August 3rd, 2012


Question for the Hive Mind: Barbarians

Having been running Pathfinder for a few months now, I've noticed something that irks me a little: The barbarian(s) in the party seem to totally dominate combat. The reason this bugs me is that I'm kinda old-school and think that the Fighter should be the best at fighting- it's right there in the name, after all. But the way the Big B is built, there's no reason why you would ever want to play a fighter.

(Note the first: I say barbarian(s) b/c I have one single class and one multi-class druid/barbarian, which is actually a really fun and effective build.)

(Note the second: I do admit that some of the alternate fighter builds from the APG and UC look really fun and effective, but I'm sticking to the CRB for purposes of this discussion.)

I tried to keep this in check by increasing the time that the character would be at a penalty between rages, but that hasn't had the effect I wanted. To me, the Barbarian should be like, say, a rocket launcher- one big boom, and then it's spent.

Now, I seemed to remember Barbarians not being all that insane before, and sure enough I was right: Rage in D&D 3.0 is only usable X number of times per day, regardless of how many rounds of it you might have.

So, finally, to my question: Should I make the rage ability work more like it did back in 3.0? I'm thinking it would force the players to use rage sparingly, without nerfing the class; they'd still have plenty of other fun abilities, not to mention that nice d12 for hit points. What I'm trying to go for is that rage should be a strategic option, not something one just gets to use all the time, if that makes sense. Thoughts?

(Note Final: I also asked myself if this was really any different than Monks and Rangers being able to do multiple attacks before anyone else just, you know, because? And I had to answer yes. Multiple attacks are well and good, but you're still just as likely to hit or miss. The stat boosts from rage not only affect how much damage you deal, but make you more likely to score a hit.)

PS: I suppose option B would be to say that the STR boost from rage applies only to damage and not to attack rolls, which seems logical to me- I've never seen someone do precision work while really hacked off, but I've sure seen angry people wreck stuff. The Players might kill me for that one, though, since it means more math.