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The Dark Eye RPG - opinions?

tartex

Minion of Kitchensink
Validated User
That's a nice little distinction.
But I guess you could still come up with a system that achieves the same result with less effort. (Not that it matters. Ulisses Spiele did some polls while designing TDE5 and the overwhelming majority of players considered the 3d20 checks essential and irreplaceable part of TDE.)
 

Rangdo

I used to be Ovid.
Validated User
Apologies for the threadjack, but I've a question for the DSA-Kenner in the thread. I've got a copy of the beta rules for DSA5. Did much change in the meantime? Is there any list of the changes available?
 

Matt.Ceb

40 Years of Unknown Pleasures
Validated User
Apologies for the threadjack, but I've a question for the DSA-Kenner in the thread. I've got a copy of the beta rules for DSA5. Did much change in the meantime? Is there any list of the changes available?
This is from the end of the beta phase: https://www.arkanil.de/2014/10/kurz-vor-ende-der-beta-phase-dsa5-ueberrascht-mit-deutlichen-regelaenderung/



For a full list of change you'll have to get the full core rules, as the never released a concise "change document" IIRC (mostly because they wanted beta-players to actually shell out for the core book. ;) )

But the PDF is only 10 bucks, so looking into it isn't that expensive: https://www.ulisses-ebooks.de/product/151474/DSA5-Regelwerk-PDF-als-Download-kaufen?src=hottest
 

wheloc

He's trying real hard to be one of the good guys.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
One thing that someone pointed out during the Dark Eye kickstarter, but served to sell me on all European historical or fantasy RPGs, is that:

The average European has a much better idea of European history than the average American does. Europeans know what actual castles look like, and they don't get as confused about the differences between the middle-ages and the renaissance. Even through plenty of American game designers do know that stuff, the American audiences don't really care about their fiction being authentic on that level. For a European audience, they'll notice if the details are off.

So a French game like Shadows of Esteren, which is set in a wholly fantastic society, still feels more European than many American games that are actually set in Europe.
 

Sosthenes

Oiled Greek Wrestler
Validated User
The average European has a much better idea of European history than the average American does. Europeans know what actual castles look like, and they don't get as confused about the differences between the middle-ages and the renaissance.
The average American still knows more about this stuff than TDE's longstanding cover painter, though ;)

And TDE is still a quite outrageous mixture between all kinds of eras, from pre-medieval vikings to early modern quasi-musketeers, so that historical sensitivity really doesn't apply here all that much. Actually, I'd be hard-pressed to name any German game that does.
 

Gargoylewing

flying over a post-factual world
Validated User
Yeah.
Well...
between TDE 4th and 5th edition the skill rolling rule changed somewhat.
4th edition, negative modifiers reduced your skill points, so you need to be very skilled to have good results after a less-than -average roll. 5th edition said skilled people should have better outcomes in general, so the modifier is now applied to the attributes you roll. Makes sense, though 5th now demands for better overall attributes while 4th at least could work around one lower attribute if your skill is high enough and you roll lucky (a good roll on the low attribute) .
A problem with 5th is ,as said, they changed quite a bit between the open beta and the released version. Parry (TDE always had active defense) is way lower, said to speed up combat (similarily, Hit Points were reduced drasticly between 3rd and 4th edition). The system was said to be made easier, I cannot say I agree it has, even tho it is claimed so.
Templates make character creation a lot faster, however. That is right, and worked as we were promised.
The game world tries to bring Europe and the Maghreb and small bits of India together in an area roughly Europe-sized, with Celto-Vikings, dwarves, elves and Hun-Orks thrown in as well. Can be seen as strange, with all the so called "exotic characters" basically just living within some weeks of travel between each other. But TDE is far from the only culprit of that, and sometimes, it is part of the charm. ;)

About Midgard I only know the last edition. The fan base is surprisingly big and loyal, some even play this system and only this.
I cannot tell why, some problems were already mentionned, the other is the still (I assume it still is in the new system, too, tho) kept use of random character creation. Bigly. You roll everything about your character. Except for when you don't. A mix of wayyyy to much random rolling peppered with times when you have to make character choices (and hopefully good ones) with the stuff you just rolled. If the new edition changed that, I'd be more than positively surprised.
The world is far bigger, consisting of two double-continents around a central sea, nearly touching at the northern points. The mostly used land (to my experience) is on the western continent, an Anglo-Saxon/Celtic-ish Kingdom. So, the technoogical level, as you can see, is not that high than TDE (TDE is only stopped from flintlock invention by magical Deus Ex interferences, while Midgard has refined its smithing to fencing weapons…) nd in fact featured Conaneseque Frost Barbarians, Vikings, a Russio-Slavic nation and some land in-between in its North - it still is a Fantasy Kitchen sink, too. But I do not mind that. At least it has a decent Asia equivalent (of the usual Fatasy-Sino-Japanese mix and match) in the East, South-European small states in the West, north of a once-Egyptian-now Monotheistic mostly-desert Kalifate.
South of that, even some Hittu-Hettite-Babylonian city states (not often used in fantasy kitchen sinks). The East also has its own politically/religiously non-unified desert, and its own India. Also, different Jougle areas for your different lost cities. I have nothing bad to say about most of the Game world.

Splittermond is a tad bit different, in that it is only a few years old, and thus made by game designers who know the older RPGs, and have their opinions about them. They wanted to make something actually new.
It too is a kitchen sink. It has its unique main mechanic (add stat one and stat two (usually between 1-5) plus your skill (beginners maximum 6, raises later) plus 2d10, reach threshold (between 15 and 30, sometimes way, way higher).
It has a truckload of feats to buy though, so it can be hard to keep track of all the modifiers (due to that, it has a usually at least 3-sideed character sheet). To be fair, D&D has a lot of features too. Splittermond just allows you to buy them nearly how you like (track-keeping on your own risk).
As said, it allows every character to learn magic. You are however in no way required to. In-world, noone looks funny at you if you cannot light fires magically, as it just means you concentrated on learning other stuff. As magic schools are raised and learned like skills, and spells like feats, you have to decide where you put your time (and points).
Imagine it like computer usage. So it was described to me. Some people never learn it, never use it, can can happily get by in their daily lives without it. Some are experts, study many parts of it or specialize in one, always learning more. Most people try to learn just those parts they need, or are useful to them.
So sailors learn wind magic or water magic, fighters how to strenghten themselves or even minor battle magic, thieves use shadow magic, etc. But, as their are no classes, only templates, you can mix as well. Water magic has use for thieves in harbor towns too, and soldiers could use protective magic against magic mind influence. To counter the many things you need to keep in mind bout feats and spells and eyuipment bonuses, at least magic works the same for everyone. The flavor just differs between folk magic, or the way elementalist or magic healers cast their spells, and the culture influences it too. That is up to the player to decide how it looks.
The system uses not a real level system, it has grades of experience, namely four. To learn the higher secrets of skills and magic, and increase attributes, you have to first spend XP to reach the new character grade. Thus characters are going to first expand in breadth, before they can race up to all the new shiny abilities.
Even if you are a priest (or divinley inspired warrior, or shaman…), you still use the same spells and related feats. The difference is in how the magic reacts to the structure of the world. Also, your god looks quite closely on how you, his agent on the mortal plane, spend your magic powers.
The World of Splittermond is set on the Supercontinent Lorakis. Though it is only a joint continent because it is joint in the North by a hhhuuuuuuge area of Tundra, Taiga and permafrost, where noone goes, and nothing comes from than creatures of evil and darkness, and lost barbarian tribes. South of that, it is the usual fantasy kitchen sink around a central sea. The name o the game - Splittermond means splintermoon. Itis named after ist distinguishing feature. The world has three moons. A silvery one, working just like ours does, a dark one, smaller and related to omnious things, and the blue one (it gives the game books their sky-blue cover). A thousand years ago, the blue one shattered, and has now a visible gap in it. Also, the bigger parts of it still float in its vincinity, the smaller the parts are, usually the further from the moon they have flown since, filling the sky with a blue band each night, and may one day form a full ring around it.
This cataclysm changed the world. Because the playable races, the slim, elegent elves, the adaptable humans, the sturdy dwarves, the small, horned, childlike looking gnomes, and the tall, often hulking, pack-minded wolf-, jackal-, or foxlike Wargen, were but servant races to the older races. The most dominant were on the Western Subcontinent (where now European-styled cultures are found), the Drachling race (that looked like Dragonborn, only 8 ft tall, with actual tails and wings) was cruel and studied all kinds of magic (even those you shouldn't) , the Naga were their allies (or maybe just their vassals). They were opposed by the Grey Giants (who may or may not be related to the tall , tusked natives of the Eastern Isles) and the Lhammashu, the latter were benign rulers who never enslaved their servants. When the moon shattered, the Capital City of the Drachling Race crumbled, turning into dark ruin complexes in a magically barren landscape. The others soon vanished (or maybe only went into hiding?), leaving their cities to decay and their former servants to eyplore what was left. The other elder races soon vanished too (the Naga have turned to an isolated, simple life in the jungles, the last known Lhammashu is now leading a province in the Indian/Arabian inspired land).
As said, the world is fantasy, quite big, but held together by portals that open to paths through the fairy worlds, that allow travels of months to happen in few weeks, if you have a guide through its strange landscape. The West has a rising empire, HRE-like without most of the inner power struggles with some vestigal states, different Europe-like ones, a barren land roamed by orcs, said remains of the Drachling heartlands, and even a Norse/Germanic inspired land tghat instead has mediterranean climate, and thus withholds from most of the seafaring and pillaging - we have Viking dwarves that do that instead.
In the central sea we have the usual island paradises and pirate islands in the south, a sprawling metropolis with temples, spires and slums in the middle (think fantasy Atlantis without the sinking), that hosts an Oracle that serves as a pilgrimage destination for the whole world. And also Islands that are inhabited by Seafaring elves with a liking for oceanic decors. In the East, we have the mentionned Arabesque expanding monarchy, with some Indian elements, and some South East Asia-inspired neighbors. South of that, a huge sand desert roamed by Warg nomads, and many jungles divided by island-filled gulfs. In the Westernmost of those, actually touching the central Sea (which is actually consisting of 3 smaller part-seas) , live Jungle Elves, whose rangers look like classic wood elves with dark tanned skin, and whose city dwellers look like tanned high elves in Indian garb.
East of that was its Asia-equivalent (again, not making huge differences between Japan and China). Due to the not cleared succession (the former Emperor died, his General wanted to marry the princess who preferred to flee to the monks in their mountain temples) a power vacuum formed. Then, amongst the elves of the Easternmost Islands, one appeared and claimed she was the Avatar of the Divine Crane Bird, showed world-altering powers, raised the elves of the part-continent around herself, and conquered half of the land, south of the main river. Now you have actual Samurai elves, trying to gain a foothold into the still rebellious, and now splintered, South Eastern provinces.
The world is colorfull, detailed in fantastic artwork (a great plus of Splittermond) , and even features a land in which Undead magically regain their minds and that keeps up the magic that raised them, forming a city-state of tremendous craftsman skills (as the masters do not die, they just only ever improve their skill as long as they have will to live), that has an active import-export economy (the craftsmen cannot leave due to the magic that holds their body and mind working, so they import rare material, and export finest crafted goods) and can be actually visited by characters.

hope that helps.
 

Zehnseiter

Registered User
Validated User
The average American still knows more about this stuff than TDE's longstanding cover painter, though ;)
I tend to cut them some slack here given how gorgeous the covers and the general art in TDE 5E generally look.

And TDE is still a quite outrageous mixture between all kinds of eras, from pre-medieval vikings to early modern quasi-musketeers, so that historical sensitivity really doesn't apply here all that much. Actually, I'd be hard-pressed to name any German game that does.
True enough it is your standard kitchen sink setting. No German player would find anything special or exotic here. But someone who grew up with lets say Forgotten Realms or Golarion might disagree here. The baseline to what you compare is different.

TDE was my first RPG. Even if I don't play there too often Aventuria is in a lot of ways the baseline I use to compare other settings with.
So while I know that it isn't true at all I still think subconsciously of D&D as the cool high powered gonzo game that you played for beer and pretzel fun in my youth while the TDE was used for the more regular standard role-playing.

I can easily imagine that someone who grew up with D&D as baseline will find fresh and interesting stuff in TDE and Aventuria I would totally overlook or find boring.

TDE is actually in a interesting position here given that D&D basically dominates everywhere as the baseline game.
Germany is about the only exception I know of. So seeing how a international audience reacts to the game and setting is something interesting for me.
 
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Sosthenes

Oiled Greek Wrestler
Validated User
I tend to cut them some slack here given how gorgeous the covers and the general art in TDE 5E generally look.
For 4E/5E, sure. 2E/3E had about the most incongruous cover selection I've ever seen in a game. But maybe Yuce was just really, really cheap.

True enough it is your standard kitchen sink setting. No German player would find anything special or exotic here. But someone who grew up with lets say Forgotten Realms or Golarion might disagree here. The baseline to what you compare is different.
isithough.jpg? I would agree with Golarion, which is about as kitchen-sinky as you can get. Greyhawk's seemed quite grounded, and even the human aspects of the FR didn't seem to be out of the usual for fantasy (ignoring the 3E dungeonpunk style). The main difference is that D&D settings tend to be rather high fantasy, and thus feature more non-human, non-faux-historic elements than Aventuria does. Looking just at the quasi-medieval/renaissance stuff, it's usually jumbled in a pretty similar manner.

Germany is about the only exception I know of. So seeing how a international audience reacts to the game and setting is something interesting for me.
This might be generational, though. Gamers starting right now are often quite into D&D 5E, because that's what they see in streaming.
(And in the 90s I knew plenty of gamers who weren't even into fantasy from the start, as Vampire and Shadowrun were huge back then)
 

Rangdo

I used to be Ovid.
Validated User
This is from the end of the beta phase: https://www.arkanil.de/2014/10/kurz-vor-ende-der-beta-phase-dsa5-ueberrascht-mit-deutlichen-regelaenderung/



For a full list of change you'll have to get the full core rules, as the never released a concise "change document" IIRC (mostly because they wanted beta-players to actually shell out for the core book. ;) )

But the PDF is only 10 bucks, so looking into it isn't that expensive: https://www.ulisses-ebooks.de/product/151474/DSA5-Regelwerk-PDF-als-Download-kaufen?src=hottest
Danke! I have the PDF, albeit in English. I was just wondering if my physical beta rules set was usable.
 

Litpho

Wandering stranger
RPGnet Member
Validated User
For 4E/5E, sure. 2E/3E had about the most incongruous cover selection I've ever seen in a game. But maybe Yuce was just really, really cheap.
I always thought the editors of the time were just really into droopy mustaches.
 
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