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Viking Berserkers for Fun and Profit.


threedeesix

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I no longer own RQ Vikings and it has probably been close to 15 years since I have even looked at it. I need to model the 1st ed. AD&D barbarian and was wondering if anyone can tell me how they handled Berserkers and the act of berserking itself.

Rod

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I'd suggest you go back the original AD&D source and convert from there. BTW, what would that source be? I think the Barbarian was in an old White Dwarf, but I don't know of it in any official 1st-ed book.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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I'd suggest you go back the original AD&D source and convert from there. BTW, what would that source be? I think the Barbarian was in an old White Dwarf, but I don't know of it in any official 1st-ed book.

Unearthed Arcana

I already converted it but just wanted to compare notes so to speak.

Thanks,

Rod

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Well Berserkers depending on the time period have different meanings attached to the name. Early Berserkers were warriors par excellence, who had been touched by Odin to be fearless and ruthless in battle. They were Elite warriors with fearsome reputations. Not unlike Samurai, or Knights.

As time went on and the North began to become more Christianized, around 900 A.D. I think; there was a change in opinion about them. Slowly they became a socially unacceptable class of bullies. Several Sagas include Heroes dealing with rogue Beserks.

Anyways getting to point at hand. I'd treat Beserks as Elite warriors with a religious / spiritual background. The Standard Runequest rules work pretty well. I see them as having very high weapon skills, and appropriate lore / religion knowledge score.

Looking through the Spirit Magic Rules I'd say the following are appropriate for a Berserker. Some of the more famous ones were also Skalds and Warrior Bards to Boot, so other kinds of Magic could work too.

Spells: Bladesharp, Demoralize, Detect Enemies, Dullblade*, Endurance, Fanaticism**, Mobility, Protection, Strength, Vigor

*I list this, because it is one of the Runes Odin is described as knowing.

** The most important "Spell" for a Berserker

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I no longer own RQ Vikings and it has probably been close to 15 years since I have even looked at it. I need to model the 1st ed. AD&D barbarian and was wondering if anyone can tell me how they handled Berserkers and the act of berserking itself.

Rod

Two ways.

The first, for "normal" Berserks, was simply the spell Fanaticism. This allowed control over whom to attack.

The other way was with a divine spell, Berserkergang, which has all the normal effects of the Berserk divine spell, in addition to making the subject impervious to edged and pointed weapons. It is described as "spirit possession by Odin".

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
spelling bobo
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Looking in Unearthed Arcana (thanks for the reference!), I see those Barbarians weren't berserkers...

I'd just say berserking means to lose all parries and gain an extra attack instead.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Looking in Unearthed Arcana (thanks for the reference!), I see those Barbarians weren't berserkers...

I'd just say berserking means to lose all parries and gain an extra attack instead.

the Berserk (and Berserkergang) spells include a doubling of skill, which could lead to a second attack chance, at the expense of not being able to cast spells, dodge, or parry. Also, all CON rolls are automatically made and poisons do miniml damage. They are subject to all issues with regards to damaged hit locations, but will only die from general HP loss.

When the spell ends, they are at -100 fatigue points.

SDLeary

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In Mythic Iceland, a BRP scenario book I am writing, Berserker Rage is one of the benefits a character earns by having a high Allegiance score towards the god Odin.

The effects are: Hit points are doubled, all successful attacks do maximum weapon damage, one extra attack per round, also the character ignores the CONx5 check for going unconscious due to massive damage. The character can no longer choose which body area he wants to attack and must roll for that, and there is a risk of attacking friendly companions near him. For each round of combat during berserker rage, the character loses one Power Point, and he will eventually collapse once all the Power Points are used up. If the character wants to snap out of berserker state earlier, he may attempt a WILLx3 roll.

The rules above are an attempt to get as close as possible to the descriptions of berserk warriors in the Icelandic Sagas, specially in Egils Saga.

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Just be aware Barbarians in UA have no berserking ability (though plenty of other skills). As written, they also hate magic...

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Just be aware Barbarians in UA have no berserking ability (though plenty of other skills). As written, they also hate magic...

You know, I realized that as I was re-reading Unearthed Arcana last night. When I wrote up the barbarian for Sword & Spell it was over a year ago, and at the time was not firmly basing it on 1st ed. AD&D, but a mish mash of all of the editions. For the last 8 to 10 months S&S has been firmly based on 1st ed. only, but somehow I forgot all about the barbarians not having a rage-like ability back then. It's been removed now, thanks.

As for the hating of magic, I originally had a system that was based on the AD&D rules almost verbatim. But in playtest it caused way to many problems within my home game that I threw it out and replaced it with a lesser hatred/fear of magic but only when the user is unknown to the barbarian. It was a pain, not to mention downright dangerous to have to tackle the barbarian everytime our magic-user cast magic missile. :eek:

Rod

Edited by threedeesix

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It's been removed now, thanks.

Oh no! I didn't mean you should do that! I think it's UA that's out-of-step here. I just wanted to trace the original "Berserk Barbarian" write-up, to translate from the original source.

I wonder if it was in an old White Dwarf? If so, I should have it somewhere (at a different house) and will look it out if I get the chance. Maybe it even pre-dates UA...

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Oh no! I didn't mean you should do that! I think it's UA that's out-of-step here. I just wanted to trace the original "Berserk Barbarian" write-up, to translate from the original source.

I wonder if it was in an old White Dwarf? If so, I should have it somewhere (at a different house) and will look it out if I get the chance. Maybe it even pre-dates UA...

I have all the White Dwarfs in storage here. I'll poke around this weekend. If I can find a 1st or even 2nd edition precedent for it I'll leave it in, but otherwise i'm going to nix it.

Thanks,

Rod

Join my Mythras/RuneQuest 6: Classic Fantasy Yahoo Group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/RQCF/info

"D100 - Exactly 5 times better than D20"

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It's in WD4, according to my index. Dunno for sure if that version had berserking (but I'd bet it does).

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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