Timid Barbarian

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I have an idea for a timid barbarian. he is shy, unsure of himself, fearful(not a coward), and even slightly pacifist. I figure he isn't very smart either. But once he is angry he is a butt whipping force of awesome.

My question is: What flips his angry switch?

Definitely pain: First hit he takes in a fight, Stubs his toe?

Insults?

Rudeness?

What do you think? All ideas are welcome.
So you're looking for a Berserk Button.

Rudeness is probably too generic for something like that, or he'd fly into a rage by dealing with people in general. Try to think of a specific trait that he's sensitive about.

Perhaps if someone calls him weak? And note, specifically weak. Not pathetic or cowardly, but if someone says the word weak, weakness, weakling, etc. he loses it!
i enjoyed that link.
In Version 3.5 i had a barbarien/sorcerer/rage-mage that had multiple personality.

He was realy kind wain he was in is normal personality(not rage),
He had paranoia wain he wass in is 2th personality(sorcerer),
And wass cruel wain he was in rage(¨rage-mage¨ rage).

Each one was declenched by something different, if u would say that hes not intelligent he would go in sorcerer personality or like is rage was from the sight of blood. ;)
i enjoyed that link.

TV Tropes is one of the best sources of ideas for characters and campaigns I've ever found.
You could go with the traditional "YOU HURT MY FRIENDS!!! NOW DDDIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!!!" :fight!:

A list of CharOp Handbooks I'm currently updating:

Heart of the Dragon: A Dragonborn's Handbook

Infernal Wrath: A Tiefling's Handbook

It could be something tactile, and not emotional. Maybe when he uses a certain weapon...the weight of the axehead, the sound of the blade being unsheathed makes something click (or unclick) in his brain. Perhaps the weapon was given to him by his tribal elders and he believes it channels the "rage spirit." When this weapon comes out, all hell breaks lose. That way, there really is no external "trigger" he has to wait for. He can decide that it's time to pull out Old (insert pet name for weapon here) and boom, extra damage plus cranky man.
what race should i use.
Have you seen Records of the Lodoss War? It's one of the better animes (at least for fantasy gamers), and the writers based alot of it on their D&D experience. Anyways (and it's been a while since I've seen the movie), one of the main characters is a young beserker who is possessed by a rage spirit, but is a very calm, gentle, and friendly person. I recommend renting it for a good idea of how a timid barbarian might act.

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

what race should i use.

Depends on the kind of image you want to go for. Human's always a good choice. They can do almost anything well and they're generic enough that it can fit the type you're looking for easily. Half-Elves would work too, since they've got a human element to them that separates them from elves. Elves might work too, though it's somewhat jarring from my perspective, seeing a dainty elf go nuts like that. Eladrin are all brains and no brawn, so I don't know if they'd make good barbarians. Dwarves and Dragonborn are all about honor and glory in battle, which I don't think fits the character type you're interested in. Halflings seem too outgoing and curious, and Tieflings...I just feel like tieflings really only fit as rogues or warlocks. I just immediately associate them with either devilry or skullduggery.
The halfling barbarian flipping out over somebody insulting his size is almost a trope in itself by now.

Although a very prissy, effete snobbish elf makes a great barbarian, it doesn't really fit with the feel of the character you want to do.
I'd say probably human.

I'll second the "weak" trigger, as well as people insulting his apparently limited intellect. However, I'd make him of average intelligence, and simply play him as coming across as dumb simply because he's afraid to take the initiative in conversation or offer ideas.


(I once played a barbarian called Fearghal the Fearless, who'd nearly faint before every battle because he hated fighting so much. He gained his nickname when, before his first battle, he worried himself into a complete mental meltdown and began foaming at the mouth before charging into battle in a howling rage. As time went on, everyone began thinking he was some great warrior hero, and he kept having to do it over and over again because he was so worried about people finding out he was a total fraud...:D )

Show

I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)

 

I am the Lawnmower Man.

(I AM GOD HERE!)

 

I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)

 

There are reasons they call me Mad...

"Please dont make me angry, you wouldnt like me when i'm angry..."
5'6" artificer turning into a 6'5" barbarian.

I like the weapon idea, give him a bonded weapon or armor when he puts it on he cn unlock his rage. Remember how they base themselves off animals for totems, imbune yourself withthe puffer fish!
"Why Thog's pants turn purple?":D
what race should i use.

One of my players in an Eberron campaign had a Warforged Barbarian. He played him as having "incomplete programming" which meant he didn't get the part of his programming which gave him Literacy, and he got a flaw like "Uncontrollable Rage" which was a flaw in his programming that made him rage when he was injured. We planned on letting him buy off the flaw instead of getting a feat when he decided that the character was able to control himself under stress.
Have you seen Records of the Lodoss War? It's one of the better animes (at least for fantasy gamers), and the writers based alot of it on their D&D experience. Anyways (and it's been a while since I've seen the movie), one of the main characters is a young beserker who is possessed by a rage spirit, but is a very calm, gentle, and friendly person. I recommend renting it for a good idea of how a timid barbarian might act.

Record of Lodoss War was excellent. RoLW the series was terrible. And, iirc, it was based on a game similar to but not D&D.


Something else that could be done: DRUNKEN RAGE!!!!!!! get a little o' that good ol' whiskey/sochu/vodka/poison of choice in you and everyone else better watch out, Mr. Pacificst becomes Mr. Throwafist.
Maybe his rage could be absolutely random? Some times he rages when needed, some times it just gets him...

Somehow, I'm getting very Logen Ninefinger kinda wibes from this... good way...
Except a D&D barbarian always rages with the explicit purpose of combat. It's the adrenaline that allows you to smash your opponent down. I'd be more inclined to have a specific word be the trigger, because you have more consistency that way and its a way for the character to develop an interesting reputation:

"You do NOT want to call that guy a weakling."

"I called him a weak sissy."

"What?! You did?!"

"Yeah, he deserved it. What are you so nervous about?"

"...Do you want to inform your next-of-kin, or should I?"

EDIT: Who's this Logen Ninefinger fellow?
im thinkin human. i picture the oversized(6'6" 210lbs) pretty boy who has no clue about normal things but takes the time to nurse baby bunnies to health. scared of most things and very gullable. he's not dumb and has a natural likability. who wants to make stats? 22 point buy
Normal things?
Maybe it's a malign influence from the weapon he wields, when it's drawn he's possessed by the anger and sorrow of all those he's killed previously. No need for mechanics on this one, just RP possibility.
good question. girls, deciet, evil. "why would anyone burn a forest?" disney princess mentality. plus rage. i said he wasn't bright in the first post. scratch that. he's bright but not wise. knows a lot about nature but cant read people. does that help?
Ah, naivete. Well, I don't know how much this'd carry over from 3.5's Player's Handbook II, but they depict the naive character type typically has low Charisma, indicating their lack of guile, and clumsiness in social situations.
he is very likable though. i'll roleplay no guile.
here's the name i have. _________ the tiger. he is the biggest male in the cheetah tribe. tigers are bigger than cheetahs. i just dont have a first name. at the age of five, he was tattooed w/ tiger stripes. most male children get spots.
Interesting detail. Might I suggest Corbett? It comes from Jim Corbett, a hunter turned conservationist famous for his writings on man-eating tigers. One of the five remaining subspecies of tigers, the Indochinese, was named "Corbett's Tiger", in his honor.
you got it. Corbett the Tiger
Glad I could help!
im thinkin human. i picture the oversized(6'6" 210lbs) pretty boy who has no clue about normal things but takes the time to nurse baby bunnies to health. scared of most things and very gullable. he's not dumb and has a natural likability. who wants to make stats? 22 point buy

Using the ability generator bonus tool, I set strength for 8 to represent initial timidness and a sliver of always "holding back" his blows, I got:
STR 16
CON 16
DEX 10
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 12
I'm not so sure the 8 should be in STR. Part of what the OP has said is this guy is naturally bigger and stronger than his family and friends. An initial STR of 8 would indicate that he was in fact weaker. STR, DEX and CON are physical stats. They indicate what the character's body is like naturally. Psychological indications are found with a characters INT, WIS and CHA. I would reccomend switching the initial 8 of STR with the 10 in CHA (indicating his lack of guile and his clumsiness in conversation), and redo the point-buy from there.
Except a D&D barbarian always rages with the explicit purpose of combat. It's the adrenaline that allows you to smash your opponent down.

...

EDIT: Who's this Logen Ninefinger fellow?

Well, the reason "it's always done this way" isn't reason at all... Surely most of the barbarians "ragins" should be connected to the combat, but I don't see reasons for barbarian's rage NOT to go on other stressful situations, like arquing or something like that.

Logen Ninefingers is barbarian in Joe Abercrombies "new" fantasy story arc, the First Law (at this moment, three books long), where Logen (who is very skilled warrior but a little... I don't know, cautious?) has this alternate personality, Bloody Nine, who is very brutal and blood-thirsty. Nothing isn't safe from Bloody Nine, and usually he appears when Logen is in especially dangerous situation, like loosing the battle or something. To me Logen and Bloody Nine represents the abilities of Barbarian Rage, but that's just my opinion *shrug*.
I'm not so sure the 8 should be in STR. Part of what the OP has said is this guy is naturally bigger and stronger than his family and friends. An initial STR of 8 would indicate that he was in fact weaker. STR, DEX and CON are physical stats. They indicate what the character's body is like naturally. Psychological indications are found with a characters INT, WIS and CHA. I would reccomend switching the initial 8 of STR with the 10 in CHA (indicating his lack of guile and his clumsiness in conversation), and redo the point-buy from there.

As said before, the 8 str is more of a mental block, somehow he is affraid of his own strength to go all out, this was done to represent his timidness, the massive size and such could just fall under his intimidate check, which the cha helps. But, in the sake of fair play, here he is under your suggestion

Either
STR 17(19)
CON 16
DEX 10
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 9
or
STR 18(20)
CON 14
DEX 10
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 9
Well, the reason "it's always done this way" isn't reason at all... Surely most of the barbarians "ragins" should be connected to the combat, but I don't see reasons for barbarian's rage NOT to go on other stressful situations, like arquing or something like that.

Logen Ninefingers is barbarian in Joe Abercrombies "new" fantasy story arc, the First Law (at this moment, three books long), where Logen (who is very skilled warrior but a little... I don't know, cautious?) has this alternate personality, Bloody Nine, who is very brutal and blood-thirsty. Nothing isn't safe from Bloody Nine, and usually he appears when Logen is in especially dangerous situation, like loosing the battle or something. To me Logen and Bloody Nine represents the abilities of Barbarian Rage, but that's just my opinion *shrug*.

I see. Who's Joe Abercrombie?
I only read the first post or two... i think my favorite example of "things that set people off" comes from the movie Shoot'em up. Little things like idiots who don't use turn signals because they are too lazy to move their finger 2 inches. I'd say build yourself short code of conduct. Make it slightly vague so that you don't flip out at people on the drop of a hat. Also you could try making a list of monsters you strongly dislike and like. It'd be funny watching a barbarian try to convince the party that the carrion crawler is just trying to hug them one minute and the next he's literally beating a dead horse in pulp.
karldark, you just hit the nail on the head.

Str 18 - cuz duh
Con 14 - same

Dex 13 - kinda agile
int 10 - not smart/ not dumb

wis 8 - gullable/ niave
cha 13 - pretty boy / likable

not lookin to min/max
Record of Lodoss War was excellent. RoLW the series was terrible. And, iirc, it was based on a game similar to but not D&D.


Something else that could be done: DRUNKEN RAGE!!!!!!! get a little o' that good ol' whiskey/sochu/vodka/poison of choice in you and everyone else better watch out, Mr. Pacificst becomes Mr. Throwafist.

I actually liked RoLW the series better - Spark was a much more likable protagonist than Parn. That aside, I believe the manga was based off a homebrew setting for the original dungeons & dragons rules (pre - AD&D).

For another example of a timid barbarian, I might point out Nigel the Barbarian, from Terry Pratchit's Sourcery. Teach from Interesting Times also fits the mold.