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Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath - All News

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Thursday - March 31, 2016
Saturday - March 12, 2016
Thursday - October 29, 2015
Friday - October 09, 2015
Tuesday - August 04, 2015
Tuesday - July 14, 2015
Tuesday - January 20, 2015
Thursday - September 18, 2014
Monday - August 25, 2014
Friday - June 14, 2013
Thursday - May 09, 2013
Monday - April 15, 2013
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Friday - November 16, 2012
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Box Art

Thursday - March 31, 2016

Frayed Knights 2 - The Rats are Back

by Myrthos, 12:46

The Rats of Nom return in Frayed Knights 2.

You knew this, didn’t you? The Rats of Nom would be back in Frayed Knights 2? It’s be kind of lame if they weren’t.

The funny thing is that the whole “Rats of Nom / Farmer Brown’s Cellar” quest in Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon was really a set-up for a joke that doesn’t happen until the second game. It’s very satisfying to me that that particular quest has proven so popular and stood on its own. They’ve kinda become a signature Frayed Knights thing even from their brief appearance… although I’m sure that having them earlier in the game rather than later was helpful in that respect.

Saturday - March 12, 2016

Frayed Knights 2 - The Wizard War

by Hiddenx, 11:19

Rampant Coyote gives us some story background information for the Frayed Knight series:

The defining event in the history of Kalderia, the setting for the Frayed Knights series – was the Wizard War. In a nutshell, it was a war that humanity – and their allied races – lost. Even though it was technically considered a win, when warfare wipes out a bigger percentage of the population than the Black Death, it’s not much of a victory. I imagine it as kind of like the Black Death, the Golden Horde, World War I, and the Fall of Rome all combined in about one thirty year period. One year, you have a gleaming civilization with huge cities, and about three decades later there isn’t much more than ruins and some huddled tribes of humans hiding in caves and forests.

The masters of both sides were powerful wizards. The arch-lich Nepharides led one side, and a coalition of the civilized world’s most powerful wizards led the other. At least that’s the story. In reality, a number of the more powerful human wizards chose to side with Nepharides. In Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath, a good chunk of the game takes place in the deserted remnant of one of the more prestigious sorcerer’s schools prior to the war.

The old school of wizardry began as something of a joke (what doesn’t, in Frayed Knights?), but the backstory evolved and spread to much of the rest of the game. The staff was once a united group of some of the best wizards in the world, and they taught the best and brightest (or at least the wealthiest) young magic-users in the kingdom. Then, as the war grew and threatened to engulf the world, the wizards found themselves divided.

Why would some choose to side with a horrible undead monster like Nepharides? In most cases, simple practicality. Nepharides was going to win, they felt. Only those on the winning side would be able to shape the future. They hoped that by working inside the “belly of the beast” they could bring some sanity to the war. Or at least survive to build a better future.

The growing war and their internal divisions forced them to close the school. They sealed it with spells so that no single wizard among them could break it. There had to be some subset of them working in concert. They vowed that they’d get back together after the war ended, in unity of purpose, to reopen the school which would have been preserved from the ravages of battle.

That never happened. The war lasted longer and was more destructive than any of them had imagined. The school was sealed away for over three hundred years, forgotten. The great city it had once bordered had been leveled and forgotten. [...]

Thursday - October 29, 2015

Frayed Knights 2 - Drama Stars and You

by Hiddenx, 00:40

Rampant Coyote explains the enhanced drama star system of Frayed Knights 2:

Frayed Knights 2: Drama Stars and You

One of the areas of “streamlining” for Frayed Knights 2 was the drama star abilities. To explain further, I’d like to recap a little bit for those who haven’t played Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon.

Like most people, I tend to save the game frequently when things are getting dangerous. When I suffer a setback, I’m tempted to reload. This is exacerbated by the games that provide encounters that all but demand that you do this – if you don’t enter a combat with with full health and spells, it is going to be far too challenging to complete. Because, you know, they want a challenging encounter. Then you have the next level of simplification of this… games that automatically restore you between encounters, so they can max out the challenge without worrying about frustrating players.

Which in my mind has ruined one of the critical gameplay elements of RPGs – resource management. Which has been a major gameplay element in tabletop roleplaying and computer RPGs since… ummm… pedit5?


In Frayed Knights 2, I’ve tried to streamline and simplify things a little bit more so that Drama Stars are easier to understand and use.

In the first game, you had three stars that filled in from empty to bronze, then silver, then gold. It looked and sounded cool, but it was unnecessarily complex, and made it hard to understand the relative costs of the special abilities. Now you still have drama points that slowly complete a star, but you either have a star or you don’t. To make up for that, we need more stars. You can fill in up to ten stars. At that point, you are maxed out, and any more drama points you earn will be lost. But at that point you are able to use all of the drama abilities – which includes resurrecting (well, “recapacitating”) the entire party so long as one member is still up.



Friday - October 09, 2015

Frayed Knights 2 - Combat, Actions, and Readiness

by Hiddenx, 08:37

Developer Rampant Coyote tells us about a few key points of the combat mechanics in Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath.

Frayed Knights 2 Combat, Actions, and Readiness

The last time I talked about the combat system in Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath (for now, I’m keeping the “2”), I was still a little bit abstract, because it was still in development. I’ve been living with the more-or-less complete system for about a year now, and it’s pretty integral to the rest of the systems. In the upcoming weeks, I want to talk about some of the other systems, but with so much based on how combat works, it’s important that I explain that one first.

In testing, it’s proven pretty easy once players figure it out, but it’s a bit of a leap. I think that’s mainly because it is so different from most other RPGs. I may need to change some of how it’s presented, but the system underneath may only change by a few details. But while the UI artwork is not final, I included pictures of the game in progress as examples to help explain things. Here are the key points about combat in Frayed Knights 2:

  • It’s a turn based system. Still.
  • There is no strict initiative order. Once a character is “ready” enough to act, you can choose an action for them at any time. But…
  • Characters have three levels of readiness, which increase as they are left idle.
  • The game alternates turns between the player party and the enemy party in phases. However, that’s all “under the hood.” You may end up with one party having characters go two (or more) times in a row, if nobody is ready to act on the other side.
  • Higher levels of readiness grant access to more complex (often not always more powerful or more preferred) actions
  • A character’s fatigue,  and “slow” and “haste” effects determine how quickly they increase in readiness
  • Nobody can act twice in a single turn unless they have a haste effect
  • The turn ends when everyone who can act that turn in both groups have acted.

So why do it this way? The biggest reason is that it allows more tactical play. For example, a “buff” or “debuff” is a lot more useful if cast at the very beginning of  combat than at the end. You may want to try and cast ‘silence’ on an enemy caster BEFORE they have a chance to hit you with their most powerful spell. Or you may want to use than wand of fireballs to clear out the low-level “riff raff” before they get a chance to attack.  It puts the flexibility for combat more in the hands of the player. [...]

Tuesday - August 04, 2015

Frayed Knights 2 - Flythrough Video

by Hiddenx, 07:27

Jay Barnson's has released a flythrough video of his upcoming game
Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath


Read about his convention experiences here - ToshoCON Postmortem:

Friday night, I took the Frayed Knights show on the road to ToshoCON, which is kind of a mini-convention for teens put on by the Viridian Library and Events Center. It was kind of a weird situation, because we weren’t really exhibitors / vendors (they were elsewhere and had to pay for the privilege)… we were actually more like the entertainment.

It apparently went well… we were thanked and invited back next year. So… I guess from the organizer’s perspective, it was a success. Cool. From our perspective… well, my wife asked me going into it, “What do you hope to get out of this?” That was a little more fuzzy. We couldn’t sell. It was really just a chance to watch people play Frayed Knights 2 for the first time and see what worked and what didn’t, so I could maybe make some adjustments. Especially with the planned showing at the “big event” a few days later, at Salt Lake Gaming Con.

Tuesday - July 14, 2015

Frayed Knights 2 - Demos

by Myrthos, 12:53

Jay states in his blog that he will be demoing Frayed Knights 2 at ToshoCON on Friday, July 31st from 5-9 PM at the Viridian Library & Events Center in South Jordan, Utah and at Salt Lake Gaming Con on August 6th – 8th at the South Towne Expo Center.

Tuesday - January 20, 2015

Frayed Knights 2 - Spell-Checking Update

by Couchpotato, 04:29

The next blog update from the Rampant Coyote has information on the spell system of Frayed Knights 2 . As usual I will quote a small sample of the post below.

It’s not that I literally have an infinite number of spells. For practical purposes, for each spell class there are probably four or five dozen meaningful spell variants per level without going into the combo spells. I mean, seriously, how many different ways can you inflict blindness upon your opponents? Okay, let’s look at it:

1. There’s a single-target inflict blindness

2. One that effects both enemies within a certain “rank” (distance away),

3. One that inflicts blindness on a primary target and up to two targets behind the primary

4. One that “explodes” – which means the primary target is hit for the full effect, and everyone else in the group for half the duration (if they don’t avoid the effect)

5. A “group” spell that does full blindness to all enemies.

Okay, there’s five. And then within a spell level there’s a range of durations – figure plus or minus maybe a turn.  And some minor variations on the endurance costs and attack accuracy. They could be mildly interesting if you had to choose between two variations at some point, but ultimately they aren’t really meaningful differences.

Thursday - September 18, 2014

Frayed Knights 2 - Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb

by Couchpotato, 01:39

The Rampant Coyote has a new post on his website about his next RPG game Frayed Knights 2, and goes into detail about how grenades work n the game.

In Frayed Knights 1: The Skull of S’makh-Daon, I established the existence of alchemical grenades. They made the hobgoblins a lot more deadly, but they could also found and used by players, or manufactured by a certain alchemist.

A certain twisted, evil, black-hearted part of me really liked the idea. But then, I’m a guy who has my D&D characters stock up on Alchemist’s Fire all the way up to level 7 or so for fun and burning. It’s so useful for cleaning out those hard-to-reach monsters. So, in Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath, I kinda … expanded on the idea. Especially since spells have become so random.

In Frayed Knights 2, you have “shots” (as in “shot-put”) and “bombs.” Shots are single-target throwable items, and bombs affect a group. They can be used by anyone, although those with higher throwing skills will have an advantage. They serve a number of purposes:

  1. They provide access to baseline attacks of different types to attack enemy weaknesses. So if you encounter a fire-based enemy that is vulnerable to cold, even if you have no cold-based spells, you are likely (unless you’ve used them all up) to have at least a couple of cold-based bombs or shots in your inventory that you can use.
  2. They provide easy access to ranged attacks without the need to switch weapons. Positioning matters in Frayed Knights – and casters like to hang out in the back of groups where they are harder to hit with melee weapons.
  3. People other than sorcerers (which will usually, but not always, be Chloe) can have occasional access to some of the group-damage “minion clearing” attacks.
  4. When endurance runs dry, parties can fall back on throwing money at the bad guys. Yes, it’s a weird way to look at it, but when limited but “free” resources run dry in a fight, you can throw more expensive but effective weapons at them.

Monday - August 25, 2014

Frayed Knights 2 - First Official Screenshot

by Couchpotato, 05:49

The Rampant Coyote shared the first official screenshot of Frayed Knights 2.

Getting Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath in photogenic state was a lot more difficult than expected. Aside from having a major rethink on the art style to try and improve the apparent quality of the graphics, and totally redoing the UI (I’m still paying the price for that one), and the Steam release of Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon (ditto), there were just a lot of little challenges getting it from the world of gray boxes and stand-in monsters to something we can use in a promo shot.

Now, there are a couple of schools of thought on these. Some people will think nothing of throwing together pretty visuals into a mock-up and calling it a screenshot. However, I’m not one of those people. While there was a little bit that was staged, I wanted the actual game to be running, so what you see is what you get. Kind of. I wanted stuff to come through the actual pipeline, viewed from the party perspective, with the (current, minimalist) UI running, the works.  I wanted it to be a true screenshot from the game.

This entailed a lot of technical work as we’re ironing out the kinks in our process. But I think the final results are… well, reasonable. I don’t know if this particular orc is going to survive the art pass without having some kind of surgery to change his looks, but for now, he’ll do.

This is a dungeon known as the Valerian Vault. For backstory that might not ever be fully revealed in the game, this vault was built by the Valerian family in the early days of the Wizard War to protect their entire family – and fortunes.  However, while some precious treasures were stored there, the family never fully relocated, waiting for the imminent threat to appear. Instead, their city was destroyed quite suddenly one night, and the family was slaughtered almost entirely, the bulk of their treasures looted by the forces of Nepharides. They never did use their vault. The entrance eventually collapsed and was revealed via erosion, and the vault was filled with vermin of various levels of deadliness. A small orc tribe recently found it, and were amazed to learn that they not only had a new lair, but that it came pre-stocked with a handful of precious treasures. But there are parts of the the vault where the orcs will not go. The old Valerian family had cleverly built defenses into their lair, should it ever be discovered or breached by the wrong people.

Friday - June 14, 2013

Frayed Knights 2 - Working With Unity 3D

by Myrthos, 12:49

The Rampant Coyote is sharing with us his insights on using the Unity 3D engine for Frayed Knights 2, which are fairly positive.

The Unity scripting system is very easy to use once you get a “feel” for it – which might take a while.  There are a few libraries to get familiar with, and some critical components to be aware of (things like Time, Transform, Mathf,  and Camera are pretty critical off the bat).  But at it’s core, Unity deals with GameObjects – a base class for all objects – which are object-oriented containers for components – behaviors and characteristics.

In practice, it’s pretty straightforward. You have an object. Want to make it player controlled? Link in a player control component. Want to make it visible? Link in a mesh renderer using whatever player mesh you want. Want it to leave a trail behind it? Link in a trail component. For more complex objects, your game object can have a number of “children” objects, all with their own components. It’s powerful and elegant. And of course, much of your job as a programmer is creating these components.

Once I got into the swing of things, I quickly found that a lot of the way things were designed pretty consistently – which means to me that I could predict with decent accuracy how I expect Unity to handle things I needed to do. I felt like it was designed the way I would have designed it. This makes navigating the system much easier – when I’m trying to figure out how to do something, I simply think of how I, as a programmer, would have set it up, and go hunting for a function that sounds right. Four out of five times, I nail it. This is perhaps a subjective aspect of Unity, but it makes things a lot easier and more fun for me. It just makes sense and feels right.

In addition there is some in-game footage of Frayed Knights 2 showing a software bug.

Free bonus (and worth every penny…)! Since I’m doing a lot of work with dungeon geometry generated in run-time, I can get some weird effects that hit the entire dungeon. This was 100% a “me” bug, not a Unity problem, but I just thought I’d share. The problem is when I flagged certain areas as being water. It worked well – except for sections of the dungeon (which I deem “blocks” – a 20 meter x 20 meter square area) with no water. There, the water didn’t get initialized, and decided to turn all the floors of the “default” material into running water instead.

So it looks like I left the water running in my dungeon.

Thursday - May 09, 2013

Frayed Knights 2 - Going Social?

by Myrthos, 18:21

In a new blog Jay Barnson shares his ideas on how Frayed Kinghts 2 can be made more social, withou it turning into a social game.

Sometimes, with a single-player CRPG (especially for a guy like me, who often doesn’t finish a game until a year or more after it’s “current”), it’s a pretty lonely experience. Not that I usually mind – I gravitate towards these kinds of games because there are times I really just want to enjoy an adventure all by myself. Unless I am stumped or stuck and looking for a solution, I tend to ignore any community of players out there.  But other times, I really like to hunt down a forum or something and see what other people are saying about the game, especially if it leads me to better understand the game or the possibilities for enjoyment. That’s something I’d like to foster, but it’s really hard to do in a little indie game. If you assume that only 1% of the players are predisposed to take that kind of initiative and contribute to the discussion, that’s not a lot of people.

It’d be nice if the game itself made it easy. And, to be honest, it’d probably help sales if the game made it easy for players to broadcast to their social networks that they are playing the game and doing exciting stuff. However, I grew pretty disgusted by all the Facebook & Twitter messages from certain games announcing the discovery of a certain flower or rock in a game I don’t give a crap about. That’s “doing it wrong,” in my opinion. Decent idea, poor implementation, maybe. Bombarding friends with stuff like that isn’t a good idea.

I especially don’t want the experience ruined by having out-of-game notifications pop up while playing, inviting you to broadcast something or to visit a website or any crap like that. Then again, these days, certain people seem to enjoy nothing more than posting status updates everywhere they go and with everything that happens to them in the real world, so maybe that’s not so bad. I really don’t know.

From my perspective, I feel like when I’m playing a CRPG, I want to be sucked into the game completely, so that the outside world disappears for a couple of hours. That includes little real-world reminders popping up or out-of-game achievement announcements or any of that crap. That’s my ideal player experience. Maybe not all players are like that. But I think that later, when a player is finished for the night, or has a minute during a lunch break at work, or is waiting to pick up your kids from dance practice, or after the game is completed but for fond memories, the game world can still there, with a network of other players to share it with.

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - April 15, 2013

Frayed Knights 2 - The Khan of Wrath

by Myrthos, 23:40

Rampant Coyote has announced on his blog the official title for the Frayed Knights successor, it is Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath. He also answers some questions on his blog, of which I quote the first two, together with an explanation of the name:

Or I guess we can abbreviate it FK2:KoW

Or something. Plain ol’ KoW sounds too much like my unreleased, needs-to-be-remade-in-Unity Apocalypse Cow game.

By way of explanation of the title – there are Rock Giants, as those following this blog and the comments already know. You may find them in a huge underground complex beneath Mount Wrath, “in the hall of the mountain Khan.” Yes, cue the theme from Peer Gynt.  And that’s all we’re gonna say about them at this point.

Here are some Q’s to be A’d about the game. Many of these have been asked and answered before, but there may be some new ones:

Q: Is this using the same engine as the first game?

A: Not unless I redo the first game using the all-new engine at some point. :0  We’ve started over… not quite from scratch, but close enough, using Unity this time around. The underlying game rules have changed somewhat, but aside from some radical changes to the interface, Frayed Knights veterans should be at home in the new game.

Q: What about my characters from Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon? Will I still be able to import them into Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath?

A: Yes, although you may need to manually reallocate some points, as there will be changes to several of the feats from the previous game. It may go so far as to unspend all of your feat points, for simplicity’s sake, so you can re-buy what you need. Also, some items may go away or be changed from how they worked in FK1.  Additionally, some of the choices you made in the first game may come back to haunt you in game 2.

Saturday - March 30, 2013

Frayed Knights 2 - Making Spells

by Myrthos, 18:09

The Rampant Coyote explains what he changed to the spells in Frayed Knights 2.

A while ago I talked about doing something kinda weird for Frayed Knights 2Random spell generation. (And note – the picture to the right is FK1. The special effects in FK2 are currently minimal and not very photogenic).

It got mixed in, across several permutations, with a completely revised initiative system.  Which doesn’t really count as an initiative system anymore – it’s a totally different interface for taking actions. It was inspired a little by collectable trading card games. Not that I’m turning an RPG into a CCG, but when a single player is playing a group of characters I started envisioning it a little bit more like choosing an action out of a “hand” of options.

There’s still a lot under construction, but the initial prognosis is… promising. Very promising. No doubt there’s a lot of work to do on the balancing front, but so far, given relatively few rules, it’s looking good.

One aspect of making the spells was to make them sound over-the-top, a little like spells from old-school Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels & Trolls, or the original release of Hackmaster. I think I succeeded. Here are some of my favorites:

“Baba Yaga’s Unbelievable Armor Intensification”
“Primordial Magic Defense Impairment of Ariel”
“Underwhelming Revival”
“Fangal’s Cryptic Magic Defense Bonus”
“Arkan’s Introductory Magic Defense Failure”
“Sufficient Vim”
“Cleansing of Apuleius”
“Penelope’s Occult Boon”
“Oakfather’s Empowerment”
“Wimpy Spellwipe”
“Wussy Crawl”
“Worthy Armor Restriction”
“Brutus’s Explosive Core Punishment”
“Zalem’s Unfathomable Spiky Devastation”

I’ll tell ya – I want to use Zalem’s Unfathomable Spiky Devastation just based on the name. (For the record, it’s a Sorcerer spell that does piercing damage to a single target). Sadly, the random tables are pretty large, so the chances I’ll ever see that spell again are almost non-existent. To be honest, I learned quite a few new words as I was putting together the tables. I’d never even heard the word, “caliginous” before (and it still fails my spell-checker).  Pretty cool stuff, really. I learned a lot of new words reading Gary Gygax’s text back when I was a kid, too.

Although if I decide to localize for other languages, I’ve got some serious challenges in hand.

Tuesday - March 19, 2013

Frayed Knights 2 - Small Steps Forward

by Myrthos, 12:08

We missed the latest blog from Jay last week on the Frayed Knights 2 development, so here it is. In this blog he talks about how his workload prevents him from making major steps forward.

The impact on home life and game development, especially over the last six months, has been far from insignificant. Fortunately, slow progress is not zero progress – most nights I managed to get at least a token effort put into the game. And during some stretches of time off, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, I made some lovely progress in just having a solid block of uninterrupted time to work on the game.  But the rest of the time, it’s been a slow slog, making progress inch by inch. It’s a level of effort that I call “tinkering” rather than development. Unless you are making a very simple game, tinkering will not get it done.

This can be pretty demoralizing. Like I said, I’m still working on some basic functionality that should have been done months ago, but it takes me all month to get something done that should take only a week (or less). Fortunately, a couple of halfway decent weeks with actual time to put into things have done wonders. It’s amazing how, after long stretches of slow progress, sudden sprints can feel like breakthroughs of epic proportions.  I’m hoping this is a trend that can continue.

Wednesday - January 30, 2013

Frayed Knights 2 - Update

by Myrthos, 12:42

Jay Barnson gives us an update on the development of Frayed Knights 2.

Frayed Knights 2 is turning into a bigger overhaul of the game system than I’d really planned.  Porting core game code over from the old system to the new one was almost as exactly as much effort as I’d expected – which is to say, not bad at all. But so much of an RPG is the UI, and the UI needed a complete rewrite from the ground up for the new engine.  And since I had to rewrite the UI anyway, I figured I might as well make some major improvements. In a lot of ways, I’ve gone back to the ol’ drawing board, which takes time. But while I’m working with a new engine (Unity), and a new UI system (NGUI), they are relatively easy to work with, even if my development time is abridged to only an hour or two an evening.

But as I said before, much of an RPG *is* the UI. The UI defines interactions, defines so much of the look, feel,  and pacing.  So a change to the UI has repercussions back into the core game code. Things like haste and slow effects, or the impact of fatigue, have completely changed. For the better, in my opinion. At least in a way that’s simpler to understand and work with as a player.

A lot of the changes this last month  have been down in the guts of the inventory code. I think the inventory system took as much time as the combat system last time around, and this time is no exception. Most of the tricky stuff isn’t necessarily in the game logic, but in the UI.  Some of this is still in flux, and nothing is final until… well, as this is indie gaming, nothing is final EVER

Thursday - January 10, 2013

Frayed Knights 2 - Building a World

by Dhruin, 20:52

Jay Barnson writes about "building a world" in the latest Frayed Knights 2 update:


Someone told me last week that J. K. Rowling said that her secret to success in writing the Harry Potter series was to make up a bunch of details in the early books and then try and figure out what they were about when incorporating them into the later ones. I can’t verify that quote, but sometimes I think that was also what J. Michael Staczyynski did when writing for Babylon 5 as well. I’m relatively certain that when Obi Wan tossed around comments about Luke’s father and the clone wars in the original Star Wars, George Lucas did not have anything but the vaguest concept of what would eventually become the second trilogy. I’m actually relatively certain that Darth Vader was not even Luke’s dad at that point in his mind.

Nevertheless, these extended stories worked really, really well. Why? Because even if the details might have been a little vague and fuzzy and even subject to a little creative retconning, the creators had a very solid understanding of their fictional worlds. They knew ‘em, knew how they worked, knew the major players well enough that on a subconscious level the worlds and people took on a life of their own.  This gives the stories a powerful authenticity – in part, I think, because this artificial reality (ooh, I’m co-opting an overused 90′s term and giving it new meaning!) that transfers to the mind of the audience, allowing them to build their own expectations and “fill in the gaps” in the narrative or setting with their own imagination.

This is extremely powerful.


Friday - November 16, 2012

Frayed Knights 2 - Taking Initiative...Away!

by Dhruin, 20:41

Jay Barnson continues to tinker with the formula for Frayed Knights 2:

In our dice & paper games, with a very large group (at one point we had 11 players – plus a Game Master – which was insane), we had a problem with this system. In an average combat, with people often taking a minute or more on their turn (it sometimes involved looking up the rules), plus bad guys doing their thing, it meant that players were only “playing” once every fifteen or twenty minutes or so. This led to lots of distractions, lots of chatter that in turn slowed down the game, etc. It got especially complicated as players started changing their initiative order to go before or after other players – for example, letting the wizard throw the fireball BEFORE the melee characters charged in to mix things up.

One thing I tried – and really liked – was a change in how the initiative system worked. To keep things simple, I usually had enemies act as a “group” – at least groups of similar opponents. So against a single opponent or a collection of uniform opponents, all that really mattered (as a player) was whether you went before or after the bad guy(s). Really, since you could change your initiative freely  *down* to coordinate your approach with other players, why not just open that up completely and call everybody who goes before the bad guys “group 1,” and everyone who goes after the bad guys “group 2.” And if there were two bad guys going at different initiatives, then the players might be divided into three groups. If more… well, frequently even a group our size would have one empty “group”, which allowed me to regroup enemies and… well, it may sound complicated, but in practice its pretty easy and intuitive.

As a further plus, this kept players more involved in what each other was doing. Suddenly the talk turned to who should go first, and people got a chance to coordinate tactics rather than simply “reacting” when their turn came around. I liked the change. Things were simpler, players were more involved in the game, and tactics were more interesting when players could coordinate their actions as a group.

No, that’s not how initiative works in FK2. I’m just explaining how all this came together. That’s one piece.

Thursday - October 25, 2012

Frayed Knights - 2 - Update on Spells

by Aries100, 19:33

Jay Barnson has updated his blog on the development on Frayed Knights 2. He talks about how to use spells in the game. An excerpt on how the game will generate spells:

#5 – THIS IS THE BIG ONE – The game will provide lots of procedurally generated spells throughout the game. Some will be available in a shop, others can be found on scrolls throughout the game. Scrolls can be used to either scribe a spell in your spellbook, or cast directly. These will be random, so the exact spells available to you will be different with every game. Because of the fixed, custom spells from points 3 and 4, you won’t be left high-and-dry without any spells to fulfill a caster’s primary role, but you may have to make due with some interesting combinations you’ve found by chance.

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - September 27, 2012

Frayed Knights 2 - Stripping

by Dhruin, 22:29

Jay Barnson writes about effort wasted with Frayed Knights on pursuing features that were unrealistic, or didn't add to the gameplay - and addressing that with Frayed Knights 2:

While having all kinds of intricate detail sounds good and works well in a game where you may only have a dozen spells or items, it scales poorly. And in reality, in order to have a prayer of keeping things remotely balanced, I ended up with a ginormous spreadsheet full of formulas that I used to help me keep everything more-or-less balanced. In a sense, it calculated all the stats for me based on certain parameters, and then I’d fiddle with the final results. That was still a ton of work for a game with spell and item counts well in the triple digits (and monster counts very near to that).

But in the end – does it really matter than this spell does 5% more damage for 5% more endurance cost, with a -1 to its attack chance, over another spell? Not really. It was cool that I could do that (and a WHOLE LOT MORE), but those kinds of subtleties aren’t very interesting to players. To be honest, that’s not all that interesting to me, either, and I’m a junkie for that kind of detail. In many ways, my efforts to add so much flexibility actually obscured my end-goal: It’s easy to lose the forest for the trees when you are overwhelmed with stats, particularly when you (the designer) are up against deadlines and have to re-balance a bunch of monsters and equipment to fill a “hole” between levels 5 & 6 where there isn’t enough going on, etc.

Thursday - August 09, 2012

Frayed Knights 2 -Taking On An Army

by Dhruin, 22:37

Jay Barnson writes about possible combat changes with Frayed Knights 2:

I had a bunch of ideas for making an RPG more “realistic” (there’s that word again, gonna quit using it now) in this respect, and I still think they were great ideas for an RPG. But maybe they were not so great for a game with such deep roots in traditional RPGs (which were themselves deeply rooted in classic D&D game rules) like Frayed Knights.  I love the way they play, but it does feel a little “off” for a lot of players. Anyone who has played through Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon can tell you that many “boss battles” seem relatively trivial compared to fighting large numbers of enemies. This is also why most of the “bosses” in Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon are encountered with minions. Solo, even the toughest bosses can be relative pushovers.

Information about

Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath

Developer: Rampant Games

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Combat: Turn-based
Play-time: 10-20 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced

Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Rampant Games