February 17, 2021

Path of Heavy Metal

Primal Path
Comments from the Pinky: Another redux rocking a new name, this rework of the Path of Thunder is back in black and ready to rumble.

Path of Heavy Metal

The barbarians of the Path of Heavy Metal do not do things by halves. They fight the strongest foes, swing the biggest axes, and play the loudest music. For this reason, any battle they get involved in tends to be noisy, violent, and short.
Armored only in face paint and studded belts, these fearless hellions are known for screaming their enemies into submission and trashing taverns, though they can also be thoughtful and erudite when not tapping into their primal fury. Away from the battlefield, the “thunderheads” form a tight fraternity, bonded together by absolute commitment to their path and the shared recognition that the life of an adventurer—with its grueling travel, explosive violence, and unfamiliar lodgings—is essentially a never-ending tour.

Bonus Proficiencies
When you choose this path at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with three musical instruments of your choice.

Heavy Metal Axe 
At 3rd level, your dabbling with craftsmen and bards has taught you how to build the sickest instruments possible. You can spend 8 hours of work converting a two-handed weapon into an instrument with which you are proficient. Only you can play an instrument weapon you have created, which retains all its combat capabilities. You can maintain a total number of instrument weapons equal to your proficiency bonus. 

Solo Shredding
Also at 3rd level, you play your instrument weapon even in combat, rocking out as you crack skulls. When you enter a rage, you begin ferociously playing a solo on your instrument weapon. After you deal damage to a hostile creature during your rage with your instrument weapon, you increase your Rage bonus damage by 1. You can increase your Rage damage bonus up to a maximum of twice your proficiency bonus. This increase lasts until you are incapacitated, you are no longer holding your instrument weapon, you miss an attack, or your rage ends.

Killer Vocals
Beginning at 6th level, as a bonus action, you can release a thunderous, battle cry, blood-curdling screech, or growl. Each Large or smaller creature you choose within 5 feet of you is pushed 5 feet away from you and is deafened until the end of your next turn.

Up to Eleven
Starting at 10th level, you put total commitment into your music. Whenever you make a Charisma check or any check that involves playing your instrument weapon, you can treat a d20 roll of 10 or lower as an 11.

Smash Hit
By 14th level, you’ve learned that the best way to end a fight (and a performance) is to smash one of your instrument weapons entirely. When you hit a creature with your instrument weapon while you are raging, you can smash the weapon on the target, dealing an additional 4d12 damage. A nonmagical instrument weapon is completely destroyed, whereas a magical instrument weapon loses its musical components and becomes a normal weapon.
Once you use this ability, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Changelog: 2/24/21: Solo Shredding: Wording clarified 


  1. So with Solo Shredding, it says "you increase your Rage bonus damage by 1, up to a maximum of twice your proficiency bonus." Is your max bonus rage damage twice your proficiency modifier, or is it normal bonus rage damage plus twice your proficiency modifier? For example, a level 3 barb has a +2 to damage while raging, and a +2 proficiency modifier. Would this make the max bonus rage damage +4 or +6?

    1. The feature increases your existing rage bonus damage to a maximum of twice your proficiency bonus, so in the case of your example, the maximum would be +4.

  2. While I love the rework of this, I can't help but think Solo Shredding should be balanced to only happening once per turn while you're raging.