The Darkness Below Online

When you are tired of the twee and frolicking around in forests, come to where the real adventure and danger lies – in the Deep Lands of The Darkness Below.

Advert for DBO by Blue Moon Gaming

I’ve played them all, the others games, the good, the bad and the ugly.  Then I found my home, in the DBO.  Ran a BD recording of my first time in game, just for a lark. Never expected much but ain’t no harm in doing so.

Then I stepped into the Caverns of the Frozen Fire.  Never seen anything like it.  Strands of luminescent vines trailing from the ceiling.  Flashes of opal catching the luminescence, reflecting it.  Great fields of giant mushrooms rising up, a forest of them, all aglow with their own bio-luminescence, like some mad creation from Biotechnia.  And through it all ran a stream, fed by a waterfall from the far side of the cavern, the mist of it sending rainbows of light scattering across the cavern.

You can’t describe it. You need to see it, to feel it to appreciate what was created there.

Never made a BD like it before.  I still fire it up at times, to relive the experience of the emotions of that first time.  Shared it out too.  Not sure how many new players it has brought to the game.  A few, sure but that isn’t important as a reminder that there can still be wonders out there in a corp-choked world.

The Caverns of Frozen Fire is now my home.  Seen other places of wonder too, in between battling off the hordes from above, but I’m always drawn back to it.  And when I swing my axe for the last time, that is where I want to remain.

Torgun Bitterbrew, Troll Warlord.

About DBO

The Darkness Below (or DBO) is the latest online game to hit the street, developed by Blue Moon Gaming, a small but ambitious young company.  Some accuse it of being a cheap ELO knock-off, riding on the coat-tails of its success, while others claim it is a fresh reimagining of a genre in need of a remake and an escape from corporate greed and cynicism.

DBO had a rocky start, with an attempted murder of one of its lead designers shortly after release, at the hands of a fanatical ELO player named Primose Moonbean who could no longer separate reality from fiction and was later found to be suffering cyberpychosis from all the augments she had received to her to make her more like her online character.  This, ironically, brought a great deal of attention to the game and saw their player numbers spike, especially after Segatari condemned the attack and wished the new game ‘all the best.’

Shortly after that, DBO’s servers were repeatedly hit by unknown attacks and ‘runners, trying to take it offline and in the meantime causing plenty of online issues for players of the game.  This went on until a coalition of avid netrunner DBO players, led by the mysterious Trollking as they called themselves, came to the aid of Blue Moon Gaming.  No one gets between a ‘runner and their game.

The Lore of Down Below

In the Elder Times, the Powers looked upon the world and saw it lacking.  Thus they took earth and stone, rock and gem, and they shaped it into the races.  And for them they carved out the Deep Lands, the great caverns beneath the earth, and filled it with riches for their children.

But those above looked upon the Deep Lands with envy, and with terrible and dark magics sought to twist the Deep Lands for their own ends.  You play one of the denizens of the Deep Lands, seeking to repel the invaders, to save the caverns and heal the damage, all the while seeking out the surviving wonders of the depths, to preserve and protect them.

Creating your DBO Character

When it comes to creating your character, the first step is to select which of the four currently available races you will start as – the doughty dwarves, the mighty orcs, the crafty goblins or the stalwart trolls.  Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, and access to differing roles.

  • Dwarves – the doughty denizens of the deep, they are a hardy and resilient race well suited to most tasks that they set their minds to, though not always to the level of some of their fellow Deep Landers.
  • Orcs – strong and fierce, they excel when they take the fight to the enemy and few can match them for their prowess in combat.
  • Goblins – the smallest, and weakest of the Deep Landers, they make up for it by their cunning and craftiness both in and out of combat.
  • Trolls – big, resilient and patient, if someone slow of action, the trolls are the hardiest of all Deep Lander races, but do not mistake slowness for lack of intellect.

Each races has stat requirements as follows;

  • Dwarf: Minimum Tech, Body and Will of 4, Maximum Move of 6, Maximum Will of 9.
  • Orc: Minimum Body, Will of 4, Maximum Empathy of 6, Maximum Body of 9.
  • Goblin: Minimum Ref, Tech of 4, Maximum Move, Body of 6, Maximum Ref of 9.
  • Troll: Minimum Body of 6, Maximum Ref, Dex of 6, Maximum Body of 10.

Each race has certain abilities as well, as follows;

  • All races have Nightvision which functions as a Low Light Cyberoptic Option.
  • Dwarves have Iron Constitution, which functions as Pain Editor and Toxin Binder Cyberware.
  • Orcs have Blood Rage, which functions as Sandevistan Cyberware and increases damage by +2 during the time it is active.
  • Goblins have Sharp Ears, which functions as Amplified Hearing Cyberaudio and Nimble Fingers, which gives a +2 to TECH checks.
  • Trolls have Stoneskin, which functions as Skinweave Cyberware and Trollblood, which allows them to regenerate 1 damage per round. Damage caused by fire can not be regenerated this way.

Roles

After deciding on a race, the next choice is to the starting role you will assume. The base game has four roles, with one more announced for the upcoming Wrath of the Weaponmaster DLC and two for the upcoming Runelords of the Deep Lands DLC.

  • Warriors – The masters of combat, skilled in the use of arms and armour. Play a warrior if you want to be a unmovable tank, a melee master or a damage dealer from range. Available to all races.
  • Warlords – Lead by example with the mighty Warlord, a stalwart figure always at the fore of battle whose abilities to inspire and rouse his companions is second to none. Available to Dwarves, Orcs and Trolls.
  • Loremasters – Masters of knowledge and understanding and healing, but do not think them weak, for these are Deep Landers, with more than a few tricks up their sleeve. Available to all races.
  • Skalds – Where there are mighty heroes, there are also the skalds to immortalise their deeds, and inspire them to greater ones yet. Available to Dwarves and Goblins.
  • Assassins – Coming soon in the Wrath of the Weaponmasters DLC. Few will see you coming and fewer still survive your attacks. Available to Orcs and Goblins.
  • Earthweavers – Coming soon in the Runelords of the Deep Lands DLC. Take the bounty of the Earth and forge it into gear worthy of a great hero – including the mighty Golemware. Available to Dwarves and Goblins
  • Runecasters – Coming Soon in the Runelords of the Deep Lands DLC. Harness the powers of the Earth through the power of the Runes. Available to all races.

Role Abilities

Each role has certain abilities that define who they are and how they work. They receive 1 point per level in their Role Ability Pool which can be split between their role abilities as they wish. Players can respec their points but it can only be done out of combat.

Warrior – Combat Prowess

Warriors are the combat masters of DBO, the first to act, and able to focus on their offensive or defensive roles, or to take a hybrid position.

  • Danger Sense – For each point assigned, initiative is increased by +1.
  • Furious Assault – For each point assigned, damage is increased by +1, to a maximum of +5.
  • Hardened Resolve – For each point assigned, damage taken is reduced by +1, to a maximum of +5.

Warriors are the only characters who can wear plate-mail and full plate armour.

Warlord – Lead by Example

Warlords are front line leaders. While not as proficient in combat as warriors, they can hold their own all the while providing boons to their companions. When they strike a foe in melee combat, they trigger one of their role abilities, the exact effect of which depends on how many points they have assigned to it.

  • Resolute Duty – For each point assigned, the Warlord gains +1 to any attack roll made, to a maximum of +5.
  • Rally the Fallen – When the Warlord strikes a foe, they can either heal injured companions or stabilise a fallen companion that they can see. The amount of healing done or bonus to stabilisation role is depended on the points put into the ability. The healing can be shared over multiple companions.
    • At 1 point you get 1 healing/+1 stabilisation.
    • At 2 points you get 2 healing/+2 stabilisation.
    • At 4 points you get 3 healing/+3 stabilisation.
    • At 7 points you get 4 healing/+4 stabilisation.
  • Direct the Attack – When the Warlord strikes a foe, they do so in such a way that opens up an advantage for a companion to act upon. They can grant a companion an immediate out of turn action to use. Multiple actions can be given, depending on the skill level of the Warlord, but no character can gain more than one free action.
    • At 1 point the Warlord grants 1 action.
    • At 3 points the Warlord grants 2 actions.
    • At 6 points the Warlord grants 3 actions.
    • At 10 points the Warlord grants 4 actions.

Warlords can wear up to scale armour.

Example – Torgun Bitterbrew is a 5th level Warlord. He has 5 points in his Lead by Example pool. Prior to heading into battle, he puts 2 into Direct the Attack, giving him a bonus +2 to attack, 2 points into Rally the Fallen to give him +2 healing and stabilisation checks, and the last point into Direct the Attack, enabling him to give one companion a bonus action should he strike a foe.

Loremaster – Hidden Knowledge

Many secrets do Loremasters delve into, knowledge hidden from most of the Deep Landers, and they use this to aid their allies and hinder their foes.

  • Deeper Understanding – For each point the Loremaster assigns, they gain a +1 to their Knowledge/Rune checks.
  • Sharpened Mind – For each point the Loremaster assigns, he gains +1 to Perception checks.
  • Fury of the Earth – For each point the Loremasters assigns, they gain 1 use of Earthfury Rune.
  • Nature’s Succour – Fore each point the Loremaster assigns, they gain 1 use of Healing Rune.

Loremasters are the only role that can take the Earthfury Rune and Healing Rune skills. They are limited to Leather or Studded Leather armour.

Example – The Goblin Loremaster ‘The Great Greendini’ is a 3rd level Loremaster. He puts 1 point into Deeper Understanding for a +1 to the relevant rolls, and 1 point each into Fury of the Earth and Nature’s Succour so he has 1 use of each of the runes.

Skald – Charismatic Leadership

While the Skalds may not be the greatest of combatants, their songs and performances can swing a battle, confusing their foes and inspiring their allies to greater heights of valour and fame.

  • Dazzling Performance – For each point the Skald assigns, they gain +1 to their Play Instrument check.
  • Distracting Dirge – For each point the Skald assigns, they gain 1 use of the Distracting Dirge per battle.
  • Ballad of Glory – For each point the Skald assigns, they gain 1 use of the Ballad of Glory per battle.

They can wear up to Chain Mail armour.

Assigning Stats and Skills

Next assign your stat and skill points. Each DBO character gets 50 stat points to assign to their 9 stats – there is no Luck skill in DBO. What’s that choom, you think you can hack the system and change the results?

Technically you can’t hack the game, but you can try out the Hack Below, a private server where the rules can change, and you can even pit ELO and DBO characters against each other. Segatari has tried to take it down repeatedly with no luck. Blue Moon Gaming has made no comment on the situation.

No stat can normally be higher than 8 at start or lower than 3, except as otherwise noted per race.

Each DBO character gets 60 skill points to distribute as they see fit, with no starting skill higher than 6. All characters start with Language (Deep Common) at rank 4 and their racial language at Rank 4.

While most DBO skills are as presented in Cyberpunk Red, there are some new or altered ones.

Archery (x2) – REFLanguage* – INT
Athletics – DEXMelee (x2) – DEX
Brawling – DEXPerception – INT
Conceal/Reveal Object – INTPersuasion – COOL
Concentration – WILLPlay Instrument* – TECH
Crafting* – TECHStealth – DEX
Earthfury Rune* – WILLThievery* – TECH
Endurance* – WILLTracking – INT
Evasion (x2) – DEXTrading – COOL
Healing* – TECHWilderness Survival – INT
Healing Rune* – WILL

Crafting: Crafting covers all crafting and repair skills, such as basic tech and weaponsmithing.

Earthfury Rune: When a Loremaster triggers an Earthfury Rune, they cause the Earth to erupt beneath their enemies, causing an explosion of earth and fire. Range is 200 yards. The Loremaster makes a 1D10+Will+Earthfury Rune+Deeper Understanding roll and compares it to the DV chart. The higher the roll, the larger or more damaging the explosion he can cause. If any damage gets through armour, the enemy is considered to be on fire, taking 2 damage per round until they extinguish the flames.

  • DV 9 – 2D6 damage in a 2×2 area.
  • DV 13 – Add 1D6 or 1×1 to the AOE.
  • DV 15 – Add 1D6 or 1×1 to the AOE.
  • DV 17- Add 1D6 or 1×1 to the AOE.
  • DV 21- Add 1D6 or 1×1 to the AOE.
  • DV 24- Add 1D6 or 1×1 to the AOE.
  • DV 29- Add 2D6 or 2×2 to the AOE.

Example: Barak the Grey triggers an Earthfury Rune and rolls for effect. He gets a 22, meaning he can add up to 4D6 or 4×4 area to the attack, or any combination of the two. Because the enemy is fairly heavily armoured, he elects to add 3D6 to damage and increase the AOE by 1×1. His final damage is 5D6 in a 3×3 AREA.

Endurance: Endurance encompasses both the regular Endurance skill plus also Resist Drugs/Torture, which also covers posisons, diseases and magic.

Healing: All forms of healing are covered by the Healing skill, and it is used in place of any first aid or surgery check needed.

Healing Rune: When a Loremaster triggers a Healing Rune, they send a wave of healing energy out over their companions. This can be focused on a single individual, or spread out among multiple companions. If this moves the player back out of a wound state, they no longer suffer those penalties. The healing may also be able to quick fix or even treat critical injures.

  • DV 9 – 2D6 healing.
  • DV 13 – Add 1D6 healing or 1 Quick Fix.
  • DV 15 – Add 1D6 healing or 1 Quick Fix.
  • DV 17 – Add 1D6 healing or 1 Quick Fix.
  • DV 21 – Add 1D6 healing or 1 Quick Fix.
  • DV 24 – Add 1D6 healing or 1 Quick Fix.
  • DV 29 – Add 2D6 healing or 1 Treatment.

Example: Barak the Grey invokes a Healing Rune. Getting lucky, he rolls a 30, doing the maximum amount of healing possible. This is fortunate because the party is in a bad state. Torgun Bitterbrew is badly injured as well as suffering from concussion, while The Great Greendini has had his arm dismembered. Barak decides to use the Treatment on The Great Greendini to mend his arm and a quick fix on Torgun to temporarily mend his concussion. This leaves 6d6 of healing left over. He used 4D6 on Torgun and 2D6 on The Great Greendini.

Language: All characters speak Deep Common, as well as their racial language – Dwarf, Orc, Goblin or Troll. Players can also choose to learn the language of the invader, know as Over Common.

Play Instrument: Everyone is capable of playing an instrument, but it takes a Skald to get the most out of one. A Skald that has access to a Distracting Dirge or a Ballad of Glory can invoke it by making a Play Instrument.

  • Distracting Dirge
  • DV 9 – 1 Enemy suffers -2 to attack rolls for 1 round.
  • DV 13 – Subtract 1 from enemy attack roll or make an additional enemy suffer penalties.
  • DV 15- Subtract 1 from enemy attack roll or make an additional enemy suffer penalties.
  • DV 17- Subtract 1 from enemy attack roll or make an additional enemy suffer penalties.
  • DV 21- Subtract 1 from enemy attack roll or make an additional enemy suffer penalties.
  • DV 24- Subtract 1 from enemy attack roll or make an additional enemy suffer penalties.
  • DV 29- Subtract 2 from enemy attack roll or make 2 additional enemies suffer penalties.

Example: Karisa the Eloquent plays a distracting tune against a group of invaders, rolling a 18 on her Play Instrument check. This means she can subtract a further 3 from an enemies attack roll or affect 3 more enemies, or a combination of the above. She elects to target 2 extra enemies meaning she has a further -1 to add to the total. The three enemies all suffer a -3 to attacks for 1 round.

  • Ballad of Glory
  • DV 9 – 1 Ally receives a +2 bonus, split between hit, damage or evasion.
  • DV 13 – Add +1 to bonus or an additional ally.
  • DV 15 – Add +1 to bonus or an additional ally.
  • DV 17 – Add +1 to bonus or an additional ally.
  • DV 21 – Add +1 to bonus or an additional ally.
  • DV 24 – Add +1 to bonus or an additional ally.
  • DV 29 – Add +2 to bonus or two additional allies.

Example: Karisa the Eloquent seeks to inspire her comrades to greater glory by playing a fearsome tune. She rolls a 24, allowing her to add an additional +5 to the buff or aid 5 more allies or a combination of the two. She has three teammates and wants to aid them all, so she adds 2 allies and has +3 additional buffs as a result, giving her +5 in buffs overall. She splits this by providing +3 to hit and +1 to damage and evasion.

Thievery: Thievery covers the various thievery type of skills, such as picking locks and pockets, forgery and the like.

Buying Gear

Each character starts with 250 gold pieces with which to purchase gear.

DBO ItemCyberpunk EquivalentCost
LeatherLeathers20gp
Studded LeatherKevlar50gp
Chain MailLight Armourjack100gp
Scale MailHeavy Armourjack500gp
Plate MailFlak500gp
Full PlateMetalgear5000gp
ShieldBulletproof Shield10gp
DaggerLight Melee Weapon50gp
Short Sword, Handaxe etcMedium Melee Weapon50gp
Longsword, Battleaxe, Spear etcHeavy Melee Weapon100gp
Greatsword, Greataxe, Halberd etcVery Heavy Melee Weapon500gp
Bow/CrossbowBow/Crossbow100gp
Arrow/QuarrelBasic Arrow/Quarrel1gp

Example: Krak Bloodaxe is a new 1st level Orc Warrior, intending to be a tank. He purchases a suit of Chain Mail (100gp), a Shield (10gp) and a Spear (100gp), leaving 40gp in funds remaining. His friend, Karisa the Eloquent, a 1st level Goblin Bard, purchases a set of Studded Leather (50gp), a Crossbow (100gp), 10 Crossbow Quarrels (10gp) and a Short Sword (50gp), leaving her 40gp in funds remaining.

Levelling Up

The maximum level in DBO is level 10. At each level, a player can assigned 1 stat point and 4 skill points. A character is not required to level up in their starting role, but can multirole. Points gained in each Role Ability Pool are seperate and only equal the level of that specific role.

Example: Torgun Bitter Brew is a level 3 Troll Warlord. On hitting level 4, he decides to gain a level in Warrior, making him a Level 3 Warlord/Level 1 Warrior. His Lead by Example ability pool has 3 points in it and his Combat Prowess pool has 1 point in it.