Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Frayed Knights: Why these characters?

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 4, 2014

Frayed_cover_finalSo today, I act like a “real” game developer (I’ve been faking it for almost twenty years) and act as an exhibitor at Salt Lake Comic Con. It’s been a rough several weeks getting this little demo of Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath ready. It’s felt very much like a release, with all the attendant pressure and stress and crunch. I love making games, but it’s hard work. If nothing else, I’m proud of making a self-contained demo adventure with a complete story (if one that ends in something of a mystery tied into the rest of the game) that can be played inside of about five minutes or so. Trying to encapsulate an RPG experience into something that can be played by a random visitor in the middle of a show floor isn’t easy.

But now – hey! We’re here! And if you are at Salt Lake Comic Con this weekend, come take a look and play! We’re at Booth 521, with a whole bunch of other great games.  Come, play, chat, have fun!  Especially if you are press, there’s a lot to see!

Okay – on to other things. One question I used to get asked for the first Frayed Knights game that still pops up occasionally is, “Why can’t I make my own characters?” If you’ve played the first game, it’s pretty obvious. It’ll be even more obvious after this second one. To me, it’s kinda like asking the same question of The Witcher, or Planescape: Torment. “Why do I have to play this Nameless One guy? I’d rather play a hot elven maiden. And why can’t I make his own party members too, instead of being stuck with this useless floating skull?”

Not that I think my game really compares to Planescape: Torment in terms of awesomeness. But hey, set your goals high, right?

The bottom line is, this is a game ABOUT these particular characters. Their personalities, their roles, their backstories… it’s their game. And it’s a story-heavy game. It’s about a dainty half-elf warrior with a chip on her shoulder, a show-off adrenaline-junkie rogue, a nature priest who chose the nature-worshipping lifestyle to avoid the stress of, say, adventuring, and a ditzy but cute-and-perky sorceress with a scary violent streak.

You can’t change the characters without having a completely different game.  You may as well ask, “Why don’t you have randomized dungeons in this game?” Or, “Why isn’t it a science-fiction game set aboard a space ship?” Okay, I guess that if we consider the early Might & Magic games, the latter one *is* possible without fundamentally changing the game. But you see the point. These are great game ideas. I mean, you can play Sword of the Stars: The Pit, and make your own character, play in a sci-fi setting, and have randomized dungeons all at once, and it’s a great game! But it’s very, very different. And I’ve got a couple of ideas for games kicking around in my head that are begging to be made that do involve creating your own characters from scratch (and one involves randomized dungeons), as that’s something I really enjoy, too.

I think that in response to this, I kinda went overboard on the customization options in Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon. I spent a great deal of time and effort making it so that the characters could really expand beyond their roles. In practice – I don’t know that anyone beyond the testers really did much with it. Was it wasted effort? Should that time have been spent in other places to make the experience for the vast majority of players better? I dunno. While I’m not emphasizing that so much with the revamped system in the sequel, it’s still part of the legacy of the series, and there’s still a ton of options for expanding or specializing the role of each of the characters in the party. You can still turn Dirk into a spellcaster if you choose.

One thing I haven’t committed to yet is whether or not you will have any power to customize the other characters that will periodically be a temporary part of your adventuring group over the course of their adventures. But I’ll save the discussion of that one for a later post.

Anyway – in the meantime – COMIC CON!

Have fun!

Filed Under: Frayed Knights - Comments: 3 Comments to Read

  • Adam said,

    Good luck! I wish I could be there to meet you in person and check out the game.

  • Xian said,

    I thought the Frayed Knights characters were great the way they were. You wouldn’t have had that same level of party banter and such with roll-your-own characters. I imagine balancing was a lot easier too with a known set of characters. Some times a premade character is appropriate, and I think this was one of those times. As you mentioned, The Witcher wouldn’t be the same with a different Gerrald, ditto PST.

    Good luck at Comic Con!

  • Cuthalion said,

    I like the pre-made characters. Now, you could’ve done what a lot of old jRPGs do and let you change their names, even if it doesn’t change anything else about their dialogue. But I don’t feel like I really missed that option.