A feature of many video games I've seen is the Rage mechanic. As combat progresses, a charge builds up, and eventually provides a boost of some form to the character, frequently some spectacular attack form. I think such a mechanic could have a place in some campaigns, especially combat heavy ones that are not trying too hard to be realistic.

Rage effects should be dramatic - everyone nearby who witnesses a rage effect will notice it, so any boon they grant will not be some subtle effect.

If you use these effects, they increase the power level of your players, so granting this also to key NPCs would go a long way towards balancing these out.

Here is a suggestion on implementing Rage in your game:

1. Gaining Rage

To use a Rage action, one needs to build up 10 rage points. These points may be acquired as follows:

Event Modifier
Successful Attack +1
Critical Attack: +3
Wounds taken, 20% total HP: +1
Critical Attack received: +2
Close Ally Downed: +1
Close Ally Slain +3
1-10 Allied Redshirts downed +1
6 Rolled on d6 (1 per round) +1

Allies must be named characters that the player's character has a positive relationship with - someone they care for in some real degree. Redshirts are allies that the PC really does not know or care for. Seeing, for example, 100 redshirts die in an explosion or something is likely to fill your Rage meter.

Attacks include melee, missile and offensive spell use.

The use of 10 as the range facilitates use of a d10 for tracking purposes. Simply keep track of rage with a particular D10.

2.Using Rage

Once your Rage threshold is reached or Charged, you may use it on your next action or you may hold it up to the end of the current scene or encounter. Rage points may no longer be earned while Rage is charged.

Rage effects ideas can be drawn from many sources, some examples below. At GMs discretion, these effects may last for multiple ‘rounds', especially as the player increases in power level.


Massive Damage:

No bonus to hit, but if landed, triple damage applies.

Skilled strike

+50% to hit (+10 D20) on next attack


3x normal attack rate, possibly at some penalty to hit.


Regain 10% of lost hits/HP, 1 damage level or 10% of expended endurance if any.

Crippling Strike

Double damage, and target receives a 20% penalty until healed.

Thrown Doom:

User's weapon may be thrown without penalty and causes automatic double

damage if it hits. Missile weapons range triples.


Area Effect:

Single-target spell now impacts multiple targets


Damage of spell increased


Secondary spell effect layered upon existing effect - one related or complementary.


25% expended mana or 25% of used spell slots..

Special Powers:

Totem form:

Assumes the form of a powerful totem animal for a short period of time that can deliver more powerful attacks than normal.

Elemental/Energy Blast:

Can deliver a ranged attack that causes double normal melee attack damage

Elemental/Energy Wave:

Can deliver a cone-shaped ranged attack that causes normal melee attack damage to all in the area of effect.

Steel/Stone/Wood skin

Subject becomes significantly harder to injure - +25% (+5 D20) to armor/defense.

Stunning Stomp:

All enemies within a certain distance are subject to a stunning attack.

It is quite possible this mechanic mirrors that already in place in some games, however those that I have played or read the rules of do not contain this mechanic.


Great Rage

This represents a different level of rage - the brooding rage that explodes with epic force. Only those of great power can harbour this ability.

As before, 10 points of Great Rage are needed to invoke the effect, but the differences are as follows:

Great Rage points are acquired through major campaign events - fall of kingdoms, death of primary figures, etc.

Once charged, the rage can be held indefinitely, though no additional Great Rage points may be acquired.

When invoked, they unlock massive effects such as:

- They may acquire the effects of one or more normal rage effects for the entire duration of a battle.

- A spell of immense power becomes usable.

- A powerful representative of a deity or perhaps the deity themselves steps into our reality to assist.

Rolled Rage

In many systems, D10 is also rolled at the start of a battle, with small values being good. In such systems, you could use the initiative roll as the initial state of the character's Rage level. So while a PC could be last to act, they would likely be the first to have a charged Rage bar.

Modified Rage

Different die-sizes could be used to either increase or decrease the rate of Rage - Rage being charged when the highest figure on the die is reached.

Rage Powered items

Some magic items may contain additional powers that can only be unlocked with fully charged rage. These rage effects would be in keeping with the properties of the item and generally more powerful than the typical player rage effects.

Rage check

One way to put some more uncertainty into these, and to tone down their use, would be to attach a Rage Check to the use of rage, such as needing roll under the Rage number with a D20, with failure dissipating the earned Rage.

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I'm interesting in seeing what you all think of this idea, including pointing out systems where such a thing exists - I have a fairly small breadth of systems I am familiar with.

I'd like to see:

Additional Rage Effects

Magic items detailed with what Rage Effects they may unlock.

Perhaps you could expand this to include a more modern dynamic




Mini van doing 50 mphs pulls into left lane on I-65


The woman driving failed to signal and is on the phone x2

Parking ticket


You were just there for 5 minutes x2

Ex-spouse comments on your weight gain


They look fantastic x2 and so does their new partner x4

The lid on your coffee cup pops off and scalding hot coffee stains your shirt and pants


The barista warns you that it is hot after you have spilled the drink x4

In a mirthful sing-song voice your opponent in some complex game informs you that you have just lost the game by making a blinding stupid move


They are right x3

Your co-worker uncuts you in a meeting by saying 'I don't think you have everything right there (your first name).


You did have everything right x3

A player in your RPG writes you a 4000 word email complaining about the way you give out experience points


His arguments consist of asking himself questions and then answering them without discussion x2.

You stay up late in a chat room discussing how vaccination is causing humanity to de-evolve.


The people in chat claim to have a 'working knowledge of science' and they use the phrase 'if you think about logically' x5

A player in your on-line RPG is threatening to quit unless the other players are nicer to him


Some other mook who wasn't even involved mocks your anger in an unfunny way x2

Your cell phone data plan has additional $400 charge for texting numbers with the numeral 7 in them


The 23 year old sales man who sold you the plan talked you out of your old plan into this new with the promise of saving money x5

The nurse at the hospital to which an ambulance took you injured son has never heard of him


She asks you if 'Are you sure that is how you spell his name?' x100