Hello barbarians! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the eighth and currently final episode of the barbarian path series. Today we’re going to be going over path of wild magic which was added in through tasha’s cauldron of everything and has been met with some rather unique criticism. Overall i’m a really huge fan of it, i think it’s kind of neat and a very interesting take on the barbarian themselves.
However i can’t really say much other than that because i’ve never seen them played in a game. Taking a look at a couple of their abilities and effects though it’s definitely quite good. But whether or not it’s good enough to pick over the other subclasses i’ll leave that for you to decide down in the comments section. In any case let’s now move on to the level breakdown for the path of wild magic barbarian.
Table of Contents
Starting at level 3 here you get magic awareness and wild surge. At level 6 bolstering magic, At level 10 unstable backlash and at level 14 controlled surge. If you can’t tell this is a very magical barbarian, if you couldn’t tell from the name already this should hopefully clear it up. It kind of vaguely resembles the wild magic sorcerer although with a quite unique spin on it. With that being said, let’s now move on to its first ability here magic awareness.
Starting at level 3 you can sense magic near you. As an Action: You can open your awareness to the presense of concentrated magic. Until the end of your next turn, you know the location of any spell or magic item within 60 feet of you that isn’t behind total cover. When you sense a spell, you learn which school of magic it belongs to.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus and you regain all expanded uses when you finish a long rest.
This is actually really cool and really unique for a couple ways. First and foremost the utility aspect of this is huge. There’s an eldritch invocation for the warlock that functions very similar to this as well as just the spell detect magic. With that being said, though this will make sure your party never leaves behind a magical item. The other thing that makes this really cool, is it opens up the barbarian to become a lot more than just a battle warrior, they can actually use this to potentially avaoid combat altogether or to employ certain tactics to make sure you’re prepared for whatever fight you’re walking into.
This is especially good for magical traps or various cursed objects or enchanted objects things like that. Something worth noting however is there’s always that distinction between a magical spell, a magical effect and a racial trait that happens to masquerade as magical so make sure your this is for your dungeon master of course but just bear in mind as a player that just because something has a magical effect doesn’t mean that this is going to be able to figure it out. So yeah just bear that in mind mimics are a good example of that. Now let’s move on to a wild surge.
This is where the whole wild magic theme really starts to come into play. So starting at level 3 magic sometimes erupts from you. When you enter rage: Roll on the wild magic table to determine the magical effect produced. If the effect requires a saving throw, the DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus plus your constitution modifier. And they have this nice little table laid out for us. So let’s quickly go over it.
If you roll a one on your d8 a shadowy tendrils lash around you. Each creature of your choice that you can see within 30 feet of you must succeed on a constitution saving throw or take 1d12 necrotic damage. You also gain 1d12 temporary hit points.
This is an okay one a couple things i do want to point out here is that it doesn’t scale as you level. So you’re gonna hit this point probably around level five or six or so where this isn’t a huge deal. That being said, however it is AOE, it is creatures you can see and it is creatures of your choice so allies aren’t really going to be negatively affected by this. And you can make the argument that it might be able to make some enemies flee, especially like goblins, cobalts enemies that are typically of low intelligence and have that cowardly characteristic to them are likely going to freak out if they see something like this play down.
If you roll a two on your d8 you teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. Until your rage ends, you can use this effect again on each of your turns as a bonus action.
This is super strong, overall its usefulness may vary based off of play style and what kind of a barbarian you’re playing up to be. But what this really is it’s misty step dressed a little bit differently not a spell but a magical effect bear that in mind. But you can use it every turn so in terms of mobility it doesn’t get a lot better than teleportation i would make the argument that it is the ultimate form of transit in the dnd 5e landscape certainly better than any real speed, although flying speed does have a tactile advantage to it but for the most part teleportation will be able to do almost everything flying can at least outside of combat.
If you roll a three an intangible spirit which looks like a flumph or pixie up to you. Appears within five feet of one creature of your choice that you can see within 30 feet of you. At the end of the current turn the spirit explodes and each creature within 5 feet must succeed on a dexterity saving throw or take 1d6 force damage. Until your rage ends you can use this effect again as summoning another spirit on each of your turns as a bonus action.
This is a little messed up. It does suffer from some pitfalls for example it’s just 1d6 force damage, doesn’t scale at any real point although you know your DC will increase as you level i suppose but it’s still ultimately 1d6 force damage. Force damage is nice because there’s not a lot that can really be done to ward it off. There are a couple class features here and there that can deal with force damage but most creatures don’t get access to those so you’re fine.
Another great thing is this gives you something to do with your bonus action early on while you’re raging so that’s kind of nice as well and the fact that it has a range of 30 feet and of course a relatively small but still prevalent AOE effect makes this really nice and might even lead to some potential surprise attacks or ambush situations notice it doesn’t say how you summon it, so it’s safe to assume it’s just an at will thing, you don’t have to worry about somatic or verbal components so this can be cheesed a little bit. Especially when you get to the point where you’re raging all the time.
If you roll a four on this table magic infuses one weapon of your choice that you are holding until your rage ends the weapons damage type changes to force. It gains the light and thrown properties with a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet. If the weapon leaves your hand, the weapon reappears in your hand at the end of the current turn.
This is also really nice. It’s not going to be super useful late game when you have magical items and other tricks you can do with your current weapon. Although early game this is probably one of the better ones so far giving you not just the ability to deal magic damage but specifically force damage and as i mentioned earlier with the intangible spirit. Force damage is one of the best damage types to be dealing on a consistent basis.
The fact that it also gives whatever weapon you’re holding the light and throwing property as well is quite nice and that might be cheeseable, once you get to those higher levels with a better weapon and once you get to that point you’re always raging and you can just maintain this effect for an extended duration of time. You might be able to cheese it in one way or another.
Now let’s look at what happens in your roll of five. Whenever a creature hits you with an attack roll before your rage ends, that creature takes 1d6 force damage as magic lashes out in retribution.
This is probably my less favorite out of all of them. I think it’s kind of limiting in some sense and might actually lead to a stickiness problem emerging. However if you’re in a situation when you’re surrounded by a ton of weak enemies like the aforementioned goblins, kobolds even some degree of beasts as well. This might be a good way to deal with a ton of them at once.
I would like to see this have something else like maybe damage reduction however i suppose you are already raging when this happens so you are taking half damage anyways. So i guess it makes sense.
If you roll a six. Until your rage ends you are surrounded by a multi-colored protective light. You gain a plus one bonus to AC and while within 10 feet of you your allies gain the same bonus. This i consider to be really strong especially late game the difference between having that one AC and not having it could potentially mean life and death as well as flat bonuses to AC in general are super coveted and sought after in the 5 year landscape just because of how good they are and how well they stack. That being said, however it’s also really at nice that your party members can partake in this and that it specifies allies right.
If it just said creatures within 10 feet of you gain the same bonus, it would have a little bit of a backlash to it but since this specifies allies it’s nothing but gravy and there’s no resource cost to using this.
If you roll a seven flowers and vines temporarily grow around you until your rage ends, the ground within 15 feet of you is difficult terrain for your enemies. This is a really interesting one because the wording is a little ambiguous when it comes to how this functions exactly.
First and foremost just as a whole thing it’s really nice addresses a stickiness issue with barbarians so that’s quite neat. However the issue is does the area move with you or does it stay. It’s a tricky thing, i would make the argument that it moves around with you just because it doesn’t specify that it doesn’t you know it just says the ground within 15 feet of you is difficult terrain for your enemies, whereas if it said something like up on casting the area around you is this then i’d be like okay well up on casting not while it’s active so okay.
But i feel like that’s something that’s up to the dungeon master currently i’m not aware of any stage advice that’s come out about it yet so play it however but keep an eye out for that sage advice.
And if you roll an eight a bolt of light shoots from your chest another creature of your choice that you can see within 30 feet of you must succeed on a constitution saving throw or take 1d6 radiant damage and be blinded until the start of your next turn. Until your rage ends you can use this effect again on each of your turns as a bonus action.
This is really neat one as well, this is probably my favorite that is currently on this list i don’t know if it’ll ever get extended but currently it’s my favorite i just think it’s neat. If you’re curious about what the blinded condition is, they just can’t see and they automatically fail any checks that rely on sight and the attack roles against that creature have advantage and they deal with disadvantage when they try to attack.
So it is quite nice from a combat utility or even just a utility principle in general. Once again it doesn’t specify that there’s any real components for this it’s just an ability. So you can do it at will and once you get to that point where you’re always raging. This might be a pretty solid one to go with because there’s a lot of social encoutners that could be dealt with rather swiftly using this. So that’s pretty neat. Now let’s move on to a bolstering magic.
Starting at 6th level wild magic can bolster yourself or a companion.
As an action: You can touch one creature and confer one of the following benefits of your choice to that creature: For 10 minutes, the creature can roll a D3 whenever making an attack roll or an ability check and add the number rolled to the d20 roll.
Or roll a d3, the creature regains one expended spell slot. The level of which is equal to the number rolled or lower up to the creature and once a creature receives this benefit, that creature can’t receive it again until after after a long rest.
This is really interesting and you can do it a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus and you regain all during a long rest. This is really weird because just because it involves a d3 and not a lot of people have them, they’re usually kind of just long triangles that you roll. You could get around it by just modifying a d6 that should work. That being said, it is pretty neat.
In terms of the actual abilities themselves they’re okay i particularly like the regaining of spell slots but that’s coming from someone who often plays a caster and who often runs out of spell slots as a result. Because of that i kind of like the idea of it, the fact that it doesn’t necessarily take any real amount of time to regain a spell slot back. It’s super useful when you’re in a pinch. Of course if you’re aiming for a particular spell there is the chance that you’re not going to be able to get a slot high enough to get it back. However for the most part i think is pretty cool.
The ability to add a d3 roll to any d20 roll with the exception of saves is also pretty cool. However there are cantrips that do similar things or other abilities that can work with this. In any case overall pretty good, interesting amount of synergy and support with this particular trait. Now let’s move on to unstable backlash.
Starting at 10th level when you are imperiled, the magic within you can lash out. Immediately after you take damage or fail a saving throw while raging. You can use your reaction to roll on the wild magic table and immediately produce the effect rolled. This effect replaces your current wild magic effect.
This is actually a really cool and i actually like what this is going for odds are if you are in a situation where you’re taking damage and failing saves. You might have ruled poorly the first time around. So this will give you a chance to change up your tactics and maybe even provide you with a means of escape or means of dealing significantly better or just different types of damage.
That being said, it’s purely circumstantial with how useful it is and it is enrolled at your own discretion so you don’t have to worry about it acting up when you don’t need it to. Now let’s move on to your capstone ability at controlled surge.
Staring at 14th level you can choose between two effects. Whenever you roll on the wild magic table you can roll the die twice and choose which of the two effects to unleash. If you roll the same number on both dice, you can ignore the number and choose any effect on the table.
This just goes a long way towards providing you with the options and the odds of you getting something better drastically increase or something more useful to your current predicament. In terms of how viable this might be, it really it quite literally is up to the role of the dice. So it’s kind of hard for me to say for sure but it’s certain to never really hurt you. So it’s only good! Whether or not it holds up to the other 14 level abilities that the other barbarian subclasses get, it’s kind of i want to say no for the most part.
There are a couple exceptions here and there but it is a little lackluster compared to what i would have expected. I would have much preferred it to be something along the lines of you can have two of the wild magic effects up simultaneously. I think that would be pretty cool, however i feel like that might be game breaking with certain combinations.
But a 14th level i mean is that really too much to ask you know, i don’t know let’s get to my personal thoughts on the path of wild magic barbarian.
Overall i really like what it’s trying to achieve. In terms of the manner of which it does it, i don’t know it’s not particualrly game breaking at least to me it doesn’t if anything it might be over balanced or even underwhelming in some cases. The biggest drawback is that all of the damage dealing potential done by your wild magic surges, they don’t scale up at all, they’re all pretty much the same and with the highest damage dice there being a d12 for when you roll a one and you get those tendrils. It doesn’t really hold up to anything else your barbarian can do.
It’s not even an attack role, most of like all of them are saves. So you don’t even have the potential of critting on them. It doesn’t i don’t know i like once again the idea of what they were trying to achieve. I would like to see it reworked a little bit to make it a little bit more of a viable option for the long haul. Might make an interesting multi-class especially with the druid but outside of that i don’t really see a lot of potential with it.
Maybe i’m missing something, i mean to be fair it is good but it’s nothing compared to like the path of the beast barbarian for example which is overwhelmingly strong in most cases so. I don’t know let me know what you guys think down beneath in the comment section below. Be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns you have about the path of wild magic barbarian. That being said, i hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring.