Barbarian in Heavy Armor..... is it worth it?

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title sums it up, my lower AC and such is kind of a bother at the moment. If I go for plate, I DO need quite a few feats, that won't be worthwhile compared to my hide armor until my plate.

I have upgraded my temp Hp on a kill, and if that solves the problem of me spending most of my time laying bloody on the floor and dying.. then great. ^_^ 

Alternative options are welcome. To add some perspective, my Dm is Minion happy, and my fatty to hit makes up some for my staggering damage being mostly ignored... but it does mean I can go snack on a minion now and then to buff my temp HP.
 
No, not generally.  Just don't dump DEX.  No Barbarian should, even the ones for whom it's not nominally their secondary.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Well if the character already exists then "don't dump Dex" won't really help. If you go heavy armor, I'd stick with Chain. You'll lose even more of your Ref (due to Agility not working anymore) but at least you'll get a few extra points.

Also if he's minion heavy consider picking up a Shout power, that'll let you clear them out easy and might prevent even more damage then +1 armor if it's them bashing you down. 
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Ok. My Dex is a 14, same as my Con, both of which I intend to bump at 4. At 8 Str, and Wis are getting a bump, and then at 11 Str, Dex, and Con will all go up.

And advice on not having my face used to mop up my own blood off the floor?
 
Well, to put a specific example into perspective, we were clearing out a dungeon and we had quite a bit of area left to cover and I fell a minion, so i figured "This must be more rabble" and took my swift charge, and then took a move to get in posistion to chargae around a corner... unfortunately the heavy pike man also had the same idea, and as I approached I got skewered by one.

I still managed to slap out quite a bit of damage, but I went unconcious (and I recognize that part of my problem is charging TOO far into battle) once, and after slapping the big bad hard in the face with my daily power he slapped me down to dying. So i spent the second half of our boss encounter lying on the floor dying. 
Well, partly it's down to tactics.  Barbarian powers lend themselves to charging off unsupported, which tends to get you killed - so the biggest piece of advice is: don't do that.  You don't always have to take the free charge.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
So ignore my baser instincts. =P

But yeah I see how that can be problematic.  On the plus side this experience can be an interesting point in my Characters development. ^_^
Ok. My Dex is a 14, same as my Con, both of which I intend to bump at 4. At 8 Str, and Wis are getting a bump, and then at 11 Str, Dex, and Con will all go up.

This isn't what you asked about, but.... Don't do this.  Seriously.  At 4th, bump Str and Dex.  At 8th, bump Str and Dex.  At 14th, bump Str and Dex.  At 18th, bump Str and Con (only because you need 17 Con at epic for Second Skin, which you should plan on taking).  Then bump Str and Dex again at 24th, and at 28th go ahead and top off whatever is odd, prioritizing Str.

Never, never, never miss an opportunity to boost your primary stat.  It's just not worth it.  Even if you ignore half of my advice, I urge you to boost Str at every opportunity.

Boosting Dex and staying in light armor will ultimately get your AC to higher levels than you could achieve in heavy armor, thanks to Barbarian Agility and Second Skin.  Higher defenses will do far more to save you than the occasional extra 1-2 temp HP, especially at higher levels when you have 100 HP or more.  The Con-based boosts to various powers are rather weak, and most of the best Barbarian powers don't care about your Con in any case.  Even as a Rageblood, Dex just does more for you than Con.

t~

Ok. My Dex is a 14, same as my Con, both of which I intend to bump at 4. At 8 Str, and Wis are getting a bump, and then at 11 Str, Dex, and Con will all go up.

This isn't what you asked about, but.... Don't do this.  Seriously.  At 4th, bump Str and Dex.  At 8th, bump Str and Dex.  At 14th, bump Str and Dex.  At 18th, bump Str and Con (only because you need 17 Con at epic for Second Skin, which you should plan on taking).  Then bump Str and Dex again at 24th, and at 28th go ahead and top off whatever is odd, prioritizing Str.

Never, never, never miss an opportunity to boost your primary stat.  It's just not worth it.  Even if you ignore half of my advice, I urge you to boost Str at every opportunity.

Boosting Dex and staying in light armor will ultimately get your AC to higher levels than you could achieve in heavy armor, thanks to Barbarian Agility and Second Skin.  Higher defenses will do far more to save you than the occasional extra 1-2 temp HP, especially at higher levels when you have 100 HP or more.  The Con-based boosts to various powers are rather weak, and most of the best Barbarian powers don't care about your Con in any case.  Even as a Rageblood, Dex just does more for you than Con.

t~



QFT.  COuldn't have put it better myself.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Tiornys is right always bump strength.

With rageblood I would always make dex my secondary stat, but try to get a starting con of around 14-15.

Thaneborn is the only one where it is a tough call for me whether or not to make Cha a secondary stat with heavy armor.  But the one thaneborn I have actually played I ended up doing a dragonborn where I gave him a starting cha of 16 post racial and was planning to boost my 14 dex each chance.
Looking at the argument, I'll agree. Str, and Dex. Boost EVERY time.

Partly because I do see the Logic, and I was considering it myself, and partly because i want to get on to more pressing matters. 

Right now I am in that fluffy state of "We play next Sunday, bring your character at level 2." so I want to really check if my intention of going off build is really going to do what i need it to do.

Rageblood Vigor. The encounter in question, I calculated that if I had had it, It would have saved me in excess of 21 HP. more then enough to only have needed one heal from the cleric, and to have survived to have raged past slapping the big bad in the face with it and ended our encounter with fewer people in the party walking around like blood is the new black. *Note, I didn't make an error of stacking the temp, it really would have saved me that much HP.*

The added temp Hp, especially in a Minion Heavy campaign where I have yet to miss hitting one, (except that time i rolled a 2..) theoretically is going to save me a bundle of HP, and make the relationship between me and the cleric a little less gay. (He's REALLLY Flameboyant.... like past Elton john level...)

As i level, of course the benefit will get smaller and smaller as I have more HP and enemies start dealing more damage, but still a nice buffer against damage on a kill is a nice both for flavor, and for numbers. 



  • Ardith

    Human, Barbarian (Rageblood), Level 2
    Str: 18
    Con: 14
    Dex:14
    Int:8
    Wis:13
    Cha:10

    At Wills: Howling strike, Pressing Strike
    Encounter: Desperate Fury, Heroic Effort, Swift Charge
    Daily:Thunderhooves Rage
    Utillity:Shrug it off

    Feats: Weapon Proficiency (Full Blade)
    Battle Awareness (Fighter MC)
    Improved Rage Blood Vigor.

    Skills: Intimidate, Endurance, Athletics, Perception, and Nature.




  • Well not that human is a bad choice, but if you took a race like Goliath, you could use Stone Endurance before going into the piles of critters....

    I got a goliath babarian, and I still havent been killed because I was first in the rumble. I simply use the minor power Stone Endurance and go nuts. I also got marauder's armor, with which I can spent a healing surce on succesfully charge. and also got another power that makes it possible to use a healingsurge with plusses, the second i get bloodied ( you first get that late heroic, think its called reactive surge ).

    Earlier level i also har Vanguard weapon, which i believe give you yet another opportunity to heal youreself as a daily, if **** really hits the fan (again with succesfully charge).

    Anyway only suggestion, if you feel you die too fast.... with these things Iwe been able to survirve first round so far, even in the rounds where I get really hard nuked, by most mobs.   

    I would always just go Str and Con, have a lifedrinker weapon and suck the life out of 2-3 minions early on. 20 THP does wonders. I always kinda thought the pont of a barbarian was to have terrible defenses and amazing hit points.

    Since I have leveled up my little +7THP on a kill has been enjoyable and keeping me upright. And Vanguard Weapon is next level.... *drools* I just need to be sure I have the gold for it... *currently has about 200*

    A little bit of group synergy has helped out a lot with me not dying so often or sucking up our cleric's healing spells.  My current plan of action is to grab a badge of Berserker, charge my ass through their lines, and wreak utter havock as the enemy freaks out that there is a big huge slappy killy  Barbarian ripping up their ****.
    Barbarians die. THat is just the way it is. I played a Barbarian/Sorcerer hybrid (it actually works quite well and I have defender defenses) and it had a simular problem of rushing in and then getting sucked into a fray that was too much. Thankfully, my character took it upon itself to invest in a teleport 3 utility so I could run the heck away and start blasting from the back file.

    In your case, I would suggest getting movement utilities as quickly as possible and perhaps invest in the Hurl Weapon feat. This will let you back off and receive healing or heal yourself through a second wind. Plus, throwing a battle axe into a room is something not many NPC's will see coming.

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    I'll roll with my Javelins. ^_^ 

    Good idea on the range btw.
     
    If you dumped dex then try to get to scale, where you can get rid of the speed penalty in paragon.  That being said, barbarians should really never dump dex.
    Dex is at a solid 14. A little low, but still about where it should be. I'm going to be hard running my Str and Dex when I have the chances... COn is going to get some tlc, because the new pack outcast theme grants me some regen based on my Con (and having a nice even 4 would be nice) but its getting one bump, then waiting for 11 to boost it up to 16 (with my Dex mod) after that it's all Str and Dex.

    Also I'm going to keep my eyes out for good Hide Armor (of a magical quality) 

    Just after my vanguard fullblade that is. After all there is no better condition to inflict then "dead".
    For LFR, my roommate chose to make a Goliath Thunderborn Barbarian, and gave himself a 18 Str, 18 Con, and 12 Dex.  You can imagine what this resulted in- at level 5, he had an AC of 18, and enemies almost never missed him.

    I convinced him to start working on armor proficiencies, since he had the requisite Str and Con.  This wasn't easy at first, until I explained to him the concept of Masterwork Armor.  Finally conceding to my advice, at level 6, he got himself a suit of +2 chain.

    The very next mod we ran, the DM kept missing his now-22 AC and grumbled about it.  A lot!  My roommate is happier, and all it really cost him was a feat.

    I'm not disputing the idea that keeping your Dex high is an excellent way to get hefty defense from a Barbarian, but a lot of players like seeing the riders of their build and powers pack more punch.  Some people might see taking armor proficiencies as a "feat tax", but I see it as more of a feature of the Barbarian's design.  A lot of classes have worse AC issues than the Barbarian, after all.     
    "You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks

    I'm not disputing the idea that keeping your Dex high is an excellent way to get hefty defense from a Barbarian, but a lot of players like seeing the riders of their build and powers pack more punch.  Some people might see taking armor proficiencies as a "feat tax", but I see it as more of a feature of the Barbarian's design.  A lot of classes have worse AC issues than the Barbarian, after all.     




    If Hide Armor Expertise was still around I'd have the same bonus and it would grow as I leveled up. I could have sank points into con (giving me a bigger temp AC return) I would have lost a couple of points in reflex, maybe 1 in will, and I would gain 2 AC plus 2 to all my buffers and riders. 

    *Sigh* 
    Who knows.... maybe Heros of the Fey wild will DO something about this discrepency. Barbarians have 4 stats to deal with as a rageblood. Str, Dex, Con, and Will. That is a LOT to try and balance. Hide Armor made it and nicer 3....

    But aparently thats "broken". *I have a feeling it was Mike Mearls complaining about this.... but that could just be me being bitter about how much exists for martial and how its taken 2 years for new barb material to come out.* 
    One nice advantage of chainmail is the later levels of masterwork can bump Will, which won't be all that great for most barbars.

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    After extensively doing the math, I actually like barbs with Dex better.

    It would ne nice having my riders actually mean something.... but I like the dex scores being useful. Stealth, acrobatics, etc. 
    Who knows.... maybe Heros of the Fey wild will DO something about this discrepency. Barbarians have 4 stats to deal with as a rageblood. Str, Dex, Con, and Will. That is a LOT to try and balance. Hide Armor made it and nicer 3....

    But aparently thats "broken". *I have a feeling it was Mike Mearls complaining about this.... but that could just be me being bitter about how much exists for martial and how its taken 2 years for new barb material to come out.* 



    Strength, Dex, & Con are the only three stats a Rageblood Barbarian needs to function Wis almost never comes up HIDE ARMOR IS YOUR FRIEND. Personally I'm a BIG fan of the Gnoll Rageblood Barbarian because it's so easy to build into a "charge monkey" the one I had was doing +15-20 damage on a charge at 8th  level.          
    STR/CON

    AC is overrated. Hitpoints and temp hitpoints are where the barbarian does defense. If you set it up right, you can get 20 temp hitpoints every time you kill something. Plus, if you're a minotaur you get a free attack every time you get close to dieing. How cool is that. Just make sure the cleric can get you up afterwards.
    How can i set up that 20temp Hp?
     
    I ran a Thaneborn barbarian using heavy armor for awhile, and I was happy with the amount of Cha I could pump, even if it cost a few feats and ran my reflex into the ground.  But cha-based riders for barbarians seem to frequently do more than con-based ones (usually applying attack bonuses/penalties or defense penalties, sometimes extra damage), and high cha was both part of my character concept and important in my party, since I had to be the face.  If I were making a similar character again, I'd probably take the suggestion one poster made at the bottom of page 1 of starting 18/14/16 post-racial and then pumping Str/Dex straight up.  Having the Dex for HBO at paragon doesn't hurt, either--Pressing Strike makes an incredible OA that can frequently disrupt whatever the enemy was trying to do, since even if you miss you get a shift 2 that can easily drop you into the space they wanted to move through.
    I really like the Barb in Heavy for the Thaneborn. It makes an interesting concept. But for my Rageblood I am really digging the Hide Armor. Yeah it kinda sucks how I dont have a real rider for things or get much benefit for my rider... but I manage ok. Also Improved RBV is completely worth it at lower levels. As I get higher it becomes less and less useful so I'll retrain it most likely once my AC gets beefed.

    At level 14 I'll have 10 Base+3 HA, +2 barbarian Agillity  +4Dex +1/2 level(+7) +Enchantment(+3) 29AC is pretty solid and by then i should be hefty enough to not be using the then 12 temp I'd be gleaming from IRBV I may keep it, just to add some extra protection though, also if I can't find something else that i want. 
    Darkwing, I'm having trouble seeing how HP can compensate for low defenses past early paragon.  In my experience, whenever he really started doing his thing, especially setting up an encounter nova, my barbarian would immediately draw fire from pretty much every enemy on the map, since he was set up to kill several of them at once.  I've never played a Rageblood, but I did get frequent Resistive Formulas from our Artificer, and even with some effort put into AC, it was unbelievably easy to take more damage than a big pile of HP could reasonable absorb in about two rounds... although tbf, my DM started attacking my Reflex regularly by paragon, so AC investment had somewhat diminishing returns.

    Unless we're talking lower level than I'm imagining, I would expect a Barbarian doing good DPR and getting hit a high percentage of the time (or pretty much all the time, which is where relying on hide with no dex scaling will get you before too long) to take way more than 20 damage per round, to say nothing of inconvenient status effects he'll incur (again, fewer of those to AC, but the ones that do, like daze, immobilize, and ongoing damage, can be a pain).  In practice, how many attacks are you talking about taking per round, for how many hits and much damage?  I'm curious how any reasonably damaging melee striker with near-autohit AC manages to stay up, and I assume I'm either missing out on some math, or your combat experience is very different from mine.
    STR/CON

    AC is overrated. Hitpoints and temp hitpoints are where the barbarian does defense. If you set it up right, you can get 20 temp hitpoints every time you kill something. Plus, if you're a minotaur you get a free attack every time you get close to dieing. How cool is that. Just make sure the cleric can get you up afterwards.



    Yea AC is not overrated.  You are overrating temp HP.  Temp HP won't help you with anything but damage.  AC will help you against pesky status effects and other hazards.  The difference between a Con secondard and con tertiary is not worth the loss of AC or feats.
    I'm in agreeance on the AC being worth a lot more then HP or Temp Hp.  Of course your eventually going to get hit but 3 or 4 HP vs 1 or 2 extra AC is a no brainer. After all the higher AC will negate more damage then the HP will cover typically. 

     Although the wait for my Hide Armor to pay off is still taxing... the advantage of it vs the feat sink to get to Plate is still weighing in it's favor.

    And there is something to be said about using this is a "this is about what I look like."

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    Unless we're talking lower level than I'm imagining, I would expect a Barbarian doing good DPR and getting hit a high percentage of the time (or pretty much all the time, which is where relying on hide with no dex scaling will get you before too long) to take way more than 20 damage per round, to say nothing of inconvenient status effects he'll incur (again, fewer of those to AC, but the ones that do, like daze, immobilize, and ongoing damage, can be a pain).  In practice, how many attacks are you talking about taking per round, for how many hits and much damage?  I'm curious how any reasonably damaging melee striker with near-autohit AC manages to stay up, and I assume I'm either missing out on some math, or your combat experience is very different from mine.


    Rageblood. Of course I get hit often (low paragon). That's a given. But it works out. My utility powers help with immobilize, my charge is my main damage dealer so daze isn't too effective against me. Getting 20 thp per kill helps more than you would imagine. I've basically shruged off entire rounds of damage just because I tend to kill things. Even if they do more than 20 the thp slows down my rate of dieing enough that it doesn't matter. Being a barbarian with con secondary I've got more healing surges than I can spend in a day (even with the cleric) so all we have to do is win. For encounter powers and items I focused mainly on immediate action "strike back" powers that let me hit an enemy if it attacks me. This is win-win because if they attack me, the fight will be over sooner and I'll take less damage but if they don't then I'm okay because I'll take less damage. If the fight looks really scary (e.g. lots of ongoing damage) I'll pop a resistance potion.

    One meta-gamey aspect is because I do get hit often the dm isn't tempted to power creap the enemies +hit so my allies have a better chance of avoiding damage.
    Unless we're talking lower level than I'm imagining, I would expect a Barbarian doing good DPR and getting hit a high percentage of the time (or pretty much all the time, which is where relying on hide with no dex scaling will get you before too long) to take way more than 20 damage per round, to say nothing of inconvenient status effects he'll incur (again, fewer of those to AC, but the ones that do, like daze, immobilize, and ongoing damage, can be a pain).  In practice, how many attacks are you talking about taking per round, for how many hits and much damage?  I'm curious how any reasonably damaging melee striker with near-autohit AC manages to stay up, and I assume I'm either missing out on some math, or your combat experience is very different from mine.


    Rageblood. Of course I get hit often (low paragon). That's a given. But it works out. My utility powers help with immobilize, my charge is my main damage dealer so daze isn't too effective against me. Getting 20 thp per kill helps more than you would imagine. I've basically shruged off entire rounds of damage just because I tend to kill things. Even if they do more than 20 the thp slows down my rate of dieing enough that it doesn't matter. Being a barbarian with con secondary I've got more healing surges than I can spend in a day (even with the cleric) so all we have to do is win. For encounter powers and items I focused mainly on immediate action "strike back" powers that let me hit an enemy if it attacks me. This is win-win because if they attack me, the fight will be over sooner and I'll take less damage but if they don't then I'm okay because I'll take less damage. If the fight looks really scary (e.g. lots of ongoing damage) I'll pop a resistance potion.

    One meta-gamey aspect is because I do get hit often the dm isn't tempted to power creap the enemies +hit so my allies have a better chance of avoiding damage.



    But the con tertiary barb is likely going to be getting 15 THP rather than 20 still have lots of surges but will have AC 5 points higher thus taking far less damage.  You are gaining little for your investment and you are hurting two of your defenses to only mitigate partially one of the issues of having your defenses penetrated (HP).  This is why after a lot of time put in researching it the CharOP people figured out that counter to what the book says Dex is a better stat for ragebloods than con.
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