Path of the Serpent’s Blood Barbarian (v1)

The blood burns as it hits the paving stones, hissing quietly and sending up thin streamers of smoke. Where it touches living flesh cries ring out, while others retch and lose their stomachs. Some call it a curse, you see. This poisonous blood, this toxic vitality. Others see it as one of many weapons, waiting to be used.

 

Read on for the sickening truth of the Serpent’s Blood Barbarian!

Barbarian Path of the Serpents Blood v1

You can also find the PDF version here.

 

Those of the Path of the Serpent’s Blood, sometimes called venomblooded or afflicted ones, are barbarians of a different kind. Their body courses with poison strong enough to injure those that dare attack them. More mundane toxins simply fail to measure up to the venom that already invigorates them. In battle, they are terrifying storms of corrosion and suffering, unable to be contained.

FEATURES:

  • Visceral Poison courses in your veins, and burns those that seek to harm you. Who ever said revenge wasn’t sweet?
  • But of course, you’re already poisoned with your own Resident Toxin – other diseases, poisons, and acids simply fail to have effect!
  • Forget a bloodbath, have an Acid Whirlwind! Your wounds only make you stronger and more terrible than before!
  • Whether a starving beast, an arrogant vampire, or a hungering monstrosity, none are safe from your Pestilent Flesh.
  • And if your enemies want your blood, then let them have it with a Malign Transfusion! Good luck to them, surviving your horrendous venom without your years of resistance.

 

DESIGN NOTES:

  • At some point quite a while ago, I sat down and brainstormed a few barbarian subclasses. This is the first of those to make it here, as the Path of the Wilderskin was actually a later idea. In any case, look forward to something with demons and then another thing that has armor-less screaming people shooting energy bolts but is not related to that one anime in any way. I promise.
  • In any case, the main idea here is to give the barbarian some passive damage. I know how weird the word “passive” looks when included in a post about barbarians, but there you have it. Through Visceral Poison and Acid Whirlwind we have a barbarian that can do potentially more area damage than any other subclass. At the same time, it relies heavily on getting hurt to make full use of its abilities, which is sort of a catch-22 in this game. To deal damage you gotta take damage, and that is not a good thing even with the barbarian’s impressive hit point pool.
  • My main worry here is that the class feels too passive. Barbarian is an active class, it uses big weapons, makes big hits, and gets in big danger. This is much smaller in all those situations, but hopefully here the appeal of the narrative/flavor is enough to see it through.
  • I’m also concerned by Resident Toxin simply because I want to make sure the bonuses line up. I like it how it is now well enough. It transfers from poison resistance to disease immunity and acid resistance, and then onward to poison immunity and eventual acid immunity while raging. I worry that I may have gotten one of those elements out-of-order, however, and had it appear far earlier than it otherwise should.
  • All in all, I’m happy with the outcome particularly from a story standpoint. This subclass feels like a great narrative vehicle because it asks so many character questions. Who were you before the acid blood? How does your character deal with the toxic nature of their own body? Do they revel in it, or hide it in shame? That’s the kind of subclass I like, so even if I have to reel in the mechanics a bit to stay balanced, I’ll be happy just with that narrative.

 

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Path of the Serpent’s Blood Barbarian (v1)

    1. Anathemys

      Thanks!
      Oh, and look out for the smite-monk coming soon. I think I figured out a way to make it work, but we’ll see how it goes!

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