The barbarian class is often portrayed as a loner and an outsider, but people from the wild places often have deep bonds with their tribe, the wilderness they call home, and with the creatures they share the land with. Some tribes live their entire life in the saddle of a horse, moving from place to place, while others may hunt side by side with packs of dogs or other fearsome beasts. These warriors learn to control their animals instinctively, communicating with them as easily as they do with other humanoids, and to fight as ferociously from the back of a steed as they do on foot. Today, we present a barbarian path that captures this idea of the wild warrior and their loyal mount.
Adaptation: This path is designed with preserving the balance in the PHB in mind, however, I personally feel that companions could be a little stronger without severely unbalancing the game at higher levels. If the DM wishes, after 10th level, the barbarian could replace their companion and choose a beast or monstrosity up to CR 2, even allowing those with flight speeds such as the Griffon (this can also apply to other mounts/animal companions, such as that of the Beastmaster Ranger or the Paladin’s Find Steed spell). This allows for some truly epic mounted combats, just make sure that it’s suitable for your campaign and setting.
Additionally, not all beasts are created equal. If a player wishes to choose a creature as their mount for roleplaying reasons that is noticeably inferior to other available mounts, consider allowing some adjustments of the beast’s ability scores and damage to even things out.
Also, certain feats can greatly enhance this path; if you use this path in your game it is highly recommended that you also allow feats.
Path of the Beastrider
Beast Mount: When you choose this path at 3rd level, you gain a beast companion that accompanies you on your adventures and allows you to ride it in battle, even if it would not normally allow others to ride it. Choose a beast of Large size (if your size is medium) or Medium size (if your size is small) with a challenge rating of less than 1 that does not possess a flying speed to be your mount. The beast should be of a type your character is familiar with that you can ride, such as a warhorse, giant lizard, boar, black bear, etc. The beast is friendly to you and your companions as long as it is bonded to you, but will not allow others to ride it unless you remain within 30 feet and command it to remain calm the entire time.
The beast’s hit dice become d10s, and its number of hit dice and proficiency bonus become the same as yours, regardless of its normal statistics. Its hit points become 22 + 3 times its Con modifier. The creature gains an additional d10 hit die and hit points equal to 6 + its Constitution modifier each time you gain a level.
The beast’s natural Armor Class becomes 12+its Dexterity modifier. The beast cannot wear additional armor, it is too wild to allow it.
While you are mounted on the beast, you may use a bonus action to have it make one attack against a creature within its reach. You never need to make Wisdom: Animal Handling checks to control the beast while it is serving as your mount.
If you are dismounted, the beast acts on your initiative count, immediately after you, and defends itself from hostile creatures (using the Dodge action if it has not been attacked, or attacking the last creature that attacked it) but otherwise takes no actions, unless you use your action and command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, or Help action. The beast never requires your command to use its reaction, such as when making an opportunity attack.
If you fall unconscious or are incapacitated, the beast defends you until it is killed. If combat ends and you are dead, the beast flees into the wild and loses any previous benefits from having been your companion.
If your beast dies or has fled because you were dead, you must seek a new beast (or the same one, if it is still alive) in the wild and spend 8 hours bonding with it. At the end of this time, the beast is modified as above and benefits from your other features that affect it. The DM determines the difficulty of locating an appropriate beast.
Shared Rage: Beginning at 3rd level, while you are raging and within 30 feet of your beast, it adds your rage damage bonus to its melee attacks. Whenever you use your Reckless Attack class feature while mounted, your beast companion gains advantage on the attack roll it makes using your bonus action.
Superior Beasthandler: At 6th level, you gain advantage on Wisdom: Animal Handling checks, and on Intelligence: Nature checks to recall information about beasts. You can communicate with your beast and other beasts of the same type as if you were affected by a Speak with Animals spell. Additionally, your beast’s primary movement speed increases by 5 feet, and you may distribute 2 points among its Strength and Dexterity, and Constitution scores.
Mounted Superiority: At 10th level, you and your beast are more one creature than rider and mount. It costs you only 5 feet of movement to mount your bonded beast. You automatically succeed on saving throws against being dismounted, and your mount has advantage on all saving throws that would move it against its will or cause it to be knocked prone.
Primal Bond: At 14th level, your rage fully affects your beast as well as yourself. While you are raging, your beast has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage, and it also gains the benefit of your Relentless Rage class feature. Additionally, your beast’s primary movement speed increases by 5 feet, and you may distribute 2 additional points among its Strength and Dexterity, and Constitution scores.