A New Barbarian Subclass: The Dragon Shaman

Told you there’d be more homebrew content!

Back in high school I was introduced to DnD through a few friends. My first character was a Legolas ripoff. My second character was significantly more interesting.  He was a fullblade-wielding goliath Dragon Shaman, with a gold dragon as his dragon totem.  He was also the chef of our PC pirate crew.

“What’s a Dragon Shaman?” you’re probably asking.  The Dragon Shaman was a class released in the Player’s Handbook II for 3.5e.  It was a martial fighter that, as you gained levels, slowly became more dragon-like.  You’d grow scales, gain a breath weapon, and even grow wings.  My goliath worshiped a gold dragon as his totem dragon, meaning he also had the ability to breath underwater.  But as a Dragon Shaman he could also release an aura which gave party members close enough to him a wide variety of buffs (including social ones!)

I’ve wanted to port the class over to 5e for a while now, and finally began work on the project.  Thing is, I realized quickly that making it a full-fledged class wouldn’t work; the dragon shaman didn’t have many differences going for it which could justify multiple subclasses.  So being stuck here, I decided to look toward creating a possible subclass for an existing 5e class.  Barbarian seemed to fit the bill best, with the auras being tied up into the rage mechanic and the idea of growing scales working well with the Barbarian’s unarmored defense.

This iteration of the Dragon Shaman loses some of what made it interesting in 3.5; no Lay on Hands-like ability, which I think should remain firmly away from Barbarians, and no real functional ability to increase social encounters.  But though it loses these aspects, the concept becomes stronger as a damage-dealing striker.



Anything I release through Geeks New England for D&D will be available completely for free, though you can donate to any project I upload at the “pay what you want” price on DMsGuild if you’d like.  I prefer DMsGuild for one simple reason; it lets me see how many people like the product, how many have downloaded it, and gives you (the customer) easy tools to rate and critique it.  But if you dislike DMsGuild for one reason or another, feel free to download from any other provider.





Google Drive



Version 1.1  09-28-2017


  • Updated wording of the Draconic Aura feature, making it more clear that the aura only exists when the Barbarian rages.

Version 1.0  09-12-2017


  • It exists!


  1. I personally preferred v1.1 to v1.2, because the introduction of the charisma based bonuses in a barbarian subclass was exciting to me. It seems you abandoned that idea in favor of a flat +1 and later, +2.


    1. Yeah, here’s my reasoning.

      Originally, I felt that the Cha-based auras would work out well, under the logic that if the Barbarian in question pumped up their aura bonus by putting more points into Charisma, they would then likely have a smaller Str bonus, and so there’d be some advantages/disadvantages to do so. You want to give your allies +4 or even +5 temp HP every round? Fine, but your other stats will suffer for it.

      But then I reconsidered, since some of the auras specifically buff melee attacks (both damage and to hit bonus). This means a Dragon Shaman could use their +5 Aura bonus to give themselves the same kind of damage/to hit bonus *anyway* even if they didn’t put points into Str. And they would simultaneously be giving their party members the same +5 bonuses. And if they so much as acquire a single Str-boosting magic item, like Gauntlets of Ogre Power, then the bonus becomes insanely good.

      Under this logic, I felt that maybe the aura needs to be pulled back and respect 5e’s Bounded Accuracy philosophy, and so I made it a flat +1 (eventually +2).


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