Ashen Ones, Unkindled, Chosen Undead… Lend me your ears!
It’s Dylan – Steamforged Games’ Copywriter – here to tell you about character creation in DARK SOULS: The Roleplaying Game.
If you’ve read any of my Creature Chronicles blogs, you’ll know I’m a bit of a TTRPG noob. (And if you haven’t read them… What’re you playing at? Check out the first one now!)
Unlike Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will from Stranger Things, I didn’t grow up playing the world’s favourite roleplaying game… So, if you’re a newcomer like me, or just need help creating your very own DARK SOULS: The Roleplaying Game character, read on!
I’ll also be getting some guidance from resident RPG Editor and all-round guru, Ginny Loveday – so keep an eye out for that!
Anyway, like the slavishly formulaic clickbait writer I am, I’ve condensed character creation into 5 easily-digestible steps.
You might find at the end of it you actually get playing quicker than other TTRPGs. And that can only be a good thing!
Step 1: Decide on a Concept for Your DARK SOULS Character
If you don’t know anything about TTRPGs, it’s probably time for some background info.
The character you create will be part of a story developed by the game master (commonly referred to just as the GM). The game master designs your campaign and responds to your choices as you progress through different encounters.
As the title ‘roleplaying game’ suggests, part of the fun is stepping into someone else’s shoes. You can only interact with the imagined world created by the GM through your character.
So making sure you have an interesting, well-developed character is pretty important.
The first step to doing that is choosing a concept. This is the key, defining characteristic for your character – the thing that makes them tick.
What do they wish to achieve in the ruined world of Lothric? Knowing this can be really helpful in deciding how your character thinks and feels about what they encounter out there in the darkness. Are they the kind to be frightened, but master their emotions? Are they cowards, looking for ways out or opportunities to stab enemies in the back rather than confront them? Or are they recklessly brave? Build a clear character concept, and you’ll immediately clue yourself in to what your character would do!
Step 2: Choose Your DARK SOULS Character’s Memory, Backstory, and Drive
Right, it’s time to flesh your character out a bit with memory, backstory, and drive. All of these can be randomly generated with our prewritten choices, or invented from your own fevered mind! It’s up to you.
Firstly, you decide how much your character remembers of their life up ‘til this point. Perhaps they have a legion of vivid memories of their past lives, or maybe the cycle of death and rebirth has reduced them to snatched recollections of what brought them to the present day.
If you don’t want to decide on your memories yourself, that’s fine! We’ve got 20 pre-generated ones to choose from – just roll a D20 and run with the memory it lands on!
For backstory, you could take some inspiration from in-game characters to explore some of the more far-flung parts of the DARK SOULS universe. Perhaps your character could be a knight from Astora in search of their very own sun! Or a rotund warrior from Catarina looking for your long-lost daughter.
Again, you can roll a D20, or just invent the backstory from scratch.
Finally, we’ve got drive. This is your character’s overarching purpose – the main thing they want to achieve.
You’ve guessed it: you can come up with this yourself or roll a D20 to choose one of our prewritten drives.
“These are gonna be important because you’re gonna wanna play into them throughout the game. You gain valuable little bonuses from drawing on your past life—the life you led before becoming Unkindled. Bonuses that might just keep you alive!”
Step 3: Select Your DARK SOULS Character’s Origin
As my old motto goes: why say something, when the rulebook says it a lot better?
Here we’ve got an exclusive excerpt from page 21:
“There are four Origins; these determine your initial stats and give you an idea of the kind of classes you’re most likely to excel at. If you have a particular kind of character concept in your head, choose the Origin which best suits that concept. So, for instance, if you intend to be a belligerent knight, hacking through Hollows and refusing to accept the dying of the flame, then you should probably choose the Brute. If, instead, you want to draw on your faith, and use prayer to drive out the darkness, then selecting the Caster origin might be a better option.”
Step 4: Pick a Class for Your DARK SOULS Character
This step might be a bit more familiar to players of the DARK SOULS video games – choosing a class.
You’ll recognise the choices available from some of DARK SOULS’ most iconic classes, including the hardy Knight, arcane Sorcerer, or bizarre Deprived.
“There’s ten classes to choose from – these are gonna give you your skills, your class abilities and, of course, your starting equipment. So, it’s not entirely unlike the 5e you know and love, but it’s faster and quicker to get you to the table. And from there to the bonfire!”
As you can see, your starting class is very important! It determines what you can do in-game – although, of course, there’s opportunities to find new equipment and learn new skills as you progress.
Want to know more about the different classes available? We go through them one-by-one in our previous character creation blog.
Step 5: Get playing!
Ok, this is a bit of a cheeky one…
That’s it – you’re ready to get playing!
I couldn’t resist hammering home just how quick and easy it is to get playing compared to other 5e games. You can now explore Lothric with your party! Will you attempt to become a Lord of Cinder? Grow your own power? Or perhaps you just want to finally be laid to rest after centuries of torment.
Hey, I never said it’d be a laugh a minute! Don't forget to check-out this character sheet from the resources part of our website too. It's a great place to get started!