Getting back in the saddle...guidance with a Dragonborn Thunderborn Barbarian?

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Hi all.  I'm trying to get back into playing D&D and have read various things.  From a thematic standpoint and a few other things, I'd like to play a Dragonborn Thunderborn Barbarian with lightning as a breath weapon.  It's been awhile since I've made a character and so I'm reaching out to see what the collective hive minds of badassery can come up with for a Dragonborn Thunderborn that has a love and addiction with a 2H waraxe and his breath weapon.

Thanks! 
As a start, here's a stat breakdown so far.  I think it's doable and durable but still trying to grasp things as I go along.

Though I was thinking I might switch STR and CON and go for a CON build over STR.  That a bad thing or am I overthinking it too much?

STR:
 18 CON: 16 DEX: 12 INT: 8 WIS: 10 CHA: 14
Though I was thinking I might switch STR and CON and go for a CON build over STR.  That a bad thing or am I overthinking it too much?


Why would you do that?
Again, I'm new at this.  Thought that if I went axes, that would be the route to go.  Along with choosing the CON stat for dragon breath.  Please enlighten me as to why that's a bad idea?
Your AC, Ref and Will will all be fairly miserable if you do. Your stats as a pure-class barb should be Str/Dex/ Wis or Cha, in that order, preferably Wis. You can do a Str/Cha or Str/Con Barb (The latter is not recommended, since it leaves you with two weak NADs, but you basically have to have the Wis to MC Cleric for Battle Cleric's Lore to patch up your AC. (13 or is it 15, I forget...) You don't need a lot of Con or Cha to make use of Barb power riders, so a +1 or +2 mod at the end of them is fine.
A Beginners Primer to CharOp. Archmage's Ascension - The Wizard's Handbook. Let the Hammer Fall: Dwarf Warpriest/Tactical Warpriest/Indomitable Champion, a Defending Leader. Requiem for Dissent: Cleric/Fighter/Paragon of Victory Melee Leader Ko te manu e kai i te miro, nona te ngahere. Ko te manu e kai i te matauranga e, nano te ao katoa. It's the proliferation of people who think the rules are more important than what the rules are meant to accomplish. - Dedekine
First off, how long have you been out of the saddle for? (months, years, editions, etc.) The nature of the advice will depend on how familiar you are with game systems.

Barbarians can be very strong and intimidating front-line strikers, very flavorful to roleplay, and Dragonborn are great at it. That said, I'd generally advise against using the Thunderborn Wrath option in favor of Thaneborn Wrath. It not only has a more powerful initial effect which scales up in power far better at higher levels (accuracy bonuses and defense penalties let the party land more powerful attacks with greater reliability, securing that encounter-changing hit instead of just 2-3 damage on adjacent enemies), it has much better power support. As one of the original, player's handbook 2 options, it has had the most time to have new features and powers keying off of it added, and it has more stat synergy with a Dragonborn's automatic +2 to charisma. You can still make a thunder-emphasized barbarian without Thunderborn wrath - your warcries pack the ferocity of a raging storm to rattle your foes, you've still got lightning breath, and you can grab plenty of huge, cleaving blows to tear opponents apart.

Either way, sinking all your points into purely str/con (or str/cha) is a trap for them. Barbarians wear hide armor, not heavy armor (traditionally; they lack built-in heavy armor proficiency), so to get a respectably high AC you need either dex (the smart choice) or int (the dumb choice, ironically enough) to be high. As a melee striker who runs around without a shield (because of your aforementioned affinity for 2H axes), having a level 1 ac of only 15 (10 base + 3 hide +1 feature + 1 dex) will make you your DM's favorite pincushion. You will quite likely have one of the lowest AC values in your party (Including wizards!) if you take this route. My 1st party in 4th Ed. had a very similar 2h axe-wielding dragonborn barbarian leading the charge, and my job as the cleric was to repeatedly pick his face up off the floor because he just couldn't handle the aggro.

There are two approaches to this: either make dexterity your true secondary stat and con/cha as tertiary stats for healing surges and effect riders, or co-secondary with your Feral Wrath tie-in (again, I'd suggest charisma here). In hide armor, your bare minimum dex should be 14 to start, possibly more - 14 dex gives you Chain Armor levels of defense, which are the bottom of the heavy armor ladder. Alternatively, come up with a way to wear heavy armor instead so your dexterity doesn't determine your AC. You can take a feat to earn Chain proficiency (AC 16 at level 1) if your dex and int are just awful, or hybrid with a tankier class and use their heavier heavy armor - |Paladin and |Fighter both work, if you take Hybrid Talent to access their armor proficiency. If you make a hybrid barbarian|cleric though, you can use the cleric's Battle Cleric Lore class feature to get scale armor with a free +2 shield bonus to armor while pumping all your points in str/con at no feat cost - that's AC 19 at 1st level, while building for full-on damage. Clerics have lots of strength-based melee attacks with Charisma based secondary effects which work great to supplement your damage dealing, and still have that crunchy, thundery, axe-cleaving flavor - you just pray to the spirits of thunder (or Bahamut) to bless your axe as you charge into the fray. Attacks like Mighty Hew (cleric L1 encounter power) can let you set up a nasty catch-22 with your defender to all-but-ensure that one or both of you gets an out of turn attack, and Clerics get daily powers to radically shift the whole party's effectiveness for the encounter. Your reflex defense will suffer because neither dex nor int will be of meaninful importance, but your AC will thank you, as none but the tankiest of main tanks will turn aside a sword the way you do.

Edit: you can take a feat to multiclass into cleric if you have a wisdom of 13 or higher, but no DM I know allows you to use it to poach Battle Cleric's Lore that way. Better-than-Plate (assuming you weren't going to use a shield) armor levels on any class with the entry fee of just a single feat and a 13 wisdom prerequisite just seems too good to be true.

Also, having any stat but strength as your highest stat as a barbarian is honestly just silliness in 4th ed. Your strength directly determines your accuracy and damage with everything you do, and missing sucks. +1 hp, +1 surge value, and +1 to your thunderborn barb. secondary effects is not worth +1 tohit and damage.
You should really learn at least the basic rules of the game, otherwise i don't know how you could play out, what people suggest you to do.
The following would fit better to achieve that:
community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/7588...

RuinsFate: I doubt he got half of that, being a new player ;)

Anyway, like RuinsFate said, your AC and your Reflex are tied to your Dexterity, so it's important you invest in that, preferably 16 points for a +3 bonus.

Since Strength and Constitution are tied to that same defense (Fortitude), it's usually a bad idea to pump both stats. Additionally, Constitution only gives you a minor damage bonus on some of your powers and one or two extra healing surges, while Strength increases the to-hit and damage bonuses of all your attack powers. The latter is much more important, optimisation-wise. And you can use either stat for Dragon Breath, so that doesn't make a difference.

For now, forget about multiclassing or hybriding Cleric. Although the most optimal Barbarians are Cleric hybrids, single class barbs function just fine.

Read the Barbarian handbook to find out more about optimizing a Barbarian.

EDIT: wow, massively ninja'd.
I'd quibble the idea that the most optimal barbarians are |cleric.

Pure barb (str-dex) and and barb|fighter (str-wis with HT fighter armour) can both be devistating.

Zelink's barb|SM (str-int) is also impressive.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein

If you want to use Thaneborn Wrath, Barbarian|Cleric is the obvious choice. If not, Barbarian|Fighter or the intriguing Barbarian|Swordmage will be better. Pure Barbarians are worse, but still good enough. But in general, for a beginner in DnD 4e I would advise against hybrids and, in this case, for a pure Barbarian.


If you are set on going STR + CON, this is still possible. There is a feat named "Hide Armor Expertise" that trades your DEX or INT modifier for a simple +2 to AC. There is a magic item in the wondrous item category named Elven Chain Shirt that will add +1 per tier to AC. With these your AC will still be at acceptable heights for games that don't focus on optimization. However, this is still far less optimal than going STR + DEX.


If you want to learn more about Barbarians, check the Barbarian's Handbook. It's a bit outdated, but the basics still fit.

I again disagree that a pure str-dex barb is worse than a barb|cleric. The only thing that the barb does not really have is minor action attacks and dailies (and when you need your minors for Promise of Storm/Sohei not really relevant) and none of the cleric dailies are better than barbarian encounters to use up your standard actions.

The main point of hybrid cleric is to fix the AC of certain melee classes (e.g. the str-wis ranger) but a barbarian gets perfectly good AC in hide + barb class feature + chain shirt + dex. 
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
I again disagree that a pure str-dex barb is worse than a barb|cleric. The only thing that the barb does not really have is minor action attacks and dailies (and when you need your minors for Promise of Storm/Sohei not really relevant) and none of the cleric dailies are better than barbarian encounters to use up your standard actions.

The main point of hybrid cleric is to fix the AC of certain melee classes (e.g. the str-wis ranger) but a barbarian gets perfectly good AC in hide + barb class feature + chain shirt + dex. 


I'd at least argue Weapon of Astral Flame as a useful sub if you're starting at level 1. 

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Doom(Algar), level 2
Dragonborn, Barbarian
Build: Thunderborn Barbarian
Feral Might Option: Thunderborn Wrath
Dragonborn Racial Power Option: Dragon Breath
Dragon Breath Key Ability: Dragon Breath Strength
Dragon Breath Damage Type: Dragon Breath Lightning

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 20, CON 11, DEX 14, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 10

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 18, CON 11, DEX 14, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 8


AC: 18 Fort: 18 Ref: 14 Will: 11
HP: 37 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 9

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +7, Athletics +10, Perception +6

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +1, Bluff +1, Diplomacy +1, Dungeoneering +1, Endurance +0, Heal +1, History +3, Insight +1, Intimidate +3, Nature +1, Religion +1, Stealth +2, Streetwise +1, Thievery +2

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Dragonborn Racial Power: Dragon Breath
Barbarian Feature: War Cry
Barbarian Attack 1: Howling Strike
Barbarian Attack 1: Pressing Strike
Barbarian Attack 1: Batter Down
Barbarian Attack 1: Thunder Hooves Rage
Barbarian Utility 2: Ignore Pain

FEATS
Level 1: Two-Handed Weapon Expertise
Level 2: Toughness

ITEMS
Greataxe x1
Adventurer's Kit
Climber's Kit
Handaxe
Magic Hide Armor +1 x1
====== End ======

This is my character in a currect game.
So far he does damage between 15 to 25
each hit. And he hardly misses too.  
Only once an encounter where I almost died. But I was level one.
Was do to the fact that the monsters hit reflex and did 8-12 damage each time :P. 

Toughness is not needed, and the Greatsword is probably the better choice than the Greataxe because +1 to hit >> average +1 to damage per [W]. Of course, you could also go with either the Fullblade or the Gouge, which would cost a feat for proficiency. The Gouge is the best charge weapon around, the Fullblade ist the best allround two handed high damage weapon. If you are set on an axe for fluff reasons, take the Gouge.


Also, dumping CHA to get it pushed back to 10 ain't useful. Better drop WIS or INT to 8. And you might think about dropping STR and put the points into DEX and/or CHA too.

Hehe, Well retrictions in the campaign because of what we are limited to. 
The DM put retrictions to weapon proficieny. What you get for your class
is what you get to have :P. Its a short running campaign. We are trying
to get a group going. So we can actually run a full 1-16 lvl campaign.

I took the Greataxe for fluff like you mentioned. I would love to use the gouge
but I am not doing much charging(And DM retrictions :P). Most encounters end up close proximity.
But they never clump just not enough room to charge. The Gouge
is better in the long run. But we are only going to level 4.
   
So for the poster sake. If he is going higher. Then what you have
suggested for Gouge will be best for anyone charging.
I took toughness because of being hit more often.  

Dragonborn get Str/Con and Cha boost only.
I just wanted to make sure I had no -1
marks. But After looking over it .
I could have dumped Int to give me a better Cha score.

Because Barbs want to hit.
Who cares about the Int part right :P?
I again disagree that a pure str-dex barb is worse than a barb|cleric. The only thing that the barb does not really have is minor action attacks and dailies (and when you need your minors for Promise of Storm/Sohei not really relevant) and none of the cleric dailies are better than barbarian encounters to use up your standard actions.

The main point of hybrid cleric is to fix the AC of certain melee classes (e.g. the str-wis ranger) but a barbarian gets perfectly good AC in hide + barb class feature + chain shirt + dex. 

Superior Will, actually having a decent Will score while still having good AC. Those alone benefit your action economy so much that |Cleric is justifying itself.

Also Rages are awful... getting to not have Rages is one of the benefits of hybriding a Barb, you get dailies that don't suck.
I wish my DM would of let me hybrid . He didn't want to confuse newer people
with too much. A lot would ask why don't I have that?
How come his is so much better then mine?
Then you start to explain and mind blown immediatily. :P 

The next one we will do hopefully goes all the way to 16.
I am trying to convince him to go farther, maybe 21.

Only time will tell what happens. I love hybriding the barb though.
It makes it so much easier to endure then a straight up barb. 
Like you said no more worries about rages :P!!!
Didn't expect this much in the time I slept but excellent. As for how long has it been, I last played when the Dragonlance books were still being written and just published so its been awhile. . I understood a bit more but will have to check MC rules a little more. Me and another are just starting back again so I figured a PURE class straight off the bat would be good to start play with. Figure that making a mistake here and there wouldn't be too bad if he dies but that doesn't mean I don't want to optimize and hold off death until the very end. Thanks all and keep it coming. Any info you can pass my way the better.
If you're open to switching your character later and want something simple while you're still getting the rules down, a Slayer might work for a bit and can be fairly simply reskinned into a barbarian esque.  you'd be beafy and wield a giant a giant weapon.  essentials classes are a really good way to figure out the game, then maybe move on to another character type.
Thunderborn Barbarian|Cleric MC Runepriest with the Building Thunder PP is a nice build that really takes off in paragon tier. Might be a bit too complicated for a beginner though.
Thunderborn Barbarian|Cleric MC Runepriest with the Building Thunder PP is a nice build that really takes off in paragon tier. Might be a bit too complicated for a beginner though.



I hope you're not talking about the Shardmind/Warforged "no extended rests" cheese. Since they're new players, this kind of cheese would kill all their fun from the beginning.
But i guess, you intend him to play it normally, so it should be fine.
I'm intrigued. What's this cheese and how would a thunderborn/runepriest be made?
The level 12 utility, Storm Gathering, lets you (for a while) deal additional damage equal to the number of surges you've spent since your last extended rest. If you never take an extended rest but keep spending healing surges, this goes and stays up.
Beware, it has a high chance of killing your character in whatever way your DM sees fit as punishment for trying to break the game.
I'm intrigued. What's this cheese and how would a thunderborn/runepriest be made?



First of all, what Doobledigoop said, it's totally broken and unplayable, if you want to keep your group.

Out of fun and after reading this thread, i made one yesterday. I'm sure it could be optimized even more, but this one would already end encounters in one turn,  as soon as he gets the belt, axe and u12, so...
Consists of
-Warforged Barbarian|Cleric or Runepriest (Cleric is for defense purposes only, which is obsolete anyway, due to tattoo, it's nice for survivability till you get the combo working, tho. Runepriest lets you get Protective Scroll earlier than via Secrets of Belial).
-You never take extended rests due to Living Construct, while your party does.
-Comrade's Succor Ritual (gives you surges to waste them faster, so you reach absurd damage heights faster)
-Eager Hero's Tattoo to make you invincible
-Protective Scroll to waste Surges faster (you don't even waste em, you do something pretty good with them) 
-Reincarnate Champion Genasi+Tiefling.
-Storm Step (for additional mobility) + Secrets of Belial (Protective Scroll; only if you didn't hybrid Runepriest) 
-Belt of Breaching + Reaper's Axe
-Items that enhance teleportation and shifting range to make sure you will reach every, even the most remote, enemy. 
-MC Vampire, Primal Vampire, Divine Vampire, both to get more surges to waste.
-Rest of feat slots for +hit to make sure your attack sequence wont stop (grabbing all reroll powers one can get) and to make sure you wont get controlled while or before novaing, so all that enhances will defense 

That's basically it. You can't be killed and end an encounter in one turn. Cool story.

So after going back and rereading thread the concensus I'm getting is go thaneborn with thunder goodness and go str/dex with cha third. Correct? For a relative newb and not going into the depths of hybrids or MC. If that's the case how ssshould I go about it? Str maxed with dex at least 14-16 but where should cha come out as?
Post racial: strength 18, Dex 16 or 14, Charisma 16 or 14, which leaves either 12 or 13 for Con.   Just decide if you prefer a bit more on riders or a bit more AC. 
Everything I've read points to more AC as apparently the riders aren't worth it.
There are a few nice riders, as in the Ancestral Weapon Paragon Path, but it's very likely that you won't get your CHA to heights where the riders really start counting. DEX is the natural secondary stat for pure Barbarians.
So after going back and rereading thread the concensus I'm getting is go thaneborn with thunder goodness and go str/dex with cha third. Correct? For a relative newb and not going into the depths of hybrids or MC. If that's the case how ssshould I go about it? Str maxed with dex at least 14-16 but where should cha come out as?



Textbook barbarian, before racials 16/11/16/8/10/13. 
So...changing gears and such...dragonborn thaneborn...but for dragon breath go frost instead of thunder? Thoughts? Pros? Cons?
Frost is more easily boostable, thunder less resisted. However, if yuo're not planning to get into paragon the choice is irrelevant, since you won't have the feat space to boost either, and not that many heroic level monsters resist either.
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