Path of the Pyromaniac | Barbarian Subclass for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

It’s late. I’ve eaten a cake that was in the disguise of a donut (thanks Hurts Donuts, Norman) and drank a lot of stale, three-hour old coffee. If you thought I made some goofy shit earlier today, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

This comes in as “kind of” a request from one of my Facebook fans, Jordan. He wanted me to create molotov cocktails for D&D. Fortunately, those already exist: alchemist’s fire. But I didn’t want to just let myself get out of a request so easy. So I asked Jordan what his favorite class was: barbarian.

A barbarian sub that specializes in alchemist’s fire? Let’s do it.

Playtest Content

The material here is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by
final game design and editing. They aren’t officially part of the game.

Constructive feedback is welcome and appreciated in either comments or social media. If you can give me a valid reason with examples why something is off, 9/10 I’m likely to make changes to the content and credit you for doing so. Otherwise, feedback without anything to back it up gets ignored (or at most a smile emoji like this 🙂 ) Thanks!

Primal Paths

At 3rd level, a barbarian gains the Primal Path feature. The following Path of the Pyromaniac option is available to a barbarian in addition to those normally offered.

Path of the Pyromaniac

Some people just want to watch the world burn. With soot-covered hands and countless burn scars, you stalk the earth with a flask of alchemist fire in one hand and a fistful of “get the fuck out of my way” in the other.

If an enemy is anything less than ashes when you walk away from a battlefield, you’re not happy.

Bonus Proficiencies

Starting when you take this path at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in alchemist’s supplies and you are proficient with improvised weapons.

Cocktail Maker

You are a master of creating and throwing alchemist fire. When you choose this path at 3rd level, you gain the following benefits:

  • You can spend 10 minutes to create up to 4 flasks of alchemist’s fire. As part of the process, you must combine the chemicals–which can be alcohol, oil, or any other flammable liquids–into a breakable flask with a total combined value of at least 10 gold pieces.
  • Alchemist fire created by you is much more potent than normal. On a hit, your alchemist fire deals 1d6 fire damage at the start of each of your target’s turns instead of 1d4. This damage increases by 1d6 when you reach 11th level (2d6), and 17th level (3d6).
  • The save DC to extinguish the flames of your alchemist’s fire is DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Dexterity modifier instead of DC 10.
  • Your range for throwing alchemist fire increases to 30 feet.
  • While you are raging, you can throw alchemist fire as a bonus action on each of your turns.

Friend of Fire

At 6th level, you gain resistance to fire damage. Moreover, when you throw alchemist’s fire, you can choose one creature within range, or choose two creatures within range that are within 5 feet of each other. When targeting two creatures, you must make a separate ranged attack for each target, however, you only use one flask of alchemist’s fire for both targets.

Fire Breather

At 10th level, while you are raging, you can drink one of your flasks of alchemist’s fire as part of your movement. After you do, for 1 minute, you can use your action to breathe fire in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a Dexterity saving throw with a DC of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Constitution modifier, taking 3d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. In addition, if the target is a creature or a flammable object, it ignites. Until a creature takes an action to douse the fire, the target takes 3 (1d6) fire damage at the start of each of its turns. You can’t use this feature again until after you finish a long rest.

Fire Fanatic

Starting at 14th level, while you’re raging, you have advantage on all attack rolls made against any creature that is on fire, naturally or otherwise.


Is this madness? Definitely. So share it!

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See you next time!

Art by Wizards of the Coast.

7 thoughts on “Path of the Pyromaniac | Barbarian Subclass for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

  1. I like this. Just a clarification question regarding Fire Breather. I think I am reading correctly, since you reset on a Long Rest, for 1 minute I can breathe fire. Not once within a minute, but for 10 rounds, I can use my Action on each round to engulf things with flames.

    And, to make sure, it is 10 gp of materials to make 4 flasks. Not 10 gp per flask.

    I like the advantage vs creatures that are on fire. Gives you incentive to not just spit fire and throw flasks all the time.

    The changes to Alchemist’s Fire make it much more appealing, but do you think Bonus Action to throw is a bit much? Especially considering a Barbarian, Raging, with Extra Attack, and Advantage vs creatures on fire?

    1. Hey! Great questions all around. 1) Yes. 10 rounds once per day. 2) Per flask. Otherwise, that’d be too cheap! Haha… 3) Right. 4) Berserker barbs get bonus attacks with Frenzy, but that isn’t limited by resources like this one. If you compare it to something like Desert Storm Barbs, the damage works out to be the same and the action economy gets used up a bit more. Plus, at higher levels, a loooot of stuff has resistance to fire, so that works as an equalizer once the advantage part comes in. Feel free to make any changes you feel appropriate, though!

      1. Hell yeah! By the way, the fire breath feature is actually modeled after a potion of fire breath. 😄

  2. Hi. I’ve read up on some of your classes and Im absolutely on board with them! The flavor for each one is top notch!
    BUT staying on topic! I have some comments about the fire breath feature.
    I’m surprised it doesn’t have any potential drawbacks like “for every turn within the minute you DON’T breathe fire you take damage” or something similar. Also it seems a little illogical to me to gain ten blasts of flame from a single bottle in stead of say, one bottle per blast.
    Did you tinker with drawbacks at all?
    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

    1. Hey Arne. It’s actually based on the dragon breath spell which is a 2nd-level spell in Xan’s. Also, the potion of dragons breath works more or less the same way (it’s an uncommon magic item). Plus, compared to the damage a barbarian normally does at 10th (with rage, it’ll be doling out roughly 28 damage per turn if it wields a great sword and it has a chance to hit with a crit, versus the roughly 20 damage it does with the dragon’s breath).

      That’s the fun thing about D&D is that stuff that “seems” broken usually is actually a little underpowered 😛

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