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Dark Souls RPG will include changes to D&D 5E system

“We cut 5e to ribbons before reanimating it.”

The upcoming roleplaying game adapted from the Dark Souls video game series will include several changes to the standard D&D 5E gameplay system.

In a blog on the website for Steamforged Games, the studio responsible for releasing the RPG, details surrounding how the Dark Souls RPG would be implementing the D&D 5E system have been outlined. The publisher explained how its developers had “cut 5e to ribbons before reanimating it by the bonfire.” during the process of creating the Dark Souls RPG, with Steamforged revealing some of the ways it has altered the system for the dark fantasy roleplaying game.

One of the alterations revealed is the addition of a Position mechanic, which is designed to reflect the inclusion of a health and stamina bar in the Dark Souls video game series. Though there are health points in D&D 5E, there is no stamina mechanic, with the upcoming Dark Souls RPG set to include a single “value” called Position, which will measure a player character’s health as well as serve as a “resource” that they will be able to use in order to improve their dice rolls or to use a specific ability that requires it. As player characters increase in level, they’ll have more Position to use – with enemies also having access to Position. Every character’s Position is randomly generated at the start of each combat encounter, with its use causing a character to be momentarily vulnerable.

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Another change to the D&D 5E system featured in the Dark Souls RPG is the Bloodied feature. Whenever the player characters manage to do enough damage to a boss enemy, then that enemy gains new abilities that they can use against the player party. Should a player character ever lose half their Position, then they also become bloodied and will acquire certain bonuses.

Rather than using the standard Vancian magic system used in D&D 5E, the Dark Souls roleplaying game uses a different system inspired by the video game. Any character capable of using magic will have attunement slots, with every spell taking up a certain number of slots and having a select amount of casts. Player characters will have access to spells, miracles and pyromancies that will require Position to be cast or to have the effects improved.

As in the original video game series, player characters in the Dark Souls RPG will respawn at a bonfire whenever they are killed. Any souls that a character has collected up to this point will be lost if they die – which will affect how quickly they’ll be able to level up – and that player will also “lose” part of themselves. The details surrounding the mechanic of respawn in the Dark Souls RPG haven’t been entirely explained, however, as characters die they’ll risk losing elements of themselves until they are a “mindless hollow”. Whenever half a party is killed, then the entire party is forced to respawn at a bonfire.

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Steamforged Games is a studio that’s best known for its video game board games, with its previous releases including both Dark Souls: The Board Game and Dark Souls: The Card Game, alongside Resident Evil 2: The Board Game and Monster Hunter World: The Board Game.

Dark Souls is a video game series that was first published in 2011 by Bandai Namco. In the series, players take control of a character who must travel across the land of Lothric in order to defeat several boss enemies and gather their souls, which they can then use to improve their skills, abilities and attributes. Whenever a player dies in the game, they are forced to drop all the souls they’re carrying and respawn at the last checkpoint – or bonfire – they were at.

Pre-orders for the Dark Souls RPG will be open from February 8th, with a release date and retail price yet to be confirmed.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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