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A Khajiit barbarian fiercely attacks
Strength | Endurance
Barbarian class symbol
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5e Base Class | Martial

Class Overview. The Barbarian is a martial class that employs brute force and empowering rage to cut down their foe.
Rage. Allows you to greatly improve your durability and damage output.
Reckless Attack. Throw caution to the wind in order to gain advantage on your attacks.

A tall Nord tribesman strides through a blizzard, draped in fur and hefting his axe. He laughs as he charges toward the giant who dared poach his people’s elk herd.

An Orc snarls at the latest challenger to her authority over their savage tribe, ready to break his neck with her bare hands as she did to the last six rivals.

Frothing at the mouth, a Redguard slams his helmet into the face of his Dunmer foe, then turns to drive his armored elbow into the gut of another.

These barbarians, different as they might be, are defined by their rage: unbridled, unquenchable, and unthinking fury. More than a mere emotion, their anger is the ferocity of a cornered predator, the unrelenting assault of a storm, the churning turmoil of the sea. For some, their rage springs from a connection with ancient traditions. Others draw from a roiling reservoir of anger from memories of past battles. For every barbarian, rage is a power that fuels not just a battle frenzy but also uncanny reflexes, resilience, and feats of strength.

Primal Instinct

People of towns and cities take pride in how their civilized ways set them apart from animals, as if denying one’s own nature was a mark of superiority. To a barbarian, though, civilization is no virtue, but a sign of weakness. The strong embrace their animal nature-keen instincts, primal physicality, and ferocious rage. Barbarians are uncomfortable when hedged in by walls and crowds. They thrive in the wilds of their homelands: the desert, tundra, jungle, or grasslands where their tribes live and hunt. Barbarians come alive in the chaos of combat. They can enter a berserk state where rage takes over, giving them superhuman strength and resilience. A barbarian can draw on this reservoir of fury only a few times without resting, but those few rages are usually sufficient to defeat whatever threats arise.

Life of Danger

Not every member of the tribes deemed “barbarians” by scions of civilized society has the barbarian class. A true barbarian among these people is as uncommon as a skilled fighter in a town, and he or she plays a similar role as a protector of the people and a leader in times of war. Life in the wild places of the world is fraught with peril: rival tribes, deadly weather, and terrifying monsters. Barbarians charge headlong into that danger so that their people don’t have to.

Their courage in the face of danger makes barbarians perfectly suited for adventuring. Wandering is often a way of life for their native tribes, and the rootless life of the adventurer is little hardship for a barbarian. Some barbarians miss the close-knit family structures of the tribe, but eventually find them replaced by the bonds formed among the members of their adventuring parties.

Creating a Barbarian

When creating a barbarian character, think about where your character comes from and their place in the world. Talk with your GM about an appropriate origin for your barbarian. Did you come from a distant land, making you a stranger in the area of the campaign? Or is the campaign set in a rough-and- tumble frontier where barbarians are common?

What led you to take up the adventuring life? Were you lured to settled lands by the promise of riches? Did you join forces with soldiers of those lands to face a shared threat? Did monsters or an invading horde drive you out of your homeland, making you a rootless refugee? Perhaps you were a prisoner of war, brought in chains to “civilized” lands and only now able to win your freedom. Or you might have been cast out from your people because of a crime you committed, a taboo you violated, or a coup that removed you from a position of authority.

The Barbarian

Level Proficiency Bonus Class Features Rages Rage Damage
1 +2 Rage, Unarmored Defense 2 +2
2 +2 Reckless Attack, Danger Sense 2 +2
3 +2 Primal Path 3 +2
4 +2 Attribute Score Improvement 3 +2
5 +3 Extra Attack, Fast Movement 3 +2
6 +3 Path Feature 4 +2
7 +3 Feral Instinct 4 +2
8 +3 Attribute Score Improvement 4 +2
9 +4 Brutal Critical (1 die) 4 +3
10 +4 Path Feature 4 +3
11 +4 Relentless Rage 4 +3
12 +4 Attribute Score Improvement 5 +3
13 +5 Brutal Critical (2 dice) 5 +3
14 +5 Path Feature 5 +3
15 +5 Persistent Rage 5 +3
16 +5 Attribute Score Improvement 5 +4
17 +6 Brutal Critical (3 dice) 6 +4
18 +6 Indomitable Might 6 +4
19 +6 Attribute Score Improvement 6 +4
20 +6 Primal Champion Unlimited +4
If your group uses the optional rules on multiclassing in the 5e Core Rules and the Basic Rules, here’s what you need to know if you choose barbarian as one of your classes.

Attribute Score Minimum. As a multiclass character, you must have at least an Strength score of 13 to take a level in this class, or to take a level in another class if you are already a barbarian.

Proficiencies Gained. If barbarian isn’t your initial class, here are the proficiencies you gain when you take your first level as a barbarian: shields, all weapons.

Quick Build

You can make a barbarian quickly be following these suggestions. First, put your highest attribute score in Strength, followed by Endurance. Second, choose the outlander background.

Class Features

Hit Points
Hit Dice 1d12 per Barbarian level
HP at 1st Level 12 + your Endurance modifier
HP at Higher Levels 1d12 (or 7) + your Endurance modifier per Barbarian level after 1st
Armor Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons Axe, blunt, hand-to-hand, long blade, marksman, polearm, and short blade
Tools None
Saving Throws Strength, Endurance
Skills Choose two from Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
  • An explorer's pack and four javelins
  • (a) any polearm or (b) any long blade
  • (a) two handaxes or (b) any short blade

As a barbarian, you gain the following class features.


1st-level barbarian feature

In battle, you fight with primal ferocity. On your turn, you can enter a rage as a bonus action. While raging, you gain the following benefits if you aren’t wearing heavy armor:

  • You have advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
  • When you make a melee weapon attack using Strength, you gain a bonus to the damage roll that increases as you gain levels as a barbarian, as shown in the Rage Damage column of the Barbarian table.
  • You have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

If you are able to cast spells, you can’t cast them or concentrate on them while raging. Your rage lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven’t attacked a hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then. You can also end your rage on your turn as a bonus action.

Once you have raged the number of times shown for your barbarian level in the Rages column of the Barbarian table, you must finish a long rest before you can rage again.

Unarmored Defense

1st-level barbarian feature

While you are not wearing any armor, your Armor Class equals 10 + your Agility modifier + your Endurance modifier. You can use a shield and still gain this benefit.

Reckless Attack

2nd-level barbarian feature

You can throw aside all concern for defense to attack with fierce desperation. When you make an attack, you can decide to attack recklessly. Doing so gives you advantage on melee weapon attack rolls using Strength during this turn, but attack rolls against you have advantage until your next turn.

Danger Sense

2nd-level barbarian feature

You gain an uncanny sense of when things nearby aren’t as they should be, giving you an edge when you dodge away from danger.

You have advantage on Agility saving throws against effects that you can see, such as traps and spells. To gain this benefit, you can’t be blinded, deafened, or incapacitated.

Primal Path

3rd-level barbarian feature

Choose a path that shapes the nature of your rage, all detailed at the end of the class description. Additionally, you can choose any barbarian's Primal Path outlined in the 5e Core Rules. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th levels.

Primal Path Source
Path of the Battleworn Basic Rules
Path of the Reaver Basic Rules
Path of the Savage Basic Rules
Path of the Vanguard Legionnaire's Guide to Cyrodiil
Path of the War Crier Basic Rules
Path of the Weal Legionnaire's Guide to Cyrodiil
Path of the Wilds Legionnaire's Guide to Cyrodiil

Attribute Score Improvement

4th-level barbarian feature

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one attribute score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two attribute scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an attribute score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

5th-level barbarian feature

You can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you use the Attack action on your turn.

Fast Movement

5th-level barbarian feature

Your speed increases by 10 feet while you aren't wearing heavy armor.

Feral Instinct

7th-level barbarian feature

Your instincts are so honed that you have advantage on initiative rolls.

Additionally, if you are surprised at the beginning of combat and aren’t incapacitated, you can act normally on your first turn, but only if you enter your rage before doing anything else on that turn.

Brutal Critical

9th-level barbarian feature

You can roll one additional weapon damage die when determining the extra damage for a critical hit with a melee attack.

This increases to two additional dice at 13th level, and three additional dice at 17th level.

Relentless Rage

11th-level barbarian feature

Your rage can keep you fighting despite grievous wounds. If you drop to 0 hit points while you’re raging and don’t die outright, you can make a DC 10 Endurance saving throw. If you succeed, you drop to 1 hit point instead.

Each time you use this feature after the first, the DC increases by 5. When you finish a short or long rest, the DC resets to 10.

Persistent Rage

15th-level barbarian feature

Your rage is so fierce that it ends early only if you fall unconscious or if you choose to end it.

Indomitable Might

18th-level barbarian feature

If your total for a Strength check is less than your Strength score, you can use that score in place of the total.

Primal Champion

20th-level barbarian feature

You embody the power of the wilds. Your Strength and Endurance scores increase by 4. Your maximum for those scores is now 24.

Primal Paths

Rage burns in every barbarian's heart, a furnace that drives them towards greatness. Different barbarians attribute their rage to different sources, however. For some, their scars become symbols of victories won, while others look within to their unyielding spirits.

For some barbarians, they are measured through battles won and they wear their scars with pride. The Path of the Battleworn is path paved with patience, pain, and perseverance. Whether an veteran legion soldier or the dedicated kin of Orsimer clan, a Battleworn channels their experience into their rage.
Barbarians that follow the Path of the Reaver are brutal hunters that strike in well orchestrated packs, leaving behind nothing but corpses and destruction. Despite their primitive behavior, Reavers often make up the important front lines of tactical combat. The forsworn of the Reach and the aggressive Wood Orc clans commonly use these maneuvers to intimidate their foes and catch them off guard.
Some barbarians only know destruction and violence. The Path of the Savage is a path of fury and death, learned from years of war. These tribes pass down their techniques and strategies to their cubs and kin, further honing their skills with every new generation. Myths and tales of warnings spread throughout nearby towns and villages where these barbarian tribes exist.

Drawn to a life of adventure, combat, and rabble rousing, a barbarian of the Path of the Vanguard seeks out the challenge of honing their skills, seeking new ways to overcome any obstacles. A barbarian of this path uses their rage to focus on their combat training.

Spending countless hours in grueling training, and just as many out in the wilds to learn the finer points of tracking, Path of the Vanguard barbarians prove their merit and worth both on and off the battlefield where others would fail.

The Path of the War Crier is a spiritual journey, as the barbarian learns to channel their life essence through their voice and breath. War Criers are rare in barbarian tribes, but those who have the gift are usually put into positions of power, either as shaman, spiritual leaders, or chieftains. Most Nords have some innate capacity for the power of the Voice, believing that their breath holds their vital essence. The other races can learn how to wield such power, but may require greater study, perhaps spending time with powerful Tongues.
Focusing on intimidating their opponents with their raw display of strength and mettle, barbarians of the Path of the Weal use a variety of magical markings that push their capabilities or harm their enemies. While legends of these warriors are sparse, they are most commonly seen as gladiators in the arena, where they can show off their peculiar gifts for the spectacle. There are also rumors of mercenaries and bandit kings who use these techniques in the wilds of Tamriel.

A barbarian of this path can gain these markings in a variety of ways. Perhaps you were tattooed with magical inks, or your flesh or fur was decorated with infused paints. Consider if the marks are deep scars with mystical powers, or if the markings suddenly appeared as though a greater power approved of your methods.

Using a combination of teamwork and stealth, barbarians of the Path of the Wilds are ambushers who use their knowledge of the land to overwhelm their foes. Their connection to the old gods and nature spirits grants them the protection of the wild, a manifestation that cloaks them from their enemies and fortifies their resolve. The Reachfolk of Skyrim and the Orsimer tribes that live in the wilds throughout Tamriel are looked over by these spirits. All pariahs gain their favor, including the hulkynds of Summerset and others who have been rejected by the people of Nirn.

Optional: Community Subclasses

For those that seek to expand upon the available possibilities for this class, there exist several options among the community subclasses. The existing community creations may surprise you and can add a new perspective to your adventures in Tamriel. The community subclasses have yet to be playtested and will require permission to use from your GM.