Hello adventurers! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you for checking out second Path of the barbarian we’re gonna be covering the paths or the sub class. Today we’re gonna be taking a look at path of the battlerager and this was found in the sword coast adventures guide and i have very mixed feelings about it.
I remember when a lot of the concept are was leaked or released and i’m like oh this looks really good. Oh this will be fantastic and then i read through it and i played with a battle rager in a one shot and i’m not the biggest fan personally. They also go by a couple different names, most people just call them battle ragers that’s the most common way axe idiots are also another name for them and their dwarvish name i’m not one hundred percent sure how it’s actually pronounced but it looks like it’s “Kaljara” is or something to that effect.
From what i understand they have a lot of lore history behind them which is cool i suppose and i they might make for interesting NPCs however i got some gripes with the actual subclass itself and yeah i don’t know i’ve never met anyone that’s a huge fan of them for the record, i mean there might be some of you out there if there are comment down beneath and kind of explain to me why i haven’t played one personally and i’ve only played in a one shot with one. So i don’t know let’s move on however to their level progression here.
Table of Contents
So soething worth noting is by raw this is only a path available to the dwarves, there’s lore reasons for that however you know up to the DM discretion personally i don’t see an issue with them being used by other races, however it depends on your world right!
At level 3 you gain the battlerager armor, at least as so far as to say you can use it. At level 6 you gain a reckless abandon. At level 10 you gain battlerager charge and at level 14 you gained a spiked retribution. Now let’s take a look at the first one you get the battlerager armor.
You can now don your new best friend. While raging, and wearing the armor: Use a bonus action to make 1 melee weapon attack with your body armor spikes against a target within five feet of you. If the attack hits, the spikes deal 1d4 piercing damage. You use your strength mod for the attack and damage rolls. Which is okay you know a lot of the subclasses like to attack as a bonus action in some capacity or another.
Additionally, when you use the attack action to grapple a creature, the target takes 3 piercing damage if your grapple check succeeds. Which as a barbarian you’re more than likely to. Now let’s take a look at the actual armor itself here.
The spiked armor is a rare type of medium armor made by dwarves. It consists of a leather coat and leggings covered with spikes that are usually made of metal. Its cost is 75 gold piece, it’s AC is calculated by taking a base of 14 and adding your dexterity modifier to a maximum of two and you have disadvantage on stealth checks, it’s weight is approximately 45 pounds. The fact that it’s separate armor is an issue from time to time.
Especially if you happen to reach level three in an environment that doesn’t necessarily facilitate the transfer of material goods like in a along a path or trail or in a dungeon even the odds of you running into something like this just out in the wild are very slim.
It’s arguably something that you’d have to have a particular craftsman make for you or you might even have to make it yourself and for that reason i don’t know it is very disappointing to gain your path only to not be able to really use anything that pertains to it. Virtually all of your traits that you’re going to get with this path need that battle rager armor. I think all of them except for one really. In any case let’s move on to reckless abandon.
This is a trait you get starting at sixth level and essentially your recklessness protects you. When you use a reckless attack, while raging: You gain temporary hit points equal to your constitution modifier minimum of 1. They vanish if any of them are left when your rage ends.
This is an interesting idea, i’m not a huge fan of its execution however. It essentially acts like damage reduction more or less right! I mean assuming you’re going to be taking reckless attack quite frequently. You’re always going to have some form of temporary hit points.
Sadly there’s a couple drawbacks to this. Firstly it’s really minimum i mean at higher levels you’re probably only gonna most of you only get as high as plus five, plus six and that’s once again at the higher levels and at that point it’s kind of not as valuable as you might think.
In addition to that there are feats that do similar things and also the way temporary hit points work, you can only get them from one source. So if you have someone with the inspiring leader feat and you get a bunch of temporary hit points in the morning, all those temporary hit points are replaced by whatever your constitution modifier is as soon as you decide to do a reckless attack. Which is a little bit disappointing to say the least but that is of course my opinion, let me know what you think down beneath in the comment section. Now let’s move on to the battlerager charge.
This is what you get at 10th level and it lets you rush into battle even faster. While raging: You can take the dash action as a bonus action. In my opinion for a 10th level trait i find it to be a little bit lackluster, i know there are some classes that is even less so for but i don’t know you might as well just take a small level dip into rogue and get the same thing or take the mobile feat.
I don’t know it doesn’t, i understand why it kind of works with the whole recklessness thing but you’re still not really that well protected right! I mean at level 10 odds are your unarmored defense is just as good if not better than the spiked armor itself and even though you do get temporary hit points it’s not that many and you’re gonna be seperated from the group and i don’t know, i suppose you can make an argument that this trait is meant to help solve the stickiness problem that barbarians run itno with people kind of avoiding them but i think it does a rather poor job of it. At level 14 and you’re a final trait you gain access to spiked retribution.
Essentially enemies attack you at their own risk. While raging and wearing the spiked armor: When a creature within five feet of you hits you with a melee attack, the attacker takes 3 piercing damage.
I got a lot of gripes with this especially at level 14. I don’t like the idea of flat damage, really at any point in the game. There are some early level cases where it makes a lot of sense and it’s very very good like i believe heavy armor masetr acts something to that effect.
But at level 14 just three piercing damage i don’t know i suppose you could make the claim that you can poison your spikes and do stuff with them like that and i would highly recommend doing that but if for whatever reason your dungeon master is against it or your the poison effect wears off midway through the battle, this is kind of useless and even more so it’s likely just going to make enemies avoid attacking you and seeing as how the barbarian’s main goal is to be a damaged sponge, if enemies are avoiding you it’s not going to matter.
I don’t really know if there’s a better way of fixing this too. I mean i suppose giving it like 46 or something to that effect might work but that’s gonna be really, i don’t know this is a hard one honestly. Let’s move on to my personal thoughts here before i start rambling.
Looking at this class as a whole or the subclass rather, i really don’t like it and i’ll explain why in the simplest way. Barbarians for all of their strengths they have two or three major weaknesses depending on who you talk to and how they define the third.
The first is their stickiness, especially as they start to soak up more and more damage dungeon masters will avoid them in combat and they’ll have creatures selectively target the weaker members of your party, doing this is kind of worst case scenario for a barbarian you’re meant to soak in damage you’re built for it. It’s why the mechanics of rage work the way they do.
As so far as to say you’re always supposed to be in combat. This particular subclass doesn’t address that really at all, if anything it provides incentive for people to avoid you which is the last thing you want. The second weakness of a barbarian is they don’t have a lot in the way of magical resistance.
This class offers literally nothing for that, outside of arguably the temporary hit points which is a loose defense at best very loose and even then you have to attack first before you get them so if the casters super far away and they’re the only end they mean you can reach them in time you’re at even more of a disadvantage.
And the third problem that barbarians run into and this one’s kind of up for debate is utility. Barbarians don’t typically offer the party a lot of utility, outside of battle a lot of them are relatively worthless. There are some noble exceptions path of the ancestral guardian for example, your level 10 ability does provide you with.
Essentially the ability to gauge scenarios by magical means and spy as well. Which is all fine, however the barbarian path of the battle rager doesn’t do that at all. If anything much like how i mentioned with the stickiness problem it makes it more difficult for you.
For example i would make the argument that if you’re trying to persuade someone to do something or curry favor while you’re wearing menacingly spiked armor, you’re gonna have disadvantage on those attack roles. You could also i suppose make the argument that intimidation roles are gonna have advantage but that’s kind of not raw right! like it doesn’t say that anywhere in the class but logically that would make sense.
I don’t know, overall i’m not a huge fan of it and sadly i can’t genuinely think of anyways to fix it as it is. I suppose you could add buffs onto some parts of it and i suppose there might be some lore elements you could take advantage of but for the most part i don’t look at it very favorably.
Cool concept, poor execution i’m sure there’s some homebrew versions of it that are much better done but i don’t know may be i’m wrong. If you have any thoughts, questions, comments, concerns of your own please let me know down beneath in the comments section.
I don’t mean to harp on it too much, i’m just saying in comparison to a lot of the other subclasses i’ve read. It’s just lackluster you know like 1d4 piercing damage followed up by temporary hit points equal to your CON modifier followed up by taking dash as a bonus action, followed up by dealing three damage when someone attacks you. It is problematic as far as i can tell it’s i don’t know.
Let me know what you think down beneath before i really start digging myself into a pit. But yeah that’s gonna be about it for this article and i hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring.