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Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian $5.95 $4.46
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Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian
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Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Cameron D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/05/2019 12:46:01

A class that was sorely lacking more play options for so many years, Kim has given the barbarian a much-needed infusion of, to quote Mr. Torgue: "Badassery and Badassittude!". With fifteen fantastic new paths, five new backgrounds and a new race, Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian is a must-have for any barb main. One of the best things about this supplement is that all of the new paths originate from very diverse real-world cultures.

For instance, take the Path of the Jungle - directly inspired by Tarzan from Edgar Rice Borroughs. Looking at the 6th level ability as an example (called Panther's Grace): "Beginning at 6th level, you’ve become accustomed to moving through the undergrowth of your jungle home, and have learned to apply this agility elsewhere. As such, when raging, you ignore difficult terrain and treat it as normal terrain." It is nice to see a couple other barbarian options that aren't just insert-Viking or insert-Gael or insert-Gaul.

The redscale lizardfolk are really cool due to their draconic heritage, with their Born in Fire and Fiery Blood racial abilities being very useful in the thick of things - definitely a barbarian structured race. The new backgrounds also add a bunch of new content - with my personal favorite being the Out of Time background cause you literally could have been frozen in ice for a couple centuries and then busted out - and as always the original and historical art wraps this amazing product all up with a single, bloodstained bow.

Comics, Clerics, & Controllers d20 Roll: Nat 20



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/31/2019 05:52:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This class-centric supplement clocks in at 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 33 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

All right, after a brief introduction, we dive right into new primal paths – 15 to be precise. Discussing all of them in detail would bloat this review beyond any usefulness, so I’ll keep it short and to the point. I assume that you know when a barbarian gets his primal path class features. I’ll be referring to the respective names in the following, so for brevity’s sake, we’ll be talking about “the arena champion”, for example, and not of the “Path of the Arena Champion.”

All right, so the arena champion would be the first fellow here, and receives advantage on melee attack rolls while facing off in melee against a single target. Higher levels allow for the use of Attacks to execute flourishes that represent a kind of sudden death mode – both you and your opponent have advantage on melee attack rolls against each other, while opponents attacking either of you suffer from disadvantage. Higher levels allow you to render targets frightened and to move after striking the killing blow/reducing someone to 0 hit points. Nice one! Enjoyable, and manages to convey its theme in its mechanics.

The second path would be the beast rider gets advantage on Wisdom (Animal Handling) and on Charisma checks to convince non-beasts to serve as their mount. At 6th level, the mount may, as a bonus action, accompany your attack with an attack of its own, but only if it hasn’t attacked on its turn. 10th level shares rage with the mount (properly codified!) and beyond that, we have advantage on Strength and Constitution checks and saving throws. Additionally, the mount gets your proficiency bonus on all Strength and Constitution checks. Minor nitpick: The pdf calls this “modifier”, but that is cosmetic. Beasts in 5e are hard, and this had the chance of being broken – however, the caveat that allows the GM to retain control and explicitly notes that the critter isn’t necessarily loyal allows a GM to retain firm control and prevent exploits. Well done!

The immortal’s first ability is retaliatory: After taking melee damage, on the subsequent round, you get advantage on attack rolls versus the target, and use proficiency bonus instead of rage damage increase. The higher level abilities increase your AC when wearing medium armor or lighter, and provide a form of damage reduction. The highest level ability lets you choose an enemy when raging, increasing your damage output against them. Barbarians that follow the path of the jungle get a climbing speed while hands are free, swinging from branch to branch, rafter to rafter, etc. At 6th level, we have the option to ignore difficult terrain, and beyond that, poison application and the means to harvest poisons (cool), culminating, probably to make up for the power of the latter ability, with the means to talk to animals at will and no longer be considered an enemy. Phantom, Mowgli, et al.

But perhaps, you’re not from a certain “non-civilized” environment? Perhaps, you just have anger management issues or are stark, raving, mad? The Madman retains the ability to concentrate on spells while raging, and the rage may be maintained longer and are harder to knock out of it. There’s a minor die/dice-typo here. After that, we get heavy armor proficiency (yes, gets rage-synergy right), and after your rage ends, you regain hit points. At the highest level, it no longer takes a bonus action to start the rage. The magehunter begins with a VERY powerful defensive ability – advantage on ALL saving throws versus spells and magical effects. This imho should only be active while the magehunter is raging. This is further improved at 6th level, when we have condition resistance vs. charmed, exhaustion and frightened while raging. At higher levels, we double rage damage against creatures that you witnessed using “spells of spell-like abilities” – I assume the latter should reference innate spellcasting? This level also provides +2d6 radiant damage while raging. The highest level ability nets you locate creature to hound spellcasters and those with “spell-like abilities.”

The Noble has a powerful offensive ability – bless for all allies within 30 ft. while the noble is raging. This does not affect the noble. Indeed, at 6th level, this nest two attacks when using Attack; advantage on the first attack with the first attack if they have Extra Attack. Beyond that, we have immunity to being frightened while raging, and the effects of exhaustion are lessened. Minor nitpick: This could be a bit clearer regarding whether it only applies while the noble is raging, but close reading suggests so. The highest level ability is a 30-foot debuff radius, and extends the previous buffs to all allies in sight. This one can be REALLY brutal, or really underwhelming. Personally, I enjoy it, as it provides in-game justification to take down that noble commander.

The Northman gets advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) and Strength (Athletics) checks and resistance to diseases and even a scaling bonus to saves against them. After this, you may swim in heavy armor unimpeded, and beyond that, we have bonus damage in melee, as well as a capstone of hit point replenishment that may, in line with 5e’s design aesthetics, be eliminated. Kudos: It manages to get the verbiage right to prevent abuse. The Savage increases damage of improvised weapons used, and has the option to execute an additional attack as a bonus action when attacking with a simple weapon. At higher levels, we have better wilderness survival skills, grow claws, and may finally execute an extra attack while raging – plus, targets hit by all three attacks must save or become frightened.

The Skinchanger has to choose a weapon, a suit or armor or other item to be the focus. The skinchanger requires a proper Action (somewhat awkwardly-phrased) to enter rage, but does receive enhance ability benefits. 6th level nets an ability depending on the type of focus item chosen, and at higher levels, you get one more, with the 14th level providing scaling giant-strength while raging. The Slayer is immune to fear and being frightened, and gains bravado while adjacent to an enemy who is larger – this is represented by bravado dice, which may be spent as reactions for better defenses, heal yourself slightly or enhance your melee attack rolls. Die-sized increase. NICE! Later, we have rage in heavy armor, and an ability that allows you to jump into the maw of large critters attempting to bite them: The attacks executed from within are not swallow whole-style penalized, but actually enhanced. This is balanced by a nasty risk, for you can’t avoid breath attacks inside, and failing the jump will hit you hard. Nice one! I really enjoyed this one!

The Tribal Guardian has to choose a signature weapon, and the abilities only work with this weapon type. The archetype instead applies rage damage bonus to AC, and may later extend this benefit to nearby allies. Higher levels provide limited foresight, translating to advantage on the first melee attack you make per round, as well as disadvantage for the first attack against the guardian each round. At the highest level, the guardian can call forth phantoms of ancestors.

The valkyrie’s first ability is pretty damn brutal – all allies within 30 ft. of the raging valkyrie get resistance versus bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage. Now, this is just me, but as choosers of the fallen, this potent benefit could have had a more interesting application – while the valkyrie is raging, allow allies to spend an HD to get the buff with a duration. Considering that the vast majority of creatures in 5e are incapable of executing magic attacks with their default weaponry, this would serve as a balancing tool for a VERY strong ability, a balancing tool that would also reflect the lore. The higher levels include summoning spectral worgs, fly (at increased rage cost) and a cool capstone that raises your allies for one final battle from the slain and prevents them from being used as undead. I love this one flavor-wise, but I am not sold on the power of the initial ability.

The waverider uses Strength to calculate initiative and automatically beats tied initiatives. The path also nets heavy armor proficiency and better swimming; 10th level enhances Reckless Attack, and the capstone, Relentless Rage’s save may restore some hit points to you. The Wild Rider focuses first on granting unaligned beast mounts the option to make an attack as a bonus action as well as advantage on Wisdom (Animal Handling). Beyond that, we have better Dash for mounts, the ability to share Rage and Reckless Attack, and finally, the means to use ranged attacks with Reckless Attack, but doing so penalizes your attack rolls in the turn after that.

The pdf then proceeds to present a new race, the redscale lizardfolk. Minor formatting complaint: The names of racial features are bolded and printed in italics, with a full stop. Here, we have them just bolded, and followed by a colon. The race increases Strength by 2, Wisdom by 1, has a 30 ft. land and swimming speed, natural armor of 12 + Dexterity modifier while unarmored (and may not wear heavy armor, unless it’s specifically designed for the race), has Hold Breath and receives proficiency with Wisdom (medicine). The lizardfolk has a 1d6 + Strength modifier slashing damage bite attack that’s treated as unarmed, and resistance to fire. Vital stats re height, in a nice bonus, are provided, if you enjoy that. They can also cut themselves to slather their fiery blood on weapons, which increases weapon damage by +1d4 fire damage for 1 minute. This is a bit overkill, and probably should instead be tied to Hit Die expenditure.

The pdf also contains 5 new backgrounds, presented with personality traits, ideals, bonds, flaws, etc. – the full shebang. And yes, they have solid features. Theme-wise, they are envoy, exile, out of time, savage child and slave – I really enjoyed these! The pdf concludes with a brief section on new equipment that includes war paint (for Pict-style unarmored barbarians), and 7 new weapons: War darts and clubs that may be thrown; in a minor deviation from 5e-presentation standards, they list their range in their own column, instead of in brackets after the Thrown property, but I didn’t mind. 1-handed and 2-handed claymores, lochaber axes, bolas and recurve bows complement this one. The axe can only be wielded properly by the strong, recurve bows may be used while mounted to more easily control mounts, and bolas similarly have special rules, restraining targets on a failed Dexterity save. Claymores get Parry, which allows them to be used as a kind of shield when not attacking.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting re very good on a formal and rules-language level. While not always perfect, the deviations I found did not impede rules-integrity and fall into the cosmetic category. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard, with a blend of full-color artworks and expertly-chosen public domain pieces providing a nice atmosphere. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Interesting choice: The bookmarks are listed backwards within each sub-chapter – starting e.g. with “W”, and then proceeding from the back through the alphabet. I am pretty sure this is intentional, and, while a bit weird at first, I actually ended up liking this decision. Why? Because you can quickly scroll to “A” and quickly use the bookmark to get to “W.”

Anyhow, I think this may have been Kim Frandsen’s first 5e-offering, and it genuinely has me intrigued and excited for more. While personally, I enjoy high-complexity class-hack-ish class options for 5e a bit more, I do have to applaud the way in which this supplement uses paths etc. to create truly distinct playing experiences. The tie between theme and mechanics is strong, and indeed, I found myself genuinely excited about quite a few of these paths. While here and there, there are minor concerns I have regarding the balance of a precious few abilities, and while there are a few minor snafus, this is nonetheless a remarkable and fun expansion for the barbarian. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/12/2019 13:43:27

Ring Side Report- Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian System-Dungeons and Dragons 5e Producer-Kim Frandsen Price- $5 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/275287/Keeping-It-Classy-The-Barbarian?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Fantastic Third Party Content! 99%

Basics-BARBARIAN! Can you solve the riddle of steel? Keeping it Classy: The Barbarian is exactly what it puts out to be-a barbarian splat book, but it's even got a more for the rest of the table. Tons of new content for your barbarian characters and a bit of extra stuff for the non-barbarians out there with a new race, backgrounds, and some new toys. Let’s take a look at this book.

Mechanics or Crunch- This is a great book with lots of amazing content! The new paths are great. The new race is fun, and the new toys and backgrounds will fit anybody. Heck this one book has more barbarian content than almost all the current official DnD books out there! It’s not perfect as a few small issues crop up in wording on abilities, but you can easily look past that to see a phenomenal product. 4.9/5

Theme or Fluff-Your barb is not just a dumb meat shield. This book gives your hunk of muscle story from fun backgrounds to each path getting a full story treatment. Each path entry is short enough to not keep it in one world or setting, but long enough for it to be something to latch onto and build more of. This is the same for everything else here. Backgrounds? Not too long to wear out the welcome, but long enough to really get you hooked. Lizardperson race? Fun and full of enough story to make it something you want to read, but won’t lose interest in like an encyclopedia. Weapons? Pictures and descriptions for you to see in your minds eye. All told, this is a great product for the story based groups out there. 5/5

Execution- PDF? Check! Hyperlinked? CHECK! Great layout and ease of readability? CHECK! This is a product you can fly through, see the flow and major beats of in five minutes, and then dive back into for each section you want to really learn about. It's a fun read that flies by. I also like the liberal use of pictures. Most of the pictures are free to use art, and that's not bad! The pictures are related to the text, and the pictures break up the text while reinforcing the ease of readability. There is new art, and that is well done too! There are a few things I do think are a bit different such as weapons getting two sections instead of one describing the weapon and any special properties. Not wrong by any stretch, but it's different. Also of note the book is five bucks for 40 pages. The core DnD book (which isn’t hyperlinked or a PDF!) is 293 pages for about 40 bucks originally, so this is below price for the content your are getting! All of this adds together to a well crafted, fun to read book. 5/5

Summary- I really like this book. It’s a quick read that’s a fun read while still being a satisfying read. It's a barbarian splat book that doesn’t just have barbarian stuff in it. It’s got enough fun pieces that any players may want to pick this up. Have an hour and want to see a well produced book? Check this one out! 99%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Chris G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/10/2019 22:45:53

Great flavor, creative mechanics, great art, and feels pretty balanced.

I hope there are more Keeping It Classy series in the future!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
There are certainly plans in the works. :) - Next up will be the Bard getting some attention. :)
Thanks for the great review Chris. :) Just to follow up on this, since I mentioned the Bard getting love next. That is scheduled to release within the next 2-3 weeks. :)
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