Monday, July 23, 2007

Darkurthe Legends

Another one from the 'It only cost a quid' collection, DL is a fantasy heartbreaker. In short form, a RPG that attempts to improve on D&D, is obviously a labour of love by its writers and has a few neat features, but which ultimately fails to introduce anything new, and usually falls far short of the promises made to the players.

From the back of DarkUrthe Legends:

As the shadows of evil stretch across the land, calls come forth from the ancient kings of Darkurthe for champions.

Only a few brave souls dare to face the other-world horrors that were thought to exist only in legend.

Those that survive are changed forever, unable to return to the ordinary lives they have left behind.

They have learned that
… from trials come heroes,
from heroes come legends.

Thrilling stuff, huh?

A look inside the cover reveals a quite readable looking game, albeit one with amateurish artwork.

So, onwards to character generation.

First, as is usually the case, I have to generate my attributes. In Darkurthe these are Strength, Agility, Willpower, Intellect, Personality and Faith.

The first five are generated on a roll of 2d6+4. There aren’t any official alternate generation schemes, so I go with roll and assign in order, resulting in the following scores:

Strength: 13
Agility: 12
Willpower: 10
Intellect: 15
Person: 13

Your faith score is rated from 0-5, and seems to be determined by race or profession. If it isn’t dictated by either race or profession, you start with a rating of zero.

Next I have to select my race.

We have a few varieties of elf, including evil ones, some types of humans, barbarian half-giant types, and half elves and dwarves.

Looking at the humans I decided to make my character a Mohr as they’re described as being well educated and get three extra Race Skills.

Since humans don’t have any Race Skills listed, I look at the other races and decide that in this case my Race Skills can be treated as three extra skill picks. As we’re going to see, those extra picks will be important in letting me make the sort of character I want.

Attributes rolled, and race picked, it’s time to roll up a few characteristics; these turn out to be what other games call Merits and Flaws.

Again, there’s no official method to decide how many you get to roll, so I decide that my character will have 1d4, and roll a 2.

The first roll gives me Pet Friend from the Fortune category, the second Fast Learner from the Personality category. Other Characteristic categories are Natural ability and Social status.

I decide that my Pet friend is a Fennec Fox, as the Mohrs come from a desert country, and I suspect any sensible GM wouldn’t let me pick a Cheetah.

Fast Learner gives me more XP during game play.

Next it’s time to calculate my secondary attributes, by checking a bunch of tables and doing some simple maths.

My secondary attributes are:

Strength damage: d8
Combat Reaction: 0
Current Source: 3
NPC reaction: Friendly
Learn: 4
Life: 23
Health: 11
Speed: 120’

There are three options for classes in DL: Race Orders which are somewhat like D&D’s prestige classes. These have the most limits on who can take them, but give you more grounding in the world as well as more abilities than a Tradesman or Free tradesman.

Tradesmen have a set of skills that you have to take, with any left over picks being free-choice. Tradesmen should belong to one of the Guilds or Cults listed later on in this chapter, or they may as well be Free Tradesmen.

Looking over both the race orders and Tradesman lists I decide that none of them fit, and make a Free Tradesman using the Loremaster and Mercenary skill lists for inspiration.

Once more there’s no guidance from the book as to whether you can take a skill more than once in character creation (thus starting with a higher rating), so I assume not and use my seven skill picks as follows.

Ancient Lore
Military combat (this covers three combat skills, so costs 2 picks)
Magic Lore
Combat Mastery

The last thing is to roll up my money; I manage to have 15 gold. It’s a good thing that characters all start with a weapon, because looking at the price list, that 15 gold wasn’t going to go far – a set of common clothes and some leather armour seems to be my lot. Wonder if I can sell my fox?

Nothing really special here, most of my impression of my character comes from a combination of my chosen race and culture, and the random roll of the Pet Friend on the characteristics table.

A brief flick through the skill usage and combat chapter shows I’m going to have to be very lucky to win many stand-up fights, and fairly lucky to succeed at any skill rolls.

The book is less than clear in many places, and often tells the GM, ‘Well, we didn’t really know how this should be selected, so here’s a couple of suggestions or try something else if you don’t like those.’

1 comment:

JD said...

I remember this one. I liked it, especially the make-your-own magic system.