The Fanatasy Role-Playing Game of Medieval Germany



Playing Darklands



Darklands allows you to create your own characters. You can raise each character from infancy. You can "live" 20 to 65 years of "normal" life for that character, acquiring various attributes and skills. At any time during this period you can end character creation and make the character an adventurer, ready to join your party.

Character creation has many sophisticated options. Beginners are urged to use the default "Quickstart" characters in their first game, or at least skip forward and read the "Character Information" section {**"(pp22}"}, which explains the various attribute and skill categories.


Initial Options

The recommended procedure is to select your gender, generate a name randomly, and then adjust it and/or the nickname with manual entries. Then begin childhood.

MAKE HIM/HER A WOMAN/MAN: This toggles the character's gender between male and female. Notice that gender slightly affects some starting attributes.

SELECT A NEW NAME: This option randomly generates a male or female name, as appropriate, from a list of actual personal and family names used in this era. Nicknames are generated automatically. Both appear on the metal information strip at the top.

ENTER A NEW NAME: This option allows you to type a full name for your character. Tap the Return key when done. The nickname is entered separately (see below). The new full name appears across the top.

CREATE A NEW NICKNAME: This option allows you to type a short nickname for your character. Tap the Return key when done. The character should also have a full name. The new nickname appears across the top.

BEGIN CHILDHOOD: This begins the next step of character creation. Be sure your character has both a name and nickname before selecting this option.

RETURN TO GAME OPTIONS: This immediately exits character creation. All entries made on this screen are forgotten.


Family Background

When a character is "born," you select one of six family backgrounds, ranging from the nobility to a rural commoner (i.e., a peasant). Different backgrounds adjust the character's initial attributes and skills in minor ways. More importantly, these backgrounds provide a large amount of childhood experience points (EPs), which are used to increase the initial attributes. Finally, family background affects the initial occupations that are available to the character. Each background has certain advantages and disadvantages. There is no "best" or "worst" choice.

As you move the highlight over various options, the character's attributes, skills, and EPs change, showing the results of each choice.

To choose an option, left-click with the mouse or press the appropriate keyboard letter.


Childhood Experience (EPs)

This represents the first 15 years of a character's life. Depending on the family selected, a character has varying amounts of experience points (EPs). This experience is used to increase attributes. Skills cannot be modified by childhood experience.

TO INCREASE AN ATTRIBUTE with EPs, simply left-click on that attribute. If using the keyboard, use the cursor to highlight the attribute, then tap the "+" key.

TO UNDO AN ATTRIBUTE INCREASE with the mouse, left-click on the bar gauge showing the remaining EPs. Each click "undoes" an increase to that attribute. To undo an increase to some other attribute, first left-click on the attribute, then left-click multiple times on the bar-gauge.

If using a keyboard, simply cursor the highlight to the attribute and tap the "-" key.

Note: after a certain level, attribute increases cost more than one EP per point. Also note that there are absolute limits to human attributes. The normal range for human attributes is 10 to 40, with 25 the average.

DONE CHANGING ATTR: When you are finished with all attribute increases, left-click on the "Done" option or tap "d" on the keyboard. This ends childhood and begins life as an adult. Unlike the modern world, in the Middle Ages most people began adult pursuits in their middle teens.


Selecting an Occupation

Starting at age 15, every five years a character can select a new occupation. There are over three dozen possible occupations, but only a few are available at any one time.

Initially, family background determines the available occupations. Thereafter, prior occupations and/or attributes are the main determining factors. In some cases a character must follow a specific sequential "chain" of occupations to reach a certain pinnacle of success.

HIGHLIGHT: As you move the highlight over various occupations, the skill increases and experience points (EPs) automatically change, showing what is possible in each. Characters get bonus experience during their first two occupations.

POSSIBLE SKILL INCREASES: Beside each skill are two numbers. The first number is the amount a skill automatically increases or decreases in that occupation. The second number is the additional increase possible, should you decide to use experience points (EPs) there.

For example, the number "2:04" beside a skill means that occupation automatically increases the skill by two (2) points. In addition, you can spend EPs to increase the skill up to four (4) more points. If you spent the requisite EPs, the total increase would be six.

SELECTION: When you left-click the mouse or press Return, you select that occupation for the next five years.


Occupation Experience (EPs)

For every five years spent in an occupation, a character improves in certain skills. In addition, the character's experience points (EPs) can be used for a variety of additional skill improvements.

IMPROVING SKILL INCREASES: To improve a skill by one point, either left-click on the name of that skill, or use the cursor keys to move the highlight to the skill and then tap the "+" key.

Skill improvement is limited by the number of EPs you have available. Normally each skill increase (of one) costs one EP. However, when skills reach a high level, two or more EPs may be required. Each improvement automatically adjusts the remaining EPs.

You cannot increase a skill beyond the amount allowed by the skill increase values. When you add to a skill, the right number is reduced to show the amount of increase remaining.

REVERSING INCREASES: To "undo" an increase, either left-click on the EP bar-gauge (as in attributes), or position the highlight with the cursor keys and tap the "-" key.

GO TO NEXT OCCUPATION: Only select this when you have finished spending EPs. You do not accumulate unused EPs. Therefore, "spend" them all on skill increases before selecting this option.

This option returns you to "Selecting an Occupation" where you can choose an occupation for the next five years.

BEGIN ADVENTURING: Again, only select this when you have consumed all your EPs.

This option places the character in the "available adventurers" file, for possible inclusion in the party. It then returns you to the various "Create A New World" options.

KILL THE CHARACTER: This kills the character, erasing all the work spent on him or her. This is a convenient "delete" for experiments that turn our poorly.


Accumulated Knowledge & Equipment

As characters live through various occupations, they may acquire alchemical and/or saintly knowledge. You can left-click on the "Formulae" or "Saints" box to view the character's current knowledge. Left-click again to close the scroll of information. If using a keyboard, tap the f or s key to open a scroll of this information; tap the same key again to close it.

Characters also acquire wealth and equipment throughout their life. Equipment is only visible if you examine the character after creation. Money is included only when the initial members of a party pool their funds at the start of the game. Characters who join the party later do not bring any additional money with them.


Saving Your Characters

When you have finished creating characters you desire (you may create more than four!), you must organize an initial party (of one to four characters), select "Begin the Adventure" from the screen options, and then select "Save Game" from the "Game" options on the menu bar (hold down the right mouse button, or tap F10, to see this menu bar). Doing this saves not only the characters of the party, but also any other characters you created for this "world."



Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 by MicroProse Software, Inc. All rights reserved.