Berserker

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Version 0.21: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
Berserkers are hardy warriors who worship Trog the Wrathful, from whom they get the power to go berserk (as well as a number of other powers, should they prove worthy), but who forbids the use of spell magic. They enter the dungeon with a weapon of their choice, and dressed in animal skins.

Berserkers are savage warriors who worship Trog the Wrathful. Like other gods, Trog offers further powers and gifts to those who prove worthy. Berserkers can thus be seen as a kind of holy warrior, albeit of a faith that values carnage for its own sake rather than a devotion to good (or evil, for that matter). They are forbidden to learn or use spells.

Berserkers start with 35 piety, giving them immediate access to the berserk ability on turn 1.

Preferred Races

Hill Orc, Minotaur, Merfolk, Gargoyle, Halfling, Demonspawn and Ogre are the recommended races if you pick a Berserker background.

Racial Restrictions

Demigods may not become Berserkers (or any other religious background).

While Formicids, Ghouls, and Mummies are not banned, they cannot berserk, robbing them of this background's main benefit.

Vampires also face difficulty as Berserkers, as they cannot berserk if they are thirsty or below. They will also stop berserking (and be slowed) if their satiation falls below this level - and berserking has a high satiation cost. Thus, the "window" in which Vampires can safely berserk is much smaller than with other species.

Starting Equipment

Some species may receive different items based on their unique restrictions.

Starting Skills and Stats

These are adjusted by your species' aptitudes.

Choosing Berserker adds 9 to your starting Strength, and 4 to your starting Dexterity, but reduces your starting Intelligence by 1.

Strategy

Immediate access to Trog's berserk ability makes berserker one of the strongest backgrounds in the game, as long as you are careful with when you berserk:

Ironically, Berserkers actually need to be played with more restraint than other warrior backgrounds. With their berserk ability, they may seem much more powerful than plain old Fighters, but many a careless Berserker has perished because they fell out of berserking (and got exhausted) while still surrounded by enemies. Remember that Trog may extend your berserk rage with every kill - when fighting a really tough monster, it may be worth sparing a turn whacking a weak monster next to it. Once you score enough piety to summon allies, they too can block for you if you get caught exhausted.

Berserkers also need to be careful about their food situation, as berserking has a high satiation cost. Most species can eat chunks only when hungry, and those who do will only be able to berserk once before they're hungry again. Finding enough permafood will free you from this, but don't berserk so often that you burn through it all!

For this reason, novice players might want to pick Troll for species, as they can eat chunks (and thus berserk) much more casually than other species. A Troll's high HP and regeneration makes them even more forgiving to new players. More advanced players may prefer a less voracious species, one who will have to berserk more carefully, but (unlike Trolls) has the aptitudes to make the most of Trog's weapon gifts.

History

Prior to 0.14, Berserkers started with 20 gold.

Backgrounds
Warriors FighterGladiatorMonkHunterAssassin
Zealots BerserkerAbyssal KnightChaos Knight
Warrior-mages SkaldEnchanterTransmuterArcane MarksmanWarper
Mages WizardConjurerSummonerNecromancerFire ElementalistIce ElementalistAir ElementalistEarth ElementalistVenom Mage
Adventurers ArtificerWanderer