The Fanatasy Role-Playing Game of Medieval Germany



Playing Darklands




The ultimate goal in Darklands is fame. Events, adventures and quests come and go. Someday everyone must die, even your adventurers. What matters is how they are remembered by future generations. Will your party be known as immortal heroes, like Roland, Beowulf, or Siegfried, or will they be forgotten?

In Darklands fame is awarded numerically. The higher this number, the greater your fame. You can review your current fame by looking at Party Information (on the pull-down "Party" menu, or just tap the "F6" key). In addition, fame is useful during the play of Darklands. For example, interacting with certain people may be easier if your party is famous.

FAME AWARDS: Naturally, the greater your accomplishments, the more fame your party accumulates. Dealing with large problems, such as robber-knights, dragons, revolts, and witches produces more fame than collecting a lost relic or escorting a merchant.

The size of an award also depends on the level of help selected (see "Universal Controls and Menu Bar, Help and Difficulty Levels" {** ", pp19"}). The less help you use, the greater your reward in fame.

The death of a character does not affect your fame. The party can continue, possibly recruiting another person. However, if the entire party is killed, then their current fame is the final value. Party fame is not affected if you dismiss individuals from the party and replace them with others. For simplicity, fame is attached to the party as a whole, not specific people.

FAME LEVELS: As your numerical score increases, your general level of fame may also increase. The levels, from lowest to highest, are: Unknown, Barely Known, Slight Reputation, Modest Reputation, Good Reputation, Slight Heroes, Modest Heroes, Great Heroes, Famous Heroes, Storied Heroes, and finally Legendary Heroes.


Character Development

Characters in Darklands will improve, but improvement has its limits. All attributes and skills have an upper limit of 99. However, attributes almost never rise about the original values, except temporarily due to potions or saints. Skills, on the other hand, will improve steadily. Skill improvement occurs in situations where that character's skill is seriously tested (i.e., there is an element of risk). Successful use of a skill gives a greater chance of improvement, and somewhat larger improvements as well. However, as skills get higher, the chance of improvement grows smaller. For example, advancing 20 to 21 is fairly easy, while advancing from 95 to 96 is extremely difficult.

Similarly, you can accumulate riches by various means. Wealth is useful, but is not a goal of the game. No great fame is attached to wealth. For example, the Fugger banking house was wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of many kings, yet they are almost forgotten today.

Your party's reputation around Germany also changes constantly. The worst reputation level possible is -99, where the city guards may try to kill you on sight and many doors are closed to you. A reputation of 0 means you are unknown, just a faceless traveler. A reputation of 99 means you are the local heroes of the day, favored by the government and citizenry. Many things previously difficult may now be easy.

Your reputation in a city influences your reception not only in that city, but in the nearby countryside as well. Furthermore, if a single nobleman controls multiple cities, your reputation in one city may affect your reputation in the other cities of that principality. Your reputation in an Imperial Free City is always unique to that city and the local countryside.

The sages of the era suggest that you content yourself with the challenges and adventures of Darklands, accept what improvement comes your way, and then await new challenges elsewhere in Europe (in forthcoming sequels).


Adventures, Aging & Retirement

ADVENTURES: There are many possible adventures in Darklands. Some are unrelated; it is possible to have different problems occurring simultaneously. Many of these problems are so common that they occur again and again, although in different places and somewhat different guises.

You should be aware that witchcraft in Germany is a pervasive evil, whose roots go very deep. Dealing with this problem will be complex, but the potential rewards in fame are larger than anything else. It is also a problem that once solved, is not likely to quickly reappear.

On the other hand, do not assume that every situation you stumble across is related to witchcraft. There are many other problems in Germany. Your judgment must be your guide.

AGING: It is possible to continue adventuring almost indefinitely. There are always new problems, new areas of unrest, where one can earn fame and hone skills. Your adventures could last years, if you have the stamina. After five years of adventuring, characters who are thirty or older suffer modest aging penalties to some attributes. The older the character, the greater the penalties. The exact time and place is unpredictable. If aging reduces any attribute to zero, the character has suffered a fatal illness and dies.

RETIREMENT: Your party may retire at any time, simply by returning to the inn at the city. Retirement ends the game and graphically shows your current level of fame. However, it also creates a "saved-game" file. This means you can "come out of retirement" simply by selecting that saved-game file.

Even if you have finished with Darklands, do not erase the saved-game file. Forthcoming sequels may use this file.

DEATH: Sooner or later, your adventures may lead to the death of one or more characters. Dead characters can never be resurrected. Saintly aid or alchemical potions only have temporary effects. Therefore, they cannot reverse death. If your party has fewer than four characters, you can recruit new characters at the inn (Gasthaus) of any city.


Hall of Fame

This records the fame of your current party, and allows you to compare it with other heroes and parties. As your party gains fame, they take their proper place in the memories of mankind. If you find your position discouraging, the appropriate left-click or keypress can clear the Hall of Fame of all prior entries.



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