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.

Gem Valuing

Over at Gothridge Manor there’s an excellent post on valuing gems. In a comment, I replied with my own (admittedly simplistic) version of gem valuing for S&W. If you’re interested:

Emerald Ring
Um...I'll give you like, 35 copper for it.

Valuing

Whenever a player tries to value an art or treasure piece, I secretly roll a d10. For every number BELOW 5, they undervalue it by 10%. For every number ABOVE 6, they overvalue the object by 10% (this can make for some regretful discards when they players are trying to decide what to load onto their mule). A 5 or 6 means they get the real value.

Tim adds the character’s INT bonuses and many social factors (style, etc.) into the equation, but I simply am not a fast enough thinker on my DM-feet to do this (plus, we play S&W, so there’s no INT bonuses). If a player has 15+ INT, I will adjust the d10 roll one closer to the 5-6 sweet spot (I do not tell my players this rule).

Selling

When the players go to sell in town, they will receive the price they ask if they are undervaluing the object (I don’t allow haggling in my game unless the players are buying or selling something story-related or epic in value, such as a warship or keep). If they overvalue the object, the shopkeeper refuses and will only give them the correct value of the object.

If players suspect that the object is undervalued, they can pay an appraiser 10-15 gp to analyze an object in any town with at least 1,000 people in it.