Those with incredible strength don't need charisma. Someone wielding a massive two-handed sword or axe won't ask for anyone's opinion. Raw power, immense damage, and brutality define the Barbarian character in BG3.
Barbarian Class Overview
In many games, the Barbarian class shares similar characteristics. Baldur’s Gate 3 is no exception. The Barbarian here also dishes out tremendous damage and relies on close-combat weapons. Your skills depend on accumulated rage, which you can replenish during battle.
If you choose this class, be prepared to be at the heart of the action. Not only can you inflict massive damage, but you can also take a lot of hits. Barbarians don't rely on environmental elements as much as mages do.
This guide for the Barbarian in BG3 isn't focused on a specific build. The beauty of the game is that everyone can craft their unique character. If you want a canonical Barbarian, check out the companion, Karlach. You can also create the perfect Barbarian for yourself without multiclassing, though the choice is entirely yours.
Barbarian Class Playstyle
If you pick the Barbarian as your character, forget about being cautious. This class operates on the instincts of a raw predator and should always be at the center of the fight. It's not just about role-playing; your primary resource is rage, which depletes if you aren't dealing damage. The more enemies around, the more rage you'll accumulate.
Barbarians specialize in close combat and serve as a full-fledged combat unit. However, don't make the mistake of focusing solely on protecting weaker allies. Your main task is to deliver physical damage. Barbarians can't take as much damage as Paladins or Fighters can.
The moment you suppress your instincts and start overthinking, you're in trouble. Dive into the enemy crowd, accumulate rage, and attack. Barbarians have many skills focused on area damage. Remember, you have the strength to hurl a rock or even another enemy at your foes. Or, you can throw yourself into the fray.
Barbarian Class Features
The main abilities for a Barbarian are Strength and Constitution. Strength is your primary attribute for dealing melee damage. Constitution is equally crucial as it provides you with HP. For a Barbarian, having a substantial HP pool is vital since they're always in the thick of battle. Furthermore, this class can't wear heavy armor if they aim to be efficient and accumulate rage.
For mobility, the Barbarian сharacter opts for light or medium armor. In this case, the armor modifier includes the Constitution score.
Regarding weapons, you can choose between martial and simple ones. If you pick a one-handed axe, sword, or mace, you can hold a shield in your other hand. If that's not your style, a two-handed weapon might suit you.
When creating your Barbarian сharacter, you can select two skills from a list. Given the class's high strength score, the Athletics skill offers significant bonuses.
- Current skill options:
- Animal Handling
Let's discuss the Barbarian's unique feature: rage. When in a rage, your character deals extra melee damage and resists damage from enemies. The damage from close-combat and improvised weapons doubles. You can activate rage as a bonus action.
The rage effect lasts for 10 turns, but it can end sooner if you're inactive. To maintain the rage, you must either attack an enemy or take damage from one.
Dressing your Barbarian сharacter in heavy armor isn't recommended. While in heavy armor, the rage features become less effective.
The Feral Instinct skill gives you an advantage on initiative rolls.
Brutal Critical increases the Barbarian's damage on critical melee attacks.
Relentless Rage can be a lifesaver. If your character runs out of HP, a successful Constitution saving throw will grant 1 HP.
Barbarian Class Progression
Now, let's discuss leveling up your Barbarian character. Over 12 levels, you'll gain specific stats and opportunities to choose various skills. Some stats boost damage, while others enhance rage skills.
We won't delve into every skill in detail but will highlight the class abilities the Barbarian acquires as they progress. This Barbarian guide offers a concise overview to aid in planning your leveling path. It's not a barbarian build, it's a general guideline.
At level 1, your Barbarian starts with 12 HP. The Constitution modifier adds +7 HP to the minimum HP per level. You also receive 2 rage charges that refresh after a long rest and an additional +2 damage from rage per level. Proficiencies include light and medium armor, and simple and martial weapons. You can select two skills from the list mentioned earlier.
Danger Sense: The Barbarian gains an advantage against traps and spells. This ability is still effective even if allies detect the traps. However, it's nullified if the Barbarian is blinded, stunned, or incapacitated.
Reckless Attack: For one turn, attacks grant the Barbarian an advantage. However, this also gives enemies the same advantage against the Barbarian.
At level 3, you can choose a subclass for the Barbarian: Berserker, Wildheart, or Wild Magic. Standard class features will also advance with each level. You gain an additional rage charge and a skill from the Barbarian's skill list.
- Rage upgrades to Frenzy, introducing Frenzied Strike and Enraged Throw abilities.
- Frenzied Strike allows for a melee attack as a bonus action.
- Enraged Throw lets you hurl an object or creature at an adversary during rage, causing Bludgeoning physical damage and disrupting the target for a turn.
- Speak With Animals allows for communication with animals once per long rest, mirroring the Druid's ability.
- Bestial Heart augments the Barbarian's rage with an animal spirit, providing unique abilities. The animal spirit can be changed with every level advancement.
- Wild Magic: Wild Surge induces random magic effects when the Barbarian enters a rage.
At level 4, you can pick a feat from a list. We've highlighted feats suitable for a Barbarian class features:
• Ability Improvement adds two points to any ability.
• Athlete gives +1 to Str and Dex and requires fewer action points to stand up.
• Dual Wielder lets you use melee weapons in both hands and adds +1 to AC. You can use heavy weapons with two-weapon fighting style.
• Great Weapon Master offers bonus attacks on critical hits or kills in melee. Heavy weapons get an attack roll penalty but gain more physical damage.
• Martial Adept lets you choose 2 maneuvers from a battle master list.
• Mobile increases movement speed, and terrain doesn't slow you down. After a melee attack, the Barbarian doesn't provoke enemy reactions.
• Skilled lets you gain proficiency in 3 skills of choice.
• Tough boosts HP by 2 points per level.
• Weapon Master improves Str or Dex by 1 point and offers proficiency with 4 weapons of choice.
Extra Attack: The Barbarian сharacter can make a free attack, unarmed or with a weapon.
Fast Movement: The Barbarian gets +5 movement speed if not wearing heavy armor.
The Barbarian character gets an extra rage charge.
Wildheart: Aspect of the Beast: Choose an animal aspect.
Berserker: Mindless Rage: When raging, the Barbarian is immune to charm and fear.
Wild Magic: Bolstering Magic: The character can buff themselves or a companion.
Feral Instinct: The Barbarian сharacter has an advantage on initiative rolls.
You can select a feat from a list. It’s class features.
Brutal Critical: Roll an extra damage dice on a critical hit.
Primal Knowledge: Choose a Barbarian skill from a list.
Berserker: Intimidating Presence: Inflicts fear on a nearby target.
Wildheart: Spirit Walker: The Barbarian can communicate with nature and animals.
Wild Magic: Unstable Backlash: Reacts to taken damage or a failed save while raging.
Relentless Rage: If the Barbarian loses all HP, the Constitution attribute gives +1HP.
You can pick a feat from a list or improve an ability.
BG3 Barbarian Subclasses
In Baldur’s Gate 3, subclasses offer a fresh perspective on each class features. The gameplay of your Barbarian character will differ based on the chosen subclass: Berserker, Wildheart, or Wild Magic.
This subclass closely aligns with wild nature. When the Barbarian сharacter rages, they channel the power of animals. The unique abilities available to this subclass offer extra physical damage and foster a bond with nature, aiding in quest progression. Wildheart Barbarians can choose a "bestial heart", which grants them additional unique abilities. It can give you additional damage.
Wildheart class features:
Speak With Animals: Just like Druids, the Barbarian сharacter can communicate with animals.
Bestial Heart: An enhanced rage that channels an animal spirit. When raging, the following unique abilities are unlocked:
- Bear Heart: Resists all damage except psychic and can recover up to 10 HP.
- Eagle Heart: Can use "Dash" as a bonus action. Attacks during this dash give enemies Disadvantage. "Diving Strike" allows a jump from a height of at least 1.5 meters onto an enemy, knocking them prone for 2 turns and preventing fall damage.
- Elk Heart: Increases the Barbarian's speed by 4.5 meters. "Primal Stampede" enables a rush forward of 9 meters, knocking down and damaging any enemies in the path.
- Tiger Heart: Enhances jump range by 4.5 meters. "Tiger's Bloodlust" enables attacks on three targets, causing them to bleed for 2 turns.
- Wolf Heart: Allies within 2 meters receive an attack advantage. "Inciting Howl" grants allies within 3 meters a speed boost for the next turn.
Animal Aspects: Wildheart Barbarians can choose an aspect that provides passive abilities related to a specific animal:
- Bear Aspect: Enhances carrying capacity and offers advantages on strength checks.
- Eagle Aspect: Augments vision and provides an advantage in low light conditions.
- Tiger Aspect: Boosts two chosen skills from a list: Athletics, Acrobatics, Stealth, or Survival.
- Honey Badger Aspect: Automatically triggers rage when affected by poison, charm, or fear.
Spirit Walker: Wildheart Barbarians can commune with spirits and summon the spirit of their chosen Animal Heart or Aspect.
The Berserker epitomizes pure rage and aggression. This subclass excels at dealing immense melee damage, whether using light or heavy weapons. All its skills augment the effectiveness and recovery of rage.
Berserker subclass features:
- Frenzy: An enhanced version of the regular Barbarian rage. Enables the use of "Frenzied Strike" and "Enraged Throw" for melee additional damage.
- Mindless Rage: Available from level 6, this skill can be a game-changer in combat. The Barbarian becomes resistant to control effects and automatically enters rage when affected by them.
- Intimidating Presence: Intimidates an enemy for a turn, allowing you to target and potentially neutralize a crucial adversary in combat.
This distinctive Barbarian subclass adds an element of unpredictability. The Barbarian wields wild magic with unforeseen consequences, capable of both dealing extra damage and enhancing allies.
Features of the Wild Magic Barbarian:
- Wild Surge: During rage, the Barbarian can initiate a random magical effect. These include causing necrotic damage to nearby enemies (and gaining temporary HP), teleporting around the battlefield, and more.
- Bolstering Magic: Harnesses erratic magic to improve the Barbarian's dice rolls and those of their allies. A buffed ally can recover a spell slot of up to the 3rd level during a long rest.
- Unstable Backlash: Uses unpredictable magic to inflict damage while in a rage. If the Barbarian takes physical damage or fails a save, a wild surge might be initiated.
Barbarian Class Build Recommendation
Build can emphasize class features. This guide provides general advice for building a BG3 Barbarian. While builds can vary based on Barbarian subclasses and playstyle, some general tips are universally applicable.
Best race for barbarian choice for Barbarians is the Shield Dwarf, which offers a +2 bonus to both strength and constitution. The Wood Half-Elf is a second best race for barbarian, starting with 16 in both strength and constitution. The Human is a balanced third best race for barbarian.
For a versatile Barbarian build, we recommend the following stat allocation:
- Strength: 17;
- Dexterity: 14;
- Constitution: 17;
- Intelligence: 8;
- Wisdom: 10;
- Charisma: 8.
Strength and constitution are paramount for Barbarian сharacter. The strength bonus enhances damage output and interaction capabilities, while constitution provides defensive benefits, particularly as heavy armor isn't typically recommended.
In terms of weaponry, select based on your preference. Improve proficiency in your weapon of choice, and you'll excel. Keeping a ranged weapon is advisable since it often delivers more additional damage than environmental objects.
The Barbarian is a versatile combatant with a penchant for intense brawls. Like a wild beast, he plunges headfirst into melee combat, driven by fury. Playing this class requires intuition over overthinking.
BG3 Barbarian subclasses can significantly modify gameplay. The Berserker leans towards raw combat, while the Wildheart encourages more strategic choices. Wild Magic brings a touch of unpredictability and flair to the Barbarian's playstyle.
Though a Barbarian can wield any weapon, they're restricted to light and medium armor. Strength and Constitution are your primary attributes. With this Barbarian guide, you can familiarize yourself with its features and strategize your build accordingly.
As our BG3 Barbarian guide concludes, let's address some common queries.
What is the best race for a Barbarian in Baldur's Gate?
The best race for a BG3 Barbarian are the Shield Dwarf, Wood Half-Elf, and Human.
Which Barbarian subclass should I play?
Each Barbarian subclass offers a distinct experience. If you're after visceral combat and adrenaline rushes, opt for the Berserker. If you value a bond with nature and a tactical combat approach with diverse skills, Wildheart is ideal. For those intrigued by magic but keen on the Barbarian's style, the Wild Magic subclass beckons. This class features are very interesting.
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