Update (4/14/2022): In response to our inquiries, a representative from Steamforged Games issued a prepared statement regarding the feedback of the Dark Souls TTRPG. The statement reads, "“At Steamforged, our primary goal is always to create compelling tabletop experiences that capture the hearts and imaginations of our fans, immersing them in vivid worlds they can get lost in time and time again. While we feel we’ve achieved that with Dark Souls: The Roleplaying Game in light of the overwhelming positive reviews, we acknowledge the concerns some have raised and take all feedback seriously. Although these concerns shouldn’t affect the playability of the game, we’re always striving to strengthen our processes to ensure our loyal fans continue to enjoy the games we release.”
In December of 2021, Steamforged Games announced an officially licensed Dark Souls TTRPG. It would be based on the 5e OGL and would draw heavily from the dark fantasy action-RPG set in a world ravaged by fallen heroes, gods succumbing to madness, and undead trapped forever in a cycle of death and rebirth. There was even a limited printing of collector's editions. As of March, physical copies of the book as well as PDFs have shipped out to players in both the UK and the EU, and the reception hasn't exactly been praising the sun.
The information from this post comes from a string of Reddit posts on r/DarkSoulstheRPG. While there are posts that talk about how beautiful the artwork is in the Dark Souls TTRPG, the majority of the posts have dived into issues regarding formatting, typos, and rules clarity. The game mentions something called "dynamic maneuvers" exist but are never fully explained. Spells have text stating they affect death saving throws when they don't exist in this TTRPG. Some spells share the exact same text with no real change such as Crystal Soul Spear and Combustion.
Furthermore, there are issues with character creation regarding starting stats and origins. Rules as written, the Knight Origin doesn't even have enough strength to actually wear its starting armor, and there are tons of inconsistent poorly explained text for how different weapons work. There are even odd inconsistencies in flavor and context regarding enemies and boss statblocks. For example, the Basalisk's petrification ability is listed as being done via a stare, when throughout the Dark Souls series it's done through a breath weapon.
Given how important it is for clear, concise rules in a tabletop experience, this has lead to US-based players having second thoughts about their purchase of the Dark Souls TTRPG, their physical copies not shipping until May 16 according to Steamforged Games' store page. One particular Reddit user, u/vantaghostboi, stated the following:
I ordered the collector’s edition literally 10 minutes ago, and was so excited to hop on Reddit and see if everyone else was just as excited.
After reading about all the mistakes, I’m honestly appalled. Should I cancel my order? The book almost seems unusable based on the error list posts. I’m in the US, so it won’t ship until next month. Any word on SteamForged updating the non-PDF editions before shipping?
And for those of you who have the printed version already: have you played the game yet? Does it work? Or is everything in the book basically game-breaking?
While other users on this subreddit are working with what they have, using knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition to fill in the blanks left behind in the Dark Souls TTRPG, these kinds of issues inevitably add up to considerable mental tax for players at the table. First impressions matter, and if a tabletop experience feels more like editorial work than creative, your campaign is not going to last very long.
We have reached out to Steamforged Games regarding the reception to the Dark Souls TTRPG and what plans they have for errata or revisions. At the time of writing, they have yet to respond to our inquiries.