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I feel there is design space in 5e for player characters that use "great" weapons in more interesting ways, and one such way would be to allow exceptionally strong characters to dual-wield such weapons. To facilitate this goal, I've designed a homebrew "Path of the Titan" Barbarian subclass to support this playstyle:

Path of the Titan

Some Barbarians hone their body so they might one day embody the spirit of the titans themselves. This manifests as a brutal fighting style that employs especially large weapons, wielded frenetically and dangerously.

Restriction: Ability Score Minimums

Barbarians come in many shapes and sizes, races and genders, each as valid as the next; but Barbarians seeking to follow the Path of the Titan must necessarily be a model of physical strength and endurance. Any Barbarian that chooses this path must have a combined Strength and Constitution score of at least 31. If your combined scores are below this threshold, you cannot benefit from any of the Path Features provided by this path.

If either or both of your racial Ability Score Increases have been applied to stats other than Strength or Constitution, you may instead apply one or both of them to Strength or Constitution.

Titanic Grip

Starting at level 3, you gain the ability to ignore the Two-Handed property on any weapon, and while you're raging, you may use Two-Weapon Fighting without either weapon needing to be Light.

Additionally, if your character's size is smaller than Medium, the Heavy Property on your weapons no longer confers Disadvantage to your Attack Rolls.

Titanic Physique

Starting at level 3, you gain proficiency in the Athletics skill. If you already have proficiency in Athletics, you may instead gain proficiency in any other skill of your choice.

While you are raging, you double your proficiency bonus for any Ability Check that uses your Athletics Proficiency.

Cleaving Blow

Starting at level 6, whenever you are raging, you may use your Action to make a cleaving blow, dealing damage to creatures in a cone in front of you. The size of this cone is equal to 5' plus the average reach of the melee weapons you are wielding. Each creature in this cone must make a Dexterity Saving Throw. The DC for this saving throw is 8 + your Proficiency Modifier + your Strength Modifier. Each creature in this cone takes damage equal to the combined weapon dice of the melee weapons you are wielding; or half this damage instead if they succeed on their saving throw.

Whenever you gain an additional die from the Brutal Critical feature, you may also add an additional weapon die to the damage of this feature.

Titanic Stature

Starting at level 10, you have advantage on Constitution Saving Throws, and whenever a creature, spell, or other effect moves you without using your movement, you may use your reaction to cut the distance in half.

Additionally, when you determine your Carrying Capacity or your Lifting/Pushing/Pulling capacity, you may treat your character's size as though it were Huge.

Titanic Rage

Starting at level 14, you can unleash the fury of your Titanic Power in a single cataclysmic act. You may use your action to strike the ground with your fists, duplicating the effects of the spell Earthquake, which last for the full duration of 1 minute. The DC for any saving throws produced by these effects is equal to 8 + your Proficiency Modifier + your Strength Modifier.

Once you use your Titanic Rage, you may not do so again until the end of a Long Rest.

There are, however, several concerns I'd like to receive feedback on for this subclass:

  1. The intention is to support a character that is able to dual-wield melee weapons that normally have the two-handed property; for example, greatswords, greataxes, halberds, or glaives. Does this homebrew support this playstyle fully, or are there rules conflicts I'm not aware of that this subclass would need to directly address?
  2. Are all the features provided by this subclass of an appropriate power level, especially as compared to other Barbarian Paths? I'm particularly interested in the Cleaving Blow feature, which I feel as-written is potentially a very powerful feature.
    • My main concern is comparing a single-class Titan Barbarian against other single-class barbarian builds, but if this enables some powerful multiclass builds, that's valid to call out.
  3. As a DM, would you allow this subclass at your table? Or, as a Player, would you be comfortable if another player used this subclass for their character?
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    \$\begingroup\$ This class needs to be balanced by having disadvantage on saving throws and ability checks involving icebergs. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 20:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand if: "If either or both of your racial Ability Score Increases have been applied to stats other than Strength or Constitution, you may instead apply one or both of them to Strength or Constitution." is a feature that allows you to do just that, or a condition to amend for the requirement of a combined score of 31 that doesn't grant you actual changes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Apr 2, 2021 at 13:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu The latter. You can adjust your racial ASIs to better qualify for the subclass' ability score requirements. My local copy of this homebrew has revised the wording there a little to make it clearer that the ASI reassignment can be used to help qualify for the features of this class. It's a little moot, since Tasha's Cauldron of Everything allows characters to do this anyways, but not all DMs have access to that book, so I figured it was good to provide the option here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 16:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you ever end up balancing this subclass? It looks extremely fun and I would love to play a revised version. Thanks for the time! \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 27, 2022 at 3:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Using standard array, 29 is max you can get without racial bonuses. So you lock not only the choice of attributes, but also a racial choice. 5e was about giving players freedom (2e had attribute requirements for all classes, 3e for prestige ones, 5e for none), so I find this choice to be contrary to the edition it's for. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 10:57

1 Answer 1

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This Path is Overpowered

As much as I wanted to like this class and appreciate what you are going for. The current implementation is broken and needs a major overhaul before it is ready for playtesting. I'll break down the class below to explain why.

Thematics

I have to say that from a thematic viewpoint this subclass is excellent. Each feature fits the class and contributes to the overall feel of the class. So good job on that. It also feels as if you have achieved your vision for the subclass in a well rounded way.

A word on restrictions

Your restriction based on ability scores is extremely strange for a 5th Edition class, let alone a subclass. As far as I'm aware the only ability score based restrictions are for multiclassing, and even in that case the minimum for a barbarian is only to have a 13 in strength.

Having such a strict restriction feels arbitrary and mostly unnecessary. The majority of barbarian players will likely meet this restriction however I don't really see any benefit to having it.

The second benefit to allow characters to move their racial ability score bonuses would be quite strong for a subclass, if it hadn't recently been rendered useless by the new rules in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything.

Feature Breakdown

Titanic Grip

This is basically a better version of the Duel Wielder feat, minus the AC bonus and the ability to draw/stow as part of the same action. The one major benefit your feature has is allowing use of Great Weapon Master's second benefit (-5 to hit, +10 to damage) while also using Two-Weapon-Fighting to gain a bonus action attack. This is a pretty major buff, one that not only makes TWF viable, but borderline overpowered.

Compared to the other Barbarian subclasses it is a reasonably balanced feature if a little on the strong side. Every other barbarian subclass receives a moderate, combat oriented buff. If you can slightly tone down the strength of this feature it will be a good balanced option.

There is another issue with this feature though. By being so close to the Duel Wielder feat, you take away one of the feats a character like this might have been considering. The remaining benefits of that feat as so minor that no player should ever choose it.

Suggestion: Reduce this feature to simply ignoring the Two-Handed or Heavy properties. This is still a moderate buff to combat, allowing these characters to carry a shield while also gained larger damage dice.

Titanic Physique

Gaining a second benefit at third level is a little strange. Most of the other subclasses don't get one. Path of the Zealot gains a very situational survival benefit and Path of the Totem Warrior gains situational 1st and 2nd level rituals.

Your feature is absolutely stronger than either of these, and much stronger than the nothing that the other subclasses get. Barbarians already have advantage on Athletics checks while raging, so granting double proficiency is probably overkill.

Suggestion: Scrap this feature entirely.

Cleaving Blow

At 6th level the other subclasses gain either gain a situational out of combat buff, or a minor defensive buff. Only the Path of Wild Magic gets any kind of offensive buff and a limited minor buff at that.

Your feature is an extremely strong offensive buff. I'm going to need to break it down to show how strong it really is.

The size of this cone is equal to 5' plus the average reach of the melee weapons you are wielding.

A Bugbear character wielding two reach weapons has an average reach of 15'. Leading this to easily be a 20' cone.

Damage equal to the combined weapon dice of the melee weapons you are wielding

Wielding two greatswords this damage roll becomes 4d6. Or two lances for 2d12 and reach on both weapons.

The DC for this saving throw is 8 + your Proficiency Modifier + your Strength Modifier

Standard way for calculating save DCs though not many are scaled off the primary attack modifier, which does make this slightly stronger.

Whenever you gain an additional die from the Brutal Critical feature, you may also add an additional weapon die to the damage of this feature.

This ability automatically scales as you level. It also scales with magic weapons and improving damage dice. This will be extremely strong at all levels.

Let's compare your ability to the spell Burning Hands, a first level spell that deals 3d6 fire damage in a 15 foot cone, allowing a dexterity saving throw for half-damage.

In an optimal configuration your barbarian can deal more damage, in a larger area, every turn without expending a spell slot. This is extremely strong. Much stronger than anything the other subclasses receive.

Suggestion: This feature is going to need a rethink. Limiting the number of uses is probably a good start.

Titanic Stature

The 10th level features of the other subclasses are a random smattering of benefits, from situational spells to combat movement. So it is difficult to compare where your feature falls in that spectrum.

The first benefit, of reducing forced movement falls right in line with the other subclass. Its a pretty balanced feature and one that suits the level.

The carrying capacity buff is strong but mostly useless. It also steps all over the racial ability of the Goliath, likely the most common race to choose this path.

Suggestion: I would consider either modifying the carrying capacity to one size larger than normal or dropping it altogether, the first benefit is fairly balanced already.

Titanic Rage

The other subclasses gain some fairly underwhelming benefits at 14th level. Some get a minor retaliatory damage method, others get a defensive ability. None gets anything like the power of your ability.

Earthquake is an 8th level spell capable of dealing a decent amount of damage over a massive area. Normally this spell requires concentration, which your feature bypasses.

Suggestion: Rethink this ability entirely. It's cool and thematic but not inline with anything the other subclasses get.

Your Questions

1. Does this class enable two-weapon-fighting? Yes, absolutely it does. To the degree that it overshadows every other two weapon build while negating the feat tax of duel wielder.

2. Are the features provided of an appropriate power level? Unfortunately largely no. Most features are overpowered, some extremely so. This subclass is most powerful than some whole classes. It's level 3 features well and truly justifies a 3 level dip for other classes as well.

3. Would I allow it? No. In it's current version I could not allow this subclass to be used at my table, nor would I be happy playing at a table where it was allowed. It is overpowered to the point of being broken and most of the features need a lot of work.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is good feedback! The only thing I'll say is that I didn't want to impose a feat tax by requiring the barbarian to take a feat just to fully utilize their level 3 feature. So while I am open to reducing the power of their Titanic Grip feature, I'm not sure I want to do so in a way that requires them to take the Dual Wielder feat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 19:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Xirema I agree that they shouldn't have to pay the feat tax to be competitive. My point was more that if you could do that in a way that didn't overlap so strongly, they would be able to take both and be more effective. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 23:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ " to allow characters to move their racial ability score bonuses would be quite strong for a subclass." This is no longer true since Tasha's Calduron of Everything gave this ability to everyone at character creation. Was true at the moment of writing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 11:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot the next sentence reads: "If it hadn't recent been rendered useless by the new rules in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything." This was written right around the time of tashas release. Where we knew the content but I hadn't had a chance to read it yet. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 11:33

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