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  1. #1
    Community Member giftie's Avatar
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    Jan 2010

    Default First time barb - any merit to a deep bard splash?

    Here's the deal: I've virtually no experience with Barbarians. All my melees have had Monk splash and Evasion and are usually TWF. But ever since the bard revamp, I've been toying with the idea of a barb/bard. There seems to be synergy here, but I just can't find it. Anyway, I'm currently looking at 12/8 split, and the idea is to pick up the core bard buffs (most noticably Displacement; GH accessed by song) thinking that the split will gain more than it loses. Of course it's just a pure theory build at this stage.

    General layout: Human, max STR + levelups, rest in CON, any spare points in CHA, THF chain, Cleave chain, Extend and IC: Slash.

    General AP layout:

    SS: 7 (Magical Studies and Lingering Songs)
    WC: 25+ (all the way up to High Spirits - this includes Rage fatigue, no? - STR II and possibly Inspire Recklessness)
    FB: 34 (all the way up to Focused Wrath)
    OS: 7 (Uncanny Dodger and Extend Rage)
    Human: 5 (Amp I, STR I)

    The idea is to run in Fury, simply because I usually always run in LD.

    So what do I lose by splashing?

    Apart from spreading myself thin on AP, looks like Death Frenzy, 48HP, +2 BAB, 2 Rages/rest (does Boast III give +1 Rage?), 2% Dodge, 3/- DR, +2 Fort save. Technically I lose some Save vs Traps and vs Enchantments, but that's offset by higher Will and Reflex saves. You'll also suffer ASF on Medium armor.

    And what do I gain?

    +4 Reflex and +4 Will save, various songs including Heroism and Courage, L3 bard buffs (only at caster level 8, but with Extend).

    Obviously the first major drawback is that buffing is largely negated by Barbarian rage, but I'm thinking a Displace and Haste between Barbarian rages will still go a long way, and if I need more survivability I have the option to use Scaldic rage instead keeping Displacement up as long as SP lasts (Fury abilities still work during Scaldic rage?). Blur and GH is nice, and a gimped Inspire Courage is still better than no Inspire Courage if the group lacks a proper Bard.

    The second major drawback is losing Death Frenzy, which is potentially huge. But how much is Death Frenzy used? Given how hard stuff hits in late game, ~2 HP/attack seems pretty negligable - especially if you can play in a Radiant Aura. On the other hand the general idea of getting access to Displacement and whatnot is to avoid being a spell power sponge if possible.

    Is there any merit at all to this split? Or would I be better off doing a traditional max-DPS all-out barb?

  2. #2
    Community Member smckelv's Avatar
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    Mar 2010


    Well....I play both (different characters) Bard and Pure Barbarian. Some things you mentioned like haste, GH, and displace do synergy very well with a Barbarian. The first drawback , you mentioned, is that barbarian rage does not allow spells to be cast. Skaldic rage does but I cannot be sure it is the same....many barbarian enhancements and destinies give bonuses (while raging). If Skaldic rage works here, OK.

    The difference in rage STR between lvl 11 barbarian and lvl 20 Barbarian is only +4. But Death Frenzy also gives +1 critical multiplier (a big deal). Also, the Critical Rage (T6) in the ravager tree is a very nice bonus.

    Couple of other points: Barbarians can take greater heroism as a human enhancement. They can also take permanent haste as a lvl 27 feat. No displace: yes true, but that can be helped by dodge bonuses (light armour is better for that), you can also run ghostly (10%) and Blurry on items. Displace clickies from greensteel crafting are also popular. Remember also that uncanny dodge is the barbarians version of displace clickie. So you can pick up 50% there for a few seconds in big fights.

    That being said, I do encourage you to try it I have considered it ....its a cool themed build. The (pre u19) flavor used to be 16 bard/2 rogue/2 barb. So a barbarian splash on top of Bard might, might be better.

    On the other side, there really isn't as much appealing about lvl 20 Barb versus lvl 18 Barb anymore. I believe that a max-melee barbarian is probably best now as 18 barb/2 fighter (or other melee).
    Last edited by smckelv; 09-21-2013 at 02:15 PM.
    Anatir the Wild Man - Pure Barbarian
    Baldornix Magnus - Paladin 1st Life, Bard 2nd Life

  3. #3
    Community Member giftie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010


    Thanks for the reply.

    As far as I understand, Skaldic Rage won't suffice to enable Barbarian abilities that require Rage, but it will allow Fury abilities (Tunnel Vision, etc).

    Yeah, I really don't like to lose Death Frenzy. The neat thing about Barbs are their terrific crit profile, and it might end up breaking the build for me. I'd rather have better multiplier than range when in Fury, and the Ravager tree is over all less appealing than Berserker.

    That they can. And normally I'd want the Heal amp anyway. But there's jut not enough AP to go around in this particular build. Definitely a given in a pure or 18 barb build, though. While perma-haste is nice, I don't like to plan my build around a 27 feat. I tend to TR quite quickly upon reaching cap, and at that level the loot-gen Speed items are quite good and not too much of a strain on slotting.

    I don't like to rely on clickes for Displace, though. They're nice to have, but no substitute for the spell. To be honest, I've seen quite a few barbs with the Mindsunder mail and presumable Smoke HP items who never bother to use Displacement, and there's not even an item swap involved.

    I already run a pure SS AA Bard; probably one of my favourite characters. While I've considered a Bard 15/Barb 5 (for Inspire Excellence and T5 barb enhancments), I don't really like playing melee Bards.

    Despite the encouragement to try it, I might just go ahead and do a Red Sonja instead.

  4. #4
    Founder & Build Synthesis Battlehawke's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    Default divine might

    Food for thought: If you are going to have any kind of Charisma on this toon, you should consider splashing one level of Cleric. It allows you to have Divine Might in which you can add some Charisma to your Str bonuses. It's pretty nice and you can cast it while raged!
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  5. #5
    The Hatchery sirgog's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    I did a Barbarian past life once as a Brd8/Bbn12. It was quite effective at the time, but the recent addition of Skaldic Rage means that I think a bard gains less from Barbarian levels than they did back then.

    The character would sing, then cast extended Haste, extended Displacement, then Rage up and wade into the middle of combat. They were squishy for a barbarian, but had Displacement to make up for that, and they did OK.

    Not sure I'd do it again with current game mechanics, however. Barbarians are so feat-starved that I feel Fighter is more of a suitable splash if you choose to forsake your capstone.
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  6. #6
    Community Member giftie's Avatar
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    Jan 2010


    Thanks for the feedback.

    I eventually decided that no Death Frenzy was a deal breaker, and decided to roll an 18/1/1 Barb with Furyshot.

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