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In D&D 5e, the barbarian's Rage is somewhat different from its 3.5e counterpart, but the thing that most confused me is the need to be actively part of mayhem and destruction at every round to keep being angry (emphasis mine):

Your rage lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven't attacked a hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then. You can also end your rage on your turn as a bonus action.

Can a barbarian (with or without a shield) punch/stomp/bite/headbutt itself to take damage and maintain their rage?

To me, it seems its possible by RAW, but I'm not sure about the rules intent on whether an unmissable attack (I refuse to think that you can miss when trying to hit yourself if you are not heavily drunk) with the lowest melee damage possible from a Barbarian can keep you raging for the full duration.

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Yes, a Barbarian can self-inflict damage to keep their Rage going.

It shows this right in the rules text you quoted:

It ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven't attacked a hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then.

There is no qualifier to who or what caused the damage, only that you took any.

Keep in mind that, no matter how much you might refuse to believe it, there is no RAW to suggest you can self inflict damage for free in any way. The only allowed mechanics to attack yourself are by making an actual roll, which means you're sacrificing an attack and you could fail to "hit" (read: meaningfully hurt) yourself. It's not that easy to hurt yourself.

(Much easier to set yourself on fire.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I meant full duration, but I changed it anyways :) Related to setting yourseld on fire, if you are a Bear Totem Barbarian and the fire deals 1 damage, it becomes 0 (due to resistances), and I'm not sure if 0 damage is damage. \$\endgroup\$ – MrTakeru May 11 at 11:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's also usually easier to attack a hostile creature, under normal circumstances (although I realise that there are potential uses for Rage outside of combat) - because in that case you don't need to hit, just to attack. \$\endgroup\$ – DM_with_secrets May 11 at 11:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor It seems difficult to prove a negative... The section quoted in the question (PHB p.48) says "It ends early ... if your turn ends and you haven't ... taken damage since then". It doesn't say that the damage must come from a creature other than yourself. \$\endgroup\$ – DM_with_secrets May 11 at 11:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Plus, if you set yourself on fire, ninjas can't grab you. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym May 11 at 14:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @T.E.D. you can rule either way. It's not easy to stab yourself, you're fighting off a billion years of evolution to do so, so it's also reasonable to rule the roll is with disadvantage. Whatever you pick is defensible, so it's really up to the DM/table and the story being told. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik May 12 at 13:51

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