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“My strength is the fury of the wild.”[PH2:48]

Barbarian is a class in Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition published in Player's Handbook 2, and they were introduced in issue 308 of the Dragon Magazine (see Development section for more details). 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 Traits[]

The following traits are common to both original barbarians and berserkers:

Characteristics: As a barbarian, 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 Avandra, Kord, Melora, 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 Skills[]

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

Original Barbarian[]

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

Barbarian Agility[]

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

Feral Might[]

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, a set number + Constitution modifier, and at 21st level, (set number * 2) + 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.
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 an amount of thunder damage.
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 a number of 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 Strike[]

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]

Subclass: Berserker[]

Main article: Berserker

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

Berserker Fury[]

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 Aura[]

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 Moderate bonus to AC and minor bonus to Reflex while wearing cloth armor or no armor and not using a shield resist a set number to fire
Level 14: resist (that set number * 2) fire
Level 24: resist (that set number * 3) fire
Frozen Land Minor bonus to Fortitude and Will resist a set number to cold
Level 14: resist (that set number * 2) cold
Level 24: resist (that set number * 3) cold
Temperate Land Minor bonus to damage rolls with a one-handed weapon while wielding a one-handed weapon and using a shield Minor bonus to speed during a charge

Poised Defender[]

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

Vengeful Guardian[]

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 Powers[]

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 Feats[]

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 feats[]

Paragon Tier feats[]

Epic Tier feats[]

Barbarian Paragon Paths[]

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

Multiclass Barbarians[]

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


Str 13 The character gains the Berserker Fury class feature, but can use it only once per day.
Berserker's Fury


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.
Rampant Fury[PH2:148] Berserker's Fury Feat You gain the barbarian class feature Rampage

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 Barbarians[]

Any hybrid character can choose the Hybrid Barbarian class as one of its selected classes as detailed in Player's Handbook 3.

Character Optimization[]

See Also[]



A human barbarian stands tall and angered, ready to face the hordes of evil.

The barbarian was released as a playtest in Dragon 368, PlayTest: Barbarian. The playtest version 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:

Clarifications were made in Player's Handbook 2:

  • Blade Sweep implied that bloodied enemies took damage twice.

The following Barbarian powers were renamed:


  • Wizards RPG Team. (2009). Player's Handbook 2. Wizards of the Coast, pg.48 - 65. Retrieved on 2019-06-06.

External Links[]