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Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > Path of the Primal – Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Custom path for Barbarian

Path of the Primal – Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Custom path for Barbarian

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Custom pathNerdarchist Ted here and last week I brought you an article talking about the circle of the swarm druid.  I did this because Dungeons and Dragons has lots of archetype options for other classes but Druid and Barbarian seem to get the short end of the stick.

So I took care of Druid last week so now I will take care of Barbarian, or at least give you another option for your barbarian character in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition.

Primal barbarian for 5th edition

The primal barbarian is a weapon unto itself.  They rarely need the trappings of civilization to survive.  They thrive in the wilderness.  They are one with it and at the same time feel that they are above it and in some ways rule it.

Imagine a warrior dressed in the hides, horns, fangs and claws of its fallen victims.  The power of its kill being added to its own.  Some Primal Barbarians respect life and kill only when necessary, others are the hunters seeking prey for the thrill of the hunt and the honing of those skills.

The primal barbarian is know for taking trophies of the kill to make themselves more fearsome to the Dungeons and Dragonsnext enemy they will encounter.  They tend to shun the weapons of the civilized world favoring weapons found and crafted by nature, barring that the use of their bare hands.

Custom path for Dungeons and Dragons – Path of the Primal

Upon reaching 3rd level and choosing this path you have learned to use nature and natural things to turn you into a weapon. While it is not a honed fighting style like a monk, you use raw power and ferocity to deal damage in combat when not holding a weapon.  (This is flavored so that the horns, fangs or claws are made into weapons.) When adorned with the tokens of previous kills you may attack as if armed with a melee weapon doing d6 (+str mod).  Additionally you may use your bonus action to make an attack with your off hand also doing a d6 damage.

Once you have reached 6th level your attacks, when adorned n the trophies of your kills, now do a d8 damage and have absorbed enough power from nature and the things you have killed to count as magic items for over coming damage reduction/immunities.

At 10th level a primal barbarian gets advantage on knowledge nature checks to identify creatures and their weaknesses.

5th editionUpon reaching 14th level you have taken many trophies and the natural world sees you as the top of the food chain.  Beasts will not attack you unless they are magically compelled or are provoked by you.

You also have hunted enough to draw in more magical power from the things who have fallen prey to your hunt.  You may choose one feature from below.

Resistance: You gain resistance at all times to fire, cold or electricity damage

Climber: You gain a climb speed equal to your speed.

Toughened hide: You can use your reaction, once per long rest to ignore, damage from one source.

Primal Power: You may after a successful attack has been made add an extra 3d6 damage to the attack.  You may do so again after you have finished a short or long rest.

This concept is loosely based off a barbarian I played in 3rd edition that I still have fond memories of.  He was a barbarian druid and fought primarily with a great club but the DM gave me a very cool magic item early on.  It was a pair of claws that allowed me to attack with them for a d6 damage.It was a very cool campaign and items like that have to made for a specific character and mine was it.

I know that the essentially unarmed damage is higher than the monks for a large portion of levels but there are two factors involved.  One the monk has the ability to use flurry of blows enabling 4 attacks a round by level 5 and two the barbarian is used o fighting with a two handed weapon thus attacking with a higher die anyhow.

So I hope you like Primal barbarian and are looking forward to playing one in an upcoming game.  This is just my take on a custom path for Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition.

Until Next Time, Stay Nerdy!

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Ted Adams

The nerd is strong in this one. I received my bachelors degree in communication with a specialization in Radio/TV/Film. I have been a table op role player for about 20 years 17 of which with the current group. I have played several itterations of D&D, Mutants and Masterminds 2nd and 3rd editions, Star wars RPG, Shadowrun and World of Darkness. I am an avid fan of books and follow a few authors reading all they write. Favorite author is Jim Butcher I have been an on/off larper for around 15 years even doing a stretch of running my own for a while. I have played a number of Miniature games including Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy, Heroscape, Mage Knight, Dreamblade and D&D Miniatures. I have practiced with the art of the German long sword with an ARMA group for over 7 years studying the German long sword, sword and buckler, dagger, axe and polearm. By no strecth of the imagination am I an expert but good enough to last longer than the average person if the Zombie apocalypse ever happens. I am an avid fan of board games and dice games with my current favorite being Quarrios.

1 Comment

  • Edward Brown
    May 21, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    looks really cool, but steps on the monk's toes with the unarmed strike…

    My suggestion would be to replace the off-hand attack with a Bite attack as a bonus action…
    plus you can literally "Go for the Jugular."
    Then make the trophies give active or passive abilities and you get a new one at 3, 6, 10, 14 and 17.

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