Oh sure, Dark Souls is a challenging game at the start, but at least your characters begin with enough stats to wear their starter outfit. That’s not necessarily the case with the official licensed Dark Souls pen & paper RPG, which seems a touch sloppy. Along with giving one class starter gear it won’t have the stats use, it has some spells and items which, going by the rules, seem unhelpful at best. The real Dark Souls starts here.
Based on Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rules, Dark Souls: The Roleplaying Game launched in the UK last month and comes to the US in May. It’s made by Steamforged Games, who have (often with the help of Kickstarters) made licensed board, card, and pen & paper adaptations of Resident Evil, Pac-Man, Devil May Cry, Monster Hunter World, and more.
Our corporate siblings Dicebreaker gathered a load of complaints from players and ah, it’s a bit silly. Read their post for a big ol’ rundown.
The Knight class, for example, cannot start with enough strength points to use the Knight armour which comes in their starting equipment. Presumably you have to strip and carry it around, dodge-rolling in your pants until you can power up. That’s Dark Souls! Likewise, while the Caster origin is recommended for the Cleric class, Casters don’t have enough strength to use the Cleric starting weapon. Dark Souls, baby! Then there are quirks like the Fall Control spell actually getting harder to cast as you level up, one healing item technically having the ability to “stabilise” creatures at the point they’re dead, and… with rules inconsistencies, typos, misplaced text, and art mix-ups on top, some fans found it disappointing.
In all honesty, I do mostly find it funny. I should be sympathetic but it sounds like just another licensed adaptation to me. A craving for familiar IP is the true hollowing, bearer of the curse.
Steamforged told Dicebreaker that they feel they have succeeded in their goal to “create compelling tabletop experiences that capture the hearts and imaginations of our fans, immersing them in vivid worlds they can get lost in time and time again”, though they do “acknowledge the concerns some have raised and take all feedback seriously.” Given the circumstances, I might have thrown in the classic cheeky Souls “keh-heh-heh” chuckle of an NPC who definitely isn’t thinking about how nice your shoes would look on their feet.