Players have to make so many choices in Dungeons & Dragons that it's understandable why sometimes a player just wants to hit things. Cut out all the spellcraft, cut out all the mechanics, and just keep things simple. That's normally the attitude behind the Barbarian, but it doesn't mean the Barbarian can't be so much more.
Picking the right feats and integrating them into a Barbarian can quickly it one of the most viable classes in the game. It may take a little more optimization and definitely some more thoughtful planning for the party's sake, a D&D Barbarian can be one of the deadliest forces in their party with the right feats.
Durable Can Help with Health
With their only competition for the title really being fighters, Barbarians are one of the most martial classes in the game. Their emphasis is on dealing and taking a lot of damage, filling the "tank" role familiar to players of many team-based strategy games. For that reason, the "Durable" feat really helps stretch out the Barbarian's pool of health.
One of the main things that differentiate them from fighters mechanically is that they are not necessarily designed to be skilled combatants, bobbing and weaving agilely through combat, but instead just hunks of hit points that chop out huge gashes of health from the opposition. Durable not only boosts constitution but stretches the usefulness of Hit Dice to draw out Barbarians' health.
Great Weapons Master Boosts Damage
All of that is important to keep in mind when finding the right feat for a Barbarian character because every class does best when they play to their strengths. Great Weapon Master is probably the single best feat that any Barbarian can take precisely because of how it allows them to maximize their damage. The first benefit of Great Weapon Master is that it allows for a second attack after either rolling a critical or after reducing an enemy to 0 hp, while the second benefit allows a Barbarian to take a penalty on their accuracy in order to bolster their damage.
These abilities can even combine, multiplying both the damage and the number of times a Barbarian attacks per turn. Great Weapon Master is practically designed for Barbarians precisely because of its specification in using heavy weapons. Since Barbarians trade armor for damage, heavy weapons like a huge battleaxe or a cumbersome war hammer are their bread and butter.
Great Weapon Master is not the only way to boost the number of attacks a Barbarian can do in a round. For an alternative option, and one which helps defend teammates all the more, look no further than Sentinel. Sentinel is all about maximizing the use of a Barbarian's reactions, increasing the chances they have to attack when it's not their turn. It both makes disengaging a Barbarian in melee impossible and reduces enemies attempting to flee from combat to 0 speed when they are hit.
It also allows a Barbarian to use their reaction to attack any enemies within reach who are attacking allies next to them. Barbarians are invariably melee builds anyways, and all three of the Sentinel feat turns them into inescapable melee opponents taking full advantage of their attacks of opportunity every turn.
Skill Expert Will Optimize Your Barbarian Build
Think of choosing Barbarian feats like the "he gets in base" principle from Moneyball. There, a baseball team built its success by focusing recruitment and training exclusively on players getting on base. With Barbarians, focus exclusively on allowing for as many attacks as possible. The more a Barbarian attacks, the more damage they are doing, the faster their opponents go down, and the less damage they and their team take. But once all of that is optimized, many players realize the game has a whole lot more to it than combat.
The Skilled feat is easy to overlook because, with just a single line of text, it seems so simple. Skilled allows a character to gain proficiency in three of any skills or tools of their choice. It's not a fancy ability and won't be glamorous, but it is invaluable for rounding out a Barbarian so they contribute to more than just combat. Martial classes often suffer in 5e from contributing little to the party in between combat sessions. Gain some valuable skills and that changes, rounding out a Barbarian into a fuller character.
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