Barbarian Primal Path – Path of the Hollow Self

Hello, everyone, and happy first new article of 2022! We’re kicking things off this month with a new Primal Path, the Path of the Hollow Self.

Path of the Hollow Self

Although many barbarians draw power from the world of spirits through their use of primal totems or unwavering devotion to an ancestral tradition, some embrace a more dangerous path. During a rage, barbarians who follow the Path of the Hollow Self leave their bodies empty vessels open to any wrathful or malevolent spirits who may find it. These fugues rely upon necromantic powers that even the most accomplished of arcane masters may dismiss as too dangerous, as there is little way to tell what nightmarish forces may rally when a strong new body presents itself to the void.

A barbarian following the Path of the Hollow Self may have already been aware of the dark presences they channeled through their rages, seeing ghosts and the world of the dead due to a near-death experience. Alternatively, they may have discovered the restless dead by accident while raging, only recently embracing their power. Still, some barbarians may be wholly unaware of the forces they channel, simply blacking out during their episodes of primal rage.

Beyond the Veil

Most barbarians following this Primal Path may simply draw their power from whatever spirits happen to be present, but some find that their practices have pulled the attention of a particular spirit who joins them in battle. If you or your GM believe that a single spirit would best fit your vision of your character, the below list of potential spirits may serve as inspiration, but you can work with your GM to develop a spirit which better suits the campaign in which you play.

Harrying Souls

Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, when you rage, the dark energy you channel lashes around you invisibly. Whenever a creature starts its turn within 10 feet of you while you are raging, it takes necrotic damage equal to your rage damage and cannot recover hit points until the start of its next turn.

Additionally, when you miss a creature with a melee weapon attack, it takes necrotic damage equal to your rage damage.

Occult Insights

Beginning at 6th level, you have learned to consult the spirits you embrace for information you couldn’t normally find. You may cast detect magic, but only as a ritual. Alternatively, when you attempt an ability check which does not include your proficiency bonus, you may roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once). You regain any expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Necrotic Siphon

Starting at 10th level, the spirits you channel shield you from other sources of necromantic power. While you are raging, you are considered to be an undead creature when an effect would affect such creatures differently.

Additionally, you gain immunity to necrotic damage while you are raging. When you would take necrotic damage, until the end of your next turn, your next melee weapon attack deals additional necrotic damage equal to your barbarian level.

Clawing Nightmares

Starting at 14th level, the ghosts drawn to you begin to sense death in your foes and instinctively try to drag them into the afterlife. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, it must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier. A creature who fails this saving throw is grabbed at and clawed by spectral hands from all directions. The creature is restrained for the next minute and takes 1d6 necrotic and 1d6 slashing damage at the start of each of its turns.

A creature may re-attempt this saving throw to end this effect once at the end of each of its turns.

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