In the past, efforts have been made to convert FromSoftware’s grimly majestic Dark Souls universe into a tabletop experience, most notably in developer Steamforged Games’ Kickstarter-backed Dark Souls: The Board Game. However, one tabletop avenue that has remained conspicuously closed off from the world of Dark Souls has been the well-established pen and paper roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons….until now that is.
Image Credit: SnicklefritzSkad
Considering how well Dark Souls’ grim setting of Lordron lends itself to lore-based world-building, the fact that it took this long to combine Dark Souls with Dungeons & Dragons is actually somewhat surprising. In this case, the combination in question comes courtesy of Reddit user SnicklefritzSkad who posted this in-depth (https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/8wz6n6/art_the_setting_for_my_inuniverse_dark_souls/) custom campaign they created on the official Dungeons & Dragons subreddit.
SnicklefritzSkad’s custom campaign functions as a sort of unofficial pseudo-sequel to the original Dark Souls trilogy, being set many years after the time period of the original games and splicing together bits of established Dark Souls lore with more original elements. We’ll let SnicklefritzSkad explain the intricacies of the custom campaign setting themselves:
“Well over a million years into the future from Dark Souls 3 (not including the final boss of the second DLC which takes place around roughly the same time period), the entire world was conquered by a God Emperor known as ‘The Lictor’ who harnessed the power of soapstones to travel to other worlds and conquer them as well.
After millennia of soaking up power and covering the lands with a continent sized city, he linked the flame which he claimed would burn forever, keeping away the abyss for eternity and staving off the undead curse. The people built a monument to him at the center of their world and celebrated.
But the flame was not meant to burn so long without a cycle of darkness to cleanse it, ash began to fall from the sky, and with it came the curse of the darksign, returned to bring chosen undead to save the world as they have done so many times. Not only will they have to fight against the remains of a world forced to live long past it’s death to usher in darkness, but against another more sinister power. The Predator of the Deep Seas, the Scourge of the Outer Worlds… The Visitor.”
I never realized how badly I want to play a Dungeons and Dragons campaign set in the Dark Souls universe until after I read SnicklefritzSkad’s custom setting description. Of course, as SnicklefritzSkad also explains later on in their post, the custom campaign does more than adopt elements of Dark Souls lore. It also implements a series of custom tabletop rules that inject some Dark Souls-esque gameplay into the mix. Some of the rules are as follows:
- Gold and XP have been combined into souls. Souls can be used to purchase items from merchants or used to level up at a 1:1 conversion rate to XP.
- Resting at a bonfire will reset all enemies except for special ones like friendly NPCs and Bosses. Resting at a bonfire will count as a long rest and will reset all daily actions, powers and spell slots.
- Every single item will have an accompanying item description that will give lore on the world and information on the item for its use. Players that learn all the lore will become ‘DMs favorite’ and will not only get inspiration for making lore speculation but also vital information on enemy/boss weaknesses and hidden loot.
For more on the creative ways in which fans are repurposing the world and gameplay of Dark Souls, be sure to check out this video that presents the game’s lore as an animated storybook, or this mod that allows you to play as iconic boss characters.