With it being Memorial Day weekend, I thought it apt to include a homebrewed path for characters that might wish to call on the power of those who have gone before them. As usual, design notes follow each feature.
Barbarian Path – Path of the Ancestors
Many of the more uncivilized tribes practice some kind of ancestor worship rather than more organized forms of religion. Some of these tribes have taken this a step farther, calling on the departed spirits with their funerary rites to bless those still with the tribe. Barbarians who follow this path know that they will never be alone in the heart of the battle: until they meet their own end, those who have preceded them into the final rest will continue to grant their assistance.
Ancestral Protection: You may summon the spirits of your ancestors for a minor boon. At 3rd level when you adopt this path, you learn the cantrips resistance and guidance, but may use them only on yourself or someone else with this feature.
Not a ton of combat application, but there’s some nice out-of-combat utility from this feature. It’s generally better than the rituals given by the Totem Warrior, though it doesn’t compare with the Totem Spirits. However, it also doesn’t come with the Frenzy drawback, however. I might need to add something minor to bring it up a bit; removing the restriction on targets might be enough.
Ancestral Assistance: At 6th level, you can call on your ancestors to more overtly aid you. When you make an ability check or a saving throw, you can use this feature to add 1d10 to your roll. You can do so after seeing the initial roll but before any of the roll’s effects occur. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
Basically borrowed from the Fiend Patron, this feature gives you another “active” thing to remember, but it helps ensure that you really make that crucial save.
Ancestral Courage: The spirits surround you and your allies, keeping your minds free from fear. At 10th level, you and friendly creatures within 10 feet of you can’t be frightened while you are conscious.
It’s fairly similar to what the Berserker gets, but this one helps out your allies.
Ancestral Advantage: The spirits of your ancestors manifest more fully, distracting your foes to the benefit of your allies. At 14th level, as long as you’re raging your friends have advantage on melee attack rolls against any creature within 5 feet of you that is hostile to you. You may also expend Ancestral Advantage to gain advantage on all melee attack rolls you make for the rest of your turn, but you can no longer benefit from this feature until after you finish a short or long rest.
So this is recycled from one of the Wolf totem benefits, but it also has a nice “spike” feature if you really need to kill things without also making yourself an easier target. Sure, you can get advantage at will with Reckless Attack, but this one doesn’t have as steep of a drawback in the moment.
If you like this content, you can find additional player options with the DM’s Guild Skull and Shadow. I’ve linked it before, but it’s themed around death and undeath and has a lot of new player options. Additionally, it’s a Pay What You Want title, so you don’t have to spend any money to get it.