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Sorcerer's Guide to Kits


In short: The Berserker can fight longer, harder and more savagely than other fighters because he enters an ecstatic state of mind. This makes him a deadly warrior, who can be as much a menace to himself as to his enemies. The Berserker abhors ranged combat, preferring to fight hand-to-hand. When he enters his berserk state, he is immune to mind-affecting spells like Charm Person, gets improved saving throws against others such as Hold Person, and receives +1 to attack rolls, +3 to damage rolls, and +5 hit points.

While berserk, he must fight each opponent until they are down on the ground, must attack the nearest opponent each time, cannot be healed and cannot use missile weapons. After leaving the berserk state, the character loses the 5 temporary hit points and is exhausted. Dwarven fighters taking this kit will be called Battleragers. You will be able to decide when you go berserk, like Minsc was able to in the original Baldur's Gate.

Requirements: Strength: 15

Description: The Berserker can achieve an ecstatic state of mind in combat that will enable him to fight longer, harder, and more savagely than any human being has a right to. In his tribe, the Berserker has a special role. He has been touched by supernatural forces, and accepted that touch so that he might better defend his people. The idea of a Berserker Paladin is a little strange, and some DMs might not allow it. However, if the character's tribe is deeply involved with an appropriate animal totem, such as a bear or wolverine, a paladin might even be required to be a Berserker.

Weapon Proficiencies: No specific weapon proficiencies are required of a Berserker, but he may not start out play having a proficiency in a ranged weapon (no thrown axes or knives, no bows or crossbows, etc.). The Berserker lives to destroy things in hand-to-hand combat, so he cannot start with any sort of ranged weapon proficiency.

Armor/Equipment: A Berserker may not use his starting gold to buy armor heavier than splint mail, banded mail, or bronze plate mail. Once he has adventured in the outer world he can use any type of armor without penalty. When he spends his starting money he must limit himself to weapons known to his tribe, and may not choose missile weapons. Good choices include battle axe, club, dagger or dirk, footman's flail, mace, or pick, handaxe, spear, or sword (any type).

Special Benefits:

Berserkers receive a +3 Reaction Adjustment bonus from NPCs belonging to any tribe that also has Berserkers - they recognize the Berserker instinctively and respect him, even if he is an enemy. The other benefit the Berserker receives is his Berserk. At any time, the Berserker may choose to Go Berserk. This isn't an instantaneous process, he must spend a little time to "psych himself up". It takes a full turn to Go Berserk.
In that time, the character is growling, moaning, uttering imprecations - it's impossible to be quiet when trying to Go Berserk. He may also be fighting during that time, meaning that he can start to Go Berserk on the round the fight begins, fight for ten full rounds, and then be Berserk on the eleventh round.

The Berserker can also Go Berserk before the fighting starts. At the end of a full turn of preparation he can become berserk instantaneously. If there's no enemy in sight yet, he can hold the Berserk until combat is engaged. But if no combat takes place within five more full turns, he automatically reverts to "normal" and suffers the ordinary consequences for coming out of Berserk. The character can come out of Berserk once the last enemy is down (he must literally be down on the ground, even if still alive and surrendering). The Berserker will stay berserk as long as there are enemies still on their feet.

For these reasons, Berserking is a more appropriate reaction when the characters are about to attack a foe they know about. If the characters are, instead, jumped by a small party of orcs, it's usually not worth the effort to Go Berserk; the consequences and effort outweigh the benefits. When Berserk, the character has phenomenal endurance and resistance to pain and some forms of magic. Only while Berserk, he gains the following benefits:

1. He is immune to the mage spells Charm Person, Friends, Hypnotism, Sleep, Irritation, Ray of Enfeeblement, Scare, Geas, and the clerical spells Command, Charm Person or Mammal, Enthrall, Cloak of Bravery, and Symbol.

2. He gets a +4 to save against the wizard spells Blindness, Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter, Hold Person, Charm Monster, and Confusion, and the clerical spells Hold Person and Hold Animal.

3. The Emotion spell has no effect on the Berserker, unless the caster chose the Fear result. If Fear was chosen, the Berserker gets a normal Saving Throw; if he fails it, he is prematurely snapped out of his Berserk, with all the normal effects.
The Fear spell has the same effect. If he fails a save against Charm Monster, he simply counts the caster as one of his allies; he doesn't come out of the Berserk or obeys the caster's command.

4. Being Berserk offers no real protection from Finger of death, except that the spell effects do not take place until the character has come out of his Berserk. If the Berserker saves, he doesn't suffer the 2d8 + 1 damage until immediately after he snaps out of the Berserk. If he fails to save he doesn't die until he snaps out of Berserk.

5. The Berserker, while Berserk, is immune to KO results from the Punching and Wrestling rules, and takes only half damage from bare-handed attacks from these rules.

6. While Berserk, the character gets +1 to attack, +3 to hit and +5 HP.

Special Hindrances:

1. The Berserker character receives a -3 Reaction Adjustment from all NPCs (except from other Berserker tribes).

2. When the Berserker goes Berserk, the DM should immediately say to him "Tell me how many hit points you currently have." From that point on until the fight is done and the Berserker has returned to normal, the DM keeps track of his hit points. The player is not told how many HP he has left, nor how many points of damage he is taking with each attack. It is therefore very possible for a Berserker to be nickled and dimed to death and not know it until he drops dead.

3. While Berserk, the character can use no ranged weapons. He kills only in hand-to-hand or melee combat.

4. While Berserk, he must fight each opponent until that opponent is down. Once that enemy is down the Berserker must move to the nearest enemy to attack him. He can't, for instance, choose to attack the enemy leader if that leader is behind seven ranks of spearmen.

5. While Berserk, the character cannot cover against missile fire.

6. If, while the character is Berserk, another character tries something he can interpret as attack (for instance, hits him to move him out of the way of an incoming attack), the Berserker must roll 1d20 vs. his Intelligence. If he succeeds (rolls Int or less), he's dimly aware that his friend is not attacking him. If he fails, he thinks his friend is an enemy, and continues to think so until the fight is done and he is no longer Berserk.

7. While Berserk, the character is temporarily unaffected by the clerical spells Bless, Cure Light Wounds, Aid, Cure Serious Wounds, Heal, Regenerate (and Wither). He will gain the benefits of those spells only after he has come out of Berserk and suffered any and all damages which occurred then.

8. The Taunt spell is automatically successful, and will cause the Berserker to abandon his current enemy and rush to attack the taunter.

9. Finally, when the character comes out of Berserk, bad things happen to him. He loses the 5 HP he gained when he became Berserk (this could drop him to or below 0 HP and kill him). He collapses in exhaustion (exactly as if hit by a Ray of Enfeeblement, no save possible, for one round for every round he was Berserk. He suffers the effects of any spells which wait until he's returned to normal before affecting him and only then can healing magic affect him.

Races: It's the DM's choice as to whether his demihuman characters can have Berserkers amongst them. It's entirely appropriate for dwarves, and not inappropriate for elves, gnomes and half-elves. Halfling Berserkers are not very likely. In any case, Berserkers wouldn't advertise the fact that they are such; until the first time they berserked in combat, their companions would probably be unaware that they are Berserkers.

Source: The Complete Fighter's Handbook
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