Frenzy Feature Revisited

In the Player’s Handbook the Path of the Berserker is one of the most controversial archetypes, primarily because of it’s 3rd level feature. While controversial isn’t always bad, in this case, it is. In polls we took in various groups online over 60% of players felt that the Path of the Berserker was underpowered – despite the fact that mathematically it had the largest damage out put of any player option in the game. We believe this perception is due to the incredibly steep cost of using the Path of the Berserker’s defining feature, Frenzy. Today we offer a few alternatives to that feature and request you let us know which one you think is the most interesting / best way to improve the archetype.

Frenzy Revisited

6 thoughts on “Frenzy Feature Revisited

  1. For a 3rd level feature, I personally like Alternate 1 the best. It best captures the feel of the original feature while toning its raw power down in exchange for removing the greatest drawback.

    I think Alternate 2 is a little overpowered for level 3, especially since it scales really well when the barbarian reaches 5th level, and also has an intense interaction with Haste, which is already an incredibly spell to cast on barbarians.

    Alternate 3, I feel, is also a little overpowered. Being able to knock something prone or push it 15 feet once per round for no resource or opportunity cost at level 3 is crazy strong.

    So, my vote is for Alternative Frenzy 1.


    1. I like the static benefit of option #1 – This is probably my favorite option of the group. I like the flavor and power of option #2 – but I wonder if it’s too powerful. #2 would be my second choice. I don’t care for option #3 personally.
      Note: You may wish to update the heading “Ranger Class Additions by”.


    2. In particular I especially like #2. With 2 attacks per run it would add an average of 13 damage per turn provided both attacks landed — this is ultimately less than Divine Fury at max level (13.5 damage added), but the Berserker will also eventually get Retaliate on some of their turns.
      Notably using this still has a cost in the form of the spent hit die which I quite like. When compared with Zealot, the Berserker would also be losing out on Rage Beyond Death, the amazing Fanatical Focus, and Zealous Presence so I’m inclined to think this is actually a well balanced solution.


  2. I think that #1 is a great compromise and I would allow it in my games as written.
    In my opinion, #2 feels more thematically appropriate. The berserker should have to make the choice of sacrificing personal safety for violence. Spending HD fits well while being less crippling than exhaustion. I would limit the extra damage to once a round since an extra d12 is quite a lot and a higher level barbarian could use it every rage. Another option could be additional damage on every attack equal to HD (maybe + Con mod.) for 1 round, but requires spending 1 HD each round.
    On another note, I think that the berserker should have the mechanical opportunity of using two weapons so I would favour a feature that doesn’t require a bonus action to use.


  3. I really like the feel and theme of Feature 2, and although I think it is my favorite feature, I do believe that it is a bit overpowered. I don’t really like Feature 3. I think Feature 1 is probably the best mechanically, but I still prefer Feature 3 thematically. Here is a proposal for an alternative to Feature 2: At 3rd level when you choose the path of the Berserker, you can go into a frenzy when you rage. This requires you to spend one of your hit dice. Instead of regaining hit points, for the duration of the rage you deal additional damage equal to your Constitution modifier. Just a suggestion, might be a bit underpowered, but I think it is a good fit for the Berserker Path.


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