Caves of Qud: What's in the Works
We want to tell you about our vision for the game and what sorts of things we are working on. This list isn't meant to be all-inclusive, but I will update it from time to time as I remember things and as new things develop.
We like the idea of an immersive setting with lots of RPG elements, but we want to open it up and veer away from the linearity of a "main storyline". Instead, we plan on having several in-game factions each of which will have a storyline that takes players from the early-mid game to a unique ending. Each faction will offer certain character advancements that compliment the types of characters people play (in this sense they are somewhat analogous to "classes"). There will be a lot of interwoven story threads between the factions; ultimately you'll only progress all the way to the end of the game through one per playthrough (or none -- we also want to include a way to beat the game without progressing through a faction). The goals, ethics, play experience, etc, of each faction will be very unique, so even if you beat the game once there will be several other things to do upon replays -- and what's a roguelike without replay value? Descriptions of the seven factions we have planned? Okay! Some of these already have presences in the game, though only the Barathrumites are playable at the moment.
Some denizens of Qud, discontent to idle through these dark days, seek to reclaim the grandeur of antiquity. Among those are the Urshiib, a species of intelligent, quilled cave bears who migrated to Qud from the Homs Delta over a thousand years ago. One bear in particular blazes forward (and backward) toward the ancient culture. Barathrum the Old is told to have been among those antecessors who crossed the salt bridges into Qud all those years ago. A mere cub, he was spellbound by the curiosities of a forgotten age that lay in ruin around him, and over the years he cultivated a passion for the restoration of those hoary relics. Now he leads a clan of his disciples, known as the Barathrumites, who aid humanoid communities reanimate whichever of their artifacts have evaded ruin. Anyone may join his order, man and cave bear alike; all that is required is an admiration for Qud's curios and a devotion to seeing them and the communities of Qud restored to their former glory.
Nestled deep within the poisoned caves of Qud, leagues beneath the earth's surface, lies the city of Oudin and its sworn wardens the Putus Templar. Oudin is perhaps Qud's last true bastion from the mutant beasts that make the rust-caves their home. It is inhabited by an order of knights who loathe mutation in any form. They are among Qud's last pure-strain humans, and they have pledged their lives to eradicating the mutant swarm that creeps toward their home from all sides. The city itself has largely eluded ruin by virtue of its defenders' age-old ordinance of seclusion, and thus the Templar have at their disposal artifacts of the past such as no other community. Beware your approach to Oudin, however, as the Putus Templar will kill any impure organism that nears the gates of their vault.
Consortium of Phyta
The Consortium of Phyta has grown considerably since its humble inception eighteen hundred years ago. Its progentior, a sentient seed fern named Hegelrut, tired of watching generations of humanoids crop and prune hundreds of his spawn each spring. He rallied the local kudzu population and harried the humans' subterranean farmsteads until they were driven back to the surface. Today the Consortium is comprised of intelligent plants from all regions of Qud. Members engage in trade with each other, provide hospice for weary allies (though Hegelrut set no precedent for selflessness), and comb the rust-caves for Hegelrut's tomb, where it is told he interred himself with a lifetime's trove of riches.
Fraternity of Wardens
Two hundred years ago, the Fraternity was formed to protect the myriad peaceable hamlets found across the shallow tiers of the rust-caves of Qud. Founded by outrider-migrants who crossed into Qud from beyond the White Dunes centuries ago, the Fraternity has maintained the structure of a military hierarchy since its inception, employing mostly career soldiers, though in recent years the Legion has begun to contract mercenaries and fortune-hunters alike. The ranks are comprised mostly of mutant humanoids, but other stock are as welcome to join. Legionnaires safeguard small communities from Qud's belligerent flora and fauna and scour the depths of the rust-caves for valuable trinkets and baubles. The Fraternity's unit of operation is the adventuring party led by a veteran commander.
The Mechanimists worship Qud's lifeless machines as gods. Unlike the Barathrumites, they venerate deactivated artifacts and claim to propitiate the gods with their sacrifice. Mechanimist priests have been known to bestow functional artifacts unto proven champions of the order, though this is an uncommon rite and is usually reserved for those adherents who demonstrate the most fervent fealty. As for functional robots, the Mechanimists believe they are inhabited by evil spirits, and the order mandates the deactivation of these hallowed machines and their return to the nearest Mechanimist temples. Though they can be found throughout Qud, most Mechanists congregate at their tabernacle on the Six Day Stilt.
Seekers of the Sightless Way
The Seekers of the Sightless Way have begun to spurn their corporeal existence in favor of the telepathy gifted to them by mutation and cybernetics. Each psychic treks ceaselessly toward the Seekers' mecca, a mysterious place known as Sei told to reside within the great cavern of Caiafas. Anyone with an aptitude for psionics may join their sect, though little is known of their motives and intentions. Are the legends true that single psions can mature to such power that they dominate the wills of whole communities with their mindcraft? Unfortunately only those able to tap into the aggregate mind can know the truth.
Glow-wights are the name given to those miscreant beings who roost deep within the furthest recesses of Qud. They worship the writhing monstrosities who mutation has twisted beyond salvation, and they strive to reshape themselves in those creatures' images. The staid, glowing pools found throughout the rust-caves are their temples. Some glow-wights congregate around priests who administer dark liturgies, others too vile for kinship fester and seethe in their lightless nooks. One thing binds them all, however. Each does everything in its power to spread the living poison to any of Qud's alcoves that have so far resisted it.
Mutant Plants and Animals as Playable Characters
Like one of our biggest influences, the pen and paper RPG "Gamma World", we would be remiss if we didn't include mutant plants and animals as playable characters in Caves of Qud. The framework for this feature already exists; it's just a matter of design. Likely we'll have various plant and animal "stocks" from which you'll choose at character creation. These stocks will have adjusted stats and starting mutations. For example, the tortoise stock might start with +3 Toughness and the Carapace mutation. We may offer varying levels of anthropomorphism like GW does, so that you might choose between a mutated tortoise with hands and opposable digits and, say, +3 Toughness, versus a more traditional mutant tortoise without the benefit of all the humanoid inventory slots, but with +6 Toughness, +4 Strength, and additional bonuses. Just a rough example; we're still working through the idea.
Then there are mutant plants, obviously. These will likely work similarly to mutant animals, though plants might roll from a different set of physical mutations (but the same set of mental ones). We also plan to include symbiotic and parasitic plants that attach to various host organisms they find throughout Qud.
Here's an incomplete list of what you can expect to see in CoQ soon.
- Randomly-generated dungeon and overland map features (both general and specific to the particular dungeon/region -- examples: a ruined medical facility in Bethesda Susa, an amoeba pond in the southern jungles)
- Higher tier Girsh spawn and the Girsh demons themselves (consume a corpse, gain a mutation perhaps, gain a defect perhaps!)
- More region-specific overland encounters -- "You stumble upon some flattened remains..."
- Ability to mod items via Tinkering
- Hegelrut's tomb
Stuff from this thread we actually did so far
- Redone heating and cooling system with specific heat and phase transitions (melt rock into lava, heat water into steam)
- A new, unique Golgotha.
Stuff I'm actually working on, for real, but might not be in the next patch
- An overland, and underworld, regional redesign, including more varied and distinct monster and loot populations.
- Improved overland terrain generation, allowing for continuous multi-zone terrain formations
- New monsters, items and mutations
Stuff we'd like to do, but probably won't until '1.0' is done, which means many months if not years
- Various trade skills (Smithing, Woodworking, Knitting...)
- More starting locations
- More main plotlines, including stylistic variations like a town-builder based plotline
Can these factions be joinable in the future? If so, any perks of joining them? IMHO mutations are one of the best parts of the game (especially to a guy who personally loves mage types); are you thinking of focusing more on them in the future?