[Top 5] D&D Best Barbarian Race - What's the Best Race for Barbarians?

Best Race for Barbarians
Barbarians in their natural habitat, slashing bad guys with no remorse.

Whilst Barbarians are a simple class for players to get their head around, all new DnD players know the struggle of finding the perfect class to play but not knowing which race is going to help them deal damage and survive getting stabbed, repeatedly.

This list outlines the best races for players looking to get into the business of raging, slashing and smashing.

The options included are perfect for players who are just looking to build the best Barbarian possible, as well as players looking to build a Barbarian that comes with more combat variety, to make fights more fun and gratifying.

1. Eladrin

 Pictured above is an Autumn Eladrin. This race changes it's appearence depending on the season they align with, So expect to see these Elves also sporting different colours if they're dressed for Summer, Spring or Winter

Eladrin are Fey Elves who can change their form to match different seasons. Whilst Elves don’t typically make good Barbarians, the Eladrin come with excellent resistances and several offensive abilities that are useful in combat. Also, they teleport, which is a really easy way to close the gap between the player's axe and their enemy's face.

Why Eladrin are Great for Barbarians:

  • Fey ancestry gives players an advantage on the wisdom saving throw required to resist the charmed condition. Barbarians have famously low wisdom, so extra protection against the charm spell is extremely useful.
  • Eladrin also gain Darkvision and Keen Senses, which let players see in the dark and gives them a proficiency in perception. These racial traits help compensate for Barbarian’s low wisdom during perception checks and provide players with more tools for exploring unlit locations.
  • Elves can take a long rest in half the time (4 hours instead of 8) required by other races. This gives adventuring parties a Barbarian who will be able to stand watch overnight with all their skills fully stocked. 
  • Eladrin have a Dexterity +2 and Charisma +1. Charisma is not particularly useful for barbarians, but the increased dexterity can help players dodge attacks and avoid damage.
  • The best part of playing Eladrin is Fey Step, which gives players the ability to teleport 30 feet as a bonus action. This doesn’t affect rage and still allows players to take an action on their turn. Additionally, Fey Step comes with additional abilities depending on what season the player has chosen for their character. 
  • Summer is the best choice of season for Barbarians, as it lets players deal fire damage equal to their charisma modifier when they Fey Step to a location. This means players can teleport into a crowd of enemies, immediately set them on fire, and then take a full attack to deal as much damage as possible- all whilst in a rage. As far as combat goes, this is a pretty cool option.

2. Goliath

Big, pale and scary. Whilst Goliaths might look tough on the outside, We're sure under all that muscle and nonspecified rage there is a heart ready to love.

As reclusive mountain dwellers, Goliaths have strong self-survival skills and are extremely self-sufficient. This makes them an excellent tool for navigating the world as a Barbarian. They have high strength and constitution, increased lifting and carrying capacity (if they end up as their party’s pack-mule), and proficiency in athletics to help with adventuring. 

Why Goliaths are Great for Barbarians:

  •  Goliaths gain a +2 in strength and have proficiency in athletics. Athletics checks are a form of strength checks which can be used by players to recover from bad situations. Falling off cliffs, failing long jumps or realizing that you're better at sinking than swimming all call for an athletics check. High athletics makes up for the Barbarian’s low dexterity, so Goliath players can be safe in the knowledge that even if they’re plummeting to their deaths, they have a way to recover.
  • The Powerful Build race trait also increases the Goliaths carrying capacity and strength when pushing, dragging or lifting objects. This, combined with Goliath's athletics, make players much more effective at handling any tasks or puzzles that require a little extra muscle.
  • Additionally, Goliaths gain a + 2 to their constitution, boosting their hit points which helps them stay upright in combat. They also have cold resistance, which won’t always be useful to players but is a handy level of protection when needed.
  • The Stones Endurance race trait is the main reason why Goliaths are an excellent pick for Barbarians. This ability allows players to, on a reaction, use the sum of a d12 roll and their constitution to reduce the damage they take from an attack. Although this ability has a long recharge time (short or long rest) it makes Goliath Barbarians much more effective at reducing damage intake and tanking dangerous attacks.

3. Half-Orc

Half-Orcs are described as being bulkier than humans, with greyish skintones and pronounced teeth. It might be a face only a mother could love, but they sure know how to throw a punch.

Half-Orcs are an excellent all-around choice for Barbarians. They come with solid boosts to the player's strength and health, as well as racial traits which make them better at tanking damage and pair well with abilities that Barbarians can access at higher levels. Ideal for new players looking to start playing Barbarian with a race that is easy to understand and comes with all the stats they need to be a menace in battle.

Why Half-Orcs are Great for Barbarians:

  •  Half-orcs have +2 to strength and +1 Constitution, as well as a strong balance of offensive and defensive power with the Relentless Endurance and Savage Attack racial traits.
  • Relentless Endurance lets players bounce back to 1 hit point instead of making death-saving throws if they run out of health but don’t outright get themselves killed. This ability needs a long rest to recharge (so can only be used once during combat) but it effectively means players get one opportunity to altogether avoid getting knocked down and lets them keep their rage.
  • Savage Attack lets players add an extra attack dice if they successfully land a critical hit. Combined with the Brutal Critical skill Barbarians learn at level 9, this means Half-Orc Barbarians can add 3-4+ dice rolls to an attack if they land a critical hit, allowing them to do major damage to their enemies if the dice are in their favour.
  • They also gain dark vision and proficiency in intimidation. With a half-Orc Barbarian, Players can use fear to get into restricted areas, instead of going to all the effort of trying to sneak in.

4. Centaur


Horse-legs, tattoos and a questionable side-part. What more could you ask for?

Centaurs are powerful warriors, with the level of strength required to make them an excellent fit for Barbarians. They’re also really effective at navigating the battlefield thanks to their high constitution and increased wisdom. Oh, and the horse legs probably help with this too.

Why Centaurs are Great for Barbarians

  • Centaurs have the staple +2 to strength, increased carrying capacity and the ability to push or drag heavy objects which are perfect for Barbarians.
  • Additionally, they gain a +1 for wisdom. Barbarians typically falter whenever they are required to make a Wisdom saving throw, so this extra protection is valuable for players.
  • What makes Centaurs unique compared to other races on this list is that they are incentivized to stay mobile during combat. The Charge trait gives players a bonus attack with the Centaur’s Hooves if they move before attacking a target on their turn. Players also gain a higher base walking speed, letting them cover more ground during encounters.
  •  These abilities pair well with the Barbarian's rage, as it makes players more effective at rushing towards groups of enemies and causing as much carnage as possible. It also helps players balance multiple enemies at once if they’re spaced out across the battlefield.
  • The Centaurs mobility also adds variety from a gameplay perspective, as it means that players who decide to play Barbarian have more options in combat than just standing in one place to tank damage for squishier party members.

5. Mountain Dwarf

Far over the misty mountain cold, Mountain Dwarves can be found slaying monsters, digging for gold and endulging in a healthy amount of rage.

The Mountain Dwarf is at the top of this list for three main reasons. Firstly, they have the best ability scores for Barbarians. Secondly, their broad proficiencies with weapons and armour give players a lot of options to build their Barbarian however they want. Thirdly, beards. No one grows them like Dwarves, so what else could you ask for?

Why Mountain dwarves are Great for Barbarians:

  •  Mountain Dwarves have the best ability scores for Barbarians, as players start with a +2 to strength and constitution. 
  • They also come with great resistance and defensive options. Mountain dwarves are resistant to poison damage and have proficiency with light and medium armour. They can also wear heavy armour without reducing their walking speed. Although many Barbarians opt to not wear armour, the Mountain Dwarf’s proficiencies give players more options if they’re finding that getting stabbed hurts more than they were expecting.
  • Alongside the armour proficiencies, Mountain Dwarves are proficient in using Battleaxes, hand axes, light hammers and Warhammers. Rather than being stuck with one weapon that has the best stats, players get more choice over what weapons their Barbarians will use during combat.



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With a love for videogames and a thirst for adventure, my favorite things are my backpack, the outdoors and subjecting strangers on the internet to passionate ramblings about my favorite games.
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