Does anyone like the Barbarian

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Post by Troll Lord »

The barbarian will be revised in the 4th printing. Several more abilities are added and its revamped to better reflect is non-civilized nature.

The other class that is going to get some treatment is the Illusionist.

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Post by dachda »

Troll Lord wrote:
The barbarian will be revised in the 4th printing. Several more abilities are added and its revamped to better reflect is non-civilized nature.

The other class that is going to get some treatment is the Illusionist.

Steve

Interesting news. I take it this thread was started to give you some ideas for revamp? Shall we discuss the Illusionist now then?
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Post by Breakdaddy »

Great news Steve. The illusionist's range of power needs clarification. Lots of folks seem to be confused about the usefulness of illusions within the framework of their C&C game.

Steve- If you want to send over your ideas on the changes we can get to work playtesting these immediately. The PCs are right in middle of Barbarian country right now and I have several NPCs that could be Barbarians ready to be deployed.
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Post by Lord Dynel »

That sounds pretty damn awesome, Steve!

I stared another conversation on the Illusionist, if that's alright with everyone.

Quick question for those following this thread - the rage thing (or primal fury) came into being with d20 and 3rd Edition. Would it improve the barbarian in making it more like the earlier editions (namely, Unearthed Arcana/Dragon Magazine) of AD&D? I think this class is reserved to a cultural niche trope, but would taking it back to its roots make it more respectable or desirable among players? Honestly, I think the intriguing aspect of the rage/primal fury ability is what calls many to the class. I wonder if it was removed and (as Steve pointed out) it was made more non-civilized, would it be more or less interesting.
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Post by Breakdaddy »

I think they could leave primal rage but make it something like "ancestral strength" and they could call on the spirits of their forefathers for the strength to prevail in battle. The point of this is: get rid of all the damned penalties associated with "Primal Rage" and make it less berserker like.
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Post by Lord Dynel »

I wouldn't be opposed to the return of the "barbarians are distrustful of magic," viewpoint/aspect of the class.

As far as the "ancestral fury," goes, Breakbaddy, would it be usable X times per day or something?
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Post by Breakdaddy »

Lord Dynel wrote:
I wouldn't be opposed to the return of the "barbarians are distrustful of magic," viewpoint/aspect of the class.

As far as the "ancestral fury," goes, Breakbaddy, would it be usable X times per day or something?

I agree wholeheartedly with the magic aversion (particularly "flashy" magic, this stuff seems entirely unnatural to this sort of person). I always thought that this really added "Barbarian flavor" to the class. As for usage of Ancestral Strength, I would say yes. After all, how often can a guy convince himself that he is channeling his ancestors spirits (they probably have better sh*t to do than hang out with him all day! )
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Post by moriarty777 »

Breakdaddy wrote:
I think they could leave primal rage but make it something like "ancestral strength" and they could call on the spirits of their forefathers for the strength to prevail in battle. The point of this is: get rid of all the damned penalties associated with "Primal Rage" and make it less berserker like.

Nothing wrong with a bit of penalties or hindrances...
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Post by serleran »

Interesting that the Trolls are changing the class. A few more changes and we'll have a whole new edition.
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Post by Troll Lord »

serleran wrote:
Interesting that the Trolls are changing the class. A few more changes and we'll have a whole new edition.

haha I'm not sure what defines a new edition. I think a change in the way a game is run would but revising the barbarian would be much like revising the equipment list. The mechanics that drive the game are still very much the same just the particulars of one class.

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Post by Breakdaddy »

serleran wrote:
Interesting that the Trolls are changing the class. A few more changes and we'll have a whole new edition.

I wouldnt go far as to say it's edition changing. I am looking at a class (Barbarian) that at least from the limited information I've gleaned, is almost uplayed due to its lackluster skill set. I think making the class more appealing actually adds the Barbarian back into the ruleset as a viable option for play. I hope that Steve puts out a downloadable PDF that will make the changes free of charge which would put to rest most of the dissent that occurs when changes are made to a core system.
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Post by anonymous »

Regarding magic aversity, I'm afraid I completely disagree: the UA rules as written very effectively banned the barbarian from the gaming table, since it commited a starting party to having no clerics or magic-users ("2nd level: May freely associate with Clerics" if you recall...) Even without this particular restriction being applicable or applied, the would-be barbarian player is in conflict with any would-be wizard or illusionist player and the barbarian will lose almost every time by virtue of being much more likely to be satisfied with a fighter or a ranger than the spellcaster would be by giving up magic completely, in order to let someone else be a very particular kind of frontline weapon wielder.

What gamers that I've played with seemed to want from the barbarian is something more like Conan in his various incarnations rather than a Viking berserker or a spirit warrior; that is someone who relies more on his own physical attributes than on the best armour and weaponry like the fighter class.

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Post by Breakdaddy »

Tenser's Floating Disk wrote:
Regarding magic aversity, I'm afraid I completely disagree: the UA rules as written very effectively banned the barbarian from the gaming table, since it commited a starting party to having no clerics or magic-users ("2nd level: May freely associate with Clerics" if you recall...) Even without this particular restriction being applicable or applied, the would-be barbarian player is in conflict with any would-be wizard or illusionist player and the barbarian will lose almost every time by virtue of being much more likely to be satisfied with a fighter or a ranger than the spellcaster would be by giving up magic completely, in order to let someone else be a very particular kind of frontline weapon wielder.

What gamers that I've played with seemed to want from the barbarian is something more like Conan in his various incarnations rather than a Viking berserker or a spirit warrior; that is someone who relies more on his own physical attributes than on the best armour and weaponry like the fighter class.

I dont recall having advocated the UA treatment of magic aversion but let me be clear: I advocate an aversion to flashy magical effects only, not some rules-imposed restriction about who can be added to the barbarian's party. Dont mistake this for a suggestion that we go back to the UA variant of the Barbarian. This could take the form of limiting him from the use of certain magic items (like a necklace of fireballs) or simply provide him a penalty when saving vs. certain magical effects. I think it's a nifty idea but I wouldnt be worried if it were omitted entirely. I just wanted to mention this because you seem to be disagreeing with nobody (unless someone else mentioned UA specifically).
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Post by Troll Lord »

I don't know if I agree with the magic aversion. That stems, I think, from Robert E. Howard's Conan. But most "un-civilized" (I use that term lightly because I'm pretty sure we equate civilization with the telephone which I have a great aversion too! haha) people are very in tune with the magical properties of the world. They may have an aversion to evil magic, but not good magic. I just finished reading the Lakota stores of Black Elk about the White Buffalo Woman. This was a potent magic that guided the future of the tribe. Crazy Horse believed that their were evil spirits all about, but he could keep them at bay if he did not eat with a metal utinsel. But he wore tokens to protect him in battle. The Shirt Wearers of the Ghost Dance did the same, wearing magical shirts to protect them from the bullets of the U.S. Army.

I have no doubt if we were to look at the Gauls of Caesar's day that they were very much steeped in magic and ritual.

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Post by danbuter »

Most barbarian cultures are all about magic. Shamans tend to be one of the most important people in the tribe. And pretty much all primitives have handy little charms and such to protect themselves. Therfore, please no aversion to magic. Unless you are just going to rename the class to conan berserker.
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Post by anonymous »

Lord Dynel: you're right; nobody did call for a return to UA class restrictions. I just thought someone had... nurse!

re the Gauls - don't get me started on all that, it's something of a hobby horse of mine! As I said, most barbarian-centric gamers I've gamed with seemed to be after a Conan type and aren't particularly interested in crazy berserkers or spirit possession. This perhaps puts them at odds with the idea of the barbarian that inspired the Barbarian Class C&C inherited. Even the 2nd ed. Complete Handbooks couldn't agree: Complete Fighter went for a dangerous looking Conan type as the Barbarian kit, but Complete Barbarian itself went an equivalent of CF's Savage kit...

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Post by dachda »

If you use the Conan character as written by Howard, I'd have to agree that his magic aversion, was only to enemies using dark, evil magic. Conan used magic when it served his purpose. In People of the Black Circle, he wore a magic belt (he took when Khemsa died) which protected him against the magic of the Seer of the Black Circle. In Beyond the Black River, he etched a magical rune in the ground and stopped the animal servants of Zobar Sag from tracking him.

I'm two stories away from finishing a re-read of all the Howard original stories so if you go with a Conan model. I'd say the model would include, superior strength, superior endurance, superior speed, Hide/move silent skills, Tracking skills, cliimbing skills and be difficult to surprise. Conan used every armor from leather to plate mail. In Beyond the Black river he wore a chain vest, and made a comment that he wished the other woodsmen did the same, but they were unable to move silently in metal armor as he could. So perhaps a move silent skill would apply to metal armor. He also seems to have used all weapon types; sword, long knifes, axes, spears, bows, clubs. He also used shield and helmets.

I don't remember any mention of hunting/fishing skills at all. Though one could assume he had survival skills, they are not mentioned as such in the stories. There are mentions of longs periods he could go without food/water/sleep, much more so than normal men. Perhaps some sort of endurance skill could be introduced. Nor does he use thief tools to pick locks, he steals, but usually by climbing steep walls and entering unlocked doors.

He also has a moral code, in which strength, and directness (honesty, but also no say one thing mean another [politician style talk]) are respected and women are protected from those who would force their will upon them. Conan certainly loved the women, but he never forced himself on them, and tends to kill those who do.

All told using just the original Howard stories for reference. A barbarian is a sort of a Ranger with superior strength and endurance. I could even see the old Ranger moral code coming into play too.
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Post by Julian Grimm »

Troll Lord wrote:
haha I'm not sure what defines a new edition. I think a change in the way a game is run would but revising the barbarian would be much like revising the equipment list. The mechanics that drive the game are still very much the same just the particulars of one class.

Steve

I don't think that this is a bad thing. In fact it has become a belief of mine that tight unchanging rulesets only work in games like Yahtzee, Battleship or Monopoly. These games have defined boundries that RPGs just don't have. Therefore to create the unchanging ruleset for RPGs would take so many years of playtest and development that the hobby ceases to be viable.

Add in the expandable nature of RPGs and you get a headache trying to get it all to work right. With each module, rulebook or magazine article added there are that meny more variables to add in.

So I see revising and tweaking as a natural process of the design in the whole. Hell if no design were changed or revised we'd still be driving Model-A Fords and buying large blocks of ice for our Ice-Boxes before settling in to a night of radio programming. Yay, Little Orpahn Annie episode 1,219,946 is on tonight.
So fix what is needed guys. And if the time comes the system is getting wonky under it's own weight, the redo the whole thing. I'm not scared of a 2e tag on the C&C name.
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Post by dachda »

Julian Grimm wrote:
I don't think that this is a bad thing. In fact it has become a belief of mine that tight unchanging rulesets only work in games like Yahtzee, Battleship or Monopoly. These games have defined boundries that RPGs just don't have. Therefore to create the unchanging ruleset for RPGs would take so many years of playtest and development that the hobby ceases to be viable.

Add in the expandable nature of RPGs and you get a headache trying to get it all to work right. With each module, rulebook or magazine article added there are that meny more variables to add in.

So I see revising and tweaking as a natural process of the design in the whole. Hell if no design were changed or revised we'd still be driving Model-A Fords and buying large blocks of ice for our Ice-Boxes before settling in to a night of radio programming. Yay, Little Orpahn Annie episode 1,219,946 is on tonight.
So fix what is needed guys. And if the time comes the system is getting wonky under it's own weight, the redo the whole thing. I'm not scared of a 2e tag on the C&C name.

I think the important thing when adding stuff or revamping, is making sure that the guy coming to the CK's table with his 1st print book can sit down and play with the three guys with the 5th print book, even if their characters have some different skills or what have you. As long as everything is backwards compatible, 'revising and tweaking" as JG is saying seem okay to me.
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Post by Julian Grimm »

IMNSHO that is how true design works. You should see a progressive curve with each change that can be traced back to the original design. I have worked enough with blueprints and such that I know how these things should work when designs are revised.
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Post by Lord Dynel »

Okay, I think that I should probably amend myself a little bit on the aversion to magic part.

Yes, the UA rules made playing a barbarian at the table as difficult as having a paladin in the party. I wouldn't be asking for a copy/paste of those rules. I think it could be restructured as to make playing a bit more flavorful. I think those were some of the only rules printed in the character class rules back then that purposely promoted role-playing (along with the paladin and cavalier codes). I think it could be done to leave out spell casters of the party. I think that the barbarian's view of magic comes from Conan, yes, but I also think it makes sense - these are people of the natural world. A people that have not seen anything stranger than the rituals of the tribe witch doctor or shaman. I'd be distrustful of some robed wizard throwing around flashy magic, too. Sure the guy that I'm traveling with does it (and I'm not particularly fond of that, either), but these stranger do so with the intent on harming me.

That got me thinking. Rangers - aren't these guys just kind of "normal" people that decided to become adept at wilderness knowledge, or so it could be defined? Sure, it all depends on character history, but even the PHB defines them as warriors that are specialized in gathering information on the enemy and spend time in the wilderness tracking their foes. Couldn't the same be said of barbarians? What I mean is that the ranger, a "wilderness-based" class can originate from society. Couldn't barbarians be written to be the same? Couldn't they also be (aside from being culturally from the wilderness) people who have decided to "go native," to resist civilization's lure, or turn his back on society? I think that if so, then the ability to "rage" would have no place. The more I think about that ability, the more I don't like it and think it has no place in the barbarian's repertoire. Eh, don't mind me, I'm just thinking aloud...now back to my post.

Even if the magic aversion aspect isn't re-incorporated, I think that a barbarian is a good thing. Selfishly, I'd love to see a revamp of the 1e barbarian, but I'll be happy either way.
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Post by anonymous »

"Neither ignorant nor savage, Barbarians are masters of their own destiny" says the PHB. I don't think making them more ignorant and savage will encourage anyone to play the class. If people aren't playing barbarians, it's because the class is at odds with the kind of barbarian they want and in my experience this is because they want Conan or Fafhrd and the current class is giving them Clan of the Cave Bear...

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Post by catenwolde »

I think this is good news, and will be welcome. My two cents on the topic are spelled out here:
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Post by Go0gleplex »

The more that is discussed and the more that I think on this, I believe Barbarian as a class is a complete misnomer. Barbarian is simply a term applied to a culture that is less sophisticated/ advanced than the culture they are being held up against. Barbarians may have and be shaman, fighters, thieves...etc...within their culture. So if anything, this should be more of a racial, dare I say it, template.

If presenting something along this line as a class, then Berserker is more appropriate, as mentioned previously.

Then I got to thinking of the legends out of various mythologies and such. Berserkers in some Norse mythos were able to transform into raging bears. (Then I thought a gnome or halfling...or other small size berserker would need to turn into a bearcat or wolverine ) Some other ideas came to mind...but the distinction between cultural application vs profession is more of the stickler I simply had to voice.
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Barbarian revised...

Post by boxcornersdiety »

I apologize for the essay-long post. Here is my review of the class, focusing on the nuts-and-bolts (mechanics) of the class abilities, my view of the class archetype, and how to make it better.

DESCRIPTION

Overall it is a very nice and evocative description, but the first sentence throws me. It sounds as if there are hordes of barbarians just outside every city. Are you talking about barbarians here, or The Barbarian class? Maybe focusing on the singular barbarian would make the archetype stronger. I would just remove (most of) the first paragraph entirely.

Distrust of magic can be a major hindrance, depending on the campaign. If Barbarians are really reluctant to use magic items, then they should also get some innate ability to resist magic and/or illusions (see below). Lacking any magical weapons, a Barbarian might not be able to damage certain kinds of creatures, but could still distract or grapple with one while the rest of the party delivers the necessary magical force. Alternatively, the passage about distrust of magic could be removed along with the increased abilities suggested below.

I agree with gideon_thorne that the survival ability should be codified. I would prefer general survival to one tied to a specific geography.

Not owning more than you can carry is another big hindrance, especially in high-level games. How about removing the heavy armor restriction in exchange for this? That way Conan could still wear a breastplate while sacking a city but would never personally *own* one--it is simply too much weight. This issue also ties in to the much needed errata in the encumbrance system, but that's another story. Adding a move silently ability (but not hide in shadows) would also encourage light armors most of the time.

COMBAT SENSE

Awesome as-is. Could pump it up at higher levels and remove the rear attack bonus altogether.

PRIMAL FORCE

Again, awesome as-is. Consider just applying it to all magic and illusions in exchange for the distrust of magic hindrance.

PRIMAL FURY

Too much has been said about this one, I ain't gonna touch it. Let's just say that I like the CK screen typo!

PRIMAL MIGHT

This is the one ability I would like to see overhauled. First, it is mechanically kinda like a hit point bonus, but depending on your CON, it can actually decrease character survivability (since you are more likely to be killed than just knocked out). Second, this is the only ability in the entire game that depends on a raw ability score (not the modifier). I suggest something as follows:

Barbarian can fight until reaching -(level + con modifier) hit points. Barbarian dies at -(level + con modifier + 10) hit points.

So a level 5 Barbarian with a +1 con modifier could still fight until -6 hit points, would pass out at -7, and would die at -16 hit points. A level 10 barbarian with a +3 con modifier could fight until -13 hit points, would pass out at -14 hit points, and would expire at -23 hit points. I realize that it is hard to write about negative hit points and be clear--but that is why we need the Trolls--they're such great writers!

The last paragraph of this ability mentions "dragging yourself to safety." If a barbarian can continue fighting at negative hit points, why can't he/she *run* to safety? This part of the description should also clarify wether or not the Barbarian loses 1 hp per round while in negative hit points. I think they should, unless they spend a round binding wounds before jumping back into the fray. The 1 hp loss/lvl distinguishes fighting at negative from simply giving the Barbarian a hit point bonus--he is badly wounded but still dangerous!

PRIMAL WILL

Excellent as-is. Consider letting it apply to spells, spell-like abilities, illusions, magic items, and magically enhanced weapons to balance a restriction against using magic items.

ARMOR

I would switch to "any" and codify the restriction of not owning more than you can carry.

==========

I love the strong archetypes in C&C and if anything would revise the Barbarian to make its archetype stronger. To me, the Barbarian is the guy who grew up in the wilds, doesn't have the martial training of a fighter or monk, but has this amazing stamina that lets him keep fighting long after everyone else has fallen down. He travels light, only trusts things he can observe with his own senses directly, and believes in his ability to survive off the land.

He may or may not believe his is channeling his ancestor spirits, I don't think it necessarily adds to the archetype. He may have an aversion to magic, but this doesn't mean he can't learn to trust other *people*. It is possible to trust someone who regularly engages in something that you never do yourself. This same aversion, coupled with his instinctual perception, might make him less susceptible to some things (e.g. illusions) than the rest of the party.

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Post by Kos »

I don't mind the barbarian as is, primal rage just needs a little tweak. I agree that the penalties are a little severe; you shouldn't be punished for trying to use a class ability. I don't think rage is to berserker'ish either plenty of primitive warriors were prone to getting pissed at their enemies.

I always thought it was reflection of the unrestrained nature of barbarians. They're just not as uptight, when someone threatens them or their people they lash out.

That's my two cents

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Post by Kos »

I don't mind the barbarian as is, primal rage just needs a little tweak. I agree that the penalties are a little severe; you shouldn't be punished for trying to use a class ability. I don't think rage is to berserker'ish either plenty of primitive warriors were prone to getting pissed at their enemies.

I always thought it was reflection of the unrestrained nature of barbarians. They're just not as uptight, when someone threatens them or their people they lash out.

That's my two cents

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Post by Lord Dynel »

Kos wrote:
I don't mind the barbarian as is, primal rage just needs a little tweak. I agree that the penalties are a little severe; you shouldn't be punished for trying to use a class ability. I don't think rage is to berserker'ish either plenty of primitive warriors were prone to getting pissed at their enemies.

I always thought it was reflection of the unrestrained nature of barbarians. They're just not as uptight, when someone threatens them or their people they lash out.

That's my two cents

Agreed. That's how it seems to be with some class abilities that deal with bonuses to combat - either they are usable a certain amount of times per day, or they impose penalties after their use. I'm not sure why 3e gave teh barbarian the stigma of having a drawback from a rage ability - probably because it gave it the rage ability to begin with.
If you have to go with the "drawback" method, I think that primal rage should be a "burst" ability, like an "adrenaline rush" sort of thing that lasts for X amount of rounds. After X amount of rounds, the rage ends and the character becomes fatigued. That should last a certain amount of time as well - but it starts immediately after the duration of the rage ends. So if the barbarian's rage can last 4 rounds, and after 4 rounds he gets fatigued and suffers major panalties for his "wilderage" ability. Maybe levels 1-4 it can last 2 rounds, levels 5-8 it lasts 3 rounds, levels 9-12 it can last 4 rounds, 13-16 it can last 5 rounds, and levels 17-20 it can last 6 rounds. During his wilderage (sorry, I like that name ), he gains +Y to hit and damage (maybe these increase as levels rise), can strike creatures that can only be hit by magical weapons (possibly gain this at a later level), gains increase to Con checks while in rage, and maybe some other abilities. Maybe he also has to make Wis saves to avoid engaging his comrades, assuming he is still in rage and all of his foes are down. After the duration ends, the barbarian is fatigued - suffers -1/2Y to hit and damage for twice the amount that his wilderage lasted. Just some thoughts on how I'd do a rage ability.
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Moorcrys
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Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 7:00 am

Post by Moorcrys »

I'm with the fix primal rage people -- there are so many opinions and primal rage fixes on this site just pick one and run with it. Chances are it can't be any worse than the one in the book.

I'm also of the opinion that they should have a survival skill like the ranger.
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Moorcrys

anonymous

Post by anonymous »

FWIW I wouldn't have a rage of any sort. It's been my experience that players who want barbarians aren't particularly bothered about going berserk. Don't know what to have instead, though... I wondered about making any weapon wielded by a barbarian upgrade its damage to the next biggest dice...

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