Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A character that goes Berserk...

cannot use any skills, Edges, or maneuvers that require concentration, including Shooting and Taunt, but not Intimidation

How does this affect the use of Powers?

It seems clear that Spellcasting, Psionics, and the use of Weird Science gadgets requires concentration, and is thus impossible for Berserk characters. Superpowers are usually considered to be innate (Superman does not think of flying or being strong... it is just the way he is), so it seems they should be allowed to Berserk characters. Faith seem to be in the middle: if acts of faith are thought as canalization of divine energy driven by the character, they are like spells (and thus forbidden); if they are gifts from a deity that the character takes for granted, they are like superpowers (and are thus allowed). It may depend on the particular setting.

I have tried to find any official ruling of this, but I have been unsuccessful. I wonder if anyone has thought about this problem before, and what they did for their game.

share|improve this question
Hello and welcome to the site! This is a great first question. – Tynam Dec 13 '12 at 12:49
Thank you! /blush – sergut Dec 13 '12 at 13:45
up vote 7 down vote accepted

An interesting note. Magic, Psionics, and Weird Science all have Smarts-linked arcane skills, while for Miracles the arcane skill is Spirit-linked. Another interesting bit is that the Berserk Edge, in noting example skills which can't be used while berserk, specifies that Intimidation (a Spirit-linked skill) can be used. Those could be used as arguments that Faith could be used in a berserk state. However, the description of the Miracles AB states that powers are usually invoked with a few words of prayer or performing established rituals, which would indicate that it does require concentration. Overall, I'd say it's a GM call based on the nature of the setting and the patron deity.

share|improve this answer

If a Power requires a Skill Roll to active then it can't be used. Normal Powers use the skill attached to the Arcane Background hence they can't when a character is Berserk. Under the standard system I don't think it is possible to have a Power which if it is not on all the time, and does not have an activation roll. So it seam unlikely to me unless it a campaign specific thing.

As for Superman, you have to ask yourself, does he Fly all the time and is just pretending to walk. If so then it is innate. In the movies at least that does not seam so, he makes a action to run and jump up, or he is standing still and floats up. That seams like an activation roll to me. It might cost him almost zero power and he might have an 100% chance of success but he does seam to activate it and in Savage Worlds that needs a roll.

share|improve this answer
I agree with this. With RAW in the core rulebook, Berserk would stop you casting or maintaining any Powers (…). However, settings books may well differ in how this works. In know the Powers system in the Super Powers Companion has Powers that don't require activation rolls for example. – Wibbs Dec 13 '12 at 12:49
@Phil - yep. I will need to check Super Power as I have never read it but I assume it works the same way. – David Allan Finch Dec 13 '12 at 13:36
I agree, I'll use this answer, and this is quite on-topic here, as I'm OP GM ;). – Javier Rivera Dec 14 '12 at 8:53

Some Weird Science gadgets preclude an activation roll. A "mystic knife" that is activated whenever someone holds its handle needs no activation roll and is a melee weapon, thus usable while berserk (or whatever raving mad state of consciousness).

Arcane and miraculous items would behave the same way (at least if I was running the game). I can't imagine a power that could be cast while berserk, though.

Super powers are a gray area. Cyclops (X-Men) shoots rays through his eyes all the time, not only when he wants to. It's not something he can control, being cool headed or angry notwithstanding. Superman is super strong and that's how he is. Aquaman breathes underwater (he does, right?). However, Superman activates his laser-heat-ray-from-his-eyes, his "X-ray" vision and his flight too.

Discuss with your GM/Player during character creation what is and isn't allowed while berserk. Use common sense. YMMV.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.