[Top 10] D&D Best Feats For Barbarians

D&D Best Feats For Barbarians
A good battlecry starts in the throat, a great battlecry comes from the heart.

10. Resilient

Hit me once, shame on you. Hit me twice, shame on me. Hit me three times, it's a shame about your grisly and brutal demise.

With classes like the Barbarian, simple is often better. Your primary duty is to get into the fight, bash some heads in and take some attention away from your squishier companions.

But even the greatest fighter needs a solid defence, especially against spells and similar abilities that can often bypass your defences, or put effects on you that can harm you or your team. A simple fix for this problem is the Resilient feat; with it, you get to pick one of your ability scores, increase it by one and gain proficiency with that ability’s saving throw. 

Because you start with Strength and Constitution saving throw proficiencies, your physical defence is pretty solid off the bat. But in stats like Wisdom or Intelligence, their saving throws are often more important to beat than the Strength or Constitution ones because they carry effects like charmed, incapacitated, blind or paralyzed, all of which will be devastating to your barbarian when they’re in the middle of a fight!

I recommend Wisdom as your stat of choice for this feat, as most of the spells that require Wisdom saving throws end up either taking you out of the fight, turning you on your friends or giving you reduced attack options. As well, they often deal Psychic damage, which is notorious for bringing down even the most bulky barbarians! 


9. Sentinel

When the bard told the barbarian that success was "capturing the audience" he didn't know they would take it so literally...

As the party’s biggest damage dealer, it makes sense that enemies would want to try and get around you to avoid your massive attacks or just target party members who can support your advance.

Widely considered one of the best feats in the game for martial classes, Sentinel gives you much easier control of who goes where on the battlefield, as well as offering you some extra chances to attack enemies and keep them in check.

The feat gives you two buffs to your Opportunity Attack reaction; you can now make the attack even if an enemy uses the Disengage action, and if a creature within 5 feet of you tries to attack a party member other than yourself you also get a chance to make an attack.

The second one is great, being able to punish enemies for taking shots at your party and making them more hesitant to focus anywhere else, but the first ability is even better. 

Disengaging is a more powerful action than people give credit, as it can usually get someone out of a fight without  issue, a huge bonus if they’re low on health or need to reach an objective quicker. So if any of your enemies try to flee, they’ll still have to deal with your opportunity attack despite being safe from anyone elses.

But the third bonus of the feat is one of the biggest reasons this feat is so loved; when you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, that creature’s speed drops to 0 for the rest of the turn. So even if an enemy tries to attack then gain distance, or try to disengage and run away, if you can hit them with an attack, no matter the damage they will be entirely stopped in their tracks.

This is great against enemies with abilities like Gore or Charge, where they need a certain amount of distance to get the full effect or to keep a tough enemy in reach when your caster is preparing a big spell combo. When paired with weapons like a spear or glaive, this ability can make a 10 ft radius around you like a cage for your enemies.


8. Shield Master

A good offence is a good defence, but a good defence is both if you know what you're doing.

One of the Barbarian’s greatest features is their Unarmored Defence ability, granting them an AC equal to 10 + Dex + Con as long as they’re not wearing any armour. However, the entry also notes that players can use a shield with this feature and still gain its effects. 

So now your barbarian is agile, ready for any social scenario where the rest of your team can’t use their armour, and you still have the option to add an additional +2 to your AC by adding a shield into the mix! While this effect alone is good for any melee class, the Shield Master feat takes this simple AC bonus and makes it both a weapon and an even greater deffence..

With the feat, when your character uses the attack action on their turn, they can use a bonus action to try and push an enemy 5 feet away. This doesn't sound like much of a slide, but considering that this could push an enemy into your party members range, over a cliff or just away from your casters, the fact that the Shove action lets you push up to Large sized creatures means you’re pushing things like cave bears, minotaurs and even the might gorgon wherever you want them to go. 

But the second and third effects are where the real beauty lies for a barbarian: as long as you’re not incapacitated, you can add your shield’s AC bonus to any rolls requiring a Dexterity saving throw to avoid spells that target only you, and if you are dodging any effect that gives half damage on a successful Dexterity save, you instead take no damage.

So not only are you getting a minimum +2 to Dex saving throws (potentially higher with better shields) against spells like Catapult, Web and even the devastating Disintegrate, but you also effectively gain the Rogue’s Evasion ability and can negate a lot of secondary damage. 

Considering that Rogues don’t get Evasion until 7th level and you can take this feat as early as 4th level (or even earlier as a variant Human) and you’re reducing any potential damage against you by a pretty significant amount! And even if your barbarian prefers to use their light or medium armor proficiencies, a shield still makes a difference in terms of an AC boost and and Dexterity saves with this feat! 


7. Polearm Master

Polearms; for when you can't wait that extra second to reach them with a normal weapon.

While most see barbarians as giant axe or sword-wielding brutes, many seem to forget that Barbarians have proficiency in all simple and martial weapons including polearms like glaives, halberds and spears, and how these weapons add an extra 5 feet to your attack range, giving you a lot more attack options!

And when you add in the Polearm Master feat, it makes these already fun options even stronger. The feat grants you two benefits, the first being a bonus action attack after using your primary attack action, dealing an additional d4 bludgeoning damage on a hit.

But the biggest extra you get is the ability to take opportunity attacks against enemies who are entering your weapon reach, which at 10 feet is a pretty large area! With this, you’re not only adding additional battlefield control but you’re also deterring creatures from trying to sneak passed you to target some of the squishier party members! 

When you add on additional bonuses from things like the Path of the Zealot’s Divine Fury or the Sentinel feat, you’ve doubled the range of your abilities and buffed your already significant damage output.


6. Mobile

No matter how fast you run or how loud you sing "I Believe I Can Fly", gravity will always be there to keep you humble.

When looking at a battlefield and deciding on your next move, distance can be a huge detracting factor from going after enemies that, despite being major targets, are farther away from your party than you’d like. As the tank, you’re there to deal damage but also to take damage, so if you’re not around when enemies close in, your party’s in serious danger.

With the Mobile feat though, your ability to run across the field to strike where the enemy is weak and to bolster your party’s defences is a much easier task to manage. First, you get a 10-foot speed increase, which applies to any form of movement speed including walking, flying, swimming and even climbing, if you have a feature that grants you one of those movement methods!

Also, when you use the Dash action on your turn, you can ignore the half-speed penalty difficult terrain would normally incur, meaning that while your enemies and party members are stuck at half speed, you’re moving four times faster than they are, a frankly monstrous amount in any chase or objective based scenario.

And finally, when you make a melee attack against an enemy, regardless if you hit or not, you no longer provoke opportunity attacks from that creature for the rest of the turn.

Between this, your now 40ft movement speed and your Extra Attacks received at higher levels, you’re now able to run across the battlefield delivering hit-and-run attacks to any enemy you want, and still having the movement needed to return to a defensive position with your party, a pretty nasty combo when your average attacks are doing upwards of 15 damage per strike!


5. Fighting Initiate

"Againts me none shall stand, for I am Death given life, I am Pain given form, and I am Fury given purpose." -Boo, Miniature Giant Space Hamster 

Players who prefer martial classes have a couple of good options, but the final decision usually ends up being between the Barbarian for their damage output, beefy health pool, and cool sub-class rage mechanics, and the Fighter and their wide array of fun subclasses, excellent role-playing potential and their signature Fighting Styles.

Fighting Styles are features built to give fighters a unique edge, and to help players fill out a certain playstyle for their characters. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the list is full of choices that would pair incredibly with a barbarian character, which is where the Fighting Initiate comes in!

With this feat you get the option to select one of the many options like Great Weapon Fighting, granting you the ability to reroll any 1s or 2s on any damage rolls with heavy weapons, Interception to soak up some damage when a party member takes a hit, and Unarmed Fighting to give you a d6 or d8 damage die for your fists as well as getting some extra damage in when you have an enemy grappled!

Fighting Styles are passive boosts designed for martial classes, and the lack of any resource requirements or sacrificing another option to make it work well with their rage means it’s great for barbarians who just want to get to the fight and not have to worry about any extra major mechanics that can bog down your whirlwind of attacks!


4. Charger

While Grognar took his job as raging barbarian very seriously, he couldn't deny the incredible stress-relief that came from smashing in a wooden door and seeing grown men scream in terror.

The opening seconds of a fight are crucial in securing your victory, so why not give your barbarian a new option for a strong start in a brawl? The Charger feat is exactly what you're looking for, and can cause mayhem for your enemies if they’re not careful!

This feat revolves around using a similar technique to that which Minotaurs and similarly rammy monsters use, letting you make a bonus action attack after using the Dash action to approach an enemy.

If you move at least 10 feet in the process, the bonus action can be used for one of two effects; the first is being able to gain a +5 to a melee attack’s damage roll, which when added to your barbarian’s already major damage output effectively adds another attack’s worth of damage on top of the attack you’ll make!

The second effect is the ability to slam into your target and shove them up to 10 feet away from you, which could result in pushing them over a ledge, into an obstacle, or simply out of position to prevent a later attack on an ally or to cancel out effects like the Kobold’s Pack Tactics.

This attack is perfect for a surprise round when you’re a bit farther out then you’d like, and being able to add 5 damage to your opening attack can make a great first impression!


3. Healer

I'm no doctor, but I've got some bandages and painkillers, plus you're our only magic healer so I'm the best shot you've got! 

Despite your best efforts, party members will inevitably fall, and if that member is your primary source of healing, it can spell doom for the rest of the party. 

While the Healer’s Kit item technically can bring an unconscious character to zero hitpoints and therefore no longer needing to make death saving throws, in the middle of combat it’s kind of useless to waste an action on bringing them to 0 and having their incapacitated body lying in the middle of the brawl, ripe for more damage.

But with the Healer feat, the formally meh Healer’s Kit becomes a huge part of your party's survival toolkit. When using an action to stabilize a dying creature using the kit, they are brought up to 1hp, so while they may not be able to jump back into the fight right away, it could give your healer a chance to get out, patch themselves up, and get back to supporting the team.  

But even better is the secondary effect, where you can use an action and one of the healer’s kit’s 10 charges to heal your party members for 1d6 + 4 hit points, as well as extra hitpoints equal to their maximum number of hit die! 

For classes that have access to healing spells, this amount gets outclassed pretty quickly by higher-level spells, but for a class that can’t use spells when using their primary class feature, the amount of health gained is huge. 

Being so much beefier than the average caster also means that you can dive into the fray, bring someone back from the brink, and then cover them long enough to get back on their feet! This is also a great backup for when your party has been on a long dungeon run and your casters are out of spell slots, as you don’t need anything besides your healer’s kit, which only costs 1 gold piece to refill all 10 uses!


2. Great Weapon Master

Whoever said "bigger isn't always better" obviously never beheaded a giant with a sharpened hunk of metal the size of a grown man.

Sometimes, you just want to hit things really hard with a really big stick. That's where the Great Weapon Master feat comes in! Applying to any weapon with the Heavy tag, you gain two big bonuses.

The first is getting the chance to make an additional bonus action attack after you get a critical hit, or if you managed to bring an enemy to 0 hit points on your last attack! While this can’t chain multiple times a turn, any extra attack is great news for your barbarian and terrible news for whatever enemies are nearby! 

The second effect makes this even better, as it gives you the option of taking a -5 penalty to your attack roll to gain a whopping +10 to the attack’s damage! While that -5 can seem daunting, when you’re using a barbarian’s Reckless Attack feature to get advantage, the penalty is pretty easy to overcome and the additional damage is well worth the risk either way. 

Considering that weapons like halberds, maulss and the classic great-axe are heavy weapons, your options for these massive swings are plentiful and diverse, meaning it can fit any playstyle that loves to do big damage!


1. Martial Adept

While many see barbarians as uncultured brutes, few recognize the art form of violence like people with big muscles and anger issues, and fewer still are willing to tell those people it's not really art.

D&D has done a pretty good job of balancing things, so when we see a sub-class getting its main feature made into a feat, you know it’s something great! With the Martial Adept feat, you get to dip into the Battlemaster Fighter Archetype’s pool of great Maneuvers, which have all kinds of abilities that will bring your barbarian game to the next level.

For a bit of context, the Battlemaster has access to a series of Maneuvers similar to the Fighter’s Fighting Styles, but the manoeuvres are used as actions or bonus actions to be used actively in combat compared to the fighting style’s more passive effects.

Most manoeuvres use what’s called a Superiority Die, which can be used to add extra damage to attacks, help additional effects hit home, or even add extra AC to you or another character! With this feat, you get to pick two manoeuvres and get one d6 superiority dice, which isn't much, but when you pair it with a barbarian’s rage, it can have a huge effect in combat!

One of the best ones for a barbarian character is Menacing Attack, where you get to add the superiority die to your damage roll and force the enemy to make a Wisdom saving throw. (The saves for any manoeuvres equal 8 + proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier.) If the enemy fails the check, they are now frightened of you, fitting when up against a raging giant swinging a sword bigger than you are!

Another is Bait and Switch, where you can spend your superiority die to switch places with a party member who’s within 5 feet of you, then roll the die and add whatever you get to both of your ACs until the start of your next turn. Getting the opportunity to pull your friend out of a tight spot, as well as adding up to 6 to your ACs is a massive bonus, equal to the Shield spell if you roll high enough!

Manoeuvres are a great addition because Barbarians are active fighters who thrive in direct, face-to-face combat, where any extra options for damage or battlefield control are used to incredible effect! And with so many options, you can fit them to fit your playstyle exactly as you want, similar to the Fighting Styles above!


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From the dark void of space to the vast plains of medieval kingdoms, Braedyn has travelled the worlds of gaming far and wide to collect tales he can't wait to share!
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