# Is this barbarian Rage Mage subclass balanced compared to the official barbarian subclasses and the eldritch knight?

Rage Magic:

At level 3, your rage allows you to tap into magical dark energy. Choose 2 cantrips and 3 1st level spells from the warlock spell list. Two of the 1st level spells you choose must be in the conjuration or necromancy schools. Whenever you learn a new spell, it must be from the conjuration or necromancy schools. To cast a spell, you must spend a spell slot greater than or equal to the level of the spell. Your spell attack bonus is your proficiency bonus plus your Charisma modifier, and your spell save DC is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma score. You cannot cast cantrips while raging. You can cast and concentrate on spells of first level or higher while raging, but when you stop raging, you suffer levels of exhaustion equal to the total levels of the spells you cast. You regain your spell slots after a long rest. You learn an additional cantrip at 10th level and another at 18th level.

Wilderness Magic:

At level 3, your primal heritage gives you a magical association with nature. Choose 1 ritual spell from the Druid spell list that is of a level you can cast. You can cast that spell as a ritual, and Wisdom is your spellcasting modifier for it. Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can switch out the ritual spell you know for another from the Druid spell list. You gain a second ritual spell at level 11.

$$\begin{array}{|l|l|l|l|1|1|1|} \hline \text{Level} & \text{Rituals Known} & \text{Rage Magic Known} & \text{Cantrips} & \text{1st} & \text{2nd} & \text{3rd} & \text{4th} \\ \hline 3 & 1 & 3 & 2 & 2 & - & - & - \\ \hline 4 & 1 & 3 & 2 & 2 & - & - & - \\ \hline 5 & 1 & 3 & 2 & 3 & - & - & - \\ \hline 6 & 1 & 3 & 2 & 3 & - & - & - \\ \hline 7 & 1 & 4 & 2 & 3 & 1 & - & - \\ \hline 8 & 1 & 4 & 2 & 3 & 1 & - & - \\ \hline 9 & 1 & 4 & 2 & 3 & 1 & - & - \\ \hline 10 & 1 & 4 & 3 & 3 & 2 & - & - \\ \hline 11 & 2 & 5 & 3 & 3 & 2 & 1 & - \\ \hline 12 & 2 & 5 & 3 & 3 & 2 & 1 & - \\ \hline 13 & 2 & 5 & 3 & 4 & 2 & 1 & - \\ \hline 14 & 2 & 5 & 3 & 4 & 2 & 1 & - \\ \hline 15 & 2 & 6 & 3 & 4 & 2 & 1 & 1 \\ \hline 16 & 2 & 6 & 3 & 4 & 2 & 1 & 1 \\ \hline 17 & 2 & 6 & 3 & 4 & 3 & 1 & 1 \\ \hline 18 & 2 & 6 & 4 & 4 & 3 & 2 & 1 \\ \hline 19 & 2 & 7 & 4 & 4 & 3 & 2 & 1 \\ \hline 20 & 2 & 7 & 4 & 4 & 4 & 2 & 1 \\ \hline \end{array}$$

Magical Rage:

At level 6, your weapon attacks count as magical for the purpose of overcoming magic resistance/immunity.

Cantrip Surge:

At level 10, when you make a critical hit, you can cast a cantrip as a bonus action, even if you are raging. Once you use this feature you cannot do so again until you take a short or long rest.

Greater Rage Magic:

At level 14, if you cast spells while raging, you only suffer exhaustion equal to half the total levels of the spells you cast while raging, rounded down. Additionally, while raging you have 10 feet of truesight.

• Hi, I'd recommend you read over How can I ask a good homebrew review question?, as it stands you've only provided us with the subclass, but none of what you're looking for in terms of balance. What is the goal of this subclass and what were you trying to do? Are you wondering whether it's balanced relative to the other Barbarian subclasses and is there anything you've already thought about in terms of the subclass and its balance? Dec 17 '19 at 2:21
• @Medix2 you start off know 3 spells but only have 2 first level slots, sort of like eldritch knight. The Rage Magic known is how many warlock spells you know Dec 17 '19 at 3:32
• @Medix2 the different spellcasting ability scores is to make the subclass weaker Dec 17 '19 at 3:33
• I'll remove my earlier comment (I guess I spontaneously forgot how spell tables work) Dec 17 '19 at 3:36
• I don't understand what kind of theme this subclass is going for. Is it demonic and necromancy magic? Is it being a feral druid? Are you casting spells because you are just mad and you're shouting magic into existence? Or...? This subclass lacks any kind of coherent theme. Dec 17 '19 at 10:39

# There are some problems

The first problem is that the Rage Mage is thematically lacking compared to other Barbarian classes, but also compared to other homebrew you have asked about in the past. Even the name Rage Mage is only made more bland by the fact that 4 out 5 features names include "magic" or "magical" and 3 out of 5 include "rage".

### Rage Magic

The fundamental problem with casting spells while raging is concentration spells. The Barbarian class has great incentives to have a high Con modifier and grants proficiency to Con saves, but what really sets it apart from other gishes (such as the Eldritch Knight) in this regard is the Rage.

Rage halves most of the incoming damage, so if the Barbarian can concentrate on a spell while raging, then breaking that concentration will be an order of magnitude more difficult. Moreover, Rage is an amazing buff and every other buff of this caliber requires concentration.

For these reasons, any subclass that lets a Barbarian concentrate on spells while raging is fundamentally unbalanced. It's not the kind of thing that you can balance out by making other features weaker.

The exhaustion per spell levels cast is an interesting attempt to balance spellcasting, but it just incentivises the player to cast their biggest concentration spell and then ignore casting for the rest of the combat, which is boring. Moreover, this can be done as the first action in combat before raging, effectively skipping the first exhaustion.

From a balance perspective I'm not even sure that the exhaustion hits the right mark. If we assume that for a Barbarian a level of exhaustion is worth 1 minute of bonus action attacks, then I don't think most spells hit that mark.

What I find especially weird is that of all spells you don't allow cantrips while raging, when the ability to cast cantrips while raging would not make the Barbarian stronger.

### Wilderness Magic

A few ritual spells is not a problematic from a balance perspective. However, stick to the same spellcasting ability modifier for both Wilderness Magic and Rage Magic.

You might be stretching too thin thematically if you go for both "magical dark energy" and "magical association with nature".

### Magical Rage

I think this is too weak. This is the level where players start to expect magical weapons, and it becomes almost useless as soon as you obtain one such weapon. Unless the player intends to fight bearhanded like a monk, but that's a weird incentive for a spellcasting subclass.

Also, don't shorthand the description of a feature just because the effect is common and well understood, write it out in full: "... count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage."

### Cantrip Surge

Possibly the only exciting feature of this sublass.

### Greater Rage Magic

The reduced exhaustion doesn't solve the issues I brought with Rage Magic, whereas the true sight while raging is cool.

### Final thoughts

I think the Rage Mage is kind of disappointing and boring. When you look at successful gish classes they all have something that synergises magic with their core kit:

• The Eldritch Knight can mix and match attacks and spells more freely than anyone else.
• The Arcane Trickster can do their thievery at range, casts more dangerous spells while hidden.
• The paladin's spell selection is packed with bonus actions and vocal components, plus the most efficient way to turn spellslots into melee damage.

The only thing the Rage Mage gets in this department is Cantrip Surge, but it's not enough by iteself. The Rage Mage desperately needs at least one other feature that synergises spellcasting with the Barbarian's core kit. At the very least, casting a spell ought to extend the duration of Rage like attacking or taking damage do.

There's a diffence between casting magic with obnoxious limitations vs casting magic that synergises: the former is annoying no matter how strong it is, the latter is fun no matter how weak it is. The Rage Mage falls mostly in the former category.

I think you would be more successful if you designed the Rage Mage with the following approach: find features that synergise spellcasting with the Barbarian's core kit, and then figure out how much spellcasting you can fit in, even if it turns out to be only 1/6 Spellcasting, or 1/2 Pact Magic, or just cantrips.