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How to Create Great Pathfinder 2nd Edition Characters: Barbarian

Amiri Fighting Giant - Paizo

Paizo did a great job with Pathfinder Second Edition (PF2), especially with the character classes. Since the new edition is still…well, new, we don’t have the incredibly vast class catalog that we did with First Edition Pathfinder. That doesn’t make the class system any less extensive, however. Let me explain.

Right out the gate we have twelve classes to work with. That’s nothing to shake a stick at! Spell-slinging wizards, sword-swinging fighters, voice-belting Bards…all of the main bases are covered. Just like Starfinder Themes, there’s no reason why you can’t expand the concept of a character class to make a replica Magus or Occultist.

Of course, they’re not going to have the same feel until additional source material is released. However, reskinning spells, items, and weapons is usually something that I would allow as a GM, especially if it’s for flavor. Don’t be hampered by the verbiage in the Core Rulebook – let that vault you into the imagination-sphere!

The only reason you should get angry is if you’re channeling your inner rage. How’s that for a segue into the Barbarian class? I have a bunch of fun, quirky class concepts in store for you this week. If you need some more information on the format, please refer back to the initial Alchemist post. Introductions aside, what are we waiting for?

Pathfinder 2nd Edition Barbarian Class

A Pathfinder 2E Barbarian, Amiri is calm before her inevitable rage, resting on her gigantic sword.
Amiri, the 2E Iconic Barbarian

The appeal of Barbarians is centered around the word ‘SMASH’. Sometimes you don’t want to get flowery with casting spells and just want to roll a bunch of damage dice. There’s something really satisfying about rushing in to the fray and watching the enemies fall like wheat to a scythe.

Pathfinder Second Edition Barbarians are fueled by their inner rage, which propels them to new heights. As a Barbarian, you’ll be tied to a specific Instinct, which is essentially your spirit animal.

The main difference, however, is that your instinct can be tied to animals, fury, or even dragons! You’ll couple this primal rage with weapons of all kinds, becoming a master of simple and martial weapons.

As Barbarians rage, they reap the benefits of temporary hit points and additional weapon damage. Because of their ‘recklessness’, they’re also going to take a penalty to their Armor Class (AC) and won’t be able to concentrate on much else other than the smashing at-hand. But let’s be honest – is there anything more important than the smashing?

EDUCATED ARISTOCRAT

Let’s squash this stereotype right off the bat – Barbarians aren’t always primalists who lack refinement and manners. You are well-read and come from a family known for their generous philanthropy. For centuries, your ancestors have gradually increase the standing of their name, and have influenced prominent politicians and nobles. The problem is that their focus has always left you an afterthought in the proceedings.

Usually you’re able to suppress your violent outbursts, but sometimes you just wish things could be different. Maybe your family could spend more time focused on you instead of the next important gala they’re attending. Your upbringing has brought a certain level of eloquence and gravitas when your inner demons are unleashed, and you are particularly struck by anyone who actively suppresses familial love or acknowledgement.

Do you have any siblings who are given more attention than you? What really sets off your rage? Do you hold anything against the aristocracy (aka THE SYSTEM)? Why did you leave your family? Were there any people who helped shape you into the person you are today? Do you use intimidation to get what you want, or are you more diplomatic in your relations?

You’ve just never been good enough.

Pathmap

  • Background: Noble
  • Instinct: Fury Instinct
  • Ability Scores: Charisma, Intelligence
  • Skills: Heraldry Lore, Society, Diplomacy
  • Barbarian Feats: Moment of Clarity, Second Wind (2nd), Swipe (4th), Cleave (6th), Thrash (8th), Come and Get Me (10th), Furious Grab (12th), Vengeful Strike (14th), Collateral Thrash (16th), Perfect Clarity (18th), Quaking Stomp (20th)

DEVOTED CONSERVATIONALIST

A Pathfinder 2E Barbarian sword, elongated at the tip with stylized pommel.

Druids and Rangers shouldn’t be the only ones focused on retaining the beauty of nature. Not to mention that they probably lack the brawn and firepower to really suppress any hooligans disrespecting the forests and streams of Golarion. Without a true protector such as yourself, surely the green will fade to brown.

You are committed to preserving nature. Whether you have a focus on animals, plants, or natural landmarks, you do whatever you can to stop others from exploiting the world around you. Nothing makes you more upset than the blatant disregard for living things.

Did you grow up in the wild or was it a lifetime of buildings that turned you on this path? Have you worked closely alongside druidic circles or packs of hunters? How do you direct your anger? Are there any pets or encounters with wild animals that had a profound effect on your outlook? Is your focus on man-made catastrophes or the results of natural disasters?

How do you fight fire with your inner fire? Did you have a profession in the wilderness, like a lumberjack or fisherman? What are your thoughts towards eating animals – are they off-limits or do they give you the strength to do what needs to be done? What about wearing leather, or sewn-leaf armor? Do you have close connections with the fae or other forest spirits? What is your preferred terrain?

Pathmap

  • Background: Animal Whisperer
  • Instinct: Animal Instinct (Deer)
  • Ability Scores: Wisdom, Constitution
  • Skills: Herbalism Lore, Nature, Survival
  • Barbarian Feats: Acute Vision, Acute Scent (2nd), Wounded Rage (4th), Animal Skin (6th), Animal Rage (8th), Furious Sprint (10th), Predator’s Pounce (12th), Whirlwind Strike (14th), Reckless Abandon (16th), Vicious Evisceration (18th), Quaking Stomp (20th)

PROFESSIONAL BODYBUILDER

You’re a house! You hit the squat rack daily and are practically an Adonis when it comes to personal physique. With a diet high in protein, you ensure that you have ample time to recovery after strain and exertion. You are a true monster, easily commanding attention when you walk into a room. If you can even fit through the conventional doorways, that is.

You are REALLY strong; that should go without saying. When others ask of your secrets, you tell them it’s a dedicated regiment of structured workouts and a steady diet. In reality, however, your secret comes from your intense drive and will to be stronger than the iron you so valiantly pump.

Why are you obsessed with building muscle? Were you in a situation where you weren’t strong enough to overcome a challenge and that’s what drives you to better yourself? Are you seeking revenge? Do you participate in competitions or do you tend to keep to yourself? Are there any particularly complex routines that you perform?

Are you flexible and acrobatic? How many lemon peels do you go through in a given day? Do you have any mealtime rituals? How well-known are you across the world? Does being muscular run in your family? What are the downsizes to your immense strength? What’s the most you’ve ever lifted? Was there a profession that spurred your growth?

Pathmap

  • Background: Laborer
  • Instinct: Giant Instinct
  • Ability Scores: Strength, Constitution
  • Skills: Games Lore, Athletics, Performance
  • Barbarian Feats: Raging Thrower, Furious Finish (2nd), Raging Athlete (4th), Giant’s Stature (6th), Furious Bully (8th), Knockback (10th), Titan’s Stature (12th), Giant’s Lunge (14th), Reckless Abandon (16th), Brutal Critical (18th), Quaking Stomp (20th)

SPIRITUAL CHIEFTAIN

You are a natural leader. People see your confidence and can’t help but to fall in line to your commands. Maybe you lead through fear and intimidation, or maybe you believe in a subtle, guiding hand. Either way, your ancestors are among your thoughts. They are watching, and they approve of your methods.

How did you come by your station as a leader? Was it won through a trial of combat or was it passed to you through the generations? What are your greatest accomplishments and failures? Why would you leave your station to pursue the adventuring life? Is it to bring something back to the people you lead? How accessible are you to the people in your clan? Do you keep to the shadows and use a mouthpiece, or do you stay among them because that’s where you’re most comfortable?

When was the first time you connected with the spirits of your ancestors? Are the spirits vengeful or merciful? How do they typically communicate to you? Do they aid you in mental endeavors as well as physical ones? Is there a prominent voice among them that comes through the loudest or clearest? Are you trying to pay back a debt that you owe your ancestors? Do you feel a call of destiny?

Pathmap

  • Background: Warrior
  • Instinct: Spirit Instinct
  • Ability Scores: Charisma, Wisdom
  • Skills: Hunting Lore, Nature, Occultism
  • Barbarian Feats: Moment of Clarity, Second Wind (2nd), Swipe (4th), Spirit’s Interference (6th), Share Rage (8th), Come and Get Me (10th), Spirit’s Wrath (12th), Vengeful Strike (14th), Reckless Abandon (16th), Perfect Clarity (18th), Contagious Rage (20th)
A Pathfinder 2E Barbarian, a reverent Amiri sits cross-legged, palms pointing upright as they rest on her massive sword.
A reverent Amiri sits cross-legged, palms pointing upright as they rest on her massive sword.

DRACONIC DEVOTEE

You chose the path of fire because you believe you are a dragon incarnate. With unparalleled rage and ferocity, you are unstoppable when consumed by the draconic intensity that consumes you. In your eyes, the only thing separating you from a true wyrm is the set of wings on its back. You don’t even need a weapon to be fierce; biting and clawing will suffice.

How did you become involved with dragon worship? Or is your vengeance caused by a dragon from your past? Do you act alone or are you a part of a cult? Have you ever come face-to-face with a dragon? What is your relationship like with kobolds? Are they considered as venerable or abhorred as wyrms?

What specific rituals or obscure practices mark you with the sign of the dragon? Are there are markings or tattoos that hold significant meaning? What places have you traveled through? Do you attempt to convert others to your cause, or are you content without proselytizing? Have you collected any dragon-related mementos or souvenirs in your travels? What are your favorite draconic legends? Or do you believe that all of the stories are true?

Pathmap

  • Background: Nomad
  • Instinct: Dragon Instinct (White)
  • Ability Scores: Strength, Dexterity
  • Skills: Cult Lore, Religion, Intimidation
  • Barbarian Feats: Raging Intimidation, No Escape (2nd), Fast Movement (4th), Dragon’s Rage Breath (6th), Share Rage (8th), Knockback (10th), Dragon’s Rage Wings (12th), Awesome Blow (14th), Dragon Transformation (16th), Vicious Evisceration (18th), Contagious Rage (20th)

Pathfinder 2E Barbarian Class – Get Fired Up!

I might need some chamomile tea to calm down after all that talk about raging and ferocity. Barbarians are fantastic choices for frontline combat. Don’t even worry about having a lower AC – your opponents are going to be six-feet under before your AC even enters the conversation.

I’m loving the initial options that Paizo gave us. They’re distinct while still allowing room for creativity. In case you missing any of the other installments, you can find them listed below. Hopefully these concepts are getting your wheels turning about the unlimited kinds of characters you can make in Pathfinder Second Edition.

Be sure to check out my preview of the Pathfinder Second Edition Lost Omens World Guide, which has a bunch of new archetypes, items, feats, and spells. There’s bound to be something in that book that catches your fancy.

Next week we’ll be changing our tune in a big way when we talk about the Bard – everybody’s favorite music-maker! Spoiler alert – it’s not always about the music.

How to Create Great Pathfinder Second Edition Characters