As a player of a barbarian character, I am finding it very easy for the PC to lose its rage after only a one or two rounds. The rules for maintaining rage say that the character has to have been damaged or made an attack against a hostile enemy since end of last turn, otherwise the rage ends.

I have encountered the following problems:

  • Rules for charging have been modified, so that essentially you now need a Feat in order to charge at all. It is sometimes hard to find an enemy to strike within 30 feet movement. (Sub-question - what counts as a hostile enemy? I have had options to dispatch sleeping or downed enemies, and in character this makes some sense that it would maintain the rage, but it is not clear if it would meet the conditions as written, so we've held off from making a ruling)

  • Even simple low-level spells can prevent a barbarian attacking for one turn, and end a rage. E.g. a Command spell. My barbarian is not alone in having decidedly average Wisdom and no proficiency, so it's a very strong enemy tactic to use such spells on him when he is raging.

The restrictions on raging seem in keeping with changed other PC buffs - most buff spells require concentration to maintain, and rolls are required by spell casters to keep a maintained spell if they are hit. In compensation, a lot of combat-focussed buffs, including the barbarian rage, have been made very effective. I particularly like the Bear totem resistance effect, allowing my character to wade into a group of enemies and be the party tank - the problem is that I have to sometimes rage twice in one combat in order to get there, because the first rage is cut short. With only three rages per day available, my character can wind up out of resources before others in the group.

So far, I have found the following:

  • Throwing weapons. This works provided enemies are within sight and for some reason my character cannot get to them, but feels a little cheesy and game-mechanic-y to have my character approach to within 10 feet, switch weapons and throw a javelin.

  • Getting the Charge feat. This makes the most sense in-character, he will be level 4 very soon too, but this will be a painful choice to make as he really could use the stat boost.

Neither of these deals with the character's vulnerability to simple enchantments.

What else can I do to keep my character seeing red and fighting at the top of his game?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Francisca have a long and firmly established history of use in warfare. A group of people were named after them, too. They were thrown at your enemy as you charge in! \$\endgroup\$
    – PipperChip
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 0:07
  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ Blind with rage, splitting a monster's head with an axe, then immediately throwing a javelin into the next one--that sounds awesome! IMHO that is lots of flavor! It makes sense for a rage: one doesn't necessarily do the smartest thing, but rather the first thing that one can think to do. There is a bad guy. Tomahawk! \$\endgroup\$
    – JasonSmith
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 1:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @JasonSmith: Yes sometimes it fits, and maybe just needs a bit of "spin". The oddity is that the character's best option is to move as close as possible first, so he may be only 10 feet away, and moving as quick as possible. The most obvious thing for me when I have a character in that position is to move up right next to enemy so I threaten them, and attack next turn. It feels odd to stop a headlong rush towards a foe, switch weapons and attack at range. It's just a wrinkle in the game mechanics (crossing 10 feet should take <1 second, so in character why mess about?) Because turns. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 9:42
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ @NeilSlater If it helps, perhaps imagine it as throwing a javelin at an enemy as you charge it? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 0:04

6 Answers 6


There are a few ways to do this, but the best one is to get a mount. Even a basic riding horse will allow you to move 120 ft in a round without using any actions.

Other options include:

  • Getting a weapon with longer range. A longbow would allow you to attack enemies 150 ft away, or 600 with disadvantage. It doesn't gain the benefits of your Rage, but it will maintain it.
  • A large number of buff spells increase your speed in some way, but this requires an allied spellcaster.
  • Damaging yourself, as pointed out by Jeor Mattan. Unfortunately, this would take your action. A more efficient method, and yet stupider, would be to use alchemist's fire to set yourself on fire. This would only take 1 action and would keep you raging until the full minute was up or you used your action to put out the fire. Of course, it does 1d4 damage per turn. The problems with this method should be obvious.
  • The Mobile feat, which increases your movespeed by 10 ft. Heavily not recommended.

With regards to simple enchantments and other disables, the Path of the Berserker is the option designed to fix this type of problem. Given that you've chosen the Path of the Totem Warrior, your options are severely limited. There are a number of ways to gain advantage on saving throws, but they all rely on allies or require a lot more multiclass levels than is really worthwhile.


If you've gone Bear path, lighting yourself aflame wouldn't hurt you as much, seeing as how you have that sweet sweet resistance to everything (but psychic, but whatever, alchemists fire isn't MIND FIRE... though that would be a pretty sweet spell...) So I'd say if you're good on health, throw caution (and a vial) to the wind! They can't can't catch you if you're on fire!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If you have resistance to that damage, will it still generally deal a reliable amount of damage to help keep you raging? How well has this worked out in practice for you, or how long does it tend to help keep rage going? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 14:44
  • 13
    \$\begingroup\$ Resistance in 5e cuts all damage in half. You would always take at least one point of damage per round from the fire, and 2 points at most. \$\endgroup\$
    – Strill
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 0:12
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @Strill: There's no damage minimum of 1, just for reference - the only overall damage minimum is 0. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 19:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast: Which would mean Resistance would make alchemist's fire fail to maintain rage one time in four. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 4:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nothing to see here. I was wrong. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 19 at 21:40

Have your colleagues punch you. They will have to sacrifice an action but it will keep you raging. Certain non strength based characters will do very little damage anyway.

Rogue: No Grog, KEEP RAGING, CHANNEL YOUR RAGE rogue punches grog

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Not everybody does exactly 1 damage when they punch, remember that strength applies to damage with unarmed strikes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 4:18
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ note that dealing one damage with your punch is insufficient, as it will get halved to zero. You need to get hit by someone with at least 12 STR (= +1), so they deal 2 damage halved to 1. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2020 at 16:18

A bit more outlandish and maybe impractical (depends on what you have in mind / how you're planning your character), but two other options would be:

  1. Take 2 levels of Rogue: You get Cunning Action, so you can Dash every turn as a bonus action.
  2. Take 2 levels of Monk: You increase you speed by 10, which (unless I'm missing something), stacks with your L5 speed increase.

With both of these, you lose one ability increase, but Mobility/Charge both cost you a feat anyway, and Rogue/Monk can provide other advantages. E.g., with Rogue, you get a 1d6 Sneak Attack (with a finesse weapon--if you're not convinced by a Barbarian wielding short swords or daggers, watch Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones. Notice the kama could've been a short sword---in terms of length and attack motions--- and that Drogo drops 2 daggers at the beginning of the fight) and Cunning Action, which is at least as good as a Feat. With Monk, if you wield monk weapon and are already in melee range, you get an extra attack through your bonus action (increasing your chances of dealing damage/remaining enraged). You also get two bursts per day with Flurry of Blows, all of which have great synergy with Rage (you get to apply your Rage damage bonus several times per turn).

Getting a mount seems to be the least "expensive" option (i.e., one that doesn't compromise your character build/mechanics), though RPing it might be tricky: are you going to fight from the mount? Are you going to mount/dismount if your enemies manage to move beyond 30 feet? When indoors/underground, if your mount gets attacked..., etc.?

Ranged weapons are not bad either, if you don't mind RPing such a barbarian.

These options allow you to grab Bear Totem at L3. If you were to switch to Eagle, then you might not need either Rogue or Monk, since this choice allows you to Dash as a Bonus Action while raging.

Forgot to address Command--it's a brutal spell under these circumstances, and the options at the moment are not cheap/super effective:

  • You can grab the Resilient feat, and pick Wisdom (granting proficiency with the save).
  • If you pick Elf as your race, you might mitigate charm-based effects that prevent you from attacking (Command is not one of these).
  • Be strategic about when you enrage: Don't enrage as soon as your turn comes around (unless you can close in on the caster). Even then, wait for the caster to take a hit or two, so that your enrage provides a greater chance of bringing him/her down.
  • Grab the Mage Slayer feat, which helps take out casters (and resist their spells, if within melee range).
  • A Meta point: Not sure what campaign you're playing, but Command is somewhat common in Hoard of the Dragon Queen--if your GM shuts down your rage every time by focusing all Command castings on you, that might be a discussion you want to have. While, as you point out, Command is a very strong tactic vs. a raging barbarian, in-game, a raging barbarian should just look very angry--unless you deliberately try to be scary/loud and draw attention to yourself, there should be other targets for them.
  • Having said that, I once tried to plan my build around spells that knocked me out, and found it to be very inefficient/not fun. Every class (except L14 monks) has Saving Throw weaknesses, and every once in a while, you might be reminded that Barbarians are not designed to resist Wisdom-targetting spells. And this is just fine: it's the DM's job to keep encounters fun and exciting, and part of this comes from the danger posed by each challenge--some of these will have to "hit you where it hurts" to make sure danger is real.

Xanathar's Guide to Everything provides a new quite powerful barbarian path called Path of the Zealot which grants a feature that can finally help remedy the barbarian's vulnerability to simple enchantments (beyond charm and fear, such as Command) and help prevent rages from being ended prematurely by such conditions.

Fanatical Focus

Starting at 6th level, the divine power that fuels your rage can protect you. If you fail a saving throw while you're raging, you can reroll it, and you must use the new roll. You can use this ability only once per rage.

Another option which has not been mentioned in other answers (and is present in the Player's Handbook) is the Lucky feat. Unless you're encountering a disproportionate number of spellcasters in your games, then three saving throw rerolls per day should significantly alleviate the problem of being shut down by save-or-suck spells.

I am currently playing a Path of the Zealot barbarian in a new campaign that began last month, and I have found that Fanatical Focus provides enough protection from the occasional save-or-suck spell to greatly improve the experience of playing a barbarian. In the early game I have been punching myself and using thrown javelins to maintain my rages, and in the late game I plan on purchasing a mount and picking up the Mounted Combatant feat to greatly expand my mobility. With a STR bonus of +3, I take a minimum of 3 points of bludgeoning damage every time I punch myself while raging (this value increases over time as the rage damage bonus increases, but doesn't scale fast enough to ever really be life threatening). While this does use my action, if there is nothing within range for me to attack in melee or with a thrown javelin, then there is really very little of value (aside from possibly taking the Dodge action) that I can do with that action anyway.

  • \$\begingroup\$ note: if you have a STR bonus of +3, you should be taking a minimum of 4 damage by punching yourself (as unarmed damage is 1 + STR), which is halved to 2 (considering it's bludgeoning damage, which you have resistance against). \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2020 at 16:16

Be a Scourge Aasimar

In addition to the other answers, you can also use a Scourge Aasimars Radiant Consumption racial feature. The mainly relevant aspect of the feature is:

you and each creature within 10 feet of you take radiant damage equal to half your level (rounded up).

Being an Aasimar, you have resistance to radiant damage, meaning that you need to take at least two radiant damage (halved to one) in order for this feature to be eligible for maintaining a rage. Since you need to be level 3+ to deal 2+ damage with this feature, which is only gained at level 3, that's not an issue.

The downside of this feature is obviously that you can only use it once per day for a minute, while the upside is that you can deal extra damage on a hit to one target on your turn, and you automatically damage enemies close to you, without any save or roll.

Note: this obviously doesn't solve OP's issue, having an existing character and all, but it might help other readers.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .