Critical Role's Matthew Mercer Publishes Jon Heder's Hilarious Duck Barbarian Subclass

critical role duck

Dungeons & Dragons' players can now play as a Totem of the Duck barbarian....just like Jon Heder.

Last year, Napoleon Dynamite star Jon Heder made several appearances on the popular webshow Critical Role as Lionel Gayheart, a Half-Orc Bard/Barbarian. Heder chose to follow the Path of the Totem Warrior for his Barbarian subclass, but he chose a unique animal for his totem - a duck.

Dungeons & Dragons doesn't have rules for a Totem of the Duck Barbarian, but that didn't stop Critical Role's Dungeon Master extraordinaire Matthew Mercer for creating a new subclass for the game. Earlier this week, Mercer officially published a refined set of rules for the Totem of the Duck barbarian so that other players could try out his homebrewed subclass.

The Path of the Totem Warrior subclass typically allows a player to accept a spirit animal as a guide, protector and inspiration. The totem spirit grants extra abilities, each of which is based on a different aspect of that animal. In the case of the Totem of the Duck, players take inspiration from the "impossibly powerful majesty of the duck," which gives them ability to shrug off attacks (like water off a duck's back) and move underwater with no penalties.

The biggest benefit of playing a Totem of the Duck barbarian comes at Level 14, when a player gains Totemic Attunement to the duck. When a Totem of the Duck barbarian makes an attack while raging, they can replace one of their attacks with a honking and flailing outburst that can cause an opponent to become frightened....because let's face it, a charging duck is pretty freakin' scary.

We should also note that the Totem of the Duck subclass is probably the closest that a player can come to actually being a duck in Dungeons & Dragons. For instance, the Critical Role cast later confirmed that Lionel Gayheart was actually a duck transformed into a half-orc by Scanlan (the amazing bard character played by Sam Riegel), which is why Lionel felt such an affinity to ducks in the first place.

You can check out the Totem of the Duck barbarian subclass in action by watching episodes 99 and 100 of Critical Role on YouTube (found here and here). We should note that these two episodes set up the final arc of Critical Role's first campaign, so be warned that there are some heavy spoilers.

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The new subclass can be downloaded from the DM's Guild here. Players can pay what they'd like for the PDF version of the subclass, although Mercer has kindly suggested that it's a free download.