The Rules and World of The Dark Eye

Levels are gained by advancing 100 AP + the AP value required for the last level up. So you become level 2 at 100 AP, level 3 at 300 AP, level 4 at 600 AP, level 5 at 1000 AP, level 6 at 1500 AP and so on and so forth. Levels have no practical impact in the TDE rule system, the AP count is spent elsewhere and gaining a level does not represent any increases in any stats.

Rules Races, cultures, and professions

When creating a character in TDE, you're allowed to choose your race, culture, and profession. The basic rules of TDE 4th edition offer playable races in Aventuria, the world of the Dark Eye:

Middenrealmians the dominant race of man, descended from humans who came across the sea from Myranor to settle in Aventuria
Tulamides humans descended from the indigenous people of Aventuria
Thorwalingers seafaring humans descended from Hjaldingard
Elves forest-dwelling elves, refer to themselves as Fey
Dwarfs dwarfs, living underground and of ancient descent, refer to themselves as Angroshim

There are 8 basic cultures. Middenrealmians can be Garetian (from the main Aventurian central kingdom), Horasian (typically arrogant people from the Horasian empire), Fountlandian (from the noble's republic of Fountland, good-natured but conservative). Tulamides can be Mhanadistani (from the wealthy, trade-driven heartland) or Novadi (desert dwellers).

Thorwalians are always Thorwalian in culture (rough-hewn seafarers), the standard cultures of elves are Lea Elf (river-dwellers) and dwarfs are normally Anvil Dwarf (from the dwarfish kingdom under the Anvil Mountains).

4th edition's basic ruleset offers 20 professions: burglar, explorer, hunter, magician, mercenary, messenger, mountebank, physician, pirate, rogue, scout, warrior, legend singer and ranger. Not every profession is available to every race or culture: Middlerealmians have the widest berth of possible professions, with other human races slightly more limited, for example Thorwalians can not be burglars.

Anvil Dwarfs are more limited their only options are explorer, mercenary, messenger and physician. Lea Elves are the only ones that can be legend singers and rangers, but those are also the only professions available to them.

Drakensang takes a slightly different approach, offering you a set of 20 different archetypes: warrior, bowman, soldier, battlemage, healing mage, charlatan, explorer, burglar, thief, elemental mage, metamage, alchemist, pirate, amazon, elven ranger, elven spellweaver, elven fighter, dwarfish mercenary, dwarfish sapper and dwarfish prospector.

Each of these have a preset pick of race and profession balanced to work in the game. There is an expert mode allowing you to go into the system as described above, but for first-timers it would probably be best to take one of the pre-sets.