"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Friday, November 6, 2009

B/X S&S: The Barbarian Class


Barbarians are not from the decadent cities of civilization, but instead from the harsh northlands, scorching deserts or other inhospitable wildernesses. They are often stubborn but practical and have a strong distrust of magic. Barbarians are sturdy fighters and are especially hardy and resilient, as shown by their better saving throws. The Prime Requisite for a barbarian character is Strength. A Strength score of 13 or greater will give a barbarian a bonus on earned experience points.

RESTRICTIONS: Barbarians use eight-sided dice (d8) to determine their hit points. They may advance to a maximum of 12th level of experience. Barbarians may use any type of armour and may use shields. They may use any type of melee or thrown weapon but do not use missile weapons. A barbarian character must have a minimum Constitution score of 9.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Barbarians are hardy and have better saving throws than most other classes. They are use to surviving in the wilderness and are able to forage (see page X51), discover the correct direction if they become lost (see page X56) and spot traps and snares in the wild one-third of the time (a roll of 1 or 2 on 1d6). When trying to evade an encounter in the wild (see page X23), treat the Party Size as one size category smaller (if the barbarian is alone he has a 95% chance for evasion).

When barbarians reach 9th level, they may build a stronghold and attempt to establish a clan. The stronghold will be located in the wilderness. The Barbarian Lord may only use barbarian warriors, but specialists and retainers of other classes may be offered other positions.


* Constitution adjustments no longer apply.

SAVING THROWS: As dwarves.


As you can see it is modelled on the B/X Dwarf.


  1. I agree...very nice.

    Though I'd still give barbarians the ability to use missile weapons (you ARE taking away the dwarvish infravision after all).
    ; )

    The last sentence of your 1st paragraph? "...will give a DWARF a bonus..." Um, yeah.

  2. Thanks.
    And thanks for spotting the typo - fixed.

  3. A couple of reasons why I included the restriction on missile weapons:
    1. While I am sure Conan, Throngor, etc. use bows at some point, the archetype is the sword or axe wielding barbarian.
    2. Dwarves are not allowed to use longbows or two-handed swords so I wanted to make sure there was some type of weapon restriction in this derivative class.

  4. Thanks for this, am planning to copy and use. And I tend to agree with your stance on missile weapon restrictions for barbarians. Well done!

  5. One thing I am still think about is whether barbarians (and savages) should be allowed to progress to 14th level seeing as how they are human.

  6. From a purely sword and sorcery point of view, I'd think they'd replace the Dwarf class (there ain't much call for dwarves and elves in S&S). I'd leave it at 12 unless you planned on axing clerics from the game as the only advantage gained is extra hit points (break point for fighter attacks and saves are at level 15, so no real improvement is gained from adding levels 13 and 14).

    I still think the lack of infravision is enough reason to give them access to missile weapons.

    By the way: I love this series of posts...I just haven't had a chance to read the latest two!
    : )

  7. Why no love for COnstitution as a prime stat?


  8. RE Con

    Most of this is just a straight rip from the dwarf. Also, Con is a benefit in and of itself with the bonus to HPs.