Lighthouse for the Blind
“Gith’s blood! I will hunt that wizard down and skin him
―Borac, mul barbarian
Brutality is a way of life in Athas, as much in some of
the cities as in the dwindling tribes of Athas’ harsh
wastes. Cannibal headhunting halflings (who occasionally
visit Urik from the Forest Ridge) sometimes express shock
at the savagery and bloodshed of the folk that call
themselves “civilized” and live between walls of stone.
They would be more horrified if they were to see the skull
piles of Draj, experience the Red Moon Hunt in Gulg, or
watch a seemingly docile house slave in Eldaarich rage as
she finally “goes feral”, taking every frustration of her
short cruel life out on whoever happens to be closest to
hand. Nibenese sages claim that the potential for savagery
is in every sentient race, and the history of Athas seems to
support their claim.
Some on Athas have turned their brutality into an art
of war. They are known as “brutes”, “barbarians” or
“feral warriors” and they wear the name with pride.
Impious but superstitious, cunning and merciless, fearless
and persistent, they have carved a name for their martial
traditions out of fear and blood.
Making a Barbarian
The barbarian is a fearsome warrior, compensating for
lack of training and discipline with bouts of powerful
rage. While in this berserk fury, barbarians become
stronger and tougher, better able to defeat their foes and
withstand attacks. These rages leave barbarians winded;
at first they only have the energy for a few such
spectacular displays per day, but those few rages are
Races: Humans are often barbarians, many having
been raised in the wastes or escaped from slavery. Halfelves
sometimes become barbarians, having been
abandoned by their elven parents to the desert to survive
on their own; if more of them survived they would be
quite numerous. Dwarves are very rarely barbarians, but
their mul half‐children take to brutishness like a bird
takes to flight, living by their wits and strengths in the
wastes. Muls have a particular inclination this way of life,
and very often “go feral” in the wilderness after escaping
slavery in the city. Elves rarely take to the barbarian class;
those that do are usually from raiding tribes such as the
Silt Stalkers. Half‐giants readily take the barbarian class.
Despite their feral reputations, halflings rarely become
barbarians; their small statures and weak strength adapts
them better for the ranger class. Likewise, despite their
wild nature, thri‐kreen are rarely barbarians, since their
innate memories allow them to gain more specialized
classes such as ranger and psychic warrior without
training. Pterrans of the Forest Ridge occasionally become
barbarians, but like halflings they more often favor the
Alignment: Barbarians are never lawful—their
characteristic rage is anything but disciplined and
controlled. Many barbarians in the cities are often rejects
from the regular army, unable to bear regular discipline
or training. Some may be honorable, but at heart they are
wild. At best, chaotic barbarians are free and expressive.
At worst, they are thoughtlessly destructive.
Class Skills: Escape Artist and Profession are class
skills for Athasian barbarians. Swim is a cross‐class skill
for Athasian barbarians.
Wasteland Trapsense (Ex): You can apply your trap
sense class feature to natural hazards, such as quicksand
or an ant lion’s sand pit (TotDL 82), as well as your Armor
Class against attacks made by natural hazards, such as a
mekillot stampede (FFN 146). This ability replaces the
trapsense ability a standard barbarian receives.
Playing a Barbarian
All cower and stand in awe at the fury you can tap,
enhancing your strength and toughness. But what do
these people know of the burnt wastes of Athas, the
hellish jungles of the Forest Ridge? The cruel vicissitudes
of growing up in the wastes of Athas were nothing but
normal to you. When your family was lost in a tembo
attack, or when your entire village was either murdered
or forced into slavery, how could you not know they
might not had to die? These and many other brutal
experiences marked you, and you now stand apart from
those born into the “comforts” of the city‐states.
Although most are profoundly superstitious,
barbarians distrust the established elemental temples of
the cities. Some worship the elements of fire or air or
devote themselves to a famous figure. Most barbarians
truly believe the sorcerer‐kings to be gods, because of
their undeniable power, and a few actually worship a
sorcerer‐king, usually the one that conquered their tribe.
Such barbarians often escape menial slavery by joining an
elite unit of barbarians in the service of an aggressive citystate
such as Urik, Draj or Gulg.
Barbarians are most comfortable in the company of
gladiators, and of clerics of Air and Fire. Enthusiastic
lovers of music and dance, barbarians admire bardic
talent, and some barbarians also express fascination with
bardic poisons, antidotes and alchemical concoctions.
With some justification, barbarians do not trust wizardry.
Even though many barbarians manifest a wild talent, they
tend to be wary of psions and Tarandan psionicists.
Psychic warriors, on the other hand, are creatures after
the barbarian’s own heart, loving battle for its own sake.
Barbarians have no special attitudes toward fighters or
rogues. Barbarians admire gladiators and will ask about
their tattoos and exploits, but will quickly grow bored if
the gladiator does not respond boastfully.
You know that half the battle occurs before the fight
even begins. You prefer to choose your battleground
when you can, stalking your opponent into terrain that
best suits your abilities. Once battle is joined, you become
a wild frenzy of motion, striking quickly and powerfully
until all your opponents are crushed. While you lack the
training of the fighter, or the cunning of the gladiator, you
more than compensate them through sheer power and
Becoming a barbarian let you further tap into your
feral nature, letting you become one with the savage beast
in your hear, and through your training, you have learned
what you must do to unlock it.
To fully utilize your barbarian abilities, you will want
to focus on feats that take advantage of your superior
strength and speed, such as Power Attack and Whirlwind
Barbarians on Athas
“Don’t make my friend angry. You won’t like him when
―Cabal, half‐elven bard
In a savage world like Athas, is only natural that some
of its inhabitants have turned into barbarians. They are
fierce combatants without the army training fighters
receive or wild rangers without the hunting skills.
A barbarian is a passionate adventurer. As a
survivalist, he often sees his involvement in a particular
enterprise as a validation of his superior strength and
resilience. In his mind, his presence alone is enough to
ensure the success of a quest, adventure, or ruin raid.
Even simple tasks are additional opportunities to prove
his own worth by accomplishing the task with might and
alacrity. Barbarians are typically hardheaded and
unforgiving because of the rigors of his previous life.
It is rare for a barbarian to live long enough, or close
enough to civilization, in order to become famous, but a
few examples exist. Korno, a Raamite gladiator, became
the leader of a group of slaves, and Korno’s furious rage
known from the arenas has only increased after losing
everything in the Raam invasion by Dregoth. The leader
of Pillage, Chilod, is a tarek know for his outbursts of rage
and cruelty, being one of the most feared chiefs of the
Because of their independent and sometimes
downright chaotic natures, many barbarians refuse to join
organizations of any kind, though they usually maintain
relationships with trading houses and raiding tribes.
There is no specific organization that binds barbarians
Many lay people cannot tell a barbarian from a ranger
or a fighter until his rage overcomes him and he starts
screaming and bashing.
Most authority figures and templars do not appreciate
barbarians since they are prone to losing control and
cannot be truly trusted. Thus, they generally treat
barbarians with a great deal of caution.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (nature) can
research barbarians to learn more about them. When a
character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the
following, including the information from lower DCs.
DC 10: Barbarians are hot‐blooded combatants who
fight with great brutality and savagery.
DC 15: Barbarians become stronger and more resilient
when they lose control.
DC 20: Barbarians can stand up to punishment that no
other individual can endure, and their reflexes are as
quick as a rogue’s.