A Dragon Heresy Introductory Set Kickstarter backer was asking about something I mentioned in one of the podcasts I was on this last weekend, which also appeared in one of the playtests from way back: The Runic Berserker, also known as the Berserker Path of Galdureiði: The Path of Wrathful Power.
The Path of Galdureiði is not in the Introductory Set. Yet. If we hit the $10K stretch goal, it will be one of the options for “More Content” that backers will get to vote on. It’s only about 550 words, and the stretch goal adds 10,000, so it’s definitely not the only thing that can happen.
BERSERKER: PATH OF GALDUREIÐI
You feel the pulse of the earth, the surge of the flames, the bite of winter’s fury, and the vast power of the storms. Those forces are not quiet, and the world is angry. You mirror that passion, channeling the world’s energy as your own through affinity with the true runes of power.
When you choose this path at 3rd level, you learn to channel your own rage and the energy of the world around you through a set of magically attuned runestones or runic tattoos that you keep on your person. The runes focus your energy and allow you to channel that harnessed power despite the red haze of rage through which you see the world. You cannot use the powers without these arcane symbols, so Berserkers of this path will work the stones into their clothing or weapons to prevent losing them through misfortunate accident or the willful malice of an enterprising thief. You may also permanently brand or mark the runes on your body with the aid of a 10th or higher level arcanist who has knowledge of the rune; a 10th level Berserker can help inscribe all of them.
THE RUNES OF POWER
The runes are magical sigils as well as letters, and each has one or more associations—with a god or goddess, a concept, a thing, or an action. The meaning is always layered and fluid.
The runes used for the Path of Galdureiði are not all the runes that exist, but upon choosing the path at 3rd level, the Berserker gains familiarity with some of the common meanings and methods of channeling the runes to invoke certain effects and powers. As her understanding and attunement increase, she obtains the ability to “reverse” the runes and achieve more difficult or subtle effects.
THE PRIMAL RUNES
Powerful but basic, these runes are the first that Berserkers use to focus their rage.
- Hagall. The power of storms to destroy. Associated with both lightning and thunder damage.
- Isa. Ice and the power of winter. Associated with cold damage.
- Kaunaz. Fire and torchlight. Associated with fire damage.
- Raido. The change in circumstances that breaks a deadlock; travel and movement. Associated with control damage (grappling).
- Sowulo. The radiance of the sun and the boon of salvation through the gods. Associated with radiant damage.
- Sverdaz. The sword of kings; another warrior’s rune. Associated with slashing damage.
- Telewaz. The thrust spear that justly slays; the warrior’s rune and sigil of Ziu. Associated with piercing damage.
- Thurisaz. Magical force and the power of the giants; Donnar’s hammer. Associated with force damage.
- Uruz. Strength and the power to smash. Associated with bludgeoning damage.
When you choose the Path of Galdureiði at 3rd level, when you rage, each turn you may, as a bonus action, invoke the power of a rune at a foe whom you have struck with a melee weapon. When you do so, the foe takes 2d4 damage (or control, if you invoke Raido), with the damage type being based on one of the primal runes. Once you have chosen the rune, it infuses your rage and persists until your rage ends. When your rage does cease, you must make a DC 12 Constitution save, or suffer an additional level of exhaustion (as described in Conditions). If you rage again, you may choose a different rune. Armor and frantic defense both apply normally to the rune strike damage.