Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Frayed Knights: Am I just a cruel game designer?

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 15, 2014

Am I just a cruel game designer? Are there any other games out there that have one of the longest dialogues in the game take place after the entire party has been wiped out? Is this me trying to be funny and take the edge off a frustrating situation, or was it me just rubbing it in?

I like to think the former, but sometimes I’m not sure.


Now, technically, I was trying to get a TPK (Total Party Kill) here, but the rats in Farmer Brown’s cellar are particularly nasty and make it pretty easy. But not as nasty as the critters at the Tower of Almost Certain Death. One of the challenges of going more “open” in design is that the player won’t necessarily take the smoothest path. If the player bypasses some of the little missions in town (including Farmer Brown’s cellar) and the mines in the Eastern Wilderness to go straight for the Tower of Almost Certain Death, and pushes straight for the top of the tower, it’s going to hard to avoid either getting a lot of TPKs and / or a lot of visits back at the inn.

I guess, in retrospect, I should have had Benjamin’s “tip” take the player to an easier dungeon, like the mines. Now, in my mind, there’s a gameplay / philosophical rationale here. But it may just be that subconsciously I’m just a really cruel game designer.

Anyway – if you are a new player to the game and are looking for hints, this is one: Unlike many RPGs, you aren’t expected to make a beeline between your quest areas. ¬†In fact, there may be forces at work (NOT ME!) that are intentionally trying to push your party to failure. Take some time to smell the roses, go off the beaten path, and explore some of that terrain. You may find buried treasure. You may find a fierce enemy. You may find a whole dungeon that no “quest” pushes you to visit. And yes, you could find yourself completely in over your head in a few places, which may lead to that that dialog in the screenshot becoming completely un-funny. You may find your entry barred by something you cannot solve just yet. But it’s all okay.

I tried my best to make sure you can’t break the game this way. Much of the better loot can be found in “optional” dungeons. And the dungeons and countrysides are literally littered with little events, secrets, and dumb jokes.

Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon is coming soon to Steam, but it currently available¬†at our website, if you do not want to wait.



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

  • Daniel King said,

    I thought the death script was pretty funny, as long as you can skip it/reload easily enough its all good.

  • Cuthalion said,

    Wait… I was supposed to go to the mines _before_ the tower?! Well, no wonder. (Actually, I can’t remember for sure if I did do the mines first or not. I was still working through the tower when I last played, and I should get back to it. But I think I was waiting on the mines for some reason.)

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I’d have to check the numbers, but I think the mines (except for the boss) is about equal in difficulty to the area below the tower. Ditto for the Rats of Nom (which are a little easier just because it’s a tiny dungeon in a safe location – easy to go back and rest up). If you go through all three before attempting the tower proper, you’ll probably have an easier time of it. My plan was that if you could beat the tower, you’d be in pretty good shape to tackle at least the Southern Caverns of Anarchy. Although – again – the Hobgoblins are probably the most challenging of THAT bunch, too.

    The thing is – and this is true throughout the design – a lot of it is in tactics and defenses. If you try to just attack / zap / heal your way through all of it, there are going to be some challenges that are a lot harder than others (and I’m trying to make that even more true in the sequel). There are a bunch of defensive and debuffing feats and spells and items for a reason. Although I admit it’s not available as smoothly as I’d like in game 1.