RAGE! As the barbarian unleashes the type of fury that makes even seasoned adventurers wet themselves and dive for cover like the already who-know-where-he/she-is rogue, the fighter unleashes multiple trained attacks relying on nearly legendary “Action Surge” to display their full ability of martial prowness.
So who wins?
Is the barbarian stopped dead (probably not literally dead – those barbs are freaking tanks) in his tracks, or is the fighter going to come off their series of stunning precision attacks to see a very angry ball of rage ready to give back? In this week’s episode of unqualified experts, aside from having one of our favorite openings of all time, Braden and Shane tackle this question.
5E Debate: Fighter Vs. Barbarian
You can play the video there or check out this link for the barbarian vs fighter 5E YouTube debate.
Fighter and Barbarian are the first two classes that come to mind for players who are all about the hack and slash, don’t want to put the time/effort to dealing with a magic caster, or are new to tabletop roleplaying (or even just the system) and it’s easy to see why. These are classes designed to hit and take hits.
Simple, plenty of fun, and a great way to learn any system before jumping into the more complex classes out there. They’re both very good classes that can offer a ton of fun with a minimum of confusion.
While these are often grouped together as the top two picks of the “martial classes,” seeing fighter as simple would be a major mistake. They play very differently.
The Fighter Is the Versatile Pick
While a fighter is, a fighter, and as JoCat eloquently explains in his hilarious videos on D&D classes “What does a fighter do? It’s a (curse word) (curse word) mystery!”
Fighters are extremely versatile. They are a favorite of min-max players who understand the game and mechanics enough to take advantage of this beginner-friendly traits to create an incredibly ridiculous power character. They are favorites of players who want to be a fighter…but a “different kind of fighter.” They are a favorite of players who love versatility in their martial characters.
The fighter was extremely versatile prior to Tasha’s Cauldron, and even more so now.
The Barbarian Is a Damage Soaking/Dealing Tank
The barbarian is all about soaking damage first and foremost but then dealing damage second. This is why they are a tank class as they can wear armor or use major unarmored bonuses. They are the only class with a d12 for hit points and rage offers a lot of 1/2 damage protections. If you go Totem of the Bear at level three, which every single barbarian player not Memeing will take, they are then only taking 1/2 damage to everything except psionic/psychic damage which you won’t run into in most campaigns.
Add the Tough perk and a high CON score and you have a player who is willing to take all the hits. And is more than capable of doing so.
Plenty to Love
There’s plenty to love about both these classes and while the sub-classes of fighter are undeniably more interesting, there’s a lot here to work with to make your gaming experience with either one of these one that you will enjoy.
Even beyond this awesome show we also went more in-depth comparing and contrasting these two classes in our Barbarian vs. Fighter 5E article. Check it out if you want to learn even more!
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years.