I am a bit confused about how to apply the Berserk SFX for NPCs.

The normal version of the SFX reads:

Add a die from the doom pool to one or more attack actions. Step up the doom pool die by +1 for each action; return it to the doom pool when you’re done.

While discussing converting SFXs for NPCs (OM94), the book actually says:

I’m the Watcher and I’ve got a corrupted Wolverine from an alternate future acting against the X-Men. I decide to use Wolverine’s datafile almost as-is, though some of his SFX and Limits work differently as a Watcher character.[...]His Berserk SFX lets him borrow a doom die and use it in his actions, but every action he uses it in steps it up by +1. There’s no change for this SFX, which makes a corrupted Wolverine a really nasty piece of work.

However, several NPCs such as Mammomax in Civil War: X-Men, Bloodshed in Civil War: Young Avengers, and Deathcry and Morg in Annihilation have a different version of Berserk that reads:

SFX: Berserk. Add a doom die to an attack action. After that action, step back the doom die and return it to the doom pool.

And that is where I am confused.

If a Wolverine becomes an NPC, does he use the normal version of the SFX, or the NPC version? What about other NPCs? Or other PCs becoming NPCs?


2 Answers 2


This isn't quite a complete answer, but both forms of Beserk are valid for PCs and NPCs (though you probably want the latter for NPCs).

From OM90:

Berserk - Add a die from the doom pool to one or more attack actions. Step up the doom pool die by +1 for each action; return it to the doom pool when your done.

Variations include a PP cost, but the doom die is stepped back by -1 when it's returned. This is a good SFX for rage based characters.

So basically, a PC can have access to the NPC version, but it would cost PP to use, and it seems like you could use the PC version if you want your NPC to be extra deadly (say like a corrupted Wolverine).

RE: what to do when creating your own NPCs from characters, I'm not sure (no experience here), but from looking at this situation, I'd examine the PC and NPC versions of a power (if they exist), and carefully decide how I'd want to shade it towards more or less harmful.


@wax eagle covers the bases in his answer. There are examples of each of the combinations discussed: NPC or PC that borrows a die then steps it up and returns it (Wolverine[BR96] and corrupted Wolverine[OM94]), NPC that borrows a die then steps it back and returns it(several, e.g. Lady Deathstrike[CW106]), PC that pays a PP, borrows a die, steps it back and then returns it (Beast BR54), and other variants. I'll make 2 quick points:

From a Plot Point/Doom Die economy perspective, if you're concerned about having an SFX that is too powerful, stick with the Triggers/Costs and Benefits lists on [OM88]. So for a PC, borrowing a die is a benefit, so offset it with a cost, such as paying a PP or stepping up the die in the Doom Pool. For an NPC, borrowing a Doom Die is already allowed, but both returning it and stepping it up are benefits, so for a "balanced" SFX, use the Lady Deathstrike model, borrow the die, but step it down (cost) and return it (benefit). The corrupted Wolverine SFX is certainly more powerful, since it gives the NPC 2 benefits for using it, and no cost.

Now, from a game play and balance perspective, in my experience the difference between the 2 extremes of this are not game-breaking as long as you're aware of the cost. You'll want to test them in your own game to be sure, but the difference between a corrupt Wolverine with one or the other versions of this SFX is roughly equivalent to 2 PP per use. The impact of that depends on style of play. A very saavy Watcher can use the more powerful version of this SFX to step up large dice in the Doom Pool, and get to 2d12 much quicker if that's the objective, or they could use it more judiciously to pump up their Doom Pool if it gets a little low.


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