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Barbarian Hero

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"The fact is, barbarian heroism has the advantage of a certain clear, solipsistic simplicity; any itchy kid can take up a big sword, pull on a loincloth, and set out to carve his way to glory, and some turn out to be good at it (or just lucky)."

Loin cloths or Pelts of the Barbarian, taut rippling muscles, oiled back, impressive weapons, the beard of a grizzly bear (or inexplicably clean-shaven at all times) and glorious manly manes.

The Barbarian Hero is the ancient-era (or Future Primitive) badass, armed with muscles upon muscles and a variety of very sharp-bladed objects, whose job it is to kill lots of monsters (human or inhuman) and kick lots of ass. While he seems to favor Cool Swords (the bigger, the better) he's more likely than other heroes to wield an axe, club, hammer, or flail epically. A Mighty Glacier, or even a Lightning Bruiser, he's able to defeat wizards and giants despite having no magical abilities (in myth, this was often ascribed to divine ancestry). One of The Oldest Ones in the Book, a popular heroic archetype since ancient times but seems to be coming back into style recently.

This type of character seems to lean more toward the Anti-Hero side of the scale, and he may be the white sheep of an Always Chaotic Evil Barbarian Tribe. If he is modelled in any way on Genghis Khan, it generally means he will end up becoming King By His Own Hand and generally an example of Modest Royalty. His enemy will often be a Sorcerous Overlord: both an overlord for him to be anti-authoritarian against and an Evil Sorcerer for him to be physical and brave against to emphasise the ideal of combined physical and mental mastery. He also has a good chance of being Book Dumb, lacking education but still resourceful enough to cleverly solve problems he can't just hack with his sword.

This trope is partly Truth in Television before the modern age, for less than intuitive reasons: usually "civilized" urban classes, despite having guaranteed access to food, better schooling, and better military training, suffered dearly from problems not faced by less settled societies, such as inbreeding (a famous problem among noble houses like the Habsbergs, but also one faced by the rural working class until the steam engine made travel more accessible) and chronic diseases due to overcrowding, poor nutrition, and unsanitary conditions (like tuberculosis, dysentery, or various skin diseases). The "barbarian" hunter-gatherer or herder might have had a nasty, brutish, and short life due to everyday violence and the need to provide for himself in face of danger, but at least he was far from everyday filth and crowding. He would also probably get plenty of exercise and, despite the unpredictability of his meals, he would often still have a better diet than the average medieval tenant-farmer. Jared Diamond touched on the issue when he discussed the evolution of humans from hunter-gatherers to farmers.

A very common variant are the clones of Conan the Barbarian, there are some terms, such as Conanesque or Conanesco (Hispanic variant), similar to what happened to Tarzan (see Tarzan Boy).

There is frequent overlap with Proud Warrior Race Guy, Noble Savage, Handsome Heroic Caveman, and The Berserker. Often fond of being In Harm's Way. Females who fit this Trope are often of the Nubile Savage and/or Jungle Princess type.


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  • Various forms of barbarians appear in Capital One commercials. What's in your wallet?

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel's 2001: A Space Odyssey issues 3 and 4 feature one named Marak who leads an army while wearing armor and wielding a sword both crafted by a smith who was inspired by a Monolith.
  • Aquaman (especially when written by Peter David) can be a modern take on this. So much so that these runs are often nicknamed by fans as "The Savage Sword of Aquaman" or "Conan Under The Sea."
  • DC's Arak: Son of Thunder was a Native American whose canoe was washed out to sea as a boy, where he was found and raised by Vikings (they name him Eric, which he at first mispronounces "Arak," and the name sticks). He eventually winds up in the court of Charlemagne.
  • Asterix has the title character and his Undefeatable Little Village in Gaul, resisting Roman efforts to conquer them.
  • The Avengers: Marvel Comics's Arkon, from his own perspective (and that of his home dimension Polemachus); Deliberate Values Dissonance means he most often acts as an antagonist to mainstream Earth's superheroes.
  • Birthright: Mikey Rhodes, who visually resembles this trope, being a towering, bearded warrior armed to the teeth with some massive weapons, with one police officer even calling him Conan at a point. Also just like the typical archetype, his biggest enemy is an Evil Sorceror-type of God-Emperor and Mikey also has a distaste for magic (albeit, he is fine with magical weapons). He is more complicated than other examples, since he is actually an agent of his main enemy working to unleash Hell on Earth behind everyone's else knowledge. He manages to break free from his influence and ends up becoming a Magic Knight.
  • Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! had a time traveling canine named Bow-Zar the Barkbarian.
  • Cerebus the Aardvark was a direct parody of the Barry Windsor-Smith drawn Conan comic books for its first 50 issues.
  • Claw The Unconquered is a Conan with a red gauntlet that hides his demon hand. Sort of has elements of Elric and Prince Corum.
  • In the late 2010s, Marvel Comics regained comic book use of Conan the Barbarian, this has led the character to star alongside Marvel superheroes and other characters in Savage Avengers, Conan the Barbarian 2099 and Conan: Serpent War with likely more to come.
  • The European comic Den has a nerdy Earth man Trapped in Another World where he becomes a musclebound warrior and Chick Magnet. Also likes to be naked. Den stars in a very funny segment of the movie Heavy Metal, where he is voiced by John Candy.
  • Parodied by Sergio Aragonés' Groo the Wanderer. Groo is a large-nosed buffoon of unsurpassed stupidity who constantly misunderstands his surroundings. Possessed of superlative skills in swordsmanship (the only task at which he is remotely competent), he delights in combat but otherwise is a peaceable and honest fellow who tries to make his way through life as a mercenary or by working odd jobs. He is incredibly accident-prone, and despite generally good intentions causes mass destruction wherever he goes. Most of his adventures end with him either oblivious to the mayhem he has wrought or fleeing an angry mob.
  • Marvel's The Incredible Hercules starred the mythological superhero Hercules, his sidekick Amadeus Cho, the seventh-smartest person in the world, and half-sister Athena, as circumstances forced Herc to return to his past life of Walking the Earth.
  • The Incredible Hulk:
    • Most versions of the Hulk often has shades of this, especially the Green Scar incarnation, but this is particularly noticable when he was on the sub-atomic planet K'ai and the alien world of Sakaar.
    • His son Skaar is a proud example of this, even getting nicknamed "Conan" when he arrives on Earth.
    • Kronen is a Conan parody featured in a Hulk story. He's one-eyed, cruel, and possesses an amulet with a smile demon.
  • Ironjaw, from the eponymous comic from the long-defunct Atlas/Seaboard comics. The main character was a barbarian with an iron lower, well, jaw. He didn't get a lot of girls, especially since it was cancelled after 4 issues.
  • Korrek from Man-Thing is a kind of Conan in another dimension.
  • Before DC Comics got a hold of the property and introduced the "Prince Adam" thing, this was He-Man's backstory in Masters of the Universe. He was the greatest warrior in his jungle-dwelling tribe, who left to defend Castle Grayskull when he heard of evil forces seeking to plunder it and take over the world.
  • Red Sonja: The Trope Maker and poster girl for the Chainmail Bikini.
  • A monologue describing Marv in Sin City mentions he'd probably be right at home in a role like this. Unfortunately, Marv had the rotten luck of being Born in the Wrong Century where barely civilized, gigantic muscled men with honour codes and propensities for violence are in less demand.
    • Also, Frank Miller himself has described Marv as "Conan in a trench coat", making him a rare modern-era barbarian hero.
  • Sláine, who appeared in 2000 AD. Sláine is a barbarian fantasy adventure series based on Celtic myths and stories. Sláine's favourite weapon is an axe called "Brainbiter". He has the power of the "warp spasm", based on the ríastrad or body-distorting battle frenzy of the Irish hero Cú Chulainn, in which earth power "warps" through his body, turning him into a terrifying, monstrously powerful figure.
  • Before doing Marvel's Conan comics, Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith made Starr The Slayer. Notably, Den creator, Richard Corben drew a reboot for Marvel Max in 2009.
  • The Warlord (DC): Every character. Travis Morgan, a USAF officer from modern-day earth, enthusiastically adopts the lifestyle when he is stranded in Skartaris, eventually becoming its greatest hero.
  • X-O Manowar is a very unconventional take on this trope, being a Visigoth warrior from Dacia (today Romania), and therefore considered a barbarian by the Roman Empire, that gets a symbiotic Powered Armor from an alien race. Despite using technology much more advanced than other examples of this trope, he is still very much a Blood Knight due to being a product of his time period that has problems adapting to civilized society (especially when forced to work for the US government).

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in Thrud the Barbarian, a comic strip that used to run in White Dwarf magazine. Brawn-to-brain ratio is indicated by giving him a huge body and a grapefruit-sized head.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: Invoked in chapter 33 when Asuka gloats that she will lead her army with an iron fist and one of her friends asks her if she will be going for a "blood-soaked barbarian-queen" vibe.
  • And then there's The Riddle of Steel, in which Shinji somehow gets hold of what can only be described as a Barbarian Hero Correspondence Course reminiscent of the one that plays a minor role in Sourcery (probably not coincidentally) except with the actual Conan instead of his Discworld counterpart, and turns out to be better at it than Nijel ever was. This skillset translates surprisingly well to piloting an Evangelion, and Shinji's rather strong Anti-Hero tendencies make it a lot harder for Gendo to push him around, meaning the Scenario rapidly goes off the rails.
  • Thousand Shinji: As her transformation in a Khornate berserker advances -eventually leading to her becoming the next Goddess of War-, Asuka resembles this: she becomes an impressively muscled and powerful warrior, armed with primitive-looking, gigantic axes and barely clad in a tarp.

    Films — Animation 
  • Darkwolf in Fire & Ice is a straight example of the trope. He is a stoic, grim warrior with a big axe who never shows his face.
  • Den from the animated short, Neverwhere was an office clerk from Earth who was transported to the world of Neverwhere and given a buff body.
    • This went on to inspire the Den segment of Heavy Metal where he's a nerdy kid on Earth and decides to remain on Neverwhere at the end.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The Fighting Fantasy series have barbarian characters in a couple of books:
    • In Deathtrap Dungeon, a barbarian warrior named Throm is a Required Party Member halfway into the game, where both of you form an alliance to overcome a trialmaster. You become fast friends with Throm after fighting off a pair of powerful cave trolls, and depending on the choices, you might need to be rescued by Throm from cave-in during the adventure. Sadly, you're later forced to kill Throm in a Fighting Your Friend battle.
    • Throm returns in Assassins of Allansia, a Stealth Prequel to Dungeon, to save your life.
    • Legend of Zagor allows you a choice of four playable heroes before the adventure begins, one of them being the Barbarian Noble, Anvar, the strongest of the selectable characters.
  • Sagard from Sagard the Barbarian (a.k.a. Hero's Challenge) from Gary Gygax of Dungeons & Dragons fame, is a series where you are a Barbarian Hero who starts out trying to win acceptance from his tribe and afterwards would go on doing heroic deeds as a wandering adventurer.
  • Fire*Wolf from the Sagas of the Demonspawn series by J.H Brennan of GrailQuest fame. Fire*Wolf was the son of an aristocratic wizard lost in a succession war. Fire*Wolf was adopted as an infant by barbarians of the Wildlands, before discovering his wizardly heritage and would wield the unholy Doomsword. The series was retitled The Complete Sagas of Fire*Wolf then adapted for iOS and other platforms by the Australian Mobile Game Company, Tin Man Games.

  • Rom, the eponymous barbarian from The Barbarian and the Sorceress, complete with Heroic Build and Braids of Barbarism.
  • Beowulf, although he's actually relatively civilised and wears lots of pretty armour. He's a prince of the Geats, who eventually becomes king of his tribe about two-thirds of the way through the story.
  • John Jakes, later famous for his historical novels, had Brak the Barbarian, circa 1968.
  • Hirad Coldheart from Chronicles of the Raven certainly fits the bill. He is somewhat more thoughtful and patient (up to a point) than the usual examples. He wears lots of furs and leather, though, and fights in the manner of a berserker. Swords, axes, bare fists, and even teeth are some of his weapons of choice.
  • Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian is the most famous of the Barbarian Heroes and the Trope Codifier, and versions of the character have appeared in every medium, from the original short stories to later novels (new books are still published), several comic book adaptations, the adult-oriented comic magazine Savage Sword of Conan, a live-action television show, a children's cartoon, video games, and three feature films.

    Additionally the character has inspired an entire genre of imitators, ranging from silly Groo the Wanderer to more serious fare like Red Sonja (a female Barbarian Hero). In some ways, Conan is an Unbuilt Trope. At least the original Howard version who only rarely went around in only a loincloth (usually to cast off excess weight when he planned to climb something) and was substantially more intelligent and articulate than the stereotype.
  • Parodied with Conan the Librarian.
  • Wulfgar, from The Dark Elf Trilogy. He actually comes to find that he can't get along in "civilized" society with the rest of the Companions of the Hall, and goes back home to Icewind Dale.
  • The Death Dealer, a novel series based on a series of Frank Frazetta paintings.
  • There's a lot of these in Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • Cohen the Barbarian is a deconstruction, as he was never defeated but also can't hold down a steady job as king of any of the kingdoms he conquered, and is still barbarian hero-ing in his eighties. His Silver Horde included an eclectic bunch of ancient-but-still-mighty warriors and an aged geography teacher.
    • Nijel the Destroyer, who is over six feet of rippling skin and bone with long underwear under his loincloth.
    • The entire race of Nac Mac Feegle, with the possible exceptions of the gonnagle and the kelda.
    • The Colour of Magic specifically notes that the Disc's hub is swarming with these types, the two appearing prominently in that book being Bravd (a parody of Fafhrd, below) and Hrun, who are both described as standard models if only slightly more intelligent than the norm.
    • There's even a bar for them in Ankh-Morpork, where brawls have a scoring system, and calling yourself "[Name] the Invincible" is considered a form of suicide.
    • Barbarian heroines on the Disc include Herrena the Henna-Haired Harridan, Cohen's daughter Conina and Vena the Raven-Haired, who's the same age as Cohen's gang and looks like a kindly old grandmother who happens to be dressed like Xena. There's also a brief mention in Eric of a "Red Scharron".
    • The royal dynasty of Sto Lat was founded by a barbarian conqueror five generations prior to Mort. Princess Keli inherited some of his facial features and, implicitly, some of his attitude.
    • Later books see a decline in the profession of barbarian heroism concurrent with the progress of Disc civilization. By the time of The Last Hero the truest of barbarian heroes are pared down to old men like Cohen and the Horde, while younger ones like Hrun seek out steadier jobs and the famed barbarian bar brawls in Ankh-Morpork become more of a show for tourists.
  • In The Divine Cities there's Sigrud je Harkvaldsson, Shara's six and a half feet tall bodyguard and assistant. She tends to introduce him as her secretary, especially when confronted with other people's assumption that he's just a Dreyling barbarian from the northern lands. Sigrud does not care to correct their assumptions and prefers his heritage to dictate others' opinion of him. It is, however, Sigrud who often saves the day and gets horribly injured while fighting to protect strangers, even though his methods for doing so involve copious amounts of flat-out slaughter.
  • Paul Atreides in Dune after Going Native.
  • Liane the Wayfarer, the protagonist of the eponymous story in Jack Vance's Dying Earth series is a subversion. He's actually a lot like the original Conan, being a cunning Adventurer Archaeologist type, except that he's really more of a villain. He's arrogant, utterly amoral, and has no problem with killing innocents.
  • Subverted with Michael Moorcock's The Elric Saga, while there are parallels in terms of Elric and your standard barbarian hero having archnemesis wizards and going on all kinds of adventures. Elric is otherwise the deliberate opposite of a Barbarian Hero in every way. He starts off inheriting a decadent empire, he's the greatest wizard of his generation and is entirely civilized. He's also a homebody preferring to read books than fighting (or for that matter, living much of a life) until he's forced to by the machinations of his cousin.
  • Grignr from The Eye of Argon, a musclebound wanderer from the mountainous land of Ecordia who travels to the corrupt city of Gorzom and realizes that civilization isn't all it's cracked up to be.
  • Fangbone! Third Grade Barbarian and its Animated Adaptation Fangbone!: The title character combines this trope with Kid Hero, since he's only nine. Doesn't stop him from being able to take down the evil forces of Venomous Drool like a pint-sized version of Conan.
  • Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser: Fafhrd, although he's kind of a subversion since he was trained as a skald (a singer of poetry) among the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Vikings he came from and thus has a higher voice and more sensitivity than most of these characters.
  • Non-Discworld Pratchett example: Erdan the Barbarian in the short story "Final Reward". While he starts off as a primitive barbarian, it takes him about a day to fit seamlessly into modern society, with his creator noting that he's "basically your total hero type" who can function anywhere.
  • The First Law: The Northerners, when they are the (relative) heroes, notably Logen Ninefingers.
  • Parodied, like so many other Fantasy tropes, in Mary Gentle's Grunts!. Lord Blond Wolf, is a northern barbarian; complete with wolf-fur boots and cloak, huge blond braids and a really big axe. However, he's only 2' 7".
  • Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel and The Third Chimpanzee discuss the physical devolution of humans during the transition from hunter-gatherer "barbarians" to primitive agriculture. Skeletons of the poor classes show decrease in average height and muscular development, tooth decay, signs of the diseases acquired during overcrowding and filth (leprosy or tuberculosis). As in the Achilles example above, the skeletons of aristocrats and wild warriors from the Homeric Age Greece show a superior average height by 2-3 inches and barely any signs of disease compared to those of poor laborers. No wonder poor people who witnessed them ascribed their physical strength and appearance to being illegitimate sons of Gods.
  • Thunk the Barbarian from John Moore's Heroics for Beginners, who tries to break into the Fortress of Doom at the beginning of the story, is a classic version bordering on parody.
  • Subverted with Ward of Hurog. He lives in Shavig, a northern country known for its barbarism in other countries, has muscles upon muscles, and is so big he's eventually nicknamed the "Giant of Shavig". He is also an avid reader, knows lots of ballads, and likes to recite them. In the only incident of Rape, Pillage, and Burn that takes place in the novels, Ward is the one who kills the would-be rapists before they can get to the burning part. This incident helps a lot with changing the image of his country, which beforehand did include Viking-like invaders.
  • Achilles in The Iliad is almost the Ur-Example.
  • Karl Edward Wagner has Kane Series who was one of these for long stretches of his life, but he's unusually anti-heroic even by sword and sorcery standards and at times he's a sorcerous overlord. Finally he abandons this identity once he survives into the modern world and becomes a biker and then a scientist.
  • Kull the Conqueror. One of Robert E. Howard's earlier characters, and would later form the foundation of the man who would become Conan. Kull, like Conan, is something of an Unbuilt Trope. He is rather introspective and EXTREMELY timid around women, so much so that a 19-year-old girl was able to push him around when he's the king.
  • In A Land Fit for Heroes, there's Egar Dragonbane a famed warrior from the barbarian nomad Majak tribes. An unstoppable berserker with his barbed Majak staff lance, Egar finds becoming a chieftain of his tribe and bedding voluptuous young women to be a disappointment, so he wishes to return to the place that gave him the most happiness - civilization, where he became a hero during the war against the Scaled Folk.
  • Karsa Orlong of Malazan Book of the Fallen is what happens when this trope meets a whole lot of Deliberate Values Dissonance and gets dropped into a more traditional fantasy setting. Karsa's not "evil" per se, and certainly sees himself as a Barbarian Hero, but his casual attitude towards rape, murder, and theft does not make him popular with a lot of people in-universe. And oh yeah, he thinks that wiping out civilisation is the best way to save humanity from itself. Word of God says that he is a very deliberate deconstruction of the "barbarian fantasy".
  • Naoh, the hero of Quest for Fire. Doesn't get much more this trope than the champion of a raiding horde of neanderthals.
  • Author Richard Kirk (the pseudonym of Robert Holdstock of Mythago Woods fame), has a female one with the Raven: Swordsmistress of Chaos series. In it, Raven was an escaped slave girl who is The Chosen One fated to usher in an age of chaos with her companion and lover, the sorcerer Spellbinder (this Age of Chaos is seen as a good thing, the world had become increasingly stagnant under tyrannical and supernatural forces). Raven becomes a scantily-clad raider and mercenary while furthering the cause of Chaos in the world, eventually leading to the The End of the World as We Know It which allows that world to evolve into our own.
  • In Jack L. Chalker's The River of Dancing Gods, middle-aged truck driver Joe finds himself reborn in a fantasy world as Joe, the Barbarian! With a mighty sword...Irving!
  • Aside from being a villain, Raven of Snow Crash is essentially one of these transplanted into a Cyberpunk setting, with devastating results. He manages to make primitive weapons like his beloved glass knives effective even in the cyberpunk era through sheer skill and toughness, and is utterly contemptuous of Western civilization and all it represents.
  • In Barbara Hambly's Sun Wolf and Starhawk trilogy, Sun Wolf is a barbarian who's the founder and captain of his own mercenary crew. His barbarian past is mentioned only to note his exceptional size, strength, and resistance to pain (one of his eyes became infested by supernatural parasites and he yanked out that eye with his own fingers!). He otherwise subverts the trope having lived several decades in civilization and he also becomes a wizard at the end of the 1st novel.
  • The Supervillainy Saga: Specifically, Tales Of Supervillainy: Cindy's Seven. After discovering she's the descendant of Red Sindi, Cindy claims her ancestor's sword and combines it with her werewolf powers to become one of these in appearance. She begins wearing a wolf skin, fighting savagely, and having the sword sing the movie soundtrack from Conan: The Barbarian while she fights.
  • Lin Carter's Thongor of Lemuria novels. The Thongor books relate the struggle of the eponymous barbarian hero to unite the humans of Lemuria into a single empire and complete the overthrow of the "dragon kings".
  • Almost every Alom feudal lord in Yulia Latynina's Wei Empire cycle. Especially from the Whitefalcon line, which gives us two especially awesome and Badass Barbarian Heroes: Marbod Whitefalcon in "100 Fields" (who once slaughtered the population of a castle from the inside, while unarmed and naked) and Kissur Whitefalcon in "Wizards and Ministers" and "the Insider".
  • Ulfyr the Bloody of Duncan M. Hamilton's The Wolf of the North trilogy. The books cover his exploits from his time as a boy named Wulfric to his final confrontation with his arch nemesis and childhood bully, Rodulf.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Beastmaster: Dar is the last survivor of his tribe. He wanders the lands seeking his lost loved one, Kyra, protecting the oppressed and the animals,
  • Heracles from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Xena from Xena: Warrior Princess.
  • The Twilight Zone (2002) episode "Azoth the Avenger Is a Friend of Mine". A young boy who is a fan of the comic book hero Azoth the Avenger inadvertently brings him to life.
  • Zorn from Son of Zorn is a parody of He-Man who came to America to see his teenage son and gets a job in a phone company. Though the show is live action, Zorn and anything from his island of Zephyria are animated.

  • "Barbarian" by Electric Wizard, which is directly based on the Conan stories.
  • Ensiferum's Wanderer depicts a figure very reminiscent of characters like Conan (With bare hands he has taken many lives/He's had a hundred women by his side) or Guts (But when sun sets and the cold arrives/With crushing solitude in the darkness of night).
  • The Hollywood Hootsman from Gloryhammer, King of Unst and California, greatest movie star to ever walk the land cyborg powered by a neutron star and the one and only true god of an alternate dimension.
  • Ill Bill, Immortal Technique, and Max Cavalera have a song called "War is My Destiny" which is Hip-Hop's answer to this trope. And it is EPIC.
  • Manowar loves this trope.
  • Rhapsody of Fire has the Nordic Warrior in their Emerald Sword Saga.
  • Subverted with A Sound of Thunder's "Udoroth". The guy in that song that looks to be the typical Barbarian Hero is a cruel tyrant that's eventually murdered by a concubine and eventually becomes a demon lord.
  • The Darkness' song "Barbarian", which is about a Viking invasion of 9th Century England. The song bounces between the perspective of the Vikings and the defending Saxons.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Dirt: Enkidu from The Epic of Gilgamesh. Even Gilgamesh qualifies (despite not technically being a "barbarian" since he came from what was then the most civilized culture on Earth — which wasn't very, back then), especially when he goes out on his wilderness journey.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Herakles. As with Gilgamesh it's worth remembering that as the son of Zeus and Queen Alcmene of Thebes he has a civilized background in the myths. He ends up wearing the skin of the Nemean Lion later in life not just because it looks cool, but because it's better armor than he could get otherwise. But he carries a club instead of a blade. He was also very Hot-Blooded, had a very short fuse and solved most of his problems by killing them. On the other hand, he was also a Boisterous Bruiser who was fiercely devoted to his friends, and much more clever than he looked, able to find creative solutions to obstacles he couldn't just overcome by bashing them. It's the bronze age, so swords aren't primary weapons yet. And he's superhumanly strong; a sturdy club with decent reach (fashioned from a tree he uprooted himself) may actually make more sense than an axe or spear that could get stuck. He's also explicitly a superb archer. The skin of the Nemean Lion could not be pierced by any arrow or spear, so Herc beat it to death with a club, then skinned it using its own teeth/claws. While he is usually depicted with a club, in various myths he used different weapons depending on what he was fighting (sword and torch for the Lernaean Hydra, arrows for the Stymphalian Birds, etc.).
    • Broadly speaking, the heroes of Greek mythology are not too different from Vikings and Norse heroes, in the areas of monster-slaying, plundering, single combat, and general warrior culture. There's even some evidence that unlike Vikings, they actually wore horned helmets.
  • Bhima, the third Pandava brother in the Mahabharata. He's not The Hero either — his two older brothers are Yudhisthira, The Captain of sorts and paragon of morality and ethical compass to all five brothers, and Arjuna, an outrageously skilled warrior of all forms and a borderline metaphorical god of archery. Bhima just fits here because of his temper and absurd levels of strength (notably ripping apart a man in half by the crotch) and stamina (survived being poisoned just because of his size and was subsequently nursed to health by the Nagas — increasing his power another tenfold).
  • The gods and heroes of Norse Mythology, though they're considerably more civilized than the usual barbarian stereotype (no fur loincloth and double-bladed battleaxes). One myth that shows how savage things could be was the murder of Ymir, the primordial frost giant. He was set upon by his 3 extremely violent grandsons: Vili, Ve, and Odin. The three were unarmed so they tore into grandpa with their teeth and fingernails, until Ymir bled to death.



    Tabletop Games 
  • The German small-press beer-and-pretzels RPG Barbaren! takes this trope to its logical conclusion: all player characters are manly male barbarian heroes out to demonstrate their manliness by winning fights (the more dangerous the better) and getting women, unattached or otherwise, to fall for their manly charms. (It's subtitled 'The Ultimate Macho Role-Playing Game' for good if somewhat tongue-in-cheek reason. That said, there actually is playable fairly rules-light role-playing game complete with an almost-plausible setting underneath said cheekiness.)
  • The main character of Barbarian Prince, Cal Arath, is built on this trope. Cool Sword? It's called Backbiter. Battling wizards, dragons, and all manner of monsters? He's the strongest human in the setting. Anti-Hero? Up to the player, he can pillage and steal to raise the money needed to save his kingdom. Of course, none of this makes his quest anything close to easy.
  • Barbarians Of Lemuria lives by this trope.
  • Chronopia has the barbarian faction of the Sons of Chronos, a mighty tribe of warriors inspired by Sláine who often go skyclad in battle out of dedication to the goddess, the Earth Goddess. Female swordmasters from the tribe will sometimes go to the Firstborn faction to become the Black Sisters elite unit where they retain their barbarian warpaint and upgrade from nudity to bikini of war.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Barbarian class is meant to evoke this archetype. Generally speaking, a Barbarian has the most HP of any class, as well as getting very powerful physical attacks. The tradeoff is that magical ability is basically nonexistent, and what few magical abilities Barbarians get is outdone by another class.
    • In 4th Edition Barbarian is one of the "Primal" classes, making it more spiritual in nature, as well as giving some "magical" gimmicks; a high-level barbarian may literally turn into a volcano.
    • Playing as a Barbarian does come with a few special quirks. You're faster and more athletic than a Fighter and have more hitpoints to boot, as you were raised in the wilds and needed to become physically fit from a very young age. On the other hand, because you haven't had the privilege of learning to properly fight in a civilised society like your Fighter pal, you're not trained to use heavier armour nor tower shields and have fewer combat feats. In 3rd edition, Barbarians were also the only class in the game who started as illiterate.
    • In 5th Edition, Barbarians make up for their lack of heavy armor with Unarmored Defense, which allows them to add their Constitution Modifier to their AC when not wearing armor. This means a Barbarian's shredded abs provide him as much protection as chainmail. If you rolled extremely well making your character, you could start off the game with 18 Dex and 18 Con, giving you a starting AC of 18. That's the same armor class as plate armor, while being completely naked. Even better, Barbarians can carry shields and keep this bonus, and don't have the disadvantage on stealth checks that comes with heavy armor.
    • Many of D&D's descendants like 13th Age and Pathfinder have their own barbarian classes, usually based on the 3.5 one, meaning that while they may hold spiritual beliefs (then again, they may not), their actual combat style is heavy on The Berserker. Amiri, Pathfinder's iconic Barbarian, goes so far as to wield a BFS that's so heavy it can't be swung effectively unless she's in a blood rage.
  • As Exalted is Trope Overdosed, there must of course be examples of this. The most prominent is Yurgen Kaneko, the Bull of the North. Yurgen was an old barbarian warlord who followed the ways of his people and walked out into a snowstorm when it became clear he was getting too old for the battlefield... and while out there, he was chosen by the Unconquered Sun to be one of his great heroes and kick ass in his name. Right now, he's currently giving the Realm one hell of a hard time defending its holdings.
    • First Edition suggested that the vast, vast majority of Lunars were such heroes, devoted to smashing the pillars of decadent civilization and bringing humanity back into the toughened fold of the world. This did not meet with much popularity, so it merely became a option for Lunars trying to find an alternative to the extant model of society (and it says a bit that the signature Lunar who's biggest on barbarism, Ma-Ha-Suchi, is just using his "experiment" as a reason to get back at the world 'cause he's not the prettiest anymore).
  • Midnight, player characters are one of these if they play as a member of the Dorn, who are a tribe of Celtic-style barbarians known for their great strength.
  • Games Workshop games
    • HeroQuest: The Barbarian has always been part of the original characters for the game and later incarnations such as Warhammer Quest. In fact, the Barbarian (who predates the Norscans being made as always Chaos worshippers, here the Barbarian is just a generic barbarian) is always the poster boy for these board games.
    • Necromunda: The Ratskin special character Brakar the Avenger, from the game's 1st Edition, resembles a traditional barbarian hero with long, unkept hair, a hugely muscled bare chest, and trousers made from animal hides. The Downplayed due to the fact that he is a Long-Range Fighter rather than a melee specialist, but he still wields a massively oversized weapon.
    • Warhammer: Sigmar, the founding god of the Empire, was originally a barbarian hero and chieftain of the Unberogen tribe who used a combination of strength and diplomacy to unite most of the other human tribes between the Worlds Edge Mountains, the Grey Mountains, and the Great Ocean, before leading them to decisively crush a huge Orc horde at the Battle of Blackfire Pass. The most famous wielder of the powerful warhammer Ghal Maraz — which he received for saving the life of the High King of the Dwarfs – Sigmar is typically depicted as a noble barbarian with wild hair and is often shown bare-chested. One of his greatest foes was the powerful Lich Nagash, the Great Necromancer, whose undead armies invaded the fifteen years after the founding of the Empire.
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • Jaghatai Khan, the Primarch of the Mongol-inspired White Scars Chapter of Adeptus Astartes, was a skilled but savage mounted warrior who excelled at hunting and had a backstory based on Ghengis Khan. Unlike his equally barbaric brother Leman Russ, however, Jaghatai was also a highly cultured individual who practiced calligraphy and poetry alongside tactics and extreme violence.
      • Leman Russ, the Primarch of the Space Wolves Chapter of Adeptus Astartes, was a barbarian king and hero in the Viking mould, whose Arch-Enemy was his Evil Sorcerer brother Magnus the Red. A lover of drinking, feasting, and fighting, Leman Russ is usually depicted with wild blond hair, fur-covered Powered Armor, and a wild temper. In battle, the Wolf King is said to have wielded a large sword, axe, or spear, and fought with cunning and fury. Despite his argumentative and ill-tempered nature, Russ was well-liked by many of his brother Primarchs and was fiercely loyal to his God-Emperor father. Contrasting the Cultural Posturing prone Jaghatai, Russ was fully aware of his image and how to use it to his own benefit.
    • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Many of the Stormcast were the heroes of Barbarian Tribes who were defeated, or died, defending their people from the forces of the Dark Gods during the Age of Chaos only to have their souls reforged as Sigmar's elite warriors.
    • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: When using the Tome of Corruption sourcebook, and the 2nd Edition rules, a player can create a heroic character from the heavily muscled, and fair-haired, barbaric northern tribes of Norsca. While later lore in the main game made the Norscans almost totally tainted by Chaos, at the time the Tome was released the Norscans were more neutral, and could at times be heroic and friendly to other human nations.
    • Warhammer Quest: The Barbarian is the leader of the game’s default party and the strongest close combat skill of the original Warrior characters. The model itself is sculpted to represent a typical barbarian hero with big muscles, long hair, wears nothing but a fur loincloth and a bear-skin cloak, and wields a large broadsword as a starting weapon.
  • In Wasteland 2010 (a riff on Thundarr the Barbarian), Zolgar is "the de facto leader of the group" and also "a loyal friend who will risk his life to save those in need without so much as a second thought."
  • World Tree (RPG): Gormoror consider this a dramatic ideal to live up to, and tend to fancy themselves might Beowulf-style heroes in the making. A typical Gormoror is very focused on building himself up as a fearsome warrior of great renown, and will enthusiastically engage in raids for treasure and glory, fight horrific monsters and enemy armies, swear mighty oaths, and preferably die nobly in a dramatically lopsided battle.

    Video Games 
  • Age Of Barbarian from Crian Soft, is a tribute to '80s Sword and Sorcery movies with Barbarian Hero protagonists. This game features Sheyna, a Nubile Savage who's even more scantily clad than the norm, and Rahaan. Add-ons to the game have additional characters.
  • Age of Conan
    • Barbarian is a playable class in the MMORPG. Interestingly, this game makes the barbarian a rogue class with stealth skills rather than a brawling warrior archetype like most games do, as Conan was a thief in a lot of his stories. They're DPS-oriented rogue/fighter hybrids that favours big weapons or Dual Wield.
    • There is also the Conqueror class, which is nothing less than the Barbarian class with warrior features: this can wear heavy armor and can use Dual Wield and Two-Handed gears, and is focused on damage rather than being tanker.
  • Many Atari ST games in the late '80s and early '90s had barbarian protagonists, with the shuriken throwing Targhan, Torvak the Warrior, and Barbarian being prime examples.
  • Minsc from the Baldur's Gate series. In a rarity for Barbarian Heroes in D&D-based games, not actually of the Barbarian class, he is a Ranger instead. This is because the D&D rules decreed that the only class allowed to have animal companions are Rangers, and Minsc is absolutely inseparable from his pet 'miniature space hamster' Boo. Also, the 2nd edition of D&D did not have a dedicated Barbarian class out of the gate, which left Ranger as the closest equivalent.
  • In Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior the player controls a barbarian hero on a quest to save a beautiful princess from an evil wizard. In the sequel, the princess takes up the sword alongside the hero as a playable character.
  • Battle Monsters a Japanese Mortal Kombat clone from Scarab, has Makarydo. In Makarydo's bio, it mentions he's from a barbarian tribe and his alignment is good which is rare among the mostly neutral or evil roster.
  • The hero of Black Tiger (who may or may not be named Black Tiger) is another example.
  • Blade Master have the player two character Arnold the Barbarian, whose appearance and name is a blatant Shout-Out to Conan the Barbarian as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Castlevania's Simon Belmont was depicted in his early appearances as basically Conan with a whip. In fact, the figure and pose of Simon on the original Castlevania cover is taken directly from a Frank Frazetta painting. He's received several redesigns since then, but even at his most bishonen-y, Simon still looks like he could rip you in half with his bare hands, unlike many of the later Belmonts. He eventually went back to the original, straightforward barbarian look in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
    • Subverted in the case of Gabriel Belmont. He was originally intended as one, but Hideo Kojima advised the production team to refine him to appeal to players better.
  • Barbarian is one of the available classes in both Diablo II and Diablo III. The Barbarians as a race are given a different spin in this series than most, being not individual world-roaming anti-heroes but rather a heroic and honorable Proud Warrior Race charged with protecting a Cosmic Keystone. The non-canon, third-party expansion of the first game, titled Hellfire, also allowed a Barbarian class. One of these Barbarians, Sonya, represents the class in Heroes of the Storm.
  • DOOM (2016): If there can be such a thing as a high-tech barbarian, the Doom Slayer has earned his spot as one. No homeland (he lost it to demons), always seeking another fight (he's made it his goal to destroy every demon there is), lonesome, heroic for the most part and certainly barbaric in both sheer power and pure, unbridled, unquenchable rage. The only thing he's missing to fit would be the heavily exposed muscles, and even then he's bulky enough that no amount of armor can hide them. He's lost the sleeves in DOOM Eternal, revealing his muscles are suitably ripped. There's also a skin that turns him into a literal barbarian.
  • There was to be a Human Barbarian origin for the Player Character in Dragon Age: Origins, but it was never implemented because the devs didn't have the time to produce the assets needed to sufficiently distinguish the Avvar (i.e. local barbarian) culture from the regular (civilized/feudal) Fereldan culture. Hence also the conspicuous absence of Avvar-related subplots in a game set in the region where the Avvars are supposedly a prominent ethnic group. There is, however, an Avvar origin in the Dragon Age pen-and-paper RPG.
  • Elden Ring:
    • The Hero starting class for the Player Character looks like one of these, clad in furs and a loincloth, wielding a small shield and an axe, and has the highest starting Strength stat of any class.
    • Nepheli Loux is one of these, being essentially the Hero starting class as a full character. She wields a pair of storm-magic enchanted axes and can be summoned for a handful of boss fights. She also has a strong sense of justice and fairness, and if you follow her questline to its completion she can even become the new Lord of Limgrave and Stormhill based solely off of her strong morals.
    • Godfrey, the First Elden Lord, definitely has this in appearance, being a burly giant of a man who wields a shattered greataxe and manages to bare his rippling muscles even in full armor. He was also noted as being The Good King during his tenure as Marika's consort, ruling with a fair but firm hand compared to his wilder and younger days, even having a spectral lion named Serosh attached to him to help modulate his behavior so he could behave as a true Lord. When you fight him at the Foot of the Erdtree he faces you solely with his own strength compared to every other demigod who has some degree of magic to aid them, and when he gets down to half health he kills Serosh and reveals who he truly is; Hoarah Loux, Warrior and the First Tarnished. Now shirtless and slaked with the blood of his dead familiar, he proceeds to beat you senseless solely with tackles, hammerfists, a truly titanic Shockwave Stomp, and four different grab attacks that all result in him hurling you into the air before power-bombing you into oblivion. Additionally, cut content reveals that he was complicit in Marika's plot to shatter the Elden Ring, showing his disdain for gods and magic like many a Barbarian Hero.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout the series (until Skyrim did away with classes), Barbarians were one of the character classes. They were lighter armoured and more mobile warriors.
    • This is a common depiction (and even ideal) of the Nords, along with Horny Vikings. Axes as a favored weapon, Braids of Barbarism, Manly Facial Hair, war paint, war cries, Pelts of the Barbarian... It is all heavily present in Nord culture, which they took from their ancestors, the Atmorans. Enemies of the Nords (usually elves) prefer to paint them instead as a violent and savage Barbarian Tribe. Nords themselves are acutely aware of this image; some like the Stormcloaks and certain Nord mercenaries and criminals embrace it for the intimidation factor, but city-dwelling and law-abiding Nords largely shun the image and claim it gives them a bad name to outsiders.
    • Skyrim:
      • Although the game gives you the opportunity to play as many other things aside from this, the promotional art for the "official" Dragonborn is shown to be a male Nord with the dress and demeanor of Barbarian Hero.
      • This appears to be the general aesthetic of most of the armors in Skyrim, in contrast to Oblivion's Knight in Shining Armor aesthetic. Steel Armor, for instance: compare the Oblivion set to the Skyrim set. Justified by Skyrim's native inhabitants being the Nords, as described above.
  • Starting with the third game, the Fallout series has featured the comic-book hero "Groknak the Barbarian." Collecting issues of his comic will increase your Melee Weapons skill, and in the fourth game, the protagonist can find some replica props and cosplay as him.
    • In a more traditional sense, Fallout 2 puts the player in the shoes of a Future Primitive descended from the previous game's hero, who is declared The Chosen One due to their heritage and sent on a quest to find a "holy relic" (read: terraforming device) that will save their village from starvation.
    • Fallout 4 gives us Strong, a Super Mutant that became inspired by the writings of Shakespear and wants to find the "milk of human kindness." His values are significantly different from the more "civilized" companions (since he comes from a "simple" culture), such as hating solutions that require too much "smart" activity while loving cannibalism and violence. Strong, however, does have morals that set him apart from what's typical of his kind, displaying surprising altruism, interest in other people, and equal sharing of resources. Strong is also surprisingly philosophical at times. He describes his belief in finding strength through sharing with others, making the whole stronger than the individual. In Strong's eyes, selfishness is the height of dishonor and it's only through teamwork that a species can progress/survive.
  • Played with in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years: The Man In Black is a toweringly huge man, very strong with very high HP, extremely muscular, a Barbarian Long Hair, who wears only a kilt and cowl and wields a BFS—heck, said BFS is even called the Cimmerian Blade. However, since he is also Golbez, Anti-Villain of the previous game and Cecil's brother, he is extremely intelligent, highly proficient in magic, and at heart a very good man.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening has the Barbarian class that serves as the first-tier class before promoting into the second-tier Berserker class, which has a high critical rate, very high HP and strong damage output, but abysmal defense. Preceding it is the Pirate and Brigand classes, which respectively have the ability to cross water and mountains each.
  • The Warrior from the Gauntlet series fits this trope perfectly. Though the Red variant in Legends and Dark Legacy is the standard version, the other three colors offer different costumes.
  • As a tribute to '70s Sword and Sorcery pulp fantasy, White Whale games has the surrealistic God Of Blades. In this game that looks like a Roger Dean album cover, you control the resurrected alien barbarian "The Nameless King" as he fights enemies from the void that invaded his world.
  • Kratos from God of War. Even though he is Greek (which would technically make him the opposite of a barbarian) he hails from Sparta, which was considered the most barbaric of all Greek city-states by far, and Kratos is particularly a warrior of pure unadulterated physical power and immense savagery, driven by animalistic and atavistic fury. Also, in true Barbarian Hero fashion, his first instinct when accosted by beautiful women in scant clothing cringing in terror is to have sex with them. His throne as the Greek God of War was also draped with willing female slaves like a Frazetta piece. Ironically, in 2018 God of War (PS4), he fits the aesthetic even better (grew a full beard and switched his Blades of Chaos with a battle axe), but he calmed down a lot after he formed a new family.
  • Ax Battler from Golden Axe, with Stern Blade in Revenge of Death Adder and Kain Grinder in Golden Axe III.
    • All of the playable characters in the Golden Axe series tend to fit this trope, but Ax Battler is the most archetypal.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic has Tarnum, the Barbarian Warlord of the Wasteland, who led his barbarian people in an uprising against their Sorcerous Overlord oppressors. When the barbarian gods command him to become an eternal Atoner for his war crimes during said uprising, he subverts this by using his newfound immortality to try out lots of other roles. Over the course of the series, he becomes a Knight in Shining Armor, a Magic Knight, a Forest Ranger, and even masquerades as an Evil Overlord — though in all cases it's made pretty clear that this trope is still there underneath the latest veneer.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: Aloy is a Nora, which means that she's a member of a tribe of isolationist Culture Chop Suey combinations of barbarians and Native Americans. She's unique in that despite being a redheaded warrior, she has no barbarian rage and is instead The Heart and an All-Loving Hero, doing everything in her power to help the less fortunate and save the world.
  • Data East's Hippodrome and follow-up game Mutant Fighter (in Japan, it was Deathbrade) has barbarian warriors fighting inhuman creatures in the arena.
  • The Black Whirlwind from Jade Empire is somewhat like this, mixed with Boisterous Bruiser and Ax-Crazy. Virtually all his stories end up with him killing everybody in the vicinity, and it's mentioned that, like Marbod Whitefalcon above, he once stormed an entire castle, alone and naked. And drunk. Ninety-nine percent of what the Black Whirlwind does is apparently done under the influence.
  • Killer Instinct has Tusk in the sequel, who's a mighty sword-wielding barbarian encountered when the Ultratech facility ends up transported to the distant past. In Killer Instinct (2013), whereas the other characters from the past, Kim Wu and Maya have been retconned into being girls contemporary to Killer Instinct's dystopian future world, Tusk is still a barbarian from ages ago but he's immortal and lived his way to the tournament.
  • League of Legends features the Barbarian King Tryndamere, wielding a bigass sword and the ability to NOT die, sustained with nothing but his own rage.
  • Gogan, the Mighty Warrior from The Legendary Axe.
  • Both Player Characters in Magic Sword: Heroic Fantasy, although Player 1 (Alan) moreso.
  • Might and Magic from the second game on through the fifth has the Barbarian class. It's limited in armor and can't use every weapon, though it can use the biggest and baddest two-handed ones. However, they gain more hit points than any other class, as well as gain levels faster than most. Given that armor class becomes increasingly useless as the game progresses, Barbarians end up being significantly ahead of the other fighting classes.
  • The main character of NieR in the Gestalt version of the game. In the Replicant version, he's instead a Bishōnen.
  • Bud from Raging Blades is a barbarian who joins the heroic conquest to stop Diglight the Evil Wizard and his conquest of Atranart, ever since Diglight's forces destroyed Bud's hometown.
  • Rastan from Taito is one of the most well-known and archetypal arcade examples.
  • Leo of Red Earth is a king who set off as a warrior when cursed into a Beast Man.
  • Remnant: From the Ashes has Clementine a.k.a Subject 2923 who is transported to the savage, winter world of Reisum when she connects to its Guardian. She's gone native in that world having gone over in her teens and survived decades there despite the Viking ratpeople trying to kill her and her friends. Clementine is now a fur-cloak clad Asian-American barbarian/healer.
  • Rau from The Mark of Kri and Rise of the Kasai is basically Polynesian Conan (the stereotype, not the original). He's even directly addressed as "Barbarian" instead of his name sometimes.
  • The hero of the Amstrad CPC game Savage. "Gonad the Barbiturate" was how programmer David Perry described his character design.
  • Shadow of the Beast has Aarbron as a Barbarian Hero, when he's not busy being a Beast Man or a McNinja
  • Lykos in the TurboGrafx-CD game Shapeshifter. He is actually called a "barbarian lad" in dialogue.
  • Shop Heroes features Kurul and Karal, both of whom are barbarian warriors from the plains (and who may be related, judging by the names). Kurul probably fits the archetype best, being a grim, violent thug who's always shouting. By contrast, Karal has a much sunnier disposition than the typical barbarian hero, although she's still quite loud.
  • Slashout have a barbarian warrior named Axle as one of the heroes, armed with a massive battleax as the Mighty Glacier among the four playable heroes.
  • Rock from Soul Edge is a glaring example in terms of much of his backstory and his look of sporting a fur loincloth and carrying a huge battle-axe. He does subvert it a bit as he's a self-taught barbarian who's really a well-to-do British man marooned in the U.S.
  • Stormlord has a star-throwing barbarian saving fairies
  • Rose Sub in Trio the Punch is practically a Captain Ersatz of Rastan.
  • "Barbarian" was a playable class in Ultima III: Exodus. In a subversion of the trope, it was actually the worst character to play the game with, since the game system was very reliant on magic. As in an entire party of Squishy Wizards would get you a lot further than one of Barbarians. That said, an all-Barbarian party is one challenge for the game.
  • Subverted in Wizards & Warriors. Kuros (the protagonist) is portrayed this way on the box art (both for this game, and its sequel Ironsword: Wizards and Warriors II), but in actuality, he's more like a Knight in Shining Armor wearing full plate mail.

  • In American Barbarian, the title hero and his family.
  • Aqua Regia: The main concept behind Daniel's looks, according to the post-episode notes, was to transplant a Barbarian Hero to a Cyberpunk setting.
  • In Exiern, Typhan-Knee was a typical loin cloth wearing, sword-swinging, over-muscled, misogynistic barbarian hero and fully committed to living down to the stereotype. That is, until in the first few panels of the strip, where a run-in with the Evil Wizard Faden gave him a Gender Bender. Now "Tiffany", she is struggling to reconcile her views of women and previous adventuring with her new state. It does seem that being a woman has bumped her IQ up a few points though. She's still sword-swinging and over-muscled, however.
  • Drowtales: Tur'geis and Die'tra Am'saag Sarghress are good Conan-like examples of this trope, save for not being main characters. Bonus points from originally being from Relic Hunters, a very Swords and Sorcery-based side-comic/RPG on the Drowtales site.
  • Girl Genius: The Ht'rok'din, ultimate ancestor of the Heterodyne family fits the physical appearance, although given that his descendants are Mad Scientists, he's probably smarter than he looks.
  • Goblins: Minmax was already fitting the trope when a pure fighter (by Dungeons & Dragons rules), including the bare chest and aversion to pants. As of the fight in the magic forest room of the Maze of Many, he has officially taken his first level of barbarian. (With the "extra rage" feat, as befitting of a good minmaxer.)
    Minmax: The strength bonus from raging is totally awesome!
  • Guilded Age: Frigg. Less in terms of the culture that raised her than her crass & violent attitude.
  • Legend of Bill and its spin-offs explore this trope: Bill is the stereotypical intellect-challenged barbarian roaming the D&D landscape accompanied by the far more intelligent blue dragon Frank, meeting other deconstructed stereotypes (evil wizards, mysterious gipsies, knightly heroes, badass princesses). Although perhaps the most bad-ass psychotic-fighter barbarian of all in the Billverse is Barwench Sarah, a frustrated and put-upon inn skivvy whose approach to hospitality and customer care involves not breaking the customer's fingers provided the tip he leaves is acceptable.
  • Oglaf parodies the trope with Kronar the Barbarian, a warrior from an all-male tribe who is essentially a Manly Gay version of Conan. When not sleeping with other manly men, he is usually seen in an Unstoppable Rage. He also has a daughter who is apparently as much of a badass as he is, given that she was killing wolves with her bare hands a few hours after birth. Despite his disdain for 'sorcery' (which to him includes scented candles and writing, and arrows are borderline), he learns how to 'shoot bzowts' in order to defeat a sorceress, and, when asked by his men how he could bear that shame, he dismisses them by stating that he feels no shame, because feelings are for women.

    Web Original 
  • Critical Role: Being based on D&D, this trope was inevitable. Both the Tal'dorei and Wildemount campaigns have had a barbarian amongst the heroes.
    • Grog Strongjaw fits the trope to a T. Drinking, whoring, and getting into fights was pretty much all Grog cares about, other than his friend Pike Trickfoot. As a Berserker, he's able to go on even more dangerous rages than most.
    • Yasha Nydoorin still fits within the trope but is less bombastic than Grog is. A seven-foot-tall Aasimar from the setting's version of Mordor, Yasha is implied to have gone on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the past after her wife was killed by their tribe and has some connection to a mysterious cult.

    Western Animation 
  • Dave the Barbarian:
    • Parodied with the main character, a wimp with a wimpy name who prefers not to fight.
    • Played straighter with his little sister Fang.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: One episode features Timmy getting transformed into a barbarian thanks to Jorgen.
  • Superman actually became one of these briefly in the episode of Justice League, "Hereafter", after having been transported to the distant future, where humanity had long since been wiped out, with only Vandal Savage remaining. A red sun hung in the sky, rendering Superman powerless, leaving him to venture forth through the wilderness with only his natural strength (which is still nothing to sneeze at), his wits, a sword he forged himself from an iron bar, and a pack of wolves that followed him once he killed their former pack leader.
  • Korgoth of Barbaria: Korgoth is a deadpan parody of the trope, specifically parodying Thundarr and Conan.
  • Masters of the Universe is a strange variation. In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) He-Man spends half the time as a Conan the Barbarian type hero and the other half in his secret identity as Prince Adam, who's closer to King Arthur than to this trope. He switches back and forth with a Captain Marvel type transformation, "By the Power of Grayskull!", and fights alongside other Barbarian heroes in the Cyberpunk Barbarian Arthurian World that is Eternia. However, his sister, She-Ra, has basically no trace of this trope. Claims that He-Man was based on the Conan movie are false.
  • Primal: Spear, one of the two deuteragonists, is nothing less than a Paleolithic caveman who gets by with his (stone) spear, a loincloth, his muscles, and his wits. And his best friend, the T. Rex Fang. Each episode in the first season is classic Barbarian Hero fare: the two of them wander somewhere new, confront (though not necessarily defeat) some threat, mundane or supernatural, then go off once more. In the second season, they travel to a land of "civilized" Bronze and Iron Age humans, which sees the pair freeing slaves, clashing with Viking warriors, and enslaved by an Egyptian queen — again, all recognizable Barbarian Hero motifs.
  • Thundarr the Barbarian...well, it's in the show's name. Thundarr is a barbarian in furs, riding across an After the End Earth hitting things with his Sun Sword.
  • WordGirl: Parodied with the villain Nocan the Contrarian, a barbarian warrior who speaks in opposites.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Star's father, King River Butterfly, may act like a regal and proper king now, but he was born in to the Johansen family who are a whole clan of Barbarian Heroes. His wild and adventurous upbringing still regularly shines through, such as when he runs off to fight monsters in a fur lioncloth for fun.

    Real Life 
  • Most prominent Viking saga heroes qualify and are indeed the primary inspiration for this trope's existence. After all, no one's more badass than the Vikings.
  • Alexander the Great bears more than a few traces of this trope. His personal hero was Achilles, his goal in life was to win glory and become known as a mighty warrior (his own words). And his conquests look less like a monarch carrying out a carefully planned Realpolitik and more like a raider on a rampage, or even like a Great White Hunter on a safari. On top of that, proper Greeks certainly considered him a barbarian themselves, as the kingdom of Macedon was on the periphery of Greek civilization and barely regarded as civilized itself (and most definitely not as "Greek"). The irony kicks in when it is pointed out that, on the other hand, he was cultured and trained by the best scholars. His teacher was Aristotle, in fact; and whenever he found any interesting items on his conquests, he would send them back to his teacher to study.
  • Arminius, leader of the Germanic tribes that annihilated Roman Legions in the Battle of Teutoberg Forest, was later portrayed as this trope by various German Nationalists. Again, Arminius had actually spent quite a part of his life living a civilized life among Romans.
  • Almost any badass outsider to a "civilized" nation counts actually. Barbarians don't think of themselves as barbarians. It's just that to them, everyone else is a silly sissy.
  • Representing the Turkic and Mongol peoples are Genghis Khan, Tarmashirin Khan, and Oghuz Khagan.

Alternative Title(s): Barbarian Heroine