Compendium Preview #1 – Focus Rules and Combat Styles

Introducing the Aventurian Compendium!

We are getting ready to launch a new Kickstarter for the Aventurian Compendium, the first major rules supplement for The Dark Eye in English! We’ll have plenty of details about the Kickstarter itself over the next couple of weeks, but first we wanted to introduce you to what this supplement is all about!

Focus Rules

One of the first things new players notice when picking up the Core Rules is the variety of options The Dark Eye has to offer. You can play so many different kinds of characters with such a wide range of skills and approaches to problems. But once players get into their characters, there may be some who want even more – they want variety in the way they apply their particular skills or combat styles. The Compendium is where that kind of variety begins. While the Core Rules are broad, the Compendium is deep.

To clarify this, the Compendium separates rules into three categories: Basic Rules, Focus Rules (Level I), and Focus Rules (Level II). In the introductory chapter, the Compendium explains the difference in detail by using the example of a hunting challenge. Under the Basic Rules (from the Core Rules), heroes simply roll Animal Lore checks to determine how much food they can acquire. Under Focus Level I, the challenge becomes a slightly more extended series of checks involving a variety of skills that can widen the margin of success OR failure. Under Focus Level II, there may be different rules for different kinds of animals as well.

Of course, not everyone may like this kind of granularity in everything they do, so there are plenty of ways to separate Focus Rules by player. Some of the rules apply to the whole group, so you’ll have to discuss whether you want them at your table, but many of them can apply only to the players who want to use them.

Combat Styles

One example of this is the section on Combat Styles. Combat Styles are Focus Level I rules, and they are very easy for an individual player to pick up and use without affecting the rest of the players. Let’s look at one specific example to show how this works. A player starts the Fedorino Style by adding the Basic Combat Special Ability for the style, which looks like this:

Fedorino Style (Passive)
The strength of Master Fedorino’s combat style lies in defense. Although the initial attacks are actually cautious attempts to discover an opponent’s weaknesses, students of this style (usually  wandering swords) are by no means ignoring defense. They are simply waiting for the right time to strike.
Rules: Increase your DE by 2 in any CR in which you do not use special maneuvers. This bonus is cumulative with bonuses granted by the SA Defensive Posture.
Advanced Combat Special Abilities: Bind, Death from the Left, En Passant
Prerequisites: AGI 13
Combat Techniques: Daggers, Fencing Weapons
AP Value: 20 adventure points

The hero then has several options for adding more advanced maneuvers. Here’s what one of those looks like:

Bind (Special Maneuver)
Bind involves using one’s weapon to place an enemy’s weapon in a bad position.
Rules: Make a PA check with a penalty of -2. If successful, your next AT against the target of the Bind maneuver receives a +4 AT bonus. This attack must made with your next action, meaning during this or the next CR. This action may not be delayed.
The bonus expires if you attack another opponent or attempt to parry, or if the enemy attacks with a weapon other than the bound weapon. Attempts to Bind a two-handed weapon receive a penalty of -4, not -2. After performing a Bind, your hero may conduct no further defenses this CR.
Penalty: -2 (one-handed weapon); -4 (two-handed weapon)
Prerequisites: STR 13, corresponding combat style special ability
Combat Techniques: Daggers, Fencing Weapons, Polearms, Swords
AP Value: 25 adventure points

As you can see, this level of detail fits very neatly into the already-existing system.  Any players that just want to keep using the Basic Rules won’t be affected by the Fedorino-style fighter in their party. But for those who want to personalize their approach to combat, the Compendium is the perfect expansion to the rules.

And combat is just the start! The Compendium includes a broad range of detailed rules and application for every skill, professions from Explorer to Pastry Chef, methods for recovering Fate Points and even pooling them as a group, and more! We’ll post many more previews in the coming days, so keep watching!