Berserk

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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
You are hasted, deal increased damage in melee combat, and have increased health, but are unable to make most actions other than moving or attacking. The status will wear off very quickly unless you are attacking other monsters, and when it expires you will be slowed and unable to berserk again for a short duration.

Berserk is a status effect which fills you with overwhelming rage. It makes you significantly deadlier in combat, but disables most actions. Afterwards, you are left severely handicapped.

Useful Info

Berserk has the following effects:

Pros

  • Current and max HP increase by 50%
  • Might (+1d10 melee attack damage)
  • Haste (+50% action speed)
  • Immunity to sleep

Cons

  • Cannot do anything except for attacking, moving, opening or closing doors, shouting, and wielding, unwielding, dropping, or picking up items.
    • Doing anything but attacking will reduce the duration further.
  • Sets your stealth score to 0.
  • Causes you to make lots of noise when opening doors (You throw open the door with a bang!).

Monsters also get immunity to fear, and gain +50% damage instead of +1d10, but don't get the HP boost.

Once it ends, you are left slowed for 12 + 2d12 turns.[1] You also get the -Berserk status, preventing repeated rages.

Duration

By default, berserk has a duration of (20 + random2avg(19)) / 2 turns (10-19 turns, weighted towards 15).[2] However, doing anything but attack will quickly reduce the duration, lasting as few as 3 turns if you do nothing.

Trog enhances berserk. Regardless of the source, you have a (piety/10)% chance of extending your rage by 4 - 13 turns each time you kill something.

Restrictions

Formicids and the undead (Ghoul, Mummy, bloodless Vampire, those in lichform) are unable to berserk. Players under -Berserk, fear, mesmerise, or Death's Door are also unable.[3] (Wielding the obsidian axe lets you berserk while mesmerised.)

Cheibriados allows berserking, but suppresses the haste effect of berserk.

Having clarity will prevent unintentional berserk, but you can still use potions or Trog's ability to berserk yourself.

Berserk does not stack with other sources of might or haste.

Sources

Intentional

Unintentional

  • Items with *Rage or wrath ego have a chance to inflict berserk whenever you make a melee attack. Most items have a 20% chance, but certain unrands have a 50% chance.
  • The Berserk mutation has a chance (3% or 9%) to inflict berserk, like items of *Rage.
  • Getting attacked by a moth of wrath.
  • Chaos effects and Xom
  • When a player is hit by a datura dart, you are sent berserk.

Strategy

Berserk is an inherently risky status. If you can't defeat your opponent in time, you'll be slowed (and likely stuck at low HP) while next to the enemy. Moreover, while you're berserk, you cannot use valuable potions, scrolls, or god abilities until it runs out. Not even Trog's abilities can be used while berserking.

At the same time, berserk gives a lot of power, allowing you to win fights. Don't assume that only heavy melee brutes use berserk. Nimble, dexterous characters with Short Blades benefit from the flat +1d10 damage; the faster you attack, the more 1d10 damage boosts you apply. Even casters, in the early game, can use berserk as a last-ditch resort.

Berserking is best done with the following precautions:

  • Be on top of, or very close to (no more than 2 tiles away), an upstair. If new monsters appear, or if the fight is going poorly, you can always stair dance the monster up. Try luring monsters to a staircase before activating berserk.
  • If you're going to berserk, do it early. Berserking at 50% HP is likely to be fatal.
  • You shouldn't berserk enemies that can blink. As time spent chasing a blinking enemy is time spent not attacking, the berserk will run out.

Take these precautions with a grain of salt. If you don't have a better option, e.g. when against a D:3 water moccasin as a melee character, go berserk; being near a staircase does not matter in these situations.

You can negate the slow by having haste, quaffing a potion of cancellation, or using a few god abilities (Elyvilon's Purification, Ru's Draw Out Power). Even this can be a liability, since it'll take 1.5 turns to cure the slowing.

Tips & Tricks

  • Keep in mind that berserk sets your stealth to 0. A Minotaur or Troll in heavy armour probably won't care, but stealthier characters should berserk in explored areas, and shouldn't try to berserk-stab things.
  • Summoning allies (incidentally, another of Trog's abilities) will increase your chance of survival if the rage expires early.
  • You can't cast spells or fire Ranged Weapons while berserk.

History

  • Prior to 0.28, some artefacts let you manually invoke berserk, but *Rage only provided a 5% chance to berserk. Cheibriados forbid intentional berserk, but still suppressed haste from berserk forced on you.
  • In 0.27.1 only, Clarity did not prevent berserk from *Rage.
  • Prior to 0.27, berserking had a chance to paralyze you after it ends, and both Trog and berserkitis would protect you from it.
  • Prior to 0.26, the high hunger cost made it prohibitive to constantly go berserk.
  • Prior to 0.25, there were two more sources of the berserk effect: amulet of rage and miscast effects from the Charms magic school. Also, berserk gave the player a +5 bonus to Strength.
  • Prior to 0.20, berserk gave the exhausted status effect after wearing off instead of -Berserk, which also stopped Death's Door and Ru's active abilities. Also, players and monsters were unable to (un)wield things while berserk.
  • Prior to 0.19, players could not go berserk if they were Very Hungry or worse; the hunger cost was applied at the end. Also, butchering corpses would sustain your rage the same way as attacking.
  • Prior to 0.11, an amulet of rage also reduced the risk of you passing out after your berserk ended.
  • The Berserker Rage spell used to allow the caster to go berserk at will (and reduced the risk of passing out afterwards), but it was removed from the spells players could use in 0.9.
  • Prior to 0.9, Berserk made players 2* as fast.

References