Barbarians were mighty warriors who rely on their strength and incredible toughness, characterized by a bestial rage empowered either by ancestral totems and nature spirits or an inner passion for violence. Barbarians were less versatile than fighters but were tougher and capable of dealing heavy damage to their foes much more quickly.
Barbarians were common within several of Ord's humanoid cultures such as the totemic Yupik warrior traditions of Yod, the primal copper elf headhunters of the Silver Reach, wild tribes of the Ta'uni islands and Great Musitu Murefu. However, contrary to common belief, not all warriors who lived outside civilization's borders were barbarians. Only those who embrace the wild and primal ways of the rage could rightly call themselves a barbarian, imbuing them with a wild spirit not found among most warriors. Where civilized people emphasized what separated from them wild animals, barbarians took pride in their bestial nature and looked upon the tamer sensibilities of civilization with disdain. Barbarians' feral nature meant that they generally lacked the discipline to be lawful, though all alignments were found among barbarians.
Barbarians had a reputation, perhaps not completely deserved, as reckless ruffians and savage nuisances who needless disrupted society by acts of mayhem. However, barbarians, while undoubtedly feral and unpredictable by the nature of their rages were not necessarily uncultured brutes. Time and time again, barbarians proved their cunning and resourcefulness as well as their sheer physical power and endurance. Sometimes, in spite of their aversion to an organized order, barbarians even demonstrated honor.
However, barbarians were united - no matter their origins - by a marked lack of discipline or patience for the laws and traditions that others adhered to. Likewise, while a generalization, it is true to some degree that nearly all barbarians came from outside the confines of settled civilization, being far more common among nomadic tribes or frontier settlers than they were among urban city dwellers. It is from these remote origins that barbarians often derived their reverence for nature, which brought them closer to druids, rangers, and others who venerated the wilderness.
Many barbarians were human, since humans were among the most widespread of the races as well as, in many cases the most uncivilized. However, orc and goblin-kin barbarians were more common still and were sometimes the most commonly encountered warriors of their race. Barbarians from the other races were relatively rare, though among elves there were the copper elves, among halflings the kender, and among dwarves the hill dwarves, each of which possessed barbarian traditions. Dragonborn, goliath, and half-elven barbarians were also somewhat common, with dragonborns and half-elves preferring the path of the berserker barbarians, while goliaths were more often path of the totem barbarians.
Barbarians held varying attitudes towards magic. On the one hand, barbarians distrusted most things they did not understand and this extended towards what they called "book magic" or magic learned in a school or university, such as that used by bards or wizards. On the other hand, barbarians were themselves wielders of primal magic, as were the druids many barbarians called friends or allies. Likewise, barbarians often showed a large degree of respect for sorcerers, whose approach to magic was similar to their own unbridled style of combat. In no small way it is likely that the barbarian prejudice against scholarly magic was due in some part to the fact that many barbarians were illiterate.
Barbarians' bravery and wanderlust made them uncommonly suited for the adventurer's lifestyle. Often coming from nomadic tribes, most barbarians had few qualms with the traveling life typical to adventuring parties. Of the difficulties suffered by barbarians in adapting to a life of adventure, the greatest was most commonly the loss of family structure that comes from leaving the tribe. With time, however, many barbarians found the bonds with their new companions a worthy substitute.
As handy with a weapon as a fighter, barbarians became tougher and more agile as they grew more powerful. The most experienced barbarians were almost incomparably powerful, with a strength and constitution well beyond that of most mortals. Though barbarians could wield one-handed weapons many preferred to use two-handed weapons in order to deal maximum damage. Barbarians were also well-versed in the use of light armor but some lacked training in slightly heavier forms of protection such as chain shirts or shields, while very few were trained in and most lacked training in heavy armor such as splint armor.
Because most of them were untrained in the use of heavy armor, barbarians trained themselves to take incredible levels of punishment that could easily fell less sturdy warriors. Additionally, most barbarians were capable of moving much more quickly while wearing half plate or lighter armor, by a factor of between thirty and forty percent. Another boon to barbarians' feral and exposed style of attack was their aptitude for quickly following up one attack with another immediately thereafter, overwhelming their enemies until they were able to deal fatal blow. This, along with their instinctive sense for danger, which made them nigh impossible to flank effectively or put off guard, made barbarians far more formidable than their lightly armored appearance would suppose.
Many barbarians drew upon the primal energies of the natural world and its guardian spirits, often in the form of ancestral totems, for empowerment, gaining powerful abilities called evocations. The feral might gained by barbarians could manifest in many other ways and some used it to empower themselves to the point of nigh invulnerability, finding it easier to take blows and plow onward rather than dodge them. Others gained the ability to literally shape their fate, affecting the quality of luck dealt them through force of will.
The most distinctive aspect of barbarians was their ability to "rage," wherein they let loose powerful emotional bursts fueled by their primal power or inner fury. When they raged, barbarians gained a number of powerful benefits, including an apparent increase in strength, an ability to deal more damage, and greater insensitivity to many forms of physical damage. This rage usually lasted about a minute, but with experience and training most barbarians could extend it indefinitely.
Barbarians also were known to take on other, less common abilities. While raging barbarians were typically unable to cast evocations, spells, or other similar abilities, some actually received a bonus to their lesser evocations that lasted until their rage collapsed or they enter a new one. Barbarians could also use a fraction of their raging power to deal a devastating attack known as a rage strike.
Barbarians came in a number of different varieties, with a number of diverse capabilities. Two of the main divergent branches of barbarians were the Path of the Berserker and the Path of the Totem Warrior.
Path of the Berserker
Where some barbarians drew upon the essence of nature and primal magic for their power, barbarians on the Path of the Berserker instead relied on their own fury and unbridled bloodlust to pull them through a fight. As a result, Berskerers relied less extensively on primal magic and instead focused on improving their rage ability. When a Berserker raged they could enter into an even deeper state of primal fury known as a frenzy. While frenzied, a Berserker was capable of attacking more quickly, although such effort eventually tired them out. Raging Berserkers were also utterly fearless and immune to the effects of charms.
In addition to possessing an improved version of regular barbarians' rage ability, Berserkers were also much more frightening to behold and sufficiently powerful Berserkers could actually cause their enemies to run in terror from them through their presence alone. Experienced Berserkers also maintained exceptionally good battle reflexes, allowing them to strike a retaliatory blow to anyone who injured them in a fight.
Path of the Totem Warrior
The path of the Totem Warrior is a spiritual journey, as the barbarian accepts a spirit animal as guide, protector, and inspiration. In battle , your totem spirit fills you with supernatural might, adding magic fuel to your barbarian rage.
Most barbarian tribes consider a totem animal to be kin to a particular clan. In such cases, it is unusual for an individual to have more than one totem animal spirit. though exceptions do exist.
Totem Spirit - Horse
At third level, while raging, your movement speed increases by 10 feet. If mounted on a horse, your movement speed is increased by 30 feet.
Aspect of the Beast - Horse
At sixth level, you have learned to flawlessly fight from horseback. Any horse you're mounted on gains resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage while you are raging. If not mounted, while you are raging you can make one extra unarmed attack to kick an enemy per turn. This attack deals 1d6 damage plus your strength modifier.
Totemic Attunement - Horse
At fourteenth level, while mounted on a horse, your movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. While mounted and raging, you have advantage on attack rolls against any creature of your size category or smaller who is on foot.
The defender is a sponsored champion of a dwarven cause, a dwarven aristocrat, a dwarven deity, or the dwarven way of life. As the name might imply, this character is a skilled combatant trained in the arts of defense. A line of dwarven defenders is a far better defense than a 10-foot-thick wall of stone, and much more dangerous. Dwarven Defenders rely on heavy armor and weapons in combat, using their rage to root themselves to the ground and weather attacks that would topple anyone else.
Superior Armored Defense
Starting when you chose this path at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with heavy armor and can add your constitution modifier to your armor class while wearing heavy armor.
Beginning at 6th level, while you have a shield equipped you can take a defensive stance. While raging, if you end your turn without moving, allies within 5 feet of you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage.
When you reach 10th level, while in a defensive stance, all areas within your melee weapon reach are considered rough terrain for hostile creatures.
Improved Defensive Stance
At 14th level your defensive stance allows you to redirect an attack meant for an ally within 5 feet of you to yourself. You must decide to redirect the attack before the attack is rolled. You may not apply resistances to attacks redirected to yourself. This ability can be used once per round.