Building a Better Battle-Rager

Hey all,

So, I’m going to share my build of a D&D 4th Edition Bugbear Battle-Rager.  I’ve had loads of fun with this character and thrived in the subterranean campaign he was run in.

Image found at

This has to be my favorite picture of a bugbear.  Completely badass.  The image is not my own and was found here.

So, what are the benefits/goals of this build ?

  1.  It provides versatility, independence (on the battlefield) and POWER.  (You’ll feel like a Striker)
  2. Easily soaks up damage and shakes off status effects.
  3. Shifts about the battlefield relatively easily, which means not being subjected to unnecessary opportunity attacks.

So far, I have found this to be a highly effective build and not only does it annoy the hell out of my two friends that co-DM this PC, but even the other players shake their heads at me.

Background: Auspicious Birth – This replaces CON with your highest attribute for determining your starting HP.


  1.  I went with Sensate, for versatility over battle prowess in this case. The benefits don’t really pay off until after level 10, but the Sensate’s level 10 feature gives you a +3 bonus to all skills when you have temporary HP.  Battle-Ragers are swimming in Temp HP, especially with the added bonus of the Sensate starting feature, which gives you ½ your level in Temp HP after using an encounter attack or daily attack power! It’s a cheap way to get a +3 bonus to all your skills, which fighters usually lack.  Versatility!

Ability scores:

  1. Strength
  2. Dexterity
  3. Wisdom. Wisdom is important for Combat Superiority, giving you a +Wis Mod bonus to all opportunity attack rolls and ends the foes movement. Also good for the feat: Marked Scourge and to up your Will defense.

Race: Bugbear

  1.  It allows you to use over-sized weapons.  There is some controversy about this, as being broken, but if the character builder and DM allow it, then so be it.  I utilize an over-sized executioner’s axe, as it means doing 2d6 for its regular weapon damage.  Since an executioner’s axe is BRUTAL 2, any roll of 1 or 2 on a die, means a re-roll. That means you are re-rolling your damage 33% of the time, giving you a 6-12 damage range for each (W) of damage you’re dealing. Plus axes give Battle-Ragers a +2 to damage, since you’ll be wearing light armor.
  2. Once per encounter when you have combat advantage, you deal 1d6 damage by utilizing the bugbear encounter power predatory eye. (Not much, but extra damage is always welcomed.)
  3. The racial bonuses for a bugbear are +2 Str & +2 Dex.  Perfect for a Battle-Rager who depends on wearing light armor instead of heavy (for full Battle-Rager, temp HP gain)

Powers/Magic Item Picks: NOTE: As with any character, I try to take powers/items that are encounter powers (whenever possible), as that ensures I have them available for EVERY encounter.

Combat Advantage: Cloaked Executioner’s Great Axe (You’ll need the Superior Weapon Proficiency for the Executioner’s Axe feat), will provide combat advantage and is helpful in using the racial bugbear power: Predatory Eye. It’s an additional 1d6 damage every encounter. Not much, but why not?  Plus, an invisible weapon is just helpful in so many situations.

  1.  Extra Damage: Besides the additional damage from Predatory Eye, I suggest taking the multi-class Ranger feat “Warrior of the Wild”, as at paragon, that could be an additional 4d6 damage per encounter. Marked Scourge adds your Wisdom modifier damage each turn vs. marked enemies on a hit, Weapon Focus – Axes adds +2 damage for each attack, paragon tier, Iron Armbands of Power provide a +2 damage with all melee attacks.  I also recommend the Battle Fury Stance.
  2. Shiftiness: Boots of the Fencing Master utilized with Powers such as: Footwork Lure, Inexorable Advance, Shrewd Repositioning, along with the feat Swift Footwork, which allow a total of 5 shifting powers / items, means for 6 rounds of combat, you have an additional +1 bonus to Reflex and AC, as well as being able to shift almost at will to reposition yourself or possibly get combat advantage.  I don’t think any of our encounters have ever lasted more than 6 rounds and if so, very few.
  3. HP Gain: Battle-Rager Vigor (which provides temp HP in numerous situations) along with Invigorating Powers such as: Crushing Surge, Appalling Crunch, Knee Breaker and Inexorable Advance along with the Daily power, Victorious Surge, utility powers such as Shooter’s Nemesis, and magic items such as: Ironskin belt and amulet of life+2.  Then you have the paragon path Dreadnought +10 bonus HP and when taking an action point, Resist 10 damage until end of next turn.  This provides you with a LARGE # of HP and a high resistance to damage.

Dreadnought Paragon Class: Gives you a 10HP Bonus and as a minor action, you can take 10HP of damage (can’t be resisted) and automatically save against any status effect that a save can end. This is insanely powerful!  Also, when you spend an action point, gain resist 10 until start of next turn.

Here are the feats I chose at the appropriate level:

Level 1:  Superior Weapon Proficiency (Executioners Axe)
Level 2:  Warrior of the Wild: Multi-class Ranger (Gain Hunters Quarry feature)
Level 4:  Weapon Focus (Axe)
Level 6:  Swift Footwork
Level 8:  Improved Vigor or Axe Expertise (your preference)
Level 10: Toughness
Level 11: Paragon Class: Dreadnought  Feat: Marked Scourge
Level 12:  Feat: Mighty Battlerage

Level 14: Feat: Paragon Defenses

I recommend the following powers:

At Will: Crushing Surge and Footwork Lure

Encounter Powers: Sweeping Blow, Reckless Strike, Inexorable Advance, Appalling Crunch

Daily Powers: Knee Breaker, Dizzying Blow, Victorious Surge.

Utility Powers: Battle Fury Stance, Shrewd Repositioning, Shooter’s Nemesis.

Here is the magic item list I recommend, up to a level 14 character:

Cloaked Executioner’s Axe, Strikebacks, Iron Armbands of Power, Power Jewel, Ironskin Belt, Amulet of Life (better than Cloak of the Walking Wounded, as you might not get bloodied), Boots of the Fencing Master and Salve of Power. I personally have Magic Snakeskin armor for my Battle-Rager, but I would choose anything that heals, resists, regenerates or adds to defense.  I’m sure there are a bunch of others magic items out there that would be useful, but it depends on how you want to customize your PC.

If alternative awards are allowed, Mercurial mind and Ioun’s Revelation are two that I like, for speed and added versatility.

Look forward to hearing what you think and you can find a .pdf copy of my character here: Bugbear Battle-Rager lvl 14.


About jinx_the_bard

Longtime Dungeon Master, tabletop and video gamer. Been playing D&D and Shadowrun on and off most recently. Ran a post apocalyptic, paragon, 4th edition D&D campaign for a couple years. Running a 5th edition campaign now called "The Fall of Astia". Enjoy Borderlands 1, 2 and even the Pre-sequel (which I tend to play with fellow author Ness), Fallout 3 and 4, Bioshock and Skyrim. (Games this good never get boring) I also indulge in Magic The Gathering, mostly in the Legacy and Modern formats. Please feel free to contact me at for any questions, thoughts or things you'd like to see featured on our site.


  1. Jinx_the_Bard says:

    So I just received a comment today on an older blog with this topic and here is what was said by Jorgen Burud:

    You can have an Craghammer Brute 2.
    Always blunt weapon at enemy.
    Power Att -2 att But +3/6/9 Dam
    Augement wetstone lv 11 +3 Att/ +3 Dam

    I am playing an Battlemind Human With Craghammer Brute 1.
    Power att -2 Att +3/6/9 If 2 handed weapon.
    Stone root’s endurance ( Enemy cant heal if u have hit it)
    Tainted Wounds (save against Critical Dam)
    Bardic Dilettante (Majestic Word)
    Master at Arms +1/+2/+3 Att

    Lv-14 +19 to hit before Wetstone lv 11 +3 Att, +3 Dam. Dam :+11 (Con dam +5)
    Need to put on Power Att +6 Dam, -2 Att
    and Wetstone +3 Dam

    Normal 11+6 Power att. +3 Wetstone= Dam +20
    Brute 1.
    Had i been Bugbear Brute 2. Then you deal a lot of damage.

    You need to mark the enemy:
    enemy att friend and not u. Adjacent to you U can use Mind Spike. Deal
    The same damage to Your enemy ,so he give to Your friend

    • Jinx_the_Bard says:

      Hi Jorgen,

      So the reason why I went with the executioner’s axe, was mainly because the base damage of the axe is a d12 and the base of the craghammer is a d10. I was looking to maximize the damage, wherever possible.

      Power attack is a feat that I have always been on the fence about. I think it only becomes useful in the paragon and epic tiers, but for me personally, losing the -2 to hit bonus was huge in my group, as we were prone to our DM bringing out encounter levels that were 3-4 higher than ours. That meant being up against higher defenses and less of a chance to hit. In most games, this is an obvious choice, but for me, I needed every to hit bonus I could get my hands on.

      From my understanding the whetstone doesn’t stack with magic weapons, as both provide “enhancement” bonuses, and any bonuses that are the same type don’t stack, correct?

      So it looks as if Master at Arms is better than the weapon focus (axe) I have currently have right now, as it allows you to sheathe/draw as a minor action, which is awesome. Thank you, I’m switching it out!

      Yeah, the mindspike at will power of the battlemind is pretty badass…makes me wish we had one in our group.

      I appreciate your advice Jorgen, thanks for being part of our blog.


      • Jørgen Burud says:

        I hope u will reply my mail and look after if it is somthing that i can do to build an bether Battleminder.
        Because i have been looking and looking and dont see what i should choose. my email is

        • Jinx_the_Bard says:

          Hi Jorgen,

          I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ll play around with the battlemind in the next week and see how we can beef it up for you. What level are you? What is your race preference? any other preferences I need to know about before I start? What are your starting stats (or current stats at your current level)?

          Look forward to fixing this up for you!


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