Dark Souls roleplaying game makes players respawn at bonfires, just like the video game

Watching sand fall through your hand in Dark Souls 3
(Image credit: Bandai-Namco)

Steamforged Games recently announced an officially licensed Dark Souls roleplaying game which, like much of its previous work, will be based on the D&D 5th edition ruleset. It'll be something of a homecoming project for the specialist studio, which exploded into prominence thanks to the wild success of Dark Souls: The Board Game, a lavish production that raised over $5 million on kickstarter.

Realising it was onto a good thing, Steamforged has subsequently done many more game adaptations, including Resident Evil board games 

The developer has been drip-feeding information about the new approach it's taken with the Dark Souls RPG, but has now revealed that at the core of its system will be one of the game's signature elements: What happens when you die.

"There are no death saves in Dark Souls: The Roleplaying Game. You hit 0 Position [health/stamina], and you’re dead. Until you respawn by the bonfire, of course.

"You’ll have lost all your collected souls—yep, sorry, levelling up might take a bit longer—and there’s a significant risk you’ll lose part of yourself."

This of course makes complete sense, but is also a rule brimming with potential.

"You’ll begin your campaign with a character concept. Each time you die, you risk parts of yourself being whittled away, leaving you a husk. A mindless hollow. And a quick note: if, during a combat, half of your party dies, then the whole party fails. And wakes up, at a bonfire, soulless and needing to start all over again…"

Steamforged reckons this makes the game world's rules a "little bit tougher, that little bit more bleak" which also aligns with Dark Souls' whole vibe. Of all the spinoffs the game has inspired, a tabeltop RPG does seem like one of the best fits: The world of these games is already constructed around ambiguities ripe for the exploration, with countless dark passages of history waiting for player imaginations to illuminate.

Dark Souls: the Roleplaying Game will be available to pre-order from tomorrow.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."