Literally "the black eye", often abbreviated DSA
. Title of the pen&paper roleplaying game
that dominates the RPG
scene in Germany. Originally released by the tabletop game company Schmidt-Spiele
in 1984 and, after that company went bankrupt in 1997, taken over by FanPro
(a company to which the designer of DSA, Ulrich Kiesow
The core rule system of DSA is very similar to D&D, and
some of the early releases were just as simple combat-oriented as that game. However, the game as it is played today is more similar to AD&D, with more complex rules and story-oriented gameplay.
The perhaps biggst difference between AD&D and DSA is that while there are many official "worlds" in which AD&D is played and many, many more invented by players, DSA is almost exclusively played in a single world named Aventurien. Aventurien was introduced right at the beginning of the DSA release, and has been steadily developed ever since. Thus, it is mapped out incredibly detailed, not just geographically but also historically: for every region and even many cities, there are official, very detailed maps and portrayals of important persons, and there is an official timeline with all major events fixed. Parties can be a part of these events by playing the more advanced "official" adventures.
This has both advantages and disadvantages: all the detailed information means less work for the GM when designing an adventure in a known setting (even easier: he can just buy one), and it makes the gaming experience more authentic when players actually have prior background knowledge about the setting. On the other hand, with five experienced players, chances are that every "official" adventure is known by at least one of them and thus can't be used. More importantly, the detailed geography and history puts severe constraints on GMs when designing their own adventures; this is especially annoying when an inexperienced GM designs an adventure that conflicts with his players' knowledge about the world.
To avoid this, GMs have to resort to one of three methods:
- Leave the fixed history, i.e. move their setting away from the charted areas either in space or time.
- Define a parallel universe in which things happen differently.
- Play radical anti-munchkin campaigns, i.e. ones where the players' characters are insignificant to the development of the world.
The publishers (who keep close ties to the player community) have recognized this problem and recently decided to lessen its severity by making to word go through a large-scale war that shattered many of the established power structures and fiefdom
s, effectively returning large areas of Aventurien's map to here be dragons