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In savage worlds, the Berserk edge causes a hero to "attack with reckless abandon." He can also leave berserk by doing nothing on his turn (not even movement) and passing a smarts roll at -2.

I'm planning to run a zombie game, and sometimes the PCs will be forced to run from hordes of zombies. If a PC goes berserk, are they compelled to continue to kill zombies?

Can they run away with enemies in front of them?

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will a cold beer and an hour in front of a ball game do it? – wax eagle Oct 25 '11 at 16:44
It will, provided he passes his smarts roll within the hour. I'm not sure the beer will help that ;) – Ryre Oct 25 '11 at 18:06
Technical answers aside, I would think Berserk would either be useless or a suicidal Hindrance in a zombie game, assuming injury = infected-without-hope. You have to be injured to start berserking, and it seems to me that the first time berserking into a horde of zombies would be the PC's final "sacrifice myself so others can live" scene. – SevenSidedDie Oct 26 '11 at 18:55
Berserk can be triggered w/out a wound. There's plenty of heroes throughout zombie films who turn on the rage while smashing, only to retreat at the last possible moment. Combining full armor, berserk, sweep and wild attack, a PC can smash a lot of zombies. What I don't want to do is allow the skill to be abused, hence the question here and then in Pinnacle's forum when no existing answers surfaced. – Ryre Oct 26 '11 at 20:45
You can berserk from shaken. Spending a benny to berserk is a house-rule mentioned on the forums. There's also extra edges to extend berserk (in the fantasy companion I think). – Ryre Oct 27 '11 at 14:34
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would say yes, if they are berserk they have to continue to engage enemies until they pass a Smarts roll to act more rationally. That's how we used Berserk in our Savage Worlds games.

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Clint comments that at the end of a fight, berserk ends. I'm not sure if running away could constitute ending a fight. I'll probably house rule it for this, but now I'm really curious for an 'official' answer. =D – Ryre Oct 25 '11 at 21:01
That's silly - to run away in the first place, you'd have to be non-Berserk. – mxyzplk Oct 26 '11 at 13:38
I tend to agree with you. I might add a homebrew edge to make it easier to stop berserking when facing zombies. +2 to keep calm and carry on. =D – Ryre Oct 26 '11 at 14:38

I started a thread on Pinnacle's forum and received an answer from Clint:

I'm planning a game where the WCs will be forced to run from large numbers of zombies. If a wild card goes berserk, is there any reason he can't run away? Or must he continue to fight until he's out of foes (or passes his smarts)?

While prefacing another rule, the sentence, "Berserkers attack with reckless abandon," seems to apply equally here. The concept of "reckless abandon" kind of precludes the idea of running away.

There is also the part of the Edge that says, "cannot use any skills, Edges, or maneuvers that require concentration." It would likely take some focus on something other than just fighting to realize the fight is unwinnable, and the berserk character isn't really going to be capable of that (without recovering first).

In short, there wouldn't be rules for coming out of berserk if there wasn't a downside to remaining berserk.

Clint Black
Savage Worlds Core Rules Brand Manager

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Here's my two cents, and it's a two sided kind of thing.

Berserk, as I understand it, precludes rational thought. Blood-lust and all that charging head long into trouble. So, no, I don't think the Berserker should be able to run away.

However, in the movies, there is always the girlfriend/mentor/rational/geek who grabs him by the arm and pulls him away. So, the other WC's need to use their abilities to save him from his own stupidity. Grappling with him, lasso him from a distance and yank him backwards, non-lethal damage to knock him out, rationalize and reason with him. It should be up to the others to save him in this situation. If they lose their big warrior/meat shield, they will be in that much more trouble later on.

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YES!!! Per the rules, a WC can go on hold then aid the berserker when he rolls smarts to calm down (granting him +2 with a success). I would definitely grant pluses for any creative tricks to calm him down (lasso), though I'd be careful grappling with him.. =D – Ryre Oct 27 '11 at 14:21
The horror and fear of facing a horde of zombies should create a circunstancial bonus for the character to snap out of it. The bigger the zombie crowd, the more likely the character will be scared and the bigger the bonus. Depending on how dreadful your zombies are, you could start with +1 for every 4 zombies and tune from there. – Yianes the Sneak Aug 23 '12 at 3:05

I would argue that the rule does what you need it to do for your game -- just make sure any deviations from the normal rules are clearly spelled out. The point is to have fun, not practice law, right? ;)

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Clearly you don't know my group. =D More than anything, I want a well-thought out response in place. I don't want a WC to take berserk, then be surprised when I tell him he can't run from the horde. – Ryre Oct 27 '11 at 14:37
+1 for fun over law. And welcome to the site! – Joe Oct 27 '11 at 21:54

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