The Dark Eye (TDE, German: Das Schwarze Auge (DSA)), is a German role-playing game created by Ulrich Kiesow and launched by the Schmidt Spiel & Freizeit GmbH and the Droemer Knaur Verlag in 1984. The name literally means "the black eye". However this does not imply a 'black eye' as in a bruise; the German expression for such bruising is "blaues Auge" ("blue eye").
It has become the most successful role-playing game on the German market, leaving all contenders behind in terms of sales (even Dungeons & Dragons). The many years of editorial work on the game have led to an extremely detailed and extensively described game world. The Droemer Knaur Verlag dropped the project in early 1989, and after the bankruptcy of the Schmidt Spiel & Freizeit GmbH in 1997 publishing was continued by Fantasy Productions, Kiesow's company that had already done all the editorial work. Since the game's launch the game system had already gone through three editions, making the rules and background more and more complex. The fourth edition of The Dark Eye was published in 2002. It was the first edition to be released in English (in October 2003).
Aventuria, the continent on which the game is set, was first introduced to the English-language market through a series of computer games and a few novels, later under the name Realms of Arkania. The trademark Realms of Arkania was owned by the now defunct Sir-tech Software, Inc., which led to the name change to The Dark Eye as Fantasy Productions was unable to obtain the trademark.
In April 2007 Ulisses Spiele took over TDE pen & paper licence from Fantasy Productions.