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Half-Orc Barbarian 5e D&D Guide

Half-Orc Barbarian 5e D&D Guide

A behemoth half-human and half-orc, muscles rippling beneath greenish-grey skin.

Their wild eyes glint with a ferocity that’s both fearsome and thrilling. And in their hands, they wield a massive weapon, ready to take on any foe.

The Half-Orc Barbarian possesses a raw, untamed power that allows them to tap into primal instincts and unleash devastating attacks. 

When entering a rage, they become nearly unstoppable in battle, shrugging off wounds that would cripple even a seasoned warrior.

So if you’re looking for a formidable ally with the raw power of an ox and skin as tough as iron, the Half-Orc Barbarian is a worthy choice.

Creating a Half-orc Barbarian


Throughout the years, humans and orcs have made many alliances, often ending in interracial marriages, birthing Half-Orcs – inheriting the best of both worlds.

Half-Orcs tend to become mighty warriors, often becoming chiefs of Orc tribes due to their human blood’s intelligence advantage and orcish strength. 

Other Half-Orcs travel the world, living among humans and other civilized races to prove their worth.

Many of these Half-Orcs end up as mighty adventurers, wealthy smiths, or unmatched imperial soldiers who climbed the ranks due to their barbaric fighting style.

SkinGrayish pigment
Hair (Including their Beard)Orcs can grow the hair (and color) of their human counterpart, which also affects their beards
EyesRanging from dark gray to pale, almost white
NoseOrcish or human-like noses, depending on what physical aspects define them
MouthExtended jaw showing prominent orcish teeth

Note: These features can be slightly changed or modified if some variations don’t fit your character.

Half-orc Subraces

Half-Orcs don’t have subraces as they’re not as widespread as many other races.

They don’t tend to band together as they see their mother races as their true families, finding comfort with them or abandoning their heritage and walking a new path.

However, there is a Variant Half-Orc bearing the Mark of Finding, a mark only given to Half-Orcs and humans.

Variant Half-Orc: Mark of Finding – Mark of Finding Half-Orcs are wise, often living in the wilderness and knowing its secrets. 

Some also live deep underground, becoming chiefs to a nest of goblins or destroying them to create their own home.

Barbarian Class Features

Hit Points

Hit Dice1d12 per Barbarian level
HP at level 112 + Constitution modifier
HP at Higher levels1d12 (or 7) + Constitution modifier per Barbarian level after level 1


ArmorLight armor, Medium Armor, Shields
WeaponsSimple weapons, Martial weapons
Saving ThrowsStrength. Constitution
SkillsChoose 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 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 most formidable 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. 

Their fury often 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 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 Half-Orc

Determining Your Barbarian Subclass

Choosing a subclass is purely subjective, but you’ll need to keep in mind what your character wants to do and what stats fit best with their subclass if you want the most out of them.

Ancestral GuardianDefender/Striker/Utility Caster
Storm HeraldController/Striker/Support
Totem WarriorDefender/Striker/Support
Wild MagicController/Striker

Optimal Half-Orc Subrace

Since Half-Orcs only have one other variant, it’s fair to say that standard Half-Orcs make the best Barbarians.

Their bonus Strength (2) and Constitution (1) benefit their proficient saving throws, also providing extra HP and higher damage, all things Barbarians love!

Your Half-Orc Barbarian Background

Your Half-Orc 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 Half-Orc Barbarian grew up in, the physical and emotional outcome of it, and how it 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 

Half-Orc Barbarians are fierce warriors with a fiery desire to conquer; however, not all Half-Orcs are like this, so carefully think about who you are and who you want to become.

Half-Orc Barbarian Example:

  • I once sprinted twenty-five miles without stopping to warn my kingdom of an orc horde that was approaching. If I must, I’d do it again.
  • I’m confident in my abilities and do what I can to instill confidence in others.

Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws

Ideal – Express one ideal that is a driving force in a Half-Orc Barbarian’s life – their conviction, ethical principle, and moral standing (probably something about nature).

If I become strong, I can take what I want – what I deserve.

Bonds – Think of a single bond that your Half-Orc 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.

A powerful person killed someone I love. Some day soon, I’ll have my revenge.

Flaws – Choose a single flaw for a Half-Orc Barbarian – their unhealthy compulsion, greatest fear/weakness, or most vile vice.

Once someone questions my courage, I never back down, no matter how dangerous the situation.


Inspiration can be used by the DM to reward you for playing according to your bond, personality traits, ideals, and flaw.

I would show no mercy to someone beating on another without cause or reason.

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 Half-Orc 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).

Final Thoughts

Half-Orc Barbarians fall quite far from the racial tree, as they possess great strength yet mix that with their human intellect and leadership.

For the most part, Half-Orcs do become Barbarians, as that is most common in Orc tribes, but in most cases, these Half-Orcs don’t become bloodthirsty killing machines like the Orcs.

You’ll find them in many common cities or in positions of power in tribes, which means befriending a Half-Orc Barbarian can be extremely helpful, as they don’t forget the ones who helped them, nor the ones who betrayed them.

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