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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next 5e Path of the Soul Warrior Barbarian. A meditative berserker



Legokeiki
2018-01-24, 03:51 AM
So... I had this idea for a very different kind of barbarian. I think I rather like it.
This is supposed to be a subclass with potent abilities, but also a dangerous drawback. I have no little experience with barbarians, and this is only my 2nd homebrew, so Iím looking for lots of feedback. :smallsmile:
I really am unsure about the balance of power versus drawback in this subclass, so thatís probably one of the main things I want critique on, but anything is deeply appreciated.

Path of the Soul Warrior

While most barbarians focus on mindless physical destruction and rage, barbarians that choose to follow the Path of the Soul Warrior harness both the power of body and soul.

Soul Points

When you choose this path at 3rd level, you gain the ability to harness your soul to power your abilities. Your soul point maximum is 3 soul points. Additionally, whenever you gain a level in this class, your soul point maximum increases by 1. You can never have more soul points than your soul point maximum. When you finish a long rest, you regain all expended soul points. When you finish a short rest, you regain 1 expended soul point. This increases to 2 soul points at 5th level, 3 soul points at 10th level, 5 soul points at 15th level, and 6 soul points at 18th level.

Depleted Spirit

Using your soul is extremely taxing, and can cause your body to weaken. At the end a turn where you spent soul points, make a constitution saving throw. The DC is equal to 5 times the number of soul points you spent on that turn, at a maximum of 20. If you fail the throw, you take 1d10 necrotic damage for each soul point you spent on that turn.

Soul Power

When you choose this path at 3rd level, you are able to harness the power of your soul to do extraordinary things. You gain the following features:

Soul Step

On your turn, if you have not moved, you may expend 1 soul point to teleport to one spot you can see within 60ft. Immediately after you do this, your movement speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn.

Soul Fury

When you enter a rage, you may spend 3 soul points. For the duration of the rage, your rage damage is doubled, and you may substitute your weaponís damage for psychic damage when you make a melee weapon attack, ranged weapon attack, or an unarmed strike.

Soul Shield

You may use your reaction to cast Shield, using 2 soul points instead of a spell slot.

Soul Recovery

As a bonus action, you may spend 1 or more soul points to recover health. You heal 1d8 + your constitution modifier for every soul point spent.

Soul Split

At 6th level, you can separate your spirit and body, allowing you to be twice as effective during combat.

As an action, you may spend 3 soul points to project you soul outside of your body. A spectral visage of you appears, wearing spectral versions of your equipment and items. On your turn, you may direct your spirit to take 1 action, 1 bonus action, and 1 move action that you can take, except your spirit cannot use any features that cost soul points, nor can it cast spells. Your spirit can act on the turn you summon it.

Your spirit is immune to all conditions and cannot be damaged. Any damage dealt by your spirit is psychic damage. Your spirit is always considered to be raging.

At the beginning of each of your turns after you activate this effect, you may spend 1 soul point to continue this effect, if you do not, your spirit instantly returns to your body and the effect ends. You may continue this effect while unconscious, spending soul points as required.

Soul Strike

At 10th level, you can call on your spirit, empowering you to strike with devastating force. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you may spend up to 10 soul points to deal an additional 1d12 psychic damage for each soul point spent. This damage ignores resistance. If the creature has immunity to psychic damage, this attack deals half damage.

Body and Soul

When you reach 14th level, your body and soul become inextricably linked, increasing your spiritual abilities to an immense level. You gain the following features:

You no longer require food or water. You may consume food and drink if you wish. You also have no need for sleep, instead spending 4 hours in a state of meditation. During this meditation you are aware of anything going on around you, and you can break meditation as a bonus action. However, breaking meditation before the required time has been spent grants you no benefits.

While raging, you have resistance to psychic damage.

While raging, you may spend 1 soul point to make one melee weapon attack as a bonus action.


Old Version

So... I had this idea for a very different kind of barbarian. I think I rather like it.
This is supposed to be a subclass with potent abilities, but also a dangerous drawback. I have no little experience with barbarians, and this is only my 2nd homebrew, so Iím looking for lots of feedback. :smallsmile:
I really am unsure about the balance of power versus drawback in this subclass, so thatís probably one of the main things I want critique on, but anything is deeply appreciated.

Path of the Soul Warrior

While most barbarians focus on mindless physical destruction and rage, barbarians that choose to follow the Path of the Soul Warrior harness both the power of body and soul.

Soul Points

When you choose this path at 3rd level, you gain the ability to harness your soul to power your abilities. Your soul point maximum is 3 soul points. Additionally, whenever you gain a level in this class, your soul point maximum increases by 1. You can never have more soul points than your soul point maximum. When you finish a long rest, you regain all expended soul points. When you finish a short rest, you regain 1 expended soul point. This increases to 2 soul points at 5th level, 3 soul points at 10th level, 5 soul points at 15th level, and 6 soul points at 18th level.

Depleted Spirit

Using your soul is extremely taxing, so much that when you push yourself too far, your body weakens and begins to drain of vitality. Immediately after you use your last soul point, you suffer 1 level of exhaustion. After this, while you have 0 soul points, you suffer another level of exhaustion every hour. Any levels of exhaustion you gain in this way vanish as soon as you have at least 1 soul point. If you die from this effect and are resurrected, you gain 1 soul point.

Soul Power

When you choose this path at 3rd level, you are able to harness the power of your soul to do extraordinary things. You gain the following features:

Soul Step

On your turn, or as a reaction, you may expend 1 soul point to teleport to one spot you can see within 120ft. If you use this feature in reaction to a melee or ranged weapon attack made against you, that attack misses.

Soul Fury

When you enter a rage, you may spend 2 soul points. For the duration of the rage, your rage damage is doubled, and you may substitute your weaponís damage for psychic damage when you make a melee weapon attack, ranged weapon attack, or an unarmed strike.

Soul Shield

You may use your reaction to cast Shield, using 1 soul point instead of a spell slot.

Soul Recovery

As a bonus action, you may spend 1 or more soul points to recover health. You heal 2d8 + your constitution modifier for every soul point spent.

Soul Split

At 6th level, you can separate your spirit and body, allowing you to be twice as effective during combat.

As an action, you may spend 3 soul points to project you soul outside of your body. A spectral visage of you appears, wearing spectral versions of your equipment and items. On your turn, you may direct your spirit to take 1 action, 1 bonus action, and 1 move action that you can take, except your spirit cannot use any features that cost soul points, nor can it cast spells. Your spirit can act on the turn you summon it.

Your spirit is immune to the following conditions: Blinded, Frightened, Charmed, Petrified, Deafened, Paralyzed, Grappled, Prone, Restrained, Stunned, Poisoned, and Unconscious. Your spirit is also incapable of taking damage. Any damage dealt by your spirit is psychic damage. Your spirit is always considered to be raging.

At the beginning of each of your turns after you activate this effect, you may spend 1 soul point to continue this effect, if you do not, your spirit instantly returns to your body and the effect ends. You may continue this effect while unconscious, spending soul points as required.

Soul Strike

At 10th level, you can call on your spirit, empowering you to strike with devastating force. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you may spend 7 soul points to deal an additional 1d12 psychic damage for each level you have in this class. This damage ignores resistance. If the creature has immunity to psychic damage, this attack deals half damage.

Body and Soul

When you reach 14th level, your body and soul become inextricably linked, increasing your spiritual abilities to an immense level. You gain the following features:

You no longer require food or water. You may consume food and drink if you wish. You also have no need for sleep, instead spending 4 hours in a state of meditation. During this meditation you are aware of anything going on around you, and you can break meditation as a bonus action. However, breaking meditation before the required time has been spent grants you no benefits.

While raging, you have resistance to psychic damage.

While raging, you may spend 1 soul point to make one melee weapon attack as a bonus action.

Flashy
2018-01-24, 05:06 PM
A good rule of thumb in homebrewing is ďIs this still balanced if the player totally ignores the way I want this to be played.Ē The fluff here is strong, but the mechanics donít really pass that test.

You clearly want this to play as a flexibly offensive/defensive archetype which has to make choices about how to use a semi-limited additional resource. It probably works okay if you play it that way, though there are some features that are still too strong. The real problem is when players totally ignore that.

A defense oriented 5th level spirit warrior can choose to cast Shield 8-10 times in an average adventuring day. Four from her base points (because no Spirit Warrior will ever, ever subject themselves to Depleted Spirit) and two from each short rest. On top of just the base barbarian features thatís completely busted. She can also choose to spend all those points on the way-too-powerful Soul Step, an ability which should be reduced to max 60 ft and lose the reaction option. As written itís probably equivalent to a 3rd level spell, which is why I didnít lead with it.

Similarly, a 5th level spirit warrior could regain 16d8 (+8-10*Con) HP in a day. Thatís way too much recovery on top of base barbarian features.

They might also choose to double their rage damage 4-5 times a day. This is probably the least broken option here, but again might not be what you saw the subclass doing.

Beyond that Soul Strike is probably too much (itís a strictly better version of the Fiend Pact Warlockís 1/day 14th level feature) but isnít too exploitable before you can throw it out twice in the same fight. Starting at 15 it lets the spirit warrior burst like a manic.


I really do like the concept, but I think youíre under-charging for most of the abilities that consume Soul Points. Ditch Depleted Spirit entirely and up the cost of each usable feature by at least +1 across the board and I think youíll be looking at something closer to the other barbarian subclasses. Soul Strike and Soul Step both need broader changes to bring them in line with similar 5e abilities.


Edit: And throw out the complicated list of immunities for the spirit form, especially the physical damage immunity. My suggestion would be to replace that section with something like the following:

When you would normally be targeted by an attack roll you instead make a Constitution saving throw equal to [8 + opponentís attack bonus]. On a success you take no damage, on a failure you take psychic damage equal to the average value for the attack.

Legokeiki
2018-01-25, 12:56 AM
I really do like the concept, but I think youíre under-charging for most of the abilities that consume Soul Points. Ditch Depleted Spirit entirely and up the cost of each usable feature by at least +1 across the board and I think youíll be looking at something closer to the other barbarian subclasses. Soul Strike and Soul Step both need broader changes to bring them in line with similar 5e abilities.

Thanks, I will make the sccording changes. I do still want there to be some form of character degradation for using the power though, as that was the original idea for the subclass. Maybe using up hp instead of soul points?

Composer99
2018-01-29, 10:21 PM
So... I had this idea for a very different kind of barbarian. I think I rather like it.
This is supposed to be a subclass with potent abilities, but also a dangerous drawback. I have no little experience with barbarians, and this is only my 2nd homebrew, so Iím looking for lots of feedback. :smallsmile:
I really am unsure about the balance of power versus drawback in this subclass, so thatís probably one of the main things I want critique on, but anything is deeply appreciated.

Path of the Soul Warrior

While most barbarians focus on mindless physical destruction and rage, barbarians that choose to follow the Path of the Soul Warrior harness both the power of body and soul.

Soul Points

When you choose this path at 3rd level, you gain the ability to harness your soul to power your abilities. Your soul point maximum is 3 soul points. Additionally, whenever you gain a level in this class, your soul point maximum increases by 1. You can never have more soul points than your soul point maximum. When you finish a long rest, you regain all expended soul points. When you finish a short rest, you regain 1 expended soul point. This increases to 2 soul points at 5th level, 3 soul points at 10th level, 5 soul points at 15th level, and 6 soul points at 18th level.

Getting 1 soul point per level, combined with the way Depleted Spirit works, plus the metric crapton of soul points you recover (relative to your maximum number) makes this subclass a bit fiddly. I'll discuss Depleted Spirit in a moment, but what if your soul points cap was 1 plus your proficiency bonus, 1 plus your Constitution modifier, or some similar number, and you regain 1 soul point per short rest and all soul points after a long rest?



Depleted Spirit

Using your soul is extremely taxing, and can cause your body to weaken. At the end a turn where you spent soul points, make a constitution saving throw. The DC is equal to 5 times the number of soul points you spent on that turn, at a maximum of 20. If you fail the throw, you take 1d10 necrotic damage for each soul point you spent on that turn.

This feature, I think, makes this subclass dangerous at very low levels. Soul Fury is awesome, but when you get it at 3rd, failing a DC 15 Con save for 3d10 necrotic damage isn't pretty.

By contrast, it's hardly anything at higher levels, when healing is much more plentiful.

What if, instead of risking taking damage when you spend soul points, when you run out of soul points, you have the option of spending Hit Dice instead? This means when you reach 0 soul points, you now have a strategic choice to make between replenishing hit points or using Hit Dice for soul points, and a decision of how many Hit Dice to spend (because Hit Dice don't fully replenish after a long rest).

If you think that this overdoes it, maybe you could have to spend 2 Hit Dice for every soul point a soul option costs.



Soul Power

When you choose this path at 3rd level, you are able to harness the power of your soul to do extraordinary things. You gain the following features:

Soul Step

On your turn, if you have not moved, you may expend 1 soul point to teleport to one spot you can see within 60ft. Immediately after you do this, your movement speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn.

Soul Fury

When you enter a rage, you may spend 3 soul points. For the duration of the rage, your rage damage is doubled, and you may substitute your weaponís damage for psychic damage when you make a melee weapon attack, ranged weapon attack, or an unarmed strike.

Soul Shield

You may use your reaction to cast Shield, using 2 soul points instead of a spell slot.

Soul Recovery

As a bonus action, you may spend 1 or more soul points to recover health. You heal 1d8 + your constitution modifier for every soul point spent.

Soul Step might be a little overpowered at 3rd level; misty step, which casters are getting just now, gives you 30 feet of teleporting for a bonus action and 2nd-level spell slot. Granted, they can move normally, but basically this feature is misty step plus your movement all in one burst of teleport.

On the other hand, whether you stick with 1 soul point per level, or do something like what I've suggested, you'll have 2-3 soul points to use, and with other uses of your soul power, you'd be hard pressed to use this all that often. So it should be fine.

Soul Fury is really strong. At low levels, when you can use it once, you're probably fine. At higher levels, though, when you can really take advantage of it... whew! At 9th level, say, using it for 3 out of the 4 rages you get per long rest is definitely worth it. Also, psychic damage is one of the least-resisted forms of damage, and I'm not sure that it's necessarily that thematic as a 'soul'-based damage type.

I'd consider instead having this cost 2 soul points and increase your rage damage bonus by 1 until you reach 10th level, at which point it increases your rage damage bonus by 2. Maybe make all your rage bonus damage psychic or force damage for the duration.

Soul Shield is hardly worth using at low levels. If it weren't for Depleted Spirit you could use it almost at will at higher levels, but having to make a roll and risk 2d10 necrotic damage just for a temporary AC boost... not really worth it, either.

If you change how Depleted Spirit works, it could be worth it. You'd have to have a lower cap and recovery rate of soul points, though, or people would just spam this outside of their turns.

Soul Recovery seems kind of pointless when you risk taking necrotic damage if you want to use it to any degree of effectiveness beyond 1-2 soul points at a time.

If you have fewer soul points and change how Depleted Spirit works, though, it could be interesting, though I think you'd want to boost the healing to 2d8 + Con for 1 soul point and not allow expenditure of multiple soul points. Plus, once you're out of soul points, if, say, you're spending Hit Dice, you're trading long-term healing potential for a "I need this now" pick-me-up. Strategic choice.



Soul Split

At 6th level, you can separate your spirit and body, allowing you to be twice as effective during combat.

As an action, you may spend 3 soul points to project you soul outside of your body. A spectral visage of you appears, wearing spectral versions of your equipment and items. On your turn, you may direct your spirit to take 1 action, 1 bonus action, and 1 move action that you can take, except your spirit cannot use any features that cost soul points, nor can it cast spells. Your spirit can act on the turn you summon it.

Your spirit is immune to all conditions and cannot be damaged. Any damage dealt by your spirit is psychic damage. Your spirit is always considered to be raging.

At the beginning of each of your turns after you activate this effect, you may spend 1 soul point to continue this effect, if you do not, your spirit instantly returns to your body and the effect ends. You may continue this effect while unconscious, spending soul points as required.

As a mechanics nitpick, there are no move actions in 5e.

As a wording nitpick, visage is a synonym for face, so if a spectral visage of you appears, it sure ain't mimicking most of the kinds of actions you can take.

Overall, this feature is just overpowered, especially in combination with soul fury, once you get to high levels. Use soul fury when you enter a rage, then spam this on your turn (and spam soul shield outside your turn).

By way of comparison, the berserker 6th-level feature is immunity to being charmed and frightened while raging, which is nice, but not you-take-two-whole-turns-on-your-turn-every-turn-in-combat nice. Not even the fighter gets anything close to this with Action Surge.

Also, this lets you basically get around the state of dying (until you are actually dead) or having been made unconscious by spell or other effect, which is also really really powerful.

Basically, the feature at this level needs to go back to the drawing board. I'd go through the various other barbarian primal paths and look at their 6th-level features and come up with something comparable. If you want to go with the "separate your soul from your body" shtick, I'd actually consider making it a non-combat utility feature, like being able to have a prolonged out-of-body experience.



Soul Strike

At 10th level, you can call on your spirit, empowering you to strike with devastating force. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you may spend up to 10 soul points to deal an additional 1d12 psychic damage for each soul point spent. This damage ignores resistance. If the creature has immunity to psychic damage, this attack deals half damage.

Ironically, even though psychic damage is resisted by 1 monster in the MM, and all of 10 have immunity, this feature just seems 'meh' after the previous features. Probably because the others are either "always on once activated", like soul fury, or "really add to your utility and mobility", like soul split and soul step. This just boosts damage as a one-shot deal.

I'm not sure what, if anything, to suggest. Most barbarian subclasses have a non-combat feature at 10th level, so that's a possibility. [See later discussion on the Body and Soul feature.]



Body and Soul

When you reach 14th level, your body and soul become inextricably linked, increasing your spiritual abilities to an immense level. You gain the following features:

You no longer require food or water. You may consume food and drink if you wish. You also have no need for sleep, instead spending 4 hours in a state of meditation. During this meditation you are aware of anything going on around you, and you can break meditation as a bonus action. However, breaking meditation before the required time has been spent grants you no benefits.

While raging, you have resistance to psychic damage.

While raging, you may spend 1 soul point to make one melee weapon attack as a bonus action.


The opening text doesn't really make much sense, given (I would hope) all ensouled creatures' bodies and souls are "inextricably linked".

I guess you've reached a point where you are incomparable at manipulating your own soul's energies?

Anyway, beyond that, this feature seems a little all over the place, with some exploration/resting utility and combat power all rolled into one.

Most other barbarian subclasses have combat features at 14th, so I'd consider having only the combat feature at this level, and moving the non-combat part of the feature elsewhere (10th level might be good).

You could even make the soul strike feature part of this feature: when you spend 1 soul point to make a melee weapon attack as a bonus action, this additional attack deals 2d6 extra psychic (or force?) damage or something like that.

Legokeiki
2018-01-30, 10:40 PM
Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, the class has some serious issues. I definitely need to do something about the amount of points and the way depleted soul works. That may possible help iron out some of the other problems. Unfortunately, Iím pretty busy right now, so I probably canít get to it anytime soon.:smallfrown: