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This illustration by William O'Connor introduced the barbarian in the Player's Handbook 2.

Barbarian is a class in 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons. There are two barbarian subclasses: the original barbarian, a primal striker,[PH2:48] and berserker, a primal and martial striker and defender.[HotF:42]

Class traitsEdit

The following traits are common to original barbarians and berserkers.

Characteristics: You combine powerful melee attacks with an excellent ability to absorb damage. You gain tremendous bursts of power through mighty rages. You have unusually high hit points for your role, making you more durable than other strikers.

Religion: Most barbarians revere the primal spirits of the natural world rather than calling on the gods of the Astral Sea. Some barbarians don’t see conflict between the gods and the primal spirits and therefore honor deities of nature or warfare in addition to the primal spirits. These barbarians often revere Kord, Melora, Avandra, or the Raven Queen. Evil or chaotic evil barbarians turn to Gruumsh or, more rarely, Bane or Zehir.

Races: Goliaths are ideal rageblood barbarians. Dragonborn make excellent thaneborn barbarians. Half-orcs are often barbarians but don’t favor either of the two types. Dwarf and shifter barbarians tend to be rageblood barbarians, while halfling and half-elf barbarians choose the thaneborn path.

Class skillsEdit

Original barbarians and berserkers are trained in any three skills from the barbarian class skill list:

Original barbarianEdit

The original barbarian is the subclass of barbarian introduced in the Player's Handbook 2. It is sometimes referred to as "o-barbarian" or simply "barbarian".[PH2:48]

Barbarian AgilityEdit

While you are not wearing heavy armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC and Reflex. The bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 21st level.[PH2:49]

Feral MightEdit

Barbarians connect with the natural world in a variety of ways. Some barbarians grow so hardened to physical punishment that they find it easier to simply absorb, rather than avoid, attacks. Others are living examples of the power of one’s will to shape one’s fate.

Choose one of the following options. The choice you make gives you the benefit described below and also provides bonuses to certain barbarian powers, as detailed in those powers.

Feral Might option Power gained Additional benefits
Rageblood Vigor[PH2:49] swift charge When the barbarian reduces an enemy to 0 hit points with an attack, the barbarian gains temporary hit points. The number of temporary hit points at 1st level is equal to the barbarian's Constitution modifier, at 11th level, 5 + Constitution modifier, and at 21st level, 10 + Constitution modifier.
Thaneborn Triumph[PH2:50] roar of triumph When the barbarian bloodies an enemy, the next attack by the barbarian or an ally against that enemy gains a bonus to the attack roll equal to the barbarian's Charisma modifier.
Thunderborn Wrath[PrP:9] war cry Once per round, when the barbarian bloodies an enemy with an attack, each enemy adjacent to the barbarian takes thunder damage equal to the barbarian's Constitution modifier.
Whirling Slayer[PrP:10] whirling lunge The barbarian can wield any one-handed weapon in the offhand and treat it as an off-hand weapon. In addition, once per round, if the barbarian's attack bloodies an enemy, the barbarian can shift 2 squares as a free action. Each enemy adjacent to the barbarian at the end of this shift grants combat advantage to the barbarian until the end of the barbarian's next turn.

Rage StrikeEdit

Barbarian daily attack powers have the rage keyword. They allow you to unleash powerful bursts of emotion, willpower, and primal energy. Each rage power starts with a mighty attack, and then you enter a rage, which grants an ongoing benefit. At 5th level, you gain the Rage Strike power, which lets you channel an unused rage power into a devastating attack while you’re raging. Using rage strike is an alternative to using a second rage power in a climactic battle; it gives you the damage output of a daily power without forcing you to enter a different rage.[PH2:49]


Once per round, when you score a critical hit with a barbarian attack power, you can immediately make a melee basic attack as a free action. You do not have to attack the same target that you scored a critical hit against.[PH2:49]


Main article: Berserker

Berserker is the subclass of barbarian introduced in Heroes of the Feywild. Berserkers have a dual primal and martial power source, and are both strikers and defenders.[HotF:42]

Berserker FuryEdit

When you use a barbarian primal attack power, you enter berserker fury until the end of the encounter. Alternatively, you can use a minor action while you are bloodied to enter the fury. The fury has the following effects,

  • Your defender aura ends, if it was active, and you cannot use defender aura or vengeful guardian until the fury ends.
  • Some of your powers, such as your barbarian martial at-will attack powers, gain additional benefits, as noted in those powers.
  • Your melee basic attacks deal 1d8 extra damage. This extra damage increases to 2d8 at 11th level and 3d8 at 21st level.


Defender AuraEdit

Berserkers with the Defender Aura class feature gain defender aura as an at-will utility power. Defender aura creates an aura 1 that penalizes unmarked enemy attack rolls against allies without a defender aura by −2.[HotF:43]


A berserker chooses one of the following terrain types and gains the corresponding benefits.[HotF:43]

Heartland terrain 1st-level benefit 4th-level benefit
Arid Desert +3 bonus to AC and +2 bonus to Reflex while wearing cloth armor or no armor and not using a shield resist 5 fire
Level 14: resist 10 fire
Level 24: resist 15 fire
Frozen Land +1 bonus to Fortitude and +1 bonus to Will resist 5 cold
Level 14: resist 10 cold
Level 24: resist 15 cold
Temperate Land +2 bonus to damage rolls with a one-handed weapon while wielding a one-handed weapon and using a shield +1 bonus to speed during a charge

Poised DefenderEdit

Berserkers with the Poised Defender class feature gain a +2 bonus to AC when their defender aura is active and they are not wearing heavy armor.[HotF:44]

Vengeful GuardianEdit

Berserkers with the Vengeful Guardian class feature gain vengeful guardian as an at-will attack power. Vengeful guardian can be used as an opportunity action triggered by enemies within the berserker's defender aura shift or attack an ally without a defender aura.[HotF:44]

Barbarian powersEdit

Most barbarian powers, having primal power sources, are also called evocations. Some have a martial power source, and are also called exploits.

At-will attack powers

1st level

Encounter attack powers Daily attack powers Utility powers

1st level

1st level

2nd level

3rd level 5th level 6th level
7th level 9th level 10th level
13th level 15th level 16th level
17th level 19th level 22nd level
23rd level 25th level
27th level 29th level
Unleveled powers

Barbarian featsEdit

These feats have the barbarian class, or hybrid/multiclass barbarian, as a prerequisite. Additional prerequisites are noted. For example, characters who multiclass into barbarian do not necessarily gain the -Thaneborn Triumph feature, so may not qualify for feats requiring that feature.

Heroic tier featsEdit

Barbarian paragon pathsEdit

Refer to the Barbarian section in the Paragon Path page or the Barbarian Paragon Paths category.

Multiclass barbariansEdit

Characters who did not start as barbarians and who do not already have a multiclass feat of a type other than multiclass barbarian may multiclass as barbarians by taking one of the following entry feats.

Barbarian entry feat Prerequisites Benefits
Battle Berserker

[HotF:126] || Str 13

The character gains the Berserker Fury class feature, but can use it only once per day.
Berserker's Fury

[PH2:196] || Str 13
Con 13

Once per day, the character can take a free action to gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls until the end of the encounter.

In addition, each barbarian entry feat grants all of the following benefits:

  • The character counts as a barbarian, in addition to his or her original class, for the purpose of meeting prerequisites for feats, paragon paths, etc.
  • The character gains training in one skill of his or her choice from the barbarian class skill list: Acrobatics, Athletics, Endurance, Heal, Intimidate, Nature, or Perception.
  • The character may take Novice Power, Acolyte Power, and Adept Power feats to exchange powers for barbarian powers.
  • If the character takes a multiclass encounter, a multiclass utility, and a multiclass daily feat (such as Novice, Acolyte, and Adept Power), the character can paragon multiclass in barbarian instead of taking a paragon path. Paragon multiclassed barbarians select additional barbarian powers instead of paragon path powers.

Hybrid barbariansEdit

Any hybrid character can choose the Hybrid Barbarian class as one of its selected classes.

See alsoEdit

  • Dragon 380, Barbarian Essentials, page 26 - includes suggestions for builds.



The barbarian was released as a playtest in Dragon 368, PlayTest: Barbarian. The Playtest had the following notable differences:

  • Rage Strike was at-will instead of twice per day (although still depeleted a daily-use resource) and was available at level 1.
  • Howling Strike used to not provoke opportunity attacks. Changed to provide extra movement.
  • Stone Bear Rage resisted 3 + constitution modifier damage, changed to just constitution modifier.
  • Paragon Path Frenzied Berserker:
    • Frenzied Blood feature cause damage on a miss. PHB2 no longer had the ability apply to attack that inflict damage on a miss.
    • Deathless Frenzy changed to Immediate Interrupt.

Clarifications were made in PHB2:

  • Blade Sweep implied that bloodied enemies took damage twice.

Powers were renamed from the playtest:

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