The Barbarian is a wrecking ball that destroys anything it’s aimed at. Your main duty in an adventuring party is to smash things, and to have fun while doing it. You’re going to let all your inhibitions out, and use the brute force solution for every problem that presents itself to you. Only by embracing the chaos that comes with a good vent session with a great axe will you master your Primal Path and become the true force of fury and destruction you were born to be.

Follow this guide to discover how to best optimize the skills, weapons, features, and abilities for a D&D 5e Barbarian class character build. While the options presented here may be the optimal build for a barbarian (in my opinion), the beauty of D&D character creation is that the only limit is your imagination so feel free to build your character whichever way you want to.

The guide that follows uses a color-coding system to rank the abilities granted.
Blue
= An essential, class-defining ability you would be remiss to overlook.
Green = A strong choice for your class.
Orange = Average option, useful in specific circumstances
Red = Below average, extremely situational, or otherwise just bad.

All features and abilities are from the core rulebook set (Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide) unless otherwise attributed.

Party Role

The Barbarian has exactly one party role: damage. You’re meant to dish out and soak up as much of it as you possibly can. Sure, there are support abilities, and some of the Primal Paths have spell-like abilities but we all know what the real game is here. Rage early, and Rage often. You‘re going to want to pull aggro away from ally casters and ranged combatants. You are the diversion, you are the main event, you are calling out the big bad evil guy and challenging him to fight mano-a-mano. Barbarians tank damage with resistances, a glut of hit points, and a naturally high armor class as opposed to using armor and shields to ward off blows.

Strengths:

  • Strength and Constitution as main stats mean you’re highly effective in melee, and also incredibly durable. You have more staying power than any other class. Since all your class abilities are focused on these two stats exclusively, you don’t need to bother with any others.
  • Damage resistances come with many of your class abilities and Primal Path options, giving you the bulk needed to tank even the strongest of opponents.

Weaknesses:

  • Barbarians are a one-trick pony. You yell, scream, and shout while beating the crap out of anything you come across. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for subtly or finesse. You generally don’t excel at solving puzzles or navigating delicate social situations.
  • Barbarians have no access to magic, greatly reducing their versatility.
  • Barbarians are proficient in combat, but don’t come equipped with many skills or tool proficiencies that are useful outside of combat situations.

So very angry.

Ability Scores

Strength: This is the big show. You’re a “muscle wizard” so you’re going to want to prioritize strength above all other stats. Hit things hard with big weapons make them die.

Dexterity: You’re going to want a decent Dexterity to ensure you have good initiative, armor class, and can throw a javelin over the nearest mountain range.

Constitution: Your second most important ability score, a high Constitution will ensure you have enough hit points to survive while standing down big bad demons, dragons, and other miscellaneous monsters.

Intelligence: Barbarians couldn’t even read until 4th edition. You don’t need this at all.

Wisdom: General awareness and being able to read your opponents is valuable in combat situations.

Charisma: The only thing you need Charisma for is Intimidate, but you can usually let your actions speak for you. Speak softly and carry a big stick.

“A high Constitution will ensure you have enough hit points to survive while standing down big bad demons, dragons, and other miscellaneous monsters”

Races

Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms Races

AarakocraEEPC: A flying Barbarian is a terrifying notion. However, the stat and ability suite leaves a bit to be desired for a meat tenderizing class.

AasimarVGtM: Charisma doesn’t do much for Barbarians

Fallen: If you insist on using this race, Fallen is the best sub race, but still lacking.

Protector: Another avenue to gain flight, but a suboptimal build overall.

Scourge: A compelling choice, but Strength is more important than Constitution.

BugbearVGtM: Extended melee reach grants you a huge bonus. Dexterity for ranged attacks and armor class. Sneaky gives you an edge on ambushes, which is a subtlety Barbarians otherwise lack.

Dwarf Barbarians: small in stature but big in power.

Dragonborn: The Strength bonus is great, and the breath weapon gives a little more variety to your attacks that gives you an edge when fighting multiple foes.

Dwarf: Constitution from the Dwarf race amplifies a Barbarian’s bulk and helps get the main stat to 20 using fewer ability score increases which should be reserved for Strength.

Hill: The Wisdom bonus aids with perception, but the extra hit points are the real boon.

Mountain: Strength and Constitution increases make this the best option of the subraces.

DuergarSCAG: Sunlight sensitivity is a huge problem in and campaign outside a purely subterranean one.

Elf: Base increase to Dexterity is of moderate use.

Drow: Sunlight vulnerability is a huge drawback.

EladrinMToF: Fey step is very good, but otherwise this race isn’t great for Barbarians.

High Elf: No useful abilities for Barbarian

Sea ElfMToF: The Constitution increase is the only useful trait.

Shadar-KaiMToF: Good for Dex-based Barbarians, and the teleport ability is great.

Wood Elf: Wisdom and a bit of extra movement.

FirbolgVGtM: Contrary to Barbarian philosophy, the Firbolg is tricky and sneaky.

GenasiEEPC: Bonus to Constitution, plus some nice perks in each subrace.

Air: A Dexterity increase and not needing to breathe are nice perks but not incredibly powerful.

Earth: Strength increase and being able to ignore difficult terrain makes you dangerous.

Fire: Intelligence doesn’t help you at all.

Water: Wisdom increase, and the ability to breathe underwater

GithMToF: Githyanki are very strong for Barbarian, but Githzerai are the worst.

Githyanki: Strength increase, proficiencies, and some spell-like abilities is a great combo package.

Githzerai: This race has nothing helpful for Barbarians.

Gnome: No Gnome is a good Barbarian

Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC/SCAG: Too sneaky to get the point across.

Forest: Nothing useful here.

Rock: The Constitution bonus is helpful, but the other abilities are off-theme.

GoblinVGtM: The mobility options are compelling, but otherwise not very good.

GoliathVGtM/EEPC: This race was meant to be a Barbarian. Strength, Constitution, and the ability to negate some damage make this a particularly potent candidate for Barbarian.

Half-Elf: Half Elves make a half-decent candidate for any race because of their versatility.

Standard: Put your ability score increases into Strength and Constitution and pick up two skills on your list.

AquaticSACG: Only good for an aquatic campaign.

DrowSCAG: The spells are helpful, but you’re going to be focusing on dealing damage rather than messing around with magic. Faerie Fire gives you a way to deal with invisible foes, which is one of the ways you can be vexed in combat.

Moon/SunSCAG: Take Green Flame Blade or Booming Blade as your cantrip. Otherwise, not very useful.

WoodSCAG: The extra movement is nice, but otherwise useless.

Half-Orc: Another race that was born to be a Barbarian. Strength and Constitution increases, Darkvision, and Intimidate are all the makings of a good Barbarian. Savage Attacks combined with Brutal Critical ensure a wicked amount of damage on a critical hit. Likewise, Relentless Rage and Ruthless Endurance give you tons of chances to stay alive in a fight to the death.

Halfling: Small size is an issue.

Lightfoot: Nothing good for Barbarian.

GhostwiseSCAG: Nothing good for Barbarian.

Stout: The Constitution increase makes this the only Halfling subrace worth considering.

HobgoblinVGtM: Constitution boost and Save Face are good

Human: Always a great choice, being able to optimize your stats or get an all-around boost is very helpful.

Standard: +1 to all stats is incredible if you are using a point buy system.

Variant: Choice of stat increases and a feat allow you to optimize your ability spread and pick up a useful secondary ability.

Human Barbarians: brawns over brains (at least in this case)

KenkuVGtM: Not good for Barbarian.

KoboldVGtM: Terrible for Barbarian.

LizardfolkVGtM: The natural armor bonus doesn’t stack with the Barbarian’s unarmored ability.

OrcVGtM: Half-orc is strictly better, but Orc still makes a good Barbarian.

TabaxiVGtM: Too Dex and stealth focused to make a good Barbarian.

Tiefling: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

Standard: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

Devil’s TongueSCAG: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

HellfireSCAG: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

WingedSCAG: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

AsmodeusMToF: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

BaalzebulMToF: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

DispaterMToF: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

FiernaMToF: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

GlasyaMToF: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

LevistusMToF: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

MammonMToF: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

MephistophlesMToF: Nothing useful for Barbarians.

ZarielMToF: The only Subrace worth considering, and only for the Strength increase.

TortleXGE/TP: Strength bonus and natural armor allow you to ignore Dexterity as a stat and still put up a great fight. The bonus Survival proficiency is nice too.

TritonVGtM: Not great for Barbarian, unless you’re in an aquatic campaign.

Yuan-Ti PurebloodVGtM: Terrible for Barbarian.

Eberron Races

ChangelingERLW: Poor ability spread

KalashtarERLW: A poor ability spread for Barbarians, but the resistance to Psychic damage grants a Bear Totem barbarian complete damage resistance.

OrcERLW: Eberron Orcs are much better than their Greyhawk/Faerun counterparts. They lose the intelligence penalty and gain two skills.

“Shifters: Darkvision and Shifting are great abilities for Barbarians”

ShifterERLW: Darkvision and Shifting are great abilities for Barbarians. Keep in mind that activating Shifting and Rage are both bonus actions, so make sure to stack them correctly based on need.

Beasthide: Strength and Constitution increases, and +1 armor class while shifting.

Longtooth: Strength and Constitution increases and natural attacks while shifting that deal solid damage make you a serious threat even when unarmed.

Swiftstride: The shifting ability is counter productive for Barbarians. You want enemies adjacent, not at range.

Wildhunt: Bad ability spread for Barbarian, but the Shifting ability combos really well with Reckless Attack, granting you constant advantage in melee with no drawback.

WarforgedERLW: Warforged make incredibly resilient Barbarians with their Strength, Constitution, and +1 to Armor Class. Forgoing sleep makes you a great sentry as well, provided you’re proficient in Perception

Ravnica Races

CentaurGGTR: Strength increase and the Charge ability combo very well with Rage. Adding a natural attack makes you a threat when unarmed as well.

LoxodonGGTR: Good stat increases, and the natural armor doesn’t stack with the Barbarian’s unarmored ability.

MinotaurGGTR: Perfect ability spread, and a group of very strong abilities. Goring Rush is just begging for the Charger feat. Hammering Horns is incredibly useful as well, allowing you to keep charging enemies at bay and protect your comrades. On top of all that you can gain proficiency with Intimidate.

Simic HybridGGTR: Constitution increase, and the option to increase Strength as well combo amazingly with Barbarians, and when you choose your Animal Enhancements, you will be able to increase your armor class and and gain a climbing speed, making you a nimble threat.

VedalkenGGTR: Nothing good for Barbarian.

Class Features

Hit Dice: 1d12 is the best there is.

Weapon Proficiencies: Proficiency with simple and martial weapons guarantees that you can dish it out with whatever you happen to have at hand.

Armor Proficiencies: You are proficient with light and medium armor, and with shields, but you’re more than likely going to be unarmored and take advantage of your Unarmored Defense class ability.

Tool Proficiencies: Barbarians don’t get any tool proficiencies. If you’re looking for some flavor or utility, it’s going to need to come from your background.

Saving Throws: Strength saves aren’t terribly common, but proficiency with Constitution saves will literally save your life.

Unarmored Defense: A money saver, and a great ability to prevent you from being caught with your pants down. As long as you have halfway decent Constitution and Dexterity, you’ll be in a good place defense-wise. If you really need an armor class boost to really step into that Tank role, you always have the option to switch to a one-handed weapon and a shield to give yourself some more bulk.

Rage: Your most important ability, and what it means to be a Barbarian. Reusable, reliable, and powerful, this ability grants you resistance to several damage types and a bonus on your weapon damage.

Reckless Attack: Since rage makes you resistant to damage from physical weapons, you can gamble on Reckless Attack. Advantage will help you fish for critical hits and really dish out the damage.

Danger Sense: Advantage on saves against traps and the like make up for the fact that you aren’t proficient in Dexterity saves.

Extra Attack: Two attacks means double the damage. With the added damage from Rage this is how you really pour it on.

Fast Movement: You benefit from the increased melee attack threat range, but don’t forget you’re proficient with ranged weapons as well. This will help with positioning to get flanking bonuses and protect casters.

Feral Instinct: Going earlier in initiative gives you great first strike capability. Chances are you’re going to put down smaller threats before they have the chance to act, increasing your party survivability.

Brutal Critical: This ability is extraordinarily powerful, but critical hits don’t come up that often, so its effect is diminished. To make best use of it, make sure you roll with advantage as much as possible.

Relentless Rage: This is very useful against a single foe who deals large damage hits but diminishes in usefulness against swarms of smaller foes who can quickly raise the DC of your check with their relentless attacks.

Persistent Rage: If you’re playing Barbarian correctly, you won’t need to worry about your rage wearing off. This helps but isn’t super critical.

Indomitable Might: This ensures you can kick down any door.

Primal Champion: Increasing your strength and Constitution to 24 puts you in a different league than other physical characters. Barbarian is the only class that can potentially exceed 300 hit points at level 20. (twenty levels of d12 hit dice plus twenty levels of +7 constitution modifier. You do the math.)

Primal Paths

Ancestral GuardianXGtE

The Path of the Ancestral Guardian allows you to call on the spirits of those who came before to ward your allies in combat. This Primal path is great for a Barbarian build meant to fill the Tank role and draw aggro from enemies in order to protect their comrades from being targeted or taking damage.

Ancestral Protectors: Your primary ability lets you entice foes into attacking only you. When you are in a rage and hit with an attack, the target has disadvantage against any other ally until your next turn. A smart opponent won’t take the penalty and will continue to go after you.

Spirit Shield: Further protection for you allies, at the cost of your reaction you can prevent some damage an attack would deal to an ally within 30 feet. This ability scales as you level up, which keeps it relevant.

Consult the Spirits: The ability to cast augury and clairvoyance is situational.

Vengeful Ancestors: This makes your Spirit Shield an even more powerful ability. Stay in a phalanx with your allies, and an attack against them turns into an attack against their aggressor.

Battle RagerXGtE

This Primal Path is restricted to Dwarves only. It starts out strong but tapers off towards the end. This path lends itself well to cross-class Barbarians. Taking a few levels of fighter to get an extra attack and fighting style would combo well with the Battle Rager.

Battlerager Armor: Spiked armor proficiency, the ability to make an attack as a bonus action and dealing 3 piercing damage to grapple enemies.

Reckless Abandon: A source of temporary hit points that triggers when you attack increases your survivability several times over.

Battlerager Charge: Dash as a bonus action, which helps you move from target to target.

Spiked Retribution: Retaliation damage while you’re raging, but it’s nonmagical and minimal to come at 14th level.

BeastTCoE

Ah yes, the perfect class for all those Barbarians who were “raised by wolves.” You get a good mix of increased offensive and defensive abilities that make you one of the most competitive barbarian subclasses available.

Form of the Beast: Each time you rage you get a choice of three different natural attack modes, each of which comes with a secondary ability.

Bite. Great damage and affords you a bit of healing.

Claws. Not available if you’re carrying or holding anything but getting a second attack with them is great.

Tail. The defensive option. Great damage, and a reaction AC increase.

Bestial Soul: Your natural attacks become magical, and you get a second movement mode of your choice each time you end a rest, all of which are useful in their own right.

Swim. In an aquatic campaign, you can just leave this one on.

Climb. Situationally useful, but incredibly valuable.

Jump. This theoretically increases your movement distance per round, so it’s great in a chase.

Infectious Fury: A constitution-based wisdom save! Perfect for your specialty.

Attack. The punch that keeps on punching!

Psychic Damage. You’re probably going to be using this one a lot more.

Call the Hunt: A damage bonus to all your buddies! You’ll definitely want to use this in the huddle before a big fight.

Berserker

This Primal Path is the “classic” Barbarian build. It focuses on burning hot and fast to dish out the damage as fast and hard as possible, ignoring the effects that will hit down the road. A Berserker is a dreadnaught that cannot be stopped by anything, save their death.

Frenzy: You gain the ability to make an attack as a bonus action. When your rage ends, you gain a level of exhaustion. As long as you manage your rage well, and don’t run out of targets in range before to encounter is over this is very powerful.

Mindless Rage: Being able to shake off mind control removes your worst vulnerability.

Intimidating Presence: A Charisma-based save that replaces your actions? Skip it.

Retaliation: Make an attack as a reaction when you take damage. While raging, you’re going to add some serious hurt to your opponent.

Storm HeraldXGtE

This Primal Path stokes the fury of the storm that lurks inside every barbarian. The aura ability activates during your rage and uses your Constitution to set the save. The major drawback of this is that the abilities are linked based on a single choice (no mixing and matching!) but you can change which type of aura you use each time you level up.

Storm Aura: When you rage, you activate a 10-foot aura about yourself that has your choice of effect. You can trigger the effects each round as a bonus action, which gives them more effect, and is a great use of a bonus action which Barbarians lack otherwise.

Desert: This aura deals a small amount of fire damage to enemies in range. It scales with level. It’s a great source of chip damage that compliments your heavy weapon damage to give you the last little push to kill persistent foes.

Sea: A Dexterity save halves the damage from this aura, which diminishes its power. Unless you’re fighting fire-resistant foes, the Desert aura does more damage.

Tundra: A small amount of temporary hit points for allies in a small radius.

Storm Soul: The benefit gained at this level is based on the current aura you have, adding to its utility. However, each of these abilities is highly situational, and depends on the nature of your campaign. You’re going to choose your aura based on offensive capabilities, so this ability comes in a distant third among aura attributes.

Desert: Resistance to fire and endure elements for hot environments, plus the ability to set things on fire with a touch. It doesn’t add to your combat abilities, and unless you’re fighting in a volcano, this isn’t very useful.

Sea: Resistance to lightning and a Swim speed. This might be more useful in an aquatic campaign.

Tundra: Resistance to cold and endure elements for cold environments, plus the ability to freeze water. You can’t freeze a creature in it, so this is less useful that the Desert aura.

Shielding Storm: Considering your aura only has an area of effect of 10 feet, this is much less useful than the aura abilities of other classes or spells. However, when bestowed upon another melee character working as a team, this multiplies the effects of your Desert aura to great effect.

Raging Storm: These aura add-ons grant you retaliation abilities.

Desert: Attacks against you cause a retaliatory blow against your enemies. In addition to the periodic chip damage this is basically an extra attack.

Sea: When a creature hits you with an attack it maxes a save or is knocked prone. This could potentially grant you advantage on attacks against that creature. However, if the creature was already engaged and has movement left it can stand up immediately.

Tundra: When a creature hits you with an attack it has to make a Dexterity save or lose its movement. If only you could combo this with the Sea aura it would be powerful, but unfortunately, it’s one or the other, so this falls flat.

Totem Warrior

This primal Path grants you a lot of flexibility. It offers options that allow you to build a strong, attacks-forward melee combatant, or a tanky support-based bodyguard.

Spirit SeekerBeast sense and speak with animals giver your character great flavor as a shaman or tribal warrior. These spells are rather inconsequential, however.

Totem of the… duck?

Totem Spirit: You choose a totem animal which imbues you with a power.

Bear: You gain resistance to everything but psychic damage while raging.

Eagle: Dash as a bonus action, and disadvantage against opportunity attacks grants you about half the Rogue’s cunning action.

Wolf: Pack tactics for you and your allies helps you fish for critical hits more effectively.

ElkXGtE: An additional 15 feet of movement helps you stay engaged and maintain your age while running down evasive foes.

TigerXGtE: Distance bonus specifically on your jump distance while raging.

Aspect of the Beast: You don’t have to pick the same totem you chose at 3rd level, so the utility of this Primal Path is greater than that of the Storm Herald.

Bear: Carrying capacity is usually too nitty-gritty to be tracked by DMs, and strength saves aren’t too common.

Eagle: The ability to see for 1 mile, and no disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) saves in dim light.

Wolf: Stealth and Survival bonuses.

ElkXGtE: Doubles your group’s travel pace.

TigerXGtE: You should already have Athletics and Survival proficiencies, so the other two skills are out of scope for the Barbarian’s role.

Totemic Attunement:

Bear: Adjacent foes have disadvantage against other creatures. This doesn’t really help you but assists other melee allies.

Eagle: Leaping flight while raging.

Wolf: As a bonus action you can knock a Large or smaller opponent prone.

ElkXGtE: A bonus action attack wrapped into a mobility power.

TigerXGtE: A bonus action attack wrapped into a mobility power, more situational than the Elk totem.

Wild MagicTCoE

For the Barbarian who just isn’t quite comfortable playing a naturally chaotic class, and wants to leave more up to chance, this is the primal path for you. Similar to the Sorcerer’s Wild Magic table, this primal path gives you magic in the same way the Hulk gets martial arts expertise. Do whatever you can and hope for the best. This subclass offers a good balance of extra damage with a touch of unpredictability.

Magic Awareness: You don’t need this, since you’re not normally going to be responsible for casting detect magic but it’s a very on flavor way to use the ability for you.

Wild Surge: All the effects are beneficial. The only downside is you don’t get to control which one you use. But in the long run, it’s a good thing no matter how you slice it, and variety is the spice of life, after all.

Bolstering Magic: Combined with Reckless Attack, this is going to all but ensure you hit with your attacks. It’s got a nice long duration too. Restoring your allies’ spell slots means you won’t run out of buffs or healing as long as your buddies are willing to play ball with your bloodlust.

Unstable Backlash: Rage requires you to deal or take damage to sustain. This reaction triggers when you take damage. There’s a lot of great synergy here.

Controlled Surge: While this takes some of the fun out of rolling randomly, by the time you get here, you’re going to need to be more precise with your chaos.

Zealot

The path of divine fury grants the Barbarian power to fight beyond death. This Primal Path grants you damage, support, and a powerful defensive capstone. The usefulness increases exponentially for every other divine caster in your party. Having a healer buddy to keep you healthy amplifies your power.

Divine Fury: Additional necrotic or radiant damage that scales with your Barbarian level. This ability alone makes the Zealot a Primal Path worth walking.

Warrior of the Gods: If your party includes a Cleric or any character who can cast revivify, you truly have nothing to fear in combat. Go all out, and if you fall you’ll come right back so long as your healer can get to you. Considering the cheapest resurrection spells cost a fortune, this will save you a ton in the long run.

Fanatical Focus: You can reroll a save once per rage.

Zealous Presence: A long-rest ability that grants advantage to allies within 60 feet.

Rage Beyond Death: Staying active at 0 hit points will buy you an extra turn before you bite it. If you’ve got a healer nearby, this is extremely useful.

Skills

Acrobatics: You won’t need proficiency in it but having a high Dexterity score is always handy in case you need to jump through hoops.

Animal Handling: Wrastlin’ a wild beast is your responsibility if the Druid can’t tame it or kill it. Useful to break a wild horse or fend off hungry wolves.

Arcana: Not your responsibility.

Athletics: You are an Olympian, act like it.

Deception: You won’t have much of a poker face.

History: I mentioned that Barbarians couldn’t read until 4th edition, right?

Insight: Reading an opponent is important, until you realize your sword is much larger.

Intimidation: You’re going to let your fists do the trash talking for you.

Investigation: Also not your forte due to lack of Intelligence.

Medicine: A little field medicine never hurts, but you should seek aid for this.

Nature: Depending on your personality, you may be a friend to beasts. This will help with that.

Perception: Spot your enemies before they see you.

Performance: This will almost never come into play for you.

Persuasion: Again, let your muscles do the talking.

Religion: Ok for Zealots, but irrelevant otherwise.

Sleight of Hand: Overt action is your game, you’re not hiding that great club anywhere.

Stealth: You can’t exactly be stealthy while Raging.

Survival: Adventuring in the untamed wilderness shouldn’t be a chore for you.

Intimidation comes naturally to a barbarian.

Backgrounds

Acolyte: Not useful for Barbarian.

Charlatan: Not useful for Barbarians.

City WatchSCAG: Athletics, but the languages aren’t useful.

Clan CrafterSCAG: Not useful for Barbarian.

Cloistered ScholarSCAG: Not useful for Barbarian.

CourtierSCAG: Hilarious, but not for Barbarians.

Criminal: This is a good choice if you’re working with other sneaky characters or take the Wolf totem abilities.

Entertainer: Not useful for Barbarian.

Faction AgentSCAG: Lots of flexibility in skill choice allows you to find a unique theme for your character.

Far TravelerSCAG: Not useful for Barbarian.

FisherGoS: Survival, and a way to make some money and feed your party.

Folk Hero: Two skills off your list, tool proficiencies, and you’re already famous!

Guild Artisan: Not useful for Barbarian.

Hermit: Medicine and proficiency with herbalism kits allow you to be a secondary healer in the party.

InheritorSCAG: Not useful for Barbarian.

Knight of the OrderSCAG: Not useful for Barbarian.

MarineGoS: Two Barbarian skills, vehicle proficiency, and doubled speed on the water make this a top choice.

A barbarian can make a formidable solider.

Mercenary VeteranSCAG: Athletics, and Persuasion makes a good-aligned barbarian.

Noble: Not useful for Barbarian.

Outlander: Two Barbarian skills, and some flavor.

Sage: Not useful for Barbarian.

Sailor: Two skills off your list, and vehicle proficiency. Great in an aquatic campaign.

ShipwrightGoS: Two relevant tool and vehicle proficiencies, but knowledge and fixing things aren’t really a Barbarian’s typical skillset.

SmugglerGoS: About as useful as criminal, only relevant to stay on-theme with a party of scoundrels.

Soldier: Two Barbarian skills, tool proficiency, and a rank in a known organization.

Urban Bounty HunterSCAG: Not useful for Barbarian.

Urchin: Not useful for Barbarian.

Uthgardt Tribe MemberSCAG: Two on-theme skills and a warrior’s heritage to boot.

Waterdhavian NobleSCAG: Not useful for Barbarian.

Feats

Alert: Your Feral instinct ability has this covered.

Athlete: Great for rounding out an odd Strength of Dexterity score.

Actor: Not useful for Barbarian.

Charger: only useful for Barbarians who haven’t gotten a mobility power from their Primal Path.

Crossbow Expert: Crossbows are not your ideal weapon set.

Defensive Duelist: Barbarians shouldn’t use finesse weapons.

Dual Wielder: Barbarians typically use two-handed weapons not two hand weapons.

Dungeon Delver: Overlaps with your Danger Sense

Durable: you’ve got the best hit dice to start with, so this stretches them beyond the limit of natural healing. Also good to round out an odd Constitution score.

Elemental Adept: Not useful for Barbarian.

Grappler: With your high strength, grappling is your forte.

Great Weapon Master: The best option for Barbarians, increasing your damage output at the cost of accuracy, and the ability to cleave through fallen opponents and make an additional attack.

Healer: Not useful for Barbarian.

Heavily Armored: You can’t rage in heavy armor.

Heavy Armor Master: You can’t rage in heavy armor.

Inspiring Leader: Unless you’re focusing on Intimidating your foes, you likely won’t have the Charisma to take this feat, and even if you do it’s less useful for you than some other feats.

Keen Mind: Not useful for Barbarian.

Lightly Armored: Not useful for Barbarian.

Great weapons are… well, great!

Linguist: Not useful for Barbarian.

Lucky: An all-around good feat for any class.

Mage Slayer: You specialize in fighting physical opponents, but this will give you more of an edge against enemy spellcasters.

Magic Initiate: Picking up one of the cantrips from the SCAG increases your damage potential. Using fond familiar gives you a beast to flank in melee to gain advantage on attacks.

Martial Adept: Only one superiority die isn’t very impactful but depending on your build and which maneuver you take this could be a worthwhile feat if you’re out of other options.

Medium Armor Master: You’re more than likely going to we unarmored to take advantage of your class ability, but if you’re going the stealth route and want a boost to armor, this option is useful.

Mobile: Eagle totem and your built-in movement bonus have this covered.

Moderately Armored: Not useful for Barbarian.

Mounted Combat: Your bulk of hit points can keep a mount alive for a long time. This will give you a distinct advantage over unmounted foes.

Observant: Not generally useful for a Barbarian.

Polearm Master: You will gain several abilities through your Primal Paths that require you to be within 5 feet of an opponent. Using a reach weapon doesn’t gel with them very well. That said, this is still a strong feat since you are proficient with martial weapons.

Resilient: You’re better served increasing your Strength and Constitution.

Ritual Caster: Not useful for Barbarian.

Savage Attacker: nothing hurts more than rolling great axe damage and hitting a 1. This gives you a little insurance against that.

Sentinel: Great battlefield control for a character who is all but guaranteed to be in the thick of things.

Sharpshooter: Not useful for Barbarians who want to be in melee.

Shield Master: Not useful for Barbarian, as you will be using two-handed weapons.

Skilled: You aren’t going to need too many skills not already on your list.

Skulker: Not useful for Barbarian.

Spell Sniper: Not useful for Barbarian.

Tavern Brawler: Useful if you’re trying to be a grappler.

Tough: You’re better off increasing your Constitution score.

War Caster: Not useful for Barbarian.

Weapon Master: Not useful for Barbarian.

Weapons and Armor

You generally want to have two weapon sets, melee and ranged. Since you’re prioritizing damage over tactics, you want to use heavy, two-handed weapons. Greatswords and mauls are consistent with 2d6, but you’re really going to want a greataxe. By the time you get Brutal Critical at level 9, you’re going to want to roll extra d12s all day. Make sure you have a longbow or a bunch of javelins for enemies at range. If you’re going for two-weapon fighting, handaxes are your best friend. They’re easy to use and can be thrown at short range.

You’ll generally want to go unarmored, given your class ability. If the math makes sense, you’ll want to wear Half-Plate to gain the greatest AC modifier. You’re proficient with shields, but you’re generally going to want to use 2-handed weapons and rely on your hit points and damage resistances.

Multiclassing

Bard: A Bardbarian is an interesting class combination. granting you disruptive spellcasting and selective buffs to turn you into the quarterback of the offensive powerhouse line.

Cleric: Redundant proficiencies, contradictory skills, but access to healing makes you self-sufficient. Great for solo adventurers or gestalt characters.

Druid: Wild Shape combined with your rage and resistances makes you extremely bulky, allowing you to tank damage for days.

Fighter: Fighting style and action surge mixed with rage. ‘nuff said.

Monk: Unarmored bonuses don’t stack. No relevant abilities.

Paladin: Smite, spellcasting, and a Fighting Style.

Ranger: Fighting style and access to hunter’s markincrease your threat level.

Rogue: The low hit dice hurt, but the sneak attack damage die at first level is compelling. Cunning action gives you great bonus action mobility options and makes you even more dangerous.

Sorcerer: Barbarians have a completely opposite skillset with arcane casters.

Warlock: A contradictory skill set.

Wizard: Polar opposite.

References

DMG     Dungeon Master’s Guide
EGtW    Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
ERLW     Eberron: Rising from the Last War
EEPC      Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
GGtR     Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica
MM       Monster Manual
MToF    Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
PHB        Players Handbook
SCAG     Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
TP           Tortle Package
VGtM    Volo’s Guide to Monsters
XGtE      Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Is the D&D barbarian class not your thing?
Check out our comprehensive guide to all the D&D 5E classes and how to choose one that best suits the character you’d like to play.