The Rules and World of The Dark Eye

Magic works much the same way as non-combat skills. Each spell the magician tries to cast is tested against various attributes (sometimes including attributes of the target) modified by his Spell Prowess value in that particular spell. The basic spellset lists 27 spells, ranging from direct attack spells like Ignafixus to balm of healing and magic locks. Using magic eats up astral points based on the character's astral value, which slowly regenerates. In TDE, magic usage is limited to certain professions (magicians) or races (elves).

Rules Combat

Combat works a little differently. Combat is based in rounds, with each character having an offensive and defensive action per round. Initiative is determined based on Courage, Intuition and Agility. The to-hit chance of the person moving first is based on his Attack Value, which is (CO+AG+ST)/5. After this the other person gets a chance to parry the attack based on his Parry Value, (IN+AG+ST)/5. The base Attack Value and Parry Value of each character are modified at character creation (and at each level up) by the player adding talent points from his combat skill value in the relevant weapon to either his AV or PV. Ranged attacks work much the same way only the base value is determined as (IN+DE+ST)/5, with no relevant parry skill attached.

Two other important modifiers to base AV and PV are EEC and the values of the item you're using. EEC is effective encumbrance: it is the base encumbrance value of the armor you're wearing modified by the ease of use of the weapon skill, subtracted evenly from your PV and AV (with PV having preference if the number is odd). And finally, many items have values that modify AV and PV: a normal knife has a value of -2/-3, thus lowering your AV by 2 and PV by 3. A battle axe has 0/-1, a sword has 0/0, a spear has 0/-2, etc. etc. Only after all these modifiers do the final attack value (AT) and parry value (PA) surface.

An attack is successful if the roll with a D20 against the attacker's AT succeeds and the defender's PA roll fails. The exception to this rule is if you roll a 1 or a 20. When attacking, a 1 is a lucky strike, which can be turned into a critical strike with a successful second AT roll. A 20 is a fumble, which is always a miss, though unpleasant fumbling consequences can be avoided by making a successful check against your AT. When parrying, a 1 is a lucky parry, which gives you an additional defensive action (to parry a second attacker, for example, as you can normally only parry one). A 20 is a parry fumble, which is always a failure, but like attacking fumble further consequences can be avoided with a successful PA check.

If the attack succeeds and the PA roll fails, the attacker rolls to see how much damage he does, based on the hit point value of his weapon. A weapon's hit point value is determined by its base value plus a strength bonus. A sword has D6+4 and a strength bonus of 11/4, which means that at strength 11 you meet the minimum requirements to use this weapon and then every 4 points adds a bonus point to damage: strength 15 gives D6+5 hit points, strength 19 gives D6+6. The defender's armor rating, depending primarily on his clothing, is subtracted from this amount to determine the damage points done, which is subtracted from the defender's vitality points. Example:

Bahron the warrior is fighting Kogando the pirate. Kogando has higher initiative, meaning he attacks first. His base AV is (13+14+12)/5 = 8, plus 4 from his sabers talent makes an AT of 12. He rolls an 7, landing a hit. Bahron tries to parry. His base PV is (10+13+15)/5 = 8, plus 3 from his swords skill makes 11. Swords and sabers do not have AV/PV modifiers, but Bahron is wearing a chain mail shirt with an encumbrance of 3, this is modified by -2 by the sword skill to be an EEC of 1, which lowers his PV by 1 to a PA of 10. He rolls a 11, failing to parry the blow.

Kogando is using a saber with a HP value of D6+3. He rolls a 4, doing 7 HP. Bahron's chain mail shirt has an armor rating of 3, meaning Kogando's hit does 7-3 = 4 damage points, which are subtracted from Bahron's vitality points.

Rules Progress

TDE measures progress in experience, which in turn transform into adventure points. Adventure Points can be directly invested into talents, attributes, spell prowess, vitality, astral energy, endurance and in getting rid of existing disadvantages. Normally, only talents and spell prowess increase, with attributes increasing very rarely, mostly due to a prohibitive high cost.

Talents can be learned from any value, including negative ones, as having a score in a talent implies basic knowledge in it. Increasing known talents starts out costing relatively few adventure points but becomes harder as the talent becomes higher, costing more and more AP. Learning a new talent requires a teacher or direct experience in being forced to use it (sink or swim scenarios).