Thursday, September 27, 2007

A barbarian by any other name.

While I'm thinking about it, why does the Barbarian class exist in 3rd edition? What's it's reason for being? It's raison d'etre?

I remember when the class first appeared in Unearthed Arcana in AD&D. It was with the Cavalier and a couple other classes I don't remember. In those heady days of the eighties, it was a fun class. A twist for those who were tired of the fighter, ranger, and paladin.

That was then. Now however, I think the barbarian has no place in the 21st century, or 4e for that matter.

As I understand the class, the barbarian is a savage from the wildlands. A brute with a big axe and terrible table manners. Superstitions instead of enlightened education. A sore thumb in the polite fist of civilization.

Give the class some trap sense and some DR and the rage ability and okay, I'm with you. I even like the d12 HD, if for no other reason than to finally give me a reason to roll the most ignored die in the set.

However, when you add in the ability to multi-class the barbarian becomes a WTF class.

I mean, add a level of rogue or fighter or wizard and suddenly the barbarian is reading at a high school level. Not unless he's been questing through dungeons sponsored by Hooked on Phonics.

I say, roll those barbarian abilities into a talent tree and dump this lame class into the fighter barrel. Instead of being a seperate class the superstitious, illiterate, axe swinging beserker with terrible hygene and anger management issues can be roleplayed, as it should be.

At the very least rename the class. Call it a Beserker and free it from all the baggage our civilized snobbery attaches to the word "barbarian".

5 comments:

Maggard said...

I couldn't disagree more. The Barbarian has a place in 4th Ed as the natural anthesis to civilized society. The Warrior is our protectors accustomed to civilized trappings. The Warlord now takes the place of leader of the battle hardened classes. The Ranger holds the line between the edges of civilization and the great beyond. The Barbarian is that threat from the great beyond. The indigenous societies threat to civilized soft underbelly.
There is no problem with returning to the drawing board and brining this class back to its roots. Re-examine the epic savage fighters of legend and history. But let us have the change to throw off societies chains and rage a swarth of destruction along our path that warriors fear.

Shawn said...

I like the Barbarian class. Personally, I enjoy a large selection of classes and the ability to mix and match them. The more variety the better. I easily see differences between Barbarians and other warrior classes.

Tony said...

I think the rule behind 3rd ed classes is 'the more popular fic, the more deserving'.

In the same way that the ranger is there to let people play Aragorn from LotR, the barbarian is there to let people play Conan.

GREW50ME said...

The original poster of this blog needs to read some Robert E. Howard stories. It's kind of ironic that someone says the Barbarian class does not belong, when Sword-and-Sorcery fantasy started with a barbarian.

Griff said...

I didn't say that the Barbarian has no place in D&D.

Well, wait a second... "I think the barbarian has no place in the 21st century, or 4e for that matter."

I guess I did.

But that's honestly just a poor choice of words (or sentence structure) on my part.

The real gist, the message I'm trying to get across, is that there's no need for a separate Barbarian class in 4E. Roll those powers into the fighter and make it a "build" under that class.

Of course, that was before I realized that 4E needs all the classes it can get. We need the Barbarian. We need to add the Berserker, the Raider, the Conan and the Red Sonja. We need all the classes we can get so that we can hopefully find a "build" that fits our character concepts.