Hello barbarians! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the seventh episode of the barbarian subclass series. Today we’re going over one of my personal favorite barbarian subclasses the path of the zealot barbarian. I really just like them because the thematic and world building implications for them can be quite significant and i’ll get into why that is much later on. But super cool stuff, they were released in xanathar’s guide to everything and feel how you may about them mechanically. I think they’re pretty dang cool regardless. Now that introduction is out of the way let’s take a look at their level breakdown here.
Table of Contents
The path of the zealot barbarian is actually a little unique because unlike most of the other subclasses it gets two different traits at level three which is really interesting. It gains divine fury and warrior of the gods and taboo both of them are actually pretty good although in completely different ways.
At level 6 you’ll gain a fanatical focus, at level 10 you’ll gain a zealous presence and at level 14 you’ll gain rage beyond death. Very cool stuff. Now let’s take a look at divine fury to start it out.
Starting at level 3 channel divine fury into your weapon strikes. While you’re raging: The first creature you hit on each of your turns with a weapon attack takes extra damage equal to 1d6 plus half your barbarian level. The extra damage is necrotic or radiant you choose the type of damage when you gain this feature.
Really cool stuff! in terms of which is better than the other. Man i feel like it’s split kind of down the middle, maybe it tiited slightly towards the radiant end just because there aren’t really a ton of celestials in 5E as of yet. So there is that, however it’ll largely come down to what kind of a game you’re running and which settings you’re gonna belong to the most but i feel like radiant is gonna be the more popular choice bar none.
Unless you’re playing an edgelord path of the zealot barbarian in which case necrotic would probably win out so yeah. Regardless no matter what you pick you’re stuck with it buddy. Now let’s move on to their second level three feature warrior of the gods.
Warrior of The Gods
If a spell is, such as raise dead, has the sole effect of restoring you to life (But not undeath), the caster doesn’t need material components to cast the spell on you.
What this means is you don’t need to worry about finding stuid amounts of expensive diamonds and gold and things of that nature. You just get up and brush it off, it’s pretty cool and saves the party a ton of money especially if you’re in a campaign where the difficulty is cranked all the way up to 11 and death is something you become quite intimate with.
Once again both of these level three features whether you’re looking at divine fury or warrior of the gods they’re both incredibly useful just in like completely opposite ways, one helps you deal more damage so hopefully you don’t die and the other lets you basically flip death the bird and then walk out at your own leisure which is pretty cool as well. Now let’s take a look at fanatical focus.
Starting at sixth level your rage can protect you. While raging: If you fail a saving throw, you can reroll it and you must use the new roll. You can only use this ability once per rage.
It pretty much is what it says it is might very well save your life although if you do die does it really matter….ah it probably will. There’s a cheeky little exploit by the way with warrior of the gods that i’ll get into in a little bit here but for the most part fanatical focus is fine, it pales in comparison to a couple of the other six level abilities. However seeing as how you get to a level three abilities one of which is particularly easy to cheese. It’s fine and to be fair it’s not bad. Now let’s move on to zealous presence.
Starting at 10th level, you can inspire zealtory in others. As a bonus action: You unleash a battle cry infused with divine energy. Upto ten other creatures of your choice within 60 feet of you that can hear you gain advantage on attack rolls and saving throws until the start of your next turn. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
I like what they were going for here i think providing advantage on attack roles and saving throws is fantastic. However the only downside is it only lasts for essentially one round. So until the start of your next turn being the key phrase there. Because of that i’m a little on the fence about it, i would prefer it to be once per rage i think that would have been a lot better although maybe that would be too good, it’s kind of hard to say until it was actually play tested but that’s kind of one way to get around it.
That being said, for what it is it really is good 10 creatures 60 feet. The odds of you having 10 allies that close to you are quite slim but if it ever did happen this would likely change the tide of battle pretty significantly. Now let’s move on to your 14th level ability rage beyond death.
Rage Beyond Death
This is the point where the path of the zealot barbarian kind of gets a little messed up. Starting at 14th level divine power allows you to shrug off fatal blows. While you’re raging: Having zero hit points doesn’t knock you unconscious. You still must make death saving throws and you suffer the normal effects of taking damage while at zero hit points. However if you would die due to failing death saving throws, you don’t die until your rage ends. And then you die only if you still have zero hit points.
If you don’t know the barbarian kind of gets to a point in higher levels where they’re always raging like all of the time. So because of that you can’t really kill them. It is still possible to make them go unconscious of course you can kind of get around this by picking elf as your race but there are ways to make them go unconscious.
There are also ways to kill them with damage through instant death, if you’re not familiar if you take damage equal or exceeding your hit point maximum you suffer instant death that so no saving throws, no nothing and just here’s a new character sheet buddy it sucks to suck. I suppose you can get reincarnated using warrior of the gods but i mean you’re still dead right! Now let’s get on to my personal thoughts on the path of the zealot barbarian.
So let me tell you how to absolutely cheese this class to no end. By picking a certain background i mean technically there’s a couple that will work for this but the most obvious is taking the acolyte background. But the acolyte background as well as a handful of others offer a feature called shelter of the faithful.
The feature does a ton for you including lodging potential side quests and assistance stuff like that. But there’s one line in there that’s particularly interesting. You and your adventuring companions can expect to receive free healing and care at a temple, shrine or other established presence of your faith. Though you must provide any material components needed for the spells.
Very interesting! i’d also like to point out you don’t need material components for your spells. So there you go top my hat to you, so long as the temple has a priest or cleric of high enough level to be able to pull of this kind of stuff. Yeah good luck dying buddy. That’s probably the easiest way to cheese of this subclass, a couple DMs can get around it by just saying the temple doesn’t have a priest of such and such a level. To which all you have to do is just go to a major city where there likely is one. Very cool stuff!
Outside of that particular exploit the path of the zealot barbarian also offers a really interesting opportunity for world building. For example let’s say in your world there’s a single path of the zealot barbarian holding off hordes of enemies from entering into the material plane, they stand alone at the gate batting away hundreds of undead as they come at them they’re constantly in a rage and your party goes on this cool mission to go on adventure there and seal off the gate and free this ungodly warrior from their shackles, it’s just really interesting stuff lots of cool things you can do with it.
That being said, let me know what you think of the path of the zealot barbarian down beneath in the comment section. Be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns you have regarding them. That being said, i hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring.