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The Rashemaar berserkers, sometimes referred to as Rashemi berserkers,[note 1][10][11] were the legendary defenders of Rashemen that were known for flying into an almost supernatural frenzy on the battlefield.[2][5] They were among the most respected members of Rashemi society, second to revered Wychlaran.[12]

Organization[]

The berserkers were organization into a number of lodges named for creatures local to Rashemen.[5]

Among the known berserker lodges were: the Wolf, Great Stag, Ettercap, Snow Tiger, Ice Troll, Owlbear,[5] Goblin, White Dragon,[13][14] and Black Bear lodges.[15] The Old Lodge was an order that comprised the most knowledgeable and accomplished berserkers drawn from the other lodges.[16]

Activities[]

The berserkers served as Rashemen's elite warriors. They faithfully defended their homeland with a ferocity that was unequaled.[8][17][18]

Members of various lodges often competed with one another in contests of strength and martial skill.[5]

Abilities[]

The process of entering a rage, or going berserk as it were, took about ten minutes time. This was often done immediately before battle, as its duration was partially dependent on whether or not a berserker perceived any potential threats nearby.[19]

During their rage berserkers gained a number of boons. They became inherently more skilled in battle, striking their foes with more ease and inflicting more harmful wounds. They also seemed to shrug off certain spells or spell-like abilities that may otherwise have blinded, charmed, hypnotized, physically held, enthralled, or commanded them. Even certain spells that would outright kill someone would only affect a berserker after their rage had ended.[19]

Unfortunately, they also become hampered in other regards. During a rage berserkers temporarily lost some of their mental faculties, struggled to differentiate between allies and foes, and could easily be taunted. They could not gain divine aid, or blessings, nor could they benefit from a number of magical healing spells. Berserkers were incapable of wielding non-melee weapons during their rage.[13] After raging in battle, Rashemaar berserkers were left in a severely weakened state.[13]

Warriors who were unable to control their berserker rages -- and were thus dangerous to others -- were deemed nydeshka ("blunt sword"), given a blunt sword, and told to lead the next battle, a certain death sentence.[20]

Runescarring[]

Some especially wise berserkers were taught how to inscribe runes into their skin as a means to cast divine magic.[21] These runescarred berserkers were held in high esteem among the berserker lodges, nearly to the level of the Wychlaran.[22]

Tactics[]

Like other Rashemaar warriors,[23] berserkers organized themselves into warbands of 10-50 combatants referred to as Fangs.[12] While they didn't use group tactics,[6] the berserkers fought as the vanguard of the Rashemaar army, often breaking the lines of enemy forces with their initial furious charge.[24]

Each lodge trained its berserkers in a unique fighting style that reflected the beast or creature after which it was named.[5]

To enter into their raging frenzies, berserkers employed a form of self-hypnosis and the potent Rashemi wine known as jhuild.[25][2][26][12]

Base of Operations[]

the lodge-house of the Great Stags

Some of more prominent lodges maintained a lodge-house in many Rashemi settlements, while the more obscure ones were limited to one or a mere few villages. Each of the lodge-houses were protected by a telthor associated with that lodge's totemic beast.[5]

Possessions[]

Berserkers often wore lighter clothing such as leather or hide armor, while the most cumbersome type of armor they donned was chainmail.[19] Traditionally, warriors had a second set of lacings on their clothes in honor of the old shapeshifters, who would break the first pair when they changed form.[27]

Some accomplished berserkers carried with them a variety of weapons unique to their land, referred to as berserker blades.[3] Berserker weapons forged by the Vremyonni became enhanced when wielded by a warrior in the throes of a berserker rage.[4]

Relationships[]

The berserkers have historically served alongside the Hathran as the elite defenders of their homeland.[8] They often called upon by both the esteemed Wychlaran or even the Iron Lord himself.[25]

History[]

In a famous battle at the Gorge of Gauros, in the Year of the Raging Brook, −45 DR, the berserkers held turn away the imperial army of Mulhorand.[8]

Members[]

In order to join a berserker lodge an individual had do demonstrate an ability to fly into a rage in combat as well as pass an initiation ritual.[5]

Both Rashemaar men and women alike could gain entry into the berserker lodges. Outlanders were allowed as well, permitted they demonstrated both knowledge about Rashemi culture, as well as their worth in battle.[5]

Notable Rashemaar Berserkers[]

  • Ygvarri the Dark: The 14th century leader of the White Dragon lodge was thought of as many as the epitome of perfection among his berserker brethren.[28]
  • Minsc: Though he later became one of the Heroes of Baldur's Gate, Minsc first took his dajemma in order to gain admittance into the White Dragon lodge.[14][29]

Rumors & Legends[]

A story told among the Rashemaar was that of Yvengi, the son of a berserker who fought against the demon Eltab. Yvengi prayed to the spirits and was granted a magical sword called Hadryllis.[20]

Appendix[]

See Also[]

Notes[]

  1. While they were of the same ethnic group, the Rashemaar people were native to Rashemen and the Rashemi were those who lived in Thay.

Appearances[]

Adventures
Spellbound
Video Games
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer

References[]

  1. Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 74. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 87. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 103. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 54. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 136. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 139. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  7. Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 88. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 69. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  9. Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 142. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  10. Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 70. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  11. Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 133. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 137. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 90. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  14. 14.0 14.1 BioWare (December 1998). Designed by James Ohlen. Baldur's Gate. Black Isle Studios.
  15. Elaine Cunningham (April 2003). Windwalker (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 253. ISBN 0-7869-2968-5.
  16. Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 147. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  17. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 203. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  18. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. Edited by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 169. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 89. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Elaine Cunningham (April 2003). Windwalker (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 285. ISBN 0-7869-2968-5.
  21. Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 32. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  22. Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 31. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  23. Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 73. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  24. Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 74. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 71. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  26. Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 104. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  27. Elaine Cunningham (April 2003). Windwalker (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 336. ISBN 0-7869-2968-5.
  28. Anthony Pryor (June 1995). “Campaign Guide”. In Michele Carter, Doug Stewart eds. Spellbound (TSR, Inc.), p. 121. ISBN 978-0786901395.
  29. Ed Greenwood, Matt Sernett, Steve Winter (August 20, 2013). “Campaign Guide”. In Dawn J. Geluso ed. Murder in Baldur's Gate (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-6463-4.
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