Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rage, Frenzy, and Fury: Going Berserk in Partholon

A berserker rage is a state of violent madness that can be induced through drugs, brain damage, or deliberate practice.


In a state of rage, you are filled with bloodlust and an urge for action and violence. It is difficult to concentrate or to keep patient.
  • -2 Reaction for the team. Even if you keep your mouth shut your bristling, pacing, and glaring is overtly hostile.
  • +2 to mind-based saves, including charm-type spells and monstrous fear effects. However, if an effect instills an altered state of emotion and you fail the save, this new emotion overrides your rage. 
  • Overheating: If wearing chainmail or plate & chain, you will become fatigued (-2 attack & saves). If wearing basic plate, must adjust the fit for comfort, which reduces AC -2. (But if wearing no armor or using just a shield, gain a +1 AC bonus.)
  • Difficulty concentrating on magic or delicate tasks; requires total concentration.
  • Increased risk of chance encounters; Target Number of encounter checks increases by 1 as you find it difficult to keep quiet and patient.
  • When combat begins, enter a state of Frenzy.


When a fight breaks out, the smoldering rage explodes into violence. Depending on the source of your Rage, a frenzy may be triggered in every combat or only under certain circumstances.
  • +2 to Attacks.
  • Upgrade weapon damage by one die type.
  • Can't shoot but can throw.
  • Resistant to mental effects such as charm and fear. (Some complex interactions happen here, noted below.)
  • Any action besides attacking the nearest foe requires a mind-based save, and the +2 Rage bonus does not apply. This includes such actions as withdrawing, fleeing, defending, casting a spell, activating an artifact, or even moving past an opponent to attack a different one. 

Resistance to mental effects in a Frenzy must be adjudicated by the referee. Some guidelines:
  • Ongoing effects continue, but new ones usually can't be introduced.
  • New effects might only be delayed until the end of the frenzy, however.
  • While in a state of frenzy, the Rage can't be overridden unless something dramatically changes the situation.
For example, a hag induces a few-based weakness in those who fail their save when they first see her. A berserker could be pushed out of Rage before entering into Frenzy. Once he enters a Frenzy, the arrival of more hags won't be able to end his Rage until it is spent. However, if the first hag doesn't appear until the berserker is already frenzying, her sudden appearance could be enough to end his Rage and his Frenzy at once, if he fails his save (which still benefits form the +2 Rage bonus).

Sources of Rage have different procedures and may alter specific interactions.

Mushroom Tea
A special concoction available for 25 silver pennies.
  • Spend 1 turn preparing with a quaff of water and a source of heat (like a torch)
  • Make a Body save (poison). Additional doses in one day will add a -2 cumulative penalty. 
  • Pass: enter a Rage for 1 hour (6 turns). Frenzy in every combat. 
  • Fail: spend 1 turn vomiting, suffer 1 damage per HD, become fatigued (-2 AP & Saves). 

Head injuries sustained when dropped to 0 hit points.
  • Always in a state of Rage. 
  • If an altered state is induced, will revert to Rage at the end of that effect's duration
  • Frenzy only when fighting humans or human-like foes

Primal Fury
A feature of the Berserker subclass of fighter
  • Invoke as a free action, in or out of combat, to enter a Rage. Frenzy in every combat. 
  • After combat, may choose to make a Body save vs fatigue to sustain the Rage, or may let it go and revert to normal state of mind. 
  • After 1 hour without combat, must choose to save & sustain or let the Rage go, as above.
  • May renew invocation at cost of 1 hp per HD.
  • Additional abilities, such as Renewed Rage and Relentless Rage, allow additional invocation of the Fury without the hp cost. 

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