A Berserk State is a psychosomatic state of hyperarousal that is characterized by drastically increased strength, inability to feel pain, and marked increase in endurance. It is an adaption of the Fight or Flight response found in mammals. This state is specifically induced by intense rage that persists until either the individual is killed, forced into a state of shock due to severe trauma, or the source of their anger is destroyed or killed.
Individuals who can harness this state as a weapon are called a berserker.
- Deregulation of skeletal muscle limiters, vastly increasing strength at the increased risk of injury.
- Dilation of blood vessels in muscles.
- Constriction of blood vessels in the dermis.
- Inhibition of some autonomous functions like the reproductive and digestive systems.
- Increase in blood glucose levels for ATP production.
- Increase in heart rate and respiratory rate.
- Pale or flushed skin
- Increase in clotting factors in the bloodstream.
- Drastic increase in endorphins in the brain, causing the individual to feel little, if any, pain.
- Rapid mental processing makes time appear to be running slower.
The berserk state originally evolved in the lineage of ancient trolls. Confirmed accounts of berserk states have been documented in every troll-descended species except high elves and goblins. In the case of goblins, the adrenal system is largely too underdeveloped to induce such a state, although the fight or flight response is intact. High Elves have never been recorded to this mental state. Berserk states are most prevalent among humans, dwarves, and orcs.
Outside of troll descended species, the berserk state has never been shown to occur. However, the Fight or Flight response is documented in all tetrapod species on Theros. Outside of Therosian life, similar but distinctive states have been observed.