Barbers and bloodletters – hedge healers belong in your D&D campaign

Waterdeep, Tear, Dragaera City, Tajar, Zobeck — whatever the city in your world, there are barbers. The technology exists, and the art of Dungeons & Dragons provides a dazzling array of hair and beard styles that go well beyond those from the real world. But how would you play a barber or stylist in D&D?

That’s easy, via backgrounds. They’re what you were before. Maybe some heroes, especially rogues and bards, would learn to use their common implements as weapons. But anyone could be a stylist or barber before.

Get your shave and a haircut for two silver.

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Whether in a big city or travelling between cities, you are an expert at maintaining hair whether on face or head. With your scissors or razor you create art with hair. Additionally you are capable of non-magical healing. Depending on your practice you may use leaches, your blades or some other form of blood letting.

Barbers, under any name, are also strong conversationalists. When others are in your stool or chair they feel welcome, sharing the conversation of the neighborhood and their own life.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Medicine
Tool Proficiencies: Barber’s Tools, Healer’s Kit
Languages: No additional languages
Equipment: Barber’s kit, two Healer’s Kits, two vials of perfume, a stool, pouch with 5 gold.

Feature: Bloodletting

Whether via razors or leaches, using an action the Barber grants a willing creature the ability to expand a hit die to heal or recover from certain non-magical conditions (Charmed, Frightened, Incapacitated, Paralyzed, Poisoned, Unconscious). The creature takes on a level of exhaustion.

Personality traits would be similar to the Folk Hero, the Acolyte and the Fisher.

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Barber’s Kit

Cost: 25 gp | Weight: 2 lbs

Proficiency with Barber’s Tools means that you are familiar with how to style hair — cutting it, braiding it, etc. You can color it with various dyes as well. The kit includes a couple razors, scissors, a silver mirror, lotions, dyes, hair ties and other small items to help the barber.

Photo by Nikolaos Dimou on

Design Goals

Once upon a time I read, played and DMed in al-Qadim. The Arab/Turk/etc-ish setting included a barber, part healer and part friendly ear. That barber and their role in post-Renaissance England as “surgeons” fits many of the worlds of D&D.

They aren’t common in literature and games that inspire our games. That’s okay. They should be. Visiting a barber should be part of the story, even in magical worlds. Mending and Prestidigitation don’t trim your locks or beards.

Have a conversation, look better, maybe get a tiny bit of natural healing (no, it doesn’t work like this in real life). Also, I really like my stylist Chamaine.

Custom Backgrounds for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons


4 thoughts on “Barbers and bloodletters – hedge healers belong in your D&D campaign

  1. Pingback: Barbers and bloodletters – hedge healers belong in your D&D campaign – Children of the Ampersand

  2. Pingback: My 2022 writing in review | Full Moon Storytelling

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