5E Barbarians of Greyhawk

Barbarians hail from either the extreme north or the extreme south of the Flanaess, and come in three general types. Those in the north hail from one of the four groups of horseback-traveling nomads – the Tiger Nomads, Wolf Nomads, Rovers of the Barrens, and Hold of Stonefist. Those in the northeast of the Flanaess – the Fruztii, Schnai, and Cruskii – are more settled and are excellent seafarers. Those from the steamy jungles of the south are more primitive than their northern counterparts, but no less savage. Many will be of Olman, Suel, or mixed heritage.
In addition to the primal paths listed in the Player’s Handbook, barbarian characters in the World of Greyhawk have access to the following additional path.


The Path of Vatun is available only to those barbarians who hail from the Thillronian Peninsula; the lands of the Schnai, Fruztii, and Cruzkii. They are dedicated to the Great God of the North, Vatun, god of cold, winter, and arctic beasts. Those barbarians following the Path of Vatun in Stonefist would have originally come from one of the barbarian lands to the east. Those who follow the Path of Vatun are inured to cold and the hardships associated with it. As followers of the god Vatun, barbarians who follow this path are naturally antagonistic to followers of Telchur, and after CY582, Iuz.

Vatun’s holy symbol – a sunrise
over an icy plain

Rune of Frost

Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, you are resistant to cold when you rage. In addition to the normal resistance to weapons, you also have resistance to all cold-based attacks. In addition, time spent in frigid water while raging does not count against the normal time limit.

Rune of Snow

Starting at 6th level, you radiate freezing cold in a 5’ radius while raging. Any creature in this sphere (friend or foe) will take 1 point of cold damage per minute.

Rune of Ice

Beginning at 10th level, you can freeze enemies with your icy gaze as your action. To do so, select one creature within 30’ who is in line of sight. If the creature can see you, it must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma bonus) or be paralyzed. If you can keep your gaze fixed on the creature, you can extend the effect until the end of your next turn. The effect ends if you end your turn out of line of sight, or more than 60’ from you. If the creature is successful in its saving throw, you cannot use this feature on it for 24 hours.

Rune of Sleet

Beginning at 14th level, you can cast the sleet storm spell once per day.


Those barbarians who choose the Path of the Totem Warrior (as described in the Player’s Handbook) are constrained in their choice of animal by their homeland. In addition, four new animal totems are available, and are marked with an asterisk in the table (specifics regarding the new totem animals are given below).

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Totem Animal Tiger Nomads Wolf Nomads Rovers of the Barrens Hold of Stonefist / Stonehold Ice, Frost, or Snow Barbarians Hepmonaland or Amedio Jungle


Totem Spirit (3rd Level)

Crocodile. While raging, you have resistance to all physical damage except psychic damage. The spirit of the crocodile ensures that your hide shrugs off physical harm like the scaly hide of an crocodile.

Horse. While raging, your base speed is increased by 10’. The spirit of the horse gives you speed and stamina.

Jaguar. While raging, you can make either a standing long jump or standing high jump that covers full distance, rather than half, and if your jump requires a DC check, you have advantage. The spirit of the jaguar allows you to leap into the midst of your prey.

Tiger. While raging, your strength is temporarily increased by 1 (maximum 20). You have the strength of the spirit of the tiger.

Aspect of the Beast (6th Level)

Crocodile. You gain the patience of a crocodile. You can remain stock-still for hours on end, gaining advantage on any Dexterity (Stealth) checks while so doing, and gaining advantage on your initiative check when attacking a surprised foe after being so concealed.

Horse. You have the speed and endurance of a stallion. For up to an hour at a time, you can sprint like a galloping horse, covering twice the normal distance in that time. Once you have sprinted for an hour, you cannot sprint again until 8 hours have elapsed.

Jaguar. You have the stealth of a jaguar. You gain advantage on all Dexterity (Stealth) checks, and can use stealth while traveling at normal pace.

Tiger. You have the stealthy hunting instincts of a tiger. you have darkvision with a 30’ range and advantage on all Dexterity (Stealth) checks.

Spirit Walker (10th Level)

This functions as described in the Player’s Handbook.

Totemic Attunement (14th Level)

Crocodile. While you’re raging, you automatically have advantage on all grappling attacks. You may also grapple a creature up to two sizes larger than you, and may move a grappled creature at normal speed.

Horse. While you’re raging, you automatically get advantage on any attack where you are able to move at least 10’ prior to attacking. You also get an extra dash action every turn.

Jaguar. While you’re raging, you get an additional attack each turn, as long as it is with a slashing or piercing weapon.

Tiger. While you’re raging, you may let loose a snarling growl of challenge that will cause all enemies within 15’ to be frightened (as per the condition) if they fail to make a saving throw vs. Wisdom. If you cannot be heard, the growl has no effect. You need a short rest before you can growl again, and the effect lasts for 10 minutes.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

2 thoughts on “5E Barbarians of Greyhawk

  1. Nice stuff. Personally I know 5E is supposed to be empowering to the players, but I find barbarians in my tabletop group tend to throw the groups challenge rating for a loop. I have a player with the bear totem and receives half damage from almost everything. He's tough to kill.

  2. Why can't a barbarian come from any nation or background with simple anger management issues? I knew a guy named Dan that would just loose his shit and monkey stomp his adversary. I like choice, but if I choose a kind of Barbarian they I have a pre built ethnicity or origin? I love Greyhawk still the narrowness of scope hits hard.

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