Regarding the Berserk miracle (and Fanaticism in Legend MRQ2), does this ever get used by anybody, as it seems to me to be a death sentence in combat because it leaves the user wide open to Special Effects?
Hmm... As worded, it does not preclude utilizing ward location. That seems like an oversight. Someone carefully holding their shield positioned to cover their vitals doesn't smack of being "overcome with bloodlust, disregarding his own safety."
Yeah, Berserk used to be a really fearsome spell in RQ3.
With the new rules, it's not that much fun even as a GM. I tried it once - my berserking broo champion was hacked down in moments. It was tripped during the first attack and you can guess the rest... So I have houseruled the Berserk spell to grant one defensive roll per round for the purposes of countering Special effects. So it's not a Parry Combat Action - if you are hit, you are hit - but if the berserk succeeds, the attacker gets no SE. This roll doesn't use up action point. It's not elegant, but it adds the balance I need to for the rare occasions the spell is used.
And I would guess, that not mentioning Ward Location was an oversight.
A troll character in my RQ6 playtest had Berserk. He ended-up like a pin cushion, peppered with Lunar Hoplite javelins, but survived and hacked his way to victory. Short-lived, because he was then captured when exhausted from the carnage.
We have a berserk character, and he does fine most of the time. At the end of the fight he collapses 9 times out of 10, but he's a force to be reckoned with nonetheless. That is, when his friends fight with him and keep him safe to some extent.
Berserk may also have some applications as a spell to cast on others, instead of yourself. Imaging casting it surreptitiously on a nobleman at a court dinner, triggering an embarrassing fight among polite company. Or use it against an enemy spellcaster whose magic is more threatening than his combat skill - you'd force him to change his tactics, likely to your advantage.
I think that people are suggesting it is potentially more useful as an offensive spell to cast against opponents indicates that the spell is fairly broken. I note that in RQ3 it enhanced the skill level hugely (doubled), but in RQ6 it doesn't enhance skill at all - though doubling skill levels would be an enormous boost in RQ6, probably far too powerful. I think the observation that Berserks are far too vulnerable to special effects is a valid one - Petes suggestion might be a good way to overcome it.
I don't think precluding ward location is a problem or an oversight. Historical berserks were known for using shields (specifically, they would often bite the edge of their shields. That sounds a lot like they would be holding their shield in front of their body.
RangerDan said Jan 11, 2013 11:27:57
my berserking broo champion was hacked down in moments. It was tripped during the first attack and you can guess the rest...
A very specific question regarding this particular situation.
The Trip maneuver can be resisted with Brawn. One way to read the Brawn skill in this situation is that the stronger opponent (larger Damage Modifier) would cause some kind of penalty on the opposed roll. I can see a scenario where the Broo can be struck but he's simply too strong to be knocked down (especially buffed by the Berserk spell). This might indirectly give the spell a buff against this kind of thing.
I'm also curious about the Trip maneuver in general when dealing with large, strong creatures. One lucky attack roll should not be sufficient for a spearman to trip a T-Rex I guess? Using Brawn as above would make this very unlikely. Any thoughts?
It was a while ago and I don't remember what skill did I use to for the broo to counter the trip attempt, but I remember that I did not take the difference of damage modifiers into account.
Interpreting the trip opposed roll as a Brawn contest of strength is an interesting idea and would indeed provide the necessary balance for the miracle - at least when it comes to Trip. It would be interesting to hear Pete's/Loz's take on this. Is it the correct way to understand the rules?
That still leaves SE's like Press advantage and Disarm.
Yes, using Brawn in this way is perfectly legitimate.
Personally I'd say Press Advantage was useless _against_ a berserking character since the magic is forcing them to incessantly attack. As for Disarm, remember that it is still an opposed Combat Style roll with an advantage for bigger weapons, so its by no means a sure-fire way to neutralise the berserker. In addition, you could view the two additional levels of Damage Bonus as the equivalent of +10 STR, which might make the berserker immune to disarm from weaker foes.
Even without the modification I previously suggested, Berserk is a fearsome miracle when used in the right circumstances - such as having more skill than the opponent(s), or wielding a great weapon, where a big character has a good chance of inflicting a knockback with each swing and can smash through weapon parries. Remember that a PC berserker has Luck Points too, which can soak or avoid the first few failed Special Effect opposed rolls.
Contrary to other folks' anecdotes, every time I've seen Bersek in action, its been overwhelmingly effective. Primarily because the player used it intelligently and the GM roleplayed the psychological effect when the first two or three foes were scythed down with a single blow apiece and just, would, not, drop - including one time the enemy captain disarmed the raging berserker, then went down when the berserker closed range and beat him to death with Unarmed, the captain unable to use his own weapon effectively at Touch Range.
Like all theistic miracles, it has a time and place for use. It's not supposed to be a staple for every combat encounter, just as Lightning or Sunspear have their own implicit limitations.
RangerDan said Jan 11, 2013 13:52:56
That still leaves SE's like Press advantage and Disarm.
Oh absolutely, having no defense against SEs is pretty nasty.
Disarm might not be too bad, a sufficiently large weapon could be difficult to disarm, and otherwise a two-step Damage Modifier advantage is significant, even if the Berserker fights with his sidearm, shield, or bare hands!
Press Advantage on the other hand could lock out a single Berserker permanently. Pete's solution above would not help, as there is no opposed roll. You may just have to rule that creatures incapable of defense (berserks, zombies, golems?) cannot be 'forced on the defensive' and are simply immune to this SE.
I guess the spell is not intended to be used solo, rather to give the best guy in the group a big offensive advantage to be the 'hammer' while the others are the 'anvil' that prevent him from getting ganged up on too much.
Alternatively, do what Pete said, add immunity to Press Advantage, and watch the Berserker murder everyone in sight.
EDIT: Ninja'd by the Pete... nice to see we had the same ideas though :P
Yes, Disarm is not that bad, especially considering, that the berserk probably has a big-ass weapon anyway, making it more difficult to disarm. And making berserk immune to press advantage really makes sense. Combining this with the Brawn rule pretty much fixes the miracle for me. Thanks. My favorite miracle is functional again! :-)