D&D 3.5 – The Fighter

The Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Barbarian

So, it is time for you to unleash your inner rage and become a barbarian? That is a good choice – specifically for beginners – as the barbarian offers strong melee powers. As for optimization, the Barbarian falls short to the casters, but performs very solid within his own tier (he is considered a tier4 character class).

If you are in for a roleplaying experience, I highly recommend the barbarian. It is a straight forward “kick in the door” type of character class with the charm of a physically strong and highly emotional, dedicated warrior type. If you loved Conan, the Barbarian is for you.

Reading is for nerds, diplomacy is overrated, instead lets use the two-handed sword and a good portion of intimidation. Let’s have a look at this great class (and find out how to make the apperantly one dimensional barbarian multi-dimensional).

The barbarian by the rules (the class):

Let us have a brief outlook about the cleric and his main class features:


The good:

  • Hit Dice:  D12
  • Strong Saves: Fortitude
  • Base Attack Bonus: +1 per level
  • Profiencies: Medium Armor, Shields, Weapons
  • Special: Rage, Uncanny Dodge, Dmg Reduction

The bad:

  • Weak Saves: Reflex, Willpower
  • Skills: 2 + int
  • Options: Lack of flexibility
  • Spells: none

Roles within the Party:

  • Primary Melee: The barbarian excells at melee range, most of the builds of the Barbarian use his sheer power-spike when he rages and strongly rely on Strength as their main tool to overcome foes. Most popular amongst these builds are heavy usage of Two-handed weapons as well as feats that translate the high Strength score into damage (i.e. power attack or various feats that allow you to gain better ratios on BAB for damage conversion).

  • Alternative Melee: Two-Weapon fighting is also not unknown, specifically with alternative Rage featues that grant additional DEX instead of CON when raging, it is subpar from the pure damage perspective and suffers against damage reduction, but its both flavorful and can work with crit-fishing builds or multiclassing into sneak/position damage.

  • Primary Ranged: There are two different general methods of how to make this architype work. The one route is the brutal throw feat and stacking of STR in order to use this as a single attack stat for ranged damage (can be for example used with javelins or with even larger objects as a hulking hurler [stonethrower]). The other option is to use a modified bow with a high DEX score as well. The increased number of feats required will probably force you into a multi-classing tho.

Recommended Books to start with the barbarian:

Hint: Despite the fact that the third edition books are not longer printed, hard-cover versions are still available via second hand purchases. I highly recommend them if you like Pen and Paper Sessions.

You might want to check out a hard-copy of the well structured CORE books of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5.

  • The Player’s Handbook (in case you do not have it yet)
  • Complete Warrior (for many additional prestige-class options)
  • Complete Champion (a further good reference with many useful feats for martial characters)
  • Complete Scoundrel (great resource for martial characters, which want to include nimbleness and mix up with rogue architypes)
  • Tome of Battle (great buff for every melee class with fantastic material in it)
  • Magic of Incarnum (although the title might suggest otherwise, this book includes some of the best additions for martial characters, I highly recommend it)
  • Book of Exalted Deeds and Book of Vile Darkness (Good thematical additions to every character if you want to play in a “good” vs. “evil” setting)
  • Unearthed Arcana (again a misleading title, this book offers great additional rules for alternative settings. It adds quiet a lot for martial characters)

Role-playing a Barbarian (its tougher than it looks):

Optimizing the Barbarian:

The cleric class leaves a large room for optimization, as there are endless options. It is a great example of an “easy to get into, but hard to master” class. The best two resources, which I can recommend are:

Useful Links for the D&D 3.5 Barbarian:

As for many other classes, there is alot additional material out there, depending on the sort of Barbarian you want to play. A couple of useful sources that I used when creating my barbarian were:

Useful additional equipment / expansion material for DnD: