The trouble with berserkers

From: Lewis Jardine (jardine@rmcs.cranfield.ac.uk)
Date: Fri 25 Oct 1996 - 14:39:10 EEST


Hi All
        WRT How to deal with uroxi?

        Berserkers are very difficult people to deal with as I am
sure that the party who tried to ambush them found out. It is very
important to remember that they do not give a damn if they are killed,
just as long as they kill their enemy too. Thus, the idea of a "test"
game using Uroxi was a great idea as players did not have a chance to
get too fond of their characters. So I suspect the players really
roleplayed the Uroxi well, so well that even knackered and worn out
they dealt out some real grief before they died...

        I can always remember my brother playing beserkers as he was
able to capture that casual disregard for his own life. As I've said
before on the digest he had a Storm Bull Minotaur (the only cult that
would have him) on the Cradle scenario and he single handedly counter-
charged Sor-Eels bodygaurd (about 100 rune-level types) down a Dwarf
Assault Ladder AND WON(ish)! Due to size and a huge poleaxe he hit
first and because he was berserk the hits were un-parriable (RQ2 roolz).
The second guy would get to hit him (90%) but he had a fair chance of
not being hurt due to loads of armour and spells. Then he would chop
the next guy and horn him a bit later (2 dead/KO per round).
Eventually, they clobbered him by zeroing his legs, but just as they
were about to overwehlm him the first 5 were zapped by a Thunderbolt 7
which was cast by one of the other PCs bucky shadow cat familiar...
(Note, this brings us back to permanent mindlink...) After that the
bodyguard were far less confident and the delay alone allowed a very
effective defence to be prepared.

The fact that he survived was just me as a GM rewarding good
roleplaying, call it favour of Da Bull. The important thing was that
he was pretty certain that he was going to die, he just wanted to
take as many of them with him so that he would be remembered for ever!

So my recommendations WRT how to handle berserks.

1) Keep them occupied, point out where major chaos nests are etc.
as a bored berserker is a dangerous one.

2) Keep them sweet, show them the non-chaotic face of the Empire.
Send a YT runelord to deal with them, have a Lunar armourer repair
their weapons free of charge. Send the beer up to their camp so
that they don't have to come into town to buy it. Do all the favours
through the front man (men) and stress that they are not coming from
the Empire. Play the I hate Chaos too card (maybe accompany them on
missions). Above all keep them busy fighting real chaos, as soon as
they have recovered from one mission send them off on the next. That
way they won't get to thinking about whether the Lunar Empire is
Chaotic or not (they may well come up with the wrong answer and attack).

If you deal with Uroxi correctly you will have a very cheap means
to suppress uncontrolled Chaos which might otherwise reduce the
productivity of the region.

However, Zorak Zorani are not so easily handled as they represent
total violence rather than the directed violence of Urox. Generally,
I recommend a full support of the Kyger Litor cult which in turn
will reduce the power of ZZ in the local Uz community. Appart from
that I recommend the use of magic to wither the soul of any ZZs who
cause trouble, they are a curse and need to be dealt with quickly,
efficiently and with extreme predudice. They cannot be negotiated
with so do not bother to try.

Your Esteemed Councillor

        Marcus Vellius

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