Last Updated: February 27, 2023
Path of the Juggernaut sees a creature declare that it would like to stand somewhere, says “Isn’t that my decision?”, then aggressively repositions their enemies. It’s an odd style of Controller, allowing you to rescue allies from bad situations, force enemies into bad positions, and otherwise make yourself a problem in ways that go beyond damage.
The subclass starts very slow and doesn’t come into its own until level 10. You could replace most of the subclass up to that point with the Crusher feat, which is not a ringing endorsement of a subclass. Once you hit level 10, your play style suddenly changes from “barbarian with opinions about feng shui” to “I’m playing tennis with the party, and all of my opponents are balls”.
If you have allies in the party who rely on area damage (Blasters, mostly), your ability to reposition enemies will be a huge asset to your party. Forcing enemies into clusters allows your party’s Blaster to get more damage from each turn, allowing your party to get through combat faster and at lower resource cost. Clever repositioning of enemies can be a force multiplier for the whole party.
Once you hit level 10, you both get to reposition enemies faster and you get to give melee allies free attacks. How useful this is depends heavily on your party makeup. A small party of you and an eldritch blast warlock is a bad combo. A party of 5 with 2+ melee strikers, a cleric running Spirit Guardians, and a blaster is ideal.
Table of Contents
- Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Features
- Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Ability Scores
- Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Races
- Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Feats
- Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Weapons
- Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Armor
- Example Build – How do You Spell Croquet
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
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The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released, and the article will be updated accordingly as time allows.
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Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Features
At 10th level, the shove distance increases to 10 feet, and it stops being a neat trick and starts being a great trick. The text specifies “away”, not “directly away”, so you can push creatures at an angle. This notably includes moving them away and upward. If you launch creatures 10 feet into the air, they’re high enough to take falling damage, and falling occurs instantly. You might still have a second attack, allowing you to attack with Advantage without needing to use Reckless Attack.
Weirdly, this doesn’t specify melee weapon attack, so you could use this with spell attacks.
: The 5-foot movement is
neat, and it’s enough to break grapples, but on its own it’s not going to
accomplish anything interesting. You can add Crusher and move them a total
of 10 feet, but Crusher only works once per turn, and it will be obsolete
once we hit level 10.
- : It’s rare for enemies to cause either effect. It’s mostly players dragging creatures around and knocking them prone.
- : Only situationally useful.
- tank fallacy because you’re simultaneously difficult to hit, difficult to damage even if you are hit, and non-threatening since you can’t hit anything. : The intent is that you can use this instead of Dodge and still attack. But nothing in the feature prevents you from using Reckless Attack, so you can use both, be effectively immune to Disadvantage (and also Advantage), and also be immune to being grappled. If you use it as intended, you’re going to spend a lot of time falling into the
Now you just need allies with good melee attacks to benefit on the second paragraph. If you have a rogue in the party, you’re their absolute best friend. There’s no limit on how often you can use use this, so you can trigger this with each of your attacks (twice normally, thrice if you’re using two-weapon fighting), but you’ll need enough allies with available Reactions to get anything out of doing so.
: The ability to leap
after enemies and knock them prone is somewhat redundant with the upgraded
version of Thunderous Blows that comes online at level 10 since you can just
force them to take falling damage, but if you want to use the second half of
the feature you need to get the target into an ally’s reach
before the creature falls, so you can use this to knock the target
prone after your first attack so that your ally can attack them while prone.
- : These conditions are reasonably common and typically target Wisdom saves, which you’re bad at. Getting taken out of a fight because you’re scared is almost as bad as dying.
Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Ability Scores
No different from typical barbarians.
Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Races
No different from typical barbarians, but races which have a way to make additional attacks like the Centaur and the Lizardfolk can get additional opportunities to reposition enemies.
Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Feats
No different from typical barbarians, though there is some additional synergy with Crusher.
- PHB: There isn’t a light martial bludgeoning weapon, so it’s hard to combine Crusher and two-weapon fighting. When you hit level 10, the ability to launch enemies 10 feet into the air means that an additional attack is both decent damage and a lot of additional forced movement, so TWF is unusually appealing. You could suffer through with light hammers or clubs, but upgrading to warhammers and getting a +1 AC bonus is really nice.
- TCoE: This solves a lot of the subclass’s problems from levels 1 to 9, allowing you to experience the subclass’s high-level tactics much earlier. Once you hit level 10 it’s mostly obsolete, but an extra 5 feet of movement may still be enough to trigger free attacks with Hurricane Strikes or to get enemies into position for an AOE.
Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Weapons
No different from typical barbarians.
Path of the Juggernaut Barbarian Armor
No different from typical barbarians.
This section briefly details some obvious and enticing multiclass options, but doesn’t fully explore the broad range of multiclassing combinations. For more on multiclassing, see my Practical Guide to Multiclassing.
- : One level to get Martial Arts so that you can reposition enemies as a Bonus Action. But you give up the ability to wear armor and sheilds, so it’s costly.
Example Build – How do You Spell Croquet
We’re going to grab hammers and we’re going to knock our problems all over the place.
This build uses a lot of the same logic as our Open Hand Monk example build, but to summarize some stuff explained there: “away” is not the same as “directly away”. “Away” simply requires that the creature is further away from you than it was before being repositioned. This allows creatures to be shoved “away” at diagonals both horizontally and vertically, therefore allowing you to launch enemies into the air. In addition, the rules clarifications in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything specify that when effects are triggered simultaneously, the creature which caused the effects (you) decide the order in which they occur.
I’m not addressing optional class features in this build because they don’t affect the tactics at all. I do still recommend using them, though.
We’re going to go all in on Strength and Constitution, and we’ll plan to sit at 14 Dexterity and take feats instead of trying to max out Unarmored Defense.
Custom origin ravenite dragonborn. Using a race from Critical Role’s setting feels appropriate, and Vengeful Assault lets us reposition enemies outside of our own turn.
It doesn’t really matter to the build, so we’ll take anything that works for the Barbarian.
Skills and Tools
We’ll take Athletics and Perception from our class, then we get two other skills from our background.
At 4th level we’ll take Crusher. The +1 increase to Strength allows us to stay on the Fundamental Math.
At 12th level, we’ll take Dual Wielder to improve our AC and our damage output while playing croquet.
|Level||Feat(s) and Features||Notes and Tactics|
|At this level we’re a very normal barbarian. Grab a maul and try to get enough money to buy armor since barbarians don’t get any in their starting gear.|
|Still normal barbarian things.|
|3||Primal Path: Path of the Berserker|
Spirit of the Mountain
|Thunderous Blows is just a taste of what this build eventually turns into. We can shove an enemy 5 feet when we hit, and with Reckless Attack we should hit consistently. Use it to rescue allies from unpleasant melee situations and knock enemies closer together for area damage. Even at this level before bigger spells come online, spells like Acid Splash, Shatter, and Tasha’s Caustic Brew can be very effective.|
|4||Feat: Crusher (Str 17 -> 18)||Now we’re in business! With the 5 feet of movement from crusher and the 5 feet of shove from Thunderous Blows occuring simultaneously, we can croquet mallet enemies 10 feet into the air and have them land almost anywhere within 10 feet, taking 1d6 damage and falling prone.|
Even better: since this damage isn’t from an attack, damage resistance to non-magical attacks doesn’t apply.
|A second attack means that we can trigger Thunderous Blows twice in a turn. Crusher is only once per turn, unfortunately, but if an enemy triggers Vengeful Assault, we can launch them 10 feet with our Reaction attack.|
Fast Movement makes it easier to pursue our enemies as we gradually get better at knocking them around.
|This level doesn’t change our tactics much. If you’re fighting in the dark, in fog, or you’re otherwise disadvantaged, you can turn on both Reckless Attack and Resolute Stance and go back to regular rolls. Using Resolute Stance on its own should be rare, but you might use it if you’re extremely low on hit points. It notably doesn’t disadvantage ability checks, so you can still grapple/shove enemies.|
|7||Feral Instinct||Nice, but doesn’t change our tactics.|
|8||Ability Score Increase: Str 18 -> 20||Keeps us on the Fundamental Math.|
|9||Brutal Critical (1 die)||Our rage bonus to damage increases at this level, and Brutal Critical arrives. Rolling big criticals feels really good, but the actual mathematical impact is small.|
|10||Hurricane Strike||Hurricane Strike is the central feature of our subclass. Now every one of our attacks launches enemies at least 10 feet.|
If we have allies who can make worthwhile attacks, the second half of Hurricane Strike presents an interesting decision point: Do we launch our target into the air (likely out of our ally’s reach) and make them fall, or do we put them in our ally’s reach for the attack? The answer will vary depending on the situation, but remember that you have at least two attacks, so you might do one and then the other to the same enemy on the same turn.
At this point we should strongly consider two-weapon fighting. We can use light hammers for now, or we can wait to upgrade to warhammers at level 12. A third attack means applying our rage bonus and launching enemies a third time.
Unfortunately, this is also our last interesting class level. If you’re going to multiclass, now is a good time.
|11||Relentless Rage||Relentless Rage provides a little bit of additional safety so we can worry less about our relatively low AC.|
|12||Feat: Dual Wielder||Upgrade your light hammers to warhammers. A bit of extra DPR, bigger dice with Brutal Critical, and +1 AC.|
|13||Brutal Critical (2 dice)||–|
|14||Unstoppable||Nice, but it doesn’t change our tactics.|
|16||Fighting Initiate (Two-Weapon Fighting)||+5 damage with our off-hand attack. Not super exciting, but a helpful boost to DPR.|
|17||Brutal Critical (3 dice)||–|
|19||Ability Score Increase: Con 16 -> 18||More hit points!|
|20||Primal Champion||+4 Str, +4 Con. The additional strength boosts our attacks, damage, and the DC for our subclass features.|