Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted take a look at magic items in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons with an eye towards the ones particularly beneficial for a barbarian. Like the discussion on top magic items for rogues this is an unusual topic because it’s rare for a character to choose magic items. However there’s a few opportunities I can think of off the top of my head. In Adventurers League play items can be traded on a one-for-one basis for items with the same rarity at a cost of 15 downtime days unless they’re playing at the same table. Games beginning beyond 1st level often allow for players to choose magic items too, like in our own monthly fan one shots. These particular looks at 5E D&D magic items are very difficult for an entirely different reason though. Subjectivity rules the day, and for our Top 10 by a Factor of Three method here at the website it gets quite noodly when all the official content gets thrown out the window as we browse homebrew magic items at D&D Beyond looking for the best ones for barbarian characters. So let’s get into it.
Magic items for barbarians at D&D Beyond
It’s worth noting you can create homebrew content for private use and share your homebrew content publicly at DDB at no cost — there’s no subscription required to access these services. However if you want to add any of the homebrew magic items mentioned below or any other homebrew content you come across to your collection you must subscribe at the Hero Tier or above. There’s a lot you can do at DDB for free. Check out what you can do here.
The DDB homebrew collection uses several statistics to track entries. Views shows how many people looked at any particular homebrew creation, Adds shows how many times a creation was added to someone’s collection and Rating is an upvote/downvote system. Since there are over 107,151 magic items in the collection I’m going to share the top 10 highest rated, most viewed and most added selections that also make particularly good magic items for barbarians.
I’ve yet to land on a reliable method for looking at homebrew go to magic items for particular classes. This is the third of these kind and while the first one for the rogue seems to go okay, the warlock one not so much and I’m running into the same wall here for barbarians. It’s actually causing me to experience some rage of my own so I’d better hit it quick and get down to business. Barbarians if nothing else deal out damage so let’s look at weapons tagged specifically with damage.
Top 10 highest rating magic items
- The Magician’s Judge. A greatsword capable of destroying magical effects comes in at No. 1. Wielded by Yasha from Critical Role’s Mighty Nein campaign weighted the rating I’m sure and at the same time it is a fantastic weapon for a barbarian, deserving of the high rating.
- Ela — The Electric Lute Axe. Strong bard overtones permeate this battleaxe but a sentient weapon with charges to cast several lightning based spells adds some nice options for a barbarian and the musical theme of the item adds a touch of roleplaying and character development opportunity.
- Summer’s Dance. A scimitar with misty step capabilities gives a neat trick to a barbarian and I’m a big fan of two weapon fighting barbarians in general. I play one in our Nerdarchy team game who was raised by a brass dragon on the Elemental Plane of Fire and calls his scimitar Claw and shortsword Bite.
- Aestus. Another scimitar, this one is a artifact with a connection to a gold dragon with a bunch of really cool features on top of being a powerful magic weapon that, like Ela, includes some terrific roleplaying and adventure opportunities.
- Coldsnap. This is a whip but hear me out. I already advocated for two weapon fighting as a barbarian and this whip adds cold damage and potentially freezes enemies in their tracks, plus it’s got reach and as a Finesse weapon you can use your Dexterity but you certainly don’t have to meaning your Rage Damage bonus applies.
- Chain Blade. This magical longsword is another chance to try something other than greataxe, greatsword or maul and it transforms into a whip capable of hitting three targets — possibly transforming between attacks!
- Bushido — Legendary Katana. A greatsword is a great start for a barbarian weapon and this one comes packed with tremendous flavor, roleplaying opportunities and utility spellcasting making it a fantastic magic weapon for a barbarian.
- Stormsunder Greataxe. With a name like this do you have any doubt it’s on this list? If you’re imagining a barbarian laying waste on the battlefield with thunder and lightning all around, you’re not far off.
- Farynith, the Malice of the Wolf. Add wolf power to your attacks! While attuned you get the Inspiring Leader feat, which is the cherry on top. Magic weapons are cool. Magic weapons with a noncombat feature can become a signature part of a character’s entire persona, and that’s amazing.
You know what? I scanned the pages of homebrew magic weapons at DDB using several filters and search methods looking for a solid No. 10 entry. After a while I decided since the top items for classes series each deviates from the original concept in some way, for barbarians it’ll manifest as a Top 9 list. Going forward we may scrap this series completely. It’s really proving an impediment. What do you think? Got any ideas for consistent search parameters when it comes to go to magic items for specific 5E D&D character classes?
5E D&D barbarian and magic item resources
These Top 10 by a Factor of Three posts typically wrap up with some other places to find similar content. Since the class specific magic item series isn’t as expansive as other types, I’m expanding this section to offer you several places to get some fresh 5E D&D content as a palette cleanser. Enjoy!
- Over at Dungeon Master’s Guild we’ve got 37 titles! Most of these are Character Build Guides with fun guides for an entire adventuring career plus a new NPC for DM’s to use, each inspired by the player character version. They’re all pay what you want so add ’em all to your digital collection and have fun. We’ve all had a blast either playing these characters at various levels or using the NPC versions in our games and we hope you do too. Check it out here.
- Did you sign up for Nerdarchy the Newsletter? You can do so over in the sidebar and among the benefits you’ll receive a coupon code for $9.99 off anything in Nerdarchy the Store. We’ve got over 30 digital products with Fifth Edition content ready to drop right into your game, 3D printed miniatures and terrain and most exciting of all — Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition! If you like magic items especially check out Secrets of the Vault: Mage Forge Vols. 1 and 2. Check it all out including hardcover preorders here.
- Over on Patreon you can get early access to all our store products every month, and new supporters get instant access to previous month’s rewards too (requires lots of scrolling down though — be warned). Check it out here.