So....after a little searching on the web about Urban barbarians I cant seem to find an official ruling on the following

Controlled Rage (Ex): When an urban barbarian rages, instead of making a normal rage she may apply a +4 morale bonus to her Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution. This bonus increases to +6 when she gains greater rage and +8 when she gains mighty rage. She may apply the full bonus to one ability score or may split the bonus between several scores in increments of +2. When using a controlled rage, an urban barbarian gains no bonus on Will saves, takes no penalties to AC, and can still use Intelligence-, Dexterity-, and Charisma-based skills. This ability otherwise follows the normal rules for rage.

Is an Urban barbarian capable of using a normal rage or only a controlled rage with all its modifications?

The only reason for the question is the ambiguous "instead of making a normal rage she may" implying choice, rather than wording it to something less ambiguous like "While raging, a controlled rage allows the barbarian to apply a +4 morale bonus to her strength dexterity or constitution instead of the normal bonuses granted by rage. This replaces the normal rage but still allows all feats that work off the rage class feature as normal".

Looking for well reasoned opinions and/or official word on this scenario if it exists.

Source material for Urban Barbarian

Source material for (unmodified) Barbarian

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    \$\begingroup\$ "May" with "instead" is always used in 3.PF games to indicate an optional choice. I expect someone with more firm expertise on this exact ability and organised play will say something along those lines as well. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 17:44

2 Answers 2


No, Urban barbarian is not capable of using a normal rage.

This was clarified by James Jacobs on Paizo's official forums.

It does indeed replace normal rage. An urban barbarian doesn't get to apply a bonus to both Str and Con. He instead gets only one +4 bonus, but has the advantage of being able to choose Dex if he wants or of being able to split the bonus up how he wants.

If you're an urban barbarian, you can't rage like the normal barbarian. Because Controlled Rage IS your rage. It doesn't make sense that you'd be able to do a normal (uncontrolled) rage when you're playing an archetype that is all about controlling the rage.

So that means the "may" in this case refers to the choice of which stats you want to increase: Strength, Dexterity, or Charisma, and not which kind of rage you get.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So, by James Jacobs's ruling, that may in the description means when the character controlled rages he can choose either to get the bonus or not to get the bonus not that the character can choose which kind of rage to use. That's... meh. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 1:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I concur. Makes the archetype lackluster. \$\endgroup\$
    – TechImp
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 5:22

The character clearly is able to rage normally if he wishes, because Controlled Rage is not stated as altering or replacing the Barbarian's rage ability.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "When the Urban Barbarian rages", in the quoted ability description, constitutes stating it to alter the Barbarian's rage ability \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site. It's unfortunate, but this answer will probably be voted down because it doesn't go far enough and doesn't address points made by answers that do go further. This doesn't necessarily mean everyone thinks you're wrong, but, instead, that you've not presented enough evidence for others to find your answer useful. Feel free to edit this answer to improve it, and thank you for helping strangers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 14:33

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