Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dark Souls the Video Game the Table Top Role Playing Game (for original D&D)

Dark Souls for OD&D D&D. Rules as OD&D except as otherwise noted. More to follow.

You are trapped on a continent cursed and the curse is pervasive and it is ontological and it is changing you. You can feel your soul twist, atrophy, feel the apoptosis of emotions and memories as a clutching pain in your chest, as the soul becomes something new, smaller, more suited to a mean purpose.

The continent is a prison, but you can't remember what you've done, can't remember anything at all.

The curse feels like nothing, it is without substance or consistency. The natural landscape seems normal, squirrels chitter in the limbs, the bark feels strong and healthy, the colors of the leaves, if anything, painfully bright, the sky, normal. Mankind is receding from this place, leaving its works behind in increasingly poor condition. Hollow shuffle about but where are the guards? Where is the warden? Where did the rest of the people on this continent go?

Becoming Hollow
In the distance are empty castles and towns. The world is reverting, forgetting humanity and you are changing to accommodate. The old you is the freak, the anomaly, reprobate. Everything about what you once were is repulsive, other human beings or near-humans are repulsive. Moments of happiness and comfort fail as you look at the flesh on a fellow's cheek or the growths on your hand and remember a child laughing in its mothers arms and feel nothing but disgust.

*You are becoming Hollow. You no longer accumulate XP or gain levels as normal, instead all you need to gain a level is the difference between the XP cost of earning your current level and the XP cost of your new level. When you gain a new level, the necessary amount of XP is subtracted from your current total.

If you were to leave the continent, you'd be a mechanical paradox: a character of whatever class and level, but a much-depleted amount of XP, as if an essential part of you were elsewhere.

*When you reach 0 HP, Save v Death. A dead character may rise again and become Hollow (100% chance - 10%/character level). Save succesfully and lose 1 Humanity.

*Ability Scores are STRENGTH (STR), INTELLIGENCE (INT), WISDOM (WIS), HUMANITY (HUM), DEXTERITY (DEX) and CHARISMA (CHA), but they grant no bonus.

*Humanity replaces CON. Hollow have less than 3 HUM.

*Those becoming Hollow look emaciated, feverish, gums receding, fingers longer/grasping but also grossly fat, the joints swell, the gums and flesh under the nails bleed, saliva and other fluids turn pink or bilious mustard or black, menstruation ceases and all are barren. To a human being, the half-Hollow appear plague-stricken, dying. To an elf they feel distinctly but ineluctable elven.

You wake in a ruined dungeon. The cells have no locks and some have no doors. The walls have tumbled down between your cells. The inhabitants are slowly becoming Hollow, they beat their heads against the door, wrestle, sharpen things against the stone walls, stare into space, find the corpse of a fellow and mutilate them.

You have retained enough humanity to function.

Roll a 3d6 for STR, INT, WIS, HUM, DEX and CHA.

You have d4 HP.

You have some stuff (d10 on the loot table) and that's it for character creation unless you need a name.

You wake up and this is what you find on your person
other information
glows softly when held aloft, but doesn't really illuminate
ransacked towns and cities, thieves sitting on piles of gold, drinking poison
the Hermetic Society in their black-and-red cowls, a body writhing
they burned them all as witches, their spider limbs twitching, their sightless eyes rolling, running, but by then it was too late
scales, alchemy paraphernalia
something is stuck to the bottom, a part of a formula scribbled over here... if only you could fine more, you're sure you could sort it out
old blue book
list of old dive bars, whore houses, etc. -1 HP permanently (max of 1 HP)
ornate jewelry
strange, appears to involve piercing the body in numbers of places
beautiful jewels
cut in intricate and novel ways, they reflect faces you've never seen
lots of money
trade bars
simple, lots of pearl and bone and precious stones
roughly cut or raw
coins stamped with the face of a king with a long, spindly crown
Clothing: tunic
someone has cut away all the identifying markers, you're missing a tattoo you knew you had, roll again d10+10
Clothing: stockings
the knees are soiled or the soles, and the stockings are torn. The curse spread across the continent like a flame, roll again d10+10
Clothing: jerkin
there is an inner pocket, full of greasy soot and a finger bone, roll again d10+10
Clothing: doublet
the continent wasn't always cursed, there was once a school here, and a castle ruled by a just king, roll again d10+10
Clothing: breeches
the children play in the yard and the wash sits in the tub while a beetle teeters on the tub edge, hard, black, symbolic, roll again d10+10
Clothing: Cloth-of-skins
they were kicked and they begged and they sold whatever they had until they were caught that night, the dull glint of the armor of the men-at-arms, the mechanical rising and falling of the axes, roll again d10+10
Clothing: Cloth-of-woods
they hunted it for weeks only for it to devour most of them. The survivors were blamed, roll again d10+10
Clothing: vestments
a holy man, eyes streaming, mouth full of black, raises high a burning infant and the air is alive with an almost erotic charge, roll again d10+10
wood sign with cord, bearing inscrutable symbols
worn by many of the Hollow in the prison. The symbols feel familiar to you, if only you could spend more time studying them, roll again d10+10
pair of gloves
you remember being a skilled scavenger, +1 to finding something useful (until you find something useful), roll again d10+10
pince nez
belongs to someone known for their resourcefulness. You see: a strange smile, brass.
bent pitons
hooked climbing aids. They strung up the vicar and as he died, he pointed to a certain door in town.
sees far into the distance. Bears the stamp of the Hermetic Society, now branded outlaw-villains. The side is marked with rust that looks like blood and it cannot be scrubbed away.
may drive away a certain creature or may be poisonous
a mirror. Few Hollow care to look at themselves.
wooden stakes and hammer
good for setting up a tent, or something else
the leather has a nostalgic smell, either pick another piece of clothing or roll again d10+10
full of junk, re-roll d10-10
parents try to comfort a child, but something scratches at the window and it is becoming unbearably hot
20' rope or 10' chain
they hanged themselves by the hundreds, rather than live with the curse


Ability Checks are made by rolling a d20 under the applicable ability score.

Aligned. Things are Lawful, Chaotic or Unaligned.

Alone. The continent is disconnected from other planes.

Alternative Combat System. Uses this.

Classes are earned as you play. As you pick up items, you may recall something about yourself (Alignment, Class, literacy, other languages).* Sometimes the memories are false, though or they belong to someone else.

Clerics of absent deities. Still cast spells as normal.

Encumbrance. You'll need to find backpacks, sacks to carry stuff. Once you have them you can carry up to 10 things (heavier stuff may count as 2 things, lighter stuff may be negligible, generally, “stacks” of multi-use items [ammunition, ex.] are 10/1 space carried).

Gods. You've touched a holy implement, or some relic, or entered a church or touched an altar or otherwise encountered the transcendent. The gods on the continent that persist are actually living somewhere on the continent.

This god is:

1. One That Walks. God of Justice and the Undead.

2. Missing.

3. Departed.

4. Dead.

5. Dead.

6. Odin, Hammer-God, Lightning-Song, All-Father.

7. The Winged Queen, God of Magic and Death.

8. Departed.

9. Dead.

10. Missing.

11. Missing.

12. Fictitious.

Languages. Everyone speaks low Gothic. Lawful characters speak High Gothic. Chaotic Characters speak Old Gothic. Unaligned characters can speak a tiny bit of High and Old Gothic.

Magical Items are extremely rare and always belong or belonged to someone else, usually a hero that brought them to this place and then died or became Hollow.

Memory is a disease transcending death. If a character dies and that character knew some essential fact, the next character controlled by that player finds they know whatever essential thing that lost character knew. It's not clear why, memory is like a disease.

No Coin. Money is useless. Discover what the few traders on the continent will buy.

No Races. Until you figure out who you were/are and until you meet others who know themselves.

No Rest. Nowhere is safe to rest but for certain fires. Find the shrine maidens and their fires. Look for a warm glow in the otherwise black night.

No Treasure. Ignore treasure hordes or the like. When the party spends a turn looking through a room for loot, each rolls a d10 and tells the GM and the GM tells them what they find. When looting a specific corpse, roll a d10 and the GM will add the corpse's HD and tell you what you find.

Scrolls. Do not exist, per se. Scroll-like devices, however, may be found.

Size is important. Bears or thereabouts are larger than the characters. Things roughly twice the height of a character (giants, ogres) are considered huge. Things around three times the height of characters (dragons, some giants, elementals) are considered enormous. If something is huge compared to something else, it deals damage using a d8. If something is enormous, it deals damage as a d10 on a successful Saving Throw. On a failed Saving Throw, the character is knocked unconscious or killed outright. Enormous creatures are, however, easier to hit when preoccupied with something.

Spells. Largely work as in Men & Magic. They are “remembered” when you need them – no need to prep any specific spell, you can cast whatever spell you can cast, however, you can cast each spell only 1/session. Do not expect to see most of the standard spells, however.

*EX. The party finds a blackened pauldron and a cruel knife. The character that dons the pauldron may advance as an Unaligned Fighting-Man, knowing no other languages and the character that wields the knife may advance as a Chaotic Cleric of a Dead God, being literate in Low and Old Gothic.


attributions: Dark Souls artworks 

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