Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon – Now Available!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 27, 2011

I’m feeling lazy, so I’ll just post this li’l press release…

Salt Lake City, UT – Indie computer game developer Rampant Games has announced the release of its long-anticipated role-playing game, Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon, an indie role-playing game drawing inspiration from the classics, with a humorous twist.

Embracing the style and mechanics for role-playing games that have been largely abandoned by major publishers, Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon features a first-person perspective, turn-based combat, a statistics-heavy game system, a party of four characters, and thousands of lines of unvoiced dialog presented in comic-book style word balloons.  The Skull of S’makh-Daon also adds new innovations to the genre, including a “drama star” system that encourages players to accept setbacks in the game rather than reloading and trying again, and a mini-game where players must disarm traps one component at a time using their character skills and available tools.

On top of the serious, ‘hard-core’ engine, The Skull of S’makh-Daon layers a world and story with a decidedly more tongue-in-cheek approach to the genre. Spells and skills have names like “Power Word: Defenestrate” and “Size Doesn’t Matter.” In a world of jaded heroes and veteran adventurers, the player’s party is a team of misfits: Arianna, a dainty warrior with an attitude problem; Dirk, an adrenaline-junky rogue who doesn’t seem to understand the word ‘subtle;’ Benjamin, a nature-priest and newcomer to the adventuring lifestyle, and Chloe, a ditsy sorceress with a love of cute, fuzzy animals and setting her enemies on fire.

Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon is now available as a digital download at http://frayedknights.com. It is unrated, but should be content-appropriate for most teens and adults.

Features include:

  •     30+ hours of gameplay
  •     Challenging, turn-based combat in a game
  •     A spell named, “Power Word: Defenestrate.”
  •     Over a hundred base spells, most with several upgraded variants
  •     Over 80 feats to customize the party as they progress through the game.
  •     Nearly 200 different items to be used and abused by your characters.
  •     A “Quarterstaff of Nad-Whacking.”
  •     Sixteen “dungeons” (interior adventuring areas), five outdoor areas, one village, an alternate dimension, and some green dude’s one-room hovel.
  •     A 69-page (PDF) manual

About Rampant Games: Rampant Games is a mainly one-person game development studio in Riverton, Utah. Owner Jay Barnson is a veteran game programmer from the “mainstream” industry, involved in the development of numerous hit and not-such-hit titles for consoles and the PC since 1994.

Trailer Video:



And on a personal note…


Guys, I can’t believe I’m finally releasing this thing. I really hope you like it.  I’ve wanted to do something like this since I was a young teen playing Ultima III for the first time. This isn’t a magnum opus. It’s only a beginning. But I’m thrilled to be able to share it with as wide an audience as I can get. Please help spread the word, if you can.

But mainly: I really, really hope you enjoy my game.

Thanks everyone for their support through this long project – whether it was encouragement or providing content, offering suggestions or going to town on testing. You guys rock, and the game is far better because of you.

Have fun.

UPDATE: Because I released in the wee hours U.S. time with a new account with a U.S. payment processor, there’s been some slowness in fulfillment. Nobody will get charged until their order is fulfilled. This should be resolved shortly, but the first batch of customers might be stuck in “pending” status for a few more hours. I apologize.

UPDATE 2: The issue has been resolved. New vendors have tighter fraud screening, and they’ve fixed the issue. This is a Good Thing on their part, just unfortunate timing.


Filed Under: Frayed Knights, Game Announcements - Comments: 39 Comments to Read

  • skavenhorde said,

    Congratulations, Jay. Now you can get some sleep 😀

  • Jason said,

    Just died in the demo and bought the full game. Just waitin’ on the download link! Neato stuff, indeed. 🙂

  • Doug said,

    Nice job on the release!

  • Greg Squire said,

    Congrats! Many kudos for staying the course and getting it done. Now comes all the marketing … 😉

  • Demiath said,

    It’s not every day that a turn-based first person PC RPG gets released, and Rampant Games has now joined the small but growing circle of hard-working developers who are not content to merely complain about the state of modern RPGs but are actively doing something about it. That’s a pretty big thing, and for all its light-hearted tone Frayed Knights is saying something quite profound and important about how much the genre can actually benefit from more gameplay diversity (i.e. not everything has to be single-character with realtime combat) and how indie developers are able to contribute to realizing that potential.

    In other words, INSTABUY!

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Aw, thanks! 🙂

    I’d hope you’d at least try the demo first just to make sure it works on your machine. FK:TSoSD runs on an older engine, which is GREAT for making sure it runs okay on older machines, but it does mean it can get quirky.

    And … okay, those who DO play the demo to completion may be a little amused by the ending.

    Incidentally, saved games between the demo and full version should be 100% compatible, but you’ll have to move them over manually. Or install the full version in the same directory as the demo.

  • Corwin said,

    And don’t forget about the fantastic Reviews of the game over at RPGWatch. (Blatant Plug) 🙂

  • MJG said,

    Bought! I haven’t even tried the demo yet, but honestly, I just want to show my support for all the hard work that’s gone into the game and this site. If I wind up getting an awesome CRPG out of the deal, all the better 😉

  • BR41ND34D said,

    congratz on the release Jay 🙂

  • Charles said,

    I was ‘Frayed of this. This is going to cause a one month delay for the release of all my future projects. Thanks Jay. Thanks a LOT!

    PS Payment didn’t work the first time but it passed on the second try. Good sign this is 😉

  • GhanBuriGhan said,

    Congratulations! I’m looking forward to trying the demo tonight.

  • UDM said,

    Special Boxed Ed. Jay. Get to it. Now. =D

    Also, is it going to be released on Gamersgate?

  • jzoeller said,


  • Adam said,

    Congrats! This is a smashing success. You, your work, and your blog are an inspiration to many. Thanks for sticking to it!

  • David said,

    Congratulations! I haven’t been this excited for a game release in quite some time.

  • Yo'el said,

    Awesome! Congrats!

  • delve said,


  • Califer said,

    Haha, guess we won’t be seeing anything from you tomorrow at Indie Game Night!

    And how about that, you beat both Siphon Spirit AND March to the Moon.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Hey, I told you guys I should have released the game by the next indie games night. Then Greg had to go and make it bi-monthly instead of tri-monthly. 🙂

    (Which is a good thing, I’m gonna be out of the country the latter half of October)

  • Dan said,


    I want to add my congratulations to the chorus you’ve already received. I’m really looking forward to playing it. It seems like forever since I got to play a little of the first dungeon, and I’m sure it feels even longer to you. Good job sticking with it.


  • Alexis said,

    Long time lurker, first time commenter… congrats on finishing your game! I’m excited to check out the demo.

  • Kevin Jackson said,

    Downloading my own copy now. Congratulations on completing it!

  • Acrin1 said,

    This is great news. Congratulations. Looking forward to trying out the demo tonight.

  • Shpuld said,

    Just like Alexis, this is my first post here. Been following you for quite some time though. Congrats on the release, you can expect my money in the weekend! 🙂

  • stay said,

    Congrats! Drama Stars to Jay for releasing the game!

  • Calibrator said,

    Congrats from me, too!
    (Now I feel bad for not having time to play it right now but I’ll get it, too, to put it on my “upcoming shelf”)

  • getter77 said,

    Fantastic. I don’t care how long it takes me, I will eventually own the Trilogy!

  • Indie Recommendations « Tish Tosh Tesh said,

    […] up, Jay from Rampant Coyote has finished his Frayed Knights game!  I’ve been following his excellent developer articles on the game for a while now.  He […]

  • Andy_Panthro said,

    Just got it now, downloading as I type.

    Congratulations on the release!

  • YayForJay said,


    Buying this as soon as I get home.

  • Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon is out! « Shards of Imagination said,

    […] As the title says, Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon has been released. […]

  • Xian said,

    Congratulations on getting it out the door Jay. I downloaded the demo, played it a few minutes to make sure it was working properly, then promptly bought the full version.

    From what I have seen, I think I am going to enjoy it. I like a little humor in my games sometimes. I just finished Deathspank a couple weeks ago and that had some genuine laugh out loud moments in it.

  • McTeddy said,

    BAAAAAAH! #@!% it!

    You finally release and money is too tight for me to buy it right now!

    Well… congrats on completing the project. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  • Barry Brenesal said,

    Hey, nice going! Definitely will download the demo now, and give it a try. If you celebrate, go for a nice home brew, or some 10-year-old scotch, or maybe a good shiraz. You deserve it. 🙂

  • Sindisil said,

    Very cool, congratulations Jay!

    I’ve been following your blog for years now; you’re a consistent source of inspiration, and I’m absolutely stoked that you’ve shipped this bad boy!

    I’m definitely in your target demo, though I don’t boot to Windows very often any more. I’ll find time to make an exception for this, though.

  • Foreigner said,

    This is a repost from RPGWatch where someone was having a similar problem. I hope it saves some grief from frustrated gamers directed at Rampant Coyote after his Herculean effort.

    I’m not sure if this has been addressed in a FAQ or elsewhere, but in case anyone is having a problem with the game freezing on a Windows 7 or Vista PC, the solution that worked for me was to right-click the game icon, go to the compatibility tab, and select Disable visual themes and Disable desktop composition. (I didn’t have time to test to see which of these actually worked.) Ran without issue during the short test I gave it afterwards. I’m assuming if you are running Windows Vista, the same fix should work. On my Windows XP box (considerably less powerful, about 5 yrs old, nVidia 7900GTX card) it ran smooth as silk with no messing about in a window and fullscreen, which indicates to me the issue lies with Windows 7 doing funky stuff with the desktop. Hope this helps & congratulations to Jay.

  • Scotticus said,

    Kudos and congrats, man! You’re living the dream!!!!

  • Rats said,


  • Styg said,

    ‘Grats, mate! Looking forward to playing the demo.