by Martin Killmann
Many types of barbarians roam the wilderness of the Dragon Empire, drawing on the power of ancestral spirits, draconic pacts, and even the mountains themselves to strike terror into their enemies’ hearts. Here are four sets of talents to build a distinctive barbarian who brings something unique to the battle.
The Mountainheart are an ancient dwarven clan who chose to live on the surface when their homeland was destroyed during the war with the dark elves. Any barbarian can choose the following talents, but they are most commonly used by dwarves.
Mountainheart Adventurer Talents
While raging, you can end your rage as a free action to negate all damage from one attack or effect.
Adventurer Feat: When you negate an enemy’s damage with this talent, your next attack against that enemy deals half damage on a miss.
Champion Feat: When you negate an enemy’s damage with this talent, make a saving throw (11+). If you succeed, your rage doesn’t end. For each point of relationship you have with the Dwarf King, you gain a +1 bonus to the roll.
Epic Feat: In addition to damage, you also negate all other effects of the attack.
Avalanche of Steel
Once per battle while you’re wielding a shield, you can make a shield smash melee attack as a quick action. Treat the shield as a d6 melee weapon. If you are not engaged with an enemy, you can move to a nearby foe before making the attack as a free action.
Adventurer Feat: When you hit with shield smash, make a Strength check against the enemy using a DC set by the tier. If you succeed, you can push the enemy against a wall, over a ledge, or into an obstacle, depending on your surroundings.
Champion Feat: Before making a shield smash attack, you can pop free from an enemy you are engaged with as a free action.
Epic Feat: When you score a critical hit with a shield smash attack, the target is also stunned until the end of its next turn.
You start the game with a shield that was blessed in an ancestral temple. It is an adventurer-level true magic item with one of the following enchantments: protection, resilience, or termination. Only members of your bloodline can benefit from its effects.
While wielding the shield, you gain a +2 bonus to AC instead of the standard +1.
Quirk: Your shield houses the spirit of one of your ancestors. Its quirk is whatever quirk they had in life.
Adventurer Feat: The shield does not count against your maximum number of magic items.
Champion Feat: The shield is upgraded to a champion-level item, and the maximum hit point bonus increases.
Epic Feat: The shield is upgraded to an epic-level item, and the maximum hit point bonus increases.
Mountainheart Champion Talents
Against large and huge enemies, increase your damage dice with heavy weapons to d12.
Once per round when a large or huge enemy hits you with a melee attack, you can make a hard saving throw (16+) to dodge the attack and turn it into a miss.
Champion Feat: When you dodge an attack with this talent, you can also make a melee attack against the attacker as a free action. If you score a critical hit with this attack, that enemy is hampered (save ends).
Epic Feat: You gain a bonus to your giantslayer saving throw equal to the escalation die. For each point of relationship you have with the Dwarf King, you gain an additional +1 bonus to the roll.
Mountainheart Epic Talents
Whirling Wall of Axes
When you hit with an opportunity attack against an enemy making a ranged attack or casting an attack spell, that attack misses. Spells without a miss effect simply fail. Note than when you use this talent once or twice in a battle, the smarter creatures will figure out that they need to disengage with you before taking those actions. Of course, this gives you an opportunity attack against them if they fail the check.
Epic Feat: When an enemy makes a successful saving throw to disengage from you, it still draws an opportunity attack from you. Your opportunity attack deals half damage. It doesn’t stop the creature from moving away from you.
These talents can represent gifts from the draconic icons, either the Three or the Gold Wyrm. They can also be a manifestation of draconic ancestry.
Wyrmfang Adventurer Talents
Choose a sorcerer dragon breath spell of your level or lower. You gain a +1 bonus to the recharge roll of your dragon breath spell for each point of relationship you have with a draconic icon.
Adventurer Feat: You can use Constitution instead of Charisma for attack and damage with the spell.
Champion Feat: While you’re raging, your dragon breath spell gains the same benefit as your melee attacks—Roll 2d20 for the spell’s attack rolls. If both natural rolls are 11+, you score a critical hit.
Epic Feat: When you score a critical hit with a melee attack, if the escalation die is 5+ and you have your dragon breath spell available, you can use it as a free action.
Choose one dragon color. You gain the elemental resistance of that color (12+) but also the vulnerability (listed in brackets).
White: Cold (Fire)
Black: Acid (Thunder)
Green: Poison (Psychic)
Blue: Lightning (Force)
Red: Fire (Cold)
For each point of relationship you have with a draconic icon, increase your resistance by +1.
Adventurer Feat: You do not suffer the vulnerability when raging.
Champion Feat: Increase the base resistance to 16+.
Epic Feat: When taking damage of the type you are resistant to from this talent, make a saving throw (11+). If you succeed, you can heal using a recovery.
Eye of the Wyrm
You have been blessed with true seeing. You are immune to invisibility or illusion effects created by enemies of your level or lower.
Adventurer Feat: You can see in the dark as well as a normal human can in full daylight.
Champion Feat: You gain a +1 bonus to ranged attacks.
Epic Feat: Your ability to see arcane auras allows you to defend against magic. You gain a +2 bonus to your defenses against spells, magical close quarter attacks, breath weapons and magic traps.
Wyrmfang Champion Talents
Gift of the Blue
You gain a counterspell ability similar to blue dragons. When an enemy targets you with a spell, you can roll a hard save (16+); success means the spell has no effect on you. If the level of the spell is lower than your level, reduce the difficulty to a normal save (11+).
Champion Feat: When you successfully counter a spell, you can make a melee or ranged attack against the caster as a free action. The attack deals half damage.
Epic Feat: The above attack deals full damage instead. For each point of relationship you have with a draconic icon, the target takes +1d6 damage.
Wyrmfang Epic Talents
When you activate your barbarian rage, you transform into a normal-sized dragon. Your hands and teeth become d12 claw and fang natural weapons. You grow wings that allow you to fly. Your skin changes to scales that are equal to Heavy Armor (base AC 13), but incur no attack penalty.
Everything you are wearing or carrying—including clothes, weapons, armor, shields and magic items—magically vanishes when you take dragon form. They reappear when you resume your normal form.
Epic Feat: You have earned the respect of dragons. Roll twice on Charisma-based skill checks when interacting with dragons. If you have a positive relationship with a draconic icon, you gain this feat for free.
Elves are known for a graceful, controlled combat style. These talents are practiced by wild elves who embrace the ferocity of a cornered animal.
Graceful Fury Adventurer Talents
When an enemy misses you with an attack, your first hit with a melee attack against that enemy before the end of your next turn deals an additional 1d8 damage.
Adventurer Feat: You gain a +4 bonus to all defenses against the first attack made against you each battle.
Champion Feat: Increase the bonus damage to 2d10.
Epic Feat: Increase the bonus damage to 3d12. For each point of relationship you have with the Elf Queen, you can reroll one of these damage dice.
While wielding a light or small weapon, you can use Dexterity for attack and damage, and your crit range with that weapon expands by 1.
Adventurer Feat: Add your Wisdom or Charisma modifier to your damage with all melee and ranged attacks. Your crit range with small and light weapons expands by 2. In addition, while your off-hand is free and you are not wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
Champion Feat: Double the damage bonus, expand the critical range by 3, and increase the AC bonus to +2.
Epic Feat: Triple the damage bonus, expand the critical range by 4, and increase the AC bonus to +3.
Once per day when you hit an enemy with a melee attack, the target also takes 10 ongoing poison damage.
Adventurer Feat: If the escalation die is 3+ when you use this talent, the target is also dazed (save ends both).
Champion Feat: Increase the ongoing poison damage to 30 if the escalation die is 3+. You can use the power one additional time per day for each point of relationship you have with the Elf Queen.
Epic Feat: Increase the ongoing poison damage to 50 if the escalation die is 5+.
Graceful Fury Champion Talents
As a standard action, you can allow one enemy engaged with you to make a melee attack against you as a free action. If the enemy chooses not to take the attack, you don’t benefit from the escalation die until the start of your next turn.
If the enemy’s attack misses, you can make a melee attack against that enemy as a free action. If your attack hits, you deal +1d10 extra damage for each point of the escalation die and the enemy is dazed until the end of its next turn.
Champion Feat: Add your Wisdom or Charisma modifier to all defenses against the attack. If the enemy’s attack hits, you take only half damage.
Epic Feat: When your Predator’s Gambit attack hits, you can choose to make the target confused instead of dazed until the end of its next turn.
Graceful Fury Epic Talents
Death is Swift and Beautiful
Once per day, when you start raging, your next melee attack that turn targets 1d4+1 nearby enemies. You pop free of each foe you attack and can move to the next one as a free action.
Epic Feat: You can also attack far away targets with the attack.
Tribal War Chief
These talents are found in barbarians who have been chosen to lead their people, be it by birth, merit, or the will of the gods.
Tribal War Chief Adventurer Talents
You start the game with a set of heavy armor inherited from your ancestors, a true magic item. Choose between the heedlessness, splendor and warding adventurer-level enchantments. Only you can benefit from the item’s enchantment.
You do not take an attack penalty while wearing heavy armor.
Quirk: You tend to make dramatic speeches, and swear mighty oaths.
Adventurer Feat: The item does not count against your magic item limit.
Champion Feat: The item is upgraded to champion level.
Epic Feat: The item is upgraded to epic level.
Voice of the War Chief
Choose a Battle Cry of your level or lower from the bard’s list. You gain this Battle Cry as a class power.
Adventurer Feat: You gain a second Battle Cry.
Champion Feat: When using a Battle Cry, both you and one ally benefit from it.
Epic Feat: Once per day, you and each ally who can hear you can benefit from your Battle Cry.
Tribal War Chief Champion Talents
The Pack Circles the Prey
When you score a critical hit against an enemy, the crit range of each of your allies attacks expands by 4 against that target until the start of your next turn.
Champion Feat: The target takes a cumulative –1 penalty to its next attack for each hit it takes before its next turn.
Epic Feat: The target is hampered until the start of your next turn; and, if they’re a creature that can normally use recoveries, cannot use recoveries until the start of your next turn.