OK, starting out with our third class series here for Rogue Legacy, this time taking a look at the Barbarian class. This could very well be the strongest of the nine classes in this game, although I'd have to play through more of them to be certain. In any case, here are the stat modifiers for the Barbarian:
The Barbarian gets a 50% bonus to health, trading that for a 25% penalty to physical damage and a greatly reduced mana pool. This makes the Barbarian the tankiest character by far, as most other classes have penalties to health instead of bonuses. The Barbarian is the only class that actually gets more HP than the default Paladin job (which has the base 100% rate for all statistics). Compared to the Archmage class that I had just played through, these Barbarians would have fully three times as much health, immediately from the start of the game! Yeah, starting with 150 HP instead of 50 HP, that would make a bit of a difference. Having more health also factors into sustainability and keeping individual runs going longer, due to the way that the chicken health drops work in this game. Both the chicken (health) and flask (magic point) items restore a percentage of your total value in each category, starting at 10% and increasing up to 15% with upgrades. If you have 150 max HP, then a chicken restores 15 health. If you have 50 max HP, then it restores 5 HP. In other words, having a massive health total not only gives you more starting health, it also causes you to get more health back from the chicken restoration items in the dungeon. This is a very big deal, and it means that the Barbarian can sustain himself/herself longer than anyone else. I would happily trade away some magic points (starting value of only 50 MP) and a modest penalty to strength (starting value of 18 instead of 25) in exchange for that massive health bar.
In addition to their innate survivability, the Barbarian class also gains an extremely useful special ability. After being upgraded to Barbarian King/Queen status, you can use the special key to activate the Barbarian "shout" ability (Fah Ro Dus). This knocks back surrounding enemies away from your character and clears all projectiles on the screen for a cost of 20 MP. Because of the Barbarian's low mana total, you can't use this very often at the start of the game, but it's an amazing and lifesaving tool to have at your disposal. The bullet hell rooms of NG++ mode can be instantly cleared away through proper use of the shout, and the knockback will force away monsters that are swarming you. Is the shout better or worse than the Paladin shield ability, which was the closest thing that I could compare it to? I would have to play through this class in order to find out! On paper though, it certainly looked nice.
For sake of brevity, I will simply refer to this class as the "Barbarian" and skip the King/Queen part of it even after upgrading the class. One other cool thing to mention: I liked the bright red borders on the character screen. For those keeping track, the Paladin gets a white screen, the Archmage gets blue, and the Barbarian gets red. Feel free to compare the starting Level 0 stats of each class at those links. Off we go.
0) Level 0: 0g
Sir Lee the Knight died immediately, but he managed to produce a Barbarian descendant to kick off this run.
1) Level 0: 2080g
Stereo Blindness, essentially a non-trait. This was the opposite of my Archmage run, starting with 150 health and 50 mana instead of the other way around. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my 18 damage on melee attack was still pretty strong, and most monster attacks did about 20-25 damage against me. Because of my huge base HP number, each chicken would restore 15 health, more or less erasing one enemy hit. First piece of equipment that appeared was the Blood Chestplate, which I might even use because of my massive health total. Maybe, maybe not, we'll see. A better pickup was the Squire Chestplate, which I would definitely use... once I unlocked the Smithy! Actually I wouldn't, since I found the Knight Chestplate outside the boss door in the castle. I didn't want to face Khidr without the double jump and at Level 0, not yet. Then I found the Knight Bracers later on, still in the castle. This was the best Level 0 run that I'd ever had, quite a run on different gear. Cleared out the entire castle and headed into the forest, where another piece of Knight gear appeared in the form of the Knight Helm. Sheesh! I fell eventually in the forest to a rabid pair of wolves, but not before clearing 2000 gold, which was pretty awesome for a first character. Honestly, it was just fun to hit things with a sword again for a change instead of casting spells.
I had a lot of choices on what to do with this gold. Fortunately, I was able to get just about everything that I wanted. First I unlocked the Smithy and my path over to the Enchantress, which allowed me to grab both of the double jump (vault) and dash (sprint) runes. Trying to run the dungeon without them is an exercise in pain. Then I went over to the Blacksmith and had enough gold to get three pieces of equipment: the Squire Sword, Knight Chestplate, and Knight Helm. I left the Knight Bracers alone for now because that only increased magic damage, which was almost pointless for my Barbarians. I had enough gold left over to buy a second Health upgrade, and that was it. Not too bad for the first attempt.
Unlock: Smithy, Health Up x2, Upgrade Knight, Equip Up, Enchantress, Sprint Rune, Vault Rune, Squire Sword, Knight Chestplate, Knight Helm
2) Level 6 (Health 2, Equip 1, Miscellaneous 3): 8780g
Dyslexia, Coprolalia. There's a picture of what the Blacksmith text box looks like when your character rolls the Dyslexia trait. I already had 218 HP to work with, here on my second Barbarian character, which is roughly what my Archmage had when finishing the entire Normal difficulty run. It makes it pretty easy when you have to get hit nearly a dozen times to actually die. Now I just needed some Vampirism and I would be set. Landed my first rune on this run, too bad it was a useless Grace Rune. (Those decrease the difficulty level of the game, which I refuse to use on principle. Curse runes do the opposite, and sure enough, the second rune I turned up was one of them.) Found the Knight Cape outside Khidr's boss door, leaving only the Knight Sword to complete the full set. There was some weird enemy knight who got stuck in the wall:
No idea what happened there, something off in the game's spawning generation. Anyway, I easily cleared out the castle, not needing to use any of the chicken/flask statues and entered the forest with 209/218 HP. And what do you know, the Knight Sword popped up in the second room of the forest. Full set already, excellent. It was already becoming obsolete, as I started to turn up Silver equipment in the forest immediately thereafter. By the end of this run, I had almost a full set of Silver gear. Ended up full clearing the forest as well as the castle, albeit with no health remaining. At the very end, I tried to go into the tower, but the entrance room was a deathtrap full of flying mages. I couldn't get through there. So I went into the basement instead, and actually made it through three rooms without getting hit, finding the boss door in the process. In the chests outside was the Guardian Bracers (!), an outstanding piece of gear with a big bonus to armor. By the time that I fell in the basement, I had pocketed almost 9000 gold. This was just... too easy. But I wasn't complaining.
Well, I had all kinds of gold to spend here after just the second overall run. Since there were no useful runes to unlock, I first went to the smithy and purchased all of the new gear that I wanted: Knight Sword, Silver Helm, Silver Chestplate, and Guardian Limbs. Then I needed 8 equipment upgrades to use them all, heh. But I had the money, might as well use it to put on that sweet gear. This took me up to 42 armor already, waaaaaaay more than any other character run this early. With the beginning upgrades so cheap, I was still able to grab the Architect and then take Upgrade Barbarian, which opened up the use of the Barbarian shout special ability. Finally, I used the remaining cash to unlock the right side of the castle, and had just enough to take the first Gold Gain Up point. Future big gains would be going into that unlock, my favorite utility one.
Unlock: Knight Sword, Silver Helm, Silver Chestplate, Guardian Limbs, Equip Up x8, Architect, Upgrade Barbarian, Upgrade Mage, Unlock Miner, Gold Gain Up
3) Level 19 (Health 2, Equip 9, Gold Gain 1, Miscellaneous 7): 8618g
Nostalgic, Gigantism. I actually liked having the huge sword graphic, made it easier to hit things, and I could now use the Barbarian shout to avoid projectiles in a pinch. Found a random +1 Strength upgrade in a chest in the castle, which I was happy to get. I picked up a Sprint Rune for the currently empty Cape slot, something that would probably be useful enough to buy from the Enchantress. I also had the good luck to find the Nerdy Glasses in a Spiritual Shrine, which fixed my Nostalgic vision problem. That's a fun pickup on the rare occasions that you can get it. I full cleared both the castle and forest, and even made it through five or six rooms in the tower, although it took about half a dozen hits to kill most monsters in there. I still didn't have even one Attack upgrade yet! Would have made it further if I didn't suffer through a disastrous room in the forest where I lost over 100 health due to pure stupidity. Anyway, not quite as good a run as the previous one, but still very solid indeed. I was sadly 300 gold short of being able to take double Gold Gain upgrades, so I grabbed one point there, took two points in Potion Up since I had the money, and had just enough for one point each in Attack, Health, and Mana. (Those mana upgrades tend to be really cheap, I take them when I don't have enough for anything else.)
Unlock: Attack Up, Health Up, Gold Gain Up, Potion Up x2, Mana Up, Upgrade Knave
4) Level 26 (Health 3, Attack 1, Equip 9, Mana 1, Gold Gain 2, Potion 2, Miscellaneous 8): 13,668g
Gay, Stereo Blind. I found the castle boss door almost immediately on this run, and decided I might as well go in and try the battle. The Khidr fight took a very long time, as I was only doing 29 damage per attack, and he had several hundred HP. I dodged the red shots pretty well, and used the Barbarian shout to clear out others, but still ended up taking 3 hits, each of which did 35 damage. But that left me with 149 health still remaining at the end of the fight, which was more than enough to win. Rewards were a health bonus and two mana crystals, the last two not too terribly useful for a Barbarian. From there, I full cleared the castle and the forest, venturing on into the tower. I found the Ranger Chestplate and the Ranger Helm there, which were clear upgrades over my current Silver gear. This run could have gone much further, if I had any kind of Vampirism to get health back for monster kills. Lack of that was the only thing holding me back. Anyway, the gold went into unlocking the new gear, an equipment point to put it on, and Gold Gain and Potion upgrades. I now had three points in each of them. There was just enough for another point of mana with the few hundred gold remaining after that, better than wasting it.
Unlock: Ranger Helm, Ranger Chestplate, Equip Up, Gold Gain Up, Potion Up, Mana Up
5) Level 30 (Health 3, Attack 1, Equip 10, Mana 2, Gold Gain 3, Potion 3, Miscellaneous 8): 11,960g
Far sighted. I found a whole bunch of unneeded chickens and flasks in the castle yet again. Here's an unproven theory that I have: I believe that the random drop rate for chickens/flasks is higher in the castle compared to the rest of the dungeon. That's completely untested, but it's what my empirical observations seem to be suggesting. I always feel like I get more drops in the starting areas, for whatever reasons. I fought the dual skeleton minibosses in the castle; it didn't go too well, probably because I was still only dealing 29 damage per attack. I dodged the bones they threw pretty well, just had to dodge them for too long, and that meant taking a fair number of hits. The reward was the Blood Bracers, pretty useless. Not taking them over the Guardians ones I had already. Even though I dropped down to 50 HP after this fight, more chicken drops in the castle restored me pretty quickly at 37 health back per fowl. I made it through the castle and forest again, ended up dying in the tower. The vision impairment bothered me a lot over this run, and I wasn't too sorry to see this Barbarian die. I purchased the fourth Gold Gain upgrade, and then grabbed some more damage and health. I was tired of sitting on 29 damage!
Unlock: Gold Gain Up, Attack Up x4, Health Up x2, Mana Up
6) Level 38 (Health 5, Attack 5, Equip 10, Mana 3, Gold Gain 4, Potion 3, Miscellaneous 8): 11,520g
OCD, mana back from breaking stuff. This was pretty good, since I could use the shout more often. I won the dagger throwing minigame again in the castle, but I only found the Blood Helm as a reward. Wish that I had gotten something more useful there. Cleared out the castle, went into the forest, and there I found my first Vampire Rune in a hidden fairy chest. Very nice indeed, I should be able to put that to good use. I made it to the forest boss door, and since I had full health and mana, decided to teleport over to the tower to clear out the more difficult area first. Immediately upon entering, a chest produced the useless Sage Sword, not even an upgrade over my outdated Knight Sword. More significantly was finding the Guardian Helmet, just outside the tower boss door. After taking a good amount of damage, I retreated back to the forest, cleared that out, then returned to the tower again where I eventually died. Even though this run brought back over 11k gold and found some useful equipment and runes, I was never really happy with it. Too many mistakes, too much sloppy play on my part. At the Enchantress afterwards, I found that I could only make use of that Vampire rune if I gave up the double jump, which I was not prepared to do. Bah. Now I needed either another double jump (Vault) rune or a Vampire rune in another slot. The gold that I did spend went into the final Gold Gain unlock and minor stat gains.
Unlock: Gold Gain Up (maxed), Health Up, Attack Up
7) Level 41 (Health 6, Attack 6, Equip 10, Mana 3, Gold Gain 5, Potion 3, Miscellaneous 8): 21,150g
Alzheimers, cannot access the map screen. Not fun, but could be worse. The good news was the fact that I had cleared out all of the Gold Gain upgrades in just six characters. Now I just had to finish the Potion upgrades, and I could push for bigger stat gains in earnest. This was a really boring run until I found the Silver Sword outside the forest boss door, finally a sword upgrade of some kind. I had a much more interesting fight shortly thereafter, an intense battle for a fairy chest with over a dozen enemies all in one room (above). I managed to dodge a good number of arrows and use the chakram spell to take out all of the wolves on the floor of the room. A rare chance to cast a spell with the Barbarian! Cleared out the castle, forest, and tower, including finding another Vampire Rune up there, this time in the Chestplate slot. I should point out that when I finished that tower clear, I had 7/330 health and 7/77 mana, with no chickens or flasks still saved. Cut it pretty close, but I got it done. Thought for sure that I would be quickly killed in the basement, but no, I played through five rooms a step away from death without taking a hit and pulled in several thousand more gold. This might have gone even further, but I fell to a zombie that rose from the floor without warning. Bah. Still a great run bringing back 20k gold. Used the money for two Potion Up points (finishing the skill) which left me with 6500 gold remaining. That went into utilizing that Vampire rune, the Silver Sword, and a bunch of equipment points to wear it all.
Unlock: Vampire Rune, Silver Sword, Squire Cape, Potion Up x2 (maxed), Equip Up x3, Attack Up, Health Up
8) Level 48 (Health 7, Attack 7, Equip 13, Mana 3, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Miscellaneous 8): 24,420g
Nostalgic, sepia tones again. The new addition of even one point of Vampirism helped out noticeably. I started with the tower, cleared about half of it, then retreated to the castle to restore health. This worked quite well, and it's something I do often with my characters. Most of the damage from the tower was taken in one room, packed full of shooting enemies. This is pictured above, fun times in that room but I did clear it. On my return to the tower, I found the Ranger Sword in an isolated treasure chest, which was a welcome upgrade. Guess I won't be using the Silver Sword for very long. I fought a pretty epic battle against the dual skeleton minibosses in the tower; had to hit them a LOT of times to kill them, but I did get it done with 62 health remaining. The reward was the totally useless Sage Bracers, heh. Not worth it.
After clearing out the castle, forest, and tower, I decided to go in and face Alexander. This fight went fairly routinely; I had to hit him a hell of a lot of times (he had 2300 health and I was doing 42 damage per swing) but in turn my Barbarian had so much life that I was never in danger. Run back and forth along the bottom of the chamber, swinging away, dodge the giant pink projectile shot, and use the shout to knock away the little flying heads when they try to swarm. It wasn't that bad. The reward was... three mana increases. Oh come on! Sigh. I fell in the basement without making it too far, but it was indeed a nice character. I used the 22k gold to unlock my way over to the Armor Up stat, putting five points into that, grabbed the Ranger Sword, and then dumped the rest into more health and more damage. Ended up with 20 gold remaining, after gaining 21 levels (!) Geeze, Barbarian!
Unlock: Ranger Sword, Health Up x7, Armor Up x5, Attack Up x5, Mana Up, Unlock Shinobi, Haggle, Upgrade Shinobi
9) Level 69 (Health 14, Attack 12, Armor 5, Equip 13, Mana 4, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Miscellaneous 11): 34,696g
Ambilevolous, ADHD. I ran really fast and spells came out backwards. Thanks to those upgrades from the last run, this Barbarian already had 450 health, almost a comically high total for my ninth character to date. With all the movement speed and the extra damage I was doing (now up to 54 per swing), I felt almost like a ninja on this run. Went into the tower early on again, and found the Sky Chestplate in a deep corner, another upgrade for the next heir. Later in the tower, I found both the Sky Bracers and the Sky Helm. I guess my Barbarian had the skies on his mind or something. This was the first Barbarian character to spend a lot of time in the basement, and I found the Guardian Sword there rather quickly. I'm not sure if that's better than the Ranger Sword, I think it's fairly close between them. Also found the Imperial Helm down there shortly thereafter. This became my first full dungeon clear, which was pretty shocking for the ninth Barbarian of this venture. That just left the bosses to do; I didn't run the Ponce de Leon fight all that well, but I had enough health to carry my way through without much issue. Unfortunately, this wound up dooming me in the Herodotus boss battle that followed, because even though I played it extremely well and got down to only a handful of blobs remaining, I simply didn't have enough life remaining. If I had gone into that battle with more than 200 health, I would have won for sure. Oh well, next run will get him for sure. With the 34k gold that I had to spend, I picked up the Imperial Helm and Sky Chestplate from the blacksmith; the Guardian Sword was actually not as good in damage as the Ranger Sword, and I valued the damage there over some more armor. My rune selection continued to be rather poor, still nothing worth purchasing there. I definitely earned more of them with the Archmage, due to the choice of spells, that made it easier to unlock a lot of runes. Rest of the gold went to pumping more health and damage stuff. It added up to 18 more levels in the end.
Unlock: Imperial Helm, Sky Chestplate, Attack Up x8, Health Up x5, Equip Up x3, Crit Chance Up, Crit Damage Up
10) Level 87 (Health 19, Attack 20, Armor 5, Equip 16, Mana 4, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Crit Chance 1, Crit Damage 1, Miscellaneous 11): 34,831g
Muscle Weakness, no knock back. That's a real impediment for a melee character. On the other hand, I did have a disgusting 533 health at this point, equal to my Archmage at the end of NG++ difficulty, so hopefully it wouldn't be all that bad. This Barbarian also had a bit of a fruity appearance, between the purple helmet, sky blue chestplate, bright yellow pants, and green sword. It was eye-catching, let's leave it at that. I started out with the basement this time, made it through about half before having to retreat back to the castle for more health. I was able to grab a second Vampire rune there, the one for the Bracers spot, which I would surely use as soon as this run was over. I also found the Ranger Cape down there, which would be an upgrade over the Squire Cape I had been wearing. They both give +4% crit chance, but the Ranger Cape adds +15% crit damage. While I was clearing out the forest to restore health, I found a third Vampire rune inside a fairy chest. Now I'd be in even better shape there, maybe even have all five rune slots in use finally. Eventually faced Botis in the tower and killed him, resulting in a drop of the Guardian Chestplate, an upgrade over my current Sky armor there. Finally the whole dungeon was cleared, and it was time to go fight Herodotus. I played that battle very well tactically, but the lack of any knockback on my swings mean that I took a lot of hits, way more than I would have otherwise. It's very strange to watch the blobs not get knocked backwards, as physics and normal playthroughs suggest. Anyway, I did win with 143 health remaining, and claimed two attack upgrades + one mana upgrade as a reward. More mana crystals as boss bonuses! Heh. I went on to Johannes, but as I had found out previously with my Paladins, the Muscle Weakness trait is HORRIBLE against Johannes. He walks right through your swings and sits on top of your character hitting you nonstop. You absolutely have to be able to knock him away. I couldn't do that and died as a result. Now that was frustrating. I used the gold to shuffle around my runes, unlocking the two Vampire runes that I had found and shifting the dash over to the cape slot. Then I wanted to use the equipment I had found, the Guardian Chestplate and the Ranger Cape, which needed five more equipment upgrades. The rest went into five armor points and four attack points, leaving me with 81 gold after the spending spree. Overall, I added two more points of Vampirism, for 6 HP back per monster kill, and 45 more armor, taking my damage reduction from 29% up to 39%. Hopefully that (and dropping Muscle Weakness) would make the difference.
Unlock: Vampire Rune, Vampire Rune, Sprint Rune (dash), Guardian Chestplate, Ranger Cape, Armor Up x5, Equip Up x5, Attack Up x4
11) Level 101 (Health 19, Attack 24, Armor 10, Equip 21, Mana 4, Gold Gain 5, Potion 5, Crit Chance 1, Crit Damage 1, Miscellaneous 11): 48,221g
Alzheimer's trait and the chakram for a spell. This was much better for the final two bosses. The extra points of Vampirism (along with the continued addition of more levels) made this run through the dungeon a breeze, too easy in reality. I was able to clear the whole thing without ever getting low on health, and I didn't need to eat any of the chickens stored outside the boss doors. I fought three minibosses: Sallos in the castle, the dual skeletons in the forest, and Botis in the tower, resulting in some additional pieces of useless Sage equipment. (Those lower stats in return for 10% bonus gold bounty - no thanks.) I also won the dagger throwing minigame in the basement, and received a +1 Strength upgrade as my reward. I definitely felt like I earned that one, the dagger game is not easy to win. Then it just came down to the two final bosses. Johannes was a pain in the rear, as he always is, but the knockback made all the difference in this fight. Although I took a decent number of hits, I wasn't in any real danger of dying, and the resulting chicken drops put me back up to near full health. The Fountain was actually easier than Johannes, largely because I could use the Barbarian shout to remove his flying sword projectiles from the battle. Once they're gone, the Fountain only has an easily telegraphed melee swing attack and a downward stab into the ground, equally simple to avoid. He only hit me twice, and I won the battle with a large amount of health remaining. Normal difficulty beaten with only 11 Barbarians used, and with 48k gold carried over to spend in NG+ mode.
Well, that was... easy? Hmmm. The Barbarian class appeared to be ridiculously strong from what I had seen in Normal difficulty. Would it get tougher in New Game Plus mode? I was about to find out.