Dark Souls RPG: The Tome Of Journeys Review – From Lordran With Love

From the depths of moldering catacombs to the shining heights of Anor Londo, the Dark Souls RPG  has the tools you need to bring the experience of the Dark Souls video game franchise to your RPG group. We just reviewed a new version of the Dark Souls Board Game from Steamforged Games, and we’ve covered official Dark Souls miniatures in the past, but now Steamforged Games sent along a review copy of their newest supplement to the RPG, The Tome Of Journeys. So venture forth with us, brave undead!

The Dark Souls RPG book The Tome Of Journeys is a new supplement to the RPG designed to help players get a better sense of how to run games in the DS universe. Just like the core rulebook and bestiary previously released for the game, The Tome Of Journeys is 5e-compatible and includes iconic locations from Lordran, three new character classes, new equipment and weapons from the original Dark Souls video game, two fully built-out, multi-session adventures, and guidance on how to play and run games.

Dark Souls Rpg The Tome Of Journeys Into The Depths Sheet 5511570
Will you brave the Depths?

Do I Need The Core Dark Souls RPG Rulebook To Use The Tome Of Journeys?

Yes, this book does not contain the core rules of the Dark Souls RPG, so to get the most out of The Tome Of Journeys you’ll need the core Dark Souls RPG rulebook. Though if you wanted to simply transpose these adventures into your 5e D&D game you absolutely could, lifting the adventures in the back of the book and using equivalent stats for enemies.

Location, Location, Location

The Tome Of Journeys dedicates a lot of time to thoroughly going through locations from Lordran, with a focus on places we see in the original Dark Souls video game. Within each section you’ll find the kinds of enemies you can expect to encounter, notable NPC’s from the game who may reside there, and a random encounter table.

Dark Souls Rpg The Tome Of Journeys Lore Page 4225999
Just some of the lore included in the pages focused on Locations.

Though not exhaustive (there’s no Ash Lake, Oolacile, or Painted World), I really like this attention to detail. I think as I build out my adventure I’ll do a bit of mix-and-match, pairing well-known locations from the game with fully invented new locales. As such, being able to give my players something they already know so well to hold onto in the chaos of this dark world (even if it is Blighttown), is fun.

Items From The World Of Dark Souls 1

Also included are 40 new items brought into the game from the original Dark Souls video game. From the Titanite Catchpole to Big Hat’s Set (big hat not included), each of these items does a really nice job of translating the video game equivalent to the tabletop.

Dark Souls Rpg The Tome Of Journeys Equipment 2825844
Almost every item has a special ability, further immersing players into the Dark Souls world.

Standout items from this book include Velka’s Rapier, which scores a crit on a 19 or 20, and allows you to spend position to deal triple damage instead of double on a critical hit. There’s also the fiery brutality of Quelaag’s Furysword, the Darksword, and Priscilla’s Dagger, which I can’t wait to bring to my games.

New Player Options in The Tome Of Journeys

Also exciting is the inclusion of three new player options for the game, bringing players the ability to take on the role of The Wanderer, The Bandit, and The Hunter. The Wanderer is best described as a spell-sword, you start without the ability to tap into magic, relying on your skill with curved weapons like scimitars and the katana. But at third level, you gain the ability to cast spells, and rely on support-style spells to help you and your compatriots.

Dark Souls Rpg The Tome Of Journeys Bandit Closeup 3959581
The bandit is here to cut more than just your purse strings.

The Bandit is best described by some of the flavor text for it in the book: “These brutal times require an appropriate and equal response, and there’s nobody better suited to answer the call than you.” Think of this character less like a rogue, and more like a brigand you’d meet on the side of a poorly-traveled road. You strike fast, you’re proficient in just about anything that can be used to kill, and you’re firmly stuck in your ways.

Finally, there’s The Hunter, which is a Dark Souls-ified version of a D&D Ranger. You’re a skilled slayer of beasts, you choose a quarry, and you even gain a favored terrain. Though the Ranger is a classically lackluster class in D&D, here the Hunter feels very focused. This is a land besieged by very specific kinds of threats, and having someone who knows these strange lands and their dire inhabitants feels much more useful than it would be on the Sword Coast.

Adventures Included!

I haven’t played through these adventures with my group yet, so I’ll save an in-depth analysis for a review at a later point. But for now, I can speak generally to how adventures work in the Dark Souls RPG world. By blending familiar locations, enemies, and struggles with the entirely unfamiliar, The Tome Of Journeys will absolutely keep your players on their toes (ven those players who know exactly where to jump to get to the crow’s nest).

The first adventure, The Eyes Of Death, is for 1st-5th level characters, and is all about characters who wake up in a burnt-out forest and slowly become embroiled in the strange happenings of a small town, with a pit stop over to the Undead Asylum. The second adventure, Into The Depths, is for 5th-10th level characters, and is much more investigative after a chance encounter in the Graveyard of Tears.

Bonus! Cursed Dice!

Dark Souls Rpg The Tome Of Journeys Dice Set 9975031
That Basilisk is eyeing you up when you roll a 1.

There’s no worse feeling than getting cursed in the original Dark Souls game. And now, you can bring that woe home with Steamforged Games’ new Cursed Dice Set for the Dark Souls RPG. These black polyhedral dice with gold numbering also sport the “Cursed” symbol from DS in the “1” position on the D20s. I can’t think of a better, more stylish way to crit fail!

The Tome Of Journeys Final Thoughts

This book is what you want from a TTRPG supplement. In-depth, focused lore around Lordran, fun new character options, some useful items to sprinkle throughout a campaign, and two adventures ready to dive right into. And as for who this book is for, this is definitely more useful a book for Game Masters vs. Players.

Aside from a few small typos throughout the book, this release is the most polished in the Dark Souls RPG line. If you’re a fan of the game, this should be a no-brainer. And if you’re interested in getting into this game brand new, there are a series of upcoming packages available.

To learn more about The Tome Of Journeys, which is currently up for preorder at the time of this writing, head over to Steamforged Games.


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