Das Schwarze Auge – First Edition

Excited by my current Guildless campaign, I have been doing some research into early editions of The Dark Eye/Das Schwarze Auge, which were never released in English. The materials are hard to find, but with some dedicated Googling I was able to find a bare-bones retroclone of the first edition rules in English.

The concepts are interesting, but (like 0e Dungeons and Dragons) a lot of the info needed to actually run a game is missing (such as creating monsters, distributing treasure, etc.)–not sure if this is just missing from the fan translation of the rules or if they weren’t present in the original game.

I do love the attack/parry mechanic, class system, and the use of just a d20/d6, though, and have been rolling over a few house rules for if I want to give the system a try.

Monster Level

Monsters start with CO 5, AT 5+0, PA 5, LP 10, and PRO 0. Each point of CO, AT, or PA adds 1 to the “monster level”. Each point of PRO or DMG (damage bonus is indicated via the plus after AT) adds 2 to the monster level, and each life point adds .5 to the monster’s level. Approximately 10 points should be equivalent to a 1 HD monster in D&D.

Spells and other special abilities will act as a multiplier on the monster’s level rather than a simple add/subtract.

Monster and NPC damage will not be linked at all to the damage bonuses PCs gain from weapons–it is instead totally tied to monster level. A monster like a bandit, with a +0 dmg from a sword, could be looted and provide a sword to the victorious PC, which would then give the PC standard sword bonuses (assuming it’s the right size/style).

Examples:

Bandit: CO 6, AT 10+0 (sword), PA 8, LP 10, PRO 1, ML 10.

Bandit Archer: CO 8, RT 10+1 (bow), AT 10+0 (dagger), PA 5, LP 10, PRO 0, ML 10.

Berserker: CO 8, AT 11+2 (axe), PA 5, LP 14, PRO 0, ML 15.

Ogre: CO 9, AT 14+5 (ogre club), PA 7, LP 24, PRO 3, Special: the ogre club is unbreakable, ML 40.

Treasure

I could not find any rules for distributing treasure in the booklet I found, so I’m going to go with a Swords and Wizardry style distribution and assume there should be approximately 2-3 times as much silver per enemy as they possess Monster Levels. This is easy to do with a d6: they possess MLx(d6-1) sp.

The Undercity – Session 10

The Setup

In my last Undercity game, the party slept through the gates of the City of Spires and began their winding journey toward the ruins known as the Bridge of Light in the employ of a small cult that calls themselves the Circle of the Star.

Undercity - World Map - 3 (day 1-3 of travel)
The road thus far.

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Barodan the Ranger – Session 1

I’ve been on a bit of a Lord of the Rings kick lately, and it has inspired me to start a solo game using the Labyrinth Lord + AEC rules and play a ranger patrolling the cold north.

Character Creation

Unfortunately, rolling a ranger is hard in the AEC rules. If you go by the straight 3d6 all the way down, the odds of getting CON 15, INT 12, WIS 12 are very slim. I created an excel sheet to roll 30 characters at a time and it took 3 rounds (90 PCs) before I found one.

When I found him, though, I had two good options (S-D-C-I-W-C order, as always for me):

17-12-16-15-15-11
9-15-15-12-13-12

Although I like the idea of a woodland archer, I’m going to go with the S17 guy, primarily because of his I15 giving him a bonus language, which will be Sindarin (Grey-Elven), since Rangers commonly speak the elven tongue amongst themselves. He has the additional advantage of being almost born into the career: he hits the minimum requirements for the 5% exp bonus for the three prime attributes (S-I-W).

Next, I needed to create my character’s personality. In order to try something new, I decided to just roll up somebody interesting using the Universal NPC Emulator. I got:

Goals:

  1. agonize communications (disrupt Shadow activities)
  2. achieve literature (seek out the truth of legends and myths)
  3. relate compassion (protect the weak)

Barodan the Ranger is warlike first and foremost, doing what he can to take the fight to the enemy. His second driving motivation is curiosity–the old tales draw him beyond the comforts of civilization. Finally, he is truly a compassionate man, and he will risk his own life for those who need his help.

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The Undercity – Session 9

The Setup

In my last Undercity game, the party was hired by the enigmatic prophetess of a small cult to escort their caravan out of the city and to a distant shrine. Their errand was hurried when a contingent of the City Guard attacked the cult’s church and burned its ancient records. Horatio, Thudok, Gadroom, and Xevius have now been swept up into the women’s haste and are now trying to leave the City of Spires without attracting any more attention.

Castle Gate

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The Undercity – Session 8

After bringing up a haul of treasure worth more than 1,500 gold pieces in their last delve, the party decides that it may be time to consider seeking employment in a place more conducive to their well-being, at least while the money holds out.

In game terms, this means that it is time to create an overworld for Mythic and d30 Sandbox-driven adventures as the party seeks out non-megadungeon encounters for a while (although I’m hoping to still explore dungeons, possibly using the DMG Appendix A, the 1001 Pagodas of Doom, or Schweig’s Themed Dungeon Generator).

Undercity - World Map - 1
The City and its fortresses hold an important strategic position along the fertile corridor between the western ocean and great inland sea (really a massive freshwater lake).

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Guildless – Session 1

Exciting times here at AdventureMaterials! I’m starting a new campaign using a whole new rules system, Fifth Edition The Dark Eye. I recently posted session 0 outlining character creation for my young mage, Wilhelm Alflock, and have created a Companion Page to support the new campaign with Mythic thread/NPC lists, a character sheet, etc.

Scene 1

Setup: Remote Event – Decrease/The Public (people are disappearing in a village)
Chaos: 3 (no roll–first scene)

Has the government come for help? +0: no, it’s a mother

The woman in Magister Burkhardt’s study is frantic, but Wilhelm can’t blame her. She carries an errand of dark portent, and the villagers of Eldham have few options if the magister is unwilling or unable to aid them.

Is the Magister the kind who would help? +0: no, he has become a shut-in

“Please,” the magister says, patting the woman’s shoulder, “I know your errand is urgent, Hermine, but Adeptus Alflock was not here when you began, and he has traveled more than me of late, and so may have some insight into your situation. Wilhelm, this is Hermine Krueger of Eldham.”

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The Dark Eye: Guildless – Session 0

Inspired by Alea Iactanda Est’s outstanding (but too short) solo adventure using the fifth edition Das Schwarze Auge rules, I picked up the English translation of The Dark Eye and decided to use it for my next solo game. To get started, I grabbed hardcover copies of The Dark Eye – Core Rules and the Aventuria Almanac, the base game and setting book for the game’s canonical rules.

A quick apology–this post is 3,200 words long (there are jump links below). Character creation in TDE is involved. After this PC, though, I’ll be mostly winging NPC skills and abilities using Mythic or estimated ranges.

Dark Eye rules

What is The Dark Eye?

First impressions: this is a lot of information, and most of it strange.

The setting book describes the Middenrealm, apparently the game’s most popular setting, as essentially the late medieval version of Germany that can be found in folk tales. The idea is intriguing–this isn’t the Tolkienesque or D&D pastiche of high fantasy, but rather a magical folk-tale realm of occasional monsters and demons and powerful churches. It reminds me a lot of Darklands, which I’m thinking may well have been inspired by the game.

Rules-wise, this is definitely the “crunchiest” RPG I’ve attempted to solo so far. The core mechanic is intuitive, if hard to explain–it basically boils down to a series of roll-under-attribute tests on a d20–but the amount of minutia involved in character creation can be quite high. It’s taken me the better part of a few hours to create the character below (I probably should have decided on a non-magic-user for my first PC).

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Wizard-Thief: Session 4

After having a week-ish long break due to family in town, I have been looking forward to getting back to my solo campaigns. Since I have been short on space and time, I’m running another segment of my Pits and Perils Alandra adventure instead of my Ruins of the Undercity Labyrinth Lord campaign.

In session 3, the party scaled the walls of the bottled-up tower and learned that both Georgia and Nell had been corrupted and would not be coming back peaceably.

Ritual Magic

Bookkeeping

Alandra, Magician 1 (25/250 xp); HP 3/5; SP 1/2; Dexterity/Performer; Atk +0 (Daggers, +1 dmg); MV 50′; Purse: 2 gp 5 sp 2 cp; Inventory (9): bedroll, rations (7), dagger (2), flint, torch (3), waterskin, 10′ pole, 20′ rope; Spells: Hide, Link, Song

Ben, Archer; HP 4/7+1 (leather); Hunter; Atk +0 (Bow or Dagger); MV 40′Inventory (7): bedroll, rations (1), bow (19), dagger, flint, torch (1), waterskin

Lanaior, Footman; HP 5/8+2 (chain); Carpenter; Atk +0 (Axe, +1 damage); MV 30′Inventory (6): bedroll, rations (1), axe, flint, torch (2), waterskin

Tia, Archer; HP 3/7+1 (leather); Bowyer; Atk +0 (Bow or Dagger); MV 40′Inventory (7): bedroll, rations (1), bow (20), dagger, flint, torch (1), waterskin (currently fled and hiding in forest)

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