Steamforged Games has lifted the curtain on how its Dark Souls tabletop RPG rules differ from the Dungeons and Dragons system it’s based on. Changes include completely different magic mechanics, new boss behaviors when they hit half health, and an HP overhaul that sees players sacrificing points to use special abilities.
Revealed as part of a blog post on Steamforged’s official website, these additions to the Dark Souls tabletop RPG have apparently “cut [fifth-edition D&D] to ribbons before reanimating it by the bonfire”. This means it should have a unique flavor despite sharing some DNA with core Dungeons and Dragons books.
One difference is that the Dark Souls TRPG scraps D&D magic in its entirety. As the blog notes, it was: “definitely not suitable for a Dark Souls game”. It’s been replaced with a new attunement slot system with limited uses and an almost-parasitic element where some leech off your character’s health.
Speaking of which, the game also does away with traditional Health and introduces ‘Position’ instead. Even though it still tracks your adventurer’s wellbeing, it can also be used up to “tweak a dice roll, or to use special abilities gained from your character class or equipment”.
That push and pull appears to be a key part of the TRPG’s makeup; as an example, there are no Death Saves. What’s more, being reduced to 0 Position will send you back to the bonfire without your collected souls and with a “significant risk you’ll lose part of yourself”. As the blog notes, the “gradual erosion of humanity” is a major theme for the Dark Souls tabletop RPG. More specifically, players will “begin your campaign with a character concept. Each time you die, you risk parts of yourself being whittled away, leaving you a husk. A mindless hollow”.
Seeing as the initial announcement caused some negativity on social media about Steamforged utilising the D&D system (a number of commenters replying to the original tweet felt this wasn’t a good fit for Dark Souls), all of the above feels like a way of reassuring fanbase concerns.
Beyond these little nuggets of info, we know very little else about Dark Souls: The Roleplaying Game. However, with pre-orders going live this February 8 (to be followed by a vague ‘Spring 2022’ release), we shouldn’t have to wait long before finding out more – and seeing whether it’s worthy of a place on our list of the best tabletop RPGs.
Looking to calm your nerves after a Dark Souls binge? Check out these board games for adults. If you’re a real glutton for punishment, though, you can dive back into the chaos with Elden Ring…