Author Topic: Improving Barbarian Class Feats  (Read 317 times)

Alan Hunter

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Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« on: November 10, 2018, 12:28:55 PM »
I realize that this class hasn't gotten as much attention as it should. Fighters and Druids recently recieved some extensive updates that in game balance can turn the tabpes mechanically. Yet I feel barbarians are lacking mind you some of their class feats are interesting but with their limited feat slots they seem to lack luster in class. Curious I'm surprise we haven't add more berserker or rage like feats such as Terrifying Rage or Thundering to their repetoire. Or an ability/feat that improves their damage reduction. Perhaps a class feat to make their inflicting wounds cause bleed status? Some feats provide some mechanical/role play but other than high hit points and damage they are not as diverse as some classes. Suggestions folks?
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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2018, 12:35:04 PM »
Barbarian is in a really good place right now.  They have feats that give high amounts of SR, elemental resistances, and significant boosts to saves.  Heck, they even get a feat that almost negates the AC penalty to rage, and end up getting Mighty Rage if you stay pure.  I'm really not sure what else you could responsibly ask for at this point.

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2018, 01:06:47 PM »
Only thing I'd be a proponent of of the suggested changes is a feat or ability that ties into one of their existing, non-rage class features. i.e. a feat that boosts their Fast Movement speed by another 10%, or a feat that improved barbarian damage reduction to make it less negligible (as barbarian DR is low enough to be almost a dead feature).

More options are okay. Given barbarians spend all of their feats on rage feats, giving feats not based on rage might actually give barbs some build diversity (a feature they currently lack altogether).

Pav

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2018, 02:16:45 PM »
or a feat that improved barbarian damage reduction to make it less negligible (as barbarian DR is low enough to be almost a dead feature).

Even just 3 flat DR counts. It's on every single physical attack and you know what they say about little things. They pile up.



In general, I will echo Legion's sentiments - Barbarians are some of the better classes on PotM and have a variety of unique features to PotM. I think they're good & great & cool & nice.
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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2018, 03:08:38 PM »
Barbarians are in a far better spot than they were compared to Vanilla in the 1-20 range, here. While I understand how BattleCupcake feels about build diversity, in the end, it's all about your character's differences as a Barbarian that sets them apart from others.
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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2018, 03:36:49 PM »
If you wanted some build diversity there would be fighter for you. A barbarian's ability is pretty one-sided but that one thing is what makes them unique and cool.

Craugh

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2018, 03:50:03 PM »
I'll chime in here since I play a barb, and am relatively conscious of weighing mechanical advantages. Disclaimer: I've not yet delved upper-teen lvl content beyond Curst.

TL;DR As it currently stands, spending all your feats as a barbarian on rage feats is a mechanical waste.

No, really! The most potent use you get out of it is the SR, which can be approximated by the Greater SR potion variety, or a cleric or druid at your back. A lvl 16 cleric or druid can give you exactly the same thing for much longer. If someone says that the barbarian rage/SR feats are still useful for soloing or when a cleric/druid isn't necessary, then they're looking at dungeons below their barbarian's level for xp, where SR doesn't really matter in the end. If you want SR, you want it to last a long while. If there's a high-level barb out there who thinks differently, please speak up.

Perhaps even more importantly, there is an enormous amount of utility in the vanilla feats. Weapon focus, Improved Critical, Blind Fight, IKD, Expertise/Improved Expertise... these are all more attractive than the barbarian feats, barring Stone Rage and maybe the two Extended/Increased # of Rage feats.

As it stands, you either ignore the barb feats altogether because they detract too much from mechanical efficacy, or you take them all because you love getting SR while raging. A few take only Stone Rage because they're nabbing every bit of AC possible.

I love BattleCupcake's suggestion of adding feats that improved upon their unique qualities, like DR and speed. Stuff like that would outweigh the utility of Expertise/Improved Expertise, for instance. Not for all builds, but some, at the very least. Note, while the 3/- DR isn't negligible--as Pav stated--this "unique" aspect of the barbarian can be replicated by enchanted adamantine armor, or so I've heard. Making it possible to outshine an adamantine item if you invest feat(s) sounds like a really good way to make it truly unique to barbarians. Even only adding 1/- DR by feat, ideally locked behind lvl 17 barbarian, would be a very nice pat on the back for resisting the temptation to dip into rogue and/or fighter. (Edit: suggestion retracted per the reasoning below in a later post.)

I understand the argument that RP, the character, should be what makes them unique, but mechanics--especially all these interesting feats on POTM--are meant to underscore those differences. Why not add or replace a few to make that underscoring work better?

All that said, this is a relatively minor issue compared to stuff like re-designing crafting systems. I'll not speak too much on it, if only because it's a footnote on the list of important issues for the devs to deal with.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 04:35:07 PM by Craugh »

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2018, 03:51:29 PM »
Edit: Double-posted, my mistake.

Pav

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2018, 04:03:48 PM »
Barbarians have amazing build diversity. Like a lot of classes, they are best when taken 20 levels of, but - and this is a very large but - there are many builds that incorporate the class and make exceptional use of its unique Rage ability, especially ones that incorporate other melee classes. For example, Barbarian / Ranger / Fighter is an exceptionally strong damage dealer. A Barbarian / Druid can easily cap all of their physical statistics and have exceptional capacity both in ranged, melee, and spellcasting. Bardbarian fist-fighters are almost up to par with monks!

In general, this class is exceptionally diverse and its one key, powerful element makes it very desirable for those that can take it.

Also, Adamantine Armor's DR is pierced by +1 weapons. Barbarian's shrug off +100000000000 weapons. So, there's that.
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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2018, 04:10:57 PM »
It should be said that the Barbarian's new feats aren't there to improve their ability to solo. Almost no mundane class is going to be able to solo content of a similar level to themselves.

3/- DR does add up, certainly, though I find this server has a tendency towards the "chunkier" damage numbers. That said, the only other class that gets x/- DR is Dwarven Defender - which is a race-locked PRC requiring significant character investment.

As Pav mentioned earlier, Stone Rage is a very potent feat. Almost entirely negating the Barbarian's AC penalty during rage will save you more than an extra one or two damage shaved off each connected attack, since a few AC can make a very real difference between getting hit and not.
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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2018, 04:26:25 PM »
Adamantine armor dr can't be pierced with +1 weapon,  but I totally agree that diversity for barbarian class can come from (and should come from) multiclassing. Rogue/Fighter/Barbarian,  Rogue/Barbarian are also a way to go amongst with other options listed above. They'll complement well with high amount of skill points barbarian can get or will allow to acquire more feats standard barbarian,  focused on rage feats,  usually can't get. Barbarian is for sure not a class that needs any type of direct buff right now.

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2018, 04:33:17 PM »
Barbarians have amazing build diversity. Like a lot of classes, they are best when taken 20 levels of, but - and this is a very large but - there are many builds that incorporate the class and make exceptional use of its unique Rage ability, especially ones that incorporate other melee classes. For example, Barbarian / Ranger / Fighter is an exceptionally strong damage dealer. A Barbarian / Druid can easily cap all of their physical statistics and have exceptional capacity both in ranged, melee, and spellcasting. Bardbarian fist-fighters are almost up to par with monks!

I call red herring! [flaps a fish around]

The context of this conversation is how to improve pure barb build diversity, or at least make it an attractive option compared to a multiclassed build. I don't think anyone would argue that a short dip into barb is a bad thing. Multiclassing will always be a good way to make a competent, rounded character. The issue is how to make a pure barb a more attractive prospect, as a pure fighter has been. As all classes do in their own way.

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In general, this class is exceptionally diverse and its one key, powerful element makes it very desirable for those that can take it.

This is misleading. A multiclassed build is exceptionally diverse. Yes, like any other class, barb has an ability--two, if you count the speed--right out the gate that makes multiclassing into it worthwhile.

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Also, Adamantine Armor's DR is pierced by +1 weapons. Barbarian's shrug off +100000000000 weapons. So, there's that.

I don't have firsthand experience, but I vaguely recall a mention of adamantine shields having -/DR. Not the chest piece. My apologies for being vague here.

It should be said that the Barbarian's new feats aren't there to improve their ability to solo. Almost no mundane class is going to be able to solo content of a similar level to themselves.

Agreed. My point was that soloing (or a party without a cleric/druid) is practically the only context that a barb's SR would be useful enough to justify the cost of practically all your feats as a pure barb, barring an emergency situation.

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3/- DR does add up, certainly, though I find this server has a tendency towards the "chunkier" damage numbers. That said, the only other class that gets x/- DR is Dwarven Defender - which is a race-locked PRC requiring significant character investment.

I hadn't considered how this would make barb better than a Dwarven Defender. DwD is arguably better for a tank build because of the AC boost, but... hm. I retract my suggestion for improving DR by -/1 above. Seeing barb edge out DwD in utility doesn't sit well with me.

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As Pav mentioned earlier, Stone Rage is a very potent feat. Almost entirely negating the Barbarian's AC penalty during rage will save you more than an extra one or two damage shaved off each connected attack, since a few AC can make a very real difference between getting hit and not.

Agreed, it's why I explicitly made an exception for it in my earlier post, along with maybe Extended/Extra Rage if you plan to use it a lot.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 04:41:14 PM by Craugh »

Pav

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2018, 04:50:29 PM »
Barbarians have amazing build diversity. Like a lot of classes, they are best when taken 20 levels of, but - and this is a very large but - there are many builds that incorporate the class and make exceptional use of its unique Rage ability, especially ones that incorporate other melee classes. For example, Barbarian / Ranger / Fighter is an exceptionally strong damage dealer. A Barbarian / Druid can easily cap all of their physical statistics and have exceptional capacity both in ranged, melee, and spellcasting. Bardbarian fist-fighters are almost up to par with monks!

I call red herring! [flaps a fish around]

The context of this conversation is how to improve pure barb build diversity, or at least make it an attractive option compared to a multiclassed build. I don't think anyone would argue that a short dip into barb is a bad thing. Multiclassing will always be a good way to make a competent, rounded character. The issue is how to make a pure barb a more attractive prospect, as a pure fighter has been. As all classes do in their own way.

Quote
In general, this class is exceptionally diverse and its one key, powerful element makes it very desirable for those that can take it.

This is misleading. A multiclassed build is exceptionally diverse. Yes, like any other class, barb has an ability--two, if you count the speed--right out the gate that makes multiclassing into it worthwhile.

I find neither of these points relevant to the classes' strengths.

Not every other class is good upon multiclassing, depending on your original. A pure class character is almost always restricted to very few effective paths, which is the same case for Barbarians. It doesn't change the fact that a level 20 character of a single class will almost always be same thing as another in terms of playstyle if it was built with efficacy or even semi-efficacy in mind. The tools can differ (as they do with Barbarians using different weapon choices and statistic spreads), but the style remains consistent.

Adamantine armor dr can't be pierced with +1 weapon,

You're right. +3.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 04:52:09 PM by Pav »
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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2018, 05:13:36 PM »
I've watched a lvl 12 Barbarian and a lvl 12 wizard duo level 15+ dungeons.  You are forgetting the immunity to sneak attacks as well that Barbarians get thanks to uncanny dodge.  Simply put with all the enormous power upgrades Barbarians got with their unique feats as well as access to other variety of boosts, this whole conversation feels a bit daft.  If you play a barbarian that doesnt feel strong, I'd wager you didnt build them right, because theres clear and horrendous evidence of what happens when you do.

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2018, 05:33:13 PM »
Not every other class is good upon multiclassing, depending on your original. A pure class character is almost always restricted to very few effective paths, which is the same case for Barbarians. It doesn't change the fact that a level 20 character of a single class will almost always be same thing as another in terms of playstyle if it was built with efficacy or even semi-efficacy in mind. The tools can differ (as they do with Barbarians using different weapon choices and statistic spreads), but the style remains consistent.

I can agree to that. In the end, how mechanically differentiated a barb should be from other front-liners is a matter of opinion. I'd personally enjoy seeing barb feats that are side-grades instead of upgrades, so to speak. What those are... eh, I'd need to give it more thought.

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Adamantine armor dr can't be pierced with +1 weapon,

You're right. +3.

There's nothing that will give flat -/ DR except a certain amulet? Huh.

I've watched a lvl 12 Barbarian and a lvl 12 wizard duo level 15+ dungeons.  You are forgetting the immunity to sneak attacks as well that Barbarians get thanks to uncanny dodge.  Simply put with all the enormous power upgrades Barbarians got with their unique feats as well as access to other variety of boosts, this whole conversation feels a bit daft.  If you play a barbarian that doesnt feel strong, I'd wager you didnt build them right, because theres clear and horrendous evidence of what happens when you do.

I'd still argue that most of the feats are easily passed up for other vanilla feats, but agreed on the matter of power. Barbarians don't need a power boost.

Pav

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2018, 06:04:29 PM »
There are a few more things that give flat DR, like a certain axe, but, yes. I agree with your latter points, though I think they have a sufficient number of sidegrades available to them as of right now. There's a lot of Rage feats that are nifty and niche.
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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2018, 06:51:32 PM »
The Uncanny Dodge upgrade with EE is itself a massive power boost, because it makes pure Barbs excellent tanks in places where mobs have huge amounts of sneak attacks. I've had Paladins get torn to shreds at level 20 in places where a Barb will now probably be able to tank quite effectively...
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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2018, 10:31:28 PM »
Barbarians are fine as they are; perhaps it'd be nice at some point to have feats that improve other aspects of barbarians to give more versatility but they're in a pretty good spot right now.

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2018, 11:43:47 PM »
Only things I can see that Barbarians would need would be things like -

Some kind of Last Stand feat. While raging, if you would be knocked to unconscious, heal back to half HP, but rage fades and exhaustion kicks in (even if you have Tireless Rage). Requires Back to the Wall, Die Hard, Barbarian Rage as a prerequisites. Fighting till your last breath, and then some, like Hercules from Fate/Stay Night. If you're in a bad spot you're probably going to still be in one though and worse off after moving forward but it gives that heroic barbarian feel I think. It would also prevent people from dying to rage fading out while unconscious.

Another rage feat would be to acquire damage immunity as a % against physical attacks, no matter how small it actually is. Even 5% would be nothing to scoff about considering current items IG. D&D 5E has physical damage being reduced to half while raging, we (I play a barbarian multiclass too!) would appreciate a minor version of this I think.

Stack up 5/- physical resistance with physical immunity and physical damage reduction of 5/+3 or max barb damage reduction and they all have a significant cumulative impact, so % doesn't need to be anywhere near as excessive as 50%, but being present would be nice. I'd pick a 5% over my Dodge feat which is a relative 5% less chance to be hit depending on what's going on, which is otherwise useless when I'm too high or too low AC for something.

A rage feat that applies Vampiric Regen to your held weapon equal to such and such / level
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 12:08:59 AM by zDark Shadowz »

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2018, 10:34:40 AM »
Only things I can see that Barbarians would need would be things like -

Some kind of Last Stand feat. While raging, if you would be knocked to unconscious, heal back to half HP, but rage fades and exhaustion kicks in (even if you have Tireless Rage). Requires Back to the Wall, Die Hard, Barbarian Rage as a prerequisites. Fighting till your last breath, and then some, like Hercules from Fate/Stay Night. If you're in a bad spot you're probably going to still be in one though and worse off after moving forward but it gives that heroic barbarian feel I think. It would also prevent people from dying to rage fading out while unconscious.

Haha. This feat seems a tad OP :D

I agree that Barbarians as a class are sufficiently strong now. If there's not a lot of diversity in builds, that only reinforces the point.

How so? Because if barbarians are always taking their own class-specific feats, that means those feats are superior to the alternatives that other classes can take.

The better way to increase diversity of builds is through non-class-specific feats because that adds complexity and greater choices to all classes. If a new feat is offered to only a single class, it's much easier to evaluate and decide whether the feat makes for a superior build or not.

That is, if most barbarians lack diversity now and a new barbarian feat is created, it will either be an improvement on the prevalent build or it won't be. If it is, then everyone will want to re-level. And that build will become the new standard for barbarians. If it's not an improvement, few will take it, and nothing will change.

Additionally, if barbarians do take the new feat because it's superior, then that means barbarians as a class will have become more powerful. So diverse builds won't result, but power creep will (despite the consensus being barbarians are in a "good place" already).

It's much easier to maintain game balance while increasing player choices through feats that are available to the maximum number of PCs. The more restricted a feat is (in other words, the more difficult it is to get), the greater the tendency to make it more powerful. Restricting a powerful feat so that few PCs qualify for it is a recipe for imbalance.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 10:46:19 AM by Iridni Ren »

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2018, 11:24:14 AM »
Spoiler: show
Only things I can see that Barbarians would need would be things like -

Some kind of Last Stand feat. While raging, if you would be knocked to unconscious, heal back to half HP, but rage fades and exhaustion kicks in (even if you have Tireless Rage). Requires Back to the Wall, Die Hard, Barbarian Rage as a prerequisites. Fighting till your last breath, and then some, like Hercules from Fate/Stay Night. If you're in a bad spot you're probably going to still be in one though and worse off after moving forward but it gives that heroic barbarian feel I think. It would also prevent people from dying to rage fading out while unconscious.

Haha. This feat seems a tad OP :D


Perhaps it is OP but it matches how I see a barbarian, as some juggernaut that's going to sustain heavy damage and still keep fighting regardless, and those that share that vision will be taking the additional feats that represent that vision. It's supposed to be a very high cost concept to survive a situation you don't want to remain in, with a forced cooldown period to prevent it from being continuously activated in any given encounter.

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2018, 11:39:43 AM »
Perhaps it is OP but it matches how I see a barbarian, as some juggernaut that's going to sustain heavy damage and still keep fighting regardless, and those that share that vision will be taking the additional feats that represent that vision. It's supposed to be a very high cost concept to survive a situation you don't want to remain in, with a forced cooldown period to prevent it from being continuously activated in any given encounter.

No other class can currently compete with barbarians in the ability to "sustain heavy damage and still keep fighting."

A 20th level barbarian can easily have upwards of 300 HP. This feat would say even in a situation in which the barbarian has somehow been brought to unconsciousness, she has an extra 150+ HP pool to draw on effortlessly and instantaneously.

It's good to hear you believe it warrants a cool down, because imagine if it just kept reactivating!

Even Dread Revenants don't hop back up immediately.


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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2018, 11:48:13 AM »
You're right, perhaps only an HP restore to the same limit as when Back to the Wall activates, and the feat is kept at at least lvl 12 barbarian (Requires Greater Rage) so you have to have committed a bit more.

I see the Barbarian becoming fully unbuffed due to unconsciousness and having dropped their weapons as a result, so they'd have to pull out a second weapon or pick up what they dropped, in the meantime whatever felled them has moved on to trying to fight something else but still presents a very direct threat.

They definitely won't be at peak performance but they've got one last shot.

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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2018, 03:22:19 PM »
A last shot feat would be pretty neat. Maybe hard to script, but I would have it function as thus:

You activate the ability called "Final Rage" or something, and you have X amount of time where you are unable to perish (a small amount of rounds). If X amount of time passes, and combat is not over, you immediately fall to badly impaired corpse. Think it's pretty fair, if you know you're about to die. It could perhaps only be activated within a certain threshold of HP as well.
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Re: Improving Barbarian Class Feats
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2018, 03:24:57 PM »
I'd just support anything that would keep your own rage from killing you.