What Happens When I Level Up – Barbarian (D&D 5e)

This guide only presents the Traits, Feats, and additional Abilities that your character will acquire when they gain a level. The character progression is broken down per level to facilitate the tracking of incremental changes that can be made for a character. This is to help avoid repeatedly jumping through different sections of the Player’s Handbook every time an additional level is gained.

Before using this guide, please take note of any and all applicable feats, racial traits or background bonuses that your character might gain before choosing a class. Most of these are one time numerical bonuses to Ability Scores or are persistent abilities that your character can use all throughout their adventuring life.

The Barbarian Class Advancement Table

Barbarian New
Whack harder and harder. Higher res here.

General notes on Barbarian:

  • Make sure to always hit or get hit so you won’t lose Rage status.
  • Barbarians are unbelievably tanky. Sure, they don’t get high AC but they just soak hits like nothing. I was once in an encounter with five devils and took down three of them and I still had 10+ Hit Points. To be fair, my Barbarian took the Bear Totem Warrior for his Primal Path.
  • Reckless Attack is pretty useful in later levels when paired with Brutal Critical. The fact that you roll more dice means that you’re more likely to roll a 20 (or a 1 lol). The advantage on attack rolls against you would matter less because by then a Barbarian would be an angry bullet sponge.
  • Due to the simplicity of the Barbarian’s mechanics, it’s easier to have Feats supplement class abilities and battlefield utility.

Primal Paths

Created by DM Matthew Mercer:

*Featured in expansions, homebrew material and Unearthed Arcana. Ask your DM for permission if they’ll allow the use of these Paths for your campaign. These options may have additional requirements and/or special features/bonuses when chosen.

Character Advancement – Gaining Levels

1st Level Barbarian

  • Initial HP = 12 + Constitution (CON) Modifier
  • Armor Proficiency: Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields
  • Weapon Proficiency: Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons
  • Tool Proficiency: None
  • One (1) 1d12 Hit Die
  • +2 Proficiency Bonus
  • Proficiency Bonus added to STR and CON saving throws
  • Choice of Proficiency Bonus to Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, or Survival (Choose two)
  • Rage (2 total uses|+2 damage)
  • Unarmored Defense

2nd Level Barbarian

3rd Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • One (1) additional Rage use
  • Primal Path

4th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Ability Score improvement (additional 2 points for one ability or 1 point for two abilities) OR a Feat of your choice

5th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Extra Attack
  • Fast Movement
  • Proficiency Bonus is increased by 1

6th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • One (1) additional Rage use
  • New Primal Path Feature

7th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Feral Instinct

8th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Ability Score Improvement OR a Feat of your choice

9th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Rage damage increased to +3
  • Brutal Critical
  • Proficiency Bonus is increased by 1

10th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • New Primal Path Feature

11th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Relentless Rage

12th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • One (1) additional Rage use
  • Ability Score Improvement OR a Feat of your choice

13th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Brutal Critical II
  • Proficiency Bonus is increased by 1

14th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • New Primal Path Feature

15th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Persistent Rage

16th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Rage damage increased to +4
  • Ability Score Improvement OR a Feat of your choice

17th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • One (1) additional Rage use
  • Brutal Critical III
  • Proficiency Bonus is increased by 1

18th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Indomitable Might

19th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Ability Score Improvement OR a Feat of your choice

20th Level Barbarian

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d12 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d12 Hit Die
  • Unlimited Rage uses
  • Primal Champion

Please take note of all ability score and bonus increases as your Barbarian gains levels and experience. These changes must be properly reflected on your character sheet to show improvements for character statistics like skill checks and attack rolls. Make sure to update the character’s armor class, hit points, bonus initiative, passive perception and other skills that they are proficient with whenever any relevant changes allow you to do so.

If anyone wanted to break the game, they’d give Barbarians the ability to do cleave attacks. For additional information on Primal Paths and the features they grant, refer to resources like the Player’s Handbook, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything or expansion and online material like the ones from Roll20 or The DnD 5e Wikidot website.

– D

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