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Pathfinder - Character Optimization - The Unchained Barbarian Handbook


I will use content from the core rules, but will intentionally omit any content not published on the official Pathfinder SRD due to the unmanageable volume of non-SRD content, and the wildly varying quality of non-SRD content. If you would like me to write handbooks for specific content not published on the official SRD, please email me and I will consider it on a case-by-case basis. I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.


The Barbarian is in a lot of ways indicative of some of the design flaws of DnD 3.x which carried over to Pathfinder. Chief among them was abilities which temporarily changed a character's ability scores, requiring the player to recalculate their whole character sheet during the course of their turn, leading to frustrating slowdowns at the table. Unlike the Unchained Rogue, the Unchained Barbarian isn't a significant jump in power level and viability over the vanilla Barbarian. Instead, it's a massive simplification of the mechanics to make the class more playable with less painful and time-consuming math.

This guide is for the Unchained Barbarian. For the vanilla Barbarian, see my Barbarian Handbook.

What's New?

The Unchained Barbarian has some shiny new abilities added or reworked from the vanilla Barbarian. Here's a quick list of the new/updated features, but see "Unchained Barbarian Class Features" below for more information.

Since so little has changed about the Barbarian, the advice in my Barbarian Handbook is still completely valid. The only real addition is that you should pick up at least 1 Stance Power.