D&D 5E DARK SOULS' New 5E Mechanics

Steamforged Games released their first look at the 5E mechanics which will be powering their upcoming Dark Souls tabletop RPG, based on the video game. The game will be available for preorder next week with a release date in March.


Steamforge say they "cut 5E to ribbons before reanimating it", which implies some fairly extensive changes to the system. Here's what they highlighted:
  • Position. Position combines 'health' and 'stamina' (two things in the video game). It measure health, but it's also a resource you can spend to boost die rolls or use special abilities. Presumably, this means that hit points have gone by the wayside.
  • Bloodied. A mechanic from D&D 4E, a creature is bloodied when it hits half Position. This can trigger bonuses and new abilities.
  • Magic. Vancian magic is gone entirely. Instead is a flexible system drawn from the video game. You have attunement slots, and spells take up a number of slots. Some require Position to cast or boost.
  • Death. At 0 Position you die. No saves. However you then respawn. But each time you die you lose part of yourself; it's not specified what that means exactly.

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Having now read the updated book...

Dark Souls: the RPG is a very, very, very interesting game. Every piece of equipment is unique and, if it s an armor/shield/weapon/ring, it has an effect that essentially gives you new ways to spend position or other such effects.

The bestiary is...actually pretty well designed! There's a lot of different monsters, many of which are interesting, and many of which use bloodied and position to shake a combat up half-way through.

Its def meant to be played in a campaign maybe no more then 15-20 sessions in length, and you'll prob get more then a level per session early on. I'm not sure what to do with bosses. They have various "non-major" bosses, but the major bosses are like...you need to be T3 or T4 for all of those. I wonder what the actual intended play is like.

The most interesting thing, other than position/equipment, is the ATMOSPHERE of the game. They really sold me, through concept art alone, on this idea of a world that itself is a dungeon. Outside or inside, Lothric is one super-dungeon split up into smaller dungeons and other than finding a bonfire or using Firelink Shrine, you will never not be in a dungeon. Its a good way to spin it, and again, the art and how they describe using NPCs makes me want to explore this world as a DM in a more casual kind of fantasy game.

Again, I cannot understate how interesting position is. It speeds up combat because strong enemies use lots of position spends, and opens a lot of interesting options in combat that allows for even base blocks to be of interest and comparbale use to neophyte and expert DMs alike.

The book is riddled with typos though. They really needed to just hire a professional editor.

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