The black eye

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The black eye
The logo of the first issue, a left black eye

The logo of the first issue, a left black eye

Author (s) Ulrich Kiesow , Werner Fuchs , Hans Joachim Alpers
Original publisher Schmidt Spiele and
Droemer Knaur
Original publication 1984 (1st edition)
1988 (2nd edition)
1992 (3rd edition)
2001 (4th edition)
2006 (revised 4th edition)
2015 (5th edition)
original language German
German publisher Schmidt Spiele (until 1997),
Fantasy Productions (1997–2007),
Ulisses Spiele (since 2007)
World and system
genre Fantasy
Game world Dere ( Aventuria , Myranor , Uthuria , Rakshazar ),
Ascent level-based (up to 3rd edition)
AP purchase system (from 4th edition)
cube W20 / W6

Das Schwarze Auge ( DSA ) is a German pen & paper role-playing game published by Ulrich Kiesow in 1984 for Schmidt Spiele in cooperation with Droemer Knaur . It is based on fantasy - game world Aventurien that of Hans Joachim Alpers , Werner Fuchs was designed and Ulrich Kiesow.

Game mechanism

Best possible result of a talent test: three times "1"
The first character sheet (second edition) for Das Schwarze Auge , 1984, with only five properties

The game is a classic pen & paper role-playing game and has undergone major changes since the first edition in 1984. The 5th edition of the rules is currently up to date.

The player characters are generated randomly according to a point system, with game races, cultures, professions and advantages and disadvantages. Rigid character classes no longer exist; the character creation is similar in many elements to the role-playing system GURPS . The qualities are courage, cleverness, intuition, charisma, manual dexterity, agility, constitution and physical strength. These can have values ​​from 1 to over 21 and are usually between 8 and 14 for newly created heroes. Success checks are made with the 20-sided die , with 1 being the best and 20 the worst result.

The game mechanics are refined by talents (e.g. stealth or knowledge of human nature), which give the character a special direction. A talent test consists of three property tests, so that three throws are always required. The talent ability can be used to compensate for overwritten results or - in the case of negative talent values ​​- is assessed as a malus on all individual tests.

The combat system is based on attacks and parries. If an opponent succeeds in attacking, he has the chance to thwart the hit with a parade throw. This is supplemented by so-called combat maneuvers, which make it possible, for example, by imposing a self-imposed difficulty on the attack, to intensify the damage or to weaken the opponent's defense. Even more complex maneuvers make fights more interesting and exciting. The magic system is based on individually defined spells that are handled like talents. The abilities of magicians are limited by the astral energy .

As in many other role-playing games, characters receive experience points that can be used to improve their stats. There are several criteria for determining these points; this includes, for example, authentic role play, achieving goals, success in combat or solving puzzles.

Game worlds and continents

A round of DSA players at the Burg-Con in Berlin 2009

The fictional world of Dere is home to the main continent Aventuria , which has been developed with the game since 1984. Other continents such as Myranor or the hollow world of Tharun were only worked out later or only unofficially. Usually a character only plays on one of these game worlds, since travel between these continents is extremely rare and difficult.


Aventuria is a fictional continent and the fantasy game world of DSA. The continent lies on the game world Dere and has about a quarter of the area of Europe . Nevertheless, there are all known climatic zones on earth, as well as many different races and cultures. In addition to humans, there are elves , half-elves, dwarves , orcs , ogres , goblins , yetis , cyclops , goblins , fairies , giants , trolls , dragons and achaz (lizard people). The cultural level varies between the Neolithic and the Renaissance , enriched by fantastic elements. The largest country is the Middle Kingdom with the capital Gareth , which is feudally divided into fiefs .

In almost all races there are individuals who are gifted with magic, such as magicians , druids , witches , shamans or geodes, with sophisticated spell magic, which, however, has clear limits. The history of Aventuria is worked out in detail and is shaped by epic campaigns like the “Phileasson Saga”, the “Borbarad Campaign” and the “Twilight of the Splinter”. The return of the magician Borbarad represents a decisive turning point in history, whereby high fantasy elements were included.

The predominant religion is the belief in the twelve gods with the gods Praios, Efferd, Boron, Firun, Phex and Ingerimm as well as the goddesses Rondra, Travia, Hesinde, Tsa, Peraine and Rahja. There are still some minor and demigods as well as other religions, e.g. B. the belief in the single god Rastullah, the twin gods Rur and Gror and various natural religions. The divine antagonist of the twelve gods is the nameless. There are also twelve ore and various other demons.


Myranor is a more exotic game world compared to Aventuria. The continent is much larger than Aventuria, climatically from the Arctic in the north to the Antarctic in the south, and has an extraordinary fauna and flora (e.g. giant trees). The main population is humans, numerous mixed races continue to live there, such as cats, lions and fish people. Culturally, the empire is to be emphasized, a crumbling empire several thousand years old. There are adventurous constructs such as airships or flying cities. A pantheon of eight state gods prevails, Brajan being the god of the sun and order.

As a legendary continent beyond the Sea of ​​the Seven Winds to the west of Aventuria, Myranor was already known as "the Güldenland" in the early days of DSA. According to the Aventurian stories, a significant part of the human settlement of Aventuria began as colonization from the Guildsland.


Tharun is a hollow world invented by Hadmar von Wieser . The residents live on the inner walls of a spherical world, the sun hovers in the center and changes its color during the course of the day. People live in island realms, some of which are arranged around the central realm of the ruler. The inhabitants are confronted with indomitable dangers (for example giants, sea monsters and giants). These dangers can wipe out entire settlements and make travel dangerous. A warrior culture, which strives to perfect their personal abilities, has emerged as the ruling caste, the "sword masters".

The game world was designed in 1987 with the expansion DSA Professional as a more exotic counterpart to Aventurien for very experienced player characters. The independent set of rules was written by Ulrich Kiesow, the free magic rules - which were completely untypical for the DSA at the time - should be emphasized. After the publication of two boxes, the system was discontinued and only continued unofficially. In 2010 Ulisses announced the release of a sequel. In 2011 it became known that the Uhrwerk Verlag would edit this game world as a licensee. In 2013, the world description Tharun - The World of Sword Masters , was the first new volume on the game world after 25 years.

Other continents

Rakshazar (the Riesland ) is separated from Aventuria by the Iron Sword, an insurmountable mountain range, and by the Pearl Sea east of Aventuria and is almost completely unknown. There is no official elaboration, but fans have drawn up a comprehensive description.

The little-known continent of Uthuria lies in the south of Dere and is separated from Aventuria by the Southern Sea. Players drafted a description for this. In 2013 the three volumes "Porto Velvenya", "The Curse of the Blood Stone" and "The God of Xo'Artal" of the adventure trilogy "Green Hell", which is set on Uthuria, were published.


Game materials from different editions of Das Schwarze Auge

The rules are published in game boxes and in book form. There are also regional descriptions and adventure volumes . The main rules of the current fifth edition are made up of the volumes Rulebook , Aventurian Compendium (I – II), Aventurian Magic (I – III) and Aventurian Gods (I – II). There is also a beginner's box that can be used without the other rulebooks.

The volume Aventurian Compendium extends the basic rule system with optional and expert rules as well as with detailed generation options for heroes who are not gifted with magic. Aventurian magic deepens the rules of magic and allows you to create a wide variety of characters who are able to enchant. Aventurian Godwork is dedicated to religiously motivated characters and deals with the mythology and cosmology of the background world of Aventuria.

In the course of more than 20 years, a total of five regular editions, almost two dozen regional descriptions, over 240 adventure volumes and more than 160 novels were officially published. In addition, the magazine Aventurischer Bote appears every two months .


For the history of the game world see: Aventuria: History .

The German book and game publishers and the German fantasy scene were impressed by the boom for fantasy pen and paper role-playing games in the early 1980s following the success of Dungeons and Dragons . In 1981, Midgard was the first German game of this kind to appear. The areas of interest fantasy literature, strategy games and games with tin figures , from which Dungeons and Dragons had already emerged, were also united by Werner Fuchs , Ulrich Kiesow and Hans-Joachim Alpers , who began in the 1970s Years as a translator and with the Fantastic Shop founded in 1977 in the games industry. For Kiesow, Fuchs and Alpers, these hobbies and professional orientations also contained escapist elements: “We were, so to speak, ex-hippies. And we were dissatisfied with the reality. ”( Werner Fuchs ) The sister-related Kiesow and Fuchs played fantasy role-playing games with Ina Kramer since 1978, initially Tunnels & Trolls . They "spent a rainy vacation in Denmark in 1982" playing Dungeons and Dragons . Fuchs recommended the publishing house Droemer Knaur to enter the role-playing market, and together with Kiesow and Alpers he received the order at the end of 1982 to translate Dungeons and Dragons into German for the US publisher Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) . While the Fantasy Productions publishing house, founded by Kiesow, Fuchs and Alpers, published Kiesow's translation of Tunnels & Trolls as Swords & Demons in 1983 , the translation of Dungeons and Dragons for which Kiesow was responsible was published in the same year by the ASS publishing house .

Schmidt Spiele and Droemer Knaur had rejected the TSR offer to publish Dungeons and Dragons due to the high financial demands for licensing . The two publishers were looking for a way to get into the role-playing field: “In November 1983, Schmidt Spiele therefore turned to Fuchs 'and Alpers' company Fantasy Productions. You need a complete role-playing game by April 1984 - with a set of rules, a description of the world and a number of adventure books. ”The atmospheric background world with the associated rules, developed by Kiesow with Kramer, Alpers and Fuchs for the demands of their private game, therefore had to be quickly worked out into a concept suitable for presentation. “And then we sat down at the living room table and drew the continent of Aventuria. It was finished in two hours. "( Werner Fuchs )

“A day later, I was on the train to Munich with a thin, handwritten notebook in my luggage with AVENTURIA in capital letters. I was sure that Aventuria would be considered silly and a weirdo, but at least I didn't want to reproach myself later for not having used my chance. "

- Ulrich Kiesow : 10 years of DSA: An astonished look back. 1994.
A right black eye was first used on the screen for the game master ("master screen"), which was included in the "Adventure Basic Game" (1984). A right eye could also be seen on the cover of “Adventure Expansion Game” (1985).

Schmidt Spiele marketing invented the title Das Schwarze Auge and advised against Aventuria . There was not yet a black eye in the game world, so the authors used JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings to explain the title , in which oracle stones called " Palantíri " had a similar function. Above all, the market position of the then second-largest German game manufacturer, Schmidt, helped DSA to achieve a “spectacular breakthrough” in 1984 with 100,000 basic boxes sold: TV advertising - unique in Germany for pen & paper role-playing games - promoted the products belonging to DSA when it was launched in the mid-1980s . Unlike all other role-playing games, DSA was "available from the start in every Vedes store and every Karstadt branch."

Droemer Knaur and Schmidt Spiele presented Das Schwarze Auge at the beginning of 1984 at the Nuremberg Toy Fair . The marketing by a toy manufacturer ensured the addition of game material that is otherwise foreign to role-playing products. The first edition of the master’s tools , an additional box for the basic game at the time, was accompanied by a master’s mask : It was a thin plastic mask with slanted viewing slits in the shape of a bat for children's heads. To make the game known, chocolate pieces in mask form were also distributed to the press. The mask was later installed as a so-called Easter Egg in the PC game Drakensang .

The first version of the base game was taken off the market after two weeks and the text and images were defused because critics accused the game of being too violent. Droemer Knaur soon withdrew from the project, and Schmidt Spiele continued it alone. In the following years, many game modules, adventure books, solo adventure books and computer games were published . The Aventurische Bote , a bimonthly role-playing newspaper that provides information on the current political situation in Aventuria, also established itself.

After Schmidt Spiele went bankrupt in 1997, Fantasy Productions took over the game, and in 2001 the fourth edition of the basic rules was published. In 2004 DSA celebrated its 20th birthday. After the license for Myranor changed to Ulisses games in early 2007 , the transition was extended to the entire game system in April of the same year. Only the novels were published by Fantasy Productions until July 2011. The rights to the “Das Schwarze Auge” brand have been owned by Significant Fantasy GbR since 2007 , whose shareholders Werner Fuchs, Ina Kramer , Britta Neigel and Hans Joachim Alpers, who died in February 2011, are or were.

In the English translation published in 2003, the literal translation "black eye" was dispensed with, as this means "violet" or " blue eye " in English . Instead, the title "The Dark Eye" was chosen. The game was translated into French ( L'Œil noir ), Italian ( Uno Sguardo nel Buio ) and Dutch ( Het Oog des Meesters ) in the mid-1980s , but discontinued soon after its introduction; all international editions have been discontinued since 2008. For the fifth edition of the game, a translation of the basic rules into English was financed by means of crowdfunding . Since then, supplementary volumes have also been published in English.

In March 2011, the DSA editorial team, which has been decentralized and freelance or honorary since the 1980s, was replaced by a small, permanent editorial office at the Ulisses Spiele company headquarters in Waldems in the Rheingau-Taunus district . In addition to the founder Ulrich Kiesow , the authors Hadmar von Wieser , Thomas Römer , Bernhard Hennen , Jörg Raddatz , Thomas Finn , Karl-Heinz Witzko , Lena Falkenhagen , had a particular influence on the development and design of the role-playing game DSA and its game world Aventurien . Peter Diehn , Florian Don-Schauen , Stefan Küppers , Anton Weste , Ralf Hlawatsch , Michelle Melchers , Werner Fuchs, Daniel Simon Richter and Ina Kramer.

In May 2011, the publisher Ulisses Spiele announced in a workshop at the RPC that it had acquired all the licenses for publications on the subject of The Black Eye and that it could now also specifically participate in the further coordination of films and computer games.

In August 2013, Ulisses Spiele announced the development of the 5th rule edition for DSA at the RatCon role-playing fair in Unna. The publisher relies on the active help of the players. Feedback from fans is to be recorded via surveys, forum posts as well as Twitter and Facebook and drafts are to be submitted for discussion. A preliminary version of the new rules of the game was published in May 2014 and was extensively tested. The publisher describes this version as the "beta set of rules", based on the beta versions of computer programs. In August 2015, the new “Das Schwarze Auge 5 set of rules” finally appeared at the RatCon role-playing fair. In 2016, The Dark Eye was the English translation of the DSA-5 main set of rules.

More DSA products


The first novels about the game appeared in 1985 and have been published regularly since 1995. By 2014, over 150 DSA novels had been published by various publishers. In listening post publishing since 2005 a number of DSA appears audiobooks these novels, often based. Regardless of the novel series published in 2008 three DSA radio plays the radio play label Europa . Furthermore, a DSA comic with the heroes Nibor and Salkin was published by Tigerpress in 2007 .

Board games

In 1990 Schmidt Spiele used the drawings that had been made for DSA publications to illustrate a quartet called Das Schwarze Auge . Schmidt then marketed four board games for Das Schwarze Auge from 1992 to 1994 , which were equipped in the style of HeroQuest : The Castle of Terror and the successor products Village of Horror and Valley of the Dragon , as well as the stand-alone game The Battle of the Dinosaurs . In 2005 and 2006 Fanpro launched two more board games, Der Weg nach Drakonia and Drachenjäger by Xorlosch by Folker Jung . There was also a trading card game called Dark Force: Duel for Aventurias . After the publication of individual pewter figures for DSA, these were finally integrated into the now discontinued Armalion tabletop . Since 2012 Ulisses Spiele has published a new tabletop game called Paths of Destiny . The board game Orkensturm was released in September 2015 .

Computer games

There is also the three-part computer game series Nordland Trilogy (consisting of: The Blade of Fate , Star Tail and Shadow over Riva ) and a series of games for mobile phones. In August 2008, the computer game Drakensang was published. On February 12, 2010 the sequel to Drakensang , Drakensang: On the River of Time , was released, which was followed by the add-on Phileasson's Secret . The Silver Style Entertainment developed from late 2010 Herokon Online , a browser - MMORPG in the DSA universe that has been shut down, 2015. In 2012 Daedalic Entertainment released the classic point-and-click adventure Satinav's Chains . On August 30, 2013, the successor named Memoria was released . In October 2013 the story-heavy action role-playing game Demonicon was released . A strategy role-playing game was released on January 24, 2014 under the title Blackguards . A hack-and-slay game called The Dark Eye: Skilltree Saga was released on December 4th, 2014. On January 20, 2015, Daedalic Entertainment released Blackguards 2, the second part of Blackguards . The release of the computer role-playing game Das Schwarze Auge: Book of Heroes - stylistically a dungeon crawler - took place on June 9, 2020.


  • Christiane Mühlenhoff-Simon: The Black Eye. Story and interpretation of a fantasy role-playing game . In: Fantasia - magazine for fantasy . Volume 95/96, EDFC, Passau 1995, ISBN 978-3-924443-79-5 .

Web links

Commons : The Black Eye  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. DSA-Professional Schwertmeister Set 1 in the Luding games database .
  2. Tharun appears at Uhrwerk. In: Uhrwerk Verlag. September 17, 2011, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  3. Janine Pörschke: Shipping from today: BattleTech faction cube sets, Green Hell 3, Tuzak Mortis and Tharun. In: Ulisses games company blog. December 11, 2013, archived from the original on December 17, 2013 ; accessed on November 3, 2019 .
  4. RatCon 2007: Report on the workshop on the southern continent Uthuria ( Memento of 6 April 2013, Internet Archive ).
  5. a b c d e f g h Konrad Lischka and Thomas Hillenbrand: 25 years "Das Schwarze Auge". Roleplay with master mask. In: Spiegel Online . November 6, 2009, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  6. a b c d e Mark Wachholz : The Origin of the Role Play ( Memento from October 13, 2007 in the web archive ). In: The History of the Black Eye. A historical overview of the most famous German role-playing game . From: , February 14, 2003. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  7. Ulrich Kiesow: 10 years of DSA: An astonished look back. In: Aventurischer messenger ., No. 50, 1994, pp 22-24, online ( Memento of 28 October 2007 at the Internet Archive ) on .
  8. a b c Curiosities ( Memento of October 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). On: Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  9. Figure in: The Black Eye: Excursion to Aventuria . In: Spiegel Online , October 20, 2009.
  10. See for comparisons of the original and the "defused" variant: The 1st Edition ( Memento of October 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). On: Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  11. Ulisses Games: The Dark Eye RPG - English Edition., May 6, 2016, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  12. The Dark Eye. Ulisses Spiele North America, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  13. ^ Nico Mendrek: Recording of the Ulisses Games workshop on the future of DSA. In: YouTube . Orkenspalter-TV, May 7, 2011, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  14. Information on contributing to "DSA 5" ( Memento of September 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file, 490 kB, German, accessed on November 3, 2019)
  15. Publishing website for the development of DSA 5 ( Memento from August 31, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  16. The Dark Eye at Free RPG Day! June 15, 2016, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  17. ^ Audiobooks in the Horchposten-Verlag. Retrieved November 3, 2019 .
  18. TiCo Fantasy. In: Comicguide. Retrieved November 3, 2019 .
  19. ^ Leonhard Stork: Mirror Images of the Past. The beautiful, colorful world of quartets . Books on Demand , Norderstedt 2011, ISBN 978-3-8311-0901-2 , p. 332.
  20. The Castle of Terror in the Luding games database .
  21. ^ Village of horror in the Luding games database .
  22. Valley of the Dragon in the Luding game database (the original title contains a wrong genitive formation from Drache , which Luding did not adopt).
  23. The battle of the dinosaurs in the Luding games database .
  24. The way to Drakonia in the Luding games database .
  25. ^ Dragon hunters from Xorlosch in the Luding games database .
  26. ^ Armalion in the Luding games database .
  27. Shipping from today: Paths of Destiny, Myran Monsters, etc. a. Ulisses Spiele, October 17, 2012, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  28. Orkensturm - board game. Ulisses Spiele, September 23, 2015, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  29. Press release from Silver Style Studios on the development of Herokon Online ( Memento from October 14, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  30. Information on Memoria ( Memento from February 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  31. Matthias Dammes: DSA Adventure Memoria appears without DRM. In: PC Games. April 30, 2013, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  32. ^ Official Demonicon website ( Memento from March 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  33. Tobias Simon: Daedalic unveils turn-based role-playing game. In: March 21, 2013, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  34. Cifer: New DSA computer game "Skilltree Saga" announced. Nandurion, November 30, 2014, accessed November 3, 2019 .
  35. The Black Eye: Blackguards 2. In: Retrieved July 28, 2016 .
  36. Book of Heroes is a slap in the face of every DSA fan. June 24, 2020, accessed July 9, 2020 .
  37. The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes on Steam. Retrieved July 9, 2020 .