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How Good is a Barbarian That Dumps Strength in D&D 5e?

Original Video:

*This article is an edited version of the script for this video


Warforged or any race that can fly, if you can’t use any of those races that’s ok. The main thing here is that we are making ourself harder to hit

Ability Scores(point buy):

Str: 8

Dex: 15(+2)

Con: 15(+1)

Int: 8

Wis: 15

Cha: 8

I’m taking a 15 in Wisdom just for saving throws, you could also spread those points about between Int, Wis, and Cha if you wanted to.

Ability Score Priorities(if rolling):

1: Dex

2: Con

Ideal Equipment:

-Hand Crossbow

-Heavy Crossbow(not completely necessary but could be a little bit of extra damage on the first turn)

Levels 1-5: Barbarian 1-5

-Rage and Reckless Attack: Since we are not using Str to attack we will unfortunately get no benefit from these offensively but Rage will still be great in terms of defenses

-Unarmored Defense: This will be a lot better for this build since we have to focus on Dex instead of Str

-Danger Sense: Advantage on Dex saving throws we can see

-Primal Path: 3 Options

—Ancestral Guardian: Probably the best option. Whenever you attack an enemy you can mark them and they get disadvantage to attack anyone other than you and if they still do attack one of your party members at disadvantage they’ll have resistance to the damage. Since we’ll usually be attacking from range, this is especially powerful against melee enemies since there’s a good chance they might not even be able to get to you

—Totem Warrior: If you would rather make yourself more durable instead of your party you could go with Totem Warrior and choose the bear totem spirit

—Zealot: If you want to increase your damage rather than increasing defenses you can go with Zealot to get an extra d6 + half your barbarian level of radiant or necrotic damage once per turn. Zealot does also get some decent support and defensive abilities at higher levels like Zealous Presence and Rage Beyond Death which is worth considering if your campaign will make it to those levels.

-ASI or Feat: Crossbow Expert, mainly for the additional attack as a bonus action but not having disadvantage in melee will be nice as well.

-If you would prefer to play a melee version of this build I think the best option would be taking the Dual Wielder feat here and using two rapiers. Before you get this feat you would use shortswords but this feat would increase your damage die by 1 and give you another +1 to your AC. You could also take the Fighting Initiate feat later on to get the Two Weapon Fighting style and increase your damage a little bit.

-Extra Attack

Levels 6-20: Barbarian 6-20

-Feral Instinct: Advantage on Initiative and we can’t be surprised as long as the first thing we do on our turn is Rage, which will probably be the first thing we want to do on our turn anyway.

-Instinctive Pounce: This is an optional feature from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. If you’re able to take it it’ll just be a bit of extra movement that will help you position yourself at the start of a combat.

-Brutal Critical: Probably the worst barbarian feature but it is worth mentioning here since it does actually still work with Dex based attacks unlike Rage and Reckless Attack

-Relentless Rage: If we would go to 0 hp we can stay at 1 if we make a DC 10 Con save. Each time we use it the DC goes up by 5. Definitely not a bad defensive feature.

-Indomitable Might: Kind of a funny feature for this build, in a lot of cases this would actually make our Str rolls lower if we used it.

-Primal Champion: +4 to Str doesn’t do much for us but a +4 to Con is very welcome and will give us 40 additional HP and a +2 to our AC

-4 ASIs or Feats:

—Sharpshooter. When we attack we can take a -5 to our attack roll to get +10 to our damage roll if we hit which will be nice against enemies with lower ACs. It also lets us use the far range of our weapon without getting disadvantage.

—Resilient: Wis. Brings our Wis score to an even 16 and gives us proficiency in Wis saving throws.

—Strike of the Giants: I like frost giant here. being able to stop enemies from moving and potentially hit them with a taunt if you chose Ancestral Guardian is a very strong combination. If your GM lets you take the Giant Foundling background you can get this feat for free there and here you can take the feat I mention next or you can take a +2 to Dex and get it to 20.

-Fury of the Frost Giant: This gives us yet another way to stop enemies from moving as a reaction giving us even more control over the battlefield.

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