Stuffed Crocodile

Mazes, Martians, Mead

There will be gaming

This weekend hopefully, if nothing comes between, I will finally have a game up and running. My players will be only Poles, hopefully with enough knowledge of English. As so often at least one of the players remains an unknown to me, it’s the brother of one of my colleagues.

The system I will be using is Das Schwarze Auge 1.5, or something like that. I noticed a few weeks ago that some good soul had taken it onto himself to update the basic version of Das Schwarze Auge from 1984 with some decent and logical revisions. I don’t actually approve of all of them, but most are good additions to the rather basic (and cheesy) system from 1984.

Another wonderful person (James Hutchings) made a retro-clone of the system available in English, so this will be the reference for any player knowing no German at all (most of my Polish friends do though).

Das Schwarze Auge recently got a translation into English. Of course it was lacking most of the background material and adventures that make the whole system so interesting for German players, so it just came over as a clone of D&D and GURPS. But the edition that was translated was the 4th (or even 4.1th), and that particular edition is pretty much the epitome of simulationist setting-specific gaming. It’s still successful in Germany of course, because nearly every player there brushed it at least briefly, and because it IS really well supported. One might not find supplements in any toystore anymore, but at least in any comic book shop.

The system is, and I will admit that even if it means I am not a proper German roleplaying blogger, a pretty good system, if a bit rules-heavy. And I actually like it.

There, I said it.

It’s a bit like admitting to masturbate I guess. Everybody does it, and everybody likes it, but for most people it just feels wrong saying it out loud.

It’s not an easy system though (DSA, not masturbation), and not one that I would want to play with beginners. (Masturbation on the other hand… ah no, that joke is getting old)

I toyed around with the idea of a Labyrinth Lord game lately, but when I found the revision I mentioned before, and then got into some of the roleplaying stuff I brought from Germany, I got this fixed idea into my head to go and try playing 1st edition again.

I did this before, you know. When my gaming group wanted to meet but had a few guests over that could not be done away with I pulled out my old basic rules and a few Dokumente der Stärke (Documents of Power), had everyone roll up new characters, and then go hunting orcs. Details are kind of hazy here (a few beers and pizzas were involved), but it was a roaring success, and I got another few new people infected with the virus RPG.

The first edition of DSA was basic in pretty many ways. More basic than pretty much all the games published in anglophone countries at this time. Those had already gone professional after all. Also the rules were clearly influenced by Dungeons & Dragons and Tunnels & Trolls (yes, seriously), but it was a clearly different approach than D&D. It was, after all, the private house system of it’s creator and it contained such things as parry-rolls, damage-reductive armour, and a spellpoint system for magic.

I will have to present this nostalgic feeling a bit better when actually playing, the original game had spells that rhymed (seems to have been inspired from T&T), which of course cannot be translated as easy as “Knock”. The translator of the English version just renamed these spells with animal themes, but I don’t think I would like that. The translators of the Dutch and French versions actually found new rhymes. I want the cheesiness of the original because that was a big part of what always drew me there, just before we decided we now were to mature to rhyme spells. Or have to remember the spells by rhyme.

Or do the gestures. Oh yes, it had gestures you had to do as well.

Good times.

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One response to “There will be gaming

  1. Pingback: [DSA] Black Boar Inn « Stuffed Crocodile

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