Tag: Barbarian

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half Elf

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half Elf

Final character race in the Player Handbook. There are plenty more in other books like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything or Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica. I’ll let you explore those as I haven’t explored all of them yet either. Half Elves fall into the category of […]

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half-Orc

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half-Orc

Back into Dungeons and Dragons character races, here is one of the two half races, along with Half-Elf. The basic ideas is that it’s a half human and half orc, but there’s no real reason, other than that they are statted in a way that […]

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Dwarves

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Dwarves

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go…

We all know about dwarves from such classics as Snow White and more so Lord of the Rings. Really, Lord of the Rings is the basis for so much of Dungeons and Dragons, because it is the basis for so much fantasy in general. Dungeons and Dragons has built upon it, to really build out the dwarven structure of society that you don’t really fully see in Lord of the Rings.

Image Source: Wizards

Dwarves tend to live in a pretty rigidly structured society, and that’s one of the defining features. I think that Wizards of the Coast recommend that dwarves are lawful in their alignment. This comes because dwarves are generally part of a large family group and so you have certain family expectations to live up to.

Dwarves also live for a longer than human life span. It’s not as long as elves, but dwarves still live for several hundred years. Instead of taking that time out to go adventuring, they are going to be working on honing their skills to create their masterpiece, whether that is some ale, sword, piece of armor, etc., that work is how you’re going to get recognized as a dwarf in your society.

Even with that, dwarven society is rigid. So while you can probably work your way up the societal ranks by creating a masterpiece, the amount of time you have to work on that is going to be low if you’re in a lower rung of a family. However, being in a family is very important, you could also call it a clan, though they are generally set-up as a family group from ages ago. If you are clanless, you are an outcast who other dwarves really look down upon. You’d be hoping that someone will invite you into their clan so that you can have some standing in your life.

Image Source: Troll And Toad

And I think that’s one of they key points, dwarves really like order in their lives. A dwarven adventurer is going to be seen as a bit of an outcast from normal dwarven society and might have troubles coming home again, if they just up and left their clan. However, clans will most certainly send out dwarves to adventure to help maintain stability, to spread the word of dwarven deities, and to look for some great treasure that would be the centerpiece for the clans standing among the other clans.

Mechanically, dwarves are slower than other races such as humans and elves, but their make up for that by having a bonus to constitution. You really get the double down on constitution with some of the dwarven sub races which get more HP per level on average than other races playing a similar class. Dwarves also have advantage against being poisoned, and even if they do end up being poisoned, they are poisoned less. You also gain some proficiency with various tools and weapons to start, so if you are playing a class that wouldn’t get access to some weapons, you now are going to have access to them.

But let’s talk about some Dwarven backstories…

My clan is the black sheep of clans. We generally deserve our reputation. Our clan is known for employing shady methods of gathering trinkets. If something goes missing in your clan, it might show up in our clan a generation later, I’m not saying how it got there, but it might happen. I, with my particular set of skills, got asked not just by my clan, but by the clans as a whole to head out into the world. The older generation said it felt like there was some changes on the wind that might be an issue for us. They were possibly also tired of me taking their stuff.
Class: Rogue
Alignment: Lawful Evil/Lawful Neutral
Background: Criminal

I miss my little blacksmithing shop. It was a quaint little place that gave me peace, but I can’t ever see it again. I was kicked out of my clan for a misunderstanding. I had started to build up a name for myself and go up in the clan, which was getting on the nerves of some of the family members who were closer to the main family. I was set-up on day when one of the nobles staged it so that I thought I saw an assault in progress. I snapped and used my smithing hammer and killed a dwarf before they could stop me. The whole issue came out, and while the noble was punished, for my crimes I was exiled. Now I’m searching for a treasure or something that will get me back into my old clan so I can go back to my black smith shop.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral/Lawful Good
Class: Barbarian
Background: Guild Artisan

Image Source: D&D Beyond

All praise Moradin, the god of Dwarves who heats our forges and makes our armor and weapons strong. Brothers and Sisters who have fallen away, I am coming for you. My clan has sent me out from our sanctuary against the ravages of the underdark in a time of need when the Drow and Duegar attack. I am coming when I can to bring you back to your faith and stop whatever or whomever is driving you away from your faith. That was the letter that I sent out two years ago, I’ve been on the road every since. I know that just showing up as a lowly member of Moradin’s church will not grant me an audience with someone so fully corrupted. I seek a way to show Moradin’s power to them.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Class: Paladin/Cleric
Background: Acolyte

Dwarves are an interesting race to think about and give good role playing opportunities if you lean into some of their traits. I didn’t talk about the rivalry/dislike between dwarves and elves, because I did in the elf article last week.

Have you played a dwarf in a D&D game? How have you built your dwarf up?

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Building a D&D Player Character – 101

Building a D&D Player Character – 101

I’ve done a lot of in depth posts on the different backgrounds and classes from the core book, and I’ve done some posts on building out characters before, but I wanted to come up with the simplest way of how to create a character. By […]

TableTopTakes: Dice Throne Season 1

TableTopTakes: Dice Throne Season 1

You are part of a Mortal Kombat tournament of the ages. The King who runs it has been the champion for a long time and now you’re going to try to take the throne from him, if you can defeat him in the tournament. Dice […]

What’s My Motivation? – D&D

What’s My Motivation? – D&D

This ties into the articles I’ve written on different characters class, backgrounds, and most recently on having a happy backstory instead of having a darker backstory, so it’s area that I’ve covered a fair amount, but I wanted to write about it really focusing in some more on role playing and playing your characters motivations.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

I would say that the ideas I’ve been giving in posts have been medium levels of backstory. It has been more than just suggesting playing a rogue who likes to stab stuff. But it also hasn’t been creating a lot of very depth heavy backstories. I leave stuff generally vague like what deity it is that the cleric is following, what town or area you grew up in that something horrible happened in. It is very possible to set-up a very in depth backstory where you list out your friends, you family members, everyone who has wronged you, what your life was like growing up, what all of your hopes and dreams had been.

There are multiple reasons for me doing that, the first being, if you want to use it, some of those things are things you’ll have to work through with your DM, because I don’t know your game, and some of them are stuff that you don’t need to know. Knowing too much about your character does a few things, it can limit what the DM can do around your character, because there will be a lack of mystery. It can force you into playing a character in a certain way and finding out that you don’t enjoy it. It can limit your character in how they can develop.

The one that I want to focus on for this topic is the fact that it can force you into playing your character a certain way.

The point of this topic was to cover two things, the first being, what’s my motivation for adventuring, the other other being, what’s my motivation for role playing. These two topics are fairly closely held together. Most likely the reason you have for adventuring is also the reason that you’re going to have for some of your characters motivations and interactions in role playing. If goblins murdered your family, you’re probably adventuring to get revenge on the goblins, it’s also probably going to mean that when you run across an injured goblin that poses no threat to you, you’re still going to want to kill it.

With motivation for adventuring, there can be a lot of different reasons. A bard might be in it to see the world, be able to travel and perform on different stages that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. You could also have a Barbarian who is just in need of and bad with money, so they don’t care too much about the adventuring, but they always need money and the adventuring party always gives them a little money. Or you could be out looking for a lost holy artifact as a cleric, getting revenge on a ruler who slaughtered your village as a fighter, or out to protect your grove against a blight that is on the land as a druid. There are a lot of reasons otherwise that you could be looking into adventuring. But one of your jobs as a player when creating your character is to make sure you have this answered.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Along with having that answered, a lot of DM’s will put your party together, but if you and fellow players can come up with a reason for putting together, or better yet come up with a reason for keeping your party together, that is huge. Whether it’s because your party has similar goals or needs or because you actually like each other, it’s important to have some reason. This motivation with help inform some of your interactions and will help it make sense when the story of the game isn’t focused on your character to keep them as part of the group. Now, this isn’t all on you as a player, the DM has to keep all the characters involved in the story as well, but if you’re creating the loner Druid who cares only about her part of the forest, when the characters aren’t focused on that, that druid is probably going to leave the party to either go off on their own or to find another adventuring party to help them.

But also with motivation, we want to talk about the idea of role playing your character. I talked some earlier about having a medium depth background story. Some of the reason was that it doesn’t lock you into a single specific way of playing your character, but also because it doesn’t lock you into a single path going forward. It’s too easy to lock your self into a single purpose and single goal while role playing and then finding out that you really don’t enjoy it.

Now, I realize that sometimes it’s fun coming up with a ton of backstory and all of these different plot hooks, but often times it’s going to be too much to actually work into a game and there is a chance to feel disappointment because it wasn’t fully touched upon. As a DM, personally I don’t try and avoid using peoples backstories and generally I’ll try and tie them into the campaign as I go. However, if something doesn’t fit in with the overall story, or if I feel like the story is leaning too heavily on a single person, I am going to try and change it up which might keep it from using all of your backstory. If there are too many plot hooks as well for your character, I might not touch on all of them, instead just focusing on one of them to really add into the main story with a nod or two thrown to others of them.

Beyond having too many plot hooks, having too few is bad as well. If, as a DM, I don’t get much to work with, I’m not going to put as much effort into keeping your character engaged story wise. My assumption is that you’re going to like combat more so and I’ll make sure to sprinkle enough of those in as well. But it also doesn’t give you much framework to role play, if you want to role play a lot, a consistent character. They might end up being consistent because you’re just playing your own personality, but it might be that they are very chaotic in how they respond to everything presented to them. Being a little chaotic isn’t bad, and a lot of people play chaotic characters, in fact, the Total Party Thrill podcast has an episode (linked here) about how Chaotic Good is probably where most adventurers should be playing out of.

So there is chaos in a good way and in a bad way. A chaotic character can at times be used as an excuse to do whatever you want, but chaos means less that you just do whatever sounds the most fun in the moment, it more means that you’re willing to do what it takes in situations laws be damned, and you’re willing to be flexible for the greater good, again, I think that Total Party Thrill with their episode does a really good job of explaining it, so I’ll leave that as a listen for people.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

There is one major exception for having much of a backstory, or any of one really, and that’s at a Convention or while playing a one-shot. When playing those shorter games, focus in on a single thing for your characters. When I was playing Dungeons and Dinosaurs game at AcadeCon the first year I was there, one person made their T-Rex very impulsive, I had an herbivore and I made him into a researcher who was watching and documenting everything. We didn’t have more backstory or direction for character than what we gave them, in fact about the only thing we knew about the dinosaurs came on a dinosaur fact sheet. In that case, having that one thing you role play to is important as it’s going to allow you to have a focused character for that short time without slowing down the game because you’re trying to pick out or build more depth into your character.

What are some things you’ve used as motivation for either being part of a party or role playing a character in Dungeons and Dragons or any role playing system?


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D&D Backgrounds: Sailor

D&D Backgrounds: Sailor

It’s the pirates life for me, as we sail the seven seas… I mean, why else would you really be a sailor. You want to be a swashbuckling scallywag, plundering ships, getting treasure and sailing off on your next adventure. And honestly, that’s just going […]

D&D Backgrounds: Sage

D&D Backgrounds: Sage

The sage is the scholar of the D&D backgrounds. While you might not be studying now, you have studied a lot in the past, even to the point where you might now be teaching or have taught in the past. This background is what a […]

D&D Backgrounds: Hermit

D&D Backgrounds: Hermit

This is an interesting background to look at. Generally, as a player, I’d steer clear of it, unless you wrap your head around a strong concept of why your character isn’t a hermit anymore? The most common way that people use this background that I see is by having a druid or some other nature loving class, have their nature being threatened, then they can come in to a village to get help. That is a good trope in a lot of ways because it gives the dungeon master a nice hook to sink into it for that character and that story. It also is a good concept for a druid build that can naturally be a little bit more stand-off to the real world, and it gives the option of playing a fish out of water.

Image Source: Wizards

What else can you do with a Hermit? You have an herbalism kit and you get proficiency with both medicine and religion. That in a lot of ways opens up a bunch of different options that I’ll explore below. But having medicine and religion allows you to go away from as nature focused a character, though most often that will be the direction that people lean. Here are some interesting background ideas that I have for a hermit.

Image Source: D&D Beyong


I’ve lived a long time, I’ve seen many things. My life was violence, then tranquility, then learning, then fear, I have seen it all. Now I have taken my seat, a place of rest, high above the lands where I can look down. They call me the wise one, though I have just lived more and am not truly wise. Those who seek my advice and knowledge must journey to see me, and I see them long before they get to me. From my vantage point I have watched the world change, and not for the better, I’ve looked into the horizon and seen a coming storm. My time to move has come again, but my body is loath to take up it’s old forms again. I have rested long enough though, when the time comes, I will be ready, so I make my way down the mountain to seek those who can join me in stopping the oncoming storm.

Class: Monk
Alignment: Lawful or True Neutral


On the walls of my hovel hang trophies of a different time. A time where I was not a simple hunter away in the forest, a time where violence tried to consume me whole. I keep them on the walls to remind me of the rage that can consume me, but I do not want to pick them up again. I’ve lived a long while on my own, and life has been peaceful, but now my blood is boiling again. The rage that I have sought to keep in check is spilling out again. My peaceful little world is not something that I can sustain any more, and I do not want to taint it with blood. I pick up my axe from the wall, and I know it is time as it feels right in my hands. I will take my axe, but I will not use it as an all consuming violence, I will instead use it to do what I can to help others. I am the oncoming storm, I pray that I will not break.

Class: Barbarian
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Comments: I really find this concept interesting, playing a character who is fighting against their own nature violence and trying to keep that in balance. Having them go off the deepend and then backing down in a future fight because they are worried it will happen again, that would be an interesting character. There’s also an Incredible Hulk like aspect to it.

Image Source: D&D Beyond


I have listened for a long time. I’ve listened to nature, to the voices of the gods on the winds, in the rain, and through the animals. I sought to learn everything that I could from them and to hear the words that they may speak. It was not easy being patient, but that is what I was called to do. Before, when I was at the temple, I was too impetuous and too ready to act and act without thinking, so I was sent out to find patience. I did not find patience at first, I was ready to leave within a day and say that I had found patience. But as I sat and waited, I saw how the trees and grass grew with a focused deliberation, how animals, even though they frolic, did not waste any energy or movement. I finally found patience in year three, but I was not ready to leave, so I stayed, it has been four more years now, and I do not want to leave. But through the winds, the rains, the trees, the animals, the gods have spoken to me. They have told me of a hidden knowledge, more that I must learn that they cannot teach me. So I must return to the temple, and from there I can go seek this knowledge.

Class: Cleric
Alignment: Lawful Good/Neutral


I’ve heard voices in my head for a long time. They talk to me and eventually I was able to understand them. I was young, and what they were saying sounded tempting. They offered power, fame, money, but I didn’t consider the cost. I got those things, but only for a short period of time as what the voices had me do quickly got the attention of those who were stronger than me and able to stop me. I had no choice but to run, the voices weren’t pleased, and they stopped talking to me. I stayed hidden away in hopes that they wouldn’t talk to me again and for a long time they didn’t. My powers stopped as well, but recently they started talking to me again, and I learned that there was something scarier than them out in the world. I had to make a new deal with them, but my powers are back and I guess it’s my job to help save the world or at least warn the world.

Class: Warlock
Alignment: Lawful Evil/Chaotic Neutral


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D&D Backgrounds: Entertainer

D&D Backgrounds: Entertainer

Sorry for the slow week of posting last week, I’m getting into a new schedule at a new job and figuring out when and where I have time to work on the blog. I’ll be back to a more regular schedule probably next week when […]