Fundamentals: Core & SRD Leadership
(Character Level 6) [PHB]: Über [cheese]! The most powerful feat in D&D. Gets you a second character and a bunch of sycophants who could e.g. spread stories of your grandeur and bask in your glory. The true reason for this feat though is that every great Barbarian needs a beautiful Bard cohort of the opposite sex to sing of your great deeds, to improve your performance (and to use magic (items)
for you!) and to relieve stress overnight! Power Attack
(Str 13) [PHB]: OMGWTFBBQ?! Trade attack bonus for damage, at a 1 for 2 ratio when wielding a weapon in two hands. This is basically a Barbarian class feature. Don't forget that it actually lacks prerequisites. Improved Bull Rush
(Power Attack, Str 13) [PHB]: Necessary evil. You need it to qualify for Shock Dragoon
™-combo! Besides, sometimes it’s cool to push people around. Rawr! Cleave
(Str 13, Power Attack) [PHB] Combat Reflexes
(Dex 13) [PHB]: Wonderful! Truly, life is boring when it's not your turn. You get to do nothing...except with this! Rules state that you stay still on your turn, but this allows you to Screw the Rules!
You have the enormous chest to pull it off. Trip opponent, he gets up, make him Stand Still! Someone hits you, Robilar’s Gambit him back! Yes, attacking out of turn is always
good fun (for you), especially after a full attack yourself! This lets you do it a lot, and
do it while you’re flat-footed! Stand Still
(Str 13) [XPH]: Good. Forgo an AoO to force an opponent to make a reflex save or remain in place. Reflex save DC is equal to your damage. Your massive, massive damage. Help those fools you tripped to stay
down! Improved Unarmed Strike
[PHB]: Ok. Sometimes you just have to rebuild someone’s face with your bare hands. This feat allows you to do just that. Your damage die will suck, but that’s what Power Attack and strength are for. Improved Grapple
(Dex 13, Improved Unarmed Strike) [PHB]: Ok. Grappling is a problem-laden area of combat. Size is the primary means of boosting it, which almost always favours the monsters. Freedom of Movement is commonly available on higher levels. And you open your back to all manners of depravity. That said, Barbarian is by far the best man for this job out of all the non-casters. This also makes the Barbarian the
best man for the job in an Anti-Magic Field, period. Big HP, huge Str & full BAB are really all you can hope for in a Grapple. Not very good outside duels, but if you must be a grappler, at least be a Barbarian! Improved Initiative
[PHB]: Yeah! +4 Initiative, no frills, no pills. Simple deal; you act first so that they never need to act at all! Relieve your opponents of the stress of preparing for their deaths and kill them before they know what hit them! It’s best for everyone this way. If you have extras, feel free to pick this. Rapid Shot
(Dex 13, Point Blank Shot): Yes! For the Archer in us all! Never arrive in a bowout without this in your back pocket. Your usual Hulk needn’t bother, but if you’re interested in making holes in your foes’ foreheads rather than pulverizing them, this is for you! Precise Shot
(Point Blank Shot): Might as well. If you plan on shooting at people, this allows you to shoot at the right
people. If it’s your career, go ahead. Otherwise, pass
. Precise Shot
(Dex 19, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, BAB +11): It’s ok. This is Improved Shooting At The Right People. If you make a career out of shooting things, go ahead. Otherwise, pass
. Combat Expertise
(Int 13) [PHB]: Necessary evil if limited to Core. Truly, if you have access to other books, you should never need to bother being a smart combatant; this stuff cramps your style, but acquiring abilities to knock people down, hit them for hitting you and so on can just be worth it. The
reason to be a smart Barbarian. Improved Trip
(Int 13, Combat Expertise) [PHB]: Awesome! Lets you trip things, as well as giving you a free attack when you successfully trip someone, and another one when they get up. Oh, and you get to touch things instead of hitting them even with iteratives. Much easier, not to mention more pleasant. Wolves learn this whether they have Expertise or not. Prerequisite for… Knock-Down
(Str 15, Improved Trip, BAB +2) [SRD]: Great! Whenever you deal 10 or more damage to a target, you get a free trip attempt against them. You see where this is going… As a bonus, you get to pretend to be the schoolyard bully, knocking people around as you walk past. The only difference is that you knock them off their feet with a 10' blade or bear claws. While the said blade/claw is in their gut. Reckless Offense
(BAB +1) [XPH]: Somewhat worthwhile. If you have nothing better to use your feat on (as is like to be the case in Core), this is ok. Extra Power Attack; it's not like you'd been dodging hits anyways. Exotic Weapon Proficiency
(BAB +1) [PHB]: Depends. Well, by and large Exotic Weapons have 1 size larger damage die than normal weapons (in other words, they suck). However, there’s one weapon of interest especially to two-handed charger/controller Barbarians: the Spiked Chain. Yes, the dumbest weapon in D&D also happens to be the best. It trips, disarms, deals two-handed reach damage, threatens adjacent and just has the whole damn packet. If you have the feat to burn and don’t mind dumb weapons, it’s for you. Weapon Focus
(BAB +1) [PHB]: Bleh. Feel free if you’re run out of everything else to pick. Do take 4 Fighter-levels for Specialization if you really are going to bother. Archers can get something out of these. Most don’t. But meh. Weapon Finesse
(BAB +1) [PHB]: Useless in core, but believe it or not, it is
possible to make a Dex-focused Barbarian with additional material! Yes, it involves Chain Dancing. The Tools of Trade: Completes, Races of & PHBII
Leap Attack (Jump 8 ranks, Power Attack) [CAdv]: Superb! Quadruple double handed damage bonus from Power Attack if you jump more than 10 feet while charging. The higher you are, the harder they fall!
Shock Trooper (Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, BAB +6) [CW]: Just plain Barbarian! Assign your Power Attack penalty to your armor class. Basically, trade blows with you hitting twice as hard and lasting twice as long. Like everything Barbarian, this just ain’t fair!
Rampaging Bull Rush (Improved Bull Rush, Rage, Large or Larger) [RoS]: Ok! Take -4 on Bull Rush to knock opponent prone instead. Certainly useful! Although Knock-Down and Improved Trip do place in question the feat’s necessity.
Knockback (Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Large or Larger) [RoS]: Good! Whenever you hit opponent with Power Attack, you can knock them around a bit! Combined with Shock Trooper, you can do all sorts of ugly things with this!
Combat Brute (Improved Sunder, Power Attack, BAB +6) [CW]: Decent when no must-haves are left. Gives three abilities, two of which are ok (basically, allow you to break Hydras; turns out Hercules was a Combat Brute Barbarian). The third allows you to increase the multiplier on your Power Attack in the round after you charge an enemy. Combine with the above to create the Shock Dragoon Brute OMGWTFBBQ
™ chain! So you hit someone really
hard, and follow it up with an even harder
hit. First charge kills a mook, and leaves you in a position to Combat Brutalize the BBEG!
Evasive Target (Dodge, Mobility, BAB +6) [CW]: Useful. As we covered before, your AC probably sucks. It also probably sucks some more Charging and all that. If fighting other melee beasts, the ability to ignore their Power Attack is literally a lifesaver. Really enhances the value of whatever life you have. Only drawback is that you have to learn useless crap to acquire it, but hey, greatness at any cost!
Deft Opportunist (Dex 15, Combat Reflexes) [CAdv]: Worthwhile. Most Barbarians focus on beating their opponents to bloody pulp on Charges and what-have-you. Some deft ones have opted for a bit different approach though; let the adversaries approach, rip their faces apart while stopping their movement and let them try until they die! For those, Ferocity and Deft Opportunist are great options!
Karmic Strike (Dex 13, Combat Expertise, Dodge) [CW]: Awesome! The only drawback to this feat are the prerequisites. Expertise, Dodge? Phah, you’re a Barbarian, damnit! But the ability to hit the opponent for every time he hits you is just golden. Especially awesome when you did your Shock Dragoon Charge!
Robilar’s Gambit (Combat Reflexes, BAB +12) [PHBII]: Über! Make your own rules, damnit! This one makes yourself more vulnerable in exchange for an obscene number of attacks on your opponent – if you survive. Once again, embodies the Barbarian ideal of “The first one to die loses!” Generally, the man with bigger HD, damage, Con, Str and more attacks wins, and as a Barbarian you have all
of the above!
Mage Slayer (Spellcraft 2 ranks, BAB +3) [CArc]: The right tool for the job. If you are to slay mages, become a Mage Slayer. The benefits are small, but notable: You learn to better shield your mind and you learn to break the defenses in their spellcasting! Truly, if a mage approaches a Slayer Barbarian, he is not long for this world! Do mind the Spellcraft requirement though.
Pierce Magical Concealment (Con 13, Blind-Fight, Mage Slayer) [CArc]: World-changing! See the world for what it truly is, without the impact of magic! You may need Blind-Fight, but truly, the mages who would seek to deceive you are in for a crude awakening when they strive to unearth the Glaive stuck in the approximate center of their heart.
Intimidating Strike (Intimidate 4 ranks) [PHBII]: You take a standard action to make a single melee attack that intimidates your foe! In addition, you may take a penalty to your attack roll up to your base attack bonus, and add it to the intimidate check. Useful with Imperious Command.
Intimidating Rage (Rage) [CW]: Great! As a free action, intimidate one person within 30 feet when starting a rage, forcing him to become shaken for the duration of the rage. This
is why Barbarians truly are charismatic.
Instantaneous Rage (Rage) [CW]: Reasons exist to take it. Allows you to activate your rage as a free action, even during other people’s turn. Worthwhile options if your Rage is of a flavor other than Ferocity, when combined with means to yell really hard.
Extra Rage (Rage) [CW]: Useful. Gives your 2 more rage attempts per instance of feat taken. Rage all day, every day! The
feat for first level play.
Reckless Rage (Rage) [RoS]: Handy! Take an additional -2 to AC when raging for an additional +2 to strength and constitution. Emphasizes the Barbarian ideal of “let them hit and hit back harder
Steadfast Determination (Endurance) [PHBII]: Yes! Con modifier instead of Wisdom modifier to will saves. I’m sorry, but these *are* the Warforged we are looking for! As a Barbarian, your Rage and Indomitable Will both already help your Will, so the more, the merrier! Oh, and no more natural 1s on Fort-saves; for a Barbarian, that means practical immunity!
Channeled Rage (Half-Orc, Rage) [RoD]: Yeah! One good reason to be a Half-Orc. You can burn a Rage to punch the opponent out of your head; literally! Adds your massive, massive Str to Will-saves. That said, the cost is something to mind; not requiring Endurance is definite boon though.
Extend Rage (Rage) [CW]: Blah. You can Rage longer. The thing is, Rage is already 3+Con turns. Your Con should be in the lower stratospheres. If you can’t make problems go away in that time, something else
is wrong than the duration of your Rage. And if your Con is low enough to warrant this, you might as well start with your memorial instead of taking this.
Goad (Cha 13, BAB +1) [CAdv]: Superfluous. Generally, cleaving a line of heads off is plenty of an incentive for people to come hit you. If it’s not, cleave another one. Charismatic Barbarians frighten people into submission; they don’t beg to be attacked. Leave that to Monks. Oh yeah, and this gives them a Will-save vs. your Cha and only restricts their melee attacks
. Just don’t bother.
Gnoll Ferocity (Gnoll, Rage) [RotW]: Fun. If you somehow ended up a Gnoll, getting that extra Bite out of your Rage is never a bad thing. Although if you become a Bear, it’s wasted.
Destructive Rage (Rage) [CW]: This feat tastes bad. You can break things just fine with Rage + Power Attack. Also, you shouldn’t be breaking things often enough to need this. No, this is just bad.
Improved Toughness (Fort +2) [CW]: Decent. In case you still
somehow missed it, Barbarians are all about getting hit and hitting back harder. Extra HP help with that. Relatively small boost for a Barbarian though.
Improved Buckler Defense (Shield Proficiency) [CW]: Decent. Making shields obsolete since 2003! If you have the feat to spare, go for it and save the Animated-money.
Mad Foam Rager (Rage) [PHBII]: Ok. You get to play the “I’ll never die alone!”-shtick! Aside from the coolness-factor, the feat unfortunately has little going on for it alone; if you happen to have a Cleric nearby though, the ailment can be cured. If you had an abundance of feats, every Barbarian should have this, but alas, the limited supply keeps this from being the Awesome it deserves.
Ragewild Fighting (Shifter, Power Attack, BAB +6) [RoE]: Decent. You get three maneuvers, none of which are too amazing. First gives you free attack when someone enchants you. Better make that count (better plan is not to get controlled in the first place though). Second dazes your size-or-smaller opponents when Power Attacking. Not bad, but it’s weird if they’re alive after two rounds of Power Attacks. Third enables using Action Points for extra damage. Sure, why not.
Three Mountains Style (Str 13, Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Weapon Focus: Heavy mace, Morningstar or Greatclub) [CW]: Decent. The only two-handed weapon style feat; this is actually rather good. You force a strength-based save vs. Nausea
, a very powerful condition. The only drawback is that if you hit someone twice already, why isn’t he dead, and if he isn’t dead, how do you plan on making him fail a Fort-save? If you aren’t charging (because it’s been nerfed or whatever), but are more of the stand-up kind of guy, this may be worthwhile.
Jotunbrud (Illuskan or Damaran Human, 1st level) [RoF]: Yeah! You’re treated as Large whenever it’s beneficial for you. Basically, you get Powerful Build as a Human. Besides, you get to be a descendant of Giants! And yeah, you just kick some ass. The Final Frontier: All the rest
Poison Healer (Great Fortitude, Con 13) [FC1]: You heal a number of hit points equal to your Constitution modifier whenever you successfully resist poison. A barbarian's massive fortitude save and constitution score means that he can get good mileage out of this, even without Steadfast Determination. This is not a powerful feat, as it is only good for out of combat healing (without shenanigans), but healing wounds by consuming alcohol is always fun.
Imperious Command (Cha 15) [DoTU]: Yes!
Demoralized opponent cowers for 1 round, then shaken for 1 round. This
is why the charismatic Barbarians rule! The beauty of this is just beyond description; you need but show them your angry face and they bask in your glory (and you can proceed to decapitate the whole bunch should that strike your fancy)!
Frightful Presence (Cha 15, Intimidate 9 ranks) [Drac]: Decent. Whenever you attack or charge, all opponents within a radius of 30 feet who have fewer levels or Hit Dice than you become shaken for a number of rounds equal to 1d6 + your Cha modifier. Combine with your Bard-cohort’s Inspire Greatness to make even greater Demons cry!
Martial Study [ToB]: For purists only. Opens up a can of kung-fu fighting. It’s like 10 gallons of pure awesome squeezed into a 2 gallon jug. Some prefer dipping, but pure-bloods can consider this to acquire great examples of Barbarism such as Iron Heart SURGE!
Martial Stance [ToB]: Great! If you feel dipping to be wrong, this enables you to acquire the wondrous things known as “stances”. There’s an especially useful one named “Thicket of Blades”, which enables you to make any movement in your area provoke an attack of opportunity. Never let people approach you again!
Evasive Reflexes (Dex 13) [ToB]: Great. When you hit someone and tank your AC, not being next to them when they hit back can help. If you happen to have this feat called Robilar’s Gambit, every one of their attacks provokes an attack of opportunity. This here feat means that you can take a 5’ step every time that happens. So one attack later, you’re out of their threatened area and their full attack is wasted!
Sidestep (Dex 15, Dodge, Mobility, Tumble 8 ranks) [MiniHB]: Heh. Once per turn, you can replace an attack of opportunity with a 5’ step! Woot! Dodge full attacks! Wait...what manner of tool wrote those prerequisites? Yeah, take Evasive Reflexes. Calling this “bad” is the understatement of the year.
Large and In Charge (Reach 10’ or more, Large or Larger) [Drac]: Cool. Sort of like Knockback! You can make attacks of opportunity to move opponent back 5’ and stop their movement. Easy to pick up too! And it’s just a plain Strength-check.
Righteous Wrath (Rage, Exalted) [BoED]: Just maybe... Now, the benefits are pretty worthless, even for a charismatic Barbarian, as the target is only shaken and only after a hit. The better part is that you can control yourself; mayhap you can tame the Frenzied Berserker within!
Dragon Rage (Dragon Totem, Rage, Argonnesse, BAB +4): Decent. When you Rage, get +2 Natural Armor and Energy Resistance +10 (for a total of 15) vs. your chosen Totem’s energy type!
Frozen Berserker (Rage) [Frost]: Mediocre if not using trickery. When raging, you become a chunk of ice
! Makes you immune to cold. The drawback is that you hate
fire. Unless you already have Fire immunity anyways. This isn't exactly Super Special Awesome™, but it enables Frostrager.
Blazing Berserker (Rage) [Sand]: Mediocre if not using trickery. When raging, you become a living inferno
! So you’re immune to fire. Doesn’t burn people you touch, oddly enough. You can combine this with the above to gain elemental immunity to Fire & Ice. Plus you get to be a burning chunk of ice. That’s fairly awesome.
Cobalt Rage (Con 13, Rage) [MoI]: Yeah! You can invest essential into your Rage to get melee damage- and Will-save bonus for the Rage! Oh, and you get bonus essential. If you intend on fooling around with Incarnum, this is your ticket.
Frantic Rage (Rage, Madness-domain) [FoE]: Yeah! As is appropriate, the dexterous Barbarian is an idea of Madness; truly, you must be mad to be agile instead of strong! This feat empowers you for a completely different approach to Barbarianism!
Shadow Blade (Shadow Hand stance) [ToB]: Yeah! For the quick Barbarian in us all! Limits you to Shadow Hand-weapons, but luckily an old friend looks back at us; that’s right, Spiked Chain is a Shadow Hand weapon! All you lose is the 1½ damage bonus normal Str-Barbarian enjoys. All the other multipliers are right there. Your Unarmed Strikes also enjoy this bonus, and you have the option of going Two-Weapon Fighting with your Dexterity. And you’ll have an actual AC!
Ettercap Berserker (Lodge Membership, Rage, Rashemen) [UE]: Decent. Gain +2 on poison saves and gain an added +2 Bonus to Con when raging. +4 at greater rage. For those who missed it, Barbarism is all about having the biggest chest muscles!
Ice Troll Berserker (Con 13, Lodge Membership, Rage, Rashemen) [UE]: Decent. +2 natural armor bonus while raging +4 with Greater Rage. For the Barbarians who seek to block
blows with their chest instead of absorbing them!
Snow Tiger Berserker (Dex 13, Lodge Membership, Rage, Rashemen) [UE]: Great if you’re a bear! You gain Pounce…that only works with light weapons. Why am I mentioning this? Why, natural attacks and unarmed strikes are always treated as light weapons. Does the name "Bear Warrior
" say anything to you? It will soon.
Wolf Berserker (Lodge Membership, Rage, Rashemen) [UE]: Superb! Replaces Combat Expertise as a prerequisite for Improved Trip. Yes, and also provides stacking +4 bonus on Tripping. Oh, and +4 to resist
Tripping. Yes! YES!
Eagle Tribe Vision (Tribe membership, Human, from the Shaar) [SSouth]: Ok. +5 to Spot. Not much to...see here.
Hyena Tribe Hunter (Tribe membership, Human, from the Shaar) [SSouth]: Decent. +2 Hide, +2 Trip, qualifies you for Improved Trip. Handy if you really, really want to pimp out those Trip-checks. Loses out to Wolf Berserker, but why couldn't you be a tribe member in the Shaar and a Lodge member in Rashemen?
Lion Tribe Warrior (Tribe membership, Human, from the Shaar) [SSouth]: Mediocre. You gain Pounce with a single light weapon, or two attacks with two light weapons you can wield. Ok for an Unarmed Barbarian, but frankly, Snow Tigers whop Lions' arse any day.
Rhinoceros Tribe Charge (Tribe membership, Human, from the Shaar) [SSouth]: For the early game! Extra 2d6 damage on charge. Unfortunately it can only be applied to one attack, trivial later on.
Headlong Charge (Orc or half-orc, base attack bonus +4 or higher)[RoF]: You provoke an AoO from everyone you charge past, including your target. In return, you deal double damage on a charge. Is nice.
Might Makes Right (Str 13, Leadership)[RoF]: This adds your Strength bonus to your leadership score for the purposes of determining how many followers you may have with the Leadership feat. If you take leadership, you might as well take this.