Review – 101 Barbarian Feats (PFRPG)

By on March 2, 2012

   Do you like barbarians ? I’m sure you do ! They are an iconic and natural part of many fantasy setting as a human force of nature. I think the recently released 101 Barbarian Feats from Rite Publishing is a great sourcebook for those barbarian-fans who play the Pathfinder RPG.

   As you may guess 101 feats are pretty much to chose from, especially if there are many good feats amongst them.  On the other hand you won’t chose from 101 feats, as many of them has very narrow prerequisites (a particular Barbarian archetype, a race or a gender), which limits is availability.

The good

  I think the best feature of the 101 Barbarian Feats book is variability. Basically you will find a feat for almost every possible character concept – until it’s a barbarian, of course. You need somebody who spit acid, defend women, fight slavery or have a demon imprisoned within his body ? Here you are !

  Again, I have several favorites from the book. Seize Titanic Strike enables the player to climb upon the swinging attack of a big enemy, and fight from that clinging position.  Mindless Rage turns you into a homicidal force of destruction.  Savage Throw enables you to throw your grappled opponents across the room.

  Many barbarian archetypes received feats to empower it’s class features, which is a great idea to personalize your characters.  It’s worth noting that several of the new feats are available as rage powers too, if you chose so.

  It’s interesting and somewhat surprising, that there are several feats which provides it’s bonus based on the character protecting somebody (women, siblings, etc.), but I think it was a good move to tie character motivations to abilities. Another bunch of feats enable you to trade several rounds of rage for an effect (bonus initiative, combat maneuver, or defensive ability). Great ideas all around.

The Bad

  There are only few things in the book which don’t seems right for some reason, and most of these are really minor problems. For example some feats which are available as rage powers are creating some strange instances if gained on that way. The few remaining are possible game balance issues.

  I think the feats which needs some revision are the Demonic Rage feats. How about a CR 1/2 encounter, when the players only opponent is a level 1 barbarian? It’s looks like harmless enough for a balanced party of any level. That is, until they slain the barbarian and a Cr 20 balor appears in his place. One of the feats could provide up to DR 15/good or cold iron while raging, and the another could provide SR 10 + class level.

  The only other thing I find problematic are those “sacrifice 3 rounds of daily rage” which could completely neutralize an attack or a spell, regardless of it’s power. Ignoring one hit from a Titan never was easier, to mention one of the most extreme uses for these effects.

Final words

  After reading through the 101 Barbarian Feats supplement I have to admit that I’m glad to have it. Apart from those about 4 or 5 feats which seems overpowered (but serviceable)  the content is excellent and interesting. As a final score I give it 4,5/5 points.

For those interested the 101 Barbarian Feats book is available at DriveThruRPG here as a stand alone sourcebook, or as a part of the 101 series bundle, here.

Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros

About Cain.rpgorg

3 Comments

  1. Steven D. Russell

    March 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    A few objective points, as I understand I really pushed the evenelope with the Demonic Rage Feats and if 3 feats out of 101 cause some one pause i am extremely happy as a designer :

    “It’s interesting and somewhat surprising, that there are several feats which provides it’s bonus based on the character protecting somebody (women, siblings, etc.), but I think it was a good move to tie character motivations to abilities.”
    The feats don’t protect anyone. They allow you to enact vengeance (not justice, the chosen person good very well deserve the treatment), against someone inflicting harm your “beserk button”

    “How about a CR 1/2 encounter, when the players only opponent is a level 1 barbarian? It’s looks like harmless enough for a balanced party of any level. That is, until they slain the barbarian and a Cr 20 balor appears in his place.”

    I believe your confusing Encounter Level with Callenge Rating, if you slay the barbarain its a EL 20, not EL 1/2. I am confused as to how is this unbalanced since a GM can do this anyway, without needing any justification from feat (or using existing paizo favorites like the Demon possessed creature template, which just allows the balor to step out of the creature at will)? The Balor is not under the control of a Dead barbarian PC. Nothing requires the Balor to attack the PCs. He could just say thank you for setting me free, burn the barbarians body to ashes to make sure it is not raised (which retraps the balor), and teleport away; or the GM can decide to have it go rampaging across the realm (with everyone blaming the PCs), or fight anything else.

    “One of the feats could provide up to DR 15/good or cold iron while raging”

    You must be a 14th level barbarian to gain this benefit (the average damage from a monster of this level ranges from 48-65 points, and can be much higher), you become chaotic evil, the GM can choose to run your character as an NPC when you are raging, because you fall under the influence of the demon within, and the demon who wants to see you suffer, and a magic weapon with a significant enhancement bonus can overcome this without needing to be good or cold iron (unlike 3.5).

    “and the another could provide SR 10 + class level.”

    It is slightly better than the paizoian dwarven alternate racial trait, which is constant and does character level not barbarian class level.

    We have consistently found in playtesting that spell resistance does not help PCs as much as it does their opponents since most monster’s abilites are supernatural or Extraordinary. Plus if PCs are fighing a wizard 1 level higher than his party (which depletes 20% of the PCs resources defeating him)has a 60% chance to overcome the barbarian’s spell resistance when he is raging this is assuming the wizard uses a spell that requires a spell resistance check or has taken no feats or magical items that increase his caster level or bonuses to SR checks.

    Also you have to take a standard action to suppress your SR so that conjuation (healing) spells can heal you.

    The only other thing I find problematic are those “sacrifice 3 rounds of daily rage” which could completely neutralize an attack or a spell, regardless of it’s power. Ignoring one hit from a Titan never was easier, to mention one of the most extreme uses for these effects.

  2. Cain.rpgorg

    March 9, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Thank you for your answers !

    You are absolutely right about protection vs. vengeance, I think I just rolled 1 for my ‘English composition’ check.

    From the Demonic Rage feats it’s mainly the one which (possibly) summons a demon push the envelope for me. A level 1 barbarian shouldn’t be a EL 20 encounter anyway.

    On the other hand, Demon Possessed is 3rd party material in my knowledge (Green Ronin maybe ?), and I never said that I like it. For review purposes I try to compare possible balance issues only to the Pathfinder PRD (since I had no way to know if my readers use or know 3rd party materials), or from sourcebooks from the same publisher if applicable.

    About the DR : Greater Chaos Totem maybe the best comparison, which provides DR 10/lawful at level 20th, DR 7/lawful at level 14th, and I think most players face much more lawful creatures than good. On the other hand Greater Chaos Totem has another benefit (which is used in some special cases), so my reasoning could be wrong.

    I think the SR in itself is fine (I think I wasn’t clear about this), my problem was the possible high DR and high SR combination the feats provide in concert.

    Thank again for taking time to answer the review !

    Cain

  3. Steven D. Russell

    March 10, 2012 at 5:17 am

    The point with demon posessed creature is although its a 3rd party template (Green Ronin), the product it comes from is used all the time in the Pathfinder Adventure Path series, this has the same affect of how closely Tomb of Horrors (necromancer/fog god) is tied the game as well.

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