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D&D 5e: Demon-scarred Barbarian Path

This is an idea I've been meaning to write up for awhile. The two Paths of the Barbarian class are cool, and the Totem Barbarian can be a lot of different things... like a really good melee ranger, thanks to some really stylish options. I'm sorry, rangers. Your lives are pain. Anyway, this class is a pretty dark take on barbarians, but "tribes get up to some pretty dark stuff" is a minor trope of D&D, when it isn't doubling down on Noble Savage tropes.

Demonscarred Path (Barbarian)

Among the darkest and most savage tribes of the wilds, demons supplant the gods and spirits of the old faiths. The demons turn these tribes from harmony to conquest, and goad them into violence against their neighbors. In other cases, pushed to desperation by a few seasons of scarce game or the pressures of stronger neighbors, a tribe may seek out the patronage of a demon. In exchange for their service, these demonic patrons grant extraordinary power. Just as the totemic barbarians gain traits of beasts, the demonscarred gain traits from the Abyssal legions. There are also those who simply lived too long in places tainted by the power of the Abyss, and found that the totemic spirits of the earth could no longer bear their presence; such individuals make the best of a difficult situation and often wield their powers against the Abyss.

The DC for abilities granted by this Path that require a saving throw is 8 + your Constitution bonus + your proficiency bonus.

Blood and Souls
Starting at third level when you choose this path, you learn to speak Abyssal, typically in a series of nightmares. Further, when you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points and inflict lethal damage, you gain temporary hit points equal to 1d6 + your target's Constitution modifier. (This ability still functions if your target receives one or more death saving throws before dying.)

Lesser Demonic Aspect
Starting at sixth level, you take on a trait of one of the lower orders of demons, choosing one of the following abilities. At your option, you might gain a minor physical or spiritual trait associated with that type of demon; that trait often appears only while you are raging.

Dread Compact
Starting at tenth level, you can cast planar binding. When you do so, you cast this spell as if you had spent a 5th-level spell slot. Once you have cast this spell, you may not do so again for one week. Constitution is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Greater Demonic Aspect
Starting at fourteenth level, you take on a trait of one of the higher orders of demons, choosing one of the following abilities. At your option, you might gain a minor physical or spiritual trait associated with that type of demon, perhaps only when you are raging.

Design Notes

Mechanically, this is a remix of Berserker, Totem Warrior, and toned-down versions of demonic abilities. Not all demons have something obviously convenient to use, so I had to stretch in a few places.

Blood and Souls, other than being a blatant Moorcock ripoff, is also a toned-down version of the Fiend Patron warlock's first-level ability. I felt that toning it down a bit would avoid stealing the warlock's cool thing, and the barbarian's d12 HD just doesn't need that much help with mitigation.

I'm taking a risk with just about all of the demonic aspect abilities. The shadow demon aspect sounds kind of crazy, but it's actually the one most like something found in one of the existing paths - the Bear Totem, to be precise. PCs receive radiant damage less often than psychic damage, so I gave them vulnerability to sharpen the drawback. The glabrezu and marilith aspects are intended as indirect parallels of Frenzy, without the crushing drawback of exhaustion.

I'm not sure if barbarians will care to use planar binding all that often, but I felt that being able to cast it once a week was tolerably similar to commune with nature as a ritual.

Let me know what you think!

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