How magical should the barbaran be?

Should barbarians be surrounded by glowing magical auras when raging, or should they just get angrier?
When a barbarian swings should their axe be wreathed in fire or not?

Should they be powered by primal spirits or just muscled and adrenaline?

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Because if a class has a limited amount of resources and choices - let's just say every two levels you get Quality A or Quality B - then combining what should otherwise be two different classes into the same class limits choices.


But one mechanical quality can be described in a number of different ways. Say a class feature of the barbarian is that they can increase the damage die of their weapon by one step for up to a minute. Maybe that's because of wolfpowernature or becuase of angryzerkrage. Mechanically, they're the same thing. I think creating classes to account for every possible concept has been poor design from the more recent editions (3+). I think a kit would be the way to go here if reflavoring mechanics is not sufficient.
What if barbarian could choose between extra MDD/maneuvers or supernatural rage? So you either have a basic rage and multiple maneuvers, or you have anthropomorphic-bear rage and only the extra damage maneuver. I think this would allow both builds without forcing anyone to play a different class- or worse, not play what they want at all.
What if barbarian could choose between extra MDD/maneuvers or supernatural rage? So you either have a basic rage and multiple maneuvers, or you have anthropomorphic-bear rage and only the extra damage maneuver. I think this would allow both builds without forcing anyone to play a different class- or worse, not play what they want at all.

Because it's not needed.

What if a barbarian could choose between extra MDD/maneuvers or enhanced rage, and flavor it however the hell he wants?

I'd prefer something more like the latest 5e monk: some options that are more flashy and "supernatural" in nature, and some that are more "mundane," but ALL of which are tied together with the same flavor of "primal rage," just like all monk special abilities are tied to "ki."

The nice thing about this approach is that there's still a lot of wiggle room to reflavor the class how you want, for the more advanced roleplayer, but there's enough guidance there for even the less creative (or more timid) player to  pick a variety of powers that fit their style. And since everything is tied into a single, somewhat vaguely defined concept (primal rage or ki), defining that one concept does a lot of work for you in figuring out all the character's powers.

So for example, I might want to play a monk as a member of a devoted religious order whose "ki" powers are divinely inspired. Someone else might want to think of "ki" as a loose metaphor for mundane focus and concentration (like it is in real life). Others might see "ki" as a special form of wizardry, tapping into the arcane weave, or as a type of psionics, only available to those who are specially gifted. And the current rules allow for ALL of those options, even multiple ones in the same party, without forcing the player to actually ignore the flavor of any of his powers.

So for barbarians, let me define "primal force" as simple rage, while another barbarian player may choose to channel the power of his ancestors, and another might see it as shamanistic energy, or the influence of totemic animal spirits, or just plain magic. 
What if barbarian could choose between extra MDD/maneuvers or supernatural rage? So you either have a basic rage and multiple maneuvers, or you have anthropomorphic-bear rage and only the extra damage maneuver. I think this would allow both builds without forcing anyone to play a different class- or worse, not play what they want at all.

Because it's not needed.

What if a barbarian could choose between extra MDD/maneuvers or enhanced rage, and flavor it however the hell he wants?



If you're talking about flavor only, then yes, it is unnecessary, as anyone with a sufficient imagination can reflavor his barbarian to be either style. But in terms of mechanics, some people want barbarians to have mystical rages. It's hard to reflavor a barbarian lighting his axe on fire and sprouting wings. OTOH, the devs may be able to achieve a middle ground that could be flavored either way, which would be awesome.
Cool idea for barbarian flavor (and I will likely use this in my campaigns): barbarians wield the primal energy of battle and bloodlust, channeling it through their rages. However, many barbarians dislike magic, and hold superstitions about spellcasters (which is ironic, considering most spellcasters look down on "false magic"). This combines barbarian flavors of two editions!