Bloodlust Unleashed: Exploring the Barbarian Class in D&D 5e


The Barbarian is a primal warrior class in the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Drawing strength from their intense emotions and a connection to their ancestral spirits, Barbarians tap into their raw power to become relentless combatants on the battlefield. They eschew heavy armor and refined techniques in favor of unbridled fury, making them a formidable force to reckon with.

Barbarians are known for their exceptional physical prowess and high endurance. They possess a unique class feature called Rage, which allows them to enter a state of heightened ferocity. While raging, Barbarians gain a number of benefits, such as increased damage, resistance to certain types of damage, and improved strength in battle. They also gain temporary hit points, allowing them to sustain themselves longer in combat.

Barbarians have a choice of primal paths, also known as subclasses, which further define their combat style and offer distinct abilities. The Berserker path focuses on embracing pure rage, granting additional attacks and a fearsome ability called Frenzy that allows for even greater carnage. The Totem Warrior path taps into a connection with animal spirits, granting the Barbarian unique powers based on their chosen animal totem, such as increased speed, improved senses, or the ability to resist certain effects.

Additionally, Barbarians possess abilities like Danger Sense, which grants them heightened reflexes to avoid traps and other dangers, and Brutal Critical, which increases their chance to inflict devastating critical hits. They also have access to primal Path Features as they progress, which provide them with further combat advantages and resilience.

In terms of playstyle, Barbarians excel in close-quarters combat, wielding weapons such as great axes, greatswords, or even their own fists. Their raw strength allows them to deal massive damage, while their rage and high hit points make them durable tanks on the battlefield. Barbarians are often the front line of any party, fearlessly charging into the thick of the fight and soaking up damage for their allies.

Whether you choose to embody a raging berserker or a primal totem warrior, playing a Barbarian in D&D 5e offers a thrilling and visceral experience, where you can tap into your inner savagery and unleash devastating fury upon your enemies.

The classic Barbarian 5e features in all kinds of media being a skilled warrior under the clothed and strong ox. The classic barbarian guide expresses the practices of barbarian 5e have been around since the 3x version of Dungeons and Dragons and nodded to in a number of prestige classes. The 5th edition manages to reinvent the barbarian warrior in some way.

The barbarian holds a solid front-line role that it can play at the party. This has a more linear power curve than other classes and lacks some of the build versatility shown with others while this barbarian5e crop guide is aimed at giving some mechanical advice, remember that character optimization means different things to different players.

This is truly an effective character and is more than the notches on its axe. The guide builds on those that have come on before it and adds new subclasses from Xanathar’s guide to everything.

A Comprehensive Guide to Playing a Barbarian in D&D 5e

Barbarian 5e in dnd classes

The first step of becoming a great barbarian is knowing what you are and what you aren’t. The barbarian is not a fighter. Where the fighter is versatile, sharp, and precise. It’s the barbarian that is raw, blunt, and a force of nature.

As a barbarian, you will be playing an incredible game of risk vs. reward. At its core, the barbarian has a ton of built-in survival. It’s the highest hit dice in the game being baked in resistances, advantage versus a ton of effects, and the ability to stay fighting even after dropping to 0. The barbarian is amongst the best of the best when it comes to staying alive in the melee.

The barbarian holds the ability to trade in some of that defense for some instant offense. It’s not always the “optimal” choice but it can be a brutal addition when it’s triggered.


ProficiencyFeaturesRagesRage Damage
1st+2Rage, Unarmored Defense2+2
2nd+2Reckless Attack, Danger Sense2+2
3rd+2Primal Path3+2
4th+2Ability Score Improvement3+2
5th+3 Extra Attack, Fast Movement3+2
6th+3Path feature4+2
7th+3Feral Instinct4+2
8th+3Ability Score Improvement4+2
9th+4Brutal Critical (1 die)4+3
10th+4Path feature4+3
11th+4Relentless⁠ Rage4+3
12th+4Ability Score Improvement 5+3
13th+5Brutal Critical (2 dice)5+3
14th+5Path feature5+3
15th+5Persistent Rage5+3
16th+5Ability Score Improvement 5+4
17th+6Brutal Critical (3 dice)6+4
18th+6Ability Score Improvement 6+4
19th+6Ability Score Improvement 6+4
20th+6Primal Champion⁠Unlimited+4


Hit Died12
Starting Gold2d4 x 10
Suggested AbilitiesStrength, Constitution
Subclass NamePrimal Path

The core barbarian

As the barbarian D&D 5e states the melee classes like the 5e fighter, paladin, or ranger, the barbarian has a narrow focus of specific stats it needs to have. There is really no strong dex-based option here. You need str. From this point forward, the common color coding is being used which is as follows:-

  • The sky blue colors tops the line choice and the barbarian optimization starts here.
  • Blue is considered a very strong choice and black is a solid choice that has even better options but it’s more than serviceable.
  • Purple is not the top tier but it may have niche use and there are better options that exist.
  • The red color is mechanically weak and if you feel it fits your concept, go for it. But you will likely be less effective.

What the barbarians 5e

The barbarians are tall human tribesmen who stride through a blizzard. This is draped in fur and hefting his axe. He laughs as he charges toward the frost giant who dared poach his people’s elk horde. A half-orc snarls at the latest challenger to her authority over their savage tribe and is ready to break his neck with her bare hands as she did to the last six rivals. Frothing at the mouth, there is a dwarf slam his helmet into the face of his drow foe, then turns to drive his armored elbow into the gut of another.

These barbarians are different as they might be and are defined by their rage, unbridled, unquenchable, and unthinking fury. There are more than just emotions as their anger is the ferocity of a cornered predator. The unrelenting assault of a storm with the churning turmoil of the sea. For some their rage springs from communion with the fierce animal spirits. Others draw from a boiling reservoir of anger at a world full of pain. For every single barbarian, rage is a power that fuels not just a battle frenzy but also uncanny reflexes, resilience, and feasts of strength.


The Barbarian class in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (5e) comes with a variety of unique features that set it apart from other classes. Here are some of the key features of the Barbarian:

  1. Hit Points (HP): Barbarians have a d12 Hit Die, giving them a higher hit point pool than most other classes. This allows them to endure more damage and stay in the fight longer.
  2. Proficiencies: Barbarians are proficient in light and medium armor, shields, and simple and martial weapons. They also have proficiency in Strength and Constitution saving throws.
  3. Rage: The signature ability of Barbarians is their Rage feature. By expending a bonus action, Barbarians can enter a state of intense fury, gaining several benefits for 1 minute. While raging, they gain an advantage on Strength checks and saving throws, increased damage from Strength-based melee weapon attacks, resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, and temporary hit points. Barbarians have a limited number of uses of Rage, which increases as they gain levels.
  4. Unarmored Defense: At 1st level, Barbarians gain the ability to calculate their Armor Class (AC) using Constitution and Dexterity, even without wearing armor. This allows Barbarians to have a respectable AC while unarmored, further emphasizing their tough nature.
  5. Reckless Attack: Starting at the 2nd level, Barbarians can choose to attack recklessly. By doing so, they gain an advantage on their melee weapon attack rolls for that turn. However, attacking recklessly also makes them vulnerable to incoming attacks, as enemies gain an advantage on attack rolls against them until the start of their next turn.
  6. Danger Sense: At 2nd level, Barbarians gain an enhanced sense of danger. They have an advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects they can see, such as traps or spells, that would normally grant only half damage on a successful save.
  7. Primal Path: At the 3rd level, Barbarians choose a primal path, which represents their chosen style of combat. The two core paths in the Player’s Handbook are the Path of the Berserker and the Path of the Totem Warrior, but additional paths are available in other sourcebooks. Each path grants unique features and abilities that further enhance the Barbarian’s capabilities.
  8. Ability Score Improvement: At certain levels, Barbarians gain the Ability Score Improvement feature, allowing them to increase their ability scores or choose specific feats to enhance their capabilities.
  9. Brutal Critical: Starting at the 9th level, Barbarians’ weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20. This increases their potential for devastating damage during combat.
  10. Persistent Rage: At the 15th level, Barbarians can maintain their rage even if they haven’t attacked a hostile creature or taken damage since their last turn. This allows them to stay engaged and benefit from its effects for longer durations.
  11. Primal Champion: At the 20th level, Barbarians reach the pinnacle of their class. Their Strength and Constitution scores increase by 4, and their maximum for those scores is now 24. Additionally, they have an advantage on all Strength checks and Strength saving throws.

These are just some of the core features that make the Barbarian class unique and exciting to play in D&D 5e. Each feature enhances their combat prowess, durability, and primal nature, allowing Barbarians to become fearsome warriors on the battlefield.

Path of the Wild Soul Features

Barbarian LevelFeature
3rdLingering Magic, Wild Surge
6thMagic Reserves 1d4
10thArcane Rebuke
14thChaotic Fury, Magic Reserves 1d6

The rage

In the battle, you are going to fight with primal ferocity. In turn, you are going to enter a rage as a bonus action. While raging you are going to gain the best of benefits as long as you aren’t wearing heavy armor.

  • You are going to get an advantage on strength checks and strength saves.
  • You are going to make a melee weapon attack using the strength and you gain a +2 to the damage roll. This bonus increase to + 3 at the 9th level, and +4 at 16th
  • There will be resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and physical damage.

If you are casting the spells then you can’t cast them or concentrate on them while raging. At the last 1 minute, it ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends without you being attacked by a hostile creature or taken any damage since your last turn. You can also end your rage on your turn as a bonus action.

When there is armor, the class of it is 10+ and your dexterity modifier is added to the constitution modifier. You can then use a shield and then still gain the benefits.

Barbarian 5e

Hit Points 

  • Hit Dice: 1d12 per barbarian level
  • Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + your Constitution modifier
  • Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12 (or 7) + your Constitution modifier per barbarian level after 1st


  • Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
  • Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
  • Tools: None
  • Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
  • Skills: Choose two from Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival


  • (a) a great axe or (b) any martial melee weapon
  • (a) two handaxes or (b) any simple weapon
  • An explorer’s pack and four javelins

Origin of the Beast

1One of your parents is a lycanthrope, and you’ve inherited some of the curse.
2You are descended from a legendary druid, a fact manifested by your ability to partially change shape.
3A fey spirit gifted you with the ability to adopt different bestial aspects.
4An ancient animal spirit dwells within you, allowing you to walk this path.

How to Become a Barbarian

As being stated about the barbarian 5e in the barbarian D&D 5e, the first step to becoming a great barbarian is knowing what you are and what are basics of your identity. The barbarian is not at all a fighter.  The fighter is versatile, sharp, and precise.

The barbarian is completely raw, blunt, and a force of nature. They have a ton of built-in survivability and the highest hit dice in the game, baked-in resistances, advantage versus a ton of effect, and the ability to stay fighting even after dropping to the null factor. The barbarian is amongst the best of the best when it comes to staying alive in melee.

Apart from that, they carry the ability to trade in some of that defense for some instant offense. This is really not the optimal choice but can be a brutal addition when it’s triggered.

Primal Path

• Ancestral Guardian
• Battlerager
• Beast (UA)
• Berserker
• Storm Herald
• Totem Warrior
• Wild Soul (UA)
• Zealot

Primal Instinct

The Primal Instinct is not an official subclass in the core rulebooks of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (5e). However, as a flexible and customizable game system, Dungeon Masters (DMs) have the option to create their own homebrew subclasses. If you’re interested in a Primal Instinct Barbarian subclass, you may want to work with your DM to develop and balance the subclass features. That being said, here is a possible concept for a Primal Instinct Barbarian subclass:

Primal Instinct Barbarian Subclass

1st-level Feature: Instinctual Awareness Your connection to the primal forces grants you heightened senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill, and your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make using Perception.

3rd-level Feature: Primal Savagery Your primal instincts empower your attacks. While raging, your unarmed strikes deal additional damage equal to your Strength modifier.

6th-level Feature: Feral Agility Your primal instincts grant you unmatched speed and agility. Your movement speed increases by 10 feet, and you gain advantage on Dexterity saving throws.

10th-level Feature: Primal Resilience Your primal connection strengthens your resilience. While raging, you have resistance to all damage except psychic damage.

14th-level Feature: Wild Fury Your feral nature becomes a force to be reckoned with. Whenever you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack while raging, you can make an additional melee weapon attack as a bonus action.

Keep in mind that this is just a suggested outline for a Primal Instinct Barbarian subclass. The features can be adjusted, expanded, or modified to suit your desired playstyle or the setting of your campaign. Be sure to collaborate with your DM to ensure the subclass is balanced and fits within the game world.

Path of the Berserker

The Path of the Berserker is one of the Primal Paths available to Barbarians in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (5e). This path focuses on embracing pure, unrestrained rage and unleashing devastating attacks on the battlefield. Here are the features and abilities associated with the Path of the Berserker:

3rd Level: Frenzy When you choose this path at 3rd level, you can go into a Frenzy while raging. By using a bonus action, you can make a single melee weapon attack as a bonus action on each of your turns for the duration of your rage. However, after your rage ends, you suffer one level of exhaustion.

3rd Level: Mindless Rage Beginning at 6th level, you cannot be charmed or frightened while raging. This feature helps you stay focused on the fight, even in the face of magical attempts to control or intimidate you.

6th Level: Intimidating Presence At 10th level, your presence becomes intimidating to your enemies. As an action, you can unleash a fearsome aura that forces creatures of your choice within 30 feet to make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is frightened for 1 minute. They can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns to end the effect.

10th Level: Retaliation Starting at 14th level, when a creature hits you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against that creature. This allows you to strike back at those who dare to harm you, even outside your turn.

10th Level: Mindless Rage Improvement At 14th level, your Mindless Rage feature improves. You can now also end any effects on yourself that are causing you to be charmed or frightened as part of entering a rage. This enhancement further protects you from attempts to control or manipulate your emotions.

The Path of the Berserker embodies the essence of unrelenting fury and combat prowess, offering a straightforward but powerful playstyle for Barbarians who wish to revel in their primal instincts. Whether you’re wading into battle with a storm of attacks, intimidating your foes with your presence, or retaliating against those who strike you, the Path of the Berserker provides a potent set of abilities to make you a formidable force on the battlefield.


Q1: Does a barbarian’s rage give up if they assault a phantasm of a creature?

A: Yes. A phantasm is no longer a creature. The rule is clear that Bobby should assault an adversarial creature, or take damage, to hold his rage.

Q2: Can a raging barbarian elevate stay rabbits to kill them, in order to keep his rage going?

A: No, that is no longer how rage works.

Q3: Can a Zealot Barbarian at zero hp be disintegrated?

A: Yes, When harm reduces you to zero hit factors and there is harm remaining, you die if the ultimate injury equals or exceeds your hit factor maximum.

Q4: Where Does Your Rage Come From?

A: The traditional reply is that you are an uncivilized individual and you in reality can’t manipulate yourself.

Q5: How Did You Learn to Depend Upon Yourself?

A: Barbarians regularly have survival talent and different capabilities that would assist them to do nicely on their own. That is comprehensible thinking about the basic barbarian is one that shuns civilized society for the herbal world.

Q6: How Much Does It Mean to You That Your Companions Accept You?

A: No man or woman can exist barring interacting with others. Even the most standoffish dwarf nevertheless wishes friends. Barbarians can also be self-sufficient, however, they nevertheless want buddies and companions as well.

Q7: Is the Barbarian Good in 5e?

A: yes. The Barbarian type in DnD 5e is good. While the standard Barbarian appears limited, the category has a shocking quantity of flexibility in how you play.


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