Barbarian Multiclass Options 5e: What Works Best With Them

Last Updated on January 22, 2023

The Barbarian class is amazing; with access to unbridled rage and a powerful set of defenses, it’s hard to go wrong with this martial tank. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t improve upon it at all. 

There are plenty of ways to make your character stronger. Feats and items are definitely great options, but there’s one that stands above the rest, and that’s the option of multiclassing. 

It can be difficult to make the decision to multiclass and what class to multiclass into, especially when you start off with such a powerful choice.

In this article, we’ll go over what options you have to multiclass into and make that process a whole lot smoother.

Let’s get into it.

Are There Any Exceptionally Good Multiclass Options for Barbarian?

Multiclassing with barbarian as your main class can go in many different ways, but there are a few builds that stand out as the most prominent: martial, tank, and fun.

A martial build focuses on the offense, a tank is great at taking hits, and fun builds just lean into some really interesting roleplay. 

It’s definitely a great option to multiclass with barbarian so long as you don’t miss out on what actually has you excited about being a barbarian in the first place.

If you want to multiclass with a barbarian, you need to understand where the important levels are.

That’s right, this guide will do more than just provide templates, we’re here to show you how to build. The table below shows several key levels of the barbarian and what we get at those levels.

Barbarian Key Levels

After 14th-level we really start to get into the higher-level capstone features of the class.

Two other important things to remember when multiclassing are both related to the rage feature.

The first is the extra rage damage which is +2 at 1st-level, +3 at 9th-level, and +4 at 16th-level.

The second is how many times you can rage per long rest: two at 1st-level, three at 3rd-level, four at 6th-level, five at 12th-level, six at 7th-level, and an unlimited amount at 20th-level.

All of this information can let you make an educated decision about how much of the barbarian class you really want.

Also keep in mind that unless you’re building a 20th-level character for some exciting high-level one-shot, you’re going to be deciding at which levels you want to dip into the different classes that make up your multiclass.

Okay, now that we’ve covered all the basic information, let’s jump into a few of the most impressive builds out there, and talk about why they work so well.

One more thing!

It’s super important to remember that barbarians can’t cast or concentrate on spells while they’re raging.

Any multiclass that brings spells into the picture is going to have to decide when spells are the best choice and when a rage is the way to go.

So what are the best options for a barbarian? Well…

Barbadin (Barbarian + Paladin)

While the barbarian can’t cast any spells, they can certainly make use of a Divine Smite. This gives you a great place to funnel your spell slots into and a whole lot of damage to dish out.

Two levels in paladin are all you need to get your hands on Divine Smite and a Fighting Style, but you can always go a bit further for some subclass features, maybe 6 levels to get you an Aura of Protection.

Any build with this template further accentuates the tank and damage dealing capabilities of both these classes.

The synergy allows you to become a righteous force to be reckoned with and even gives you spells to fall back on if you happen to end your rage early or run out of rages before you’re done with combat for the day.

Barbarian Fighter

Barbarian fighter combos can be really impressive if you don’t spread yourself too thin.

Your main benefits from a dip into fighter will be Action Surge, the ability to take an extra action on your turn, and again a Fighting Style. After that, any subclass abilities that synergize well with your build are great. 

The fighter class can easily take over and turn you into something that feels more like a fighter main, which isn’t a problem; it’s just something to watch out for if you want to bring that barbarian feel to the table.

I wouldn’t suggest more than 4 levels in fighter unless you have a very specific build in mind.

Barbarogue (Barbarian + Rogue)

The downfall of this build is that you become a bit MAD (multi-ability dependent), focusing on Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity, in that order.

Of course, you probably already had a strong third place for dexterity thanks to your Unarmored Defense. These builds will give you incredibly high AC and the ability to dish out some serious damage. 

It does require that you use strength with your dexterity weapons, but it’s worth it to dish out sneak attack and rage damage all on the same hit.

You end up with a stealthy, durable, powerful character who’s almost impossible to kill and has no problem taking enemies down.

Best Options for Barbarian Multiclassing

You’ve got the basics down. You know what makes a great build. Now it’s time to get down to business.

Below we’ve brought some of our favorite builds in for you to try out.

One of the most important things to remember is that you’re building your character. Anything we put down is just a template; you can change it as necessary to bring it to life in the way you want to.

Beast Barbarian (16) / Echo Knight Fighter (4)

Now, realistically, any barbarian would work for this, but we’re looking for a barbarian with extra oomph in the offensive department because this build is all about letting off some serious damage.

The beast subclass offers you a natural weapon in the form of a bite, claws, or a tail, while the Echo Knight allows you to make any attacks from an echo of yourself that you can move freely around the battlefield.

Using your extra attack and occasionally the fighter’s action surge, you can let a lot of powerful attacks off from multiple locations, some of which will have special abilities and all of which will be benefiting from your multitude of barbarian offensive abilities.

This is a simple build, and you can basically take three levels in fighter whenever you’re ready with the last coming in whenever you need a feat. 

Some great feats for this are Mobile, Great Weapon Master, and Sentinel (great if you’re using the tail ability a lot). 

Beast Barbarian / Ascendant Dragon Monk

This is a build that utilizes the fact that your natural weapons are simple melee weapons, aka monk weapons.

Deal some serious damage with your claws, fangs, or tail, and then use your flurry of blows to deal multiple different damage types to opponents so you can hit them right where it hurts.

You’ll feel like a dragon as you tail-whip a creature and then swiftly use your breath weapon of choice to deal some massive damage.

There are a few different ways to split the levels for this build, but maximizing your movement features (you can get a climbing or swimming speed from the beast) will make you uncatchable while you slash your way through the crowd. 

For added roleplay points, just say that the ancient animal spirit that lives within you is in fact a dragon. Maybe going dragonborn as your race is too far for this build, but then again, maybe it’s not.

Totem Warrior Barbarian (12) / Circle of the Moon Druid (8)

These are two S-tier subclasses combined to make an absolute terror of a build. Not to mention, the roleplay value is seriously deep for a totem-wearing barbarian that can actually turn into their totem (Brother Bear? Is that you?).

If you choose the bear totem for your first totem (and honestly, whatever you want for the next totem, it’s utility-based anyways), you have resistance to all damage except psychic while you’re raging.

Then you beast shape into some heavy-hitting beast with high hit points, and you are a nearly unstoppable tank that is going to be ripping throats out left and right. 

Your attacks will count as magical while you’re in beast shape, you’ll be using most of your spell slots to gain temporary hit points in beast shape, and we’ve even taken 8 levels in druid so you can transform into a beast with a flying speed.

Alternatively, you could do a 14/6 split and get a limited fly speed from the capstone eagle totem. The point is there are more than a few options and they’re all great.

Wild Magic (or Any Subclass) Barbarian (18) / War Magic Wizard (2)

I swear this is more than just a hilarious meme.

Keeping in mind that barbarians already can’t cast spells while they’re raging, the 2nd-level War Magic feature fits perfectly, since it allows you to gain a +2 to AC or a +4 on a saving throw as a reaction, provided that you don’t cast any spells until your next turn. 

It’s fun to think of a wizard that is just so-so at being a wizard but who can then rip off the robe and unveil the body of an MMA fighter.

Jokes aside, if you focus on ritual spells and spells that don’t require a ridiculously high intelligence (saving-throw-inducing spells mainly) you have a great setup here.

A staple should be the Find Familiar ritual so that you can have a little helper to give you advantage on all your attacks (your familiar can use the Help action on its turn).

Ancestral Guardian Barbarian (12) / Oath of Conquest Paladin (3) / Soulknife Rogue (5)

This may seem like an insane build, but the focus here is on dealing as much damage as possible with your attacks all while keeping your enemies focused on you.

The spirit guardians will keep an enemy focused on you, while the soulknife will make it incredibly hard for them to hit you (thanks to teleportation). 

You’ll also be able to deal rage damage, sneak-attack damage, and divine-smite damage all at the same time with your psionic blades that are dishing out psychic damage.

Those are melee attacks worth at least 15 damage. If you take Ritual Caster for access to Find Familiar for advantage, you’ll not only have an easy way to secure sneak attacks, but you’ll also have an even higher chance of dealing criticals. 

Zealot Barbarian (14) / War Cleric (6)

The most religious barbarian mixed with the most rageful cleric gives us the ultimate Zealot. There’s a lot of one-for-one synergy, and there’s a lot of roleplay value stacked up in this build.

One of the best combos is that you can channel divinity to give your allies +10 on attack rolls and then use a bonus action to give them advantage on attack rolls with a battle cry. 

The zealot is almost impossible to take down and gives plenty of buffs to its allies along the way, making the addition of a few levels in cleric perfect to keep the support going all the while smashing through the crowd.

Six levels in cleric is also enough to cast some nasty 3rd-level spells when you’re not raging, making this a more-than-feasible gish build – pretty rare for a barbarian.

The barbarian class is an amazing class, and if you stick with it to the end you won’t be disappointed.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it should stop you from having some real fun and making a multiclass character that fits exactly the motif you’re looking to bring to the table.

I hope this article has inspired you, and I hope you find some of our templates useful and exciting.

As always, happy adventuring.

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