Berserker

Chris Van Deelen

Chris Van Deelen is the author of the Skirmisher Publishing LLC sourcebook Creatures of the Tropical Wastes sourcebook, co-author of its Wisdom from the Wastelands game supplement and contributor to the 'Sword of Kos: Hekaton' Anthology.

No. Enc: 2d8
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90’ (30’)
AC: 6 (or by armor)
HD: 15
Attacks: By weapon or 2 punches, 1 bite
Damage: By weapon (+5 damage if melee), 1d4+5 / 1d4+5 / 2d3 + 5
Save: L15
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: I, II, V, VII, IX, XI, and 1d4 primitive firearms, and 1d3-1 high tech firearms or melee weapons.

Many of the creatures that are found in the wastelands were in fact genetically engineered by the Ancients to be used in combat. This particular breed of humanoids first appeared on the scene in the very early 21st century. The originals were all mercenaries who had undergone radical genetic manipulation to make them far stronger and more resilient to physical damage than a normal human.

Physically these humanoids appear as overly muscular humans with a very distinct simian appearance. Each man was large to begin with, but the scientists of the day introduced Silverback Gorilla DNA into the volunteer’s genetic code. The result is that they took on a very ape-like appearance and gained an increase of nearly 500% muscle mass. For some as yet to be determined reason, this genetic engineering only worked on males. It either outright killed any females that tried to use it, or had no effect.

The smallest of these humanoids stands at around six foot eight and the lightest weighs around four hundred pounds. They are incredibly strong, each having a Physical Strength statistic of 20+1d8 and their hides are very tough, giving them a natural damage reduction of 6 points against all types of damage. To top it off, they are highly resistant  to poisons, radiation and other toxins and gain a +2 to all saving throws, and enjoy a bonus of -1 point per dice damage whenever they do take damage from these sources.

They also gained their name from the way they tend to react. Whenever they get into combat, they must make a Will Power check (they have a Will Power of 3d4+4) on a d20. If the roll is less than their will power, they are able to control their temper and can fight normally. However, if they fail, these humanoids go into a berserker rage and will throw away all thoughts of tactics and strategy, and will discard any ranged weapons that they possess in favor of melee weapons, or better yet their hands and teeth. During this rage, they suffer a +4 to AC, but will gain a +4 to hit with all melee attacks, the damage reduction will increase to 9, as well as +2 per dice damage, and all regularly inflicted damage is automatically doubled before the bonus of +2 per dice is added. For example, a berserker is using a mace, which does 1d6+5 (from the high strength) points of damage. The berserker goes into a rage and hits with the mace, and rolls 4 points. With his strength bonus the damage is increased to 9. This is doubled because he is in the berserker state and now has inflicted 18 points. Due to the +2 per dice damage, this damage is finally tallied at 20.

This berserker state will last for 4d6 rounds and at first they will attack only their enemies, but if all their enemies are killed, they will turn on one another until the berserker state ends. This has cost many a berserker his life. Also, once the berserker state has ended, the humanoid must make a saving throw versus death or fall unconscious for 4d6 turns. Even if the humanoid is heavily fatigued (see Wisdom from the Wastelands issue 8: New Diseases or Wisdom from the Wastelands issue 38: Radiation Sickness for more information), and suffer 3d8 points of damage from physical exertion. This could very well kill the humanoid if they suffered damage while in this state.

Ever since the final wars ended, very few have ever found the original formula to create these humanoids. But just because they are extremely hard to create does not mean that they are not still showing up across the globe. They are able to breed true. They can and often take Pure Human or Human (see Wisdom from the Wastelands issue 4: New Races for more information) women as mates (although more often than not forcibly). The gestation period for the offspring is 12 months, and the offspring are always male and take after the father.

These humanoids always live together in small bands. They live the lifestyle of a mercenary, hiring out their considerable combat skills to those who are willing to pay their often exorbitant rates, or are willing to take the risk of having these combat monsters fight for them.  They are also always willing to join the Legion faction (see Wisdom from the Wastelands issue 6: Factions), and many of their kind have found a home with this group.

Despite the fact that they like to fight unarmed, they will always be found with numerous primitive or high-tech firearms and melee weapons. They are especially fond of using primitive firearms and always have a cache of these weapons stored in their homes or at least close at hand.

Mutations: Increased physical attribute (strength), simian deformity (d)

Source: Dragon Factory and Code Zero by Jonathan Maberry