Terrible Species for a Barbarian in D&D

Barbarians, the embodiment of wild warriors who channel their inner fury, are often associated with species that share a primal connection to the untamed world. However, not every species seamlessly fits the role of a raging berserker. This article explores the intricate relationship between barbarians and unconventional species in Dungeons & Dragons. While the barbarian class typically conjures images of ferocious warriors with straightforward, brute-force styles, we’ll explore how various species can challenge these archetypal expectations. From Warforged to Aarakocra, the road to embodying the spirit of a barbarian can be as diverse as the species themselves.

Warforged Barbarian

1 Warforged

The Warforged are sentient constructs created for warfare. These beings starkly contrast with a barbarian’s primal essence: their mechanical nature and lack of emotional depth challenge the conventional bloodlust and untamed rage that fuel barbarians. Playing a Warforged barbarian would require a unique approach to capture the spirit of a barbarian within their artificial framework. How does one ignite the fire of rage within a being of gears and steel? Exploring the role of emotions or the quest for identity might provide compelling answers.

Aasimar Barbarian

2 Aasimar

Aasimar are celestial descendants with divine traits and a heavenly connection. They exude serenity and otherworldly qualities that don’t naturally align with the wild rage of barbarians. While it’s possible to conceive an Aasimar barbarian, it would require deeply exploring how their divine heritage coexists with the barbarian class’s untamed, often chaotic nature. What might provoke an Aasimar’s rage? Could it be a celestial mandate to cleanse the world of corruption, or perhaps a clash of angelic and primal influences?

Gnome Barbarian

3 Gnome

Gnomes are known for their playful and inquisitive nature, traits that do not inherently embody the intense savagery typically associated with barbarians. Gnomes’ physical stature and light-hearted cultural background may make integrating them into the conventional barbarian archetype difficult. Playing a Gnome barbarian would demand a unique narrative to explain their departure from the typical Gnomish disposition. What might trigger a Gnome’s primal outbursts? An unquenchable curiosity, perhaps, or a desire to defend their homeland from encroaching threats?

Gith Barbarian

4 Gith

The Gith have a long history of relentless struggle and conflict with the illithid, which aligns more closely with the fighter or warlock classes. Their focus on psionics and planar dimensions stands in stark contrast to the primal nature of the barbarian. Players must establish a distinct backstory that bridges this thematic gap to create a Gith barbarian. How does the battle-hardened mentality of the Gith translate into a berserker’s fury? Perhaps past traumatic experiences in the war with the illithid unearthed a deep reservoir of rage.

Changeling Barbarian

5 Changeling

Changelings, known for their shapeshifting abilities and adaptability, often find their niche in classes like rogues or bards. Their versatility doesn’t easily align with the barbarian’s unwavering brute-force approach. A Changeling barbarian would require a unique exploration of how their shapeshifting abilities can serve as a complement to their rage. What might a Changeling’s shifting form symbolize in the throes of battle? It could signify embracing the beast within or manifesting an ancestral warrior’s spirit.

Shifter Barbarian

6 Shifter

Shifters have lycanthropic ancestry and the ability to transform, which may provide a challenge to embody a barbarian’s reckless and frantic style. Their dual nature and shapeshifting abilities create a complex relationship between their humanoid and bestial sides. A Shifter barbarian could be torn between their human and animalistic instincts, unleashing their rage as they transform into more primal forms. How does a Shifter reconcile their inner duality with the wild fury of a barbarian? Perhaps it’s a constant battle between the civilized self and the feral beast within.

Tabaxi Barbarian

7 Tabaxi

Tabaxi, known for their feline traits and agility, may not immediately seem like the traditional choice for barbarians. Their cat-like grace and nimbleness might appear at odds with the brute strength and raw power often associated with barbarians. However, Tabaxi barbarians could find their rage in their feral instincts and the primal savagery lurking within their feline nature. Their rage could manifest as a beastly frenzy, making them formidable in battle. Exploring how their wild side blends with their species’ agility could create a unique and intriguing character arc.

Kobold Barbarian

8 Kobold

Slight and often perceived as timid, Kobolds don’t immediately evoke the image of a fierce barbarian. Their natural proclivity for traps and cunning tactics may clash with the traditional barbarian’s straightforward approach to combat. However, a Kobold barbarian could be an outlier within their Kobold community, chosen by an ancestral spirit for a unique destiny. How does a Kobold transform their cunning mind into a barbarian’s untamed, brutal power? Perhaps they have a spirit guide that guides them along this transformative path.

Kalashtar Barbarian

9 Kalashtar

Kalashtar, with their psychic abilities and deep connection to quori spirits, may challenge the image of a barbarian. Their serene and contemplative disposition creates role-playing conflicts when striving to capture the essence of a raging warrior. To make a Kalashtar barbarian, players must explore how their psychic abilities interact with their fits of fury and how their inner struggles manifest in battle. What inner turmoil or external pressures awaken the barbaric spirit within a Kalashtar?

Kenku Barbarian

10 Kenku

Kenku, known for their avian appearance and mimicry abilities, might not be the first choice for a barbarian. Their mimicry and crafty nature can stand in contrast to the typical barbarian’s straightforward and raw aggression. However, a Kenku barbarian could find a unique source of rage, perhaps a deep frustration at not having their voice. Their mimicry abilities could manifest in battle as they imitate other barbarians’ battle cries and roars, channeling their inner fury through imitation.

While these species may not be the most intuitive choices for a barbarian, they offer opportunities for unique character development, engaging role-playing, and memorable storytelling within the diverse and imaginative world of Dungeons & Dragons. Embracing the contrasts between a species’ characteristics and the barbarian class can lead to the creation of unexpected and captivating characters that breathe life into the vibrant realm of D&D. In a world where heroes come in all shapes and sizes, the atypical barbarian has a unique story to tell, one that defies convention and sparks the flames of creativity.

barbarian 5e

barbarian subclasses 5e

worst barbarian subclass

worst barbarian race 5e

best homebrew barbarian subclasses 5e

barbarian subclasses ranked

worst race for barbarian bg3

barbarian races 5e

Scroll to Top