Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Dark Eye / Das Schwarze Auge

I posted this on the forum, but because it is quite long, I copy and paste it here.

The fun part is that the rulebooks from the very beginning on introduced a "sticking to the rules is bad" mindset. Rule Zero deluxe. So while you have all these rules, nearly every writer for TDE will tell you, that they don't use them, because after all it is about RolEplaying and maybe they will even go so far to proudly explain that their last 3 session there was no single die rolled.
Still I got the impression that in the creation of 4th edition every freelance writer got to write a really small part of the rules all for themselves. Then all this stuff was meshed together. So even if you as writer for TDE actually love to write MarySueNPC adventures, fluff and metaplot (as it is your job most of the time), when you get the chance to contribute writing for the new upcoming 4th edition (and therefore designing rules), even if it is only the 2 pages on rules for Wish spells, you want to come up with some very clever and unique way to shine with your design. So you come up with something really complex and well thought out. But then there is a dozen of other unique snowflake designers who have a similar mindset and all their stuff is put together and sold as a ruleset...
The last paragraph is pure speculation, but that is the feeling I get from the rules, the imprint and reading a few interviews with TDE writers.

A good example is the player who told me that TDE was a better game, because when facing enemies his group would think instead of fight, because nobody was in the mood to play through one of these endless fights.
You know, a thinking man's game instead of on for rules lawyering power gamers...

The anti power game message was that strong since first edition, that I (as a 9 year old) completely understood that you should _never_ give any of the magic items in the rulebook out in the game. I never did. We enjoyed it anyways to play out dialogues in the taverns for hours. Really. I guess Ulrich Kiesow would have been proud of us.

Still I think that the background on gods and archdemons is really cool. Maybe too postmodern for a medival mindset, but it really rocks that the banned and hunted gods of the lizards and dragons are most probably the same as the human gods in the end and that the difference between god and archdemon is are mostly in the eye of the beholder.
I also fall for the forgotten ages shtick with TDE, which is quite an achievement as nowadays-after having seen it dozens of times in other games/stories-I should get totally bored by it.

Generally the mysteries of the setting are the place where the game shines. I don't know exactly how they pull that off as there are for sure some cliches recycled.

So some parts of the background is really good and next to that all the region sourcebooks of the 4th edition have no rules in it (just some npc statblocks in the end) and are more than able to compete with Green Ronin's Freeport - if you can read German.

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