With pure, unadulterated rage and physical strength, barbarians manage to keep up with mages while still remaining a solid frontline in battle.
Most of their usefulness originates from their massive amounts of hit points, since they have the highest hit die, and from their rages, which allow them to halve the three most common damage types: slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning.
Barbarians stand as one of the simplest classes, if not the most, which makes them new-player-friendly but also leaves much room for different items to improve the class. The best non-magical and magical items will be listed in this article.
10. Herbalism Kit
Tools are not often useful for barbarians, considering that they usually lack the ability scores that would aid in using them, but the herbalism kit fits them in multiple ways. Barbarians tend to be warriors from tribes, groups of people who live in the wilderness and know nature.
So it would make sense for them to have obtained such a proficiency just by their past. With this proficiency at hand, a character can create healing potions for the whole party and themselves.
Meaning a barbarian could become fully self-sufficient by spending some time before or after a rest to gather ingredients and make potions for themselves, relieving some of the stress that the support classes have to deal with.
9. +1/+2/+3 Weapons
While a barbarian’s fists can get the job done at lower levels, a barbarian should have a weapon at hand before marching into their usual brutal combat. For a class that is focused on weapons, it makes sense that the weapon should be strong. So their weapons should have at least a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls.
Handaxes are the best weapon for a barbarian who wants to dual-wield. Handaxes have great damage for simple, light melee weapons, and they have the thrown property, giving the barbarian some much-needed range.
Most importantly, handaxes are axes, which are the best type of weapon for a class centered around raging your way through conflict.
Greatswords and mauls are practically the same for the purpose of damage dealing, both dealing 2d6 damage. The greatsword deals slashing damage while the maul deals bludgeoning damage.
These two weapons deal the highest standalone damage, but due to having two damage dice instead of one, they do not benefit as much from the Brutal Critical feature of the barbarian. Up to 9th level, these weapons are the best ones.
The greataxe is the iconic weapon of any barbarian, not just in Dungeons and Dragons but in most media. Its violent nature and swing-ability are perfect for a class known for its violent nature and raging swings.
The weapon also has the highest single damage die of any non-magical or unique weapon, combined with the Brutal Critical feature can potentially deal 3d12 slashing damage per attack starting from the 9th level.
The blackrazor is a magical greatsword with a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls. This sword stands among the strongest weapons for martial classes, but in the hands of a barbarian with hundreds of hit points and great resistances, it becomes a tool for the greatest battles.
Aside from the +3 bonus, the blackrazor offers two very powerful features: Devour Soul and Soul Hunter. Devour Soul grants you temporary hit points after slaying a creature, equal to the creature’s maximum hit points. This, by itself, is already great, but it doesn’t end there. While you have these temporary hit points, you gain advantage on attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks.
This feature might struggle to find use in a situation with only one opponent but in every other situation, it can turn a losing battle into an overwhelming victory just by slaying one enemy. The amount of temporary hit points gained also does not change the effect of this feature, so slaying a single goblin minion in front of the big baddy can end up being the catalyst to triumph.
The second feature, Soul Hunter, is much simpler but still useful. While holding the weapon, you can sense any creature that is larger than Tiny within 60 feet of you, and you cannot be frightened or charmed. The important part is that you cannot have the frightened or charmed condition. As these are the two conditions that make the barbarian unable to do its one job. A greatly powerful weapon with great potential and rarely out of its depth; the weapon even possesses its own sentience and can communicate with the user.
4. Half Plate
With Unarmored Defense, wearing armor seems like a bad choice. However, until the Dexterity and Constitution modifiers reach a total of +7, not wearing armor puts you at a disadvantage.
Half plate can keep you safe for most of the game, albeit with disadvantage on stealth checks. Generally, half-plate armor is better than plate armor since it lacks a Strength requirement, scales with Dexterity, and is also cheaper and more readily available in most worlds.
Many soldiers and mercenaries wear half-plate armor, and in a usual game, killing a few of them is a common occurrence. Looting their soulless bodies is only one step away after that. Armor might not be the coolest way to play a barbarian, but it definitely is the safest or, at least, the safest until their ability scores surpass any possible armor available.
3. Periapt of Wound Closure
The Periapt of Wound Closure is one of the best items in the game for any class, but it shines with the barbarian. Being at the frontline of combat often results in dropping unconscious multiple times during a single combat and being brought back through healing spells or potions.
This amulet simply stabilizes you at the start of your turn with no charges or requirements aside from not being dead and being attuned to it while wearing it. The clear benefit is that you can no longer lose your character due to bad death saving throws. Another, less noticeable benefit is that your healers can save some of their potions and healing spells to actually heal you or your allies rather than stabilizing you.
Initially, this might seem overpowered until you consider that if you, as a barbarian, fall unconscious, you are usually next to at least one enemy, and your body remains defenseless, easily being sent to Valhalla in a few turns if your turn is way down the turn order.
The periapt also has a secondary ability, which allows you to regain double the amount of hit points you gain whenever you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points. With the d12 that barbarians use as a Hit Die, this feature makes any short rest twice as valuable and allows you to save some Hit Dice for future short rests.
2. Ring of Free Action
The Ring of Free Action does not, in fact, give you a free action but something much more useful. Its primary use is that it grants immunity to magical slow, paralysis, and restraining effects. Its less important use is ignoring difficult terrain.
Ignoring difficult terrain is often more situational and less impactful, but the immunity to magical slow, paralysis, and restraining effects is amazingly useful, especially at higher-level games where magic is much more common and stronger. Many creatures can paralyze or restrain you using magic or spells, such as Liches and Illithids.
Having the frontline of the party turned useless by a single spell can cause many issues. Such a ring seems useful for any class, but having a wizard being restrained while at a safe distance from any opponents is much less impactful than having the barbarian, who tanks spells and attacks, be turned from a meat shield to a meat carpet. Combined with the Periapt of Wound Closure, it can make the barbarian a truly unstoppable force on the battlefield.
1. Belt of Giant Strength
The Belt of Giant Strength is perfect for barbarians as if it were made for them. There are multiple kinds of these belts, one for every type of giant, and each belt changes the wearer’s Strength score. The new score always exceeds the ability score limit of 20, much like the 20th-level feature Primal Champion, but they do not benefit from each other.
The weakest of these belts is the Belt of Hill Giant Strength, with a Strength score of 21, which does not affect your Strength if you already had 20, but can benefit the Indomitable Might feature. The strongest of them is the Belt of Storm Giant Strength, with an incredible score of 29, bringing your Strength modifier up to +9.
Using the Belt of Storm Giant Strength means you will almost never fail a Strength check, and each of your attacks deals a minimum of 10 damage. Having great synergy with the barbarian’s features and being the primary ability score they use, these belts should be in most, if not all, barbarians’ arsenals.