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The Dark Eye (originally called "Das Schwarze Auge" or DSA for short) is a German pen-and-paper RPG. Originally released in 1984, its fourth edition was published in 2002 and fifth edition in 2015. The game is set on the planet Dere (an anagram of the German word for Earth, “Erde,”) more specifically the continents of Aventuria and Myranor, even though a supplement for a third continent was announced last year. Aventuria, the main continent for the game, is tiny, but one of the most well-described RPG settings known to mankind – every region has its own sourcebook of 200 pages or so, often with minute details about the food, customs and people of that region.

Typical for The Dark Eye is a very strong and continuous Metaplot, including the political decisions made in Play-By-Post Games for, preferably, Hard Core players. This very strong canon orientation has created a vivid background but also has the consequence that sourcebook content ages quickly and is rarely up to date. The detailed world is also one of the major selling points of the system, and creates a feeling of verisimilitude which is quite uncommon for fantasy RPG settings.

The majority of the setting consists of blatant Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, with a few alterations and new names. The major religions are also very similar to either the Greco-Roman pantheon, matriarchal goddesses or Islam, respectively. All religions have a semblance to Zoroastrianism.

In Germany, it's the game most roleplayers start with, and more popular than every other single system. It is well known (at least in Germany) for its many adventure modules, even though the quality varies widely between them. Historically it suffered in English speaking countries due to poor translations, limited supplement book releases, and no translation at all. Come Fifth Edition the system finally received proper English support thanks to the publisher using Kickstarter to fund translation and physical printing.

One of the strongest selling points rule-wise is the completely open character development. It is based on 4 elements:

Attributes: The 8 Attributes are courage, strength, mobility, dexterity, intuition, smarts, charisma and constitution. The default starting value is 8, 11 is average for a starter character and they cannot exceed 14 on character creation, not taking into account certain bonuses/penalties from racial or cultural choices. They influence things like life and mana points, basic attack and defense values, are important for talent checks, and can later be increased with adventure points.

Advantages/Disadvantages: These can only be purchased during character creation, but certain events can lead to gaining or losing any of these if the game master is feeling generous/mean. They generally involve things like social standing, physical properties, or — in the case of disadvantages — fears and negative character traits. They normally give you bonuses or penalites on talent or attribute checks in certain situations, help to flesh a character out, and — since disadvantages grant you extra generation points on character creation — can be used to make up for it if you had to sink a lot of points somewhere else.

Special Skills: Can be bought with adventure or generation points at any time. They are divided into two groups: combat and non-combat. There are far fewer non-combat skills than combat skills and they generally involve things like expert knowledge on certain cultures or places. Combat skills are necessary to execute special maneuvers or use certain fighting styles like dual-wielding or shield-combat. Think of these as the equivalent to feats in D&D 3.0/3.5.

Talents: These are the bread and butter of the gaming experience. They can be bought and their value increased with adventure points at any time. Every talent is associated with 3 attributes, with the possibility of one attribute being associated twice. You roll with 3D20, one for each attribute, and hope to roll a value lower than your attributes. If not below the given value, the talent's value can be used to compensate. If all 3 compensations together are higher than the talent's value, you fail the check. Leftover talent points are sometimes used as an indicator for the quality of the executed action. An exception are the weapon talents that have a total value which needs to be rolled below with no compensation for simplifying combat.

The starting value of all these 4 elements are influenced by choices of race, culture, subculture and starting profession, but from there on, the character can develop any way the player wants to, making it even more interesting to keep a character for several adventures.

Tropes used in The Dark Eye include:
  • Adaptation First: Even though the first English rule book got published in 2003, between the years 1993 and 1997, novels and games based on The Dark Eye were released under the title of "Realms of Arkania". Several other games have been released in English without The Dark Eye supertitle.
  • An Adventurer Is You
  • Alchemy: It exists and is a far more common version of magic than the "cast-a-spell" variety. Every potion is created by a specific ritual. This raises the worth of a single health potion into the areas of a very good weapon or armor and makes it the perfect gift for a party about to embark on their journey
  • Affably Evil: The leader of the Church of Borbarad Azaril Scharlachkraut is an outgoing, charismatic and generally amicable elf. Just don't test her loyalty towards her revered master or her determination to accomplish her goals.
  • All Witches Have Cats: Both played straight with one sisterhood of witches and handily subverted with all other sisterhoods. Most witches do have some type of Familiar though.
  • Alternative Calendar: Quite a few, actually.
  • Exclusively Evil: It's played completely straight with the Dark Elves of the Setting.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: For the most part averted. Only in the Heptarchies of the Dark Lands is raw (magical) power a requirement for the highest Echelon of Leadership. And for staying on top.
  • Ax Crazy: Most of the people who form a pact with Belhalhar (demon lord of bloodlust and murder) tend to become this, if they weren't already by the time they formed the pact. Some members of the clergy of Kor (demi-god of wars and bloodshed) tend to act in a similar way, some have even begun questioning whether this god is in fact a demon. There are subtle differences between the two though, Kor priests are disgusted by the murder of innocents and only revel in the battle and eventual death of armed combatants. There is more than one indication, that the god Kor was almost seduced by the demons though...
  • Badass Normal: Wizards might tell the universe to shut up and sit down, but a competent fighter will usually be able to do the same with the wizard.
  • Black Magic: Everything dealing with demons is treated that way. Many other spells are regarded similarly, as well.
    • Summoning demons and most (read: any really effective (using creatures with a soul)) forms of blood magic are punishable by death. Necromancy gets you buried alive. Just killing someone with magic, even in self-defense, gets you automatically charged with murder. In the last case, the main privilege of the wizards' guild - the right to conduct their own trials, if magic is involved - kicks in, so you'll at least get a fair trial.
  • Blood Knight: All clerics of Kor, son of Rondra fulfill this trope to a certain extent.
    • As do the Maru, a race of crocodile people. According to their legends, their patron god Kr'Thon'Chh wanted them to be this way despite the belief of many humans that Kr'Thon'Chh is a demon, he is in fact the god Kor.
  • Boisterous Bruiser The late Duke of Meadows (Waldemar the Bear) is Aventurias standout example.
  • The Caligula: Emperor Perval. Slightly less violent, more on the incompetent side, joint Emperors Bardo and Cella.
  • Call a Hit Point a Smeerp: Mild but fairly literal-minded example. What characters and creatures actually have are 'life points'; 'hit points', while used, literally only refer to the base damage inflicted by an actual hit, which may be reduced by armor and other factors before the remaining 'damage points' are finally deducted from the target's LP total.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Dark Eye exists only because the publishers didn't have enough money to buy the Dungeons & Dragons license.
    • They did have the money, but they preferred to spend it on an advertising campaign. Which worked out rather well.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Almost anyone with a pact.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Exists both in a socially acceptable way, by using ones own life force when all magic power is gone, as well as the socially unacceptable way of Borbaradianism, where anyone who learns this can cast any (borbaradian) spell he learns without any inherent magical talent, only using his life force to cast. The additional downside of borbaradian spells is that they are all at least somewhat demonically tainted.
  • Character Customization: Using a Point Buy system, and several templates. Characters are all based on the trinity of race, culture and profession. Characters are customized afterwards.
  • Character Level: Older Editions (up to third) used classes, the current one is strictly skill-based and only lists levels as a measure of comparative power.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The Horas, Emperor of what amounts to the second most powerful empire on the continent.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: if it is black, red or black and red it is likely to be something bad. Or a priest of the god of smiths, or the god of mercenaries.
  • Church Militant: The cult of Rondra, the warrior goddess are the best example, but roughly half of the cults maintain their own faith militant.
  • Conflict Ball: Followers of Lolgramoth juggle these by contractual obligation.
  • Continuity Porn: Some might think that the setting's depth of information was a "bad" thing.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Naturally, the followers of the Demon Lord of deceit and strife Lolgramoth.
  • Color-Coded Elements: The six elements are coded (at least by human standards) mostly this way with a few exceptions: fire is red, wind is yellow or colorless, ice is purple or light blue, water is blue, rock/stone is orange and humus(earth and plants as well as all living things) is represented by earthen colors, but usually by green.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: the three guilds of mages, white(law abiding and usually following strict ethics and codes when using magic research must only happen under strict regulations), black(free thinkers who believe that every type of magic deserves to be researched and that no boundaries should be forced upon this research) and grey(somewhere in between, usually rather moderate in one way or the other). All other practitioners of magic don't fall into this scheme though.
  • The Dark Lord: Borbarad was one for the history books, his heirs are not that bad, either.
  • Dark Messiah: The Aikar Brazoragh, leader of all orcish tribes is one of these.
  • Deal with the Devil: Pacts with demons are a quick way to great power. They have certain drawbacks, though...
  • Demihuman: Half-Orcs and Half-Elves are the most obvious examples.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The demons in The Dark Eye are this, because their demons are different - practically every Demon Lord is the dark reflection of one of the major god with an agenda which is basically the perverted ideals of the original god.
  • Did Not Do the Research: As a result of the huge amount of rules many authors do not fully know or understand the rules, which shows frequently in the game's adventure modules.
  • The Dragon: Rhazzazor to Borbarad. Bonus points for actually being a dragon.
  • Dump Stat: Older rules editions had negative as well as positive attributes. Often the negative Curiosity or Greediness stats were maxed out to raise positive stats.
    • Depending on your build, almost all of the attributes except for Courage can be this. Manual dexterity in particular is so narrow that it often suffers this fate.
  • Elemental Baggage: Most magical traditions need a small amount of one of the six elements is to summon a servant, djinn or master elemental of that particular element. If the element in question is not pure (sand instead of stone for a stone elemental) it will be more difficult, should it be purer, it will be easier (diamond instead of stone for a stone elemental).
  • Evil Counterpart: Each of the Twelve Gods (the main pantheon) has a Demon Lord as their antithesis.
  • Evil Laugh: The Demon-Emperor Galotta had a stereotypical evil cackle.
  • Executive Meddling: The name "The Dark Eye" was chosen by the publisher, the creator simply called it "Aventuria". A new type of palantir-like magic items was quickly added as an explanation for the choice of names.
  • Fallen Angel: The Nameless One is a fallen god!
    • This is actually a recurring trope; Mada's sacrilege works very similar, and this is also the point of the Borbarad Campaign.
  • Familiar: Most witches and some of the dwarven version of druids (only the kind ones though) have these. They come in many shapes and sizes: cats, ravens, snakes, owls, toads, snakes, small monkeys and spiders for the witches and dogs, wildcats, snakes, eagles and toads for the dwarves. In the case of witches, each familiar is linked to a type of behavior and character that is more or less expected of its mistress.
  • Fantasy Character Classes: The Dark Eye has lots and lots of classes, divided into fighting professions, traveling professions, social professions, handcrafting professions, magical professions and clerical professions. Not every profession is automatically a good choice for an adventurer though, and is absolutely possible to play something unspectacular as a confectioner with wanderlust.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Loads. It is actually difficult to find a culture in Aventuria which is not based on history or stereotype, often several different ones mixed together.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Strictly enacted. Black powder exists and is used for fireworks, but is not feasible as a weapon. The church of Rondra, goddess of war, also abolishes crossbows and similar weapons for their "unsportsmanship". Since the church has immense influence on what an army will use, they have a tight grip on technology.
    • For the pirates and musketeer sub-settings/regions, highly advanced torsion based weapons take the place of firearms. Arguably these are more dangerous than the weapons they replace. There are also Automatic Crossbows and other advanced forms of bow weapons.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Despite the usually more "realistic" presentation of the setting, Aventuria includes many, many creatures and concepts. As a rule of thumb, if something was popular in another RPG, it is likely to appear in TDE as well. This includes dark elves, lovecraftian monstrosities, and the usual mixture of mythologic creatures.
  • Fantasy Pantheon
  • The Fair Folk: They exist, and technically all elves are their descendants. They occur only very rarely in the game though.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Averted - TDE group build is far more often optimised around different fields of problem solving than just combat expertise. The main areas, in broad strokes, are: Combat - Wilderness - Social - Science - Crafts.
    • There are so many different skills, that special rules are present if you want, for example, help repair a boat and only have the woodworking-skill but not the boat-carpentry-skill, so you can use the skill you have to supplement the missing skill.
    • Especially in the knowledge and crafts sections there are so many skills, that a character focused on those areas most commonly needs an additional sheet just to write down all their skills. This is mentioned in the rulebooks.
    • Combat suffers from this as well. beyond a certain point it is neither affordable nor usefull to keep maxing your weapon-talents. Then you are just better off buying extra maneuvers that allow you to trick opponents in combat, break their block, turn an attack into a defense, use your legs, use things as weapons, swing from a chandelier, etc. Luckily, all those special moves may play out as epic strikes with much finesse and creativity, but are not more than a basic attack/defense roll with maybe a difficulty modifier.
  • Fish People: Plenty. Some are harmless (the zilits), some are strange and might be dangerous (Necker, Risso), some are truly bad news (the Krakonians) or a bit silly (the hummerians are large, fiendish crab people).
  • Five Races: Humans, dwarves, elves and since fourth edition orcs, goblins and achaz (lizard men).
  • God Is Evil: The gods of the achaz are this. Their priests basically try to distract them from possibly destroying the world.
    • The priests are essentially like really experienced Investigators, treading ever so lightly as not to awaken the gods.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While there is no direct spot check, you can still fail to sense stuff.
  • Functional Magic: A textbook example of the force magic variety, complete with Mana, Background Magic Field and leylines.
  • Giant Flyer: Well, there are dragons. To make them fit into the usually more realistic approach of the setting, these creatures use intuitive levitation magic.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Ansvin of Ravenmouth
  • Hellfire: The god of law is also the god of the sun. His demonic antagonist uses this instead.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Some of the divine powers are truly scary, up to the point where they are Game Breakers.
    • Though most of these count as Awesome but Impractical due to the extremely long amount of time it takes to regenerate Karma (Mana for priests).
  • House Rules: Usually made to simplify the game.
  • Human Sacrifice: Always a favorite of demonologists and other users of black magic.
  • Hybrid Monster: Chimaerology, the magic of creating magical hybrids from all kinds of animals and humans is a classic but nowadays somewhat rare form of Black Magic. Later versions are based on the hybrids of mundane creatures – or people and demons.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Well, perhaps not all that sympathetic - but certainly ineffectual: Pardona, the Tongue of the Nameless God and Envoy of Evil, is canonically defeated, rejected or thwarted in every one of her apperances. Adding insult to injury - her official stats aren't that great either. Even if their Characters might fear her - most players regard her with a bemused mix of detached pity and condescension.
  • The Jester: A playable class - now with added magic abilities and a decidedly weird perspective on society, due to being raised by faeries.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: In theory, every Noble with the privilege of Jurisdiction. As long as he or she is on the grounds of his/her own fiefdom.
    • Also Inquisitors.
      • The Rays of Light often assume these privileges, always in error (assuming the privileges, not the denunciation)
  • Kill and Replace: There are at least two demons who use this as their trick.
  • Kill It with Fire: Standard procedure of the militant order Rays of Light to deal with magic users, or any given problem really.
  • The Kingdom: The Middenrealm combines aspects of this with Vestigial Empire.
  • Knight Templar: The Rays of Light,The Priest-Emperors and often the Church of Praios in general.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Common iron blocks magical powers. For some spellcasters, this is only a minor problem, others like druids cannot use forged metal at all.
    • For all elementals their opposing element is their greatest weakness, no matter how resistant to any sort of damage they become.
    • Those who have forged a pact with a demon lord and all that lords demons are particularly vulnerable to blessed weapons and areas of the god that is their counterpart.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Averted. While spellcasters can be very powerful, a PC wizard remains very squishy for his whole career, and an optimised warrior is usually very dangerous, even for wizened old wizard guys.
    • If a PC is played for long enough, a Wizard can level up in combat arts greatly thanks to the skillpoint system, since every character is open to nearly everything once created. Also, they get magical staves that cannot be destroyed by any nonmagical means, bypassing the very realistic break-factor checks.
      • Once again somewhat averted since the skillcap on any weapon skill scales of physical attributes, which are usually not that high on any mage and the fact that the staves are at least damage wise not better than a dagger.
    • The staff can also serve as a battery for quickspells that require a ritual once and then just a thought, word or gesture every time the PC wants to use it and require nearly no mana points. One of the most useful examples (besides the magical torch spell) is the Hammer of the Magi: From breaking down doors to breaking down skeletons of enemies, this physical amplification of any swing with the staff is extremely powerful at close range. Especially funny if the enemy is a light one and the player just decided to invent baseball.
  • Loads and Loads of Rules: Oh, yes. There exists a "basic" rulebook, but it is so abbreviated, it is basically worthless - all information in the book is repeated or contradicted later on, making it entirely possible to skip the "basic" rulebook and start with the real rules. So, it is usually assumed that you use the full rules. These consist of at least two full-sized hardcover books containing rules for character creation, combat, skills and the environment. If you want to play a priest you will need another book. A magic-user, another two books. You still lack enemies to fight and comprehensive setting informations.
    • The authors addressed this issue, however, not by reducing the rules, but by making them extremely modular. Many rules (especially for combat) are marked as optional and you can play with about half of the rules cut out and still have a very detailed experience.
  • Mordor: The Heptarchies are like that, to a different degree.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Called "phantastic realism" by the authors, making magic pretty weak compared to Dungeons and Dragons, at least as far as most PCs go.
    • There actually IS a rule describing how to become super-awesomely powerful, but you'll always have to pay with something. In the end, with spells being extremely flexible on the run and often having basic effects usable to the caster's liking, wizards are more of a “box of super awesome utility.” Very few spells have definite descriptions, most are only limited in their power, not their potential.
  • Made of Iron/Made of Plasticine: Compared to the unstoppable juggernauts in many other fantasy RPGs, TDE characters are pretty easy to kill. On the other hand, if you manage to survive grievous injury, chances are you'll heal extremely quickly even without magic.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Pardona, Voice of the Nameless One, is supposed to be this. Alas ...
  • Medieval European Fantasy: Aventuria fits this nearly perfectly, if it were not for those Arabian, Native American and African expys.
  • Merchant City: Lots of them. Al'Anfa, Festum, the Horasian seaports and Khunchom being the most famous.
  • The Necrocracy: Warunk, a city state under the control of an undead dragon used to fit this very much. There still are mini-necrocracies in the area around the city.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Mizirion III, King of Brabak.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Glorana and the Aikar have both grand masterplans that are only a measly 80% away from completion and require no hands-on intervention.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Imperial Chancellery of the Middenrealm. Proudly obstructing every move of their own empress.
  • Odd Job Gods: Some of the half-gods are this.
    • Luckily not as odd as you might think. The child of the goddess of love and the god of trade and thievery? He's a travelling flute-player and the patron of wanderlust.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Constitution can be, not only because it is most important to HP-Base and many physical talents, but also because the better half of your constitution is your wound-threshold. Any damage received higher than that threshhold deals a wound, which is a crippling effect, that, if not suppressed, can quickly lead to another one and another one. Also, afterwards, any healing-skill-check is severely constricted by each wound.
    • Another example would be Intuition. Taking a major part in attack- and defense- basevalues and in many physical talents is good enough for most action-oriented characters, but it also has at least normal weighting in all science talents, along with almost all spells (ALL spells in elven representation, along with often having double weighting) and additionally all social and language talents. This is the stat to go especially for characters who are supposed to be able to fight AND talk/cast magic in usuable proportions. In their case, cunning most often gets less attention than it normally would.
      • Even some stats are regarded lesser by almost all characters, while others are more important, no stat really overtakes all others, since for every talent-check, at least 2 attributes are necessary, balancing characters out automatically.
    • Some talents (and the associated attributed, guess which!) are seen as core important to play and survival. Self-control, body-control and acuity may be rolled any number of times between once per adventure to once every few actions, but almost all GMs agree, that those are the talents most commonly saving a character's ass outside of combat. Similarly, empathy is the most important social talent. without it, nearly no decent sale, negotiation, persuation or intimidation would ever work (again, varies from GM to GM).
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Partially avoided. There are stereotypical Dwarves who love their gold, forges and beer, but there are also ultra conservative Dwarves who love mathematics, flamboyant jewel burglar Dwarves and Dwarves who are very similar to Tolkien's hobbits.
  • Our Elves Are Better: There are several Elven cultures around, all described with the usual tedious amount of details. They are all better than humans, though.
    • Not in every way. If they leave their elvish ways behind too far, they die within weeks and fullblood elves even get a minus on their cunningness attribute. They are also very socially inept in non-elven cultures, commonly misunderstanding simple things such as money or ownership.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Orcs in The Dark Eye have a thick black fur, are small and stocky and bear some traits of Mongol Golden Horde expies.
    • They interestingly appear in Nethack: The description for one of the orc types cites the Dutch translation of the first edition.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: THE court fashion in the Horasian Empire under Emperess Amene. The fashion at her successors court is slightly more subdued.
  • The Pope: The former priest-emperors of the Middle Realm were basicly the Holy See of the Papal State in a fantasy setting, complete with no tolerance for heretics. The island of Jilaskan, where the priest-emperors' descendants were sent to exile, preserves this.
  • Praetorian Guard: A few, but mainly on the good guys side.
    • The Panther Guard of the Middenrealm
    • The Imperial Guard of Horasia
    • The Murawidun of the Caliphate
    • The Temple Guard and Order of the Raven for Al'Anfa
    • The Sun Legion for the Heliodans of the Church of Praios
    • There was even a guard unit named Prætorians for the horasian emperors of old.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Most cultures are given too much depth to be reduced to this, but the Thorwalians (Viking expies) and Orcs might qualify.
  • Punny Name/Incredibly Lame Pun: Quite a few places, people, legends and organizations throughout the setting. For example there is Mantrash'Mor, a mountainrange in which the faces of by now five of the twelve gods have been carved...
  • Railroading is to be expected, given the * huge* amount of Metaplot-centric adventure modules published.
  • Religion of Evil: The Nameless God has its cult... and it is supposedly more powerful than all other religions combined.
    • Also the various cults of the Archdemons that cropped up all over Aventuria during and after the Borbarad Campaign.
      • And then there is the Church of Borbarad himself.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Partially avoided; while there are some truly nasty sentient reptiloid creatures, the humble lizardfolk of the Achaz are a playable species and actually quite peaceful.
  • Retcon: Happened a few times. Most spectacularly, an old adventure about a crashed UFO was cut out of the canon, while the adventure's supposed big bad later became the big bad of the Borbarad Campaign.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something
  • She Is the King: Type 3 (gender-neutral title) with the Horas, emperor/empress of the Realm of Horas (though in German, the definite article will give away the gender). Type 1 for Emperor Hal of the Middenrealm, actually Hal's believed-to-have-died-at-birth sister Selinde.
  • Sourcebook: Lots. One for every region, and additional ones for specific topics.
  • Smug Snake: Al'Anfa and the Horasiat are breeding grounds for this lot.
    • Combined to great effect in the Kingmaker-Campaign with an Al'Anfanian conspiracy in Horasia. Smugness all around abounded.
  • Spin-Off: The short-lived "Swordmaster" campaign took place inside the (hollow) planet and was intended as an epic challenge for high-level characters. "Myranor" is a far less heroic, but higher-magic setting on the distant western continent.
  • Squick: The Demon Lords of the Dark Eye are the dark reflections of the gods, and thus the anti-pantheon includes such charming entities like Belkelel, the Demon Queen of Rape. At one time, this Demon had her own theocratic state.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: Due to its popularity, the Dark Eye is the Standard for many German roleplaying gamers.
    • The fact that the rule outline isn't fit for things like modern-day or space-RPGs is the reason why it hasn't dominated the market completely.
  • Standard Royal Court: Quite widespread, especially in the Middenrealm and the Horasiat.
  • Sympathetic POV: Seems to be becoming a thing for Aventuria's major villains. The following happened twice: An odd year or two after a major villain's demise at the hand of an adventuring party follows the inevitable release of an official biography. Those biographies tend to depict the villains long before their fall and are written by fans (the editorial staff consists only of fans...) Thus we are treated to stories of how relatively normal people are driven mad by circumstances. We see the later Evil Overlord petting Kittens or the later Evil Chancellor as the only person with a basic grasp of politics in the entire Empire, freeing peasants and being a far better ruler than the actual emperor in general.
  • Time Travel: Not a common feature, but a few adventure modules deal with this.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Every Aventurian knows why. For those who don't: Next to the twelve good gods there exists the thirteenth, the Nameless One, the god who tried to overthrow the others and who should not be mentioned unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Trickster Archetype: Three: Phex (Greater God, thievery, commerce and "rogue-ish" behaviour in general), Aves (wanderlust) and Xeledon (mocking the futility - and destruction - of anything, basically the bad side of Loki).
  • Upper Class Twit: A newer interpretation of the good Emperor Hal. And entirely official if you regard the Answin books as canon.
    • The House of Almada, too. A whole Lineage of spoiled, incompetent morons, who, as its reigning Emperors, brought down the Middenrealm from a continental empire to a vestigal rump-state almost entirely on their own.
  • Unpleasable Fanbase
  • Vestigial Empire: The Middenrealm is this. It once encompassed the whole continent and even in its decline it holds onto a sizeable chunk of Aventurica and remains the greatest of the Great Powers.
  • Villain Ball: Aventuria's villains quite regularly die with their hands tightly clamped around one of these.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Torxes von Freigeist, a jester turned evil.
  • Warrior Prince: Quite common for the heirs of the Middenrealm, Princes and Princesses alike.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The flagellants, also known as the Rays of Light, a layman order is like this: They want to protect the people from dark magic and heresy. Preferably by a few nice autodafés.
    • Not to forget Borbarad himself. While his Methods were surely questionable his goals were ... also sort of questionable. But he had good intentions.
    • There is also the goddess of magic herself. Born of a mortal and the goddess of wisdom she wanted to free all mortals from the thralls of the gods by allowing them to wield magic and determine their own fate. She nearly succeeded, brought magic in the world and a select few mortals actually developed the power to use it. Too bad that she weakened creation so much through her actions that the demons of the nether hells found entry into Ethra, too.
  • Weapon of Choice: Weapon skills are expensive to increase, so it is very useful to specialise for most warriors.
    • This is made worse by the inclusion of D&D 3-like feats in an otherwise GURPS-like point-buy system. Pre-planning for your future combat style is almost a must.
    • Then again, a half-decent master will throw in some NPCs for you that happen to know that technique that is basic for every other technique your WOP is capable of.
  • World Half Empty: According to the background mythology, creation is inevitably doomed.