The Barbarian class as the most common warrior class

In an old post I read recently, Alex said:

"Depending on your frame of reference, who the barbarian is can change dramatically! For instance:

The Romans were considered barbarians by the Greeks.
The Anglo-Saxons were considered barbarians by the Romans.
The Vikings were considered barbarians by the Anglo-Saxons.
The Lapplanders were considered barbarians by the Vikings."

What if the Barbarian class was the most common warrior class in a campaign world (rather than Fighter)? Every campaign culture would have different warriors. Perhaps Fighters would represent those overly focused (from the Barbarian’s perspective) on personal combat, like dungeon crawling “adventurers”, gladiators and certain tournament-obsessed nobles.

Beyond that, the “Barbarian” class could be tweaked slightly to represent non-barbaric, skilled warrior concepts. Samurai, for example. Perhaps Crane Clan Samurai take as much pride in Art(calligraphy) as their swordplay?

What do you think?

And westerners were largely considered barbarians to easterners, southerners to northeners, and vice versa. I’ve grown to like Barbarian less and less as a class as time goes on. I’d rather ‘barbarian’ becoming a synonym for “not from 'round here”.

The previous custom class just posted (Archer) reminded me of how incredibly versatile the Fighting 2, HD 1, Thief 1 build is - there’s a bunch of them on the forum, and I’ve got …3? on plate as offerings in my game.

I’ve kind of already started thinking of that build (in it’s many forms) as the most common fighter type - which pushes the ‘true’ Fighter out to those who have concentrated on being the best combatants (in this case represented by the d8 HD).

The Clegane brothers vs. most other knights, or Ninefingers vs other Northmen, in a broad brush.

So, yes, I think this is an excellent idea, and have already taken steps to implement it :slight_smile:

My campaigns draw inspiration from James C. Scott’s “The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia”. Barbarians are communities of hill people, such as Scottish highlanders, Appalachian hillbillies, Afghans, and southeast-asian groups like the Hmong. These people are the descendants of those who, for whatever reason, fled the civilized city-states of grain-producing farmers. They live via animal-husbandry in places that are too difficult for the civilized people and their armies to develop and control. The Barbarian class represents the warriors of the hill peoples, while the Fighter is the warrior of civilization.

In my current campaign, set in the Known World, I’ve been using Barbarians to represent any warriors from societies that don’t have a formal military structure (i.e. tribally organized societies), where any adult might be a warrior. Most of the main Known World nations (e.g. Karameikos, Thyatis, Darokin, etc.) have actual militaries, and hence, have Fighters as the primary class, but a few (e.g. Atruaghin, Ethengar, Soderfjord, etc.) do not, and hence have Barbarians as the primary class.

That’s a splendidly cool notion.

In one of the campaigns I play in, I play a barbarian, and in another (spin-off) campaign one of my BFFs is playing a barbarian who is a cousin to the my barbarian from the first. Basically, we play them as unfamiliar with the local culture and uncomfortable with magic, but we throw people because we don’t play them as “dumb brutes”.

You know what the best part of this idea is? Turn the 3 Thievery skills into “bonus general proficiencies”. Have henchmen default to “Adventuring” plus three other proficiencies - now they can level into this class without suffering skill erosion.

Then say that in order to level up into mage or cleric (or most other classes), the character must literally “unlearn what you have learned”, explaining why basically every NPC levels into this class.