Fans of dark fantasy, a Dark Souls tabletop RPG is on the way. In a recent press release as well as a teaser trailer spotted in a tweet, Steamforged Games have officially announced that they will be making an RPG based on FromSoftware's highly influential dark fantasy RPG series.
The teaser trailer itself doesn't reveal much. Aside from showing a bonfire with glowing polyhedral dice being thrown into it, there really isn't a lot of detail to be gleaned from this trailer. An official Dark Souls tabletop RPG is in the works and it will use dice. As for Steamforged Game's press release is very tight-lipped, stating that they "will have more in the coming weeks."
Given the pedigree Dark Souls has within the gaming community, this minimalist marketing does tease a lot of promise. When it first debuted in 2011, Dark Souls quickly became a household name thanks to its brutal difficulty, nightmarish monster designs, and subtle worldbuilding full of decaying civilizations and insane gods. It not only spawned several sequels but helped bring in a new subgenre of action RPGs called Soulslikes.
This won't be the first time Steamforged Games have adapted Dark Souls either. Way back in 2016, they successfully crowdfunded Dark Souls: The Board Game, an adaptation of the source material that we have our own in-depth thoughts about.
As for the challenges that come with making a Dark Souls tabletop RPG, there are many and none of them have easy answers. The reason why the games were so difficult was because dying and trying again was built into the gameplay loop. You fight, learn more about your opponent, die, respawn, then try again. With a tabletop RPG, while some strategizing is encouraged, luck plays a large factor as well. It leads to situations where a group can sneak into a guard tower with just fake moustaches because the rolls were in their favor. This can deflate the oppressive tension and dread that the Dark Souls series thrives on. Furthermore, just throwing a bunch of really hard enemies at a group and watching them all die is something more frowned upon around a gaming table than in a video game.
One can only speculate at this point, but given how imaginative the worlds of this dark fantasy series is, the Dark Souls tabletop RPG is bound to bring some new warriors out of the darkness and into the bonfire.