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Land of Strangers

Open Alpha Weird West Roguelike

 

Overview

Land of Strangers (LoSt) is a Roguelike game (a tactical computer roleplaying game) in development. It is open source and written in Python. The setting is a Wild West-inspired fantasy world.

Development status

LoSt is in alpha development: A lot of the systems are in place, but the actual game is still lacking in direction and content (at present, it's mostly a wilderness with some weird animals and strange people). Having said that, please try it if you think it sounds interesting! The game sees releases sporadically, usually every few months.

Features/gameplay

Even if LoSt is in development, there are things to do and see. Current features include:

Facing off with some goons
A day at the zoo
Interface: LoSt is played with the keyboard and uses simple animations. It uses a menu-driven interface, is playable with one hand, and can be configured to your heart's intent.

Tactical gameplay: The combat system is as much inspired by board games as traditional roleplaying games with hit points. Fights are often grievous or deadly, especially when guns are involved. The outcome of a shootout depends on factors like positioning, cover, and skills. Hand-to-hand-fighting is not as ironed out, but aims to favor tactical thinking with special rules for wounds and time.
Discussin' some finer points of The Law
Random name and backstory generator
Pick up smithereens

Highly random world: Even for a Roguelike, LoSt's world is on the random side, featuring amongst other things procedurally generated flora and fauna, and more upcoming.

Seamless, infinite map: There are no stairs or levels. Everything plays on a seamless map that goes on indefinitely in every direction. The map is generated as it is explored, based on a seed that can be manually set to revisit the same world.

NPC interactions: Humans, animals, and even some of the plants, have their personal and group-wide quirks and motivations. Cops will chase robbers, as robbers will harass hapless settlers and stray wanderers, who may fight or run for their lives.

Open world: There is no fixed path to take or right people to help, instead the options lie open. The landscape is also malleable, so you can express yourself by digging, demolishing, and blowing things to smithereens.

Skills and shticks: Instead of numerical "stats", the character is defined by skills and shticks (from "Animal friend" to "Tough as nails"), which they choose during character creation. Experience system coming up shortly.

And much more … Needless to say!

Setting

Seen from the byzantine empires of the old world, it's just the great scramble for loot, to get at the precious lead and gems in the soil. To the kids living it in The Land, it's always about more than the cash.
Times are tough, eh, bub?
The Land is a fantasy setting directly inspired by the Western genre. It (probably) doesn't play in our world, but takes place on the frontier of a colony, at a time of early settlers, ruthless money makers and stray desperados. It's a "young world", yet already riddled with conspiracies before a stable society has even taken hold.

The Western genre is quite sprawling in itself; from Ford to Jodorowsky doesn't even cover it. LoSt takes bits and pieces of inspiration from all over the place (including sources not typically associated with the Western). The end result definitely falls in the camp of queer/weird takes on the genre.

Although the game is touted as Weird West, there are no supernatural elements like magic or undead (and actually, Acid Western might hit closer to home). That said, there is an opening for the paranormal/mystic to crop up later.

Currently, the setting is mostly hinted at in the game. I am still kicking around some ideas in my head, so I haven't wanted to pin it down too much. It is also an explicit design goal to communicate the setting through situations and characters in the actual game. So the story will expand organically as more templates are added for places and people.

The short todo-list

* Proper bounties/quests
* Healing wounds by resting at an establishment (costing time and ♄)
* Skill advancement
* To achieve this, there must be at least a rudimentary system for the passage of time, and I have to make some changes to how the world map is built
* Then, get on to "more other things…"

Development history

LoSt has been reincarnated a few times since it was first announced as a failed entry to the 7drl jam in 2013, titled Boothill RL. Boothill used card game-based mechanics, which was cute, but hard to scale to the idea I was getting for a more open game world.

A few versions in, LoSt gradually swapped the card mechanics for an action system like the one still used. I ironed out the basic system over a few releases which put you in the shoes of a slave trying to escape the lead mines (5-7). The mad miners who roam The Land are a vestige from these releases, though the whole game was much more board game-like then. I still hope to open up the mines again at some later point, and put in some of the content I just had ideas for at the time.

Throughout the development cycle of LoSt, I've taken long breaks in between. The game reached a waypoint with release #8, which included versions of the current overworld and graphical engine. The following releases to date have built on this base. Getting in place the items mentioned in the short todo-list above will probably mark another waypoint for the game, where the gears might shift again with regards to development.

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