People of towns and cities take pride in how their civilized ways set them apart from animals as if denying one’s own nature was a mark of superiority. To a barbarian, though, civilization is no virtue, but a sign of weakness. The strong embrace their animal nature — keen instincts, primal physicality, and ferocious rage. Barbarians are uncomfortable when hedged in by walls and crowds. They thrive in the wilds of their homelands: the tundra, jungle, or grasslands where their tribes live and hunt.
Barbarians come alive in the chaos of combat. They can enter a berserk state where rage takes over, giving them superhuman strength and resilience. A barbarian can draw on this reservoir of fury only a few times without resting, but those few fits of rage are usually sufficient to defeat whatever threats arise.
Not every member of the tribes deemed “barbarians” by scions of civilized society has the barbarian class. A true barbarian among these people is as uncommon as a skilled fighter in a town, and he or she plays a similar role as a protector of the people and a leader in times of war. Life in the wild places of the world is fraught with peril: rival tribes, deadly weather, and terrifying monsters. Barbarians charge headlong into that danger so that their people don’t have to.
Their courage in the face of danger makes barbarians perfectly suited for adventuring. Wandering is often a way of life for their native tribes, and the rootless life of the adventurer is little hardship for a barbarian. Some barbarians miss the close-knit family structures of the tribe but eventually find them replaced by the bonds formed among the members of their adventuring parties.
Path of the Ancestral Guardian
Some barbarians hail from cultures that revere their ancestors. These tribes teach that the warriors of the past linger in the world as mighty spirits, who can guide and protect the living. When a barbarian who follows this path rages, the barbarian contacts the spirit world and calls on these guardian spirits for aid.
Barbarians who draw on their ancestral guardians can better fight to protect their tribes and their allies. In order to cement ties to their ancestral guardians, barbarians who follow this path cover themselves in elaborate tattoos that celebrate their ancestors’ deeds. These tattoos tell sagas of victories against terrible monsters and other fearsome rivals.
Path of the Beserker
For some barbarians, rage is a means to an end—that end being violence. The Path of the Berserker is a path of untrammeled fury, slick with blood. As you enter the berserker’s rage, you thrill in the chaos of battle, heedless of your own health or well-being.
Path of the Totem Warrior
The Path of the Totem Warrior is a spiritual journey, as the barbarian accepts a spirit animal as a guide, protector, and inspiration. In battle, your totem spirit fills you with supernatural might, adding magical fuel to your barbarian rage.
Most barbarian tribes consider a totem animal to be kin to a particular clan. In such cases, it is unusual for an individual to have more than one totem animal spirit, though exceptions exist.
Path of the Battlerager
Known as Kuldjargh (literally “axe idiot”) in Dwarvish, battleragers are dwarf followers of the gods of war and take the Path of the Battlerager. They specialize in wearing bulky, spiked armor and throwing themselves into combat, striking with their body itself and giving themselves over to the fury of battle.
Path of Molten Earth
Deep beneath the surface of Palodar, great molten earth flows, creating heat and sustaining the life cycles of the Evernight and the surface. Like Palodar’s blood boils, your inner rage emits the heat and fire the same as the planet's molten blood does.
In battle, a barbarian of the Molten Earth can summon the power of pure heat to assist them in combat. Even being near a Barbarian of the Molten Earth will harm an enemy, as their rage manifests in boiling, blistering heat.
Path of the Zealot
Some deities inspire their followers to pitch themselves into a ferocious battle fury. These barbarians are zealots — warriors who channel their rage into powerful displays of divine power.
A variety of gods across the worlds of D&D inspire their followers to embrace this path. In general, the gods who inspire zealots are deities of combat, destruction, and violence. Not all are evil, but few are good.
Path of the Beast
Barbarians who walk the Path of the Beast draw their rage from a bestial spark burning within their souls. That beast bursts forth in the throes of rage, physically transforming the barbarian.
Such a barbarian might be inhabited by a primal spirit or be descended from shape-shifters.
Path of the Storm Herald
All barbarians harbor a fury within. Their rage grants them superior strength, durability, and speed. Barbarians who follow the Path of the Storm Herald learn to transform that rage into a mantle of primal magic, which swirls around them. When in a fury, a barbarian of this path taps into the forces of nature to create powerful magical effects.
Storm heralds are typically elite champions who train alongside druids, rangers, and others sworn to protect nature. Other storm heralds hone their craft in lodges in regions wracked by storms, in the frozen reaches at the world’s end, or deep in the hottest deserts.
Path of Wild Magic
Many places in the multiverse abound with beauty, intense emotion, and rampant magic; the Feywild, the Upper Planes, and other realms of supernatural power radiate with such forces and can profoundly influence people.
As folk of deep feeling, barbarians are especially susceptible to these wild influences, with some barbarians being transformed by the magic. These magic-suffused barbarians walk the Path of Wild Magic. Elf, tiefling, aasimar, and genasi barbarians often seek this path, eager to manifest the otherworldly magic of their ancestors.