Every so often I have an image that pops into my mind, an image so vivid and so motivating that it drives me inexorably through the creation of some character concept. I had just such an event occur last night; the image of a blazing inferno raging across the battlefield, consuming everything in his path. In this installment of Building A Concept we will dive into the deepest ends of the Berserker warrior archetype, creating a churning tornado of devastation known as “Baratnik, the Inferno”.
I have always been fascinated with the concept of an Elemental Warrior, someone who goes beyond the normal boundaries of weapon slinging and fist swinging in combat and transforms into the element that best represents primal rage and anger: Fire. That previously mentioned mental image that struck me late last night was that of a warrior fully clad in plate mail from head to toe, with fire and smoke belching forth from every single crack or gap in said suit of armor.. all the while bellowing screams fueled by a craving for raw destruction.
Lets take this frightening image and break it down, one component at a time. Once that has been done we can go through the process of creating Baratnik piece by piece.
I imaged Baratnik as someone clad in full plate mail with fire billow out from beneath every component. While any race can wear plate armor, only a solaran can produce the kind of pyrotechnics we want. The solaran is born of fire with lava pumping through their veins, rendering them immune to any blaze or furnace. To make matters even more absurd, I am going to buy a few ranks of the trait “Physique Extraordinaire” to even further bulk up Baratnik’s fear factor.
Anytime I think “whirling dervish”, the Berserker immediately comes to mind. This warrior class has been specifically designed to charge headlong into combat with little or no concern for their own well-being. Berserkers are damage dealers pure and simple, with the hot-headed nature of the solaran combining to create a truly volatile result. Berserkers most often employ two-handed weapons specifically due to the massive amounts of damage these weapons can deal in one strike. This affords the berserker increased mobility on the battlefield because of their Passing Attack ability, letting them move on to a second target whenever a killing blow is struck. This combination firmly fits in with the other core concepts upon which we are building Baratnik.
We are getting a playable race (the solaran) and transforming them into a melee machine. This process is unfortunately going to leave us rather short on build points. Keeping this all in mind, it will be best if we streamline our starting weapon and skill choices in order to best fit in with our tight points budget.
- Pole-arms / Staves - A pole-arm such as a halberd makes for an excellent tool to clear any room full of enemies. This also gives us access to warrior abilities such as Cleave, Spinning Top, and (Burning) Ring of Fire.
- Intimidation - The trait Physique Extraordinaire contributes towards this skill, adding bonus dice. Using Intimidation on the battlefield will allow us to instill fear in our foes.
- Athletics - An immensely useful skill that increases mobility across the board. It can be used for leaping, climbing or hard running.
That’s it. Three measly skills that will make Baratnik a force to be reckoned with, just add some humorous (but still useful) knowledge skills to round things out.
For every target that a berserker can strike on the field on battle, their possibility for using Passing Attack gets greatly magnified. This gives us direction when choosing warrior techniques, hinting that we should pick anything “multi-target” we can get our hands on that is Halberd friendly.
- Cleave – This is an excellent addition to any berserker’s repertoire, allowing for a dual strike against a pair of targets.
- Spinning Top - While it does not allow for staging up of damage, Spinning Top can still be lethal to an entire group of targets if a high damage two-hander is being employed.
- Cinematic Leap - Cleave is an easy ability to position, requiring only two targets that are next to one another. Spinning Top however can be far more difficult to take maximum of advantage of, requiring targets all the way around a warrior. Employing Cinematic Leap you can actually jump directly into the middle of a mass of targets, striking all within range.
- Improved Reflexes - More actions in combat for any berserker means not only more opportunities to move and position themselves on the battlefield but also additional opportunities to employ their Death’s Embrace attack and stave off death.
Unfortunately we will also have to throw some Attribute Improvement (Strength) into the mix in order to offset the strength penalty inherent to the solaran race.
Wrapping Things Up
We have determined the foundation of our beserker, structuring it off of the initial ideas and mental image that drove us along the way. Through careful selection of some equipment we can round Baratnik out and get him ready for use. The final results of our character generation is Baratnik the Inferno (ZIP file). Included is my Excel worksheet used for points tracking during character creation as well as a filled out character sheet (in PDF format) ready to be printed out and used. If you put Baratnik to use in your game, please make sure you get back to us with comments, letting us know what the results were!