October 26, 2015


Primal Path
Comments from the Finger: The barbarian of a magitech world is a tricky thing to pin down. Ultimately I stumbled upon the idea of the Berserker Helm and binary rage changing the nature of a barbarian in the context of magitech. Hopefully this works out.

Path of the Dreadnought

The unstoppable soldiers of wartorn battlegrounds, it is the duty of the Dreadnought to break enemy lines and raze entire cities. Each dreadnought wears a magitech helmet, a Berserker Helm, which, once donned, he never removes. Each is specially engineered for him, enchanted to make him fearless and to grant complete control over his terrible rage. The helmet is the locus of his emotion, or lack thereof.
     To a Dreadnought, reality is simple: there are friends and enemies, good and evil, law and chaos. The rule above all: never remove your helm.

Berserker Helm
Beginning when you select this path at 3rd level, you are fitted with a helmet which regulates your emotion and focuses your anger. Assisted by your helmet, you can summon up rage at will, and end it just as swiftly. You are unable to rage if your helmet is removed. Instead of raging normally, you can rage for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. These rounds need not be consecutive. You can begin and end your rage as a bonus action. Your rage only ends early only if you fall unconscious or if you choose to end it. After raging for this number of rounds, you must complete a short or long rest before raging again.
     At 20th level, you can rage for any number of rounds.

At 6th level, you are immune to being charmed or frightened.

Unstoppable Charge
Beginning at 10th level, when you use your action to Dash, you can use a bonus action to make one melee weapon attack or to shove a creature.
     If you move at least 10 feet in a straight line immediately before taking this bonus action, you have advantage on this attack roll.

Focused Rage
At 14th level, you can focus your rage into an unstoppable fury against 1 target. When you enter a rage, you can select 1 creature that you can see within 60 feet against whom your attacks deal twice the normal amount of rage damage.

Changelog: 10/26/15: Fearless now also provides immunity to being charmed.
Focused Rage deal bonus damage instead of granting advantage.
11/8/15: Berserker Helm rounds changed from 2x prof bonus to Con mod + prof bonus


  1. The theme is great, but the damage output is a bit lacking compared to other barbarian subclasses. Maybe swap advantage on attack rolls for extra damage? The barbarian already has reckless attack anyway.

    1. Yeah, you're totally right (I completely forgot about Reckless Attack.) I think I'll double the bonus damage from Rage on that target.

  2. So I had a 4 paragraph massive comment, but I'm an idiot at blogspot and it's gone now. First, just want to say I love your work, and since I've been running the Fantasy Western campaign setting I created back in the days of 3.P, retooled for 4E, and finally updated to 5E, I have been getting a lot of mileage out of a lot of your stuff.

    I don't quite want to spend the time retyping all of what I wrote and lost, so I'll be brief. I like the theme, as it really pushes the Immovable Object rather than the standard Unstoppable Force of the barbarian, but there are few things I think might need to be looked at to get it into a mechanical equal with the others.

    1) Fearless. I really think this needs to also include immunity to being charmed. For one, it only makes sense as charmed and frightened go together like peanut butter and jelly, and a lot of things that handle one also handle the other, ie Countercharm. Secondly, I highly doubt that having a mind-effecting magitech helmet on your head wouldn't interfere with magical compulsions, ensuring that no rival artificer could simply wave their hand and stop the Dreadnought in its tracks. If this feels a little too strong, I would suggest tying both immunities to the conditional requirement that the Dreadnought only gains them when Raging.

    2) Rage rounds. I really like the handling of this, but I feel like the math ends up really unfavorably. At 3rd level, you're looking at 4 rounds of Rage per short rest compared to 30 rounds of Rage per long rest. While the perk of recouping it and being able to spend it carefully is a really nice boon, not every DM or situation is going to allow for many of the 1 hour breaks that are required for a short rest. If a Dreadnaught goes into 2 encounters back-to-back, he'd probably going to be out of juice before the second one even starts. I'd consider either slightly tweaking the numbers up, perhaps 5 * Proficiency or swapping to a long rest recharge and using the same number of rounds total that the regular barbarian has access to, so 10 * Proficiency.

    1. Finger here, glad you like the blog! To respond item by item:

      1) Totally think you're dead-on here. I was considering doing that before release, but opted to wait and see how people thought the balance was on this one first.

      2) I agree that it might need more rounds than it currently gets, but there's a lot going on here. The original was twice your level per long rest, but this ended up being kinda ridiculous, as even before the unlimited amount at 20th level, you got 20 rounds of rage at 10th level. Who on earth plays 20 rounds of combat in a single day? Depending on your group, that could easily be 5 hours of combat, all in rage (and that's only 10th level.)

      I'm willing to play with the duration of the rage, if anyone has a good idea for a new metric, but I think I'd like to keep it short-rest recharge. Also, it's risky to compare it to a normal barbarian rage duration. After all, it only takes a bonus action to begin this type of rage, you can divide it up as you wish, and it doesn't end early.

    2. Hey, just glad to offer some feedback! Heck, I've actually got a Alternate Bard class that I might send your way once I finish the third subclass option that's essentially a magitech spellslinger.

      1) Glad to hear it. Definitely think the class needs it, and it also helps to reinforce the whole feel of this unstoppable dreadnought.

      2) It's probably something that just needs some more playtest to tweak it into a comfortable place. Also, keep in mind that while it only takes a bonus action to begin this rage, it still takes a bonus action to begin this rage! It's a lot more forgiving, but that locks out your bonus action in a turn, and while barbarians doesn't typically have too much to worry about with their bonus action, this path even complicates that by requiring the use of one for Unstoppable Charge.

  3. Love your work, guys.
    So the largest issue I see with your short rest round rage is that its often beneficial to remaining raging if you are attacking consecutive rounds. The bonus action requirement to start/stop this rage hinders basically any other bonus action features (including feats and options the class itself gives) not to mention multi-class options. I understand rage normally requires the bonus action to start, but in order to make this effecient you would need to toggle it basically every round and prioritize your damage in those rounds which takes away any potential you have of having high damage turns. You become completely reliant on your multi-attack to function as well as a level 1 feat based barbarian.

    1. I'm a little confused by your assessment. The only additional bonus action cost is the one incurred by ending rage early, which is a cost paid for a benefit: by being careful when you spend your rage rounds, you have greater flexibility on how often you rage in a given day. Besides, the base Barbarian class (ignoring berserker, which is another subclass), doesn't get any other damage-increasing features powered by bonus actions. I suppose you could use two-weapons for a little bit of extra damage, but this is the same as complaining that a rogue can't do the same and disengage. Basically, I don't understand your assessment that this barbarian is more powerful by toggling rage every round.

  4. Wouldn't a number of rounds equal to triple Proficiency Bonus, or equal to level, be better? It'd always be less than the max of 20, and it wouldn't increase at a ridiculous rate, but it'd still be a decent amount of rounds.

    1. I'm gonna do some math in this comment, and try to figure it out myself as I go:

      When we talk about rage rounds, we should also be careful to make sure we're talking about the same rest recharge. I'm going to assume that we keep a short rest recharge, simply because it keeps this barbarian feeling different than a normal barbarian.

      If that's the case, let's look at levels 3, 6, 12, and 17 as references, since these are when the barbarian gains his additional rages. If we assume that, even though these last for 1 minute, the barbarian on average only uses 7 rounds (which is average combat length), then the barbarian (per long rest) gets 21 rounds at 3rd level, 28 at 6th level, 35 at 12th level, and 42 at 17th level.

      However, trying to convert these long rest counts directly won't be nice and clean, since the dreadnought gains the effects of persistent rage early, and also can break up his rounds to be more efficient, using rounds on an as-needed basis. So, let's run with the following assumptions: an efficient barbarian can break up 5 rounds to achieve the same efficiency as a barbarian using 7 rounds, and characters take 2 short rests in a combat-heavy day. This means we should grant:
      15 a day (5 per rest) by level 3
      20 a day (~7 per rest) by level 6
      25 a day (~8 per rest) by level 12
      30 a day (10 per rest) by level 16.

      The current system (2x prof bonus) does indeed fall short of that near the beginning, granting:
      4 per rest at level 3
      6 per rest at level 5
      8 per rest at level 9
      10 per rest at level 13
      12 per rest at level 17.
      And it actually exceeds estimates at later levels. But still, this is a little low, and I would like to give some extra rounds so it's harder to simply lose all your rage rounds on a gamble.

      If we did 3x prof bonus:
      6 per rest at level 3
      9 per rest at level 5
      12 per rest at level 9
      15 per rest at level 13
      18 per rest at level 17.
      This strikes me as too high, especially by level 9. You can basically spend two entire combats in rage each short rest. Rage shouldn't be always active before the highest tier.

      Another system might be: Con mod + prof bonus
      5 per rest at level 3 (16 Con)
      7 per rest at level 5 (18 Con)
      9 per rest at level 9 (20 Con)
      10 per rest at level 13 (20 Con)
      11 per rest at level 17. (20 Con)

      This last system I'm actually going to stick with: it offers a close match to the curve I conjectured earlier, and even offers a few extra rounds if you invest in Constitution.

    2. Maths! Solving problems since 1999.

      Seems a god fit. In actuality, I'd missed the per short rest part.

    3. Maths! Given that I'm a math tutor, it's a little embarrassing that I didn't so anything more fancy.

      I hope it's a good fit. My assumptions make or break this analysis, but most people forget that rages almost always end early, so I made that the cornerstone.

  5. So how would the changes to the amount of turns you can rage if you were a hulk?

    1. This would have the same effect on the Hulk base class as it does the Barbarian class. (Use whichever con mod is more favorable, before or after the switch, to determine number of rounds you can rage.)

  6. I took this path and made the Berserker Helm a powerful magic item. When being worn the helm gives the Path of the Dreadnought but all other class abilities require DC 15 concentration checks at the beginning of every round. This gives players the mental wrestling experience. I'll probably make it difficult to take off and side effects of using it often.

    1. Interesting! I really like that idea, though I tend to be against effects which require a check every round, especially if it's blocking your other barbarian-y things. Try to keep us posted in how that variant plays!

  7. Found a potential typo: "The helmet is the locus of his emotion, or lack thereof." did you mean "focus"

    1. perhaps not, just looked up the word. :P

    2. Yup, 'locus' was the intent lol