Well. At first berserkers were just a fighter variant in the draft.
I decided to cut down the classes to the four core classes, but I wanted some variety. After all clerics in Venarive have 10 or more choices that should play differently, wizards have at least 6 convocations, and the specialist… well, that class is basically built to be modified. Yes, I made the thief into the specialist. I think it fits better in a setting that actually takes care to note how many clothiers are in a city.
And of course the fighter is kind of boring otherwise. Oh, sure, a fighter can be basically every fighting hero ever, but it might help to point out what can be done with them.
So varieties it is. There is a more tribal Barbarian Warrior (if you know Harn you might know that this might be necessary), there is a Gladiator (because Agrikans dig their spectacles), and I was thinking about making knights and rangers into further sub-varieties. And then there is the berserker.
It really needs to be there.
Harn, like many fantasy worlds, has fjords. And fjords, for some reason I do not quite understand, contract vikings with alarming regularity.
Of course it is better explained than in other places, after all CGI published Ivinia, their version of fantasy Scandinavia soon after the first edition of HarnWorld, although it is quite odd that all the place names in Kethira seem to made up from fantasy languages, but Ivinian names show Germanic elements…
But anyway. Low fantasy middle age style game. I so totally need berserkers.
After getting some inspiration from various places I came up with this:
Berserker: can enter berserker rage at will during combat. If dealt damage in combat and not in berserker rage, must save against spell or enter rage.
Well, ok, this was longer originally.
But that comes from my realisation that berserker rage might be useful for other effects as well. Some of the invocations for different gods I am converting from Harnmaster cause berserker rage. So right now it is under the heading “Adventuring”.
Berserker Rage: Berserkers can enter this state at will. Some potions, spells and invocations can also cause people to enter this state.
While in this state the berserker has +2 to hit and damage with melee weapons or unarmed, but also -2 to AC. The berserker ignores all non-fatal injuries until after rage subsides or the injury turns fatal, whatever comes first. Berserker rage only ends when no further attack is possible within 1 combat round, or if Save vs. Spell is successful. Afterwards, the character is exhausted, taking a -2 penalty to all actions until rested for at least 1 hour, in addition to the effect of all wounds.
That is… a bit more complicated as a rule than what I was going for. On the other hand this is one of those situations that might come up.
Still, I hope that it will actually be a nice effect in game. It should give this choice for players: yes, you can enter that super state that makes you better at fighting, but people also can hurt you better, and you can’t necessarily stop fighting when you want to.
Note that the rules does not specify what attack is not supposed to be possible, just that none need to be possible.
The injury that is mentioned in the rules is a variation on the Death and Dismemberment chart that was popular a while ago. But I should get to that at a later point.