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8 Best Barbarian Subclasses 5E [Choose Your Path Of Rage]

Best Barbarian Subclass 5e
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 01/09/2024
Est. Reading: 7 minutes

The realm of Dungeons and Dragons is undeniably fascinating and fully packed with numerous unique characters, each offering a distinct flavor to your gaming experience.

One such character garnering immense attention from players worldwide is the haughty but strongly built barbarian.

Each of its subclasses unveils incredible features that add depth to this mighty warrior’s role.

We’re going through the best barbarian subclass 5e options you could choose for creative, immersive, and engaging gaming experiences.

This mighty warrior class has much more than sheer strength and raw power; it’s brimming with intriguing depths portrayed through its various subclasses.

Understanding each subclass’s nuances can greatly elevate your gameplay, offering you novel approaches to tackle each challenge thrown your way in the game.

Read on as we delve deeper into eight of these stand-out subclasses, sharing crucial insights about their distinctive abilities and strategies that set them apart.

8 Best Barbarian Subclasses 5E

As a Dungeons & Dragons player, you have likely marveled at the sheer variety of characters available.

Best Barbarian Subclass 5e

The Barbarian, well-known for its remarkable strength, is a prime example of this diversity evidenced through its subclasses.

These subclasses personify different aspects of the primitive warriors’ lifestyle within the world of D&D. Each has its unique abilities and preferred strategies that enhance gameplay.

Let’s delve deeper into four beloved subclasses: Path of the Berserker, Path of the Totem Warrior, Path of the Ancestral Guardian, and Path of the Storm Herald.

Also Read: Monk 5E In D&D [Class Features, Subclasses, And Strategies]

Path of the Berserker

For those looking for raw power and a frenzied fighting style, turning to the Path of the Berserker is never disappointing.

This subclass offers stimulating gameplay with a focus on intense combat situations. Choosing this subclass means you’re up for nearly constant conflict – this path thrives in battle.

The signature ability bestowed upon barbarians who tread this path is Frenzy, which allows them to make a single melee weapon attack as a bonus action on each subsequent turn after entering Rage. This ability reflects their relentless combat prowess that refuses to yield or retreat in battle.

Try to imagine it; your character plows through enemies fearlessly, empowered by an untamable rage erupting like an inner volcanic reserve.

Such power comes with repercussions – post-battle exhaustion that can affect your character’s performance in ensuing conflicts until rest is attained.

It demands strategic thinking about when to use and when to conserve your powers. This constant balancing act can give depth and tension to campaigns featuring Berserker barbarians.

Path of the Totem Warrior

Barbarians who follow the Path of the Totem Warrior tap into spiritual forces to embody animal powers that influence their abilities in fascinating ways.

Path of the Totem Warrior

When you choose this subclass at the 3rd level, you can select a totem spirit of either Bear, Eagle, or Wolf each offering unique abilities that broaden your game-playing style.

The Bear totem provides resistance to all damage except psychic, while an Eagle Totem Warrior gains sight acuity and mobility akin to a bird of prey.

The Wolf’s influence allows comrades to have an advantage on melee attack rolls against creatures within 5 feet of you. This feature emphasizes group cohesion and tactical strategy in battle.

The flavor it adds is undeniable morphing you into something more than just a brute muscle presence on the battlefield.

You become an embodiment of nature’s ferocity and wisdom invoking animal spirits in service of your quests.

Path of the Ancestral Guardian

Choosing the Path of the Ancestral Guardian means that your Barbarian character respects tradition and communicates with ancestral spirits seeking their guidance in battles.

This subclass enhances not just your gameplay but also adds depth to your character’s backstory and role-playing scope.e

From the third level, when you rage, spectral warriors appear who distract foes you attack.

The target affected is disadvantaged when it targets creatures other than you making it hard for enemies to focus on anyone else other than your Barbarian while in combat.

It’s a powerful protective ability that aids allies while putting pressure on enemies.

As you level up in this path, these ancestral warriors aid further by reducing the damage done by attacks on others other than yourself lending further credence to this path as a protector of its tribe or party.

Also Read: Ascendant Dragon Monk Subclass [How To Play In DnD 5E]

Path of the Storm Herald

If calling upon nature’s wrath is more your style, then look no further than the Path of the Storm Herald.

Path of the Storm Herald

This subclass associates Barbarians with stormy environmental phenomena such as tundra’s frosty chill or sea storm’s wild fury; creating a dramatic visual aura around them enhancing both gameplay in combat and aesthetic role-play elements.

At the third level, you choose between three potential storm auras: desert, sea, or tundra. When active during rage, these auras provide additional damage and effects to enemies in your vicinity.

A desert aura encompasses burning heat damaging anyone within 10 feet, or you may choose a sea aura that lashes out a lightning bolt.

If you opt for tundra, then cold damage and temporary hit points for allies could be beneficial.

Each lends a unique dynamic to the character’s interactions in and outside of combat. Whether you’re an embodiment of frosty stoicism with tundra’s chill or as volatile as tempestuous seawaters this path allows for creativity aplenty.

Path of the Zealot

The Path of the Zealot is a fantastic option if you wish to model your Barbarian as a divine instrument of destruction.

This subclass signifies that your Barbarian is touched by celestial beings, driven by religious fervor to wage war against enemies. Followers of this path are typically seen as avatars of gods in battle.

Apart from moralistic aspects that can be played with due to their religious commitment, the gameplay intrigue lies in their ability to Rage Beyond Death.

This ability, gained at the 14th level, allows them to keep fighting without faltering even when their hit points reach zero, further cementing their position as a divinely chosen warrior.

They also boon from extra radiant or necrotic damage on the first enemy they hit on each of their turns during combat.

The celestial connection adds an ethereal aura around these barbarians lending them seemingly supernatural resilience and fervor in battle.

Path of the Wild Soul

A player opting for the Path of the Wild Soul brings unpredictable magical elements into play that can make every combat scenario memorable.

Path of the Wild Soul

These barbarians draw upon magic from various realms leaking into them through cracks, in reality, itself not dissimilar to channeling chaos magic by accident.

At the third level, these barbarians manifest an effect related to magic surging within them every time they enter a rage.

The result can vary between exploding floral glyphs that restore allies’ health or temporarily teleporting creatures in your vicinity elsewhere on taking damage.

It creates an array of unexpected outcomes giving game moments a vivid sense of novelty and excitement.

Every game session with such chaos-fueled barbarians begets surprising narrative twists and unforeseen strategic considerations keeping everyone at the edge of their seat.

Also Read: Drakewarden Ranger Subclass [How It Changes Your DnD Gameplay]

Path of the Beast

For those who harbor fantasies about beastly transformations during battles, picking up the Path of the Beast can make it true.

This Barbarian subclass embraces monstrous aspects found within one’s primal ancestry, allowing one to undergo beast-like transformations during combat.

Each time they rage, these Barbarians can grow a natural weapon – snarling fangs, sharpened claws, or stinging tails.

Each weapon imparts unique benefits and additional damage in the battle leaping you into a brutal ballet of beastial might.

Those choosing to grow claws would be able to make an additional attack with them on each turn.

Such agile and deadly offensive capabilities elevate the combat strategies and choices available to your character during game sessions.

Path of the Rune Knight

Last but certainly not least in our list is the mighty Path of the Rune Knight. This subclass variant finds its origins in Giants and presents an opportunity for Barbarians to enhance their abilities by learning ancient runes’ cunning.

Path of the Rune Knight

These barbarians adopt runes that grant them a variety of attributes.

Each selected rune provides a thematic skill associated with it, an Ice Rune can increase one’s weight-lifting capability mimicking frost giants’ strength or granting an advantage on animal handling checks from its spirit connection aspect.

They also obtain the ability to become giant-like themselves momentarily during battles! Imagine this: your character swells in size becoming a terrifying colossus in the heart of combat certainly an awe-inducing sight.

Amidst all Barbarian subclasses’, this one stands out for allowing inherent expansiveness of skills and strategic capability through rune manipulation.

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FAQs About barbarian subclass 5e

How do I choose a subclass in barbarian 5e?

You can select a subclass for your Barbarian in D&D 5e when you reach the third level. Depending on your preferred gameplay style and roleplay narrative, you can choose from eight different subclasses.

What is meant by ‘Rage’ when it comes to Barbarian subclasses?

Rage is a feature intrinsic to the Barbarian class in D&D 5e, lending them boosts of strength and resistance in battle scenarios. It’s a state of heightened battle readiness that Barbarians can invoke, and many subclass abilities are linked to its use.

Can all barbarians, irrespective of their subclass pick, speak with animals?

t all Barbarians inherently communicate with animals; only those opting for Path of the Totem Warrior at the third level gain this ability – provided they choose the Bear as their selected totem spirit.

Which is the most powerful Barbarian subclass in 5e?

The “power” of a subclass can largely be subjective and dependent on the gameplay style. Path of the Berserker offers great offensive capabilities while Ancestral Guardian shines in defensive roles – it truly depends on the type of character you wish to portray.

Are there magic-wielding barbarians in D&D 5e?

Yes, The Path of the Wild Soul embraces unpredictable magical elements resulting from unforeseen interactions with various arcane realms. It offers a novel twist to your traditional perception of Barbarians.


  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!