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.

3 thoughts on “Das Schwarze Auge – First Edition

  1. DSA has always seemed to be less about treasure than other fantasy games. I have seen one or two fan-made treasure generators, but nothing official — though there could be one buried in a supplement somewhere for one of the older editions.

    I’ve not seen those Monster Level calculations before. I mostly know 1st ed from the French translation, but I made a quick perusal of the DSA 1st edition basic set (which is now a PWYW download) and didn’t see anything like it, so it may be an invention of the retro-cloner. They seem to have altered the monster stats too. The original Ogre is: CO 22, AT 6, PA 5, LP 40, PRO 3, Damage 2d6+4, ML 18.

    1. Interesting! Do the official rules provide any guidelines for balancing monsters either for their danger to ML or ML to the party’s approximate strength? I’ve just got no idea what constitutes a 5 ML monster vs a 15 ML one. In DSA 5, when EXP isn’t directly tied to monsters at all, I would feel a lot more comfortable winging it.

      Good to know that I wasn’t just missing treasure rules though. I guess since it isn’t tied to EXP they really leave it up to the DM more?

  2. There’s nothing explicit about Monster Levels and balance. The basic set has a solo adventure to give you an idea of what playing is like, and following on from it is a group adventure for beginning GMs with lots of advice, both for the adventure proper and on GMing in general. I think the idea was that these were to be used as models for designing your own. Same with the monsters: Goblin was ML5, The ogre 18, and the Tatzelwurm 50.

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