Friday, April 16, 2010


Not anything overly wrong with the various "rage" mechanics I've seen for D&D (except they keep attaching them to barbarians).  None of them really do it for me either.  Looking for something to use for a Berserker Alfar* class I came up with this.

Going Berserk
  • During combat, at the start of their turn, a Berserker may attempt to go berserk by rolling 2d6 >= to their Wisdom score.
  • Damage received since the start of their last turn may be added as a modifier to their berserk roll.
  • Berserkers may attempt this roll (once per round) as often as they like.
Being Berserk
  • Must melee attack every round.  Even if only targets are "friends." If there are no known targets left alive Berserker will run off in random direction looking for something to murder.
  • Will not use ranged weapons, stop to heal, etc.
  • Will run/charge to get into melee range.
  • Will use most damaging (preferably two-handed) weapon.
  • Will not use a shield other than to bash with. Does not gain any defensive benefit from shields.
  • Immune to to charm and the like.
  • Receives bonus vs fear, command, moral checks, and the like equal to their level.
  • to hit and/or damage bonuses of the typical sort.  Leaning towards double damage.
  • While berserk, at the end of their turn, a Berserker may attempt to calm the fuck down by rolling 2d6 <= their Wisdom score.
  • Damage they dealt during their turn must be added as a modifier to their calm down roll.
  • If Berserker is knocked unconscious/asleep/temporarily killed their berserker rage is over.

It has the feeling of wild rage I think of when picturing Berserkers.  I espcially like the roll above/below Wis. But, it's kind of a FU to other players. This douche will be killing hirelings and characters in uncontrollable rages.  Anything that makes Berserker less douchey also lessons the "risk" of going berserk.

I don't know what else to use as the "risk".  Being tired afterwards is not a big deal. Other balancing mechanics; X per day is supa-lame. Loss of hitpoints / new stamina stat are annoying, can be gamed with healing, and are obscured versions of x per day mechanics.

? Make the calm down roll mandatory every round.  To hit/damage/AC penalties, during post berserk period. Limit Berserker to one rage per "combat".

? May deberserk at will.  To hit/damage/AC penalties, during post berserk period.  Limit Berserker to one berserk roll attempt per "combat".

* Alfar are Fey (elves) who were enticed by Stargate SG-1 Asgard Grays to abandon their Mythic heritage. They've assumed Earth's Norse mythology and culture, with few wrinkles. Such as instead of going a viking in Dragon Longships they swoop down from the sky aboard flying Swanships. Having learned how to harness inertia dampeners salvaged from a crashed Asgard Mothership for flight.


  1. I like the douche aspect, it should be part of being a berserker just as the opportunity to fuck up volume and waste the fighter is part of fireball.

  2. I'm anti-douche (when it comes to berserkers). If the mage screws up and destroys the party, that's the player's fault. It could have been avoided. If the berserker kills an ally, it was beyond the player's capacity to prevent, aside from not berserking in the first place.

    Players should suffer the consequences of their own actions, and as a rule, it's not a good idea for those consequences to be shifted to other characters.

    I think the inability to disengage from combat or even fight defensively when berserk, produces enough risk. I also lean towards involuntary berserking mechanics, rather than a rule that lets the player berserk at will, or try to.

  3. I'd limit the inability to discern friend from foe to people that get in the way, as opposed to just any living thing in sight. Like, the berserker kills the last orc in the room, but hears more behind the next door. Anyone between him and the door will get an axe to the face, but everyone else is fine. That way, the party can just quietly close the door behind the barbarian and be on their way. Like getting caught in the blast radius of a magic-user's fireball, it's partly their own fault for rushing into melee.

  4. Herb, yeah I like it too (to a degree) the difference is berserk is going to be *the* defining ability / difference for this class where as fireball is just one of many spells.

    Agree with Flip...

    Think I will keep the need to roll to berserk add some sort of roll to maintain berserk (auto stop if you don't attack, more likely to stop if you don't do damage, etc), along with some penalties which will be fairly bad if combat is still going on.

    Thanks all for the feedbacks! It's really great people spend there time commenting. I appreciated it.

  5. Here's my idea for an additional berserk rule, although it will negate your option of adding damage to the calm-down roll (although could be substituted for number of hits taken).

    Rule: When damage is taken during berserk rage, a note is made but it is not rolled for until the berserk ends. Once berserk has ended, all damage is rolled for and applied at once.

    thinking behind it: as I see it the whole point of berserkers, besides their enraged strength, is that they ignore damage making them almost unstoppable. Their downside is directly related to this: they do not pay attention to their own wellbeing.

    Hence the delayed damage roles allow the character to do what they need to do in a appropriately fearsome manner, but the player will always have the nagging doubt that they could drop dead after the combat ends. It becomes a gambling game, judging the likelihood of rolling high on all the damage taken so far.

    If this proves too powerful (it might do with powerful healing available) then add in the by-round check to sustain the rage, or similar.

    Don't know if that's something that appeals to others.

  6. @Dan

    That's really neat idea. Really neat...

    btw I was looking through 2nd edition "Complete foo" books at various kits. Fighter berserker and Dwarf battle rager. They are almost exactly like my original idea including the FU will attack friends. The main difference was they took 10 or 5 rounds to build up to rage instead of rolling for it.


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