Going Berserk

(Book 1, p42)

Barbarians* are the only profession that can go Berserk* in canonical Dragon Warriors*, as described in Book 1. In Book 4 the Skill of the Mighty*, Bloodrage*, was added.

For variant rules on ' going Beserk*' for non Norsk-themed Barbarians* please see the Barbarian* section.

On Dragwars on October 10, 2004, Wayne Imlach suggested a merging of the two:

The Barbarian* may descend into a furious Berserk* rage, increasing strength and toughness at the cost of sense and self control. To go Berserk* a Barbarian* needs to roll equal to or 'above' their intelligence on d20. They may make this roll once per turn, or once each time they receive a wound.

They may add the damage they received from the wound to the roll. If the character fails to go berserk, they may add +1 for each failed attempt to further rolls, as long as they continue to try to go Berserk* every subsequent round.

The Barbarian* may also receive a bonus to going berserk at the GM's discretion, such as when a comrade falls in battle, or a sworn enemy is revealed.

Note that a character who receives a wound from a visible target MUST roll to see if they go Berserk*, though they only need roll once per wound.

A Berserk* character gains the following additional modifiers:
  • Their strength is increased by a value equal to their rank (this may confer additional attack, defence, damage and health points as a consequence - but does not alter wounds values).
  • Their magical defence is increased by their rank.
  • They add their rank to any rolls to avoid falling unconscious.
Once a character is berserk they must always attack the nearest percieved enemy in melee combat. If no enemies remain, they will attack the nearest friendly character unless they snap out of their Berserk* rage.

To snap out of a Berserk* rage, the character must roll equal to or under their intelligence on d20. They may make this test once per round. Note that when a character snaps out of Berserk*, any health points they may have gained as a consequence of being berserk are immediately removed from their current health score. This may result in an immediate test for unconsciousness or even death!

This might seem somewhat unbalanced for very high ranking Barabarians* (imagine having strength increased from 16 to 30 in the case of a strong 14th rank Barbarian* - thats +5 to damage rolls!), but at this level I imagine the Berserker* rage has gone well beyond mere physical boundaries, adrenaline being augmented now by primal magical energies roaring through the Berserk* individual, transforming them quite literally into an aspect of their patron god (such as Wotan*). An ideal comparison from comic book literature would be that of Slaine (2000ad) when he enters a 'warp spasm' and the power of the warp flows through him, transforming him into an unstoppable beast.

Of course I have yet to playtest this change to any great degree, so it may well make Barbarians* a bit 'uber' at higher levels. That's what subsequent rules revisions are for however. :)

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