damage bonus when you drop a target. Unless you're fighting a healthy-sized batch of minions or the standards are rather weak, you probably won't get much mileage out of this.

Flying Serpent Rage (PrP) - An immediate reaction attack with a huge shift attached is excellent, though I'm not all too sure how often this trigger is actually coming up (getting charged? Really?). The rider allows for chargespam, which is always nice. If you can find the trigger for it is consistent enough for you use it when you actually want to, it's an excellent power.

Frenzied Beast Rage (PHH 2) - Taking damage to deal it back to enemies adjacent to you, plussome interest. The real thing holding it back is that is costs an action to do so (isn't the fact that I'm taking damage enough?).

Oak Hammer Rage (PHB 2) - One of the sweetest control powers on the Barbarian's list, knocking enemies prone every turn is great setup for your allies, and it even a little extra damage if you decide to attack multiple times per turn. That is an excellent power to have.

Rage of the Battle Tyrant (PrP) - The entry attack imposes some spiffy vulnerability, and it allows you to reposition allies as you attack. Kind of Leader-y, but some of you don't mind that.

Rage of the Death Spirit (PrP) - While it is a bit risky (mass marking can bring some heat your way), getting +2 to hit against any enemy within 2 squares of you is an excellent ability to have, and the mass marking can help you function as a Defender-substitute.

Rage of the Primal Banshee (PrP) - The entry attack is pretty plain, and the counter-charge effect is kind of marginal (and ironic, considering what you do for a living). Not my pick.

Serpent Fang Rage (PrP) - Combat advantage for you and all your allies when you hit someone with an attack. That's a pretty cool ability to have.

Stone Bear Rage (PHB 2) - A decent attack that gives you some resist all as an effect. Serviceable enough.

Stoneroot Rage (D 380) - More resist all than Stone Bear Rage for the vast majority of characters, and the entry attack packs a (save ends) slow along with the same damage.

White Tiger Rage (PHB 2) - The entry attack is an immobilize, which is sweet, but slowing enemies is a rather tame control effect considering knocking prone At-Will is here too. That said, the ability to do it en masse makes it solid enough.

Level 10, Utility

At this level, though they face fierce competition from the Reactive Surge Endurance Skill Power, Barbarians have some native options as well: Enraged Surge can help you turn a miss into a buff, Heart Strike offers some nice extra damage for the Thaneborn in the audience, and Wellspring of Renewal gets you free THP and the ability to shrug off a mark.

Level 10 Utility List

Barbaric Instinct (PrP) - Lessening the effect of adverse conditions is nice, but this is a Daily, which lowers its stock a bit.

Barbaric Offering (PrP) - A saving throw when you bloody or drop an enemy is relatively easy to trigger and a pretty solid benefit to have, and the bonus for a Thaneborn makes it better for them.

Deny Death (PHB 2) - It's a Daily, but it buys you an extra turn, just when you need it the most, and that can't be a bad thing.

Enraged Surge (PrP) - Missing is part of life for most Barbarian builds; this is one of the ways you can cope with it. The extra sweet part is that it doesn't cost an action, either.

Heart Strike (PHB 2) - A stance for extra At-Will damage on Thaneborn Barbarians is a nice toy for them.

Howl of the Alpha Wolf (PrP) - Moving yourself and your allies about, for the cost of a move action. This is some pretty sweet movement, especially if you drop someone before triggering it.

Mountain Roots (PHB 2) - Forced movement isn't the worst thing that can happen to you (since it likely sets you up to charge back in anyway), but this Stance has use (and it comes up outside your standard action, too).

Totemic Scarification (PrP)
- While I'm all for extra offense on a Barbarian, +1 to hit for -2 to defense is just not worth it, especially considering it's only on one encounter per day. I wouldn't.

Wellspring of Renewal (PHB 2) - Drops off marks against you, and the THP can be nice to have.

Powers - Paragon Tier: Spreading the Destruction

As was the case before, I will be pointing out which powers require having a two-handed weapon, which require having two weapons equipped, and which do not require either.

Level 13, Encounter

There's actually a pretty nice power list at this level, but the definitive pick here is the potential triple-attack that is Storm of Blades, which is far too good for any Barbarian to pass up.

Level 13 Encounter List

Any Weapon:

Ancient Clan Strike (PrP) - The attack is pretty hefty by itself, and you have the option of taking some damage to make it more accurate, more reliable, and more damaging if you're a Rageblood. While the entry fee for all that goodness kind of stinks, the power is overall pretty solid.

Blade Whirlwind (PHB 2)
- A close burst attack with a minor push effect. Polearm Barbarians may be interested in it, but they would be alone in that regard.

Blood-Frenzy Strike (PrP) - A solid hit that brings vulnerability to all damage as an additional effect. Nice for anyone, but Thaneborn get a bit of extra mileage.

Crack the Skull (PHB 2) - It hits a NAD, and provides a Barbarian with a dazing status effect (outside of Dailies, Barbarians don't have many status inducers). Nice.

Fortune's Favor (PrP)
- If you're in the gambling mood, you can use this attack to fish for criticals, and hitting twice in a row will actually net you some extra damage (though missing will cost you some).

Iron Breaker's Shout (PrP) - Slapping on a penalty to all defenses (in a close blast, no less) easily makes up for the attack's lower default damage. Ragebloods and Thunderborn alike might want this power later on.

Ruinous Strike (D 386) - It trades the strength and duration of the vulnerability to all damage Blood-Frenzy Strike bring in favor of a slide being tacked on to the next attack. It can be as good with a damaging zone nearby, otherwise... not so much.

Storm of Blades (PHB 2) - The potential to attack a single target three times in one turn opens the door for some horrific damage potential, and as such is irresistible for a Barbarian.

Terror's Cry (PHB 2) - This attack hits a NAD for solid damage, then has a secondary attack that forces an enemy to move. Since moving provokes OA's, this can probably spawn a couple of other hits from your allies, making this great with the proper setup. However, the fact that it uses Charisma to attack (though at least that attack hits a NAD) can hold it back a little.

Thunderfall (PHB 2) - Some decent charge damage, and a solid push + prone combo. Decent right now, but it loses a lot of luster at Epic Tier (since Howling Strike can have almost all these effects and still out-damage it).

Two-Handed Weapon:

Shattering Reach (D 384) - A reach weapon attack that comes in with an AC penalty and some decent damage. Pretty nice.

Two Weapons:

Rolling Boulder (PrP) - It effectively acts as a movement enhancer, allowing you to move past the back rank and beat up the enemy you want. That can be a pretty neat way to open the combat and get to a squishy target to beat up on.

Level 15, Daily

At this level, I'm liking Ancient War Band Rage's free Combat Advantage and bizarro-damage bonus by turning 1's into maximum damage, or Thunderfury Rage's ability to effortlessly generate additional attacks for you, though a Thaneborn in the right party can make an argument for Rage of the War Bringer.

Level 15 Daily List

Any Weapon:

Ancient War Band Rage (PrP) - Free CA against any target you attack is nice, as is turning 1's into max damage (especially because many of you favor big, swingy dice like the d12). A pretty sweet power.

Flameheart Rage (PHB 2)
- The initial attack is not all that awesome, and the benefit is solid but rather unexceptional. I'm finding this power a bit of a hard sell.

Frost Hide Rage (PrP) - The exact same thing as L9's Stone Bear Rage, but with a slow on the initial attack and the Cold keyword. Meh.

Hunting Lion Rage (PHB 2) - A decent smack, and it makes combat advantage very worth your while (too bad it doesn't give you a method to generate it). It can be decent.

Iron Hammer Rage (PHB 2) - A decent entry attack, and it adds a push to all of your attacks (with a conditional benefit if you push an enemy next to blocking terrain). Not a fan.

Rage of the War Bringer (PrP) - This power is kind of odd in that it buffs your entire party instead of you. That said, it probably gives you plenty more chances to spread extra damage around, so it's a pretty nice call, especially if you have other Strikers with you.

Scytheclaw Rage (PrP) - The power level of the effects is about appropriate for a L1 Daily, not an L15 one. That said, I can't be that harsh on a power that enables chargespam.

Thunderfury Rage (PHB 2) - A very sweet Rage power, generating an attack when an attack hits or misses you is a great way to get extra damage going.

Tidal Rage (PrP) - The initial attack has HUGE range and a large slide, but being ally-unfriendly lowers its stock somewhat. Toss in a rather uninspiring repositioning effect and I'm not all that enthused by this power.

Whisper's Blades Rage (D 380) - It deals the Rage damage to two targets (though to be fair it's not all that much), and it gives you a damage-redirection effect with a range of 5. It can be decent if you somehow are stuck and want to hack at another enemy, but it's not a top choice for me.

Two-Handed Weapon:

Slashing Tornado Rage (D 384) - The entry attack has nice reach but poor damage, and the area autodamage is nice to have but it's not all that epic. Decent, but unexceptional.

Level 16, Utility

At this level, I personally prefer the action advantage provided by Spur the Cycle, though the emergency revival button and buff of Battle Lust and the extra boost of Scent of Blood are certainly attractive as well.

Level 16 Utility List

Battle Lust (PrP) - A heal and a free stand when you are down, as well as a meaty buff to hit and damage. This is a pretty darn good power.

Bounding Advance (PrP) - While shifting most of your speed and ignoring enemies sounds nice on default, there is an item that can essentially replicate this benefit for you as a property, which massively reduces this power's stock.

Fuel the Fire (PHB 2) - Provoking OA's for a buff can hurt more than it can help. Pass.

Great Stomp (PHB 2) - A Daily for only one turn's worth of difficult terrain? Nah.

Kill Them All (D 386) - Thematic gold, and a pretty useful power, actually.

Primal Resistance (PHB 2) - Odds are you're not doing much with your Stance slot, so resist 10 against a variety of elements can be solid.

Rampant Malice (PrP) - A nice bit of Striker-Defender cooperation, though it's of lesser value when your Defender is a Fighter or a Warden, since a flank will usually accomplish the same thing.

Rampant Reach (D 384) - It requires a two-handed reach weapon and a critical just to give you a bonus to OA's and threatening reach for a turn? Not a fan.

Scent of Blood (PrP) - It doesn't take up any actions on your turn, and it provides a buff to damage and healing. That's a pretty nice power to have.

Spur the Cycle (PHB 2) - Effectively an extra turn after a kill (a charge will usually get you where you need to go). Where do I sign up?

Strength of Enduring Pain (PrP) - Use the ongoing you have going on for extra damage. It can be good, but it's a bit conditional.

Level 17, Encounter

At this level, we see some more build-specific divergence: Thaneborns are likely picking up Devastating Blow, Whirlers are likely going for Whirling Skirmish, Thunderborn will probably go for a power at an earlier level or Stone-Splitting Roar, and Ragebloods will probably do the same, although Threatening Fury is an option as well.

Level 17 Encounter List

Any Weapon:

Bloody Roar (D 386) - To be honest with you, this is weaker than L13's Terror's Cry (that one hits a NAD, and can provoke additional attacks from your allies), while having the same basic makeup. Nah.

Devastating Blow (PHB 2) - Shatterbone Strike just got bigger. I'll take that deal.

Frightening Strike (PrP) - Debuffing attack is not as good as debuffing AC for a Striker, and the damage is lower. Decent, but you have a better option here.

Lines of Rage (PrP) - Take some damage, deal some more damage. While the attack itself is pretty hefty, taking damage for it to be any better than other powers here is kind of lame.

Mountain Grasp (PHB 2) - The damage is low for this level, but immobilizing and combat advantage can be pretty solid.

Shoulder Slam (PHB 2) - It's charge-friendly (so you can deal charge damage to two targets), it hits a NAD, and it bring extra accuracy if you're a Rageblood. That said, it's probably coming in at less damage than a Howling Strike. Average.

Stone-Splitting Roar (PrP) - The initial attack is weak, but the blast allows you to double-dip on some damage modifiers while you hit other people, and mass combat advantage is pretty nice too.

Threatening Fury (PHB 2) - This power gives you a turn of catch-22; pretty much anything the enemy does at this point will allow you to get an OA in, so it's effectively a delayed double attack, which is nice.

Vigorous Strike (PHB 2) - A so-so attack with some THP - not bad, but not really wow-inducing.

Two Weapons:

Blood-Spattered Frenzy (PrP) - It's similar to L1's Whirling Frenzy, but with more punch and no drawback. Probably got here too late, though.

Whirling Skirmish (PrP)
- A swing, and then autodamage around you can let you double-dip against one target (it also has some mobility attached). Pretty nice if you ask me.

Level 19, Daily

At this level, I favor Desert Wind Rage's mass autodamage or Winter Phoenix Rage's huge defensive bonuses, but you can find some pretty competitive powers at this level.

Level 19 Daily List

Any Weapon:

Desert Wind Rage (PrP) - A blinding entry attack, and a nice auto-damage effect in a whopping range of 5 squares. Probably the best offensive rage of this level.

Elder Tuskbrother Rage (PrP)
- The entry attack is coming in for some absolutely horrendous damage given that it's hefty by default and charge-friendly, but the effect is not quite at the level as some others here.

Fortune's Ravagers Rage (D 380) - Enemy criticals are not the most common occurrence, so unless your DM has some freaky relationship with his d20, this might not do much of anything. Skip.

Ghost Viper Rage (PHB 2) - The damage on the entry attack is not that impressive, but free combat advantage is a pretty solid benefit, especially when flanking buddies aren't around.

Hydra Rage (PHB 2) - A dazing entry attack, and it compensates for your misses, which is pretty good to have.

Primal War Band Rage (PrP) - The entry attack is nice and meaty, and all enemies within 5 squares of you granting combat advantage for you and all your allies is very nice to have.

Rock Tree Rage (PrP) - A vicious interrupt attack when you are approached, which can set up more attacks should people still attempt to approach you. That said, it's probably gonna be hard to trigger given that monsters at this level tend to have reach and thus will not approach you, but it's incredible if you have some party cooperation.

Storm Drake Rage (PHB 2) - The attack is not all that impressive to be honest, but the effect knocks people prone when you get hit with a Melee attack, which is pretty neat. Decent overall.

Voracious Predator Rage (PrP) - While this Rage doesn't actually do anything until you drop someone, the buff is pretty decent.

Winter Phoenix Rage (PHB 2) - A huge regeneration ability, and some emergency button healing just in case even that's not enough. An excellent defensive power to have.

Powers - Epic Tier: Destruction Manifest

As was the case before, I will be pointing out which powers require having a two-handed weapon, which require having two weapons equipped, and which do not require either.

Level 22, Utility

This is your final Utility level, and it's a bit disappointing to be honest: a lot of powers are not all that good, and even the ones that do look good aren't quite slam dunks. I am most partial to Unexpected Clarity's expanded nova options, but Emboldening Courage and Primal Vigor can be options to consider here as well.

Level 22 Utility List

Blood Seeker's Pursuit (PrP) - Some shifting is always nice, but the conditional targeting and having a conditional THP effect makes it kind of underwhelming considering how late you get it.

Brutal Payback (PrP) - Monster criticals just don't happen enough to justify taking this power.

Emboldening Courage (PrP) - Given that you can and should start your encounters with a charge, this is an excellent advance repositioning tool for you and your party.

Last Stand (PHB 2) - You take 5 damage per turn to stay standing and in the fight. It has its limitations, but any chance to stay in a fight you were supposed to be out of can't be all bad.

Primal Instinct (PHB 2) - If you have to deal with invisible enemies on occasion, you could do worse things than pick up this power.

Primal Vigor (PHB 2) - Some hefty resist all as an immediate interrupt for an entire turn can save your skin.

Raging Resurgence (PrP) - A plain old Daily healing surge power when you're missed by an attack. Rather unimpressive given the level of Utilities where it's at.

Unexpected Clarity (PrP) - Turning Rampage from a basic attack to a full-fledged Standard Action is one hell of a benefit to have, even if it is just once per day. A bit unpredictable on when you actually get to use it, but the potential havoc is worth it.

Untouched (PHB 2) - A mass save power is good to have, but the fact that it's a Daily and a Minor action instead of an immediate (so the things you're saving against have to allow actions, and you'll have to suck up at least one turn's worth of effects)

Level 23, Encounter

This is the undisputed low point in the Barbarian's power list: the majority of the powers here are either marginal improvements over previous iterations or just plain not worth taking. If you do want something, I would go for the stun on Staggering Strike; otherwise, I would actually stick to the Encounter powers already in your repertoire.

Level 23 Encounter List

Any Weapon:

Arcing Throw (PHB 2) - While a Ranged attack from your Melee weapon sounds cool at first glance, you're going to lose some damage from items and the like from this form of attack, and the situations where you're going to have to resort to a Ranged attack are few and far between (and you likely had to address them long before now).

Berserker's Shout (PHB 2)
- The damage is hefty, and the effect is decent enough in the hands of a Thaneborn. A fairly nice pick.

Crater Fall (PHB 2)
- This power actually carries less punch than a plain old Howling Strike charge, and knocking prone is something every Epic charge can do for the cost of a feat you should take anyway, so the only thing this power offers is a large push effect and the chance to knock some other people prone too, and that's not enough for me.

Cutting the Path (PrP) - A mass push and prone effect that hits a NAD, some movement, and then you get a decent attack attached at the end. A serviceable choice.

Fatal Strike (PHB 2) - A rather average attack for this power list, and a rather niche effect (monsters that can heal are by and large pretty rare). Not my pick.

Feral Scythe (PHB 2) - A plain-damage close burst attack, and not even that much of it. Painfully bad.

Leaves Before the Wind (PrP) - The damage takes a cut compared to the competition, and a slide is all you get for it? Nah.

Rabid Beast (PrP) - Granting Combat Advantage may be worth it for a good cause, but this power is decidedly not it.

Staggering Strike (PHB 2) - Though it only offers a basic attack's damage, it hits Fortitude and it packs a stun effect, and that does make it look much, much better.

This One is Mine! (PrP) - Rock-solid damage, a damage buff for Ragebloods, and a mark. It also has a (rather weird) bonus to hit that actually conflicts with the Rageblood damage buff. Despite these inconsistencies, this can be a pretty spiffy power.

Throw Back the Horde (D 386) - Only MBA-level damage, but it has a big push effect and it knocks prone. It could be worse.

Two-Handed Weapon:

Mammoth Reach (D 384) - Again, I say that if you can't knock prone on your attacks normally, you missed the entire point of being a Polearm Barbarian. As such, this doesn't offer much Pressing Strike can't already give you.

Two Weapons:

Berserker's Flurry (PrP) - A mild damage boost is the only thing that separates this from Slash and Slash Again. While an upgrade is still good, I expected some more punch after 16 levels.

Level 25, Daily

A bit of a comeback for the Barbarian power list after two pretty sub-par outings, I favor the increased critical rating of Stone Tempest Rage, though other options here can give it a run for its money.

Level 25 Daily List

Any Weapon:

Ash Hammer Rage (PHB 2) - Very hefty damage, and a sizable amount of THP's every time you connect is pretty nice to have.

Blood Hunger Rage (PHB 2)
- Another power with some good punch behind it as well as a daze, plus a conditional bonus to hit. I'm a bit down on it, because there will be a part of the encounter where the effect will do little.

Blue Dragon Rage (PHB 2) - Low damage for this level of powers, and the crowd punishment effect doesn't really blow me away. Pass on this one.

Circle of Blood Rage (PrP) - While it's not packing the punch some of the powers here are, it hits in a close burst, and the buff would be better if it weren't limited to At-Wills and Rage Strike. Still nice though.

Clawed Ancestor Rage (PrP) - While you're likely going to have to build yourself around grabbing for this to be a truly good power, the ability to grab as a minor action can be nice, and the autodamage certainly doesn't hurt. A pretty decent power overall.

Rage of the Unbridled Beast (PrP) - The initial attack deals rather low damage (though having an AC debuff helps make up for that), and though the effect can generate additional attacks, you'd have to able to somehow make the enter the square adjacent to you again, which makes this power kind of conditional to having an ally around to help make it work. Serviceable.

Raptor's Eye Rage (PrP) - You get double rolls on the entry attack (awesome), and you get a do-over on one die of any damage roll you make afterwards. Nice to have.

Stone Tempest Rage (PHB 2) - Big damage, knocks prone, and hands out some increased critical range. I would take that.

Level 27, Encounter

This is your final level of Encounter powers, and while there's a lot of powers that look good, there's one that simply runs away with the crown: Hurricane of Blades is in the running for the best Striker Encounter power ever, and as such is a can't-miss favorite.

Level 27 Encounter List

Any Weapon:

Blood Wrath (PHB 2) - Some solid damage, it buffs your accuracy for both this attack and whatever it is you do next turn. It looks pretty cool.

Bonebreaker (PHB 2) - An interrupt attack with a sensitive trigger, good damage, and some extra damage if the opponent was moving more than 1 square away. A pretty neat power.

Butcher's Feast (PHB 2) - Some Daily-esque damage, the promise of more attacks if you are attacked, and an accuracy buff on top. An excellent power, but it's on the same list as Hurricane of Blades.

Crippling Assault (PrP) - A charge that will actually pack more punch than your Howling Strike, and some vulnerability to all damage attached to make it more worth your while. A pretty good power.

Hurricane of Blades (PHB 2) - Four attacks is some hilarious focus-fire power, and getting it every encounter is just the icing. One of the greatest Encounter powers ever made, and as such an automatic addition to your arsenal.

Menacing Blow (PrP) - Decent damage, a penalty to hit, and CA. Respectable, but not at the level of other options here.

Nowhere to Run (D 386) - Unless you have your opponent at the edge of a damaging zone and can thus ping-pong him in and out (which would make it better), this power doesn't have that much "wow" factor on it.

Rampaging Dragon Strike (PHB 2) - Two weak attacks with a push, a move, and a slightly meatier hit. Not what I'd be looking for at this level.

Savage Ancestors Strike (PrP) - It requires to take a non-negligible amount of damage for its extra effects, which frankly are not that good for this level. Pass.

Terrifying Howl (PrP) - A rather weak attack for this level, and while immobilizing and a bonus to hit are a nice 1-2 effect punch, it's not all that impressive.

Two Weapons:

Frenzied Scramble (PrP) - A bit more punch on the main attack as compared to Whirling Skirmish, but that's it. Not the kind of upgrade I would have been looking for.

Level 29, Daily

This is your last level of powers, and it goes out with a bang: the choices here are mostly very competitive. I am partial to World Serpent Rage for the overall package of an extremely damaging entry attack combined with an awesome buff, but the others are not that far behind.

Level 29 Daily List

Any Weapon:

Ancient Forebears' Rage (PrP) - Spiffy damage, and it turns 1's and 2's into max damage. Decent.

Crimson Phoenix Rage (PHB 2) - The entry attack is kind of lame, but the effects are both great: extra damage on your At-Wills (including your by now incredible charges) is sweet, and the ability to heal whenever you get dropped can't be dismissed either. A very good pick.

Rage of Retribution (PrP) - The initial attack spreads out plenty of damage (a sort-of close burst 5), and the effect hands out even more damage when you get hit yourself, and it can even trigger multiples times per round. A pretty good pick.

Rage of the Primal Beast (PHB 2) - The initial attack is OK, and an attack bonus is always appreciated, even though it will wane as the fight goes on (but by then you probably need it less anyway).

Rage of the Thundering Rhino (PrP) - The attack is solid but unexceptional, and the effect doesn't even work on At-Will powers. Pass on this one.

Thunderstorm Rage (PrP) - The initial attack sucks, but the ability to crit-fish and possibly deal extra damage on your attacks certainly doesn't. A pretty nice Rage.

Winter Ghost Rage (PHB 2) - Some nice damage on the entry attack, and being insubstantial while bloodied is a solid durability-oriented benefit.

World Serpent Rage (PHB 2) - It has the biggest weapon-based damage of the bunch, it can be used on a charge (so the entry damage is likely going to be gigantic), and it makes your opponent choose between standing front of you and giving you damage bonuses, or attempting to flee and giving you extra attacks. My personal favorite.

Skill Powers: Channeling the Destruction

Skill powers here have been categorized into whether the skill is a class skill for your not. Within these categories, they have been split up into levels. Barbarians have a bit of a lackluster Utility list at Level 10, so you're mostly looking for something to take there.

Class Skill Powers

Acrobatics Powers

Level 2:

Agile Recovery (PHB 3) - Forever changes standing up to a Minor Action. Pretty cool.

Level 6:

Dodge Step (PHB 3) - The trigger goes off too late to avoid a hit. Unimpressive.

Graceful Maneuver (PHB 3) - A pretty decent shifting power you can pick up.

Perfect Balance (PHB 3) - It provides a small speed advantage while traversing narrow or difficult terrain, and doesn't require checks. Decent.

Tumbling Dodge (PHB 3) - An example of a power that gets better as time goes on. While your Acrobatics check probably won't be that mindblowing overall, this could help your defenses a bit.

Level 10:

Drop and Roll (PHB 3) - How often does this really come up? Not enough to occupy a Utility slot in my experience.

Rapid Escape (PHB 3) - The definitive answer to being grabbed; it allows you to escape as a Minor Action, grants you CA if you do escape, AND it’s an At-Will. It faces stiff competition and grabbing ain’t exactly the most common status effect under sun and moon, but this is awesome when it does come up.

Level 16:

Reflexive Dodge (PHB 3) - A solid DR ability, that comes with a shift attached.

Athletics Powers

Level 2:

Bounding Leap (PHB 3) - Hey, look, it's a Tiger Leap clone! As such, it will be rated the same way.

Scrambling Climb (PHB 3) - It's a great movement Utility if you have to climb up stuff a lot. The question is, will you? Not in most campaigns.

Level 6:

Mighty Sprint (PHB 3) - Speed +4 is nice. Ignoring difficult terrain is also nice. An Athletics bonus for whatever stunt you may want to pull off along the way is just gravy. This is a pretty decent pick.

Sudden Leap (PHB 3) - Essentially, this is flanking without provoking OA's, no matter how big your opponent is, once per encounter. It can definitely see some use.

Level 10:

Incredible Stride (PHB 3) - Whoa. +4 speed for the encounter is a big buff. A very nice choice.

Endurance Powers

Level 2:

Endure Pain (PHB 3) - A very decent chunk of resist all when you get hit. Being a Daily limits it somewhat, but it's still solid.

Grit and Spittle (D 385) - Though burning up a healing surge hurts, granting yourself mass saves is pretty darned awesome for a Barbarian, especially at a level this low.

Invigorating Presence (PHB 3) - Some mass THP when you second wind. A bit unimpressive, to be honest.

Level 6:

Third Wind (PHB 3) - A very cool self-healing ability. Though it is a Daily, it's still a pretty solid pick.

Walk it Off (PHB 3) - Having a chance to negate ongoing damage before it happens is nice, but rarely will you see ongoing damage that is lethal enough to be a serious concern.

Level 10:

Reactive Surge (PHB 3) - Healing in response to getting Bloodied? And it's there every encounter? Excellent.

Level 16:

Diehard (PHB 3) - Being dazed sure beats being dead.

Heal Powers

Level 2:

Healer’s Gift (PHB 3) - Burn a Utility slot for a very marginal improvement over First Aid? No. Gods, no.

Level 6:

Delay Poison (PHB 3) - Certainly better in campaigns where poisons are more prevalent and lethal and/or an enemy attacks only using poison damage, but usually ongoing 5-10 damage won't kill you.

Physician's Care (PHB 3) - Healing is nice, but not as a standard action.

Swift Recovery (PHB 3) - This is a pretty solid power. The range does it no favors, but it can see use.

Level 10:

Time Out (PHB 3) - This is sweet if you have a Dwarf or Warden ally, and can be better if you have both; otherwise, the times it comes up are few and far between (very hit-or-miss, this one).

Level 16:

Miraculous Treatment (PHB 3) - Again, healing is awesome, but not if it sacrifices your ability to attack.

Intimidate Powers

Level 2:

Ominous Threat (PHB 3) - Freeing an ally from a mark while slapping on one of your own can help you sub in for a Defender pretty well.

Level 6:

Demoralize Foe (PHB 3) - A free debuff when you hit is always nice for messing with your opponent.

Everybody Move (PHB 3) - A mass push 1. It can be useful for rearranging the battlefield or allowing allies to escape situations they really don't want to be in.

Try the Stick (PHB 3) - Subbing Intimidate for Diplomacy can be serviceable switch.

Level 10:

Snap Out of It (PHB 3) - Flavor gold, and a decent way to aid your Leader in keeping everyone grounded.

Nature Powers

Level 2:

Mounted Coordination (PHB 3) - If it were a turn-long buff, I'd be all for it, but as it is it's pretty marginal.

Nature Sense (PHB 3) - Your initiative should beat your Nature check, and though +4 to all defenses is nice, it's only for one turn.

Level 6:

Natural Terrain Understanding (D 385) - Though Leader-y in theme, +2 to all defenses and a free shift 2 for allies is greatly appreciated, especially on a per-encounter basis.

Path of the Bounding Stag (PHB 3) - Obviously better if you spend a lot of time in forests aboveground; but I can't predict where your campaign will take you, and in most terrains this will be useless.

Practiced Rider (PHB 3) - About as campaign-dependent as they come, but hey, it’s an At-Will!

Level 10:

Spot the Path (PHB 3) - Party-wide difficult terrain ignoring is sweet.

Level 16:

Nightshade Draught (D 385) - Anything that keeps you from dropping dead is appreciated on a Barbarian, especially when it allows you to operate at full efficiency (just remember to heal ASAP).

Perception Powers

Level 2:

Far Sight (PHB 3) - Some minor penalty reduction for Ranged attacks. Unnecessary.

Level 6:

Guided Shot (PHB 3) - Essentially an after-you-roll attack buff vs. the great majority of enemies for an ally. Solid enough.

Trapfinding (PHB 3) - A decent bonus to pick up traps and the like.

Warning of Peril (PHB 3) - Your Passive Perception officially covers a huge area. A great scouting aid outside of combat, though marginal in it.

Level 10:

Focused Sight (PHB 3) - Far Sight's big brother, it also works on Melee powers and superior cover/concealment. Serviceable, as it lasts two turns.

Perfect Sight (PHB 3) - One turn of blindsight in a decent range. Serviceable enough.

Spot Weakness (PHB 3) - A decent damage boost for one attack per encounter. Solid enough.

Uncanny Instincts (PHB 3) - You will probably be investing enough in your initiative that this won't be  good choice, even if you do get to bring an ally along.

Recommended Non-Class Skill Powers

I’m only going to talk about the powers whose parent skills are recommended, so that limits it somewhat.

Bluff Powers

Level 2:

Battle Feint (PHB 3) - If you want to give an ally combat advantage, just flank with the guy.

False Bravado (PHB 3) - Shedding off a mark just because you want to is a solid benefit to have.

Level 6:

Confusing Blather (PHB 3) - It can potentially allow you and your allies to maneuver and disengage unmolested by your enemies. Nice.

Dirty Tricks (PHB 3) - This just seems like a lesser version of Confusing Blather to me, so just take that instead.

Fast Talk (PHB 3) - Saving you from yourself, should you end up being the party face, though most of you won't be.

Level 10:

Improvisational Arcana (PHB 3) - If you were to choose to use rituals, this has the handy effect of making sure you don't suck at them. Solid enough.

Stall Tactics (PHB 3) - It might as well say, "Once per day, your party wins initiative, no questions asked." This can set up some devastating tactical advantages for you and your allies.

Diplomacy Powers

Level 2:

Soothing Words (PHB 3) - Essentially, you get a little extra bang for your buck on your healing surges while you rest. A pretty decent power for supplementing your Leader.

Level 6:

Haggle (PHB 3) - Rerolling Diplomacy checks every encounter could save your  skin in a social situation. Consider it.

Stirring Speech (PHB 3) - While the flavor is nice, a bonus for being banged up is a rather risky thing to ask for from your allies, since you're not all that healing-capable.

Level 10:

Befriend (PHB 3) - In skill challenges, this is a hefty boost to have. Otherwise, it's a bit marginal.

Cry for Mercy (PHB 3) - A very nice power. +4 to all defenses and no OA's on  movement for a Bloodied ally every encounter is sweet.

Noble Sacrifice (PHB 3) - This is a pretty decent way of helping allies out when they're in a jam.

Level 16:

Indomitable Ally (PHB 3) - Buying one more turn for your ally sounds good to me.

Stealth Powers

Level 2:

Obscured Avoidance (PHB 3) - At-Will mark avoidance while concealed. Not all that impressive.

Level 6:

Concealed Shift (PHB 3) - Shift you when you’re missed if you have cover/concealment. Meh.

Shrouding Gloom (PHB 3) - A bit of action economy for your Stealth checks. Can be useful if you're scurrying from cover to cover or need a do-over on your last Stealth check.

Level 10:

Crowd Cover (PHB 3) - A pretty decent way to mess with enemy Ranged combatants, but it's kind of marginal given that it only affect Ranged attacks.

Persistent Tail (PHB 3) - A decent power to keep yourself out of sight. Great out-of-combat utility for this one.

Level 16:

Deepening Gloom (PHB 3) - This is a nice one; making yourself invisible to the target instantly slaps on a hefty penalty for his attack, and given that this is an interrupt, it could potentially negate a hit.

Recommended Feats: Preparing for Destruction

The emphasis here is on 'recommended' feats: I won't be talking about feats that are rated lower than Black, because they're likely just not a good idea for your character or an outright trap. Overall, you have certain priorities when it comes to feats, which are described as follows:

1. Accuracy bonuses - A Barbarian's attacks are dealing a lot of damage pretty much by default; a bigger priority for you is making sure those attacks actually get to connect, especially considering you don't have a native accuracy-boosting feature and you usually only get one shot at landing them.

2. Damage bonuses - While Barbarian attacks are pretty damaging already, it never hurts to pack more punch on your hits, you being a Striker and all.

3. Mobility enhancements - One of the best ways to accomplish the above two priorities is by charge optimization, since there are items to enhance accuracy and damage for chargers. Throw in some mobility to generate the necessary space to charge early and often, and you have yourself a character.

4. Defense bonuses - While Barbarian Agility combined with raising Strength and Dexterity aggressively should cover the majority of your defenses nicely by default, some investment in making yourself tougher to hit is certainly not a waste of time, especially on the non-AC defenses side.

5. Miscellaneous - After those basic tenets are covered, you pretty much have free rein with any feat slots you may have left over. I personally prefer to optimize initiative (and thus get my blows in faster) or power recovery (to get another go at using good powers) of, if you have the room, both.

Class Feats

Heroic Tier:

Brutal Reach (D 384) - Reach weapons aren't usually known for their mindblowing stats, so anything that gives them a little more bite is appreciated.

Deadly Rage (PHB 2) - Extra damage while raging is a very welcome dose of extra punch on a Barbarian.

Hide Armor Expertise (PrP) - After the errata, this feat is worthless for most Barbarians, but any Barbarians that decides to go light on the Dexterity, yet still wants to stay in Hide Armor might want this. That said, I highly recommend you don't take this route, at least not for long.

Hurl Weapon (PrP) - It turns any off-hand weapon throwable, which can be decent for the right Whirler.

Improved Rageblood Vigor (PHB 2) - Substantially increases the amount of THP you get on a kill. Can be pretty sweet, especially early on in your career.

Improved Roar of Triumph (PHB 2) - Extra range and a bit of damage buffing on your Roar of Triumph. Pretty decent.

Reckless Charge (PrP) - A bonus to hit while charging is good enough to take the -2 to AC that comes with it in stride, especially when magic items exist to make that disadvantage disappear.

Swift Slayer (PrP) - A decent mobility upgrade to your mobility power on a kill.

Thaneborn Fury (D 386) - A penalty to hit on anyone unlucky enough to get crunched by your Rampage attack. Decent enough.

Thunderborn Rage (PrP) - Some decent extra damage when you bloodied an enemy.

Paragon Tier:

Bloodthirsty Visage (D 386) - Obviously useful if you pack a lot of fear powers, but those have their own set of issues as well (such as creatures being immune to their effects). That said, the maximum amount of awesome it can provide is limited since it's a feat bonus. It can stil be good on the right Barbarian though.

Charging Rampage (PHB 2) - A sweet feat that gives range to your Rampage attack (particularly useful if you happen to kill your target before Rampage actually got to do anything).

Echoing Roar (D 386)
- Getting your class feature power back after you use your second wind is pretty neat.

Explosive Rage Strike (PrP)
- Turns your Rage Strike into a Close Burst. Can be useful.

Rageblood Recovery (PHB 2)
- Free healing when you use your Swift Charge? Sounds like a good deal to me.

Thaneborn Advance (PHB 2)
- Repositioning when you drop someone can get you in someone's face quick or set you up for a charge, and either is awesome.

Thunderous Cry (PrP)
- Mass combat advantage is a pretty neat benefit to have.

Violent Reminder (PrP) - A sizable bonus to your next damage roll after a kill. Nice, if you have some room to spare.

Epic Tier:

Enduring Rage (PHB 2) - Ragebloods can grab this feat and be very hard to bring down.

Overpowering Charge (PrP) - Knocking prone on every charge? An excellent upgrade to your capabilities.

Primal Resurgence (PHB 2)
- Recovering a Rage when you get bloodied is an excellent ability to have.

Second Skin (PrP) - A superior version of Armor Specialization (Hide) is some quality AC. Requires a fair bit of Con, though most builds should go ahead and make the investment in order to get it.

Slayer's Shift (PrP) - Repositioning when you bloody or kill is decent.

Thaneborn Conqueror (PHB 2) - A damage debuff on your class power. Solid.

General Feats

Heroic Tier:

Armor Proficiency (PHB) - While I am more partial to the Hide-wearing Barbarian, you're probably going to need this feat to maintain Melee-worthy AC if you insist on favoring Constitution or Charisma over Dexterity.

Axe Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to hit, as well as a way to mitigate that disappointing 1 on those big weapon damage dice.

Blindfighting Warrior (HotFK) - The ability to ignore penalties for being unable to see your target while attacking can come in handy.

Cunning Stalker (HotFK) - An alternate method of getting combat advantage that can come in handy if you're focusing on charging targets that are far away from the rest of your party.

Great Fortitude/Iron Will/Lightning Reflexes (PHB) - A feat bonus for one NAD, that scales with tier. Good... if you can afford them.

Hafted Defense (PHB 3) - Some more AC for Polearm wielders. Nice.

Headsman's Chop (PHB 3) - A pretty neat way to take advantage of the fact that prone is actually a pretty common status condition on your list.

Heavy Blade Expertise (HotFL) - Great attack bonus scaling, and a bonus to OA's as some icing.

Improved Defenses (HotFL) - A nice, scaling bonus to your NAD's. Something that I highly recommend you grab.

Improved Initiative (PHB) - Going first is nice for you, since front-loading your offense can help you take enemies off the board quickly.

Light Blade Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling accuracy bonus, and some extra damage if you have CA. Excellent.

Master at Arms (HotFL) - A +1 to hit per tier increases your base competence by a lot, and action economy on your drawing isn't half bad either.

Nimble Blade (PHB) - A Whirler employing a Light Blade (such as a Spiked Chain with Spiked Chain Training) that finds obtaining CA easy will likely want this feat.

Powerful Charge (PHB) - If you have the feat to spare, +2 to damage for your favorite kind of attack action is pretty darn sweet.

Resilient Focus (HotFL) - +2 to all saving throws can be pretty useful.

Silvery Glow (D 386) - While it makes you worship a specific Deity and is worthless without Permafrost, this actually provides a little extra damage over Weapon Focus, which is excellent to have.

Spear Expertise (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to attack rolls, as well as charging damage. Especially nice for a Barbarian.

Spring Step (PHB 3) - A good answer to when you get knocked prone.

Superior Fortitude (HotFL) - A scaling bonus to Fortitude, and it throws in some resist all against ongoing damage as a bonus. That's pretty sweet.

Superior Reflexes (HotFL) - Gets you free combat advantage on the first turn of every fight, as well as a scaling bonus to Reflex, which is great, considering that your preferred tactic is to rush right in.

Superior Will (HotFL) - A big bonus to Will, and a better chance to shake off dazing and stunning. This one if tempting even if you're patching your NADs with Improved Defenses.

Timely Respite (PHB 2) - A save when you second wind is pretty solid, especially for a Dwarf.

Toughness (PHB)
- Extra HP can be welcome, if you have the room.

Two-Weapon Defense (PHB) - +1 to AC and Reflex for a feat is pretty neat.

Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - A nice damage bonus, and it opens the door for some other cool feats if you're a Whirler.

Vicious Advantage (PHB 3) - Expanding your ability to get CA is hardly bad.

Weapon Focus (PHB)
- A damage bonus, which is gold for a Striker like you.

Weapon Proficiency (PHB)
- You have a pretty good array of weapons right out of the box, but picking up more raw stats is great for some extra damage, especially considering how big a role weapon damage dice usually plays in your attacks.

Wintertouched (PHB) - Not much good by itself, but it and Lasting Frost combine to make some nice things happen.

Paragon Tier:

Agile Opportunist (PHB 2) - It requires a bit of setup and party cooperation, but a way to make extra attacks can be nice to have.

Armor Specialization (PHB) - More AC for you is pretty sweet.

Critical Targeting (D 387) - A neat encounter-long bonus to damage on a crit. Pretty cool.

Danger Sense (PHB) - If you have the room, this will save you from any bad initiative rolls you might make.

Deadly Axe (PHB) - If you're wielding an Axe that doesn't have high crit already (like a Gouge or a Halberd), this can be a solid damage pump feat sometime in Epic.

Heavy Blade Opportunity (PHB) - If you're rocking a Heavy Blade, getting some extra punch on OA's is a nice thing to have for a feat. It's better if you're a Polearm Barbarian with a Glaive.

Lasting Frost (PHB) - Combine this with Wintertouched and a way to get the Cold keyword for some pretty sizable benefits (like combat advantage and +5 damage via the vulnerability). Cold resistance can be a hurdle, but it can be overcome.

Polearm Gamble (PHB) - While this feat requires a bit of investment in your ability scores, anything that can net you extra attacks is sweet for a Polearm Barbarian.

Reserve Maneuver (PHB 2) - This can allow you to swap a lackluster PP Encounter power for something cool from your own list, which is a nice ability to have.

Unfailing Courage (D 377) - Healing on an Action Point is a great thing to have.

Epic Tier:

Axe/Bludgeon/Flail/Heavy Blade/Light Blade/Pick/Spear Mastery (PHB) - Whatever weapon you're wielding, you want improved criticals with it. Any chance to get a critical and its attendant damage boost is awesome.

Blind-Fight (PHB) - Dealing with invisible enemies is plenty easier for you with this feat.

Cleaving Axe (PHB 3) - Basic attacks on a kill? Sure.

Epic Fortitude/Epic Reflexes/Epic Will (PHB 2) - Whether you're shoring up a weak defense or reinforcing a strong one, these feats can provide quite a defensive boost.

Epic Resurgence (PHB) - Recovering your Encounter power on a critical is a good thing to have.

Long Step (PHB 3)
- This feat makes the space necessary for charging a hell of a lot easier, no magic items required.

Rapid Regeneration (PHB 3) - If your Constitution is solid and you have a decent suite of powers that allow you to regenerate, this is a pickup to consider.

Superior Initiative (PHB 3) - A huge initiative bonus you would do very well to retrain Improved Initiative into.

Triumphant Attack (PHB) - Encounter-long debuffs on a critical is a very cool thing for you.

Unfettered Stride (PHB) - It requires Acrobatics, but ignoring difficult terrain is very good to have for a mobile Striker.

Racial Feats


Heroic Tier:

Dragonborn Frenzy (PHB) - A bonus to damage while bloodied is pretty neat.

Hurl Breath (PHR: DB)
- Gives you a bona fide Ranged damage option.

Inspiring Triumph (PHR: DB)
- A minor defense buff for your allies. Solid.

Spirits of the Primal Dragons (PrP)
- A sizable damage buff for an entire turn when you get bloodied. Sweet.

Paragon Tier:

Corrosive Breath (PHR: DB) - Turning Dragon Breath into a setup punch sounds good to me.

Thundering Breath (PHR: DB)
- A decent racial feat to buff your Dragon Breath.

Epic Tier:

Concussive Breath (PHR: DB) - Mass dazing sounds pretty awesome.

Dissolving Breath (PHR: DB)
- A penalty to all defenses makes Dragon Breath an even better setup buff.

Draconic Restoration (PHR: DB)
- Getting Dragon Breath back when you heal is solid.

Draconic Triumph (PHR: DB) - Dragon Breath recharges after a kill. Sweet.


Heroic Tier:

Dodge Giants (PHB) - A bonus to AC against what will become a common variety of opponents can be good for you.

Dwarven Weapon Training (PHB) - An excellent way for a Dwarf Axe or Hammer user to get a front-loaded proficiency and damage combo.

Spirits of Stone (PrP) - A bonus to hit when you pop your second wind. Nice.

Paragon Tier:

Dwarven Durability (PHB) - Expanding your surge value and getting 2 extra surges out of the deal is very welcome for a frontliner.


Heroic Tier:

Eladrin Soldier (PHB) - Get yourself a Greatspear and go to town with free proficiency and extra damage.

Feral Fey Step (PrP) - A nice way to use your Fey Step as an escape or charge setup button, and it happens outside your turn. Nice.


Heroic Tier:

Elemental Barbarian (PrP) - A bonus to hit when you use one of two very good racial powers? Sure.

Firepulse Master (D 367) - Makes a good racial power even better.

Extra Manifestation (FRPG) - Adds versatility to your racial arsenal.

Primordial Surge (D 367) - Considering that the fighting style you favor is a close-range combatant, this is a huge amount of THP to have available, especially early on in your career. A very good grab.

Paragon Tier:

Shocking Flame (FRPG) - Free elemental damage, and this one scales! Never leave home without it; I wouldn't (you should be manifesting one of the two types favored by this feat 24/7 anyway).

Epic Tier:

Double Manifestation (FRPG) - Versatility meets power. Win.


Heroic Tier:

Githzerai Blade Master (D 378) - This feat is arguably even better than Eladrin Soldier or Dwarven Weapon Training, because the damage scales and the weapons made available to you are just as good if not better.

Epic Tier:

Adamantine Mind (PHB 3) - Buffs your racial power. Solid.

Iron Body (PHB 3) - Another buff for your racial power. Could be worse.


Paragon Tier:

Fierce Charge (D 367) - Not much to see for you right now, but it opens up an excellent feat in Brutal Charge.

Swift Bite (D 367) - Some extra damage when you bloody an enemy. Decent.

Epic Tier:

Brutal Charge (D 367) - This feat will allow you to mix your charging bonuses with your devastating multiattack powers, and provide some extra damage of its own from its racial power. No way you miss out on this.


Heroic Tier:

Goliath Greatweapon Prowess (PHB 2) - If you're planning to use a military weapon, this is very likely the feat for you.

Markings of the Blessed (PHB 2) - Rerolling a save can be solid.

Markings of the Predator (PrP) - A decent bonus to all defenses when you bloody a target.

Markings of the Victor (PHB 2) - Rerolling your entry attack can be nice.

Paragon Tier:

Unyielding Stone (PHB 2) - Some THP as part of your Stone's Endurance can make you extremely hard to bring down.

Epic Tier:

Ancient Stone (PHB 2) - A follow-up turn of resistance can help you absorb even more hits.


Heroic Tier:

Anger Unleashed (PHB 2) - A nice bonus to attack rolls for a turn when you get bloodied.

Savage Assault (PHB 2)
- Adding debuffs to your racial power is pretty solid.

Thirst for Battle (PHB 2)
- An excellent alternative to Improved Initiative, though you still should retrain it to Superior Initiative come Epic.

Paragon Tier:

Strength from Pain (PHB 2) - A big bonus to damage for a turn when you get bloodied. Nice to have on a Barbarian (very thematic, too).

Unrelenting Assault (PHB 2)
- Helps take a lot of sting off any miss.

Epic Tier:

Ferocious Critical (PHB 2) - A very substantial bonus to hit and damage the turn you score a critical. Excellent on a Barbarian.


Heroic Tier:

Action Surge (PHB) - A hefty self-buff for Humans, it brings you a lot of accuracy right when you need it the most.

Stubborn Survivor (FRPG) - Saving throw bonuses are good (and hard to find), so more fuel for playing human (and for burning your AP's).

Paragon Tier:

Action Recovery (PHB) - Could prove useful to get rid of any annoying status effects.


Heroic Tier:

Bloodied Ferocity (PHB 3) - Lashing out when you get bloodied is an awesome benefit.

Goring Shove (PHB 3) - A push is a decent enhancement to Goring Charge.

Opportunity Gore (D 369) - Makes Minos serious mobility stoppers. A nice pickup for your party dynamics and for doubling as a Defender when the situation warrants it. Bear in mind this feat will likely have an expiration date, though, as Goring Charge's accuracy scaling is terrible.

Paragon Tier:

Beast Within (PHB 3) - +1 to hit AND damage while bloodied is sweet.

Epic Tier:

Uncanny Scent (PHB 3) - Strictly better than Blind-Fight for you. Sweet.


Heroic Tier:

Gorebrute Charge (PHB 2) - A damage bonus while shifting for your favorite standard action. Solid.

Longtooth Spirit Shifter (PrP) - More regeneration while bloodied is always cool.

Sturdy Shifter (EPG) - A sizable amount of THP when you activate your racial power is nice to have.

Paragon Tier:

Beasthide Shifting (PHB 2) - A resist all effect while bloodied is very appreciated by a Barbarian.

Clifflwalk Shifting (PHB 2) - An extra movement form while you're banged up. Solid.


Heroic Tier:

Hellfire Blood (PHB) - A nice way to make up the gap for your lower Strength.

Insatiable Rage of Minauros (PHR: TF) - Rather risky, but the damage bonus is sizable enough that taking a gamble is not that bad an idea.

Rites of Spirits' Blood (PrP) - It makes you even more accurate against a bloodied enemy, and it also hands out a minor damage buff when you use your Infernal Wrath. Good stuff.

Tail Slide (PHR: TF) - A decent way to move allies about while you move.

Paragon Tier:

Hellfire of Mephistopheles (PHR: TF) - Your bread-and-butter strategy is fire, so having a way to punch through resistance is certainly a smart idea.

Secrets of Belial (PHR: TF) - Swapping out for any Utility power you want? Sure.

Epic Tier:

Renewed Wrath (PHR: TF) - Getting to reuse your racial power is pretty solid.


Heroic Tier:

Warforged Tactics (EPG) - A very nice bonus to hit when you have an ally cooperating with you, one that you have no real reason to not take.

Exotic Weapon Feats

As the name implies, these feats give you capacities beyond and above those a normal Weapon Proficiency feat would grant you (including scaling powers you can swap yours for), but they also burn up your Multiclass slot, so choose carefully.

Spiked Chain Training (DMA 2009) - This feat gives Whirlers access to a very damaging double weapon that can use Light Blade support. Though losing the Multiclass hurts, this weapon makes it worth your while.

Dragonmark Feats (EPG)

Dragonmark feats are different from other Heroic Tier feats in that you: (a) can only have one of them at a time, and (b) they usually come with an associated race, which I will be noting. Note that the feat doesn't actually force you to be of that race, so if your DM agrees, you can take this feat while being a member of another race.

Mark of Storm (Half-Elf) - This has some nice synergy with Deadly Draw and Lightning Weapons, and it opens access to a pretty nice Paragon Path, too.

Paragon Paths: Exemplars of Destruction

Barbarians have a bit of a weakness in that their Paragon Path selection contains few, if any, good options to enhance your abilities as a Striker. To that end, you're probably going to look at racial Paragon Paths or paths from other classes to patch that up. You can find the Paragon Paths I like from other classes in the Multiclass section.

Barbarian Paragon Paths

Ancestral Weapon (PrP) - A pretty nice Paragon Path for Barbarians looking to enhance their capabilities as a backup Defender, providing plenty of ways to mark and punishing marked enemies.

Bear Warrior (PHB 2) - A pretty sweet defensive Paragon Path, it has multiple healing abilities rolled right into what you normally do. Some AC and THP abilities round out what is a good expansion of your abilities.

Building Thunder (PrP) - A decent, if conditional path, it focuses on the Thunderborn's penchant for the Thunder keyword and blast attacks. It becomes better if you're looking to use Lightning weapons and Mark of Storm.

Calm Fury (PrP) - This Paragon Path focuses around making Rage Strike a nicer attack option, and it does so pretty well, making it Reliable, giving it more punch, and having some healing thrown in. A fairly decent option.

Death's Thane (PrP) - It has some good buffs in the AP feature and the Utility power, and the rest is enough to make this a decent option.

Fearbringer Thane (PHB 2) - Obviously a Paragon Path meant to enhance your prowess as a Leader, it offers some small features and powers to that end, but the benefits are not significant enough to make it a good choice IMHO.

Frenzied Berserker (PHB 2) - The Warpath feature single-handedly slaughters what could have been a pretty darned good Paragon Path. The fact that you can't turn it off severely hampers your ability to operate.

Nocturnal (HoS) - While it doesn't provide straight boosts to your abilities as a Striker, it makes charging even more effective by removing some of the limitations as to what you can get away with while doing it, and that's good to have.

Stonefire Rager (PrP) - It has a pretty decent mix of offensive and defensive features, including a pretty good Rage power. A very solid Paragon Path overall.

Twinclaw Slayer (PrP) - The features for the Paragon Path aren't all that good, but the powers are decent enough (including a great Daily Rage power) to make it a solid choice.

Wildrunner (PHB 2) - Additional mobility is pretty cool, but you're already pretty good at that plus this Paragon Path doesn't do all that much else. Decent, but not exceptional.

Winter Fury (PrP) - This Paragon Path carries the major perk of being able to translate untyped damage to cold damage, which lets you take advantage of Cold element support without having to go out of your way and get a Frost weapon.

Racial Paragon Paths

Here, I'll be marking the race that corresponds to the Path along with the source. We'll only be concerning ourselves with the recommended Paragon Paths here, that is to say, those rated Black or higher. If it's not on the list and it's in my sources, it's not a good idea.

Adroit Explorer (Human - PHB 2) - An excellent Paragon Path for Humans, this path has power recovery, a chance to reuse a power from your own list, and durability and some sweet benefits for being bloodied round it out. An excellent choice for a Barbarian.

Beastblooded Minotaur (Minotaur - D 369) - A Paragon Path that promotes charging, gives you some speed, and a sweet reprisal feature as well. A pretty good choice.

Bloodfury Savage (Half-Orc - PHB 2) - An excellent Paragon Path to get some extra durability and heck of a lot of extra damage too. One of the best incentives for the Half-Orc race.

Half-Giant Thug (Goliath - DSCS) - While the features are most certainly pedestrian, the powers are nice and strong, so this is not a bad pick.

Mithral Arm (Dragonborn - D 385) - One of the best racial Paragon Paths in the business, it has power recovery, extra accuracy and mobility, and bonuses for being bloodied as icing. A great choice.

Moonstalker (Shifter - PHB 2) - If you find that you can knock people prone enough, this Paragon Path will give you some pretty solid returns on it.

Stoneblessed (Goliath - PHB 2) - A decent Path, it gives you some reach-related shenanigans along with some extra damage as icing.

Warforged Juggernaut (Warforged - EPG) - This Paragon Path likes to charge, and is tough as nails, which is just the kind of combination you're looking for.

Dragonmarked Paragon Paths (EPG)

Again, we will only concern ourselves with Paths that would make you better at your job. I also note the expected (note: not required) race for the Path, as well as the Dragonmark Feat you have to take to gain access.

Lyrandar Wind-Rider (Half-Elf, Mark of Storm) - A pretty nice Paragon Path if you're already wielding some Lightning weapons of the like, it can offer a pretty spiffy hit and damage bonus (though the powers are of rather moderate use).

Epic Destinies: Pioneers of Destruction

Barbarian Epic Destinies

As is the norm, we'll only talk about Epic Destinies worth having (Black or higher) here.

Champion of Prophecy (EPG) - Pretty similar to Demigod, but with an emphasis on milestones. Not quite as good IMHO, but that's a high standard to meet.

Chosen (FRPG) - Pretty similar to Demigod overall, and can be even better if you find a Utility power you like more than Divine Regeneration.

Darklord (D 372) - So... you wanna be the Grim Reaper? All things aside, this is a pretty strong ED. I don't like the lack of ability score boosts, and rituals will likely be covered by another party member, but reviving people you drop has some crazy potential.

Deadly Trickster (PHB) - While it's not the first thing that comes to mind when you think Barbarian, the newfound Dexterity focus means that access to this ED is usually only one skill training feat away, and the benefits (not expending powers on 18+, rerolls, mass power recovery) can benefit a Barbarian greatly.

Demigod (PHB) - Still arguably the best Epic Destiny for any character, and you are no exception.

Destined Scion (HotFK) - Another off-shoot from the Demigod tree, a straight-up attack and save bonus along with the two ability score bonuses make it a strong choice.

Eternal Seeker (PHB) - The mix-and-matching part is very appealing, and it only gets better as more material is released. Right now, it's looking impressive, though you've already got most of the powers you'd want as a Striker.

Fang of the World Serpent (PrP) - An Epic Destiny that can help you pound on a single target repeatedly, it offers your best ability score modifier as bonus damage, and a decent upgrade for Rampage on a critical that's also freely available when you bloody someone. Good stuff for you.

Free Soul (D 376) - A decent slippery ED for Revenants.

Fury of the Wild (PrP) - A bonus to your main ability score, a sweet AoE damage feature on a critical, and the ability to reroll misses. Unfortunately for it, the latter two abilities only affect unbloodied enemies, so it's good but not great.

Harbinger of Doom (PHB 2) - Another solid, but not spectacular ED. Nothing really jumps out at you from this one.

Heir of Siberys (D 388) - A branch off the Demigod ED tree, this one offers a variety of effects to choose from as a Utility power. A Barbarian will probably be looking at the Finding or Scribing powers.

Hordemaster (DSCS) - An interesting spin on the classic Demigod Epic Destiny, this one has some nice Leader-y flavor and powers you could use to good effect.

Indomitable Champion (HotFL) - Essentially an expansion of the Demigod chassis, this ED offers some hefty extra HP and a bonus to NAD's, in addition to some neat defensive abilities and the traditional double stat boost.

Keeper of the Everflow (HoS) - A quality ED, it gives an ability score bump along with a variety of effects you can mix-and-match to fit the situation (and there's a good straight standby effect you can rock, too).

Prince of Hell (D 372) - Decent offensive and movement powers (teleportation with free damage? Tasty...). Not the worst idea, though the attribute bonus is only good for a Thaneborn.

Punisher of the Gods (D 372) - While powerful, this Epic Destiny is a consistent headache for the designers, receiving multiple versions of errata. I can't give it a top ranking in its current incarnation, especially because I don't think it will remain constant either.

Prison of the Winds (D 371) - The ability score bonuses are not quite perfect, but speed bonuses, flight, and its other benefits make it worth having.

Raven Knight (D 380) - While the ability scores are not quite perfect (can't really complain about getting both your secondaries, though), the charge-related benefits are sweet.

Reborn Champion (D 365) - If it weren't for the fact that this doesn't provide you with the increased competence ability score buffs bring, it would be very competitive with Demigod, Chosen, and the rest of the big boys. As it is, it's good, but just a step behind.

Reincarnate Champion (PrP) - It boosts your main ability score, and it lets you pick up racial power shenanigans pretty much as you please. Excellent.

Storm Sovereign (D 372) - Decent enough, but a Constitution bonus and the features aren't really your focus at all (more along the lines of a Defender, honestly).

Winter Sovereign (D 372) - If you're a Fey character that likes Permafrost, this is likely a cool ED for you. If you like (save ends) effects, it gets a little better. Solid overall.
Equipment: Tools of Destruction

Here, I'll be talking about what weapon types and armor types work best for you. Magic gear is in the next post.

Weapon Groups: Bringers of Destruction

Axes - One of the classic weapon groups for a Barbarian, these weapons pack plenty of punch, especially on a critical hit.

Recommended Axes

Battleaxe (PHB) - A pretty decent weapon for a Whirler.

Double Axe (AV) - While it doesn't offer any damage upgrades over a Battleaxe, the AC bonus and the ability to use it two-handed without switching your grip make it cool for a Whirler.

Execution Axe (AV) - It has big damage, and it compensates for the unreliable weapon damage die with brutal 2. About as good as it gets for a Barbarian.

Greataxe (PHB) - 1d12 damage is good stuff, and high crit is icing.

Gouge (DSCS) - Mordenkrad weapon damage on an Axe? Don't mind if I do.

Waraxe (AV) - A one-handed d12 is sweet for a Whirler.

Bows - Don't need 'em.

Crossbows - Nope.

Flails - These weapons hit plenty hard and require Dexterity for their feat support, and that's enough for a Barbarian to be interested.

Recommended Flails

Alhulak (DSCS) - A decent weapon for a Whirler, given that it's feat-free.

Heavy Flail (PHB) - Hammer-style stats, on a weapon group that won't require you to divert points from Dexterity. Sweet.

Triple-Headed Flail (AV) - A pretty good weapon for Whirlers, it's accurate, spiffy damage, and is Versatile. Nice to have.

Hammers - While their base weapon damage is as hefty as it gets, which is worth something on a Barbarian, they lack the fancy bells and whistles that make for a prime Barbarian weapon group. Still a nice and reliable choice, though.

Recommended Hammers

Maul (PHB) - The biggest default weapon damage you'll get for free.

Mordenkrad (AV) - A maul that never gets 1's on damage rolls. Sweet.

Heavy Blades - One of the staple weapon groups for a Barbarian, this has enough damage to be appealing, and the accuracy helps the Barbarian land his hits.

Recommended Heavy Blades

Bastard Sword (PHB) - A pretty good weapon for Whirlers, it has accuracy, spiffy damage, and the Versatile property to boot. Pretty nice.

Broadsword (AV) - It doesn't cost a feat, and hands you a d10 Versatile weapon for your off-hand. A solid weapon for Whirlers.

Fullblade (AV) - One of the prime weapons for a Barbarian. It has big damage, high crit, and it's accurate to boot. Well worth the feat.

Greatsword (PHB) - This weapon is actually putting out less damage than a Bastard Sword wielded in two hands. But, it's feat free.

Longsword (PHB)
- A basic weapon for a Whirler, it's pretty decent to have.

Light Blades - While it's not the first weapon group that comes to your mind when you think of Barbarians, the additional accuracy its support can bring to the table can help compensate for the somewhat lower damage values it puts out. That said, it's pretty much a Whirler-only thing.

Recommended Light Blades

Rapier (PHB) - It sounds odd, but a 1d8 Light Blade can have a bit of punch on a Barbarian.

Spiked Chain (PHB) - While this seems like a mistake, Spiked Chain Training makes this the most damaging Light Blade in the game, which makes it appealing to a Whirler.

Maces - Essentially a weaker version of Hammers. Nah.

Picks - Anything these can do, other weapons can do better.

Polearms - An excellent weapon group, this opens up some interesting options in Reach and some darn good feat support (especially if you Multiclass Fighter). A sweet choice for a Barbarian.

Recommended Polearms

Glaive (PHB) - While the stats are weak, the support that opens up for a Heavy Blade + Polearm combo is darn nice.

Greatspear (AV)
- Accurate, decently damaging, and Polearm + Spear support is pretty much the best control combo out there. Likely the weapon of choice for a Polearm Barbarian.

Halberd (PHB) - Essentially a Battleaxe with Reach. A pretty nice choice for a Barbarian.

Spears - Apart from the Greatspear and the Gouge, these weapons have subpar stats, and while a Ranged option is nice, other weapons do that and do it better.

Staffs - While there is feat support to make this option not a waste of time, that support will take feats you're probably better off spending somewhere else.

Armor: Sustainers of Destruction

Cloth - Why?

Leather - Less AC than Hide, and none of the support. Don't go there.

Hide - This is the armor you were meant to wear, and the support for it is excellent. The armor I would recommend every Barbarian wear.

Chain - If your Dexterity is low (I recommend you don't do that), this will at least make enemies roll to hit your AC.

Scale - Costs a couple of feats, but this has decent AC and the support will get your speed back up to par. I still don't recommend Heavy Armor in general, but this is the best one you can get.

Plate - Costs a whopping three feats, and slows you down. That said, the AC is fairly good, but not something you can't trump with Hide and Dexterity investment.

Shields - You have to spend feats to get them, and they trade damage for defense. Not what you want.
Magic Equipment: Channelers of Destruction

As is the norm for sections in this Handbook, if the piece of magic equipment isn't rated Black or higher, I won't be talking about it (especially important because this game has a colossal amount of equipment available).


I'm taking a leaf from the designers' book with regards to level distribution: the + sign indicates a progression every 5 levels, there's another version of the armor with an additional +1 enhancement bonus.

Level 2+

Screaming Armor (Hide, Scale, Plate) (AV) - A free bonus to Intimidate, and a nifty debuffing power (with range, no less). A solid choice

Shadow Hound Armor (Hide) (AV 2) - A nice defensive bonus to have when you get banged up.

Level 3+

Bestial Armor (Leather, Hide) (AV) - A very sweet aggressive property that can supplement your charges nicely.

Defensive Armor (Any) (PHB 3) - This property features a solid Daily defense-booster, which becomes meatier with power points (it's better if you have access to those).

Level 4+

Battle Harness (Cloth, Leather, Hide) (D 368) - An initiative bonus is never bad (even if it doesn’t stack with a Warlord’s buff), and Quick Draw for free doesn’t hurt either. A pretty good choice.

Bloodcut Armor (Leather, Hide) (PHB) - Allows you to burn surges to gain resistance to all damage. A bit of a gamble, though.

Level 7+

Marauder's Armor (Hide) (AV 2) - Bonuses to AC when you charge. Need I say more?

Level 10+

Lifeblood Armor (Hide) (PHB 2) - If I’m reading this right, this grants you free HP just for using a short rest (which you will do; you want your Encounter powers back). Whoa.

Level 13+

Rageblood Armor (Hide) (PHB 2) - Some welcome HP every time you rev up a Rage. Nice to have.

Level 14+

Displacer Armor (Cloth, Leather, Hide) (AV) - A fantastic property, but it burns up a Magic Item Daily and only works for one turn. Still decent, though.

Level 15+

Bloodvine Armor (Hide) (PHB 2) - Expensive, but the power can help you stay alive. Worth a look.

Trollskin Armor (Hide, Scale) (PHB) - Regen is always a nice thing to have in your back pocket, but its steep cost puts a ceiling on how awesome it can be.

Level 19+

Great Cat Armor (Hide) (AV 2) - More mobility makes chargespam even easier for a Barbarian.


I'm taking a leaf from the designers' book with regards to level  distribution: the + sign indicates a progression every 5 levels, there's  another version of the armor with an additional +1 enhancement bonus.

Level 2+

Farbond Spellblade (Heavy Blade, Light Blade) (AV 2) - A great way for Heavy Blade and Light Blade users to get a genuine Ranged option. A darned awesome property for a backup weapon.

Vicious (Any) (PHB) - Pretty basic, but d12 crit dice are nice to have.

Level 3+

Blood Fury Weapon (Axe, Heavy Blade) (AV 2) - A couple of sweet benefits when you're Bloodied. A nice weapon to have for the power.

Carnage (Axe, Heavy Blade, Mace) (DSCS) - If you're in the gambling mood, this weapon can provide a very respectable damage bonus (which you can get more reliably if the weapon die is smaller or if you have multiple dice).

Cunning (Any Melee) (AV) - If you like (save ends) effects, this is the weapon for you.

Frost (Any) (PHB) - Combines with Wintertouched and Lasting Frost for eternal combat advantage and +5 damage. Better than ever, thanks to other items helping it beat cold resistance.

Frost Fury (Axe) (AV 2) - Pretty solid extra damage, and it has cold damage attached to it.

Inescapable (Any) (AV) - Buffs your attack bonus after a miss. Solid.

Luckblade (Heavy Blade, Light Blade) (AV) - Rerolls, which are great to have around.

Paired (Any One-Handed Melee) (AV) - Some pretty good economy for your weapons if you dual-wield.

Quick (Any) (AV) - Free basic attacks are fun.

Rhythm Blade (Light Blade) (AV 2) - Extra AC and Reflex for a Whirler is a pretty cool property to have.

Vanguard (Any Melee) (AV) - A bonus to damage while charging is excellent for a Barbarian.

Level 4+

Battlecrazed (Axe, Heavy Blade) (AV) - Some hefty extra damage while you’re bloodied, and its power makes you “bloodied” for 2 turns. Nice for your nova power.

Level 5+

Flaming (Any) (PHB) - This weapon is OK by itself, but it's great for Tieflings, thanks to Hellfire Blood and the rest of their fire-based racial goodies.

Lightning (Any) (PHB) - Makes Mark of Storm users very happy.

Level 8+

Dread (Any) (AV) - Slaps out defensive penalties like it's nobody's business.
 Great for setting yourself up for something ridiculous.

Level 10+

Berserker (Axe, Heavy Blade) (PHB)
- A damage bonus for a penalty to all defenses, but resist all might be worth it, especially because you get +2 to hit as well. Unfortunately it’s real expensive...

Level 12+

Jagged (Axe, Heavy Blade, Light Blade) (AV) - Improved critical hits are very good to have on a Barbarian.

Level 13+

Bloodiron (Any) (AV) - Your criticals are so nice, they damage twice.

Thundergod (Any Melee) (AV) - +2d6 damage on charges at Epic is a nice upgrade from Vanguard.

Level 14+

Battlemaster's (Any) (AV) - An extra go with an Encounter power for an Item Daily? That's always a good deal.

Level 15+

Battle Spirit (Axe, Flail, Hammer, Heavy Blade, Mace, Spear) (AV 2) - This weapon allows you to make attacks against any target you can reach without having to worry about going around people. Awesome.

Chill Wind (Heavy Blade) (D 386) - It's expensive, but the properties it provides are a straight upgrade over the already awesome Frost Weapon. Excellent.

Radiant (Any) (AV) - Despite the rather high cost on this enchantment, it frees up some gold (and item slots) by providing a handy bonus to damage.

Reaper’s Axe (Axe) (AV 2) - A free attack and shift when you drop an opponent. Solid.


Since there is no set-in-stone progression symbol for items that don't follow the standard "every 5 levels" progression, I'm going to be labeling the levels at which each version of every item in this section is available.

Level 4

Counterstrike Guards (L4/14) (AV) - A decent item, it grants you more attacks as a reaction to your oppponent attacking you. The upgraded version 
is light-years better, as it allows you to do it every encounter.

Level 6

Iron Armbands of Power (L6/16/26) (AV) - No real reason to not wear them.

Level 10

Bloodsoaked Bracers (L10/20/30) (AV) - If you're OK with your damage being a huge spike instead of a steady flow, this is the item for you. Be warned, though; it doesn’t stack very well with other sources of damage, and it burns up a Magic Item Daily to do its job.

Level 19

Trollhide Braces (L19/29) (AV) - Regeneration is always a solid defensive choice.


Since there is no set-in-stone progression symbol for items that don't follow the standard "every 5 levels" progression, I'm going to be labeling the levels at which each version of every item in this section is available.

Level 2

Acrobat Boots (AV) - Cheap, and they let you stand up as a minor action (a very useful property).

Boots of Adept Charging (AV) - Dirt cheap, and they give you some extra mobility after a charge.

Level 7

Boots of the Fencing Master (AV) - Rewards you for moving around. What's not to like?

Rushing Cleats (AV) - This helps Polearm Barbarians get their push shenanigans up and running.

Level 8

Boots of Quickness (L8/18/28) (AV) - A decent boost to your Reflex defense.

Level 9

Boots of Eagerness (AV) - Pretty cheap, and they pack a nice action advantage power.

Level 10

Boots of Sand and Sea (AV) - This is a cheap speed boost that also allows you to swim if you're in light armor. Not bad.

Boots of the Mighty Charge (D 381) - Hurricane of Blades on a charge. Need I say more?

Level 11

Steady Boots of the Ram (AV 2) - Some nice mobility properties, and it's part of a pretty good item set.

Level 16

Survivor’s Boots (AV 2) - Yeah, they require you to be bloodied, but after that, you can pretty much do whatever you want in combat. That's gotta be worth something.

Level 22

Boots of Speed (AV) - +2 to speed and a decent power.

Level 24

Boots of Caiphon (AV 2) - They sap your HP, but it’s probably less damage than you would take for eating an OA, especially at these levels, and you ARE moving with a minor action...

Zephyr Boots (AV) - Flight sounds good to me.

Level 25

Sandals of Avandra (AV) - Expensive, but very powerful and allow for crazy mobility.

Level 28

Boots of Teleportation (AV) - Get them if you can afford them. That is all.


Since there is no set-in-stone progression symbol for items that don't follow the standard "every 5 levels" progression, I'm going to be labeling the levels at which each version of every item in this section is available.

Level 3

Gloves of Piercing (PHB) - Real cheap, and they should punch through most resistance to your attacks if they're not element-based.

Level 4

Gauntlets of Blood (L4/14/24) (AV 2) - A sweet damage bonus against bloodied targets.

Level 8

Gauntlets of the Ram (PHB) - More push is nice for the Polearm users in the audience.

Level 10

Dwarven Throwers (AV) - This allows you to make a basic attack with your main weapon at range once per encounter. Pretty cool.

Strikebacks (AV) - Hitting back when you get hit is an awesome property for a Barb.

Level 11

Gloves of Ice (L11/21) (AV 2) - More damage for your cold attacks, or punch through cold resistance. Glorious, especially with Frost Weapons.

Level 13

Gloves of Missile Deflection (AV) - Some solid resistance against Ranged attacks.

Level 18

Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB) - A superior version of Brutal 1. Sweet.


Since there is no set-in-stone progression symbol for items that don't follow the standard "every 5 levels" progression, I'm going to be labeling the levels at which each version of every item in this section is available.

Level 4

Casque of Tactics (L4/14/24) (AV) - An initiative bonus is good for anyone.

Level 6

Horned Helm (L6/16/26) (PHB) - Extra d6's while charging. Super awesome for a Barbarian.

Level 8

Coif of Mindiron (L8/18/28) (AV) - Protects against an increasing array of mental conditions (albeit only against Will) as an ENCOUNTER POWER. Sexy.

Level 9

Helm of Battle (L9/19/29) (PHB) - Initiative bonuses for everyone!

Level 12

Charger's Headdress (AV 2) - Accuracy bonuses while charging are always appreciated, and it's part of an item set that gives you even more accuracy on a charge.

Level 14

Helm of Able Defense (AV 2) - A bonus to Will, and a bump to all defenses until you get hit is pretty good if you ask me.

Level 15

Carcanet of Psychic Schism (AV) - Slaps a penalty on you, but it sure beats being incapacitated.

Level 21

Coif of Focus (AV) - Comes by later in your career, and burns up a Magic Item Daily, but negating Daze or Stun is awesome.

Level 22

Helm of Ghostly Defense (PHB) - Helps you take the sting off your opponent’s hits.

Level 23

Eye of Awareness (AV) - A decent bonus to Will defense, and a huge initiative boost on top of that.


I'm taking a leaf from the designers' book with regards to level  distribution: the + sign indicates a progression every 5 levels, there's  another version of the armor with an additional +1 enhancement bonus.

Level 2+

Badge of the Berserker (AV 2) - You don't provoke OA's when charging. Ever. Mindblowingly good for a Barbarian.

Cloak of Resistance (PHB) - Decent resistance for a turn.

Level 4+

Cloak of Distortion (AV) - Forces your enemies to get in close enough for you to engage them if they want to hit you with any kind of regularity.

Level 8+

Steadfast Amulet (AV) - This prevents daze or stun. 'Nuff said.

Level 9+

Amulet of False Life (PHB) - Your healing surge value in THP is a sweet ability, even if it's a Daily.

Level 10+

Periapt of Cascading Health (D 369) - Ends one effect per encounter, no questions asked. Win.

Level 13+

Amulet of Scales (D 365) - Scaling, immediate-application, encounter-long resistance to a keyword (which includes Arcane, Weapon, and the like, by the way) is nice.

Fleece of Renewal (AV 2) - A bit of THP when you charge isn't all that mindblowingly good, but it's part of a pretty darn good item set for you.

Level 14+

Flamewrath Cape (AV) - Offers a nice damage boost, as well as disincentive for enemies attacking you. Only for one turn, though.

Timeless Locket (AV 2) - Turn a Minor into a Standard, and it has a hefty initiative bonus as well? A pretty good choice, even if the standard can't be used to attack.

Level 15+

Brooch of Vitality (AV) - More HP is NICE, especially the Epic Tier versions.

Cloak of Displacement (AV) - A nice bonus to AC and Reflex until you get hit, and a pretty cool power. Worth a look.

Necklace of Fireballs (AV) - Defense that packs some decent offense.

Torc of Power Preservation (AV) - It retains Encounter powers when you use them. Need I really say more?

Level 30

Scarab of Invulnerability (PHB) - Makes you immune to everything for a round. Sure, it's a Level 30 item, but you will enjoy the short amount of time you'll have it.


Remember, you can have two of these, so look out for Rings that either work well together or work well in doubles.

Level 13

Ring of Giants (D 378) - A sweet bonus to critical hit damage, and push 2 + prone on any primal attack power just because you can will come in handy sometime.

Level 14

Ring of Fury (D 366) - When you're bloodied, you let it be known.

Level 15

Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor (AV) - A nice damage bonus to close attacks, and a sweet way to respond when you get bloodied.

Level 16

Ring of Protection (PHB) - Generic defensive item. Useful, though it's about as exciting as watching grass grow.

Level 18

Bone Ring of Better Fortune (AV) - Since this halves all necrotic damage, it can potentially be better than a lot of resistance.

Ring of Ramming (AV) - Hands you a bit more 'oomph' on those push effects. Nice.

Level 19

Grace Ring of Prowess (AV 2) - A solid power that lets you rev up for +2 to hit before teeing off.

Level 20

Ring of Action Reversal (AV 2) - A hefty bonus to initiative checks, and a sweet benefit should you miss with an Encounter power.

Level 21

Ring of Heroic Insight (AV) - Allows you to buff yourself pretty well once per day.

Ring of Tenacious Will (AV) - A sweet property for Thaneborn to catch up to their Con-based cousins in the healing surge department.

Level 22

Blink Ring (AV) - Teleportation is nice to have.

Level 23

Greater Ring of Invisibility (AV 2) - Invisibility every encounter, and concealment the whole way after a milestone. This can be a great tool for a Barbarian.

Level 24

Golden Ring of Teros (AV 2) - +2 to AC and Fortitude is nice to have, even if it’s conditional.

Level 26

Ring of Guarded Will (AV 2) - A nice bump to Will defense.

Level 27

Avandra’s Ring (AV 2) - Ignoring difficult terrain is pretty cool. Too bad it shows up so late...

Ring of the Phoenix (AV) - A pretty sweet revival ability.

Shadow Band (AV) - You can't really argue against +2 to all defenses as a static property...

Level 28

Ring of Elemental Mastery (MOTP) - Allows you to shave some elemental resistance off your opponent, or flat-out ignore it after a milestone. Solid, especially for people looking to exploit elemental synergies.

Level 29

Ring of Free Time (L29) (AV 2) - Expensive, but resist all 5 is great, as is an extra minor action every turn to pull off all those Utility powers simultaneously.

Level 30

Dauntless Champion’s Ring (AV 2) - Power recovery is good, though the price tag on this is steep.

Nullifying Ring (AV) - A capstone defensive item. Pretty nuts... if you can foot the bill.


Since there is no set-in-stone progression symbol for items that don't follow the standard "every 5 levels" progression, I'm going to be labeling the levels at which each version of every item in this section is available.

Level 8

Belt of Lucky Strikes (D 365) - A free attack after you miss is a solid benefit.

Belt of Vim (L8/18/28) (AV) - Reinforces your strongest defense.

Level 10

Belt of Sonnilor Righteousness (L10/20/30) (D 385) - Put this on an Epic-level Rageblood with Enduring Rage or a Revenant and watch him be almost impossible to kill.

Diamond Cincture (L10/20/30) (AV 2) - It enables you to heal yourself, and also packs a bonus a to Fortitude. Tasty.

Level 11

Healer's Sash (L11/21) (AV) - Anything that allows you to heal your allies is at least worth mentioning, even post-errata.

Totemic Belt (AV) - Buffs for charging are nice to have.

Level 15

Belt of Giant Strength (PHB) - A meh offensive Daily buff, but a pretty cool bonus to skills.

Girdle of the Umber Hulk (L15/25) (AV) - A solid burrow power, and a boost to Fortitude.

Level 18

Belt of Mountain Endurance (D 365) - Getting your main ability score as a bonus to your healing surge value is sweet, and having a benefit on an AP is icing. A very good item for you.

Cord of Foresight (AV) - Frontloading a surge's worth of HP can be pretty solid for you.

Level 19

Belt of Breaching (AV 2) - Healing when you score a kill. Sweet.

Level 23

Belt of Vitality (AV) - Gets you up when you're down, and boosts Fortitude. Pretty cool.

Level 25

Belt of Titan Strength (PHB) - A strong buff for one turn, and strong skill bonuses.

Level 28

Sash of Regeneration (AV 2) - Regen while bloodied is nice.


Since there is no set-in-stone progression symbol for items that don't follow the standard "every 5 levels" progression, I'm going to be labeling the levels at which each version of every item in this section is available.

Dragonshard Augments:

Level 2

Eberron Shard of Lightning (L2/12/22) (EPG) - A great incentive to wield Lightning weapons.

Khyber Shard of the Fiery Depth (L2/12/22) (EPG) - Incentive for wielding Flaming weapons.

Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (L2/12/22) (EPG) - Yet another reason to like Frost weapons.

Level 3

Siberys Shard of Radiance (L3/13/23) (EPG) - Another selling point for the Radiant weapon.

Wondrous Items:

Level 3

Demonskin Tattoo (L3/13/23) (AV 2) - While it may not be available every encounter, resistance to variable energy types is good enough to merit mention.

Level 9

Backlash Tattoo (AV 2) - A nice reprisal effect when you get bloodied.

Level 10

Salve of Power (AV) - Post-errata, this trades a surge for another Encounter power, which is a pretty good deal for most Strikers.

Level 11

Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381) - Gives you more chances to make the rolls you need to make.

Level 12

Foe Stone (AV) - Cheap, and it pinpoints your opponent’s weakest defense at will. Somebody in the party has to have this; why not you?

Stone of Earth (AV 2) - A no-questions-asked reroll for a Melee attack. Awesome.

Stone of Flame (AV 2) - Fire lovers want one of these around.

Stone of Light (AV 2) - If you're into Radiant damage, having a do-over in your back pocket sounds like a good idea to me.

Stone of Spirit (AV 2) - If you're partaking in Psychic attack support, a reroll is good stuff.

Stone of Storms (AV 2) - If lightning and thunder are your elements of choice, this is good to have.

Level 16

Solitaire (Aquamarine) (AV) - Free attacks after a critical are nice.

Level 21

Solitaire (Cerulean) (AV) - Expensive, but getting rid of (save ends) effects this easily should be.

Level 26

Solitaire (Violet) (AV) - Free AP’s after a crit are very nice to have, despite the high price tag.

Multiclassing: Divergence in Destruction

Here are some notes on any cool goodies your Barbarian may want to pick up from other classes, such as feats, powers, Paragon Paths, and the occasional Epic Destiny. As is the norm, Black or higher synergies only here.

As for hybrids? I'm not much of a fan, but getting together with Fighter, Ranger, Warlord, or Sorcerer doesn't seem like the worst thing you could do.

Any Divine Class

While not an actual multiclass, it does recollect the options you get by taking any Divine Multiclass feat.

Paragon Paths

Morninglord (FRPG) - A prime path indeed, this can combine with Radiant weaponry for an effective +10 to damage to all your (and your allies') hits. The Path powers are of limited use at best, but that's not too steep a price IMHO.

Any Martial Class

This may not be a genuine MC option, but it does recollect all the goodies you can get from picking any Martial class.


Avalanche Reaver (Paragon Tier - MP 2) - Pushing on every charge is a sweet feat to have for a Goliath or a Reincarnate Champion.

Deft Blade (Paragon Tier - MP 2) - Hitting Reflex on basic attacks is a nice benefit to have.

Glorious Victory (Heroic Tier - PHR: DB) - Dragonborn in the audience can get an Encounter heal out of dropping something. Pretty decent.

Hammer Shock (Paragon Tier - MP 2) - Some decent debuffing on an MBA.

Impaling Spear (Paragon Tier - MP 2) - Hitting a NAD with the punch of a spear is a sweet benefit for a feat.

Martial Mastery (Epic Tier - MP) - If you power-swapped for a Martial Encounter power, a way to refresh it is always appreciated.


This is an interesting Multiclass option; you won't find much in the attack powers, but the Utilities are very solid and the entry feat itself is awesome.

Entry Feats

Disciple of Divine Wrath (PHB 2) - Though you get no choice in the skill you get with this feat (and Religion keys off a dumpstat), the true meat of this feat lies in the fact that if you isolate your enemy, you get 2 turns of automatic rerolls. That's crazy good for a Barbarian, who can combine that accuracy with huge, explosive damage.


An absolutely dominant path choice for Barbarians, this offers pretty much whatever you could want, and then some. The vast majority of Barbarians will eventually put their MC in here.

Entry Feats

Battle Awareness (MP) - A free skill, and an additional attack once per encounter? That's a great deal for a Multiclass feat.

Cyclone Warrior (MP 2) - Some big damage for one round per encounter for the Whirlers in the audience, plus a free skill. I'd take that.

Student of the Sword (PHB) - A +1 bonus to hit with a certain style of weapon and a mark after the attack is nifty (as is the free skill), but it's just not as good as the other feats.

Wrathful Warrior (MP 2) - Free THP when you're hit once per encounter. Decent enough.


Draconic Arrogance (Paragon Tier - MP) - Damage for pushing and knocking prone is sweet, since your list is full of those effects. Only for Dragonborn or Reincarnate Champions, though.

Fey Charge (Paragon Tier - MP) - Some nice extra mobility for Eladrin Fighters.

Mobile Warrior (Epic Tier Feat - MP) - Shifting after a hit (with the right weapon) is nice to have.

Polearm Momentum (Heroic Tier - MP) - One of the feats that make every Polearm Barbarian build tick.

Striking Resurgence (Paragon Tier - MP 2) - Burning your standard action on second wind just got a little more palatable.

Surprising Charge (Heroic Tier - MP) - Spear and Light Blade users definitely like this pickup.

Unstoppable Charge (Epic Tier - MP) - Makes charging a bit more versatile in terms of what you can do that turn.


Rain of Blows (L3, Encounter - PHB) - If you like Flails, Light Blades, or Spears, this power is a triple-hitter can make the wait for Storm of Blades and Hurricane of Blades a bit easier to stomach.

Rain of Steel (L5, Daily - PHB) - If you're looking to boost your DPR value, you can't go wrong with this beauty.

Unyielding Avalanche (L15, Daily - PHB) - Autodamage with slowing, an AC/save bonus, and regeneration? Sounds good.

Reaper's Stance (L25, Daily - PHB) - Essentially the same as Rain of Steel, with ongoing 10 damage tacked on. Even sweeter.

Paragon Paths

Doomguard Marauder (MOTP) - This path's ability to punch through resistances and its very strong AP damage boost make this a promising choice for those builds who rely heavily on elemental damage, especially ones like Stormsoul Genasi.

Draeven Marauder (D 365) - A good Paragon Path if you favor Spears, an improved critical rate is very nice to have, and it also has some mobility and control toys as well.

Dreadnought (MP) - While it doesn't offer any direct offensive benefits, its abilities to help shake off conditions and absorb damage will make one heck of a tough Striker, and that's an excellent thing to have for a Barbarian.

Iron Vanguard (PHB) - Though you probably won't be rolling in Constitution (got to keep your AC up, after all), the ability to apply some extra damage as part of your forced movement effects (plus a small heal on a kill) is bound to come up on a Barbarian.

Kensei (PHB) - While the powers are lackluster for you overall (especially the frankly terrible Masterstroke, which is essentially Careful Attack as an Encounter power), a +1 untyped bonus to hit and +4 to damage are excellent features for any Barbarian, regardless of the weapon wielded.

Kulkor Arms Master (MP 2) - While it costs 2 feats to get in and it will have dead features if you don't use weapon groups that are not all that traditional on the Barbarian, the promise of a free attack every round is very tempting.

Epic Destinies

Eternal Defender (MP) - Despite the name, this is a Striker Epic Destiny through and through; every aspect of it focuses on your Melee offense. Not quite as good as Demigod or Reincarnate Champion, but pretty darn close.

Invincible Vanguard (MP 2) - While you can't use all of the features perfectly well (Invigorating on a charge MBA is not something you're likely to exploit often), just about everything resonates pretty well with you.

Legendary Sovereign (MP 2) - While the Charisma bonus only applies to Thaneborn, this ED has enough goodies to make you want to consider it.


If you're interested in dual-wielding (aka you're a Whirler), this offers a host of very damaging options to get that done.

Entry Feats

Warrior of the Wild (PHB) - Some Quarry damage for two turns is a pretty nice benefit, especially because any setup can benefit from it.


Disruptive Strike (L3, Encounter - PHB) - It works regardless of what weapon combo you're wielding, can trigger off an attack against anybody, and it makes the triggering attack more likely to miss. Excellent.

Attacks on the Run (L9, Daily - PHB) - Another weapon-independent power, it offers some hefty damage and a move as well.

Blade Cascade (L15, Daily - PHB) - While this does offer show-stopping amounts of damage, it's at the same level as one of your better Rage lineups, which makes its stock dip a little.

Nonchalant Collapse (L23, Encounter - MP) - Knocking prone as a minor action is an excellent ability to have.

Epic Destinies

Legendary Sovereign (MP 2) - While the Charisma bonus only applies to Thaneborn, this ED has enough goodies to make you want to consider it.


While this may not seem like it brings much of anything to the table at first glance, it's a price you have to pay for a feat that greatly benefits a Barbarian.

Entry Feats

Sneak of Shadows (PHB) - Unless you're a Whirler, you're likely not wringing much benefit out of this.

Twilight Adept (MP 2) - Trains you in Stealth, and gives you a hiding-oriented benefit. Decent, I guess.


Risky Shift (Heroic Tier - MP 2) - Getting the extra shifting distance you need for your charging antics, likely a heck of a lot earlier. That said, this does effectively cost 2 feats, and its drawback is non-negligible.

Surprising Charge (Heroic Tier - MP) - Spear and Light Blade users definitely like this pickup.


While this option seems rather out of the ordinary, it can be a good boon for a Barbarian looking to diversify his lineup, and it does have a couple of hidden goodies that can be put to use.

Entry Feats

Defender of the Wild (PHB 2) - Mass marking does little to enhance your primary function, but it's a nice way to diversify.


Maneuvering Attack (Paragon Tier - PrP) - Now here's a nice one! CA when forcing your enemy to move (including pushing, which is not covered by Deadly Draw) is sweet.

Sudden Roots (Heroic Tier - PHB 2) - A great feat for any aspiring off-tank, especially if you favor a Polearm.


While not an attractive option for every Barbarian, Thaneborn can likely find a couple of goodies here.

Entry Feats

Bravura Leader (MP 2) - Extra damage for your allies when they AP is nice.

Resourceful Leader (MP 2) - Extra damage on a hit after an ally AP, THP on a miss. Nice.

Student of Battle (PHB) - It's always nice to have a heal in the back pocket.


Impetuous Charger (Paragon Tier - MP) - Free CA to all your allies when you charge. Pretty nice.

Paragon Paths

Captain of Fortune (MP 2) - This path's features will add some reliability to your dice rolls and gives you the ability to burn 2 AP's per encounter, which can do wonders for your burst offense, and it has a solid helping of goodies to help your allies, too. A pretty solid Path.

Epic Destinies

Legendary Sovereign (MP 2) - While the Charisma bonus only applies to Thaneborn, this ED has enough goodies to make you want to consider it.

Tactics: Tenets of Destruction

After some analysis and playtesting, I believe that the following guidelines are key to playing a successful Barbarian.

1. Approach destruction the right way.

The first step to playing a successful Barbarian is identifiying what the particular build does the best. This depends on the combat style you have chosen, which I will detail as follows:

Rageblood - This build feels and plays like a Brute; you're big and tough, and you deal a whole lot of damage. That means you charge into the frontline, taking some of the heat off your Defender (also known as "off-tanking") as you hew into enemies left and right. Occasionally, though, you may want to use the mobility you are afforded by charging to get through the enemy frontline and beat up on the squishiy target. Remember that you have no marking ability, so you can't protect the squishies in your party.

Thaneborn - This build also functions as a Brute, but it has a strong hint of Leader; the array of buffs and debuffs you carry can make life a lot easier for your companions. You like being on the front-line as well, since you'll usually have to delay the charge-a-thon for a turn to lay down one of your debuffing powers.

Thunderborn - This build is an interesting mix of Brute and Controller; you have positioning abilities galore, and plenty of AoE-style damage as well as solid single-target swings. Like most Barbarians, but especially the Rageblood, you can "off-tank", so the front-line is your place to be. Additionally, you are very proficient at dealing with minions, so getting swarmed happens less often to you.

Whirler - This build diverges from the others in that its play style is more of a Skirmisher (with a hint of Controller) than anything else; you weave in and out of the fight, dealing out damage indiscriminately to anything that you happen to come across along the way. Your emphasis on area damage means that if you can catch enemies in clusters, you can maximize your damage potential, so look for allies to help you place enemies where you want them to be.

2. Crush 'em.

A Barbarian is a Striker first and foremost. That means your responsibility is to get to the most annoying enemy, and cave his skull in. The order in which the following points are illustrated indicates the priority you should place on the aspects that entails.

Smack them around - Damage is one of your strong points, and you should emphasize it even further. There is no control like bringing your enemy down to 0 HP. This means that damage should be your primary (not only) consideration when evaluating a choice. Anything that boosts accuracy, damage, or allows you to squeeze off multiple attacks in the same action (or even outside your turn) is particularly prized for damage output.

Get in their grill - All the damage in the world won't help you if you can't get to your opponents, so look for abilities that help out your mobility. Barbarians are one of the most (if not the most) mobile pure Melee classes in the game because or their charge-happy bent, so take advantage of this to get where you need to go.

Hobble them - Another way to hamper your chosen opponent is via conditions and other maladies. Barbarians are a bit lacking in the more traditional action denial status effects, such as dazing or stunning, but make up for it with a multitude of mobility denial effects, such as knocking prone, immobilizing, pushing, or slowing. This limits your opponent's options, and is particularly valuable against enemies that are trying to get to your back rank.

3. Get tough.

Because of your strong damaging potential, you will be a prime target for (usually unwanted) enemy attention. Although you are overall more durable than other Strikers, even you can't handle getting hit by everybody all the time. So, some suggestions for staying on your feet:

Tank up - They can't hurt you if they can't hit you, so high defenses go a long way in keeping you up and running without drawing time and resources away from the rest of the party. This has a caveat in that there is a limit to how much offense you should sacrifice; you are a primarily offensive character, and that is what your selections should be geared to, for the most part. After that has been taken care of, invest in your defense. You are more durable than other Strikers (you're probably more durable than some Defenders as well), so this is a bit less of a priority than it is for others of your role, but don't ignore it.

Move around - If they can't reach you, they can't hit you. You have the virtue of being able to initiate an assault from afar, thanks to your charging potential, so use that to your advantage. Move about while picking off individual targets, unless you get a prime opportunity to take out your target by charging in. If you do, at least try to make it easier for your party to get your skillet out of the fire.

4. Look out for your teammates.

You may be tough, but you have a tendency of getting in a whole lot of trouble in combat, so you might wanna stay on your buddies' good sides. Defenders can wade into the melee with you and watch your back while you beat someone up, Leaders can keep you up and running after you've gotten yourself in a jam, as well as turn you into something even more unstoppable, and those fancy Controller folk can deliver you your opponent bound, gagged, and tied up with a large bow. Help them out when you can, even if it means taking a gamble; gambling is kind of what you do for a living. And remember; if you help them, they usually will help you.

All this being said, don't make the mistake of believing that the rest of the party is your personal squad of minions, ready to do whatever you suggest at a whim just because you said so; such has been the downfall of many an arrogant Striker.

5. Apply force judiciously.

Having a good understanding of a given tactical situation can save your party more time and HP than any damage combo you (or anyone else) can cook up. Learn when to stick to your guns and fight conservative, and when to gamble more resources to end the encounter faster.

Barbarians in particular face an interesting conundrum in that their Dailies are Rages, and will usually hand out a buff until the end of the encounter. This can tempt you into front-loading the Rage as your first attack of the encounter, and overall Rages are geared toward that being a good idea. That said, if your group's playstyle involves a lot of easy encounters over a few very tough ones, you may want to feel out the fight for a turn or two before you're busting out a Rage.

6. Balance specialization with versatility.

A Barbarian is fairly straightforward in his methodology: charge right up to it and hit it over the head until it stops moving. Look out for ways to expand your options, so that you don't end up being a one-trick pony. Don't sacrifice too much for versatility, though; you want to be good at what you do, and that mostly involving beating things over the head with heavy objects.
Sample Builds: Destruction Personified

The Blood Brawler

This build is the epitome of "battered, beaten, but not defeated": its performance goes up dramatically when his HP total dips below half. This combines with the Barbarian's typical explosive bursts of damage to be a truly fearsome force.

Race: Half-Orc.
Feral Might: Rageblood Vigor.
Multiclass: Fighter.
Paragon Path: Bloodfury Savage.
Epic Destiny: Reincarnate Champion.
Past Life Race 1: Gnoll.
Past Life Race 2: Dragonborn.

Ability Scores:
L1 – Str 18, Con 14, Dex 16, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10
L4 – Str 19, Con 14, Dex 17, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10
L8 – Str 20, Con 14, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10
L11 – Str 21, Con 15, Dex 19, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 11
L14 – Str 22, Con 15, Dex 20, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 11
L18 – Str 23, Con 15, Dex 21, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 11
L21 – Str 24, Con 16, Dex 22, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 12
L24 – Str 27, Con 17, Dex 22, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 12
L28 – Str 28, Con 18, Dex 22, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 12

L1 – Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
L2 – Heavy Blade Expertise
L4 – Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades)
L6 – Deadly Rage
L8 – Reckless Charge
L10 – Battle Awareness (Intimidate)
L11 – Strength from Pain
L12 – Anger Unleashed
L14 – Armor Specialization (Hide)
L16 – Improved Defenses
L18 – Charging Rampage
L20 – Powerful Charge
L21 – Heavy Blade Mastery
L21 – Long Step (replaces Powerful Charge)
L22 – Fierce Charge
L24 – Brutal Charge
L24 – Second Skin (replaces Armor Specialization (Hide))
L26 – Overpowering Charge
L27 – Reserve Maneuver (Curtain of Steel) (replaces Charging Rampage)
L28 – Draconic Arrogance
L30 – Ferocious Critical

At-Will Powers:
L1 – Howling Strike
L1 – Pressing Strike

Encounter Powers:
L1 – Desperate Fury
L3 – Brutal Slam
L7 – Curtain of Steel
L11 – Unbound Assault
L13 – Storm of Blades (replaces Desperate Fury)
L23 – Staggering Strike (replaces Brutal Slam)
L27 – Curtain of Steel (replaces Unbound Assault)
L27 – Hurricane of Blades (replaces Curtain of Steel)

Daily Powers:
L1 – Swift Panther Rage
L5 – Rage of the Crimson Hurricane
L9 – Oak Hammer Rage
L15 – Thunderfury Rage (replaces Swift Panther Rage)
L19 – Desert Wind Rage (replaces Rage of the Crimson Hurricane)
L20 – Murderous Rage
L25 – Stone Tempest Rage (replaces Oak Hammer Rage)
L29 – World Serpent Rage (replaces Thunderfury Rage)

Utility Powers:
L2 – Shrug it Off
L6 – Combat Surge
L10 – Incredible Stride
L12 – Frothing Madness
L16 – Spur the Cycle
L22 – Unexpected Clarity
L26 – Swift Reincarnation

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L29 (2,625,000 gp): +6 Battlecrazed Fullblade (AV)
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Bestial Elderhide Armor (AV)
L27 (1,625,000 gp):
+6 Badge of the Berserker (AV 2)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Farbond Spellblade Fullblade (AV 2)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): Shadow Band (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Horned Helm (Epic Tier) (PHB)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Violet Solitaire (AV)
L25 (625,000 gp): Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L25 (625,000 gp): Diamond Scabbard (AV)
L18 (85,000 gp): Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB)
L13 (17,000 gp):
Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp):
Stone of Earth (AV 2)
L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L10 (5,000 gp): Boots of the Mighty Charge (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
L3 (680 gp): +1 Blood Fury Fullblade (AV 2)
TOTAL: 14,383,880 gp

The Chieftain

This build carries all of the stereotypical Barbarian goods, and it has the added perk of carrying some welcome healing, buffing, and debuffing as icing, which can help him keep himself and his allies in the fight.

Race: Dragonborn.
Feral Might: Thaneborn Triumph.
Multiclass: Warlord.
Paragon Path: Mithral Arm.
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion.

Ability Scores:
L1 – Str 18, Con 13, Dex 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 16
L4 – Str 19, Con 13, Dex 15, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 16
L8 – Str 20, Con 13, Dex 15, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 17
L11 – Str 21, Con 14, Dex 16, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 18
L14 – Str 22, Con 14, Dex 17, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 18
L18 – Str 23, Con 15, Dex 17, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 18
L21 – Str 26, Con 16, Dex 20, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 19
L24 – Str 27, Con 16, Dex 20, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 20
L28 – Str 28, Con 17, Dex 20, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 20

L1 – Weapon Proficiency (Greatspear)
L2 – Spear Expertise
L4 – Weapon Focus (Spears)
L6 – Hafted Defense
L8 – Student of Battle (Diplomacy)
L10 – Cunning Stalker
L11 – Reckless Charge
L12 – Deadly Rage
L14 – Impetuous Charger
L16 – Improved Defenses
L18 – Armor Specialization (Hide)
L20 – Charging Rampage
L21 – Spear Mastery
L20 – Long Step (replaces Charging Rampage)
L22 – Overpowering Charge
L24 – Primal Resurgence
L26 – Thaneborn Advance
L28 – Charging Rampage
L28 – Second Skin (replaces Armor Specialization (Hide))
L30 – Epic Will

At-Will Powers:
L1 – Howling Strike
L1 – Pressing Strike

Encounter Powers:
L1 – Escalating Violence
L3 – Shatterbone Strike
L7 – Curtain of Steel
L11 – Fearsome Smash
L13 – Storm of Blades (replaces Escalating Violence)
L17 – Devastating Blow (replaces Shatterbone Strike)
L23 – Curtain of Steel (replaces Fearsome Smash)
L23 – Staggering Strike (replaces Curtain of Steel)
L27 – Hurricane of Blades (replaces Devastating Blow)

Daily Powers:
L1 – Swift Panther Rage
L5 – Rage of the Crimson Hurricane
L9 – Oak Hammer Rage
L15 – Ancient War Band Rage (replaces Swift Panther Rage)
L19 – Desert Wind Rage (replaces Rage of the Crimson Hurricane)
L20 – Dimension Slide
L25 – Stone Tempest Rage (replaces Oak Hammer Rage)
L29 – World Serpent Rage (replaces Ancient War Band Rage)

Utility Powers:
L2 – Shrug it Off
L6 – Combat Surge
L10 – Heart Strike
L12 – Prophetic Defense
L16 – Spur the Cycle
L22 – Unexpected Clarity
L26 – Epic Recovery

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Bestial Elderhide Armor (AV)
L28 (2,125,000 gp):
+6 Thundergod Greatspear (AV)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Badge of the Berserker (AV 2)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Hungry Spear Greatspear (AV 2)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): Shadow Band (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Horned Helm (Epic Tier) (PHB)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Violet Solitaire (AV)
L25 (625,000 gp): Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L21 (225,000 gp): Ring of Tenacious Will (AV)
L18 (85,000 gp): Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB)
L12 (13,000 gp):
Stone of Earth (AV 2)
L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L10 (5,000 gp): Boots of the Mighty Charge (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
TOTAL: 13,466,200 gp

The Reacher

This build takes advantage of the fact that it's wielding a Reach weapon to push and shove its opponents around for getting near him. While the Glaive usually doesn't pack as much punch as some of the more traditional Barbarian weapons by default, the fact that this build gets more swings at the enemy and seriously inconveniences him by putting him down continually can make up for it.

Race: Longtooth Shifter.
Feral Might: Rageblood Vigor.
Multiclass: Fighter.
Paragon Path: Kensei.
Epic Destiny: Reincarnate Champion.
Past Life Race 1: Dragonborn.
Past Life Race 2: Gnoll.

Ability Scores:
L1 – Str 18, Con 14, Dex 14, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 10
L4 – Str 19, Con 14, Dex 15, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 10
L8 – Str 20, Con 14, Dex 16, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 10
L11 – Str 21, Con 15, Dex 17, Int 9, Wis 16, Cha 11
L14 – Str 22, Con 15, Dex 18, Int 9, Wis 16, Cha 11
L18 – Str 23, Con 15, Dex 19, Int 9, Wis 16, Cha 11
L21 – Str 24, Con 16, Dex 20, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 12
L24 – Str 27, Con 17, Dex 20, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 12
L26 – Str 28, Con 18, Dex 20, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 12

L1 – Heavy Blade Expertise
L2 – Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades)
L4 – Deadly Rage
L6 – Battle Awareness (Heal)
L8 – Polearm Momentum
L10 – Hafted Defense
L11 – Polearm Gamble
L12 – Heavy Blade Opportunity
L14 – Headsman's Chop
L16 – Armor Specialization (Hide)
L18 – Improved Defenses
L20 – Improved Initiative
L21 – Heavy Blade Mastery
L21 – Superior Initiative (replaces Improved Initiative)
L22 – Draconic Arrogance
L24 – Overpowering Charge
L24 – Second Skin (replaces Armor Specialization (Hide))
L26 – Reckless Charge
L28 – Fierce Charge
L30 – Brutal Charge

At-Will Powers:
L1 – Howling Strike
L1 – Pressing Strike

Encounter Powers:
L1 – Desperate Fury
L3 – Brutal Slam
L7 – Fearsome Smash
L11 – Masterstroke
L13 – Storm of Blades (replaces Desperate Fury)
L17 – Thunderfall (replaces Brutal Slam)
L23 – Staggering Strike (replaces Thunderfall)
L27 – Hurricane of Blades (replaces Fearsome Smash)

Daily Powers:
L1 – Tyrant's Rage
L5 – Thunder Hawk Rage
L9 – Oak Hammer Rage
L15 – Ancestral War Band Rage (replaces Thunder Hawk Rage)
L19 – Desert Wind Rage (replaces Oak Hammer Rage)
L20 – Weaponsoul Dance
L25 – Stone Tempest Rage (replaces Tyrant's Rage)
L29 – World Serpent Rage (replaces Ancestral War Band Rage)

Utility Powers:
L2 – Shrug it Off
L6 – Combat Surge
L10 – Reactive Surge
L12 – Ultimate Parry
L16 – Spur the Cycle
L22 – Unexpected Clarity
L26 – Swift Reincarnation

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Bestial Elderhider Armor (AV)
L28 (2,125,000 gp):
+6 Carnage Glaive (DSCS)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Badge of the Berserker (AV 2)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Farbond Spellblade Glaive (AV 2)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): Shadow Band (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp):
Horned Helm (Epic Tier) (PHB)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Violet Solitaire (AV)
L25 (625,000 gp): Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L25 (625,000 gp): Diamond Scabbard (AV)
L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp): Stone of Earth (AV 2)
L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L10 (5,000 gp): Boots of the Mighty Charge (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp): Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
L8 (3,400 gp): Gauntlets of the Ram (PHB)
L3 (680 gp):
+1 Blood Fury Glaive (AV 2)
TOTAL: 13,802,280 gp

The Supercharger

The name says it all: this build is made to charge, charge, and then charge some more. To that end, the build also focuses on shifting as well as pushing his enemies and knocking them down, since that makes it easier to generate the necessary space between you and your victim, and can even contribute toward the damage dealt later on.

Race: Goliath.
Feral Might: Rageblood Vigor.
Multiclass: Fighter.
Paragon Path: Kensei.
Epic Destiny: Reincarnate Champion.
Past Life Race 1: Gnoll.
Past Life Race 2: Dragonborn.

Ability Scores:
L1 – Str 18, Con 16, Dex 14, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10
L4 – Str 19, Con 16, Dex 15, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10
L8 – Str 20, Con 16, Dex 16, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10
L11 – Str 21, Con 17, Dex 17, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 11
L14 – Str 22, Con 17, Dex 18, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 11
L18 – Str 23, Con 17, Dex 19, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 11
L21 – Str 24, Con 18, Dex 20, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 12
L24 – Str 27, Con 18, Dex 21, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 12
L28 – Str 28, Con 18, Dex 22, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 12

L1 – Weapon Proficiency (Gouge)
L2 – Spear Expertise
L4 – Weapon Focus (Spear)
L6 – Deadly Rage
L8 – Battle Awareness (Intimidate)
L10 – Wintertouched
L11 – Lasting Frost
L12 – Surprising Charge
L14 – Armor Specialization (Hide)
L16 – Improved Defenses
L18 – Reckless Charge
L20 – Powerful Charge
L21 – Spear Mastery
L21 – Long Step (replaces Powerful Charge)
L22 – Fierce Charge
L22 – Second Skin (replaces Armor Specialization (Hide))
L24 – Brutal Charge
L26 – Draconic Arrogance
L27 – Reserve Maneuver (Curtain of Steel) (replaces Reckless Charge)
L28 – Overpowering Charge
L30 – Avalanche Reaver

At-Will Powers:
L1 – Howling Strike
L1 – Pressing Strike

Encounter Powers:
L1 – Desperate Fury
L3 – Brutal Slam
L7 – Curtain of Steel
L11 – Masterstroke
L13 – Storm of Blades (replaces Desperate Fury)
L23 – Staggering Strike (replaces Brutal Slam)
L27 – Curtain of Steel (replaces Masterstroke)
L27 – Hurricane of Blades (replaces Curtain of Steel)

Daily Powers:
L1 – Swift Panther Rage
L5 – Rage of the Crimson Hurricane
L9 – Oak Hammer Rage
L15 – Thunderfury Rage (replaces Swift Panther Rage)
L19 – Desert Wind Rage (replaces Rage of the Crimson Hurricane)
L20 – Weaponsoul Dance
L25 – Stone Tempest Rage (replaces Oak Hammer Rage)
L29 – World Serpent Rage (replaces Thunderfury Rage)

Utility Powers:
L2 – Shrug it Off
L6 – Combat Surge
L10 – Reactive Surge
L12 – Ultimate Parry
L16 – Spur the Cycle
L22 – Unexpected Clarity
L26 – Swift Reincarnation

L1 – Athletics
L1 – Endurance
L1 – Perception
L8 – Intimidate

Magic Items (Expected GP = 14,625,000):
L28 (2,125,000 gp): +6 Bestial Elderhide Armor (AV)
L28 (2,125,000 gp):
+6 Frost Gouge (PHB)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): +6 Badge of the Berserker (AV 2)
L27 (1,625,000 gp):
+6 Dwarven Thrower Gouge (D 385)
L27 (1,625,000 gp): Shadow Band (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp):
Horned Helm (Epic Tier) (PHB)
L26 (1,125,000 gp):
Iron Armbands of Power (Epic Tier) (AV)
L26 (1,125,000 gp): Violet Solitaire (AV)
L25 (625,000 gp):
Belt of Titan Strength (PHB)
L25 (625,000 gp):
Diamond Scabbard (AV)
L22 (325,000 gp):
Siberys Dragonshard of Merciless Cold (Epic Tier) (EPG)
L21 (225,000 gp):
Gloves of Ice (Epic Tier) (AV 2)
L13 (17,000 gp): Ring of Giants (D 378)
L12 (13,000 gp):
Stone of Earth (AV 2)
L11 (9,000 gp): Dice of Auspicious Fortune (D 381)
L10 (5,000 gp): Boots of the Mighty Charge (D 381)
L9 (4,200 gp):
Backlash Tattoo (AV 2)
L3 (680 gp): +1 Blood Fury Gouge (AV 2)
TOTAL: 14,148,880 gp

Tips & Tricks: Strategies for Destruction

Combo 1: Chargespam

Piece 1: Long Step (Epic Tier Feat, PHB 3)
Piece 2 (optional, replaces Piece 1): Great Cat Armor (Armor Property, AV 2)

Move Action - Shift 2 squares.
Standard Action - Charge.

Description: A basic but powerful combo for a Barbarian, this allows you to get the space you need to charge someone on a round-by-round basis, which does wonders for your standing damage potential. Piece 2 is useful to get this combination going a bit earlier, as well as if you feel an armor property is less important that a feat for this purpose.

Combo 2: Permafrost

Piece 1: Wintertouched (Heroic Tier Feat, PHB)
Piece 2: Lasting Frost (Paragon Tier Feat, PHB)
Piece 3: Frost Weapon (Weapon Property, Any Weapon, PHB)
Piece 4 (optional): Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (Dragonshard Augment, EPG)
Piece 5 (optional): Gloves of Ice (Hands Slot Item, AV 2)
Piece 6 (optional): Silvery Glow (Heroic Tier Feat, D 386)

Free Action - Use the At-Will Power on the Frost Weapon (turns all damage dealt by the weapon into cold damage, adds the Cold keyword to the attack).

Description: A nice and straightforward combo, Lasting Frost will combine with Frost Weapons to add cold vulnerability 5 to each hit, and Wintertouched gives you combat advantage as the cherry on top. This combo lasts so long as you keep hitting, and can be further enhanced by the optional pieces (which add more cold damage).

Combo 3: Superstorm

Piece 1: Deadly Draw (Heroic Tier Feat, PHB 3)
Piece 2: Mark of Storm (Heroic Tier Feat, EPG)
Piece 3: Lightning Weapon (Weapon Property, Any Weapon, PHB)
Piece 4 (optional): Eberron Shard of Lightning (Dragonshard Augment, EPG)

Free Action - Use the At-Will Power on the Lightning Weapon (turns all damage dealt by the weapon into lightning damage, adds the Lightning keyword to the attack).

Description: A rather interesting Melee combination, this involves using Mark of Storm and a Lightning weapon to constantly slide an enemy adjacent to you, which will in turn trigger Deadly Draw and hand you a permanent source of combat advantage, provided you keep hitting. The optional piece offers you some nice extra damage.
Image Gallery: The Visage of Destruction

This is the last one that needs updating isn't it? So close!
Oh LDB I didn't think you were going to work on a barbarian handbook again.  Thanks
Great title Rol :*

Good work, as usual

Nausi from the hospital X_X

Chauntea/Lathander/Torm Cleric since 1995 My husband married a DM - καλὸς καὶ ἀγαθός


In the Power Source and Role section you said "Overall, the Primal power source is characterized by being tougher than most other characters that share the same power source, and you are no exception.", when you probably meant "Overall, the Primal power source is characterized by being tougher than most other characters that share the same role, and you are no exception."
Saying Primal characters are tougher than most other Primal characters makes little to no sense.

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

Aye, that was a mistake. Fixing it now.

Thank you, dear, and may he be a very healthy little one. :*
I don't think saying Barbarian have a higher AC then the normal striker. I think it has average to below average.

The main way to get the barbarian's much needed AC is to pump Dex up.  Most of the builds don't use Dex as a secondry.  So the main reason your pumping dex is to get the higher AC.  There are otehr benfits beyond that, but just looking at how builds "are suppose" to have there stats used Dex is not used for most of them.

So you have to do somethings to make up for the lost AC that a barbarian needs to be a melee striker.

This is why a Opt barbarian needs higher Dex even if the build needs say str/con
That's actually what I'm going to be talking about. Dexterity WILL be the secondary for all Barbarians in this Handbook. You can have a good starting score in Constitution or Charisma if you want to use the riders, but in my mind there is little reason why your Dexterity shouldn't start high and get higher as a Barbarian.
Sadly these are are the days of Str/Dex Ragebloods because not having a primary or secondary score to AC and light armor just isn't a good plan.

On the bright side, the main reasons for a Rageblood to have high Con got nerfed ages ago and most Barbarians can "get by" with a mere 10 surges, especially if they have AC higher than a greatweapon Fighter.

Sadly these are are the days of Str/Dex Ragebloods because not having a primary or secondary score to AC and light armor just isn't a good plan.

Why is getting Chain or Scale a bad plan compared to hogging your secondary attribute stat points?  I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, I just want to see your reasoning. 

Further, if Barbarians started with Chain proficiency, would you still be so in favor of Dex?

On the bright side, the main reasons for a Rageblood to have high Con got nerfed ages ago 

Are you saying the only reason for a Rageblood to have a high Con was Storm of Blades?  Really, that's it?

I don't know.  To me, you lose 1-3 feats going for Heavy Armor, but many of your powers have +Con damage riders, so you gain a decent amount of damage on most of your powers out of it (probably ~6 by the end).  To me, 6 damage seems about right for a feat or two. 
Heroes Don't Need Special Gear to Be Heroic - A guide to removing magic item dependency and smoothing out advancement. Reinventing the Workday: A Shift Towards Encounter-Based Resources - A guide to abandoning daily resources
That's actually what I'm going to be talking about. Dexterity WILL be the secondary for all Barbarians in this Handbook. You can have a good starting score in Constitution or Charisma if you want to use the riders, but in my mind there is little reason why your Dexterity shouldn't start high and get higher as a Barbarian.

You are compelty right about this which also makes me cry a little inside.  Are there other classes where the secondry stat is almost useless because you have to make up for some weakness the class has.  Perhaps shaman. 

I didn't think how bad a barbarian is with out the old HaE.  the new one is near worthless.  So now barbarians need to take Dex to make up for the lack of AC...a sad day indeed.

Well i can't wait to see you talk about this
Sadly these are are the days of Str/Dex Ragebloods because not having a primary or secondary score to AC and light armor just isn't a good plan.

Why is getting Chain or Scale a bad plan compared to hogging your secondary attribute stat points?  I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, I just want to see your reasoning. 

Further, if Barbarians started with Chain proficiency, would you still be so in favor of Dex?

On the bright side, the main reasons for a Rageblood to have high Con got nerfed ages ago 

Are you saying the only reason for a Rageblood to have a high Con was Storm of Blades?  Really, that's it?

I don't know.  To me, you lose 1-3 feats going for Heavy Armor, but many of your powers have +Con damage riders, so you gain a decent amount of damage on most of your powers out of it (probably ~6 by the end).  To me, 6 damage seems about right for a feat or two. 

I think he was refearing to HaE before errata
Aye, that was a mistake. Fixing it now.

Thank you, dear, and may he be a very healthy little one. :*

"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23
You are compelty right about this which also makes me cry a little inside.  Are there other classes where the secondry stat is almost useless because you have to make up for some weakness the class has.  Perhaps shaman. 

Swarm Druids need Dex for AC, but their main feature requires Con. 

Oh, and Assassins have to make up for their weakness by being a different class.  Does that count?

I didn't think how bad a barbarian is with out the old HaE.  the new one is near worthless.  So now barbarians need to take Dex to make up for the lack of AC...a sad day indeed.

Still, though, I don't really understand why Heavy Armor is so horrible.  Str/Wis Rangers have been wearing Heavy armor from the beginning.

Heroes Don't Need Special Gear to Be Heroic - A guide to removing magic item dependency and smoothing out advancement. Reinventing the Workday: A Shift Towards Encounter-Based Resources - A guide to abandoning daily resources
Sadly these are are the days of Str/Dex Ragebloods because not having a primary or secondary score to AC and light armor just isn't a good plan.

Why is getting Chain or Scale a bad plan compared to hogging your secondary attribute stat points?  I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, I just want to see your reasoning. 

Further, if Barbarians started with Chain proficiency, would you still be so in favor of Dex?

Lets look at the pros and cons of say Str/Con vs Str/Dex.  Yeah, thats only two of the builds, but I think about 75% of all Barbarians are Rageblood.  Why?  Because charging is awesome.

Ok, if you go Str/Dex over Str/Con you lose:
3 healing surges at first level 
3 hp at first level.

This rises to 6 surges and 6hp by Epic.  Now 6 surges sounds like a big deal, but really, you still probably have 10 at first level and I have NEVER seen the Barbarian be the first out of surges.  In addition, your much improved defenses will more than compensate.  I think we can agree that 6hp at 30 is essentially not worth mentioning.

So what do you gain from going Str/Dex
+3ac at first level.
+3 ref at first level
+3 init at first level

These differences also raise to +6 at Epic.  So essentially you're trading hp for init on a 1 to 1 basis and surges for ac/ref at a 1 for 2 basis.   This seems like a rock solid trade to me.

A difference of 6 ref/ac is just huge.  Combined with your Barbarian Agility this means your defenses will be very solid, not Avenger good maybe but not half bad considering your ability to open a can on the highest value target each and every encounter.

Oh, there are a couple of pathetic riders based on con too.  Usually +con to damage.  So up to 6 points less on one of these powers at Epic.  I'll cope.

Additionally, you have the Dex for Heavy Blade Mastery.  The +3 to hit just might come in handy at some point.

On the bright side, the main reasons for a Rageblood to have high Con got nerfed ages ago 

Are you saying the only reason for a Rageblood to have a high Con was Storm of Blades?  Really, that's it?

I don't know.  To me, you lose 1-3 feats going for Heavy Armor, but many of your powers have +Con damage riders, so you gain a decent amount of damage on most of your powers out of it (probably ~6 by the end).  To me, 6 damage seems about right for a feat or two. 

Lets just say if the number of attacks on Storm of Blades was still Con based every Rageblood would still be married to their 18 starting con.

By going heavy armor you lose 9 points of ref defense (no Barbarian Agility, plus 6 points of stat).  There is no WAY having +6 damage on a couple of powers is worth 9 points of a defense, let alone 9 points of a defense, plus 3 feats and probably still coming up short on AC.

Still, though, I don't really understand why Heavy Armor is so horrible.  Str/Wis Rangers have been wearing Heavy armor from the beginning.

How many class features do Str/Wis Rangers lose by being in heavy armor?

It makes sense for them, not Ragebloods though. 
The main reasoning in favor of pumping Dexterity over getting Heavy Armor are the following points:

1. The support for Barbarians in Hide runs away laughing from the support for Barbarians in Heavy Armor. You have goodies like Barbarian Agility, Second Skin, and Marauder's Armor to help you stay in Hide, and I haven't even talked about how Barbarians love having their base speed intact.

2. Going for Dexterity will get you higher AC with less feat investment. Chain starts out at AC 16 at L1 and caps out at AC 43 at L30 (one feat); a Barbarian that starts life with Hide and 14 Dex, then boosts Dex every level (we'll assume non-Demigod, so Dex 22) has AC 16 at L1 and AC 45 at 30 (0 feats). You'd have to go up to Plate to equal that (3 feats), and then the Barbarian can respond by taking Hide Armor Specialization (AC 46, 1 feat) or Second Skin if he meets the Con requirement (AC 47, 1 feat). Not only that, but you can also go for Demigod and get yourself +1 AC on top of all that. Not to mention that your Reflex defense will be MUCH higher (the Barbarian Agility bonus combined with more Dexterity will make sure of it).

3. Some of the best Barbarian weapon groups require Dexterity. We're mostly looking at Greatspear and Fullblade wielders here; the accuracy is good for the Barbarian, who by default is not as accurate as other Strikers. If you want Weapon Mastery with them, you want Dexterity. Additionally, one of the best weapon groups for a Barbarian (Axes) require little Con, so you can still use them (Hammers get shown the door, but it's not a world-shattering loss).

4. The secondary effects don't net you that much anyway. Since you can start life with a solid (14-16) Constitution or Charisma score, the difference on most secondary effects at Heroic (like the +damage on Desperate Fury/Rageblood THP's/-AC on Shatterbone Strike) is very small, and as you go up in level, those secondary effects become less relevant (the powers get retrained out or the THP becomes less crucial, for example), especially compared to how much less you're getting hit.

My conclusion after that is that you gain much more than what you lose going for Dexterity as your secondary.
Yeah, what he said.  Tongue out

For the Rageblood, if all you're looking for is DPR, then Con is better than Dex. If you're looking for temp hit points, Con is better than Dex. If you don't want to worry about surges, Con is better than Dex. If you care about not being hit and inflicted by conditions, then Dex is definitely better (both for Reflex and AC). I don't think the decision is clear cut. I also want 13 wisdom on any rageblood barbarian if I'm going to use 3[W] or multiattack encounter powers.

Stats will depend largely on race selection as well because you want to build on the strength of the race. For a Dwarf Rageblood, I'd certainly go with an array that looks like 18/16/10/8/13/10 and pick up chainmail proficiency without blinking. For a Goliath Rageblood, I'd go with 18/18/11/8/13/10 and also pick up chainmail. For a Half-orc Rageblood, I'd go with 18/14/16/8/13/10, and pump dexterity. For a Genasi Barbarian, I'd go with 18/14/10/16/13/8 and pump intelligence. For the Human Rageblood, there are several possibilities I suppose, but 18/14/14/10/8/13/10 is the most appealing option for me, with pumps to dex all the way.

For Thaneborn, I like the riders, because Charisma bonus to attack (or defense penalty to enemies), gets more and more useful, the higher charisma gets. So I'd strive for a 14 or 16 at heroic, 16 or 18 at paragon, and 18 or 20 at epic. For my half-orc thaneborn, I started with 18/13/16/8/10/14. I'm pumping cha/cha/dex/cha/dex/cha, doing a bit of alternating.

I think each build needs be examined case by case, pros/cons evaluated, to figure out which secondary stat needs more attention.
The DPR angle on Ragebloods is patently false; you get a bit of extra damage on some Encounter powers at Heroic tier, and that's it: the powers you will end up after that with won't have a +Con damage rider in them. The THP is also only triggered on a kill, which makes it a bit less relevant. Additionally, the THP's are at their most important in Heroic (when they comprise a bigger percentage of your overall HP and your enemies' overall damage), and you're likely looking at 1-2 less THP in Heroic Tier for 1-3 more AC and much more Reflex. You'll live.

Finally, not worrying about surges is a balance between having enough of them and not having to spend them: as such, Dexterity is arguably as important there as Constitution. Additionally, 13 Wisdom is easy to achieve on the array I will be recommending for the majority of Barbarians (16/14/14/13/10/8).

I would not pick up Chainmail as a Barbarian. At all. I would take Hide Armor Expertise (it and Second Skin will net you the exact same AC as Chainmail in the case of that Dwarf with plenty more Reflex and some extra speed, though to be honest the Dwarf's stock as a Barbarian has gone down in my mind), and I would decidedly not go dual 18's on that Goliath, instead favoring 18/16/14/8/13/10 post-racial (equals Chainmail at L1, and beats it handily at L30 - +4 AC for the same feat investment). Genasi is a corner-case that could be mentioned, and even them I'm leery of it; that's a whole lot of initiative you're giving up for just +1 AC (that also opens up another can of worms; initiative is huge on a Barbarian, and Dexterity gets that done too). To boot, that Genasi also doesn't have access to any Weapon Mastery feat. The Int route is just not worth it.

While I like buffing and debuffing the same as anyone, the fact of the matter is that a -4 AC penalty is about as effective at L1 as it is at L30, and hindering your defenses too much to get is not that good and idea. While you can accomplish the 16 Heroic Cha/18 Paragon Cha/20 Epic Cha, I strongly recommend an Epic Destiny such as Demigod so that your Dex doesn't suffer for it.

Dexterity still remains the second-most-important ability score after Strength in my mind, and in this Handbook.

You are compelty right about this which also makes me cry a little inside.  Are there other classes where the secondry stat is almost useless because you have to make up for some weakness the class has.  Perhaps shaman. 

Not to derail the thread too much, but the shaman's secondary stats are very important for its riders for one of the good at wills, one OA power, and for many of the better utility and encounter powers.   It has a whole other issue of needing a starting strength of 13.  That is an absolute necessity for con shamans and nice for other shamans, but you almost never want more than a starting 13 or use any future stat bumps.  The closest comparison is the pure strength battle cleric and charisma and to a lesser extent wisdom.   He can get away with dumping it, since at most only half his powers will have charisma riders, but has some incentive to bump every stat except int. 

I have never actually played a barbarian, but if I was going thaneborn at least, I would be very tempted to go with chain or probably scale.  The better will defense and riders would be hard to pass up.  The bigger issue is that I would want to be spending some stat points for weapons feats, but if you went with a 16 13 11 10 16 array for a non con boosting race, you could qualify for all the axe feats without spenging more than 2 points on con at paragon.
Not worth it; you're losing in overall defenses (-1/2/3 Reflex from Barbarian Agility lost), and for what? Spending more feats for less AC than just pumping Dex? Will defense (which you can deal with in other ways)? Plus, as I mentioned before, Dexterity gets you two crucial things in initiative and Weapon Mastery with Heavy Blades and Spears. You want that even more than you want what high Cha gives you.
Con doesn't matter that much to a rage barbarian.  It really doesn't because those temp HPs you get can be hard to come by when you most need them.  A few more surges doesn't many when you already start out with a lot.

My barbarian AC is low because I went the Con route and it is kicking my ass right now.  I go down pretty quickly once I start getting hit because the hit to miss ration against me tilts to hit.  If they go after a NAD that isn't fort then forget about it.  It will hit me.
I also want 13 wisdom on any rageblood barbarian if I'm going to use 3[W] or multiattack encounter powers.

Why, what does 13 wisdom give you that is good when using big powers?

I think with the current options available you've got to start with a 14+ post racial dex and then pump it most if not all the way up.

You CANNOT just wade into melee with a handful of extra hp/surges over the rogue and less ac.  That's just just going to work out for you.

The only way a Str/Dex Barbarian is less sturdy than the Str/Con one is if all/most of the attacks target will.  In that situation both builds are likely boned and probably stomping a mudhole in team hero via their at-will Howling Strike charge.

A Str/Dex Barbarian probably still has as many hp/surges as the party defender, and roughly the same defenses. 
Sign In to post comments