On the Shoulders of Heroes
Barbarians are savage warriors that tap into their rage to empower themselves in battle. Many barbarians decorate themselves with tribal tattoos or ritual scarring. Battle wounds are shown off as trophies. To add to their fierce visage many barbarians dress in battle-worn leathers or the hides of the animals they have slaughtered during their travels. Most people fear barbarians as they have great physical strength but usually without the control a fighter or paladin has.
Often barbarians are drawn to the lifestyle of a mercenary, explorer or soldier of fortune. Their high movement speed, survival skills and legendary toughness make them excellent at adventuring. Barbarians seek out dangerous situations and the thrill of battle to constantly prove themselves and their strength. Primitive peoples, such as giants and half-giants, send young barbarians out into the world on quests before they are considered adults.
Strength and constitution are the most important abilities of barbarians. They also benefit from an above average dexterity to improve their armor class. A high wisdom score helps the barbarian navigate the wilderness, and boosts his poor will save.
The hearts of barbarians are ruled by powerful emotions. Being wild at heart, they may never be lawful. Barbarians can be of any other alignment, the most noble savages and the most evil can be found among them.
Although barbarians are not always religious, many of them find comfort in the thought of a deity watching over them. Many good barbarians pray to Mielikki, goddess of the forest, to provide them with wisdom and strength. Surma, the god of death, is also a popular religion among barbarians, who slaughter their enemies in his name. Some evil barbarians worship Hiisi, feeling drawn to his fickleness and selfishness. These barbarians are dangerous, unpredictable foes.
Becoming a Barbarian
Barbarians hail from the outskirts of the world. They all have in common that they were trained in a tribal culture. Becoming a barbarian is a long, tiring journey that takes both emotional and physical commitment. But few manage to complete the trials and eventually become barbarians. Depending on the race and time these trials may include armed combat, wrestling, exploration or other physical tests, sometimes combines with fasting or the consummation of poison. Although most barbarians have a somewhat similar view on life, they are unlikely to view each other as comrades. Most barbarians are proud and individualistic. If anything, many barbarians see each other as rivals or enemies. People will generally call all savage warriors barbarians, even those without levels in the class. In battle the real barbarian unleashes himself at his enemies, often frothing at the mouth, cursing, screaming and generally becoming a tornado of destruction.
Barbarians are especially common among orcs and half-orcs. Other races drawn to the path of barbarian are the tough and powerful bugbears and half-giants. Although they may seem unlikely candidates, gnolls, with their fiery spirits, make some of the best barbarians for hire.
A barbarian makes a great addition to adventuring parties because of his survival skills, well trained body and an explosive temperament. Although a barbarians has many talents, his most obvious strength is his combat prowess.