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I'll be starting my EtCR game soon(ish), and it looks like a 6th player may be joining us. He is pretty new to 3.5, but has expressed interest in playing a barbarian. How would you optimize a 3.5 core only 6th level barbarian? Race is from PHB only. Standard WBL. The rest of the party will be:
A simple alternative would also be Barbarian 20; given you need those extra Rage uses in Core (since no Extra Rage-feat is available), it's actually useful. Barbarian 14/Sorcerer 2/Dragon Disciple 4 isn't that bad, either.
It's more about the feats; and yeah, Chain Tripper is probably the best way to go in Core. With Chain Prof, PA, Imp Trip, CR and CE, you can beneficially spend 5 of your feats. Then you could pick up either Mounted Combat-line, or crap like Improved Initiative, Blind-Fight, Quick Draw, etc.
Ah. I'm not familiar with PCGen, I think. Well, then, yeah, I'd suggest going Horizon Tripper. Otherwise he'd quickly run out of worthwhile feats in Core, which is a shame. SRD for things like Knock-Down, Standstill, Whirling Rage, and Wolf Totem would be great, but if it's not feasible then so be it.
To my surprise half-orc was practically equal to dwarf in my simulator program, and only after I remembered the dwarven saving throw bonuses. Once you consider movement speed the half-orc may be a better option. Here's the equipment the program recommended:
4000 gauntlets of ogre power +2
1000 cloak of resistance +1
23XX +1 weapon
1XXX +1 breastplate
~9000 out of 13000 (4k left for random stuff or coin)
Next up would be a damage enchantment on the weapon, followed by +1 ring of protection and +1 amulet of natural armor. If he can get his dex a lot higher than 12 without gimping str or con it might be worth it to invest in AC before the weapon.
Feats: If he's limited to core only then weapon focus is actually a very solid choice. Power attack is near its sweet spot but soon it will give diminishing results w/o non-core feats, so up to you there. Otherwise his feat selection depends entirely on what he wants to focus on. Or if he really wants to be general purpose then improved initiative or a save boosting feats are so-so options for that (as nice as they might be in theory the bonus simply isn't high enough). Limited to core, again, improved crit is a decent 9th level feat, but he may have other plans depending on his focus.
EDIT: Oh I didn't think of the totems. That may alter things.
What other books can he access. A barb easily becomes much more fun to play if you allow select feats from other sources.
For example, steadfast determination (PHB2) lets him apply his con mod to will saves in place of wis. Mad Foam Rager (PHB2) gives him an additional trick up his sleeve. PHB2 also has a feat or two which tack on extra effects when you power attack. Extra rage (CWar) gives him extra uses of rage. Or he may like filling out the shock trooper (Cwar) feat tree.
I suppose he could trying taking the spring attack feat tree if he has the dex for it. It eventually becomes sub-par, but until he gets his 3rd attack, you should still be able to get some mileage out of it.
Alternatively, fill out one of the combat maneuver feats (like improved sunder or bull rush) so your barb has something to do other than attack.
Or take passive feats such as improved initiative and iron will.