Dwarf Barbarians are fierce and mighty warriors with an unquenchable thirst for battle and bloodshed (especially the blood of orcs).
Though born deep beneath the mountains, Dwarf Barbarians often live among tribes who have abandoned their mountainous homes.
They charge into battle with reckless abandon, fueled by their anger and a love of all things metal.
They swing their mighty axes and hammers with a skill born of years spent mining and smithing, and their enemies tremble before them.
Don’t underestimate their cunning nature and deep-rooted dwarf tactics, honed through the years of defending their underground homes from all manners of monsters and invaders.
If you need a fearless warrior to lay waste to scores of enemies, a Dwarf Barbarian will make a worthy candidate.
Creating a Dwarf Barbarian
Dwarfs are mostly found in their vast cities carved deep into the roots of mountains.
Echoing sounds of picks and hammers can be heard in their blazing forges and cavernous mines, a tradition burning as hot as their hatred for goblins and orcs – a common thread uniting all dwarfs.
|Deep brown, Light brown, Deep tan, Pale brown tinged with red
|Hair (Including their Beard)
|Black, Gray, Brown, and sometimes Red (paler dwarfs)
Their hair is long and simple in style – yet their beards are carefully groomed and often styled
|Gray, Blue, Green, Red, Opal, Brown
|Human-like noses, Large noses
|Smaller human-like teeth
Note: These features can be slightly changed or modified if some variations don’t fit your character.
Dwarfs have 4 distinct subraces, 2 of which populate most of the world, the rest being much rarer.
Hill Dwarf – Hill Dwarfs have keen senses, remarkable resilience, and deep intuition.
Mountain Dwarf – Mountain Dwarfs are hardy and strong, familiar with a difficult life in rough terrain. They are also taller than most dwarfs, tending to have a lighter appearance as well.
Gray Dwarf (Duergar) – Gray Dwarfs live deep underground in the Underdark. They are vicious and stealthy and also have deep connections to the slave trade.
They’ll regularly go up to the surface to raid, taking their captives down to the Underdark to be sold as slaves to other races.
Unlike most dwarfs, Gray Dwarfs possess innate magical abilities, like temporarily growing to a giant size or becoming invisible.
Mark of Warding Dwarf – These dwarfs are masters at protection, especially when it means protecting something valuable or precious.
They have mystical abilities allowing them to weave wards and place intricate locks – they even understand many locks and have no problem figuring out how to unlock certain locks, be it with magic or normal tools.
Barbarian Class Features
|1d12 per Barbarian level
|HP at level 1
|12 + Constitution modifier
|HP at Higher levels
|1d12 (or 7) + Constitution modifier per Barbarian level after level 1
|Light armor, Medium Armor, Shields
|Simple weapons, Martial weapons
|Choose two – Animal handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival
Barbarian Primal Paths
Arriving at level 3 allows you to choose from 8 different Barbarian Primal Paths. Each path has a different playstyle, so you’ll have to choose the one that you find interesting, or that fits your character most.
Ancestral Guardian – Ancestral Guardians revere their ancestors, using ancestral guardian spirits for aid. These spirits bolster their fighting spirits and strengthen them physically, allowing them to fight off even the toughest foes.
Battlerager (Dwarfs only) – Called Kuldjargh (translating to “axe idiot”) by the dwarfs, Battleragers worship the gods of war.
They wear bulky armor adorned with spikes, needlessly throwing themselves into battle, using even their body as a weapon, and surrendering their sanity to the fury of battle.
Beast – Path of the Beast Barbarians draw their fury from the beast dwelling deep within their soul. If they let it take over, they physically transform, gaining many benefits.
Note: You may describe the origin of your bestial powers or roll for it.
Berserker – Berserkers use their rage to become unfathomably violent, entering a frenzy and getting a thrill like no other from battle.
In many cases, their fury overwhelms their rational thoughts, causing them to ignore their health and well-being.
Storm Herald – Storm Heralds are taught to transform their rage into a mantle of primal magic that whirls around them, and when enraged, they create powerful magical effects.
These Barbarians are known as nature’s protectors, often found in the far reaches of the world, training with druids and rangers and keeping nature safe from those who would harm it.
Totem Warrior – Totem Warriors go on a spiritual journey, accepting a spirit animal as their guide, inspiration, and protector. In battle, the spirit fills them with magical power, giving them magical fuel for their rage.
Wild Magic – Wild Magic Barbarians feel the rampant magic of the Feywild and the Upper Planes, transforming them and manifesting the otherworldly magic of their ancestors.
Note: Elves, tieflings, aasimar, and genasi Barbarians often walk this path.
Zealot – Zealots are Barbarians who fight ferocious battles in the name of their deity, channeling their rage into powerful exhibits of divine power. Deities who inspire Zealots are usually gods of violence, destruction, and combat.
Combining Barbarian With Dwarf
Determining Your Barbarian Subclass
Choosing your ideal subclass is subjective, but if your objective is optimization, try understanding what your character wants to do and what stats fit best with their subclass.
Optimal Dwarf Subrace
Similar to the Fighter, Barbarians benefit from the bonus to Constitution (2) that Dwarfs have, as it affects their proficient saving throws, also providing extra HP.
Picking the Mountain Dwarf will be the wisest when playing a Dwarf Barbarian because of its bonus Strength (2).
Your Dwarf Barbarian Background
Your Dwarf Barbarian needs a unique background that will affect their choices, as well as the way they see the world and what they want to achieve.
Start by asking yourself some basic questions: Where were they born, and where did they come from? Do they have any goals, bonds, or ideals, and what are their flaws? Where do they belong in social circles and society as a whole? What inspires them?
Place of Birth
Think of the environment a Dwarf Barbarian grew up in and how it affected them physically and emotionally and eventually shaped their view of the world.
Try to make their place of birth and upbringing correspond with their personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws – this will truly bring their character alive.
Note: The birthplaces of races are usually mentioned in the Player’s Handbook or some of its expansion books.
Characteristics and Personality Traits
Dwarf Barbarians are filled with rage, embodying the very essence of battle and loving nothing more than slaughtering their enemies.
However, there are some who love nature or give in to magic, giving them very different personalities, yet always aware of their rage.
Dwarf Barbarian Examples:
- I sleep with my back to a tree or wall, with everything I own wrapped in a bundle in my arms.
- I’m full of cautionary and inspiring tales from my military experience, which are relevant to almost every combat situation.
- My language is just as foul as an otyugh nest.
Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws
Ideal – Express one ideal that is a driving force in a Dwarf Barbarian’s life – their conviction, ethical principle, and moral standing (probably something about nature).
If we all do the work, we will share the rewards.
Bonds – Think of a single bond that your Dwarf Barbarian has to an event, person, or place. Bonds will tie them to their background and can inspire bravery or stimulate memories driving them against their ideals.
My weapons are symbols of my past life, and I carry them so that I will never forget my roots.
Flaws – Choose a single flaw for a Dwarf Barbarian – their unhealthy compulsion, greatest fear/weakness, or most vile vice.
Violence is often my answer to almost any challenge I face.
Inspiration can be used by the DM to reward you for playing according to your bond, personality traits, ideals, and flaw.
I enjoy speaking with my clanmates.
Note: If you’re struggling to create your background or just don’t want to think, the Player’s Handbook has well-thought-through backgrounds that you can use for your character or use as a mold.
Supplies and Gear For Dwarf Barbarians
Barbarians start with the following equipment, together with the equipment from their background. Choosing equipment based on your situation and your character’s proficiencies is the easiest way to go about things.
- (a) Greataxe or (b) Any martial melee weapon
- (a) Two handaxes or (b) Any simple weapon
- Four javelins and an explorer’s pack
You can decide how your character came about these goods – whether they stole, inherited, or purchased them some time back – adding to your character’s background.
Note: By using your starting wealth, you can buy your own equipment (2d4 x 10 GP for Barbarians).
Dwarf Barbarians are similar to other Dwarfs, but they possess increased rage, enough to slaughter an entire Orc tribe if they had the chance.
These Dwarfs make excellent Strikers and Defenders, tanking heavy blows and answering with even heavier blows.
You’ll want to be out of a Dwarf Barbarian’s way when they get angry!
You might also be interested in the following: