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Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian 5e D&D Guide

Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian 5e D&D Guide

A Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian has been exposed to the beautiful, intensely emotional, and rampant magic of the Feywild, the Upper Planes, and other realms of supernatural power that can profoundly influence people.

This is because Barbarians are deep-feeling people and are especially susceptible to the wild influences of these realms. So much so that some Barbarians even become transformed by its magic.

You most likely walk the Path of Wild Magic if you are imbued with this strange magic as a Barbarian.

In most cases, Elves, Tieflings, Aasimar, and Genasi Barbarians are the ones who seek out this path, eager to manifest the powerful otherworldly magic once harnessed by their ancestors.

Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian 5e – Features

It’s interesting, but the Path of Wild Magic doesn’t have magic (spells) as we understand it. It only has a magically thematic feel, which can be paired with other classes to build a truly unique character.

One aspect of the Wild Magic Barbarian is that it doesn’t need a lot of optimization and relies primarily on its Wild Surge while raging. It is a purely chaotic and fit feature that synchronizes quite well with its origins.

While this guide does have some recommendations, it should be noted that because of the wildly unpredictable nature of Wild Surge, each player’s experience will be entirely different for the most part.

Magic Awareness

Choosing this path at level 3, by using an action, you may open your awareness to the presence of concentrated magic. 

Until your next turn ends, you know the location of any magic item or spell within 60 feet of you (if it isn’t behind total cover).

If you sense a spell, you learn which school of magic it belongs to.

This feature can be used several times equal to your proficiency bonus, and all expended uses are regained upon finishing a long rest.

Wild Surge

Starting at level 3, the magical energy flowing inside you erupts. Whenever you enter your rage, you roll on the Wild Magic table and determine what magical effect is produced.

An effect requiring a saving throw uses DC equals 8 + your Constitution modifier + your Proficiency bonus.

Wild Magic
1Each visible creature you choose within 30 feet of you is forced to succeed on a Constitution saving throw or to then take 1d12 Necrotic Damage.

Also, gain temporary HP equal to 1d12 + your Barbarian level.

2Teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space visible to you. Until your rage ceases, this effect can be used again on each of your turns by expending a Bonus action.
3An intangible spirit resembling a pixie or a flumph (you choose) appears within 5 feet of a visible, chosen creature within 30 feet of you.

Ending the current turn makes the spirit explode, meaning each creature within 5 feet of it is forced to succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d6 Force damage.

Until your rage ceases, this effect can be used again, summoning another spirit on each turn by expending a Bonus action.

4Magic infuses one of the held weapons of your choice. Until your rage ceases, that weapon’s damage type is now Force, gaining thrown (20/60) and light properties.

If the weapon were to leave your hand, the weapon would reappear in your hand when the current turn comes to an end.

5Whenever a creature successfully hits you with an attack before the end of your rage, the creature takes 1d6 Force damage, as your magic lashes out in retribution.
6Until your rage ceases, you become surrounded by protective, multicolored lights, gaining +1 bonus AC, and while within 10 feet of you, party members gain the same bonus.
7Temporarily, flowers and vines grow around you, and until your rage ceases, the ground within 15 feet of you becomes difficult terrain for your enemies.
8You shoot a bolt of lightning from your chest. 

One other visible creature you choose within 30 feet of you is forced to succeed on a Constitution saving throw or to then take 1d6 Radiant damage and is Blinded until your next turn starts.

Until your rage ceases, you may use this effect again on each of your subsequent turns by expending a Bonus action.


Bolstering Magic

Reaching level 6 means harnessing wild magic to bolster yourself or one companion. By using an action, you touch one creature (it can be yourself) and confer one of these chosen benefits to the creature:

  • For 10, the affected creature may roll a d3 whenever it’s making an ability check or attack roll, adding the number rolled to the d20 roll.
  • Roll a d3. The affected creature regains an expended spell slot, and the level equals the number rolled or lower (you choose). 

Once a creature has received this benefit, it cannot receive it again until they’ve finished a long rest.

This action can be taken multiple times equal to your Proficiency bonus, regaining all expended uses after a long rest.

Unstable Backlash

Becoming level 10, whenever you become endangered by your rage, the magic within you will lash out, and immediately after taking damage or failing a saving throw while raging, you can use your Reaction to perform a roll on the Wild Magic table.

The effect rolled will immediately be produced, and the effect will replace your current Wild Magic effect.

Controlled Surge

Lastly, becoming level 14 allows you to roll the die twice whenever you roll on the Wild Magic table – letting you choose which of the two effects to unleash.

If the same number is rolled on both dice, the number rolled can be ignored, and any effect on the table can be chosen.

Building a Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian

The Wild Magic Barbarian is a very good subclass; the only problem most people might find is the randomness of the Wild Surge table.

However, since all the benefits written in the table are universally beneficial for the most part, it wouldn’t negatively influence the player.

That said, one definite is that all players will have a very different experience playing as a Wild Magic Barbarian, so much so that other players could consider the class fantastic, while others might find it average.

Path of the Wild Magic Ability Scores

Like other paths, Wild Magic Barbarians will mainly use Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity (in that order).

  • Strength – Like all Barbarians, focus on Strength to deal the most damage with your weapons, and since you’re a Wild Magic Barbarian, Strength provides you the most balanced playstyle in light of your Wild Surge feature.
  • Constitution – Constitution isn’t as important as Strength, but since you’ll mainly be a melee martial, Constitution helps to keep you from dying and lets you kill more pesky enemies.
  • Dexterity – Similar to other Barbarians, you’ll want to get up to 14 Dexterity and wear medium armor (therefore getting the maximum modifier, +2).
  • Wisdom – Wisdom status effects are some of the most common in D&D, so after investing in the three physical stats, your leftover points should go into Wisdom to stop you from being vulnerable to these status effects.
  • Charisma – Even though you have Intimidation (Cha), it’s better to have other party members increase their Charisma, as you’ll just waste your points on it.
  • Intelligence – You don’t use magic, even though you’re following the Path of Wild Magic, so just ignore Intelligence completely.

Ideal Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian Races

Many options exist for a Wild Magic Barbarian (Tabaxi, Leonin, Minotaurs, Half-Orcs, Goliaths, and Bugbear). Still, the ones that fit thematically as well as physically are Variant Humans and Aasimar.

Variant Human – Variant Humans can fit quite well because of their mystical nature. However, the extra feat and the ability to choose two Ability Scores (each increasing by one) is excellent.

Scourge Aasimar – Even though the Scourge Aasimar isn’t what it used to be, you can always ask to use Tasha’s custom origins rule.

Your Radiant Consumption transformation is a perfect tool to deal constant Radiant damage to enemies that come too close to you. The extra damage dealt by one of your attacks each turn also makes a big difference in the long run!

Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian Background and Skills

When you create your Wid Magic Barbarian, understanding which background and skills are relevant to your character is very important. 

Your background is an overarching choice, affecting many character aspects, such as the tool proficiencies you receive, the skills you obtain, and how your character acts.

Skills are more self-explanatory, as you choose a number of them available to you as a Barbarian (common skills are Stealth, Animal Handling, and Deception).


There are a ton of backgrounds out there, but a few examples that’ll work well for a Wild Magic Barbarian are Uthgardt Tribe Member, Sailor, and Outlander.

Note: Backgrounds are helpful if you have a specific build that will benefit from the added proficiencies and features. On the other hand, Backgrounds are also quite personal and can play a significant role in character development, so don’t just go with something because it’s good. Go with what fits your character.

Uthgardt Tribe Member also gives players two Barbarian skill proficiencies (; however, the rest of the additions aren’t very useful for the Beast Barbarian.

One insignificant detail of the Uthgardt Tribe Member background is how well it can play into your character creation, lore, and playstyle, as each tribe is unique and can be used to develop an entire story.

Sailor is an excellent background for aquatic campaigns, as it gives you proficiency in Navigator’s Tools and a water vehicle (BOATS). It also gives you proficiency in the Athletics and Perception skills.

Outlander is a go-to Barbarian background, as you can get two skill proficiencies (Athletics and Survival) for Barbarian skills. 

While the other additions are generally wasted, the Wanderer feature and additional language could be helpful, especially if you decide to take some extra Charisma because of your Intimidating Presence feature.


As a Wild Magic Barbarian, you’ll have access to six skill proficiencies (where you may choose two): Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival.

Out of all the skills, Perception (Wis) and Athletics (Str) will be your most beneficial. Athletics (Str) is often used for grappling, and Perception (Wis) is the most common rolled checks in D&D, so keep that in mind.

Animal Handling (Wis) and Survival (Wis) aren’t all too useful, but given the right circumstances, they can be effective. Just don’t immediately go for them, as they aren’t rolled nearly enough and don’t provide too much benefit.

Intimidation (Cha) should be taken if you obsess over Charisma and don’t have any other character to build it. If not, don’t bother with it.

Nature (Int) can be valuable, but because it uses Intelligence, just ignore it (it’s not worth investing points into Intelligence for only one skill).

Note: Remember that your race, background, and feats can also provide skill proficiencies.

Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian Feats

While Backgrounds can be considered character customization, Feats are essential elements of a character’s gameplay.

Even though there is an abundance of Feats to choose from, not all Feats are good, and sometimes it’s better to opt into increasing your Ability Score rather than choosing a new Feat.

Below are four examples of Feats that work well for a Wild Magic Barbarian:

Great Weapon Master


You use the weight of a weapon to your advantage, having its moment empower your strikes for you and gaining the following benefits:

  • When it’s your turn, and you score a critical hit while using a melee weapon or reduce a creature’s HP to 0 with a melee weapon, you may make a single melee weapon attack as a bonus action.
  • Before making a melee attack using a melee weapon you have proficiency in, you can decide to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack were to hit, you would add +10 to the damage of the attack.


You want to deal damage, and if you’re using a great weapon, there’s no reason not to take Great Weapon Master. The spike in damage and combat effectiveness is just too good to ignore.

Ritual Caster


You’ve learned a few spells that you can cast as rituals. These spells are all written in a ritual book, which you must keep in hand while casting a spell.

Choosing this feat gives you a ritual book with two 1st-level spells you choose. Choose one of these classes: Wizard, Warlock, Sorcerer, Druid, Cleric, or Bard. The spells must be chosen from that class’s spell list, and the spell must have a ritual tag.

The class you chose determines the spellcasting ability modifier for your spells: Intelligence for a Wizard, Wisdom for Clerics and Druids, and Charisma for Bards, Sorcerers, and Warlocks.

Coming across a written spell, like a wizard’s spellbook or a magical spell scroll, might allow you to add it to your ritual book. However, the spell must be on your chosen class’s spell list, the spell’s level cannot be higher than half your character level (rounded up), and it must be a ritual spell.

Copying a spell takes 2 hours per level of that spell, costing 50 GP power level. The cost represents the Material component you’ll need to expend as you try to master the spell and the rare inks used to plot it down.

Note: You need Intelligence or Wisdom of 13 or higher to take Ritual Caster.


Here’s where things get weird. I know I said you shouldn’t bother with Intelligence, but if you’re thinking about multiclassing into a Wizard, take Ritual Caster.

Remember, there are so many spells to choose from. Even getting familiar can increase your party’s overall scouting and utility.

Think about it: You can even hunt down evil Wizards and steal their spellbooks in search of even more powerful spells. It’ll be a whole new adventure within an adventure!



You’ve spent time and effort to master the culinary arts, gaining the following benefits:

  • Increase Constitution or Wisdom by 1, maxing out at 20.
  • Gain proficiency with cook’s utensils if you aren’t already.
  • You can cook special food as a part of your short rest, provided you have cook’s utensils on hand and ingredients. You prepare enough food for a number of creatures, equalling 4 + your Proficiency bonus.

When your short rest ends, any creature who eats your food and then spends one or more Hit Dice to regain HP regains an extra 1d8 HP.

  • Finishing a long rest or with one hour of work, you may cook several treats equalling your Proficiency bonus.

The special treats last 8 hours, and a creature can expend a Bonus action to eat one treat, gaining temporary HP equal to your Proficiency bonus.


Don’t underestimate “free” healing. It can keep your entire party alive much longer than you think, especially if you go through a long quest.

Just think about it: Your party’s massive Barbarian is making everyone little puff pastries so that they don’t die; that’s just comical.

Gift of the Chromatic Dragon


Chromatic Infusion allows you to use a bonus action and touch a martial or simple weapon, infusing it with one of these damage types: Poison, Lightning, Fire, Cold, or Acid.

For a minute, the weapon now deals an extra 1d4 damage on a hit of the infused damage type. After using this bonus action, you can’t do so again until after finishing a long rest.

Reactive Resistance lets you use your reaction to give yourself resistance to whichever damage you took out of the following types: Poison, Lightning, Fire, Cold, or Acid damage.

The reaction can be used several times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you’ll regain all uses whenever you finish a long rest.


If you’re afraid of not having resistance against almost all of the elements, take this feat, as it can save your life and greatly increase your durability.

Also, keep in mind that you can infuse your simple or martial weapon with elemental damage. Even if it’s only 1d4 damage, it’s better than nothing.

Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian Weapons and Armor

The weapons and armor used by the Wild Magic Barbarian don’t differ much from the usual Barbarian. 

So, if you’re wondering what to get, it’s pretty simple!

Ideal Weapons

Standard two-handed weapons like the Greatsword or Greataxe and high-damage one-handed weapons like the Longsword or Warhammer work well.

Greatsword – Greatswords are heavy weapons that deal 2d6 Slashing damage, weigh 6lb./2,7 kg., and require two hands to wield.

Greatswords have more reliable damage than Greataxes but at the cost of not using Brutal Critical to its full potential.

Greataxe – Greataxes are heavy weapons that deal 1d12 Slashing damage, weigh 7 lb./3,1 kg., and require two hands to wield.

The Greataxe is considered the gold standard as it uses Brutal Critical, the best of any other weapon, so if you want to be a classic Barbarian, consider it.

Longsword – Longswords are Versatile (1d10) weapons that deal 1d8 Slashing damage and weigh 3lbs./1,3 kg.

Much like the Battleaxe, Longswords are a bit lighter, dealing the same damage and acting as an alternative when wanting more AC.

Ideal Armor

Wild Magic Barbarians need to get 14 Dexterity and use either a Breastplate or Halfplate, but they can also go unarmored if preferred.

However, if you’re still scared about your current AC, you can get a shield to boost your AC.

Breastplate – The Breastplate allows you to add your Dex modifier (maximum of 2) to the AC, so you need to have 14 Dex.

A Breastplate only weighs 20 lb./9 kg. and doesn’t give any Stealth disadvantage.

Halfplate – Halfplate allows you to add your Dex modifier (maximum of 2) to the AC, which is why you must have 15 Dex. It weighs 40lbs./18,1kg and gives a Stealth disadvantage.

Halfplate gives better AC than having Unarmored Defense and is better to opt into if your Dexterity and Constitution scores aren’t high enough for Unarmored Defense.

Shield – A shield gives a +2 bonus to AC and weighs 6 lbs./2,7kg.

A shield provides extra AC early on, so try using it with one-handed weapons or when you want more defense.

Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian Multiclassing

Any spellcasting class would work exceptionally with Wild Magic Barbarian, especially a class with Silvery Barbs, as it works well with the Bolstering Magic feature.

One of the go-to options would be a Sorcerer (Clockwork), as they gain better spell slots. Remember to level it until you can upcast Armor of Agathys at least once.

If you don’t want to become a mage, you can always multiclass into a Fighter for a fighting style and Action Surge.

Note: Just remember, certain effects can’t be held while raging, and certain “spells” can’t be cast while raging.

Path of the Wild Magic Barbarian 5e FAQs

Is the Wild Magic Barbarian Good in 5e?

While not as good as a Totem Warrior, Wild Magic Barbarians can be pretty strong, especially if they know how to use the randomly obtained power in creative ways.

In a sense, the Wild Magic Barbarians see what you can do with what you get, so that it can be challenging, but a good type of challenging.

I would gladly place the Wild Magic Barbarian in the top 3 most powerful Barbarian subclasses.

Do Wild Magic Barbarians Use Magic in 5e?

Yes. If you refer to spells and magical abilities, the Wild Magic Barbarian uses magic, even if the spells are only rituals.

The problem is that spells can’t be used while raging, so you’ll have to choose carefully when to use what, or else you’ll need to revert to your inherent Wild Magic features and martial weapons.

Final Thoughts

Wild Magic Barbarians are some of the most powerful around. The only problem is that players who want a concise, predictable game won’t find the chaos of a Wild Magic Barbarian appealing.

However, those who like a bit of unpredictability and don’t mind selling their sanity for power will love the Wild Magic subclass.

So, if you feel like D&D is a bit too boring, why not treat your party and become a Wild Magic Barbarian?

You might also be interested in the following:

Path of the Zealot Barbarian 5e D&D Guide

Tuesday 29th of August 2023

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