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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Conversions>D&D>D&D 3rd Edition>Class Conversions>Barbarians
BARBARIANS
FROM: D&D 3rd Edition
TO: HERO System 5th Edition
Sample Barbarian: Kargas the Bold from Ptolus, City by the Spire
"Brave, often reckless warriors", Barbarians are undisciplined and primal warriors, typically found in the wild lands. Unspoiled by the corruption of convenience and structure, they fight with their heart rather than their heads, and are as tough as old roots.
Barbarians excel in rugged environments and generally prefer to avoid overly "civilized" lands. Rough and tumble suits them best.
While other classes develop special abilities and practice arcane arts, Barbarians tend to get tougher and meaner, developing their physical skills, hardiness, and sheer bloody-mindedness.
The following guidelines provide advice on how to take D&D Barbarians and convert them into the HERO System.
Barbarian Class Ability Considerations
ATTACKS PER ROUND
Some Characters and Monsters get more Attacks per Round than others in D&D 3e, and this bears special consideration when converting into the HERO System.
For starters, all Characters are going to get more "attacks per round" (or per six seconds to be more accurate) in the HERO System because the basic design of the combat system revolves around twelve second Turns in which all Characters make at least one action, and often many more than one.
However there are several mechanisms available to ensure that those that have a lot of Attacks in D&D 3e maintain their edge in melee nonetheless.
SPEED Figured Characteristic
The most direct method of increasing one's actions in the HERO System is to simply buy more SPEED. However since Fantasy HERO is a Heroic level game with Normal Characteristic Maxima in place this can get expensive once the Maxima has been hit. Due to the "force multiplying" effect of SPEED, many GM's will actively resist Character concepts pertaining to increasing it too far.
 But, if your GM is amenable, even a single point of SPEED over the Characteristic Maxima can give a definite edge in combat and should be considered.
MORE ATTACKS AS SPEED OVER NCM
Killing Machine: +1 SPD (Over Characteristic Maxima)
Real Cost: 20 points
Sweep
Sweep is an Optional Combat Maneuver which is accessible to all Characters for free if it is allowed at all. 
Sweep allows a Character to attack multiple opponents in HtH as long as they are within melee range, but at a stiff to hit penalty. To ensure superiority at it a Character could buy several +2 OCV Combat Skill Levels with Sweep.
MORE ATTACKS AS CSL's WITH SWEEP
Willow parted Four Times: +6 OCV with SWEEP {allows four strikes without penalty}
Real Cost: 12 points
NPA Autofire
Alternately, with your GM's permission, you can buy an Autofire Naked Power Attack (NPA) usable with any weapon of up to a certain amount of Active Points.
This is a personal ability inherent to the Character, and it is usable with any weapon of the appropriate type. This will enable your Fighter to strike multiple times with each attack as described under Autofire. However few GM's would permit NPA's  taken to be applied to free Equipment; due to their overpowering efficiency.
If their use is common place then it likely balances out but if only a few characters have access to such abilties (such as the PC's for instance), it can be very unbalancing. Check with your GM prior to taking any NPA based ability to determine whether or not the allow them in their campaign.
MORE ATTACKS AS NPA AUTOFIRE
Flurry of Strikes: Naked Modifier, Autofire (3 shots; +1/4) for up to 4d6 HKA (15 Active Points); OIF (Sword of Opportunity, -1/2) Costs 1 END
Real Cost: 10 points
Signature Power
With your GM's permission you could buy a special Attack Power that allows your Character to do damage to more than one opponent at a time.
You can use variations on Area of Effect: Any Area with No Range to indicate an ability to accurately attack all the hexes adjacent to your character, for example.
This is a more expensive option, but it makes for interesting flavor for a given Character; also, don't forget the advantage of only needing to hit a hexes DCV of 3.
MORE ATTACKS AS SIGNATURE AOE POWER
Reaping the Whirlwind: Killing Attack - Hand-To-Hand 2d6 (plus STR) (vs. PD), +1 STUN Multiplier (+1/4), Area Of Effect (4" Any Area; +1) (67 Active Points); OIF (Sword of Opportunity; -1/2), All hexes must be adjacent to own hex (-1/2) Costs 7 END
Real Cost: 33 points
BARBARIAN RAGE
The Rage ability is the biggest class ability of the 3e Barbarian. There are an almost endless number of ways to do this in the HERO System, several of which are provided here as examples.
Charge Based
A very straightforward way of doing Barbarian Rage is via a set list of Characteristic modifiers on a Continuing Charge. This covers the "X/Day" mechanic of the source material and is basically a direct and literal interpretation of the ability in HERO terms. However, it has the downside of being cumbersome to record on a Character Sheet.
RAGE 1/DAY THRU 4/DAY
Rage 1/Day: (1 Continuing Charges lasting 1 Minute each (-1), Side Effects (-5 STR, -5 Dex, -3" Run for 1 Minute after Charge elapses), Side Effect occurs automatically whenever Power is used (-1/2), Cant use any Full Phase actions or anything requiring Concentration (-1/4)
+10 STR, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2) (15 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2)
+5 CON (10 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2)
+5 BODY (10 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2)
+5 EGO (10 Active Points)
+2 with HTH Combat (10 Active Points)
-2 DCV (-10 Active Points)
Real Cost: 15 points
  • Add Rage 2/Day: +2 Real Cost
    • Add Rage 3/Day: +2 Real Cost
      • Add Rage 4/Day: +2 Real Cost
Total Real Cost for Rage 4/Day: 21 points
GREAT RAGE 4/DAY THRU 5/DAY
Add Great Rage 4/Day: (4 Continuing Charges lasting 5 Minutes each (+0); Side Effects (-5 STR, -5 Dex, -3" Run for 1 Minute after Charge elapses), Side Effect occurs automatically whenever Power is used (-1/2), Cant use any Full Phase actions or anything requiring Concentration (-1/4)
+15 STR, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2) (22 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2)
+10 CON (20 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2)
+8 BODY (16 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2)
+8 EGO (16 Active Points)
+3 with HTH Combat (15 Active Points)
-2 DCV (-10 Active Points)
Real Cost: +16 points
  • Add Great Rage 5/Day: +9 Real Cost
Total Real Cost for Great Rage 5/Day: 46 points
GREAT RAGE 6/DAY (NO LONGER WINDED)
Add Great Rage 6/Day, No Longer Winded:  (6 Continuing Charges lasting 5 Minutes each (+1/4); Cant use any Full Phase actions or anything requiring Concentration (-1/4)
+15 STR, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2) (26 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2)
+10 CON (25 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2)
+8 BODY (20 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2)
+8 EGO (20 Active Points)
+3 with HTH Combat (19 Active Points)
-2 DCV (-12 Active Points)
Real Cost: +16 points
Total Real Cost for Great Rage 6/Day: 62 points
Disadvantage Based
Another way to do a Barbarian Rage ability is to take an Enraged or Berserk Disadvantage, and then take abilities that only work while the Character is Enraged or Berserk. You define what causes the character to go Enraged/Berserk when you take  the Disadvantage, and then assign a Limitation to abilities that are only usable in that state, with the size of the Limitation based on how often the Enraged will apply.
Just about any ability can be taken in this fashion if it's appropriate, allowing some highly individualized Characters.
How common the Enraged will occur is mainly a GM's call, but as an example at the low end an Enraged 14- When In Combat is only worth -1/4 because it will come up often -- its roughly analogous to Only In Hero ID.
On the other hand an Enraged 8-When Family Members Are In Danger could be worth between a -1 1/2 to -2 depending on the GM's determination of how likely the characters family members will come into danger, for instance.
If the Character must be Berserk rather than Enraged add another -1/4 to the Limitation. If a Character has multiple Enraged Disadvantages that can satisfy the condition on a Character's Power or Powers, then reduce the Limitation value accordingly.
The following two examples contrast the same basic "Rage" effect, but based on two different Enraged Disadvantages. One is more common, and thus the abilities cost more, while the other is less likely to occur based upon the circumstances and chance to go Enraged.
BATTLE FURY (ENRAGED DISADVANTAGE BASED RAGE)
Battle Fury: Enraged: In Battle (Very Common), go 14-, recover 14-; Disadvantage Total: 25 Points
Shrug it off: Armor (5 PD/5 ED) (15 Active Points); Only While Enraged (-1/4) (Real Cost: 12)
Righteous Anger: +15 STR, Reduced Endurance 0 END (+1/2) (22 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2), Only While Enraged (-1/4) (Real Cost: 12)
Painless: +40 STUN (40 Active Points); Only While Enraged (-1/4), Taken off after normal STUN (-1/4) (Real Cost: 27)
Unstoppable: +10 BODY (20 Active Points); Only While Enraged (-1/4), Taken off after normal BODY (-1/4) (Real Cost: 13)
In your face: Knockback Resistance -4" (8 Active Points); Only While Enraged (-1/4) (Real Cost: 6)
Real Cost: 70 Points
ANGER OF THE WOUNDED BEAR
(ENRAGED DISADVANTAGE BASED RAGE)
Anger of the Wounded Bear: Enraged: When Takes BODY (Common), go 11-, recover 11-; Disadvantage Total: 20 Points
Shrug it off: Armor (5 PD/5 ED) (15 Active Points); Only While Enraged (-3/4) (Real Cost: 8)
Righteous Anger: +15 STR, Reduced Endurance 0 END (+1/2) (22 Active Points); Only While Enraged (-3/4), No Figured Characteristics (-1/2) (Real Cost: 10)
Painless: +40 STUN (40 Active Points); Only While Enraged (-3/4), Taken off after normal STUN (-1/4) (Real Cost: 20)
Unstoppable: +10 BODY (20 Active Points); Only While Enraged (-3/4), Taken off after normal BODY (-1/4) (Real Cost: 10)
In your face: Knockback Resistance -4" (8 Active Points); Only While Enraged (-3/4) (Real Cost: 4);
Real Cost: 52 Points
Aid Based
Yet another way to do Rage is as a Self-Only Aid; an example of this type of construct, designed as a Talent, is given on page 104 of the Fantasy HERO book.
This type of Rage construct starts off at max power and gets weaker as the fight goes on. However, by using the Expanded Effect options for Aid, you can construct and Aid that work vs. multiple Characteristics and/or Powers all at once. You can also decrease the FADE rate, making the boost last longer, at a correspondingly greater point cost.
Personally I'm not fond of this sort of construct for "Rage" effects as the Character has to take the time to use the Aid on themselves; in effect they have to "work themselves up", and further to get max effect it can take multiple attempts, and also the effect fades over time.
However, for those that like this sort of approach, the following example is provided.
RED RAGE (AID BASED RAGE)
Red Rage: Aid: STR, DEX, CON, BODY 3d6, Variable Effect Four Powers Simultaneously (+1) (60 Active Points); Self Only (-1/2), Side Effects (-3 DCV), Side Effect occurs automatically whenever Power is used (-1/2)
Real Cost: 30 points
Succor Based
Similarly, you could base a Rage Construct off of Succor, which is a variant of Aid described on page 89 of the HERO System 5th Edition main rule book.
The same principle of the Character having to "work themselves up" that applied to the Aid version also applies here since the Character has to take take actions to activate Succor on themselves; to get full effect from the example ability takes two Actions for instance. However, this variant will last as long as the Character can afford to pay the END to maintain it. In some cases this is a pro, and in others a con.
SUSTAINED HATE (SUCCOR BASED RAGE)
Sustained Hate: Succor: STR, DEX, CON, BODY 3d6 (max. Aided Points: 18), Variable Effect Four Powers Simultaneously (+1) (30 Active Points); Self Only (-1/2) [Standard Effect Rule: +9 STR, +3 DEX, +4 CON, +4 BODY; 3 END per Phase per use]
(Max Effect: +18 STR, +6 DEX, +9 CON, +9 BODY; this takes two Actions to activate and costs 6 END per Phase to maintain)
Real Cost: 20 Points
Absorption Based
To reflect a Character that gets stronger the longer they fight, which has some "Battle Rage" aspects to it, you could also base Rage on Absorption.
One of the benefits to this approach is that it takes no effort on the part of the Character. Another benefit is that using the "Absorption As A Defense" option presented in the Ultimate Brick, this form of Rage also grants respectable protection from damage until it caps out.
WHEN YOU HIT ME IT ONLY MAKES ME MAD
(ABSORPTION BASED RAGE)
When You Hit Me It Only Makes Me Mad: Absorption 2d6, Can Absorb Maximum Of 15 Points' Worth Of Physical Damage, Provides Resistant PD (+1/2), Absorption As A Defense (x2), STR, BODY, STUN, END simultaneously (+1) (40 Active Points)
(Max Effect: +15 STR, +7 BODY, +15 STUN, +30 END)
Real Cost: 40 Points
Multiform Based
With GM permission you could use Multiform and use it to create a "Rage Form" that you switch into when angry, with inflated stats, completely different skills, or what have you. However, this has the potential for abuse and should be carefully monitored for play balance.
Because the cost of Multiform changes based on a number of elements, no example is provided; consult page 137 of the HERO System 5th Edition main rulebook for details on how to use Multiform.
FAST MOVEMENT
In D&D 3e Barbarians are fleet of foot. This is easily modeled in the HERO System by simply buying a couple of extra inches of run, which any character can do.
Extra Run
All HERO System Characters can simply bump their Run attribute up; this costs 2 Points per 1" until Characteristic Maxima is reached (usually 10" unless modified by a Race Package Deal).
FAST MOVEMENT AS EXTRA RUNNING
Fast Mover: +1" Running 
Real Cost: 2 Points per 1" up to NCM; then 4 Points per 1"
Tireless Running
For a character that is not only swift but also tireless, consider buying 0 END Running instead.
FAST MOVEMENT AS REDUCED ENDURANCE
Fleet: Reduced Endurance (0 End, +1/2) on 1" of Running
Real Cost: 1 Point per 1"
UNCANNY DODGE
Some D&D 3e Classes gain the ability to be very dodgy and difficult to flank. Since Uncanny Dodge is rooted in system-specific mechanics, it loses a lot of its relevance in the HERO System. However, the following examples translate the concept into abilities that are useful from a HERO System perspective.
DEX BONUS TO AC
In the HERO System there is an ability called Defense Maneuver that is somewhat analogous to Uncanny Dodge, and is a very useful ability to have for any Character that expects to be involved in swirling melees.
UNCANNY DODGE AS DEFENSE MANEUVER
Uncanny Dodge (DEX Bonus to AC): Defense Maneuver IV
Real Cost: 10 Points
CAN'T BE FLANKED
Defense Maneuver IV already prevents Flanking in as far as the concept exists in the HERO System. However, a Character could take this even further and make themselves adept at using multiple attackers against themselves to avoid getting hit.
UNCANNY DODGE VS FLANKING AS LIMITED DCV
Uncanny Dodge (Cant be Flanked): +4 DCV; Only vs Multiple Attackers (-1)
Real Cost: 10 Points
BONUS VS TRAPS
This is a concept that has no real parallel in the HERO System as a separate mechanic. However, a Character could make themselves particularly good at avoiding Traps if they like.
UNCANNY DODGE VS TRAPS AS LIMITED DCV
Uncanny Dodge (+X vs Traps): +X DCV; Only vs Traps (-2)
Real Cost: 1.6 Points per +1 DCV
DAMAGE REDUCTION
In D&D 3e as a Barbarian advances, they become tougher and more difficult to harm. They gain the benefit of a Class ability called Damage Reduction, which happens to work exactly like all defenses work in the HERO System by default. Thus it is quite easy to model the Class ability in the HERO System. Several options are provided.
Damage Resistance
The most direct way to model the Damage Reduction Class ability is with the Damage Resistance Power, which makes a Character's Normal damage defense resistant to Killing damage attack (such as swords and axes and similar).
DAMAGE REDUCTION AS DAMAGE RESISTANCE
So Tough: Damage Resistance X PD/ X ED
Real Cost: 1 Point per normal 1PD / 1ED made Resistant.
Armor
The next most direct way to model this ability is with the Armor Power. Slightly more expensive this option raises a Character's overall defenses. However if the GM is using Armor Stacking house rules to prevent Characters from piling on multiple forms of protection, this may not be the best option. It is also a little bit "over the top" for most normal Characters, being more like a super power or a Race advantage..
DAMAGE REDUCTION AS ARMOR
Tough As Nails: Armor +X PD / +X ED
Real Cost: 3 Points per 1 PD / 1 ED
Combat Luck
This ability can also be represented as Combat Luck. Not as reliable, Combat Luck does have some pros over the previous examples in that it is inherently Hardened, but on the other hand is not persistent.
DAMAGE REDUCTION AS COMBAT LUCK
Just Missed Me: Combat Luck 3 PD/3 ED (Defined as: Armor [3 PD / 3 ED], Hardened [+1/4], Non-Persistent [-1/4], Must Perceive Attack And Be Able To Reasonably Avoid Or Counteract Damage [-1/2])
Real Cost: 6 Points per level
HARD-BITTEN
A variant of Combat Luck, Hard-bitten represents an "only a Flesh Wound" effect rather than the "just missed me" effect of Combat Luck. With this version if the PD or ED of the ability would completely negate all damage, instead it lets a point of BODY and / or STUN through, however if some damage would get through regardless then it works normally applying its full PD or ED to the incoming damage. In this way a Character that has this ability will get scratched up, but avoids the full effect of damage.
For instance if a Barbarian that had this ability at the 3 PD / 3 ED level were stabbed with a knife that did 1 BODY and 3 STUN they would take 1 BODY and 1 STUN. Similarly if they were stabbed with a dagger that did 4 BODY and 4 STUN they would also take 1 BODY and 1 STUN. In both cases Hard-bitten did not protect them from the first point of damage from the attacks.
NOTE: Hard-bitten counts as Combat Luck for any campaign Guidelines regarding the amount of Combat Luck that a Character might have.
DAMAGE REDUCTION AS HARD-BITTEN
Only a Flesh Wound: Hard-bitten 3 PD/3 ED (Defined as: Armor [3 PD / 3ED], Does Not Protect Vs. The First Point Of Body Or STUN From Each Separate Increment Of Damage Taken [-1/2])
Real Cost: 6 Points per level
Damage Reduction
Finally, you could model this Class ability via Damage Reduction; while not an exact port it's well within the intent of the original Class ability. Being percentile based, this ability is more advantageous in higher powered games with larger amounts of damage being inflicted on average.
DAMAGE REDUCTION AS 25% DAMAGE REDUCTION
Tougher Than You:
25% Damage Reduction Physical, Resistant, STUN Only (-1/2), Activation Roll 14- (-1/2), Non-Persistent (-1/4)
25% Damage Reduction Energy, Resistant, STUN Only (-1/2), Activation Roll 14- (-1/2), Non-Persistent (-1/4)
Real Cost: 14 Points
DAMAGE REDUCTION AS 50% DAMAGE REDUCTION
Way Tougher Than You:
50% Damage Reduction Physical, Resistant, STUN Only (-1/2), Activation Roll 14- (-1/2), Non-Persistent (-1/4)
50% Damage Reduction Energy, Resistant, STUN Only (-1/2), Activation Roll 14- (-1/2), Non-Persistent (-1/4)
Real Cost: 26 Points
ILLITERACY
A hindrance rather than a feature, as chance would have it all Characters are assumed to be illiterate in Fantasy HERO, so unless the GM declares that this isn't the case nothing needs to be done to model this in the HERO System.
On the other hand if characters are not illiterate by default in your campaign, then a character that is illiterate may take Illiteracy as a -1 point modifier for their native language.
Barbarian Package Deals
Barbarians are undisciplined and primal warriors, typically found in the wild lands. Unspoiled by the corruption of convenience and structure, they fight with their heart rather than their heads, and are as tough as old roots.
Compared to other professions they emphasize personal skill and natural talent honed by a rugged existence, backed up by hardy physical conditioning.
Presented below are an assortment of Basic Packages, Extension Packages, and Composite Packages for your use.
BASIC PACKAGES
Savage Brawler Light Foot Behemoth Spartan
EXTENSION PACKAGES
Mounted Fighting Winter Fighting Forest Fighting Mountain Fighting Command
Deck Skills Maritime Fighting Self Defense
COMPOSITE PACKAGES
Barbarian (3e) Barbarian (Warrior) Barbarian (Sea Reaver) Barbarian (Brute) Barbarian (Berserker)
Barbarian (Destroyer) Scrapper Scout