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5 Questions Every Barbarian Should Be Able to Answer

Conan is the classic barbarian. Most artwork for this class depicts someone from a tribal background in some type of leather clothing covering only the bare essentials to be considered “decent,” wielding a sizable weapon. While there is nothing wrong with that image of a barbarian, it is only one interpretation of a barbarian. The problem with it came in when some versions of the game mechanically reinforced it. As late as D&D 3.5, a barbarian was illiterate unless you took “reading” as a language. This meant that all barbarians are tribal. Personally, I am quite glad this has been done away with. It allows for different interpretations of what a barbarian can be. One such interpretation: the movie Falling Down. In it, Michael Douglas plays a man who has simply had enough, lashing out at the problems he sees in society. This is one reason why I like the 13th Age and D&D 5e idea of background separate from a class and am glad that it looks like Pathfinder 2e is going that route as well. Ever wanted to play a noble that rejects the laws their family set up? Now you can.

When coming up with this 5 Questions I took a long look at modern and even some classic iterations of the barbarian class and decided to focus in on a few aspects that I feel are key: using anger as a way to help them fight, self sufficiency, and a natural instinct to spot danger. To see which aspect of the other classes we focused on for their 5 Questions posts, see what we posted for the bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard.

1) Where Does Your Rage Come From?

The classic answer is that you are an uncivilized person and you simply cannot control yourself. While this answer is perfectly fine, this is far from the only available option. You could be cursed (ahem, failed science experiment) that when you get into a fight you lose your head and fly into a battle rage, potentially making you a danger to everyone in the fight except yourself. My personal favorite is the civilized person that use to make biting comments and engaged in sarcasm–letting the rage inside of them out in small doses–but saw their friends and loved ones hurt and finally unleashing the full force of their anger. I like this one because it subverts what many expect a barbarian should be, opening up a range of character possibilities.

2) How Do You Try to Emulate Your Characters Rage?

This question is quite a bit more meta than the other questions we’ve asked in the 5 Questions series, but I think it is important with the barbarian. A barbarians rage is meant to be uncontrolled, reactionary. It is telling Hulk to “smash,” because telling him anything else isn’t going to help. So when you are done with your turn, you have to sit and wait for everyone else to take their turn. That design choice lends itself towards a more thoughtful, tactical approach to your character. If you play it like a tactician, carefully considering every move to figure out what is the optimal course of action, you are not letting your character live as they should. So to help me get into my barbarian more, I intentionally choose less than optimal actions if it means it would be more reactionary. When facing multiple opponents, I generally go after the toughest looking enemy until one of my allies is hurt, then I rush to attack whomever was hurt (prioritizing the squishiest ones first), taking whatever attacks come from leaving an enemy in the middle of a fight. But that is just me; how does your way to attack your enemies reflect being in an all-consuming rage? Do you ignore all but the closest enemies to you? Do you just run through your enemies, one attack at a time, no matter if they drop or not? What is your style?

3) How Do You Reflect Your Ability to Spot Danger?

The barbarian class typically grants some advantage to spotting danger. How do you reflect this in your character? Are you jumpy, ready with a weapon in your hands because a cute, fluffy bunny rustled some bushes nearby? Are you constantly looking g around, trying to maintain a constant vigilance? Are you always listening to everything going on around you? How do you role play your ability to spot Danger?

4) How Did You Learn to Depend Upon Yourself?

Barbarians are frequently have the survival skill and other skills that would help them do well on their own. That is understandable considering the classic barbarian is one that shuns civilized society for the natural world. It even makes sense for the civilized barbarian; getting angry rather quickly tends to drive people away, requiring you to depend upon yourself more. If you’re cursed, you probably do not want many people around you for fear they will get hurt, promoting self sufficiency. So what was that like? If you are a societial outcast, how do you make clothes for yourself? What was it like learning to hunt? We’re you raised by a tribe and they taught you? We’re you always on the outskirts of civilization and had a basic idea of how to survive on your own before, even if it was not previously your soul source of survival before and now it is? Did you almost starve before learning how to use a bow? Do you trade with the local tribes, helping you get what you cannot do yourself?

5) How Much Does It Mean to You That Your Companions Accept You?

No person can exist without interacting with others. Even the most standoffish dwarf still needs friends. Barbarians may be self sufficient, but they still need friends and companions as well. So what does that mean to you? Put it another way: what will you do to protect them and keep them? Being with a person that frequently gets angry is not an easy person to get along with and after you failed to hear the cries for help from your fellow adventurers yet again because you were fighting the toughest-looking bad guy might mean they are not happy with your character. So how far is your character willing to go? Should such a situation arise, how will your character grow and change? Who will you become?

Catfolk are known for being free spirits and Khol Saka is no exception. He roams the plains, playfully pouncing on whatever trouble comes his way, appearing more care free than most humans. Just don’t get him angry; you wouldn’t like him. It is as if he turns into an uncontrollable green rage monster, even if he still looks like a catfolk on the outside. He will scratch the face off of anyone that hurts him or his allies, unable to stop himself even if he wanted to.

Khol Saka is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. Download this awesome book today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

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Pathfinder: A Horde of Races

Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium

Tuesday February 14th—Valentine’s Day—sees the launch of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. This has been a work in progress for over two years. So what exactly is inside it?

Well each race has about 16 pages of material, describing the race, their culture, their view on the world, how others of their kind interact, their religions, and of course plenty of Pathfinder gaming stats. Like what? Well we start off with the Racial Traits, follow that up with alternate racial traits, character traits, a veritable horde of archetypes and other class options, mundane equipment specific to their race, and spells and magic item commonly created by members of that race. We finish off each individual section with ideas for you to integrate this race into your game and NPCs so you can us this race in your game right away. As a bonus we threw in favored class options for this race for over 40 different classes. Sure every class in the core rule book is covered here but so are the classes from the Advanced Player’s Guide to the Advanced Class Guide as well as Ultimate Psionics and the Time Thief thrown in for good measure.

You want more? Well how about some racial technology for those that want to play a Pathfinder in Spaaaaaace.

So what races are covered in this book? Glad you asked. We have:
Androids
Catfolk
Changelings
Elans
Gillmen
Lizardfolk
Merfolk
Samsarans
Skinwalkers
Tengus
Wyrwoods
Wyvarans

Download the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium now at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, d20PFSRD, and Paizo.com.

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13th Age Compatible: Now with Catfolk

Book of Heroic Races: Age of Ideas 1All week long we are showing off the races in the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1. We’ve already showed off the lizardfolk and the samsarans. Today we are showing off the catfolk race.

Catfolk come in two varieties. Saebul are cat-headed humanoids with full tails. They tend to be more introspective and cool-natured. Faol are tailless and resemble humans, but with distinct feline features and broad patches of short furlike hair on their bodies. They are more outgoing and frivolous. Both societies are broken up into matriarchal clans. Feel free to customize the concentration of each population as best fits your campaign world and your tastes, or even swap the personalities of the two subraces if your players prefer a different combination of traits for their catfolk PCs.

Catfolk Racial Traits

+2 Dex OR +2 Cha.
Adventurer Tier Catfolk Feat (Feline Grace):
You disengage on an easy save (6+). Also, once per battle, you can move without being intercepted, but you must not be engaged with an enemy at the beginning of that move.
Cat’s Luck (Racial Power)
Once per battle, reroll a single attack or save after its result is known, and add double the escalation die to the new result (this replaces the single escalation die bonus on most attack rolls).
Champion Feat: Add the escalation die to all of your defenses until the end of your next turn when you use this power.

Download Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 for your 13th Age Compatible game at the JBE Shop. You can also find this PDF at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the OpenGamingStore.

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13th Age Compatible: Dreams of Yesterday

Book of Heroic Races: Age of Ideas 1All week long, we are sharing with you the races inside the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1. Yesterday we shared with you the lizardfolk race. Today we are sharing with you the samsaran race.

Though they appear human save for their white and near-colorless eyes, a samsaran lives dozens or even hundreds of lifetimes, haunted by dreamlike memories of each incarnation. As they grow in power and experience, samsarans reconnect with these past lives, bolstering the abilities they have cultivated in this lifetime with those accrued over centuries of living and dying. Every samsaran believes that the crucible of reincarnation will eventually smelt their spirit into a state of enlightenment and drive them toward a new purpose, at which point their cycle of death and rebirth will end.

Samsaran Racial Traits

+2 Int OR +2 Wis.
Flashes Of Past Lives (Racial Power)

Choose one of the following talents: slayer (barbarian), storyteller (bard), separate existence (chaos mage), domain: healing (cleric), moment of glory (commander), power attack (fighter), flurry (monk), skeletal minion (necromancer), stance of necessity (occultist; assumes you never have focus), lay on hands (paladin), favored enemy (ranger), swashbuckle (rogue; assumes you always have momentum), counter-magic (wizard). Once per day as a full-round action, you can tap into memories of a past life, foregoing the use of one of your class talents for the duration of a single battle, encounter, or scene, and instead use the chosen talent. You use your total character level as your effective level for the purpose of determining any level-dependent variables related to these talents.
When you reach champion tier, you may choose a second talent from the above list; when you reach epic tier, you may choose a third.
Champion Feat: Using this power takes a standard action, and you can swap out two talents for the battle’s duration.

Download Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 for your 13th Age Compatible game at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the OpenGamingStore (formerly d20pfsrd.com).

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13th Age Compatible: A New Age of Heroic Races

Book of Heroic Races: Age of Ideas 1 (13th Age)

A New Age for These Races

Go beyond the standard fantasy races and play a new breed of hero! These intrepid adventurers forge their place in legends with claw, fin, spell, and sword. Now you can play one of these heroic races in your home game and battle monsters like never before.

Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 introduces a number of playable races for your 13th Age Compatible game. This 15-page supplement gives you everything you need to include the following races at your table:

  • Catfolk, who can reroll an attack or save once per battle
  • Hagborn, who can reroll an attack or save once per battle
  • Lizardfolk, which bite and tear their enemies to shreds
  • Merfolk, who can sing a siren’s song to doom their enemies
  • Samsarans, that can draw on their past lives to aid them in battle

Be Heroic With These New Races Today!

Download Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 for your 13th Age Compatible game at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the OpenGamingStore.

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13th Age Compatible: A New Age of Races

Book of Heroic Races: Age of Ideas 1 (13th Age)

Hey 13th Age Fans,

The Good News is that, even though we have been away for a while, we have not forgotten about you. The Even Better News is that we have some new races for your 13th Age Compatible game. Tomorrow we are releasing the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1. Inside you have 5 new races, and all week long, we will be sharing what exactly those races are. Today, we are starting off with the lizardfolk race.

Lizardfolk are misunderstood by most races due to the common (and not untrue) conception that they are heartless cannibals. Most lizardfolk will certainly consume their own dead or that of other sentients who die near their tribal territories, but they do this out of an urge to survive rather than an innate tendency toward bloodthirst. They frequently ally themselves with dragons, and they believe the Three Dragons and the Great Gold Dragon to be gods incarnate (though some lizardfolk disagree as to whether or not these icons have maintained their divinity over the eons).

Lizardfolk Racial Traits

+2 Str OR +2 Con.
Claws And Jaws (Racial Power)

You can make an unarmed melee basic attack without the usual –2 penalty, and you choose whether to use Strength or Dexterity to modify the attack and damage rolls. If you hit, you deal 1d8 damage per level you possess, plus any modifier from Strength or Dexterity (which is doubled at champion tier and tripled at epic tier). If you miss, you deal damage equal to your level.
Champion Feat: You can make an unarmed melee basic attack as above as a quick action in addition to your other actions on your turn. However, if you take another action during that turn to use an attack power or basic attack, this attack deals only half damage. (Any miss damage is not halved, however.)

Download Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 for your 13th Age Compatible game at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the OpenGamingStore (formerly d20pfsrd.com).

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5e: Player Races Unleashed

Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 (5e)

Races Beyond the Ordinary
Go beyond the standard fantasy races and play a new breed of hero. These intrepid adventurers forge their place in legends with beak, claw, spell, and sword. Now you can play one of these heroic races in your home game and battle monsters like never before.

Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 introduces a number of playable races for your fifth edition game. This 16-page supplement gives you everything you need to include the following races at your table:

  • Catfolk, including the near-human subrace of faol and the decidedly feline subrace of saebul
  • Hagborn, with three subraces distinguished by the type of hag that gave birth to them: green hagborn, night hagborn, and sea hagborn
  • Samsarans, featuring two subraces defined by how they communicate with their past lives: in vivid dreams or through mental personifications
  • Tengu, including a city-dwelling cosmopolitan subrace and a nomadic variant that travels the countryside
  • 7 New Subraces for existing core races: dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings

Be Heroic With These New Races Today!

Download the Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 for Fifth Edition at the JBE Shop. You can also find this at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo and d20pfsrd.com.