Skip to Content

Human Barbarian 5e D&D Guide

Human Barbarian 5e D&D Guide

Human Barbarian taps into the ancient powers of primal rage, a fury that burns hotter than dragon’s breath.

When provoked, they unleash an otherworldly transformation, transcending the boundaries of mere mortal strength.

Even though Human Barbarians use their brawn to viciously overwhelm their enemies, amidst this chaos lies their true selves.

They are not only violent warriors but creatures of honor and loyalty, protecting those they love with everything they have.

Creating a Human Barbarian


Humans are known as the youngest of all common races and are short-lived compared to dwarfs, elves, and dragons. Perhaps this is why they strive to achieve the most they possibly can in the few short years they live through.

Others believe they want to prove themselves to the elder races, hence their building of gigantic empires, large armies, and constant trade. It is because of this that humans have become achievers, innovators, and pioneers of the worlds they inhabit.

SkinNearly black to ashen (typical human skin colors)
Hair (Including their Beard)Black, Brown, Blonde, Red (all the colors people can have).

Beards and hairstyles depend on the culture

EyesFrom black to light gray or almost white.
NoseLarge, medium, small, crooked…humans all have very different noses
MouthLips, thick, narrow, or average, with teeth no larger than 0.5 inches.

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

Human Subraces

Humans have 7 different subraces if you exclude the humans from Plane Shift. These humans all have different strengths and weaknesses, so choose carefully.

Standard Human – Standard Humans can be found throughout any world, being good at everything but not excelling in anything.

Variant Human – Variant Humans are found in the same places other humans are found; however, they have extra proficiency in one skill and are given a Feat of their choice.

Variant Human: Mark of Finding – Mark of Finding Humans have a knack for tracking objects and creatures; they can communicate with those who speak Goblin.

Variant Human: Mark of Handling – Mark of Handling Humans have deep knowledge about nature and its animals. They have great animal communication and handling abilities to turn even the fiercest animals into loyal companions.

Variant Human: Mark of Making – Mark of Making Humans are experts at creation. They can conjure magical weapons, mend armor, and even move landscapes.

Variant Human: Mark of Passage – Mark of Passage Humans are known for their expert movement skills. With their magical abilities to increase stealth/movement, they can skillfully operate land vehicles and even unlock powerful teleportation magic.

Variant Human: Mark of Sentinel – Mark of Passage Humans are the guardians of those around them. With their spells, they protect the innocents, shield their allies and block incoming attacks without issues.

Note: All Variant Humans have spell lists with access to specific spells.

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 choose the one that you find specifically 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 and are often found in the far reaches of the world, where they train with druids and rangers, 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 Human

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.

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

Optimal Human Subrace

Since Humans have quite a few subraces/variants, choosing a subclass comes down to either personal preference or gameplay optimization. Barbarians get the most value out of leveling Strength, as it’s used to wield their monstrous weapons.

Note: You can also choose to raise Dexterity, which is good for an AC boost, or Constitution, as it gives you more HP, and who doesn’t love more HP?

Most of the Human variants have something to do with magic, and since you’ll be focusing on ability scores not used in magic, you’ll do better to just choose a Standard Human.

You can still opt into one of the variant subraces, but it’ll probably be because you’re trying something out or just in the mood to mainly roleplay.

Your Human Barbarian Background

Your Human Barbarian needs a unique background that will affect its choices, as well as the way it sees the world and what it wants 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 Human 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

Human Barbarians aren’t very subtle when it comes to “hiding” their inner rage, yet they are quite intelligent when they want to be and come up with some great battle plans because of their fighting experience.

Human Barbarian Examples:

  • I’m confident in my abilities and do what I can to instill confidence in others.
  • I’m full of cautionary and inspiring tales from my military experience, which are relevant to almost every combat situation.

Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws

Ideal – Express one ideal that is a driving force in a Human 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 Human 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.

I worked the land, I love the land, and I will protect the land.

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

I judge others harshly and myself even more severely.


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

I cannot stand people who can’t pull their own weight; being injured gives you an excuse, but being lazy gets you killed. Lazy people release my inner rage, and I handle their tardiness with violence.

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 Human 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

Humans usually become Barbarians if they’ve been raised by tribal parents or if they have experienced tremendous amounts of rage.

Human Barbarians are often Defenders and Strikers, acting as the frontline for assault of adventuring parties or other armies. So, if you need a formidable warrior with great strength, choose the Human Barbarian.

You might also be interested in the following:

Human Sorcerer 5e D&D Guide

Friday 10th of November 2023

[…] Human Barbarian […]