WHAT – The Barbarian

Both Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder have a Barbarian Class not found in many other RPGs including Warrior Heroes Adventures in Talomir (WHAT). In this post, I’ll go over what makes the Barbarian different from your average Warrior and how to easily create one for WHAT. There is a tradeoff, however, the more you make your character like a D&D or Pathfinder character, the slower your game will play. Honestly, an encounter that takes less than two hours to play in WHAT can easily take an entire evening to play in Pathfinder.

The Barbarian class was not in the original Dungeons and Dragons. So why is there a Barbarian class? It can be summed up in an author’s name and the name of one of his characters. The author was fellow Texan – Robert E. Howard and his character, of course, was Conan.

The Conan stories first appeared in the “Pulp” magazines in the early 1930s. The novels began appearing in hardback and paperback in the 1950s. But for many of us, our introduction to Conan the Barbarian was through the black and white graphic novel comics from Marvel in the 1970s. In 1982, Gary Gygax introduced a subclass of the fighter in Dragon magazine called the barbarian. Soon afterwards TSR released a Conan the Barbarian module for Dungeons and Dragons and in 1985, the barbarian became a base class in the game.

One of my favorite memories of growing up was visiting Poncho’s News Stand. It was across the street from the bus station and next door to the State Movie Theater. It was your typical News Stand of the period – they had newspapers and magazines from all over the country and a few from other countries. They also sold tobacco and candy. But for me it was the racks of paperbacks and comic books. You could buy a comic book for twelve cents and a paperback for fifty cents. It was among these racks that I discovered Tarzan, Conan, and of course, Red Sonja. The couple who ran the news stand were an interesting couple, they spoke with an accent from somewhere far away and they kept a talking Mina bird at the cash register. Like so many places in my hometown, it is no longer there.

In reality, a “barbarian” was simply a foreigner. Greeks made fun of foreigners by saying their words all sounded like “bar-bar” – today we would say a foreign language sounds like “blah-blah” in English. What also set these barbarians apart was than many of them, men and women, wore pants and rode horses. A quick fashion note, the reason women still wear dresses and skirts is that in many societies we were not allowed to ride a horse and when we did, we had to ride side saddle – something to with a belief among men that if a woman straddled a horse, having a beast between her legs would overcome her feminine sensibilities.

So what makes a barbarian in fantasy literature and games? It is primarily the character’s ability, whether controlled or uncontrolled, to fly off into a deadly rage. Other descriptions of the barbarian include a sullen or anti-social behavior. And of course he and/or she has muscles denoting a higher level of endurance.

Creating a Barbarian in WHAT

Creating a Barbarian is actually very easy. First, the make the character’s class as Warrior, even if the Warrior class is not in the character’s race list. For example, there aren’t any Warriors listed in the Elves race list, so it you want an Elven Barbarian, you must first make him or her a Warrior. The only exception is the Creature class, any race with the Creature class can’t produce a Warrior – though many Creature races are barbaric in nature.

What? You’ve never heard of Elven Barbarians? You are indeed young and wet behind the ears if you’ve never heard of ElfQuest by Richard and Wendy Pini. Believe it or not, ElfQuest was among the kids’ favorite bedtime stories.

(Trivia bit: a poem and illustration of Red Sonja by Wendy Pini appearred in issue #23 of The Savage Sword of Conan!)

The character has the Warrior class attribute of Wary and the character retains its racial attribute. In addition, give your Barbarian the Rage attribute. Remember, you can use as many attributes as you wish in defining a character, BUT having more than 2 or 3 slows the game down making it longer to play.

The last thing you need to do in creating your Barbarian is to insure that the People Skill is always less than the character’s Rep. That’s it, easy peasy.

Conclusion & Summary

What I hope to have conveyed to you today is that any trope found in fantasy literature, games, comics, film, etc. can be represented in WHAT. It is truly your game and not governed by rules set by corporate executives. Let me know what your think, your comments are always appreciated. Until next time, may your OOFs be few and far between.

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