D&D 5e: Human Barbarian Guide

D&D 5e: Human Barbarian Guide

Barbarians are like wrecking balls, destroying everything in their path. Humans make for great barbarians, allowing you to play a beefy character with a fun and interesting backstory.

Let’s hope you love smashing things. 

The Human race AND the Barbarian class can be found in the Player’s Handbook. Click here to pick up your own copy of The Player’s Handbook!

How to Make a Human Barbarian

Humans are a versatile race, and they make for good Barbarians. Skip the standard human, the variant human gives you +1 to two different stats – you’ll want to go with STR and CON.

Barbarians should primarily focus on STR to boost their damage output, with CON coming up as a close second important stat, ensuring your survival on the frontlines.

Barbarian subclasses change how your character plays – sure, every barbarian generally fills the “Get angry, hit stuff” role but there’s still some nuance.

The Path of the Ancestral Guardian subclass focuses on tank utility, helping reduce damage to the rest of your party without offering anything to increase your damage output. The Path of the Beast subclass is another great option, giving you a variety of damage-boosting and party-supporting abilities, making for a versatile and powerful character.

How to Play a Human Barbarian 

Barbarians come alive in combat, charging headfirst into danger. Expect to spend time at the frontlines during intense battles.

The Barbarian’s feature mechanic is Rage – as a bonus action on your turn you can enter a rage that lasts one minute, and the number of times you can rage before resting is based on your level. When raging:

  • You have resistance to piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage
  • You gain 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.

Barbarians are not designed to rely on armor, when not wearing armor they gain a natural AC of 10 + DEX modifier + CON modifier.

When your character encounters a problem – try to smash it. That’s how Barbarians typically operate in and outside of battle. You might not be your party’s first choice to charm a guard, but you’re always going to be the first to rush into the din of battle.

How to Roleplay as a Human Barbarian

When creating a barbarian for your next character, think about where they come from and his or her place in the world. Talk with your DM 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 frontier where barbarians are common?

What led you to take up adventuring? 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 drive you out of your homeland, making you a refugee? Perhaps you were a prisoner of war, brought in chains to “civilized” lands, and only now able to win your freedom. Barbarians and similar character archetypes are common across much of the fantasy genre – you can always turn to books and movies for inspiration.

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