I have decided I really hate the barbarian’s class name.

Back in 2e there was a class called the barbarian. It was sort of like a mix between the rogue, ranger, and fighter, but with no magic. It had a large hit die. It attacked with a good thac0. It got poor armor proficiencies. I can’t remember what its weapon proficiencies looked like. It also got a bunch of the percentile “skills” from the rogue list. I can’t remember if it had hide or not, but I do remember that it had great jumping, running, and climbing abilities. Then you picked a kit to finalize your character type. There were LOTS of kits. The berserker was only one type of barbarian. Other barbarians focused on very different types of activities.


I HATED the 3e barbarian because it forced all barbarians to be berserks. The class went from being one of my favorite classes to being one of my least favorite classes. Then the 4e barbarian came out. The 4e barbarian still used “rages.” Except, rages were not actually rages, per se. I mean, they could be. But, sometimes they gave you lasting benefits that really had nothing to do with getting angry. Look at swift panther rage; it has more to do with moving at inhuman and animalistic speeds than berserking. A paragon path like the “swiftrunner” really re-cemented the 2e notion that not all barbarians are berserkers. The 4e rages were more like channeling primal spirits to focus on performing some particular activity. The mechanics were not the same, but it felt more like the 2e barbarian class to me. You could be a stereotypical Viking inspired berserker, but you did not have to be.


The current DDN barbarian class looks very fun. But, it is once again a pigeonholed berserker. If they add alternative options instead of the existing features then fine. Otherwise, I really want this class to be renamed berserker. Maybe “barbarian” could become a background skill package with some sort of thematic trait. Then again, maybe that already exists in the form of the “wanderer.” Either way, if the barbarian class keeps the barbarian name I would like to see the class offer more of the various archetypes offered in 2e and 4e. Otherwise, I would like the class to be renamed berserker.    

The 5e of D&D: its like a more balanced version of 2e, but with the character customization frills of 3e and 4e. I love it!


Huh. I remember the wizard slayer (very Conan if I remember correctly), ravager (the 3e/DDN barbarian), forest lord (tarzan), and plainsrider (a cross between an Apache warrior and Ghenghis Khan). Would you mind reminding me of the others? What did brute do again? Wasn't there something about him using his fists as weapons? Or, am I confusing brute and ravager, in which case what do each of them do? The islander gets swimming abilities if I remember correctly, right? How about the brushrunner? I don't remember that one at all anymore...

But yes, those are the sorts of variable options I want to be able to pursue when I choose the barbarian class.  




The brute was kind of erm a brute. It got early access to some abilities, had tougher skin and heigtened smell.

Islander can shapechange (wildshape) at level 7 into an iguana, turtle or crab and and suffers no penalties for aquatic combat.  He can also make aa mana weapon

Brushrunner gets enhanced movement and a battle frenzy.

 These are on top of the existing barbarian abilites. Like most kits they usually give up a variety of things or have additioal restrictions. 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

The dfault Barbarian in 2nd ed was not a rager. He had high marks in the exploration pillar side of things (as in survive in the wilds).

How did it differ from the ranger? I'm genuinely curious, having zero experience with the 3ed barbarian firsthand.




 Rangers got some stealth based skills and TWF. Barbarians got d12 hit dice, fast movement, increased jumping abilites, climbing abilities and a chance to detect a back stab. There were 2 barbarian classes as well a fighter and shaman.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Barbarian and ranger work great as archtypes because it envokes a style of living or culture. So all the core classes could choose to be a barbarian or ranger. That is a problem with the loose association specialities have with archtypes or classes. It is also unclear how to control feat power while representing an archtypes with just 4 feats. Are specialities broad enough to absorb a class concept, or should they be focused when using an archer as an example.
I totally agree.  

The barbarian should not be a class.

2e had the Amazon, Barbarian, Beast Rider, Berserker, Savage, Wilderness Warrior, and Viking Berserker as kits/sub classses of the fighter. 

Rage just doesn't apply to all of those.   Rage should be an ability provided by a specialty.  At best, rage is just a feat. 

I know I'll be making it a point to complain about the Barbarian class in the next survey.    



This
Give me a robust fighter that can be all of that and the Warlord and you will have a worthy fighter class.

Back in 2e there was a class called the barbarian. It was sort of like a mix between the rogue, ranger, and fighter, but with no magic. It had a large hit die. It attacked with a good thac0. It got poor armor proficiencies. I can’t remember what its weapon proficiencies looked like. It also got a bunch of the percentile “skills” from the rogue list. I can’t remember if it had hide or not, but I do remember that it had great jumping, running, and climbing abilities. Then you picked a kit to finalize your character type. There were LOTS of kits. The berserker was only one type of barbarian. Other barbarians focused on very different types of activities.


I HATED the 3e barbarian because it forced all barbarians to be berserks. The class went from being one of my favorite classes to being one of my least favorite classes. Then the 4e barbarian came out. The 4e barbarian still used “rages.” Except, rages were not actually rages, per se. I mean, they could be. But, sometimes they gave you lasting benefits that really had nothing to do with getting angry. Look at swift panther rage; it has more to do with moving at inhuman and animalistic speeds than berserking. A paragon path like the “swiftrunner” really re-cemented the 2e notion that not all barbarians are berserkers. The 4e rages were more like channeling primal spirits to focus on performing some particular activity. The mechanics were not the same, but it felt more like the 2e barbarian class to me. You could be a stereotypical Viking inspired berserker, but you did not have to be.


The current DDN barbarian class looks very fun. But, it is once again a pigeonholed berserker. If they add alternative options instead of the existing features then fine. Otherwise, I really want this class to be renamed berserker. Maybe “barbarian” could become a background skill package with some sort of thematic trait. Then again, maybe that already exists in the form of the “wanderer.” Either way, if the barbarian class keeps the barbarian name I would like to see the class offer more of the various archetypes offered in 2e and 4e. Otherwise, I would like the class to be renamed berserker.    




I'm with ya. The 4e Barb could easily be flavoured as a skilled hunter who is close to the spirits of the land, a raging berserker in the best Norse style (since it involved skinwalking sort of magic, taking on animal aspects, etc) a nature based version of the Avenger, or a handful of other things entirely. It was really cool.
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OP: I don't mind the barbarian name, but I agree that the term "barbarian" means a lot of things and it's a shame to see that they've locked into one thing.


They could be going the way they did with the monk, where they give you one way to look at it first and then throw out some other options later.

Normally I don't like the idea of messing with class names once they're established, since I feel like that's a big part of building cohesion. It's easy to forget that things like "Fighter" and "Cleric"  mean what they mean in fantasy in large part because D&D stuck with those names. "Barbarian" is also well-established as the rage-y guy in fantasy for the same reason. That said, I think the Berzerker has enough cultural weight to work as a class name, too.
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The name Beserker fits the 5E concept better, since it is is closer to a one trick pony the class represents.

OP: I don't mind the barbarian name, but I agree that the term "barbarian" means a lot of things and it's a shame to see that they've locked into one thing.


They could be going the way they did with the monk, where they give you one way to look at it first and then throw out some other options later.




Except we don't they are locked into anything.

 
There is no 'could be' about it.   When the barbarian came out they made it very clear that it was only one build of many and that the full class with more options would be in a later packet.


They may be locking it into a narrow set of options.  But you have no basis upon which to assume they are locked into one thing. 

Carl
The fighter it the prmary example of locking into once concept (it must be simple), so we will see if they change their mind with the updated playtest packet.

@carl Yeah I don't technically know, but there's strong precedent for the rage thing to be the central aspect of the character and it goes back years. 4e's barbarian was kinda weird 'cause it used rage but didn't use rage. I like that they were getting away from rage with it. All of the information we have to go on talks about rage. Rage is the thing. We hear it's a resource, we hear it's a thing barbarians use to do their thing.


Problem is, "rage" means something very specific to a lot of people. Namely, the act of going berserk.



Even if they decide to not lock into the idea of a berserker type dude, the idea of rage having to do with berserking is very much at the front of their commentary. It's difficult to conclude that they haven't locked into that idea.



But I suspect that they'll do what they did with the monk, because that's what they said they'd do and it's what they did before.

The fighter it the prmary example of locking into once concept (it must be simple), so we will see if they change their mind with the updated playtest packet.



I agree.  I tend to see the barbarian and the monk as separate from the fighter (aside from using weapons there isn't that much overlap in their actual mechanics).  I am less sure of the Ranger and the Paladin (and the Warlord) - but that is because we haven't actually seen their mechanics yet.   I suspect that all three will end up with substantial fighter overlap and could potentially be represented as a multiclass fighter/ caster. 


Barbarians have rage, fighters have maneuvers.  Barbarians use less armor with AC bonuses and DR, Fighters use more armor.  Etc


Warlords - on the other hand - have as their primary function (aside from healing) actions which seem (to me) to fit into the structure of a maneuver.  They are actions taken during the fight to gain a specific effect within that round.  Things like granting an ally an attack, shifting positions around the battlefield, granting allies bonuses on their attacks, etc all fit within the general structure of what can be done with a maneuver.  Rage, in contrast, is more of a stance-like effect - something that is done once and affects the entire combat (and which is useable a limited number of times unlike maneuvers which can be used at-wiill).



Secondly, maneuvers represent training and expertise in combat.  The wild barbarian is archtypically represented as a wild and untamed force rather than a disciplined and trained combatant.  The warlord, on the other hand, has training and dsicipline that goes beyond that of the classic fighter.  Giving maneuvers to the barbarian goes against type, giving maneuvers to the warlord is completely within type (in fact, if they didn't have maneuvers one would have to ask why not since they are often seen as the ones that train and coach the fighters).


Granted you could fold the barbarian into the fighter.  But to do so, you would have to make subatantial changes t the fighter class.   The biggest change would be to create a series of stances for the other fighting styles (making Rage the stance of the barbarian fighting styles.   Granted - this might be a good thing.  But it would be a major change.


And that is how I also look at the attempt to fit the warlord into the fighter:  To do it well, you must change the fighter to be more than just a dumb axe-slinger.  And if doing that means that we actually get a fighter class that can do more - it's a big win for the fighter class.  

All that said- for marketing reasons I think they probably ought to just go ahead and have a warlord class.  Not because I think the mechanics justify it - but because it is so iconic to the 4th edition and their goal needs to be to bring in players from every edition.  That class won't be identical to the 4E class because the system mechanics are too different and too many of its powers were designed to mesh with specific elements of the game mechanics.  But it ought to be a strong leader type with force-mutliplying powers (with the healing shunted off to a non-magical healer specialty for those who want it - or for those who want the healing as part of a different class).  It may overlap with the fighter - but then again the Paladin will overlap with the Cleric (or Fighter/Cleric) and it still gets to be a class for what I suspect are reasons having more to do with marketing than mechanics.    (And no, that is not an inherently bad thing.  All products have decisions driven by marketing and game design is no different).

Carl

"Barbarian" is also well-established as the rage-y guy in fantasy for the same reason. That said, I think the Berzerker has enough cultural weight to work as a class name, too.



I could not disagree more. All of our most iconic "barbarian" figures in literatures do not rage. The idea that a barbarian is the guy who rages (as opposed to the possibility that some barbarians might rage) is very rooted in 3e D&D, not film, literature, or the game as a temporally whole entity. There is no justification to the notion that “it is well established” that the barbarian s a “rage-y guy.” Having one edition follow that path, and another edition semi-follow that path, does not make something "well established."
Berserker fits the 1-trick concept of this PARTICULAR type of Barbarian. 

Mearls has said this is only the preliminary option and that Barbarians are going to have a few more choices to switch out rages for, such as the Warden transformations. 

Barbarian is a larger concept; I would suggest NOT changing the name to cover only this particular build of it.  That would be like calling the Fighter a Marksman if only the Marksman Fighting Style had been in the playtest.

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Here's the interesting thing about barbarian "rage": it doesn't have to just be all about frothing at the mouth and gnawing on your shield. I love the avenger class, but it lacked a true defender mechanic. I found that when the Essentials Berserker class came out, it allowed me to truly build a defender/striker hybrid character, but I completely reflavored the class. The character was a githzerai, and I envisioned him not "going berserk", but rather entering a Void state (much like Wheel of Time's "the Flame and the Void"). He became very cold and distant, and while I would normally say "inhuman", I'll have to amend it to "ingithzerai". I had wished I could have hybrided the avenger and berserker, because there are features of both I felt synergized well with my concept.

I wouldn't be upset of the barbarian got folded into the fighter as a combat style, but I definately want a "Pursuer" specialty at a minimum.

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The dfault Barbarian in 2nd ed was not a rager. He had high marks in the exploration pillar side of things (as in survive in the wilds).

Barbarian Kits 2nd ed from the Barbarians Handbook (Fighters Handbook had them for fighter as well).

Brushrunner
Brute
Forest Lord
Islander
Plainsrider
Ravager
Wizard Slayer

Cleric kits
Dreamwalker
Flamespeaker
Medicine Man
Seer
Spiritist
Witchman

 Feel free to ask for anything else from the bok as I have it beside me. 3rd ed made it a rager, 4th ed made it a striker which kind of continues the 3rd ed concept.



I'm all for options.  As long as each variant that trades rage gets something comparable, I am cool with any and all of these.  
And this is the weakness of a class-based system. Archetypes quickly become stereotypes. Then to realise another archetype another whole class needs to be developed, balanced, and have arbitrary mechanics created just for it (at least with 5ths design philosophy).
From wikipedia:

 The Ancient Greek word βάρβαρος barbaros, "barbarian", was an antonym for πολίτης politēs, "citizen" (from polis "city-state"). The sound of barbaros onomatopoetically evokes the image of babbling (a person speaking a non-Greek language).

If somebody wish create a alternative "barbarian" like the class from AD&D sourcebook "The complete Barbarian handbook" the solution could be creation of a variant class withouht rage power. 

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@OP: I agree with you Dave.  The barbarian that we have now feels too limited/specialized.  FWIW, I actually feel the same way about the cleric too, because that's the class that seems most like it should be able to accommodate an unarmored priest/saint type character that substitutes divine providence for armor protection.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

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There is no savage kit in the Barbarians Handbook. The 1st ed and 2nd ed barbarian shared the can't back stab me thing and the 3rd ed one got uncanny dodge hich is simialr. Out of 4 barbarians the rager is only in 1.5 editions assuming the 4th ed one had other options. That mentality is a 3E thing perhaps reinforced by the 4th ed striker role "me babarian hulk smash".

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

This is why I learned to disregard a class's name and fluff when creating my character.  What's printed on the sheet, and what my character calls himself are usually two completely different things.

Just because you are a Barbarian (class), does not mean you are a barbarian (concept), and just because you are a barbarian, does not mean you are a Barbarian.
This is why I learned to disregard a class's name and fluff when creating my character.

Accepting "Class" as a collection of level-locked abilities is quite liberating.

This is why I learned to disregard a class's name and fluff when creating my character.

Accepting "Class" as a collection of level-locked abilities is quite liberating.




Yep, it really opens up the amount of character concepts that are playable.


This is why I learned to disregard a class's name and fluff when creating my character.

Accepting "Class" as a collection of level-locked abilities is quite liberating.




Yep, it really opens up the amount of character concepts that are playable.




Meaning?



From, like, three posts up:

This is why I learned to disregard a class's name and fluff when creating my character.  What's printed on the sheet, and what my character calls himself are usually two completely different things.

Just because you are a Barbarian (class), does not mean you are a barbarian (concept), and just because you are a barbarian, does not mean you are a Barbarian.



Meaning a Rogue could be a barbarian, and someone of noble birth could be a Barbarian.

"Barbarian" is also well-established as the rage-y guy in fantasy for the same reason. That said, I think the Berzerker has enough cultural weight to work as a class name, too.



I could not disagree more. All of our most iconic "barbarian" figures in literatures do not rage. The idea that a barbarian is the guy who rages (as opposed to the possibility that some barbarians might rage) is very rooted in 3e D&D, not film, literature, or the game as a temporally whole entity. There is no justification to the notion that “it is well established” that the barbarian s a “rage-y guy.” Having one edition follow that path, and another edition semi-follow that path, does not make something "well established."



This.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
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104340961 wrote:
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"Barbarian" is also well-established as the rage-y guy in fantasy for the same reason. That said, I think the Berzerker has enough cultural weight to work as a class name, too.



I could not disagree more. All of our most iconic "barbarian" figures in literatures do not rage. The idea that a barbarian is the guy who rages (as opposed to the possibility that some barbarians might rage) is very rooted in 3e D&D, not film, literature, or the game as a temporally whole entity. There is no justification to the notion that “it is well established” that the barbarian s a “rage-y guy.” Having one edition follow that path, and another edition semi-follow that path, does not make something "well established."



This.

I've always wondered where D&D got it in its head that barbarian = rage.
It's unfounded at best, and a gross mischaracterization at worst.

Conan - In literature (definitely not referencing the horrible films), Conan did not rage. He was more of a fighter/rogue...and would likely have a good smattering of warlord, if it were not for his "encouragement" coming by way of death-threats. He was calculated. He was methodical. He was far from the slavering wolverine portrayed by post 2E D&D barbarians. He was a most formidable opponent, but not because he would rage...it was because he was a surgeon with pretty much any weapon he picked up. Growing up under the constant threat of raiding Vanir and Aesir, he learned as a young child the arts of weaponry and war. He wasn't a barbarian because of how he fought...he was a barbarian because he came from Cimmeria, a region in the north shunned by most "civilized" people as being inhospitable. He was seen as crude, rude, forceful, and otherwise not socially acceptable. That's what made Conan a barbarian...not the way he fought.

Other notable (non raging) barbarians are: Fafhrd in the Lankhmar tales, the Dothraki from A Song of Ice and Fire, and the Aiel in the Wheel of Time stories.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
Thus, why you would not build Conan with the Barbarian class.  He would still be called a barbarian by people because of his behavior, not because of his 'class' (which nobody in the world would be aware of).

This is precisely how it should work.  Get your concept, then determine which class(es) best mechanically get you to that concept, reflavoring where necessary, then ignore what you wrote on the character sheet beside 'Class' and call yourself whatever your concept is.
Barbarian and Rogue are alike in that they both have a specific meaning the the game which has little to do with their meaning in the real world.


Not all Rogues (class) are rogues (personality) and being a rogue (personality) does not make you a Rogue (class).    Oddly enough, the prior term "Theif" had the same issue - not all Thieves were thieves and you could be a thief without being a Theif.

Not all Barbarians (class) are barbarians (origin) and being a barbarian (origin) does not make you a Barbarian (class).


It isn't the best of situations - but it has a farly long history in game tradition behind it and it is unlikely to change.  In the case of the rogue, that hasn't stopped them from trying to embrace a fairly wide range of archetypes and we can only hope the same is true of the barbarian.


Perhaps the current build will be named 'the berserker' and others will be more varied.


That said - if the 'rage' is going to be the shared mechanic I think a new name for that is in order as the current name (rage) tends to focus development towards that concept.  Something with a meaning more like Frenzy or even Trance might be more appropriate.


Carl 
I miss the "super human strength, but immune to/can't use magic" trope.
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