Recently I've been agonizing over the decision of whether or not to pick up a second class, which class to take, blah blah blah.
Unfortunately, the more I consider it, the more I realised that there aren't really any classes that fit Kelliara ICly. This in turn started me thinking about what WOULD fit my character.
Anyway, long story short, I started fantasising about classes I'd love to see.
Here's one now!
Presenting: The Berserker.
Thematically, the Berserker is a lightly, or unarmoured, heavy hitting killer, all about striking with hard, fast, brutal attacks. Bleeding, broken bones, wrenched and severed limbs, as well as shrugging off and ignoring blows struck against her, and fending for herself in harsh conditions (i.e. alone in the tundra) are all tools in the Berserker's toolbox.
So far as a weapon is concerned I picture the Berserker with either:
A ) Entirely unarmed, as a sort of brawling, limb ripping, anger-fuelled counterpoint to the precise, nearly surgical style of hand-to-hand fighting practiced by a Monk. At the end of the fight, the unarmed Berserker stands bloody knuckled after beating their foe into pulp.
B ) A pair of hatchets, swung in a rage-induced flurry, slashing their foes into ribbons, in a blood-crazed whirlwind of death.
C ) A two handed axe, likewise, swung with as much force and speed as can be mustered, chopping into victims like some sort of battle-insane logger, severing limbs, or entirely cutting a foe in two.
Or, perhaps D) The option for each, with the ability to specialise in one form.
Berserking: The skill for which this class is named, Berserking houses the majority of defensive/utility/survival skills, as well as the Berserk ability, but more on that in a bit.
Fury: The first of the class’ two offensive abilities, Fury contains a portion of the class’ attacks and afflictions, as well as provides access to the 'Fury' resource. More on that latter, too.
Carnage: Like Fury, this holds more offensive attacks, and afflictions, however, more so than Fury itself, Carnage relies on the 'Fury' resource.
Fury and Berserking
I really like the idea of a class where all three skills play off of one another, rather than just being three entirely separate skills that fit thematically, and work well together.
Berserk is the key skill of Berserking, because it allows a Berserker to attack faster, harder, and survive more punishment than they might otherwise and allows the use of some more advanced defenses that are only functional whilst the berserking defense is active. However, its use ties directly into fury. (note the little 'f')
Whilst berserking, a Berserker drains their fury resource gradually, and, upon reaching 0 they lose all the benefits of berserking (and any of the buffs/defenses which require berserking to activate). Additionally, and perhaps more devastatingly, a Berserker who runs out fury while beserking ALSO suffers from exhaustion, which is functionally equivalent to a shapeshifters mutation sickness.
Skills in Fury, for the most part, comprise of some of the more basic attacks, and on use, generate varying amounts of the fury resource, allowing a Berserker to sustain themselves in combat. However, the skills in Fury alone aren't enough to push a kill, forcing a Berserker to rely on Carnage to put the finishing touches on their victim.
Carnage makes up the more advanced, damaging, harmful skills of a Berserker, and 1) for the most part require damage/afflictions caused by Fury to use, and 2) consumes the fury resource. This means that as a fight progresses a Berserker will have to pay careful attention to how much fury they have. Use too much, and they’ll wear themselves out, use too little and you’ll have trouble finishing the fight.
On top of this, the various buffs/defences that work off of berserk will change the speed at which fury is gained/drained.
Lorewise, the foundation for the Berserker class would be (obviously) the harnessing, or unleashing, of rage in combat to destroy foes. Since it’s already established that Shapeshifter’s Madness causes people to fall into an animalistic rage, the basis for this sort of behaviour already exists in game. A non-Shapeshifter who takes up the class might seek to either unleash their own anger in a form of channelled destruction, or perhaps even dip their toe in the water of the Madness. Shapeshifters, on the other hand, might seek an outlet for the Madness in their reverted forms.
Conceivably, this might mean that the first Berserkers of Sapience are shapeshifters, who, rather than fighting, or succumbing to their madness, have put it to work for them, unleashing it to destroy what threatens them.
There is also a distinct ‘survival of the fittest, fend for ones self’ idea behind Berserker lore (at least the lore I imagine). A Berserker, first and foremost, must be a survivor, able to take care of themselves, regardless of whether they’re in the deepest depths of the forest, or the iciest parts of the tundra. After all, anyone too weak would fall quickly in battle, even (or perhaps especially) whilst berserking.
This is not to suggest that they are incapable of working together, but, given that every Berserker IS a survivor, they are more likely to view other Berserkers as competition, constantly seeking to outdo one another, to prove who is the fastest, strongest, most cunning etc. etc. As an example, a Berserker might not share her food with another Berserker who finds themselves lost in the Tundra, but she may help one slay a particularly dangerous or impressive foe.
Berserkers tend towards a slightly nomadic lifestyle, rather than settling too far into one place. While they may be drawn to one city for personal reasons, they are likely to feel, and seem, slightly outside of things. For example, an Enorian Berserker may decide that joining the fight against the undead menace is an excellent way to prove herself (or have a personal grudge), she may well eat, drink, sleep, and have friends or family in Enorian, but she’s unlikely to buy too far into Enorian philosophy.
(Mechanically, this also makes for a neutrally tethered class, since each Berserker is going to have different ideas of how to prove themselves, and differing motivations for wanting to do so)
A Berserker may have friends who are Berserkers, and competition might be little more than a friendly rivalry, but the constant competitiveness between them makes a tight-knit Guild somewhere between unlikely and impossible. There is no agreement on the ‘right way’ to do something, nor common goal or philosophy to bind them together, and the constant attempts to outdo one another would prove a disaster for attempts at operating cohesively. Any and all disagreements (and there would be a lot) would devolve quickly into heated argument, followed by a fight, or other contest, and potentially (depending on those involved) a deep-seated grudge.
(Mechanically this negates the creation of another Guild, potentially harming the health of current Guilds)
Because of the nature of a Berseker, any grudge left to fester for too long has the potential to explode into something fairly major. A Berserker who feels particularly slighted would certainly not be inclined to let an offense slide, and would definitely seek some form of revenge. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the initial offence and the revenge taken, this can lead to long-standing and on-going feuds, not only between two Berserkers, but also potentially between a Berserker and a non-Berserker.
How a Beserker views, and interacts with, non-Berserkers varies depending on the individual, but they are likely to get on poorly with the more disciplined Guilds and Classes, such as the Templars and Carnifex, though there may be some degree of respect for their achievements, and prowess in combat and other areas. Monks, particularly the Sentaari, may seem anathematic, given their particular focus on training through discipline as compared to the unrestrained style of a Berserker.
Additionally, given their choice of combat style, a Berserker is likely to be unrestrained in their day-to-day life. They tend to give little care about their chosen vices, opting to partake in them simply because they enjoy them, and not modify their behaviour for polite company. For example, a Berserker who’s just returned to a city after surviving for months in the tundra, or having just killed something large and dangerous, is unlikely to give the first damn that they’re drinking too much, being too loud, or what have you.
In summary, the Berserker is a tough, unchained, in your face fighter, making use of their rage in order to not only survive, but to prosper. Whether its with an axe or two, or with bare hands, a Berserker is well equipped to try and prove herself the equal or better of her peers.
Now, after blathering on for an age about MY dream class, I want to see what other classes people might have been dreaming about!
Now with 253% more Madness.
Cute-Kelli by @Sessizlik