Brainstorming an Underdark Roguelike
I’m not sure what planet I’ve been living on that has not heretofore involved R.A. Salvatore books in my hands, but that has recently been settled. A friend loaned me the first seven Drizzt books, and I’ve been blown away. I love them – I love the pace, the cultures, the various types of conflict, and all the fun creatures Drizzt and company encounter.
As I read through these, I can’t help but think they have the foundations of a very fun Roguelike. I’ve been giving it a little bit of thought and will brainstorm more before actually calling it a project, but I would love to see a Roguelike that takes place in the Underdark as presented in Salvatore’s books. Searching around, I found one Roguelike from 8 years ago that started out with this foundation and then departed. I honestly can’t figure out why you’d ever need to depart from the story and setting.
So, here’s what I’m thinking…
- Start simple by only allowing Drow classes based on gender: Commoner, Rogue (nobles without a home), Weaponmaster, Wizard, and Priestess (the last three being noble classes). Noble females are physically and magically more intimidating, but males are given to different types of training and so gain advantages in hunting, combat technique, and survival. I don’t know enough about commoners so might have to make things up. Expansion races can include svirfneblin, duergar, human, and other higher races that might wander the Underdark.
- Focus on the darkness. I really like this aspect of Salvatore’s stories… he does some clever things with the pervading darkness. I’d love to see infrared trails on the ground I could use to track enemies. Light bombs could blind your adversaries, while orbs of darkness can render even infravision useless. Light might also be a benefit, as with Belwar’s magically list brooch.
- Include all the fun critters… the giant rats, goblins, cave fishers, hook horrors, corbies, myconids, basilisks, illithids, and more. There is plenty of fodder in here for dual wielding drow weaponmasters imbued with the spirit of the hunter.
- Keep the major cities, though they don’t necessarily need to be static. Allow the player to wander around Menzoberranzan, train in the Academy, head out into the randomized cave areas to seek refuge in Blingdenstone.
- Tell a story upon death of a player’s origins, major feats, and ignominious end. To that end, I’d like to see some quests baked into the gameplay so the player would have opportunities to lead raids (slaughtering elves, anyone?), battle wizards in their magical towers, rescue mining svirfneblin (or conquer their earth elementals), attain high priestess status and summon yochlol to fight, etc. I’m obviously wanting to see a game where a player could actually live out a story like Drizzt’s, but I wouldn’t be opposed to someone choosing the darker path and seeking their house’s supremacy.
Will post more ideas as they come, but I’m interested to know if anyone else has given this some thought. I haven’t played any roguelikes focusing on darkness, although I’ve played some that deal with stealth. Anyone know of similar projects?