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A character with the Berserk edge

...immediately after suffering a wound (including a Shaken result from physical damage), (...) must make a Smarts roll or go Berserk.

Going Berserk has pros and cons, and in some situations the player may think it is in the benefit of the character to go Berserk (for example, if they received three wounds they could not soak and they want to avoid the -3 penalty to all trait rolls).

Can the player decide not to do the roll in order to make sure the character goes Berserk? The text from the rules seems to suggest that you can.

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To clarify, it is clear that any character can use bennies to re-roll. The question is whether a character can decide not to roll and assume they go Berserk (as they did not make the Smarts roll). – sergut Jul 2 '13 at 17:36

Although the rules apparently leave the door open to choose whether to roll Smarts or not to make sure the character goes Berserk, the official position is that the roll must be done, applying the result as is. In other words, a character cannot decide to activate Berserk voluntarily after receiving a wound.

Then the character has to fail the Smarts roll. He can't choose to fail; he has to actually roll the dice and fail for the Edge to kick in. Even if he went with a d4 Smarts, that's still a base 62.5% chance of success, and the Edge doesn't activate. And the character has taken a significant drawback in the d4 Smarts to get the highest odds it works.

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No, the must joins the phrases. You must make a Smarts roll or go Berserk; mean you have to roll. The results determine if you go berserk. This is a standard lazy English way of writing this. Other interpretations lead to madness. It does not make logical sense as there are missing brackets and lawyers and programmer would argue about the laws of precedence but in normal English its meaning is clear.

if( wound )
    roll = smarts check;

    if( roll < 4 )

But they can use their Bennies to re-roll at any time. Some Savage World books allow any spend of a Bennie to auto succeed at 4 so you could allow an auto fail too but it would be a House Rule. I would allow a player to spend a Bennie to auto-fail it make sense and fit in with the SW Motto of FFF.

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I like that as a house rule. If the setting allows you to spend a bennie to pass a roll, it makes sense that it allows you to fail a roll. – sergut Jul 2 '13 at 13:32
The core rules say that you can reroll and "take the best of your attempts" (and it's deliberately left ambiguous as to what this means). So you don't even need to consider third party settings or houserules; if failing is what is best for you and your character, just spend bennies until you get the result you want. – Thunderforge Jul 2 '13 at 16:35
Best is subjective. Best for whom and what for? In this case you could assume best means lowest. – David Allan Finch Jul 2 '13 at 17:03
Thanks for the clarification on lazy English. Useful for us non-native speakers. ;-) I always interpreted the sentence as "you must (make a Smarts roll OR go Berserk)". :-D – sergut Jul 4 '13 at 12:10
+1 for the pseudocode. – dodgethesteamroller Jul 5 '13 at 14:44

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