Morrowind Character Guide Series: The Barbarian
For those who watch my let's plays and livestreams, you'll know that we're all about role-playing and not at all about min-maxing. This series is not about the ultimate [insert class] build, let's face it, sooner or later your character will be a god-killer whether you min-max or not. In addition we tend to always want to play the same way, with the same style, the same weapons, the same game play. So instead, I want to suggest ways to play a class and mods that can make the experience fresh and more unique. For more general role-playing mod recommendations, you can check this guide.
Skills, Race, and Birthsign
Come to think of it, I have never played a Barbarian. I tend to find pure melee classes less interesting, so I'm looking forward to what this will turn out to be!
Main attributes for the Barbarian: Strength and Speed; looking at the skills: Strength, obviously, but also Agility, and to a lesser extent Speed. That's good news, espcially when wearing Medium Armor: Strength and Endurance will increase nicely (maximum health) as well as Agility (hit chance and dodge).
Typically, Orcs and Nords are associated with the Barbarian Class, and for good reason, they are the strongest! However, take one look at their Agility… it is appallingly disappointing, making Light Armour, Block, and Marksman your go-to skills to improve Agility: not your prime choice for those races. The real brave choice here, it to forget about Agility and build up your health and defense... and take the damage like a real man, or mer.
To pick a race, you'll need to decide what kind of Barbarian you want to be.
If you lean towards the brute with no armour and a heavy weapon (a.k.a Conan). Go Nord, you'll have the Strength, no need for Agility, and decent Speed. The Orc has lower Speed and worse Unarmoured, but their skills align better with those of a Barbarian.
I'll admit, I like the male Argonian for a Barbarian. Hear me out. While not your stereotypical Conan the Barbarian, the Argonian is mostly tribal and uses the resources of the land to make weapons and armour (hence the variety of weapon and armour skills). Looking at the attributes, Argonians score an even 40 for Strength, Agility, and Speed. Taking that into account, Medium Armour and Unarmoured are a good match. Additionally, poison and disease resistances match well with a Barbarian who is used to living in harsh conditions.
Remember Gar the Human in Arcanum? This orc-dumb-looking melee fighter is in fact educated and very well-versed in politics and... tea! From a role-playing point of view, I like the smart, literate Barbarian. Could be a fun character to play.
Don't like any of the races? Consider Westly's Half-Troll Race – it has Barbarian written all over it.
As for Birthsigns, the Warrior is a fine choice, though, the Thief is particularly nice if you go for the unarmoured Barbarian. The Lord also has its place, especially with a Nord, making you highly resistant to frost but very vulnerable to fire.
Gameplay and mods
Looking the part
Conan/Berserker style, get your loincloth and prepare to show that chest:
- Male vest for better bodies: adds a new vendor to the Outfitters in Suran. Admittedly, some vests are too fancy for the Barbarian, but the leather one is good.
- Not afraid to go all the way? Loinclothes and tops by Dereko
- Mohawks by Roberberbil & Korana for all vanilla races.
- If you prefer to mix and match pieces of armour making use of Unarmoured, Light, and Medium Armour, try Aoimevello's Ashlander Rebels, which features a nice mix and match of leather, chitin, bonemold, and cloth. Only one problem: you'll have to get it from the corpses of the rebels… eh, not really a problem, right? (For a review of Aiomevello's NPC/armour mod, take a look at this video review on Youtube.)
For the Argonian, keep a little bit of the Black Marsh on you with Quorn's Argonian Armor Sets v1.3 and Argonian Hist Armor by Helios, Ral-Jiktar.
With fighting being, pretty much, the only thing the Barbarian is good at, we have to make that fun and preferably spectacular:
- Blood and Gore by TheLys: adds more visual (and gory) cues during combat.
- Blood and Gore - Retextured by Corsair: makes the blood splatters from blood and gore look good; gross… but you know, good!
- Diverse Blood by Spacedevo: replaces textures for each and every blood type in the game.
- BattleCry One of Fliggerty's less known mods but perfect for the Barbarian, shout before attacking and enjoy a buff to your stats for a minute, followed by some fatigue.
- Combat Advanced: this is an old mod but we haven't come up with anything better so far. With this, your character can perform combo attacks (chop-chop-thrust, for example) with devastating effects: decapitate, chop an arm off...! Even better for the Barbarian, you can enter a rage state and even have dynamic blocking. To use this mod, you need a third-party program: Morrowind Enhanced. Some players have reported their game to be less stable – but, just give it a go, when it works, it's bloody brilliant (pun intended).
- The latest combat mod: Next Gen Combat by Aracelliy. Sure, you won't get to decapitate your enemies but each weapon type has a special perk, blocking can be an active skill and your attack won't miss even if they connect).
- Lock Bashing lets us smash those doors and chests open. Warning: always carry a spare weapon or a bunch of hammers.
- Morrowind Code Patch: edible ingredients patch. While the Barbarian will never be an alchemist (precision and patience, pah!) consider getting your alchemy to 15 so your Barbarian knows the first effect of ingredients and can eat them safely. For example, Marshmerrow will restore a small amount of health, and Saltrice will restore some fatigue.
- You know I like Class Abilities. Well, it just so happens that it’s perfect for the no-magic Barbarian (they would in fact be wary of spells, if mainstream fantasy is to be believed). Not only is this mod great as a chargen mod, but as you level up (at level 5, 10, 15, and 20) you get to pick an ability (constant buff), or better still, a power (once a day). Perfect for the spell-less Barbarian. With the same logic in mind, try Master of Abilities where you get powers and abilities as quest rewards.
- If you are a Nord, you really have to take Spot the wolf companion with you.
- If you like survival mods, grab Ashfall, beta available on the MW modding discord: camping, cooking, chopping trees... getting food poisoning, all of it a part of the Barbarian's daily life in the great outdoors. Bare Necessities, Frostwind and Necessties of Morrowindare good non-MWSE alternatives.
- Yet again, Merlord's Character Backgrounds: try the bully for extra strength or large frame for extra size.
- Steinthor Hall: a rather masculine lodge close to Fort Frostmoth if camping is not your thing.
- Helluva - axes and blunt weapons: for a very large collection of weapons.
- Petethegoat's Illiterate so that all your Barbarian can do is look at the picture.
- Stormkiss Reforged by Enclavekiller and Gervlat, improves the Olmgerd the Outlaw quest, includes a gorgeous armour for your Barbarian.
Handicaps and goals
- Magic is eeeevil. Refuse to cast spells or have spells cast on you (including shrine mumbo-jumbo-fishy-spooky spells) and rely on raw ingredients to cure yourself as well as potions from the apothecary (man of plants, not magic).
- Magic is reeeeeally eeevil: refuse to use on-cast items or on-hit weapons unless they are of divine origin (the Barbarian doesn't trust the magic of men but won't argue with the gods).
- Completely renounce the comforts of city life: no soft bed at the inn.
- Reject consumer society, only equip what you find, or craft with PC - Smithy Ebonheart.
For the Orc:
- Complete Malakath's quest.
- Live by The Code of Mauloch >> That might include finding a good wife who can smith using The Romance mod, making your enemies pay a blood price (especially if they insulted your honor).
- Complete all 9 quests in The Fires of Orc by Gavrilo.
For the Nord:
- Complete the Bloodmoon quest line.
- Travel to Soltheim to become a true Barbarian/Skaal Chieftain. Better yet, become the Jarl of Solstheim
- Fight Vvardenfell strongest fighters and defeat them honourably: Umbra (more fun with Wandering Umbra by Mort and Melchior's Umbra - Blademaster), Thauraver, Dandras Vules, Yarnar, Karrod, Gaenor...
- Become the Grand Champion of the Arena using Welcome to the Arena by Kalamestari_69.
If you want more ideas for random handicaps and goals, check this blog entry with wheels to click, you can find my permadeath modlist (and all the others, actually) here and if you'd like to see many new characters created, join us on Twitch every Sunday for our permadeath runs ;)