Welcome back folks, class is back in session! Today we’ll be talking about our last specific multiclass before we go on Spring Break. While we’ve looked at martial and arcane/divine classes, I feel like we haven’t had a good chance to crack into the classes whose powers are more based in the primal magics of the world. Today, that changes, as we look into the Druid/Barbarian multiclass
Though this is the second week in a row we’ll be talking about Barbarians, just take that as a hint as to which class is very good to take a dip into. As always, we’ll start off looking at similarities and differences between the two classes.
There is not a lot of gameplay similarity in these classes. The only similarity between these two comes in their background and what defines their class; a primal instinct which guides them on their path. However, this is really all you need to facilitate the multiclass. Druid going into Barbarian may find that harnessing the rage and strength of the beasts they tend to is effective in protecting them. Barbarian going into Druid may find that there is more to the beasts of the world than the rage they harbor.
In terms of difference, just about everything. Barbarians are exceptionally tanky, have proficiency in Strength/Constitution saves, and are exclusively martial. Druids are squishy, have proficiency in Intelligence/Wisdom, and are full casters. You may be wondering, why in the world would you multiclass these two? Barbarians can’t even cast spells while they rage! There is a single feature that turns this multiclass from zero to hero….
You Ever Seen an Angry Bear?
That single feature is Wild Shape. With Wild Shape and some Barbarian levels, your animal shapes will be incredibly tanky, much stronger, and dish out tons more damage. Important to note: This multiclass only works if you decide to go into Moon Druid. Any other Druid subclass is much better off as a single class.
Starting as early as level 2, the Druid will be able to Wild Shape into some pretty solid creatures, such as the Dire Wolf, Brown Bear, Giant Hyena, or a Tiger. All of these creatures have a high enough HP that you’ll probably end up having more HP than anyone in the party. However, your AC will be lacking as most animals are in the 10-13 department. Enter, a level into Barbarian.
The first level into Barbarian grants you Rage (which we’ll talk about in a second) but it also grants you Unarmored Defense. With this, you can calculate your AC as 10 + Dexterity + Constitution. With this, your Giant Hyena’s AC will jump up from a 12 to a 14, which makes a big difference in the early game. Since many higher up Beasts tend to have solid physical stats, this ability scales extremely well into the higher wild shapes. Though you’ll never have enough AC as your fighter, you’ll be able to dodge quite a few more attacks and save a lot of HP.
However, the real bread and butter of this multiclass comes with Rage. When you Wild Shape, you can’t cast spells anyway but you can use your spell slots to heal you for 1d8 per spell slot level. Also while Wild Shaped, you can continue to retain the benefit of any feature from your class. With this, your creature’s HP pool is effectively doubled against Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing damage, you have advantage on Strength Checks and Saving throws to Shove enemies, and you will be dealing a flat amount of extra damage on each hit. The way that these two abilities compliment each other is phenomenal and possibly one of the best synergies we’ve seen to date. The only thing holding back this combo is that it will take two turns to pull off, since entering a rage and wild shaping both cost a bonus action.
You Don’t Want to See an Angry Bear…
Let’s start cracking down into how you’d go about building this multiclass. Your starting class will almost always be Barbarian, mostly because of the proficiencies and the HP. However, if your table is going completely by the rules, make sure that you have at least 13 Wisdom to multiclass into Druid. There’s a multitude of ways you can go about this, but I think that a Beasthide Shifter from Eberron would do an EXCELLENT job of this. With Standard Array, you can manage to get 16 Strength, 12 Dexterity, 16 Constitution, and 13 Wisdom. Alternatively, you could also opt in for 14 Dexterity with 14 Constitution. Look for races that will give you a bonus to Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution, but make sure to save that 13 from Standard Array for Wisdom.
With that out of the way, this multiclass takes off as early as level 3, where you get your Rage and Wild Shape. Just make sure at that point you take two levels into Druid and one level into Barbarian and choose CIRCLE OF THE MOON. This build ABSOLUTELY relies on the Improved Wild Shape that subclass provides! From here you really don’t have to put any more points into Barbarian, but just going one more level into Barbarian nets you Reckless Attack and Danger Sense, both of which will do a great job ensuring reliable damage and making sure that enemies will focus on you… which you want!
Though 20th Level is optimistic, I’d probably end the spread around Druid 17/Barbarian 3. At this point you’ll have 9th level spells, but more importantly you can Wild Shape into creatures such as Giant Crocodiles or a Triceratops. You’ll almost exclusively be relying on your Wild Shape but at this point there should never be a time where you won’t have Wild Shape for combat, since it lasts 8 hours and you get 2 uses per short rest. Even if your campaign is looking to only go up to level 15, your Wild Shapes will last 6 hours and you can turn into all of the aforementioned creatures sans the mammoth. With those 3 levels into Barbarian, go for Path of the Totem and pick up Totem of the Bear, to truly become an unstoppable champion of the wild.
That will do it for today! As I said earlier, this will be the last of the specific multiclasses we look at. Next week we have something special planned, and the week after we’ll have Spring Break, so no class! However, be prepared for a nice change up in how we do things here. Didn’t see a multiclass you were hoping for? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram why we should have included it! Thank you all so very much for reading and we’ll see you next week 🙂