Berserker's Totem

Berserker relic source of "animal skins" legends


Durability: 1
Size: 0
Structure: 1

A single bear claw, of obvious age, is affixed to what can only be termed a blob of bronze. The bronze is covered in a plethora of miniscule runes and also forms an eyelet at the top. A leather thong has been threaded to the eyelet and tied to form a necklace.

Using The Relic
When in contact with the relic, the bearer becomes somewhat ursine. Hair on the arms, legs and hands thickens and fingernails become bear claws.

The relic provides three benefits to Michael:

  • Like with an animal, the character now uses the higher of Wits and Dexterity to determine his Defense.
  • The user gains keen perceptions. Any Perception-based Wits + Composure or Wits + Survival rolls gain +3 dice.
  • The character gains a bestial claw attack granting him 2(L)

Cost: The relic does not require anyone to bond with it. Its blessing is conferred to Michael the moment he touches it (requiring contact with his skin), and the blessing goes away the moment Michael stops touching it. The blessing is technically free – no Willpower points are necessary to achieve these benefits. The Power comes with two downsides, however.

  • During the time in which the character is under the thrall of the blessing, both his Intelligence and Manipulation scores drop to 1 dot apiece. (His mind devolves into something more bestial, thinking and communicating more as a beast than as a man.)
  • The second downside is that the character must succeed on a Resolve + Composure roll to relinquish his touch, and thus, relinquish the blessing. The animalistic puissance is not necessarily addictive, but it is pleasurable and powerful while active. To purposefully let go of that feeling, success on the roll is necessary. (This does not apply, however, if the item is somehow knocked from his grip or torn from around his neck or whatever.) Upon relinquishing the blessing, the character’s Intelligence and Manipulation scores return to normal after one turn has passed.

Tales of berserkers have a long and storied past. They were said to be immune to fire and
iron. They were said to wear the skins of bears or even to turn into them. A few of these tales hold a grain of truth. Within some men lies the ability to work themselves into a frenzy in which they become so focused on killing that the very things that make us human no longer apply. Eventually a subgroup arose amongst the ranks. These were the teachers who would initiate new warriors into the brotherhood of those who could access the animalistic battle frenzy. The bear skin was the symbol of these teachers.

The teachers were said to be so fearsome they disdained weapons and would enter the fray barehanded. What is not told is how they could also become something not quite human. Something almost ursine. Not true shapeshifting, they were able to become more animal than man and would roam the vast forests in this manner when not called upon to fight or train initiates. The change was the opposite of the battle fury, replacing single-minded rage with a simple communion with nature. This is not to say that a trainer in ursine guise could not find himself falling into a rage if provoked and the results of that were dire indeed. It’s not known how many of these relics exist nor from where they draw their power.

Berserker's Totem

VigilGamers Nimkeas myrddhin393