In DW the Barbarian class represent warriors from the lesser developed lands of the world (in a technological scence). What sets them apart is that where the civilized fighters have their greater organization and almost scientific training, the Barbarians have heart! They have another level of connection with their emotional states, or are at least not afraid to enter into them.

Fighting practices

Many barbarians will not have a fighting style as such, but some may have what akins to Viking Spear Fighting and Sword-and-Shield style fighting.

Besides this a wide range of weapon skills are practiced.

The Fury of the Barbarians

Barbarians can call upon a Berserker Rage that will enhance and hamper their combat abilities.

A Barbarian character must take a special, combined Template/Advantage called Berserker. It must at a minimum look like this:

  • Daredevil (15) + Berserk (Battle Rage +50%, Control Roll 15-, x0.5) (-7).

This comes to an 8 point advantage. If a Control Roll of 12- is chosen, the power becomes a 0-point feature, and 9- takes it to a – 7 point disadvantage. CR 6- makes it a -15 point disadvantage. Both Disadvantageous levels count against the disad limit.

This Berserker trait is then prerequisite for the following possible powers:

  • Extra Attack (Multistrike +20%, Only while Berserk, -20%) (25/level)
  • Extra ST (Only While Berserk -20%) (8/lvl) – max. 8 levels
  • Hard to Kill (Only While Berserk -20%) (1.6/lvl)
  • Hard to Subdue (Only While Berserk -20%) (1.6/lvl)
  • Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduction) (Only While Berserk -20%) (40/60/80)
  • Striking ST (Only While Berserk -20%) (4/lvl) – max. 8 levels combined with Extra ST.
  • Super Jump (Only While Berserk -20%) (8/lvl) – 2 levels max.
  • Terror (Selective Area +20%, Only While Berserk -20%) (30 + 10/-1 to Fright Check)
  • Unkillable 1 (Only while Berserk -20%) (40)

And a special advantage: Warcry (Only while Berserk, -20%). Cost is 4 points. Functions as Kiai, with a skill level of HT. This can be improved by up to +4 to HT, at the progression 4/8/11/14/17. This trait is defined using a ruleset that can be found in the issues of Pyramid Magazine called “Alternate GURPS II”.

A Barbarian who has spent at least 50 points on these abilities may add a Cosmic modifier (-50%) to his Berserk disadvantage that lets him try to actively snap out of Berserk at any time using a Concentrate Maneuver. He still has to beat his Control Roll to do it, and it may thus take some turns to do. This generally reduces the value by half (-3/-7/-11/-15 at the various CR levels). This then affects the cost of the Berserker trait (12/8/4/0).

When the Barbarian has spent at least 100 points on these abilities he may begin buying off the Only While Berserk limitation (but adding Requires HT Roll, -10%)

Option: Shapeshifting

It will comes as a surprise to few that the barbarians of DW are much inspired by the legends of Berserkers from the Nordic tales of heroes and their daring deeds. One aspect of these that are left out, however, is the animist aspect of seeking communion with animal spirits and assuming their mental state and, eventually, physical form. The word Berserker literally means “One who wears the skin of a bear”, and the whole phenomenon carries the significance that “going berserk” is in essence to turn into a bear, summoning it’s courage and rage.

The traditions of shapeshifting feature prominently in the stories around the nordic gods as well, with magical robes that allow the gods to turn into falcons/eagles, wolves and bears.

One way to honour this in the abilities of a Berserker is for him or her to choose what kind of animal provides the fury and bestiality that powers their abilities, kind of like a totem.

When a Berserker has spent at least 50 points on the berserker abilities above, add the option of purchasing their patron animal as an Alternate Form.

Alternatively, after 50 points and every 10 points thereafter, the character may purchase a feature of the patron animal – eg. the ability to sprout claws fo extra unarmed damage, or fur to absorp damage, a beak or teeth for biting, which makes an extra level of Extra Attack possible, Night Vision or Telescopic Vision or Peripheral Vision, Discriminatory Smell etc. etc. These all have the drawbacks of being short-duration, and making the user Bestial while they use them

At 100 points the full shapechange becomes possible. When Shapeshifted, the Beserker takes on the template for his chosen animal:

Bear (15 points)
A Bear form about the size and power of a Black Bear.
ST +4, DX +1, IQ -6, HT +3
Will +8, Per +6, Move +1
Claws (Blunt), DR 2, Teeth (Sharp), Temparature Tolerance 2
No Fine Manupulators, Semi-Upright, Wild Animal
Brawling +4 points


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