[RPG] Does a Barbarian stack rages while raging or does he reset his rage


If a barbarian enters a new rage while he is raging do the rages stack on top of each other or would his current rage just be reset? I think the rage would be reset because its closest equivalent wildshape resets rather than stacking when it is used more than once. I believe this to be the case because if wildshape were allowed to stack 20th level druids would indeed have unlimited hp, which is too insane to be accurate.
Edit: If the effects of rages do stack would base features like the extra rage damage it applies and subclass features such as a zealot barbarian's fanatical focus also stack?

Best Answer

The effects do not stack

We can read about Combining Game Effects in the DMG errata, expanding DMG page 252:

when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—apply while the durations of the effects overlap. [...] Game features include [...] class features

Here, the effects are the same and obviously have the same name. Thus the effects do not stack. However, they do not cancel each other, so both will be active at the same time. Using this the barbarian could effectively extended the duration by raging again, as when the first rage ends, the other will still be going on, granting him the bonuses.

Note that only the damage bonus could even stack, as the other bonuses grant Advantage, Disadvantage or Resistances, which do not stack with themselves, regardless of the feature granting them.

I do not recommend overruling the no stacking rule, as that will be a problem at level 20 and a bit for Zealots. Stacking the damage bonuses indefinitely at level 20 could lead to ridiculous and imbalancing results. It is not as bad for not-20 Zealots, but still an issue I think.

Overall, I do not think this feature was designed with this option in mind and would recommend that DM-s rule that it does not stack. I would even say that ruling that you cannot start raging while already doing so would be quite reasonable and would avoid potential problems.

(Thanks to V2Blast for pointing me to the Errata.)