Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Tactical Telepathicness … Telepathicity? Telepathitude?

Posted by Rampant Coyote on April 10, 2013

So my birthday was just over a week ago. And I’m still doing stuff about it. Yeah, that’s pretty much how I roll when it comes to schedules and deadlines. The sale continues, and the give-away continues.  Yesterday we had three people win copies of the outstanding RPG / TD hybrid, Defender’s Quest.  Apparently, the dice favored Tetris mash-ups this time around – Damon Smith, Binh Nguyen, and Darius – please check your emails! (Actually, the dice really favored the two entries that weren’t entering the drawing, rolling those numbers multiple times…. sheesh. I should use different dice next time!) Congrats, and thanks everyone for contributing and sharing ideas!

frayed_knights_menu_1024x768Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon, the first of the Frayed Knights trilogy, is on sale for half price here and at Desura, an indie-focused gaming service. There are only a few days left on this, so grab it now before you forget! 🙂

And since I realize a few folks here might not know what I’m talking about…

Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon is by far the largest game I’ve ever worked on (and I’ve worked on games that have sold seven digits). After talking about making computer RPGs for years, I finally took some time (a few years, gah!) to actually make one. It is a style of RPG that has been neglected over the last decade or two – the first-person party-based dungeon crawl – in the style of classics like Might & Magic, Wizardry, The Bard’s Tale, etc.

But I wasn’t content with just imitating old classics. I wanted to experiment with new ideas, inject it with my own brand of goofiness, and tie it a bit more to classic “dice-and-paper” role–playing from the era that inspired the original computer RPGs. While there are a lot of things I feel I can improve on (and indeed, I’m working on doing just that with Frayed Knights 2), I’m quite pleased with the results, and I hope people who are just now hearing about the game can check it out and understand why. It garnered multiple awards, including RPG of the Year from RPG Watch and GameBanshee.

I’m super-thrilled to be working on the sequel right now.  And I really appreciate everybody who has supported – and continues to support – this game. You guys and gals are the ones who make this all worthwhile.

Making indie games is not … well, as a friend of mine from the game industry used to say, “It’s not all fun and games, sometimes it’s just games.” Yes, it’s fun. And yes, I do it ‘cuz I love it — it sure as hell ain’t the money. Not that I’m at all opposed to that kind of thing. 🙂

For many of us, making an indie game is a huge investment of time, and personal expenses that we hope will be recovered on the back end. Releasing a game doesn’t usually have the fairy-tale ending.  Steam doesn’t always appear as a handsome prince, blessing your game and helping you sell hundreds of thousands of copies.  You persevere. I study these success stories, working hard to make my own, and even the legendary success stories usually involve years of toiling in obscurity before becoming an “overnight success.”

Telepath-TacticsWith that in mind, I wanted to point out the Kickstarter for Craig Stern’s Telepath Tactics: A Strategy RPG. It’s already passed its original goal, and is now trucking into stretch goal territory, but is now entering the final days of the campaign.  Craig is like me, one of those “working class indies” who has released quite a few games in the past which are quite good, but haven’t had the budget to really make them “pop.” Hopefully this campaign will do the trick.

If you are interested in this, now is the time as it enters its final push. There are only a few days left. Craig has a track record of previously released games, so as “real” indie Kickstarters go, it’s fairly low-risk IMO.

And I expect it to be full of telepathicness. Well, telepathy. Or something like that. It’s his world’s answer to “magic,” giving it a somewhat different flavor from the run-of-the-mill fantasy worlds. Though there’s plenty of traditional fantasy elements. And I can guarantee it’ll be full of tactics. By stripping away most of the randomness, his games have a different feel to the combat.  It’s less of a risk-mitigation thing and more of a planning-ahead thing. If you’ve played his previous games, you know what I’m talking about.

And hey – why not? Have you played Telepath RPG: Servants of God? It’s his most recent and best example of his work. You can check out the free demo at that link. It has the same deterministic tactics-heavy combat system (albeit not nearly as in-depth as what Telepath Tactics is doing), interesting characters and relationships, TONS of dialog and story, and a rich fantasy world.


(Wait for it….)

TSoG_Big_Screen01You can win a free copy! Craig has kindly donated three of them to be given away around this time tomorrow.

What must you do to obtain one, you ask? Well, I’ve been really digging this “no right answer” stuff in the comments, because not only do I get entertained, everyone else can be, as well. So let’s keep doing that, shall we? With something not exactly related to the game…

Let’s say you were born “gifted” with a telepathic power – a very limited form of mind over matter, or mind-reading, or mind-over-mind, or some other sort of extra-sensory perception. Unlike the heroes in Sinster Design’s Telepath series, your powers are not well suited to a combat role. Or much of a persuasive role. Or – really – any useful role at all.

That’s right – you are “gifted” with one of the world’s most useless variations of telepathy.

What would your useless telepathic gift be?

I’ll start out: Mine is “detect the presence of air.” Not really determining its composition, whether it’s healthy air or poison gas, just that there’s non-vacuum gas of roughly air density within my line of sight. I suppose if I lived in space or spent a lot of time snorkeling I could find some very minor uses for it. But otherwise — yay. There’s air ahead.

Everyone who comments will be added to the drawing unless you state you aren’t interested (use “N/G” at the beginning or end of your post, for “No Game”, to make it easy).  That way those who already have the game can contribute as well. The drawing will be sometime tomorrow morning. And yes, unlike Craig’s game, randomness *WILL* be involved. 😉

Have fun!


Filed Under: Deals, Frayed Knights, Rampant Games - Comments: 24 Comments to Read

  • Deft said,

    Happy Birthday, Rampant Coyote!

    Most useless telepathy ability? Telepathic status updates to my telepath network:

    Just think, there you are, minding your own business, and my voice tells you:
    “omg, just ate eggs for breakfast. yum!”
    “So excited for next season of reality blah”
    “Work’s all done! OMW to the gym! HUAH!”

    And unless you’re also a telepath, there’s no spam filter!

  • Califer said,

    Knowledge as to what the other person’s favorite Pokemon is.

  • FallenAngel said,

    Being able to tell when somebody is thinking about you. Not who they are, what they are thinking, or any such kind of direction or detail, simply wether or not someone is currently thinking about you.

  • kevin0xf said,

    Psychic Ability: Detect true Indie. Of course everyone argues with you, even though you are absolutely right due to your “gift”.

  • JT said,

    Mine would be to be able to read minds. Not all minds, just those minds that haven’t been alive for long enough to really exert their will or to have much going on in general. Newborn minds, that is, no more than an hour or two old.

  • Tom Wilson said,


  • Dan Barber said,

    In an ode to Matt Chat, mine would be the ability to summon a single non-threatening, normal sized rat. Any further attempts to summon a rat would summon the exact same rat, until that particular rat was either deceased or out of summoning range.

  • Galenloke said,

    Levitation. Only when standing very still for at least 15 minutes and only lifting about an inch a minute. You immediately fall if you move too much.

    This is highly impractical for most scenarios but makes waiting in line that much more exciting.

  • Steven Fletcher said,

    Being able to seize telepathic control of your own mind, thus allowing you to move your own body.

  • DGM said,

    Detect Nearest Telepath. And ONLY the nearest one.

    Think about it.

  • Myrkrel said,

    Hello, long-time reader, first-time poster here. I really enjoy your blog, especially the posts about game design and FK development. I’m starting work on an indie RPG project of my own, and it’s always interesting to read about your process with Frayed Knights.

    Speaking of which – it’s high time I bought the game – so I was wondering if a particular purchase venue (on-site BMTMicro or Desura) was preferable for you profit-wise?. I’ve used neither so I could go either way. Thanks for running the sale, and belated happy birthday!

    And my useless telepathic ability is:
    – Telekinetic paper folding, but the target is uncontrollably random, within a mile radius.

  • Charles said,

    Telepathetic humor.

    I can tell a joke by telepathy, but it only works if it is really pathetic. hence telepathetic.

    It would work great for this entry for instance. 🙂

    Happy birthweek!

  • Maklak said,

    Damn, I was late for the Tower Defence RPG contest. I saw Telepath Tactics a few years ago, but wasn’t very impressed. If there is some kind of story to it, I may like it, so if I’m not late this time and I win it, I’ll take it.

    Anyway, mine “made up telepathic ability” is not quite so useless, but can be nerfed with limitations: detect bugs in code. Familiar programming languages only, takes some concentration and often the answer is “unknown”. When it works it gives me a vague feeling that something is wrong here, but to find the cause I have to actually understand the code. Sometimes it lets me know “this is right, I can move on”. There is also some uncertainty as to what is a bug and what isn’t. All in all, a moderately useful ability, unless it drives me nuts to know that something is wrong without being able to quite put my finger on it. Not really a substitute for a debugger and understanding what’s actually going on.

    If that doesn’t qualify, I’d go with mostly earie presence. If I want to I can make people in general vicinity feel uneasy about being in my company.

  • Carnifex said,

    Junky powers ftw…..You have the power of invisibility….for all your own organs. It doesn’t affect anything skin or above!!

  • Binh Nguyen said,

    Happy Birthday Jay!

    Thank you for Defender’s Quest. It’s a game I’ve been wanting to play for a while now but I have had to resist due to my budget.

    I’ve read every one of your articles and I’ve enjoyed and benefited from them immensely.

    My telepathic ability would be to make everyone around me fall asleep. Everyone. Myself, allies, enemies, and even the rats and insects skittering around.

    Since I’ve been lucky already, N/G for me.

  • Corwin said,

    I would love to have the ability to create at least small amounts of chocolate with my mind. It might even have some use in combat, but there wouldn’t be much of that since everyone would love me for my chocolate making ability. 🙂

  • Noumenon said,

    I can’t believe I’m not the first to want to be able to read the minds of babies. Not a lot going on in there. I’m not saying you could detect why they’re crying, because that would be one of the most useful superpowers ever. Just while they’re lying there sucking on their toes.

  • Olly said,

    When staring into the eyes of my reflection in a mirror, I can see the world as though through the eyes of the reflection.

  • Cuthalion said,

    Autokinesis. But since Steven Fletcher already took that one, how about…

    The telepathic ability to understand profanities spoken in any language. But only profanities.

  • Incindium said,

    The ability to detect a heart beating but with a working range that it has be inside of your skin for your talent to work…

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Wow. Loved the responses! You made me chuckle.

    Anyway – the contest is officially *closed* and winners will be notified by email. But feel free to keep contributing if you want.

  • Olly said,

    The amazing ability to see through transparent objects as if they aren’t there! The only downside is that you literally can’t perceive transparent objects, making it qutie tough to find your drinking glass when it’s empty. Also if you wear glasses/contact lenses (as I do) then this would render them completely useless.

  • David W said,

    The ability to be a living voltmeter/ammeter…by touch. Not a particularly sensitive one, either, need at least 100 V before I can detect it.

  • Lee said,

    The telepathic ability to change DNA molecules.
    Alas this is so complex it took me a lifetime to realize I could do it… and 5 minutes to understand it was useless. DNA is just too complex for me, I can’t even direct the changes I do.