5 Questions about the Rakshazar Project
In our column “5 questions to…” small and large The Dark Eye fan projects should be given the opportunity to introduce themselves at irregular intervals. Today, Raphael Brack, aka Thorus of the Rakshazar Project, answers the 5 questions.
What is the Rakshazar project about and how did it all start?
That’s two questions, so I have to make a difference. 😉
What is Rakshazar about? Well, the first considerations took place in 2006 (then still in the old Fanpro forum), as some TDE fans thought about what it would look like behind the Iron Sword mountains, in the so-called Riesland. The pure reverie quickly toppled and was replaced by practical questions: “What else is missing, in good old Aventuria?” And: “How could one complement the (already overloaded) Aventuria sensibly, without warming up existing settings or inflating them artificially?”
In fact, we were successful! There were not just settings, but whole genres that either were not present in Aventuria or received quite a bit of love from the authors: adventure in the spirit of the Odyssey, the Iliad, the Persian wars, the world of the Old Testament, oriental maritime and pirate adventures, Central African and South American high cultures, riding dinosaurs etc.
Many of these settings are traditionally related to the Sword & Sorcery genre, so we initially had the reputation of having a “Conan addon for The Dark Eye” (and also used it). Over the years, this one-sidedness relativized somewhat as we invented countless new, exciting cultures and the barbarism emerged as one among many.
In summary, Rakshazar is characterized by three things:
- Rakshazar is the filthy and primeval sister continent of Aventuria, whose inhabitants mostly live in Stone and Bronze Age societies. Rakshazar was created on the drawing board and has been researched consuming and technically flawless and therefore has a high intra-world credibility and authenticity.
- Rakshazar offers endless space between cultures, allowing game laps to create their own locations or even entire realms without being limited by a metaplot or continuous canon.
- Rakshazar is fully compatible in terms of content with all other TDE publications. Everything that has ever been officially said or written about Riesland has been researched, documented and implemented in our setting.
How did everything finally start? The above mentioned forum thread soon burst at the seams, so that a forum was established. The “Deric Spheres”. At first, other TDE side projects were also discussed here. For example, the Tharun remake of Arne Gniech experienced her big bang here. And also a Uthuria elaboration was started, but then overtaken by the official variant. Later we specialized and focused our creative forces on Riesland, which in the meantime also brought the new project name: in official sources we found Urtulamidic references to the kingdom “Rakshazastan”. But we could not release such a tongue twister to the market, not even as a free fanware. So our member Manuel “Yanken” Vögele came to the short form Rakshazar. By the way, it was Manuel who drew the official map. Although he is not the father of the setting (we were all that), he is definitely the midwife. 😉
How was the collaboration with Ulisses Games and how did it come about?
Ulisses has shown on several occasions that fans who provide creative and unconventional content initially do not encounter closed-minded ears, but rather a fundamental interest. Similar to (much later) Mirko Bader, who was enthusiastic about the fan project HeXXen 1730 at Ulisses, it was mainly our founding member Martin “Talkim” Bettenworth who talked to the Ulisses guys on conventions. We must emphasize on the one hand Mario Truant, who at the time was very supportive of Riesland; but also Markus Plötz always seemed to have a special weak spot for Rakshazar. For example, Markus brought the fan base the “Book of Blades” (BdK), our arsenal that he absolutely wanted to see released.
Products such as the BdK even closed smaller gaps in the official The Dark Eye journalism, as it became an absolute standard work for Stone Age to Bronze Age weapons and equipment. Also Daniel Simon Richter should be mentioned, who was our contact for a long time. I myself maintained contact with André Wiesler, who recently left us too soon. André was not a “mainland barbarian”, as he once said, and thus no euphoric Rakshazar fan, but in turned out that he was completely delighted with the humorous “King of the Pirates” and the idea of an Eastern pirate setting.
Today I am heartfelt that he got the raw version of the so far unpublished successor years ago from us and also read it. Then there would be The Dark Eye cartographer Steffen Brand, with whom I discussed the landmasses that eventually became the official TDE canon, as well as the name of the continent, Rakshazar, which is now part of TDE canon. In short: The cooperation with Ulisses Games was always positive, uncomplicated and familiar. Maybe there will be a sequel as soon as our focus play aid is ready. 😉
What was the impact of The Dark Eye’s edition upgrade on your project?
Tremendous! At the time of the announcement, two more regular volumes were about to be released: the “Dark Arts Book”, our volume on supernatural works (magic, idols, demons, etc.), and “Giants, Beasts, Weeds”, our Bestiary and Herbarium. Thousands of hours of hobby time were suddenly devalued, as it was said that Ulisses would no longer print products that came along with 4.1 rules. At that time we only had a few months left to print one (or both) of the volumes at Ulisses. Since our layouter was currently inactive and the illustrations were not complete, the hauruck action failed due to the unpredictable deadline of TDE4.1.
At that time, a huge number of projecters were jumping, but not just out of frustration with TDE5: The change had hit our project in a critical phase of life, when we were all between the beginning and the end of 30; married and partly had children. Rakshazar was originally a kind of studio project; later it became a career and family hobby; which bigger upheavals like a change of edition did not cope so easily anymore. In the summer of 2014, only about three of the once around 30 assets remained at their lowest point.
Personally, I consider TDE5 to be a proper and long overdue step. A transitional phase of 2 to 3 years in favor of the side projects would not have hurt. I find it strange that when I think of the more than 1000 pages in the two unpublished volumes that would probably be on the shelves and hard drives of the community today, TDE5 would have appeared only two years later.
Fortunately, last year we were able to save Rakshazar by burying the 10-year-old “Rakshazar Project” along with its chaotic forum and re-founding it one day later at the Orkenspalter under the new name of “Adventure in Rakshazar”. Actually, you are conducting this interview with the follow-up project. 😉
A solution to the edition problem was also found: our PDF versions will receive duplicate rule information in the future and our adventures will at best have no rules whatsoever. For example, last year I published the random Rakshazar adventure “The Walking City”, which was well received. Our Tharun colleagues faced the same problem and proved with “Swords and Giants” that random adventures can be a charming and flexible solution.
What are you currently working on?
The focus is on the publication of our focus play aid “Behind the Sword”. It is a publication that is both regional description, adventure game aid, equipment book, herbarium & bestiary in one. All content is not generic, but focused on a particularly exciting region in Rakshazar. A game round gets with a focus game help so everything you need to play in each region.
With the Valley of Suits, the book “Behind the Sword” addresses the region that is geographically closest to Aventuria. Here it has u.a. an expedition of the Thorwaler stranded for generations. And also the legacies of the Theater Knights can be explored here. The Valley of complaints also has the advantage that it is separated not only by Aventuria, but also by the Rakshazar heartland by mountains. It is therefore an ideal playground “between the worlds” in which both Aventurian and Rakshazarian influences mix. Incidentally, the companion adventures that appear in parallel are designed in such a way that they can be experienced with Aventurian characters.
Behind the current focus play aid beckons already the next adventure anthology. We already have a lot of adventures and scenarios together, so that in between we can expect more and more ABs from us. My co-author Roland “Dnalor” Hofmeister is a one-man adventure factory that constantly spits out texts in which we barely follow the others with proofreading, illustration and setting. 😉
If your project was The Dark Eye character, which one would it be?
Alrik Immerdar would be an obviously good choice, but we think it is continental patriotic, by opting for our Rakshazarer in exile, the good old Salpikon Savertin. 😉