First impressions: A Tabletop RPG Newbie plays Dark Veil for the first time.
Updated: Aug 5, 2021
Getting my hook into TTRPGs
I have a self-proclaimed, short attention span.
I’ve always enjoyed the idea of a TTRPG, but not really explored them too deeply in my past. Getting into tabletop RPGs was always a constant back and forth of trying to find the right people to play with, having the right books and dice, and how and where to find the right beginner’s experience.
A few years ago, a friend offered me a place in their group to play Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. I finally found the hook I was looking for. The main draw was sharing that unique experience with my friends. Since then, and throughout a global pandemic, I’ve been on the lookout for my next TTRPG.
Before finding my hook, I’d been intimidated by the prospect of delving into the world of older and more established TTRPGs. Other mainstream tabletop games felt locked behind a learning curve, and others just beyond my knowledge grasp. As with most tabletop games, the scope is daunting to new players. It takes a lot of time and almost requires someone already an expert in the game to aid your journey into the hobby.
I recently played my first session of Dark Veil. Full disclosure, I now work for Dark Veil Studios. It’s intuitive and feels like it has been designed with players like me in mind. It took roughly 20 minutes to learn the system fundamentals of the entire game, all of which are broken down in less than six pages of the quickplay guide. From there, our group was on with the adventure, stopping only for a few seconds here and there to clarify rules throughout the entire rest of the session.
For my preview adventure experience, we were supplied options of pre-made characters. The enigmatic Daeadrin, Micah Lockheart, seemed appealing. I took a brief moment to look over the traits and saw some that spoke to me. Traits like Soul of the Daeadrin, which allows Micah to cast magic from their inner soul, a difference from the other magi wielding characters who used specific magic skills. This trait made Micah sound like a very sensitive individual, just like me!
Once all the players chose their characters, we were underway. Slowly, but steadily, the party made our way through the opening sequence. It was set in the cyberpunk city of Suen Riza. The intro taught us the gameplay by gradually introducing us to core gameplay mechanics, like the dice rolling systems. What immediately followed was a chaotic combat encounter fueled by a number of hilarious critical failures. One failure in particular, an overly confident fitness skill roll, caused us to get lost in an unknown demonic realm of the Veil.
The next hours flew by. They were filled with gripping interactions—some of success, but mostly hijinks.
One particular win for Micah during the session was when NPCs (non-player characters run by the storyteller) were shrouded in disguise. Only my character was able to see through the deception, due to my fortunate knowing of a language the NPCs claimed to speak, which my character was easily able to identify they didn’t. As a newbie, I naturally chose the best course of action: I ran.
I easily coerced my group to follow, and we miraculously escaped and made our way back to where it had all started, Suen Riza. With some strong creativity in roleplay but an unfortunate string of skill checks fails for an important task we needed at the end of the session, we failed our only mission. But the failure didn’t mean we’d failed the game and only led the story into a new direction. The sheer amount of fun and intrigue I came away with in this session made me want more.
The dice rolling mechanic is truly unique. Though I was unfortunately deprived of stealing a spell I really wanted with my ‘Spell Thief’ skill check in my first session—one of the most unique mechanics in Dark Veil—I was able to attempt spell thievery and other skills like it in my next game with more success.
We now have a recurring game, and I’ll be taking my earned story points and leveling up my skills, as well as digging in more to the factions of the game to build and develop my own character who will be truly of legend.
Whether you’re a beginner like me or a TTRPG veteran, sign up today for free and download the Dark Veil quick-play guide and pre-made characters from the “free previews” section. If you are ready to take on the role of storyteller, grab the preview adventure, Gate Shuffle.