The 4 Best Magic Items for Barbarians at Every Tier

Last Updated on January 22, 2023

There are hundreds of magic items out there for you to use in Dungeons and Dragons 5e, and there are more being published every month.

Add in homebrew items, and you have literally thousands of items to personalize, maximize, and customize your Barbarian.

Don’t waste your time looking for just the right one, however.

If you just jump into the exhaustive lists of magic items in any of the published Dungeons and Dragons 5e material, you can easily get lost and overwhelmed.

But we here at the Black Citadel are super nerds! We already spent untold hours combing through the books, and we came out Perfectly Fine*.

We also used that experience to put together a list of the best magic items for Barbarians in Dungeons and Dragons 5e to give you a head start on this very important decision.

You wouldn’t buy a house without checking the realtor sites or buy anything online without reading the reviews.

So why buy a magic item without checking it out here, first? (See our Full Magic Item Guide.)

What Makes a Good Barbarian Magic Item?

Barbarians have a great set of proficiencies at 1st level that make them natural contenders for front-line melee combatants.

Their Strength and their Constitution scores should be their highest ability scores, and they often gain resistance to various types of damage.

They gain a bonus to Armor Class equal to their Constitution modifier, and they also gain a d12 Hit Die, which is the highest of any class.

Therefore, if you are going to give a magic item to a Barbarian, you’ll need to enrich their abilities as tanky martial characters while supporting their ability to remain in the front and shore up their weaknesses around out-of-combat utility.

What Are the Best Magic Items at Tier I?

At Tier 1, Barbarians are some of the scariest characters in the party (and on the enemy team!).

They can have twice as many Hit Points as a spell caster and swing a weapon big enough to cut the poor wizard in half on the first round of a hypothetical fight.

Yet, they often lack a few of the strategic skills necessary to establish and defend themselves from ambush. They also lack a resistance to magical attacks, most likely.

Dread Helm

The Dread Helm is not a very magical weapon; it doesn’t do much mechanically. However, it has an effect on your appearance that, if used well, could improve an intimidation roll.

More importantly, it is perfect for a very specific look and fashion of the “edgelord who may or may not kill you” variety.

Horn of Silent Alarm

This magic item is less for you to use than it is for you to give to someone else to use to call you.

Give this item to the scout in the party or to the 90-pound wizard who needs you to come be their meat shield help them out if they get ambushed.

Moon-Touched Sword

One of your weaknesses as a Barbarian is your dependence on melee combat in order to use most of your abilities and Hit Points. This can be troublesome if you can’t see your enemy.

Even Darkvision benefits from a weapon that is moon-touched. It’s a torch you can fight with!

Potion of Healing

You need this more than anyone else. Do I really need to explain it?

What Are the Best Magic Items for Barbarians at Tier II?

At Tier II, Barbarians have become quite invested in their Primal Path, which will give them hefty attack versatility and perhaps a bit of resistance or utility.

At this level, you will still want to shore up against those vulnerabilities, however.

You are a force to reckoned with, for sure, but only a little force. Think: a thunderstorm, not a hurricane.

Weapon of Warning

As a Barbarian, you are likely to have Intelligence or Wisdom as a fairly low stat. This means your perception, insight, and investigation abilities will leave you vulnerable to surprise and ambush.

A Warning weapon will protect you from sneak attack in those cases and allow you to use your generous Hit Points and Armor bonus to make it past the surprise round.

Boots of Striding and Springing

There may be times when someone tries to slow you down or when you are carrying too much to run as quickly as you are accustomed. Also, someone may actually try to climb something to get away from you. Weird, right?

With these boots, you can jump higher, run faster, and get your autographed baseball back… or whatever.

Coiling Grasp Tattoo

Some creatures are slippery little sandwiches that want to constantly be on the move and just out of your reach.

This inkjob will give you a one-time-use extended reach that will grapple the little punk and keep them still long enough for you to do what needs to be done.

Gloves of Missile Snaring

These gloves are great to make an impression with. When you walk into a room and some clever rogue thinks they can shoot a crossbow bolt at you, you can use these items to catch it and stare them down.

What Are Best Magic Items for Barbarians at Tier III?

At Tier III, you are expected to have a bit of flashiness in your presentation and be developing some unique and reputable abilities.

The ones posted here are Rare Magic Items, which deserve their own dedicated post.

At this Tier, you won’t need to focus so much on resistances and defenses. You’re a unique martial character with lots of strange and awesome abilities.

It is now time for you to maximize what it is you do and demonstrate why you have been so dedicated to this class since the beginning.

Amulet of Health

This magic item will boost your already considerable Hit Points as well as the Save DCs of some of your special attacks if you take the correct subclass.

In addition, your AC is boosted by a high Constitution, so this item should absolutely be on your character sheet.

Belt of Hill Giant Strength

So much of what you do is Strength based. The idea of a Dexterity-based Barbarian is pretty cool, I’ll admit, but your rage boosts your Strength, not your Dexterity.

By this point, you may not have been able to increase your Strength via Ability Score improvements, and so this is the way to go.

Boots of Speed

One thing people tend to forget about real-life tanks is that they are fast. A tank can haul steel across a variety of landscapes.

If you can cast haste on yourself with these boots, you can +2 to your already high AC, advantage on Dexterity saving throws, and an additional action each turn.

If you happen to be a tiefling barbarian, you are now hell on wheels.

Mantle of Spell Resistance

As a Barbarian, you are fairly insured against most martial attacks and damages. Yet you still have very few class-derived resistances to magic. This Mantle will support you here.

What Are the Best Magic Items for Barbarians at Tier IV?

At Tier IV, you can expect that whatever magic item you carry around will be mentioned in the sagas about you centuries from now.

Therefore, it is very important you pick a fashionable and memorable loadout!

Animated Shield

By Tier IV, you have so many things you can do as a bonus action provided you have a free hand or a second weapon. It is hard to choose between an extra attack or a +2 bonus to AC.

With an Animated Shield, you don’t need to make that choice. You can have your shield and swing it too.

Belt of Stone Giant Strength

I don’t care who you are; you are not getting a 23 strength without this item. So much of what you do is based on strength that not having an item like this is kind of ridiculous.

Dragon’s Wrath Weapon

You get so many different bonuses with a weapon like this, such as a damage resistance or extra elemental damage.

The best thing, though, is a free Area of Effect attack that deals force damage and allows you more options in your already considerable crowd-control capabilities.

Horn of Valhalla

What’s better than wading through a hoard of enemies? Doing it with your buddies!

Multiply your allies with this horn and be safe from the consequences would you not measure up. You want to go to Valhalla? This is a good way to get a good reference from the inside.

Legendary or Artifact

Weapons of this sort are so powerful that your players shouldn’t be able to just randomly roll one up and let you know what they found.

Something like this will come with its own plot or subquest, and it will definitely be a game-changer. Hand these out carefully, but do hand them out.

One of my favorite plot hooks is to give a 1st-level character a magic item that is WAY above their tier of play and let that item be the plot hook.

For example, I once ran a game for a first-level tiefling warlock, and I gave him the opportunity to steal a Staff of Fire from a BBEG.

The first five levels were all about him on the run from anyone who wanted that item for themselves. Plus, since he had a Staff of Fire, I could wildly overpower him with bad guys to force him to use the staff.

Great fun!

If you have a Barbarian in your game and want to give this a shot, I recommend giving that player one of these items below.

Sword of Kas

This item comes with enough lore that it deserves its own post. Vecna is fairly fashionable these days, what with the Stranger Things Season 4 and the new D&D Beyond release of Vecna’s stat block.

The Sword of Kas was the magical sword Vecna gifted to his most trusted lieutenant who eventually betrayed Vecna for… reasons.

Give this sword to your Barbarian player if you plan on throwing lots of undead, lots of cultists, and a fair bit of crypt crawling and plane hopping.

Sword of Kas 

Weapon (longsword), artifact (requires attunement)

When Vecna grew in power, he appointed an evil and ruthless lieutenant, Kas the Bloody Handed, to act as his bodyguard and right hand. This despicable villain served as advisor, warlord, and assassin.

His successes earned him Vecna’s admiration and a reward: a sword with as dark a pedigree as the man who would wield it.

For a long time, Kas faithfully served the lich, but as Kas’s power grew, so did his hubris. His sword urged him to supplant Vecna, so that they could rule the lich’s empire in Vecna’s stead.

Legend says Vecna’s destruction came at Kas’s hand, but Vecna also wrought his rebellious lieutenant’s doom, leaving only Kas’s sword behind. The world was made brighter thereby.

The Sword of Kas is a magic, sentient longsword that grants a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with it. It scores a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20, and deals an extra 2d10 slashing damage to undead.

If the sword isn’t bathed in blood within 1 minute of being drawn from its scabbard, its wielder must make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw.

On a successful save, the wielder take 3d6 psychic damage. On a failed save, the wielder is dominated by the sword, as if by the dominate monster spell, and the sword demands that it be bathed in blood.

The spell effect ends when the sword’s demand is met.

Random Properties. The Sword of Kas has the following random properties:

  • 1 minor beneficial property
  • 1 major beneficial property
  • 1 minor detrimental property
  • 1 major detrimental property

Spirit of Kas. While the sword is on your person, you add a d10 to your initiative at the start of every combat. In addition, when you use an action to attack with the sword, you can transfer some or all of its attack bonus to your Armor Class instead. The adjusted bonuses remain in effect until the start of your next turn.

Spells. While the sword is on your person, you can use an action to cast one of the following spells (save DC 18) from it: call lightning, divine word, or finger of death. Once you use the sword to cast a spell, you can’t cast that spell again from it until the next dawn.

Sentience. The Sword of Kas is a sentient chaotic evil weapon with an Intelligence of 15, a Wisdom of 13, and a Charisma of 16. It has hearing and darkvision out to a range of 120 feet.

The weapon communicates telepathically with its wielder and can speak, read, and understand Common.

Personality. The sword’s purpose is to bring ruin to Vecna. Killing Vecna’s worshipers, destroying the lich’s works, and foiling his machinations all help to fulfill this goal.

The Sword of Kas also seeks to destroy anyone corrupted by the Eye and Hand of Vecna. The sword’s obsession with those artifacts eventually becomes a fixation for its wielder.

Destroying the Sword. A creature attuned to both the Eye of Vecna and the Hand of Vecna can use the wish property of those combined artifacts to unmake the Sword of Kas. The creature must cast the wish spell and make a Charisma check contested by the Charisma check of the sword.

The sword must be within 30 feet of the creature, or the spell fails. If the sword wins the contest, nothing happens, and the wish spell is wasted. If the sword loses the contest, it is destroyed.

Proficiency with a longsword allows you to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll for any attack you make with it.

Notes: Bonus: Initiative, Bonus: Magic, Damage, Buff, Debuff, Combat, Cursed, Versatile


Dungeon Master’s Guide, pg. 226

Leave a Comment