Barbarian (Force- Force)
Mongol General: “Conan!What is best in life?”
Conan: “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”
Conan the Barbarian
- S. Hits hard, Thick Skin, Passionate, First to Act
- W. Inflexible, Narrow focus, Indirect encounters, First to Act
- O. Weak leadership, Stagnant Environments, Slow Change
- T. Strong leadership, Collaborative Environments, Strategic Combat
Barbarians are wild and passionate warriors. They take great pride in their self sufficiency and strength through adversity. When the objective is clear and the odds are stacked against you, it is time to rely on a barbarian.
The barbarian is used to dishing out massive amounts of damage and taking a lot in return. It is this combination of force and constitution that makes them truly a force to be reckoned with. One does not need to make a persuasive argument if one carries a big stick.
Barbarians concentrate on moving fast and hitting hard. They are the first to react with action and they never back down from a fight. It is amazing to see how much can get done when one is not afraid to just start and make mistakes.
One thing that can be said about barbarians is that they never shy away from a fight, even if it isn’t going well. In fact, the worse an encounter is faring, the stronger barbarians become. Passion is their fuel, and they can pump themselves up into a rage which makes them stronger and fiercer in battle. It also makes them impossible to reason with. Other classes must be wary around a barbarian in a conflict, even if he is on their side.
If one goes head-to-head with a barbarian, be prepared for casualties. They fight up close and personal, use big weapons, and won’t back down until the conflict is decisively ended. In a conflict, it’s best to stay out of their way if at all possible.
Barbarians are known for their great combat prowess. They are able to focus their desire to succeed into a sort of frenzy that gives them an advantage in force encounters that enable them to hit harder and last longer in a fight. The barbarian will use ability to keep pressing their position until they win.
2. Fast Movement
Barbarians move quickly. They are skilled horseman and prefer riding bareback while in combat. Like the predators they admire and model themselves after, they quickly overtake and overpower their foes. Being fast, aggressive, and first to strike gives the barbarian an advantage over most other classes.
3. “Just a flesh wound”
In addition to their battle focus that gives them their added staying power, barbarians simply take less damage from combat. They are impervious to the pressures of deadlines, overbearing bosses, office room slights, being wrong, or overruled repeatedly at work. They don’t take it personally and continue toward their goals. In short, they have skins thicker than tree bark.
Because of their experience with skirmishes and the lay of the land, barbarians are very well suited for survival. They are usually aware of any ambushes or traps that might be set for them. This allows the barbarian to choose their battles and avoid being caught off-guard. Of course, a barbarian will often charge into a trap, trusting that they will be able to fight their way out of it.
5. Barbaric Yawp
Part of the barbarian’s effectiveness stems from their reputation and the manner in which they fight. Fierce and brutal fighters, they are terrible in combat, and legends of their past battles strikes fear into new, would-be foes. Often, this intimidation factor alone crushes the potential enemy’s will to fight and wins the battle before it ever begins. Barbarians use this in the office as well, and their abrasive and abusive nature can scare people away from arguing the point. Fear is an effective motivator for change, and the barbarian is a master of inspiring fear.
Every good carpenter needs a hammer in his toolkit. The barbarian’s unique skill set makes him a specialized weapon in an organization. That ‘go-get-em’ nature, partnered with a fierce follow-through/prey drive, makes a barbarian an excellent salesman and prospector. Barbarians also tend to be good at forceful negotiations, although this feature is a double edged sword, and they may lose just as many deals due to being overly forceful with softer clients. They will always contribute to conversations (perhaps too much,) and they are quite capable in their area of expertise.
Find the most stressful stuff you can find and throw it at the barbarian. They won’t be phased by the stress and will continue to attack the problem until it is completed. Make sure to give the Barbarian free rein to solve the problem his way, however. If the barbarian feels chained to overly strict rules or regulations, he is likely to turn on you. This will end up a study in frustration for everyone involved.
In groups, barbarians will lead the charge and draw the enemy’s focus. This is exactly what your party wants to happen, as it will make the opponent focus too many resources on the impervious barbarian and allow you to position your other classes for success. Don’t worry, your barbarian can handle the abuse.
Because of the strength of their personalities, barbarians are not often found in management positions. This is because, while fearsome and skilled in battle, they often lack the balanced perspective needed for strategy and planning. Managers need to make compromises and nurturing staff. For the barbarian, there is no compromise or nurturing. Retreat is not an option and victory its own encouragement.
In the unlikely event they are found in management positions, barbarians are likely to rule with an iron hand and a short temper. It is possible to make this relationship successful when they are partnered with the right classes such as other barbarians or gladiators. It is far more likely that barbarian-led departments will see high turnover or transfers due to employee burn-out, however.
1. Hit and Run Tactics
Barbarians are excellent at working on solo assignments that require confrontation and initiative. They easily ride in, attack, and make their getaway unscathed. Barbarians enjoy the thrill of the hunt and winning great trophies for their efforts. They cover great distances and need little encouragement along the way. They are able to accomplish their tasks with a focus and enthusiasm that escapes many other classes.
2. Free Spirit
Barbarians will find the shortest path to victory. It will not benefit the organization to impose too many processes or procedures. The barbarian will see this as unneeded and may chafe against these restrictions. They have the energy and inclination to press against these rules until there is change, for better or worse.
3. First strike
The best way for a barbarian to learn is to do, and the best way for them to win is to fight. Barbarians are not given to long periods of training or research before rushing into the field. This is an excellent trait that allows the barbarian to gain real life experience faster than almost any other class. They will strike first and ask questions later. They learn quickly from their mistakes and adapt.
Barbarians are always where the action is. If they are assigned tasks that are repetitive or non-confrontational, they quickly become restless. They may try to invade other people’s territory or tasks due to boredom or ambition. Being bored may even lead to the barbarian picking fights with others (regardless of rank) just to let off steam. Keep the battles coming and you will keep your barbarian happy.
5. Gaul (gall.. Get it?)
The dictionary defines gall in this context as “brazen boldness coupled with impudent assurance and insolence.”The barbarian’s temperament allows him to be extremely confident in himself and his own abilities. This trait gives him the bravery to try new things and believe that he can overcome insurmountable odds. Past battle experience tells the barbarian that he will be successful, and he often is.
Working in Groups
1. Battering Ram
In groups, barbarians tend to dominate conversations and exhibit a blunt disregard for other peoples’ opinions. Encounters within the team are likely to burn out other classes as they become frustrated by being talked-over and bullied. The best solution for this potentially explosive environment is to partner the barbarian with other barbarians or martial classes. It takes a special team to take full advantage of a barbarians talents.
The same skills that make a barbarian successful as an individual contributor can also frustrate groups. Barbarians will often not like the discussion and planning phase of the project, favoring instead getting right to work. This is excellent for succinct meetings with clear objectives. If not, be prepared for the barbarian to be a distraction.
3. Meat Shield
Once the battle begins, barbarians rush to the front lines. They will often look for the biggest bully and pick a fight. Barbarians joyfully bear the brunt of the attack while being supported by others. For all of the potential difficulties with dealing with this class, this is really where having a barbarian pays off. Set them loose, give them appropriate support, and win: it’s that easy. Then patch them up and watch them do it again. And again…
4. Vae Victis- Woe to the Vanquished
Winning the fight is everything to the barbarian. Having their enemies yield or pay restitution is also rewarding. Once victory has been won, the barbarian collects the spoils. This may take the form of winning extra concessions in a negotiation or closing additional business. These additional perks serve to give the barbarian momentum. It further amplifies the barbarian’s zeal and will often put him on a roll of success.
5. Scorched Earth
In their zeal, barbarians are likely to ruin delicate situations, structures, and people. The barbarian is a broadsword, not a scalpel. His strong personality is likely to steamroll other opinions, arguments, or beliefs. The barbarian thinks nothing of sharing his opinions openly and in fact looks at it is his obligation. They must be proven wrong, and even then, barbarians may not back down from the fight. Further, barbarians are usually oblivious to subtleties of situations such as company/departmental politics, positioning, and concessions offered for strategic purposes.
Management and Motivation
1. Wheel of pain
Barbarians grow strongest from opposition. They don’t need to be coddled or treated delicately; in fact, they will often try to take advantage of people that demonstrate such weaknesses. They thrive under constant pressure and feel empowered by it. It is best to send them against strongwilled opposition and obstacles outside the company or group.
2. Born for Victory
Wise managers give barbarians lots of obstacles to overcome. It is wise to give the barbarian assignments/tasks that have high risks and frequent rewards. The barbarian will keep score of his achievements and even take pride in trophies that demonstrate his fighting prowess. Keep in mind that for the barbarian, the only thing better than the last battle is the next one.
3. The enemy of my enemy is my friend
Authority figures require either very strong personalities or careful planning to effectively use a barbarian’s strengths. Barbarians are used to doing things on their own and in their own way. They will often not see the wisdom in compromise or half-measures to their work, and discussions about this do not often prove useful. They are likely to resent being saddled with people they consider weak and will chafe against authority, which makes having them on a team is a difficult task. Consider your largest challenges in the organization, and set the barbarian loose on them. Offer support and you will reap the benefits.
4. Hannibal ad portas- (Hannibal is at the gates)
It is important to isolate barbarians from more fragile classes or personalities. These classes can ultimately become burned out when forced to interact with a barbarian too frequently. Classes that focus on problem-solving or relationships are most susceptible to the Barbarian as they will find him aggressive and hurtful.
5. Open Steppes
Don’t overburden Barbarians with rules. Set a target, and set them loose. Working in the field is an ideal fit for a barbarian, as he will enjoy the freedom to make his own decisions and will bring honor to the company. When interacting with others, a barbarian will invariably seek to “win” the encounter or conversation.
Kendar’s muscles burned as he thrust the battering ram against the gates. His arms throbbed from thrashing the huge trunk repeatedly against the barrier and his legs felt like iron anchors.
There was no way he was going to let this flimsy kindling get in the way of his success. How dare they think they could rob him of his his victory?! It made him angry!
Rage bubbled like a volcano in the pit of his stomach and burned like acid in his bowels. An electric surge of adrenaline shot up Kendar’s spine as he tightened his grip on the beam. With newfound vigor, he kicked at the muddy soil and leaned in while at the same time letting out a scream of fury.
The gates answered with a splintered thunderous crack that echoed off the stone castle walls. The barricade burst open.
Kendar leaped through the gates and into the throng of spearmen set to defend the line. He quickly withdrew the massive ox-head maul lashed to his back and easily cleaved through the first two defenders he met.
Swinging in broad arcs, he bellowed with glee as he heard bones crackle like a bonfire against his weapon. His opponents could see the bloodlust in his eyes and they knew they couldn’t stop him. The line broke.
Kendar’s eyes fell on the prey that he had been seeking. At the end of the courtyard, the captain of the Dread Guard stood, leaning casually against his spiked towershield as he tipped a mocking salute.
The Captain’s scarred face cracked a sneer as he raised his sword in challenge. Kendar could see the courtyard was prepared as a gauntlet. They had been waiting for him.
Instead of fear, he felt elation… perhaps this was a good day to die.
Kendar trampled over fleeing spearmen, sidestepped flying crossbow bolts, and leaped over burning obstacles in his path. Every obstacle gave him strength, and he gained speed.
The Captain’s eyes betrayed only slight surprise as he braced to meet Kendar.
Maul met shield as the two began their deadly dance. Kendar’s heavy swings landed again and again against the captain’s shield while each blow allowed the sword dart out and find a fleshy target on Kendar.
The captain laughed “I’m going to pick you apart piece by piece. There isn’t even a scratch on me.”
Bleeding from more than a dozen slices and gouges in his body, Kendar grinned. “Pain. I like pain.”
In the tumult, the captain’s armor had become unlashed and his shield cracked. Realization dawned too late in his eyes as the ox-head sundered the shield, snapped the arm, and thudded into his ribcage. The chainmail did nothing to stop the force of Kendar’s swing. His face a picture of surprise and pain, the captain fell.
Kendar stumped around the body and leaned down. Grabbing the lifeless body, he used the captain’s own sword to hack off its former owner’s head. The victory was sweet. He wondered what he was going to do tomorrow.