Berserk

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Version 0.20: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

Berserk is a status effect which fills you with overwhelming rage, making you significantly deadlier in combat but unable to do almost anything else. Afterwards, you are left severely handicapped as you recover from your overexertion. Used correctly, a berserker can overcome challenges far beyond its level. Used improperly, it'll leave you seriously weakened just as things are at their most dangerous.

A berserk rage nominally lasts 20 - 40 turns, but this duration decreases rapidly if you do anything except for fighting or butchering.

Contents

Pros

  • Current and max HP increase by 50%.
  • Might (+5 strength, +1d10 melee attack damage).
  • Haste.
  • Monsters Only: Immunity to fear, +50% damage instead of +1d10.

Cons

  • Cannot do anything except for attacking, moving, butchering corpses, eating, and wielding, unwielding, dropping, or picking up items.
  • Leaves you slow and gives the -Berserk status effect after it ends, preventing repeated berserks.
  • Occasionally makes you "pass out" (essentially paralysis) for a few turns after it ends (10% chance).
  • Costs you 600 satiation per use.
  • Cannot trigger if you are Very Hungry or worse.
  • Sets your stealth to 0, and causes you to make lots of noise when opening doors (You throw open the door with a bang!).
  • Followers of Cheibriados may wish to avoid berserk, as he dislikes the Haste effect it causes. If you go berserk unintentionally while following him, he will cancel the Haste effect. That being said, in an emergency, its benefits may outweigh the relatively minor cost.

Sources

Trog

The simplest way to get access to berserk is to worship Trog, who grants it to users as an ability once they hit one * of piety. This ability costs an additional 200 - 400 satiation per use (bringing the total cost to 800 - 1000), but it never fails and requires no other resources. Also, Trog followers receive several divine benefits to all of their berserk rages, regardless of the source; the berserker has a (piety/10)% chance of extending the berserk by 4 - 13 turns each time he kills something, and you receive an additional (piety/1.5)% chance of staying conscious when you would normally pass out.

Amulet of Rage

Wearing an amulet of rage (or any randart with the +Rage intrinsic) allows you to go berserk as an ability. When used successfully, you berserk as normal, but with a 3.33% chance of extending your berserk with each kill. It has a (50 + (2 × Evocations))% success rate, and costs 2 MP along with the standard satiation cost.

Berserkitis

If you have the Berserk mutation or a piece of equipment with the *RAGE intrinsic, you may automatically go berserk each time that you hit an enemy in melee or take damage. The chance of this happening due to the mutation rises with each rank of the mutation (1% / 3% / 9%), but more ranks also dramatically reduces the odds of you passing out from berserking; the normal 10% chance is reduced to roughly 3%, 2%, or 1.5%. Each piece of berserkitis equipment has its own chance of activation, making some items significantly more dangerous than others. Because there are many situations in which berserking is a terrible idea, berserkitis is generally seen as a dangerous trait to have.

Potion of Berserk Rage

Quaffing a potion of berserk rage will immediately make you go berserk.

Battlelust Card

If you draw a Battlelust card at power level 1, you will go berserk in 10 auts (usually 1 turn).

Moth of Wrath

The bite of a moth of wrath may cause you to go berserk. Monsters near it (but not necessarily adjacent to it) will also occasionally go berserk.

Miscast Effects

Miscast effects from the Charms and Hexes magic schools may make you berserk. This includes those suffered while exploring Hell.

Xom

Xom may decide to make you berserk. He may even be kind enough to do so in situations where berserking is helpful! You will never pass out afterwards.

Frenzy Needles

Shooting a monster with a frenzy-branded needle will cause it to go berserk and temporarily turn neutral, attacking anything nearby. Monsters will never fire these at you.

Discord

Casting the Discord spell will drive all enemies around you into a frenzy, much like shooting them with a frenzy needle.

Preventing Berserk

The following all prevent you from going berserk.

Strategy

  • Don't assume that nimble, dexterous characters armed with short blades have less to gain from berserking than a lumbering brute with a massive weapon; the +1d10 damage per hit applies to light and heavy weapons equally. The faster you hit your enemy, the more free damage you apply.
  • Bear in mind that berserk characters have zero stealth. While this might make no difference to a rampaging troll or minotaur in crystal plate armour, stealthier characters might want to be careful about berserking near enemies that aren't yet aware of them; doing so may draw more enemies into combat than you can handle at once, especially if the berserk runs out mid-fight.
  • A potion of speed or other source of Haste will counter the post-berserk slowing, an excellent tactic if you find yourself exhausted while still in combat. Elyvilon's Purification ability is also effective.
  • If none of these options are available, think carefully before going berserk. It's a good idea to lure enemies to an already-cleared area with a staircase leading up before berserking so you can escape in case a monster approaches while you're slowed. Summoning allies (incidentally, another of Trog's given powers) also increases your chances of survival if your rage expires while you are still in combat.
  • Ranged weapon users should switch to a melee weapon before going berserk, as you can't shoot during it.

History

Prior to 0.20, berserk gave the exhausted status effect after wearing off instead of -Berserk. This only mattered if you could cast Death's Door or had access to one of Ru's active abilities. Also, players and monsters were unable to (un)wield things while berserk.

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 in 0.9.