Barbarians who take the path of the storm herald in Dungeons & Dragons use the power of nature to control the battlefield to hinder their foes and protect their allies. This class is built around choosing between one of three different elemental auras to control the battlefield.
Compared to other barbarians, you have more ways to attack than just hit hard, and even some minor support options, giving you a slightly more versatile role than the traditional tank. However, you lack the elemental damage capabilities and crowd-control options that spellcasters have, leaving you vulnerable while enemies target your more fragile allies.
Path of the Storm Herald Class Features
All the effects you get from this subclass are dependent on the aura you choose when you first take it at the third level. They all focus on one damage type, allowing extra options to inflict damage to that type and granting resistance to it.
Desert aura is primarily built around fire damage. To start with, you can damage everyone within a certain range, doing more damage as your level increases.
This damage will include allies, so be careful with its usage.
Eventually, you gain fire resistance and a modified hellish rebuke that allows you to damage creatures that fail a dexterity saving throw after attacking you.
Desert aura is the best for handling several enemies, having more options to deal damage but also potentially harming your allies.
Sea aura focuses on lightning damage and does more damage than desert aura at the expense of only targeting one enemy of your choosing.
You can force a creature to make a strength-saving throw, knocking them prone if they fail and requiring them to spend an action getting up.
This is better for focusing on one particular enemy you want to deal with, often bosses.
Tundra is more focused on cold damage and support, allowing you to grant allies temporary hit points when you enter a rage, and allowing you to reduce the speed of enemies who fail a strength saving throw.
This is helpful for keeping your allies nearby and protecting them, so it’s more support-based.
Deciding Which Storm Aura To Choose
Which storm aura you choose will mostly depend on what you want to do. If you’re going to run in and deal with a bunch of enemies on your own, Desert is best.
If you want to focus on punishing one particular opponent as much as possible, Sea will work.
Finally, Tundra is what you should go with if you’re dealing with a lot of allies who have low HP and will die easily.
None are objectively the best, but Sea does align more with the traditional way of playing a barbarian because it harmonizes with their typical themes of resilience and ferocity.
Best Stats For A Storm Herald Barbarian
Any saving throw caused by your aura will be calculated by your Constitution modifier, so you want that to be as high as you can make it, so enemies don’t succeed in their rolls.
The next best should be Strength for your attacks. This approach makes sure that you maximize your aura’s effectiveness and your combat prowess, making you a strong force in battle.
Benefit of investing
To use your storm aura to its greatest effect, having a high Constitution will help you make saving throws hard to beat. Increasing your HP will also help you survive longer.
If you take Sea or Desert aura, you don’t need your strength to be your number one priority since you have extra damage options, but you still want this to be high.
Dexterity determines your armor class, and the higher this is, the more difficulty opponents will have hitting you at all.
Wisdom isn’t necessary for a barbarian, but it comes up a lot as a saving throw, so it’s worth investing a little.
Unless you need Charisma for class skills, it will come up the most when you’re roleplaying and talking to NPCs. Depending on how you want to play your character, you may or may not need this.
Intelligence almost never comes up for barbarians, so if you’re basing stats just on your class, you can dump this one, and it won’t hurt your damage output.
Best Species For A Storm Herald Barbarian
If character lore isn’t your top priority, the best way to choose a species is based on the class features and bonuses that help your best stats.
Mountain Dwarf will increase both your most useful stats, strength and constitution, as well as let you resist poison damage.
Halflings get the Lucky feat by default, letting them reroll when they roll a one, making them very useful. Take the stout halfling subspecies to improve your Strength.
Humans can choose between an extra feat or improve any two stats of your choosing, making this a good option to round out any stats you want.
Dragonborn are very useful for a barbarian as it gives you an extra resistance and a ranged weapon on top of the strength boost. Make sure your draconic ancestry doesn’t grant you a redundant resistance.
All gnomes get advantage on Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma saving throws against magic, letting you handle mages easier. Take the rock gnome subspecies for a boost to constitution.
This class is pretty much built to be barbarian. It improves your strength and constitution, you can tank attacks that would otherwise knock you out, and your critical hits do more damage.
Best Feats For A Storm Herald Barbarian
Barbarians and mages are natural enemies, though the resistance you gain through your aura will help on that front.
You can be even more of a problem by messing up their ability to concentrate on spells and immediately making an attack whenever a nearby mage casts a spell.
This helps you cover allies by allowing you to attack enemies who attack nearby allies, thus it synergizes very well if you pick Tundra as your aura.
You can increase your ability to tank every level by taking this feat and gaining two hit points every level. It’s very good if you want to try and draw attacks from a lot of enemies.
NEXT: Dungeons & Dragons: How To Build A Path Of The Berserker Barbarian