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Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > D&D Barbarian 5e Guide: Flavors of Rage! for Wizard 5e

D&D Barbarian 5e Guide: Flavors of Rage! for Wizard 5e

Lets explore a 5e D&D barbarian wizard multiclass combination and how they interact with rage. We recently did a video things you can do while you rage. Since it went over so well we deicided to explore barbarian rage and the different subclasses of wizard.

D&D Barbarian 5e Guide: Flavors of Rage! for Wizard 5e Video

D&D Barbarian 5e Guide: Flavors of Rage! for Wizard 5e Video Transcription

Dave: “Barbarian verse necromancer Ted, who wins?”

Ted: “I dunno know I think the barbarians are pretty tough.”

Dave:”Yeah. But necromancers have super goth powers.”

Ted: “That is true. So what do you think the chances are that the barbarian winds up like a rat in a soul cage despite all their rage?”

Dave: “Hold onto your spell books, folks. We’re going to be talking about D&D, wizard 5e flavors of rage.”

Dave: “Welcome to the Nerdarchy for nerds by nerds. I’m Nerdarchist Dave. And as usual, I’m hanging out with this nerd.”

Ted: “Nerdarchist Ted.”

Dave: “Maybe this is your first time hanging out in Ted’s basement. It’s a place where we like to talk about news, views, and homebrews for 5th edition, Dungeons, and Dragons. Sometimes we even talked about other role-playing games.”

Ted: “So if you don’t want to miss a single video, then don’t forget to crit hit that subscribes button and attune to that notification bell.”

Dave: “All right. We recently did a video, uh, and basically talking about things you could do while you rage. And I was really shocked at how many people really dug that video. I thought it would be good. We’d be some good discussion and it was fun to talk about but people were really digging it and they were bringing up all kinds of different things. Cause we basically did like an overview. We didn’t break down the specific subclasses and stuff like that. So now we’re going to look for opportunities within the barbarian’s rage where you can mix it with specific subclasses to greater effect. And in this case, we’re going to look at the wizard and I think we came up with like four, five subclasses that it kind of mixes with some better than others.”

Ted: “Well one of the first comments that I had, I had seen was, you know on that video was like well what about bladesinger?”

Dave: “Now I am traditionally not a huge fan of the gishes when we’re talking about optimization anyway. But when I went and looked at bladesinger, because I saw the same comment and I was like, oh my gosh, almost everything carries over. You literally only lose one ability from, from bladesinger when you rage, as long as you don’t use a shield, don’t to handle a weapon. Everything else, pretty much. We’ll stack including that armor class bonus like folks are always asking does the stack with unarmored defense And the answer is pretty much always no, but it’s a flat bonus, flat bonuses stack.”

Ted: “Most of the time it’s like it’s a way of calculating your armor class. So anytime you see something that says you know your armor class equals and there’s a formula, none of that is going to stack with anything else that has that formula of a part of it. But with bladesinger, you add your intelligence modifier to your armor class as long as you are not wearing armor or shield.”

Dave: “Right. So essentially for the bladesinger, I would say you could take all 14 with levels of the wizard and then six levels of barbarian mix and match however you like because pretty much all of your abilities from your bladesinger is going to stack so that the bladesinger Song itself, you get to use twice per rest. And that’s where we’re going to delve into I think first and kind of like dissect that a little bit.”

Ted: “So as you brought up, you know you’re going to get that intelligence modifier to your AC. So you’re going to get dex, con, intelligence, and as a barbarian and you’re probably gonna want to have decent strength. Ah, so I would, I would certainly want to go with uh, with a high elf here getting that Dex and intelligence bonus.”

Dave: “Your other benefits are you’re walking speed is going to increase by 10 feet. Great for a barbarian. They, they get fast movement eventually anyway, you’re going to get advantage on actual acrobatic checks. I don’t know how much it’s going to come up, but if it does, you got it.”

Ted: “So while you’re raging, you’re going to have an advantage on your athletics checks. So this is going to be nice to be able to have both.”

Dave: “Yeah, absolutely. And then the last thing is concentration. Oh, your concentration checks. You’re going to get a bonus equal to your intelligence modifier. We’re raging so we won’t be using that at all. All right, so the one thing is at six levels yet extra attack for being a bladesinger. That’s going to overlap with you being a barbarian, wherever you get it first you’re going to get it, but you’re not going to double up on that.”

Ted: “That’s a shame. But I mean if you’re looking at 14 levels of wizard and six eventual levels of barbarian, you know it’s possible that you starting as a barbarian focusing heavily on wizard and then every once in a while dabbling. So you might get it first one wizard.”

Dave: “Absolutely. So one of the things that really works well with rage and bladesinging, his Song of defense because it allows you to use your spell slots while you’re raging. So essentially as a reaction, you get hit by an attack. You can reduce the damage by five times the level of a spell slot you use. So this is an awesome way to use your spells while raging.”

Ted: “So I mean, you know, if you’re not going to be casting your spells, there’s a handful that you might want to use based on that other video we talked about that don’t have concentration. So you can be a very gish very melee based, you know, warrior, you know, dancing around singing around raging all the time, but still, be able to use those vast amounts of spell slots via this power.”

Dave: “Right. Also, I guess we got to backtrack a little bit and mentioned in all fairness, you’re not going to be a raging and blade singing in the same round. It’s going to take two rounds to actually activate everything. Cause rage is a bonus action bladesinging is a bonus action. So it’ll take a little bit of time to get there.”

Ted: “I see some of this, you know with a barbarian that I play who fights with two weapons. I can’t, I can’t attack with both and rage in the same round.”

Dave: “But that being said, you might initiate bladesong, cast a spell that you don’t require concentration and the next round you go into a rage.”

Ted: “Very true.”

Dave: “So finally the capstone ability for a wizard for bladesinger is song of victory. This is awesome cause it adds your intelligence modifier to that damage you’re doing.”

Ted: “This is going to stack on top of whatever you know, stat modifier you’re normally adding. So you’re going to be hitting, hitting even harder. So Nice.”


This fella probably wishes he had something other than a slashing weapon. Black puddings are not only immune to slashing damage, it triggers their Split ability! Ochre Jellies are also immune, and various swarms of critters are resistant to slashing damage. A well-rounded arsenal serves warriors well in D&D. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]

Dave: “So that’s sums up bladesinger. Next up is war mage. Uh, war mage. The second level abilities you get when you first take the tradition are pretty awesome. But after that, it really does require being a war mage. So war magic, second level, what you’re going to get, you’re going to get arcane deflection and tactical wit.”

Ted: “So tactical, what is nice because it’s going to be able to bump up your initiative. Super helpful when you’re the barbarian at wants to be able to number one, be able to get that rage off so you can reduce damage and be able to get into the thick doing the damage so you don’t have to take the damage.”

Dave: “Now, uh, arcane deflection is an awesome ability basically as a reaction. You can get a plus two to armor class or a plus four to saving throws. There’s a downside after you use it. You can’t cast a spell other than a cantrip.”

Ted: “Oh Darn. I’m not casting a spell while I’m raging. So super helpful here.”

Dave: “Yeah, so were two, two-level dips for war magic is basically all you’re going to want to do.”

Ted: “So you know if you’re looking, looking to have just a mostly rage and wizard, that might be your go to.”

Dave: “Yeah, so I feel like you know now we’re going to get into a little bit more of gray areas where you have to really want to play this type of character because I don’t think they’re nearly as good as the other two. The dip is no big deal and then the actual bladesinger is actually an awesome combination. So before we get into our next school of magic, let’s dive into our Patreon we want to thank our Patreon supporters for making these videos possible, but also we’d like to invite you to come over to Patreon and help us out over there. If you love what we do if you enjoy the content we’re doing Patreon is it just another way to support the channel We’re making products over there every month we do Patreon only hangouts. There’s even ways where you could just one on one hanging out with either me or Ted for an hour through Google hangouts or phone call even, or a zoom chat. So there’s a bunch of different benefits over there. We giveaway stuff here on the channel every month. By being a patron, you’re automatically entered into those giveaways.”

Ted: “All of the information is over on our Patreon. There’s a link in the description below. Go check out the reward levels. You know those products we create, we do put them up on our store over on nerdarchy.com. But if you’re a patron, not only do you get it cheaper but you get it sooner.”

Dave: “Absolutely. So with that, let’s jump back and next we have abjuration School of Magic.”

Ted: “Abjuration is, is a really cool school of magic. I think some of those are, you know, some of those weird oddity type things, but because of that, I think it makes for some, some really interesting stuff. But how does it mix with barbarian Dave?”

Dave: “So arcane ward is what you’re after. You get it at the second level. And basically, when you put this up, it’s twice your wizard level plus your int Mod in temporary hit points. So they have to blast through that first. And the great thing about it for an abjurer, maybe not for a barbarian abjurer though, is when you cast spells that are of that abjuration school, that’s how you replenish the ward and you know, keep your defenses up. Now you could set up your word, you could use it, you can go into your rage, but while you’re raging you’re not going to be able to replenish it.”

Ted: “But if you are, you know, dipping into wizard or spending a little bit of time there it is some temporary hit points that do kind of bridge the gap a little bit between, you know, having the barbarian hit dice and the wizard hit dice.”

Dave: “Yeah. And you gonna be able to use it over and over again in between your rages and set, you know, setting yourself up. So that part’s really cool. Six levels, you’re going to get another ability that actually is going to be useful while you’re raging.”

Ted: “And that’s going to be projected ward. So this is going to be like your arcane ward, but you can use it as a reaction and the help somebody else.”

Dave: “So now we’re getting into the higher level of abilities, 10th level basically useless for this combination because it really relies on your casting spells that you’re not going to be able to do while you’re raging. There is great ability because you get really good at counter spelling and dispelling magic. But if you’re looking into do it while you’re raging, not going to happen.”

Ted: “But if you happen to decide, all right, I want to go, you know, half and half go, you know, aim for a 10 10 you’ve got the ability to be like, hey look, I haven’t started combat yet and somebody beats me on initiative and they’re going to start casting spells. You could be a pretty decent counter speller. And when you’re outside of combat and you’ve encountered something, you’ve made the commitment that you’re good at magic. So maybe there’s the theme of the game is you know, you’re going to go to areas and dispel things. Well, and abjurer is a good way to do it.”

Dave: “The 14th level ability, super awesome. Even while you’re raging, so 14th level, you’re going to get spell resistance. What this means is you have advantage on all your savings. There’s versus spells, applies when you’re raging, and you’re also going to have resistance against any damage you take from a spell, including psychic damage. So this is super sweet, especially if you’re not playing a totem barbarian.”

Ted: “This’ll works. Works out really well. You know, so you’ll be resisting more damage. Absolutely great for those melee based characters. A barbarian is going to be one.”

Dave: “Absolutely. So maybe your backstory is you started as a barbarian, he started learning magic and you still progressed as a barbarian a little bit. You still had that in you, but you’re mostly a mage. Now that brings us to one of the more potent schools of magic in 5e D&D.”

Ted: “Oh, that’s going to be divination. Now I’ve seen some characters seriously focus on the divination aspects. Having those reroll are those rolls that you get to decide each day and be like, I’m going to use these in place of, you know, here or there or what have you, and this is going to mix really well with any character, but even better with a barbarian.”

Dave: “Yes. Second level, you start right from the bat with the portent ability, you get two uses of it, 14th level, you get a third use of it. You’re just going to roll those d20s and set them aside. Use them when you want. You can use them while your raging. So that works out really well.”

Ted: ”Super helpful to just be able to be like, Hey, look, oh that natural 20 are used naw. That’s a 7 that I saw earlier.”

Dave: “Or if you had a natural 20 and you’re like, oh, it’s good. This would be a good time to crit also. Great for a barbarian. So next, let’s look at our six-level ability. And this one’s not going to be super useful for our barbarian, especially whether raging.”

Ted: “What do we get?”

Dave: “So we get expert diviner right It’s a great ability and basically you get back some spell slots when you cast divination spells. But we’re probably not going to be casting them while we’re raging. We’re absolutely not going to be casting them while we’re raging. So for the mix, and it doesn’t work out that well.”

Ted: “But you know, some divination spells do work well outside of combat. So again, just like with the abjurer, if you’re outside of combat and using magic to aid what’s going on, you can be that, you know, out of combat caster.”

Dave: “Absolutely. So finally, their 10th level ability is the third eye. And this is an awesome ability because you’re not actually casting spells. It’s more like a spell-like ability. And even when you turn it on, it tends to last a long time.”

Ted: “All right So this is going to give you a swath of choices. So you’re going to choose one of them, the following abilities, uh, that, that you can get. So one of them is dark vision. So if you’re playing that, that human barbarian here’s a great way to just alleviate that issue. Yeah, I got dark vision now. You know, I can just turn it on. You also got the ability to go ethereal sight. You can see 60 feet into the ethereal plane. Super helpful if you’re going against, you know that that kind of a creature.”

Dave: “You’re also going to get comprehension, which is kind of funny for barbarian because it basically means. They can read everything and anything and then see invisibility, super useful, you know, raging or not. And to see if people are sneaking up on you. These are great abilities cause they last until you’re incapacitated or until you take it a rest. So they’re going to be super useful. I mean, in theory, you could even turn them on while you’re raging. Not probably not the best use of your action as a barbarian, but hey, if someone starts sneaking around and you haven’t used it yet and you have invisible foes, why not?”

Ted: “I kind of see this as funny as, you know, if you turn on the see invisibility or the ethereal site, but you’re playing that typical barbarian, you might wind up, you’re like, oh, you know, you uh, attack the creature, you attack what’s there, but you don’t warn your friends about it because it’s like, well, I could see him. Why couldn’t you?”

Dave: “Well, oddly enough for some odd reason. The Incredible Hulk always could see ethereal creatures and astral creatures and it makes me think of that for some reason.”

Ted: “So next we’re gonna move onto our final wizard school. Dave mentioned something about the gray area. So that kind of says, well, what about necromancy?”

Dave: “So necromancy is, you know, it’s another kind of pet class were you summoned creatures, you control creatures and have them with you. So I kind of say, well, you know what, you could definitely do that stuff out of combat. And then when you enter combat, you know you have your undead there fighting beside you. So it kind of works. Now your second level of ability is grim harvest, not going to be useful while raging.”

Ted: “So you know you’re not going to be casting spells that you know, the grim harvest would wind up working on. Um, you know, unless you wanted to kind of pick and choose how you’re going to use these abilities. But I think a, you know, a barbarian necromancer totally fits, you know, this, uh, you know, there’s the shaman type, you know, evil, evil humanoids could totally fit into that. Whether you want to go, you know, gnolls or orcs totally see something like that happening.”

Dave: “Yeah, thematically the witch doctor definitely works. So next is our six-level ability, which does work pretty well. So at six levels you get undead thralls, right So you’re not going to be using this while raging, but what it does allow you to do is create more undead when you do animate undead. You get animate dead into your spellbook while you won’t be using it while you are raging, but you will have more access to more undead. So when you do rage and you want to fight and you have, want to have friends with you, you’re going to have more of them.”

Ted: “So as a barbarian you’re going to be pretty in the thick of it. Being able to bring down, you know, your, your adversaries. Um, do you know why not, you know, kick them while they’re down and after the battle, rise them up.”

Dave: “So they can join you on your next rage fest.”

Ted: “Absolutely.”

Dave: “Your 10th level ability and Inured to Undeath is resistance in necrotic damage and you can’t have your maximum hit points lowered. Both of these are great abilities.”

Ted: “You know, there is a lot of spells out there that you know, your big bads are going to be casting that can reduce those maximum hit points. And as a barbarian, you need everyone that you’re going to get. So having those things added to your, uh, rage abilities, super helpful.”

Dave: “Yeah. And not only that, you know, a lot of undead had that ability that the lower your maximum a hit points too.”

Ted: “So finally 14th level, we’re going to get the ability to command undead.”
Dave: “Now this one you could actually do while you’re raging. Again, you know you do have rage restrictions, so you always need to be attacking or taking damage. So anytime you do an action that doesn’t involve attacking, it does open up the possibility of coming out of your rage. But basically, you know, when you encounter undead that either free-willed are under the control of other casters, you can kind of take control of them. So you could even do this while you’re raging.”

Ted: “Here’s another, another great way that you can be six levels of barbarian, 14 levels of caster. And you know, while raging you’re going to have, you know, all the typical resistances that you would have. Oh, but why not have a slew of undead following you around absorbing attacks I didn’t even know you just call a new one when that one dies.”

Dave: “Absolutely. So the question is what kind of barbarians are you playing in your games? Have you played a wizard barbarian before? How did it work out? We got a place where we can discuss it. That is down in the comments below. While you’re at it, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe.”

Ted: “On your way down there. Don’t forget to stop by the description and check out that link to Nerdarchy’s Patreon.”

Dave: ”Until next time.”

Both: “Stay nerdy!”

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david friant

My name is Dave Friant I've been gaming off and on for over 27 years. But here is the thing it's always been a part of my life I've kept secret and hidden away. I've always been ashamed of the stigma that gaming and my other nerdy and geeky pursuits summon forth. Recently I decided screw it! This is who I am the world be damned. From now on I'm gonna be a geek, nerd, or however folks want to judge me and just enjoy life. Currently one of my greatest joys is introducing my 13 yr old son to table top RPG's.

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