If I was to make a homebrew barbarian subclass that allows barbarians to cast spells in rage, or allowed a barbarian that multiclassed into a spellcasting class, would it break anything? It doesn’t seem that it would, because the no spells while raging mechanic has always struck me as mainly mechanic, but I could be wrong.


It would break concentration by never breaking concentration.

This is the biggest concern. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I will echo Ruse's response to this question - Is this barbarian Rage Mage subclass balanced compared to the official barbarian subclasses and the eldritch knight?:

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.

A raging barbarian, especially if they take War Caster, which they will, will almost never lose concentration. Ever.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A Barbarian with Abjuration spells. The stuff of nightmares. \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Jan 8 at 19:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are subclasses that give advantage on Concentration, and any caster can multiclass by starting in a con save proficient class in order to not fail concentration... that doesn’t seem like a huge deal to me as well, especially since most casters don’t get hit very often and this barb will get hit a lot.. \$\endgroup\$ – TheDragonOfFlame Jan 8 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheDragonOfFlame A raging barbarian will be taking half damage from the most common sources of damage. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Jan 8 at 21:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Given how MAD barbarians are, and usually low AC so get hit by everything, I don't think this would be as big a problem as you make it sound, my Paladin hardly ever loses concentration by virtue of high AC, and my Wizard by virtue of never being the target of an attack. If anything rage would be NEEDED to allow a barbarian to have a chance at keeping concentration. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jan 8 at 21:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that, if the concern is that it would be nearly impossible to break their concentration, then it could be balanced by placing negative effects of rage on concentration - either by giving disadvantage on concentration, or by having concentration during rage work off, say, charisma rather than constitution. Or you could make it so that concentration can't be maintained during rage (thus limiting to non-concentration spells). \$\endgroup\$ – Glen O Jan 9 at 6:52

Possibly not, but you would likely need to playtest it

I am not averse to homebrew rules, but this seems to be changing a pretty important aspect of rage and I am not sure if the rule exists for flavour reasons or balance reasons.

My suspicion is that the rule only exists for flavour reasons, so it is not likely to cause much of an issue beyond possibly verisimilitude.

As pointed out by Thomas Markov there is a potential that rage would mean concentration is too difficult to break, which would be a very powerful thing, but in my experience a barbarian usually has low AC so would be making so many concentration saves it would eventually fail. There will come a time when the CON save is already +10, but by then some of the enemies will be doing huge damage so it should even out.

Even if it does turn out that concentration is difficult to break it is worth playtesting this on combination with a high AC eldritch knight, paladin or cleric (My mid level paladin has 24 AC using shield of faith and some items, and can still cast shield so is very difficult to hit, plus has crazy saves to often takes half damage from spells which is about what rage does. Plus his CON save is +8 which is about barbarian levels), and a well played druid, wizard or sorcerer (I say well played because that means using control spells to prevent incoming damage, and keeping out of lines of sight so you don't get hit) and comparing how often it breaks on each class.

Whatever your leaning, playtesting to see how house rules work is a great idea.


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