Indie RPG's

Huh. Reminds of the good (but definitely desperate) days of Mac rpg gaming when Spiderweb was about all there was. Well, that and the Gold Box D&D, but they were pretty dated by the time I got to them. Of course, this was soon to be replaced by the heyday of Ambrosia space games, but I digress.

Are there any comparative reviews of these games? I mean, I can work with the graphics and everything (I’ll just pretend my gameboy has gone 1920X1240), but what they promise seems to good to be true, and I have a hard time slicing through the masses of gushing anonyreviewers cited on their pages. I can’t explain my pathological aversion to demos or shareware versions (I downloaded Escape Velocity 3 or whatever it’s called the other day, purchased it for a pretty steep 30$ for a 2002 game because Cap’n Hector was pissing me off and I was in a fit of Space Rangers induced 2d space nostalgia, and then never touched the game again), but they are a just a dangerous gateway drug to me.

That doesn’t explain why I’d trust a random review here, so much, but for some reason the popular consensus here usually works to a degree for me. I’m still grateful for Space Rangers 2.

PS: I mean, Cute Knight? How can one withstand the allure of these games and their improbable setups?

I think Dragon Pass is an adventure, but fun game.

Indies you haven’t heard of…anyone who follows the genre probably knows them - sorry, I don’t think I have any secret gems. The Helherrons, the myriad roguelikes etc. Off the top of my head, Tales of Trolls & Treasures (haven’t played it but got some feedback from readers)…how about Teudogar and the Alliance with Rome?

Oh - add Ashes: Two Worlds Collide to the upcoming list…the walkaround video looks pretty cool.

Those look like good options, particularly Teudogar. I will definitely give them a second look as I get closer to being deprived of all but the most minimal of pc platforms for a while.

I think its funny that someone would hold up the Vogel games and bash NWN at the same time. I mean sure, its easy to bash NWN modules for all looking similar and having the same combat mechanics, but Vogel has been using the same engine for what? 10 years now? Sure there was a resolution bump here and there, and some UI tweaking, but its basically all the same in terms of fundamental mechanics with the exception of the monster summoning in geneforge.


See? That’s what I’m talking about. 3 - 4 Indie RPGs I’d never heard of before - right here in this thread.

This reminds me: what happened to that web site that was tracking all the Indie RPGs? I can’t even remember the name now - it was along time ago. But someone should start that kinda thing up again.

Hmm. Someone definitely should…

People rave about this one:
but I cant judge as Im not a big RPG player, although I did buy and love Cute Knight.
Maybe we need a thread about how indie FPS games are doomed thanks to half-life and how indie sim games are doomed thanks to Spore?
Also, we need a ‘all shops are doomed thanks to walmart’ thread if we ain’t got one yet.

Before NWN there was Unlimited Adventures. If you miss the old Gold Box days and want to play surprisingly good single player adventures in that system, find a copy of Unlimited Adventures and then hit one of the many module collections for it on the web. Some really creative people spent a lot of time and effort making some great modules using that construction set.

Several years back I found my old copy of UA from a shovelware collection, loaded it up, and spent months playing user created content.

I didn’t bash NWN modules for all being the same or using the same engine. I bashed them because I don’t LIKE the NWN engine. In fact, I like the different NWN mods, as far as the design of those mods go. I just don’t like the system they are forced to use as part of NWN. In other words, if we were talking about modules based on BG or IWD, I would have been fine with them.

I like the Vogel engines better (and Geneforge uses a different engine from Avernum).

The point is that no game, including NWN (and the Vogel games), will ever be the end of Indy RPGs because I will always want to see different game engines and play the games that way. The Vogel games were an example of an alternative that I like better, but I wasn’t saying we should play only Vogel games either. I’m saying we should always have new choices.

Unfortunately, it seemed to be policy to make it difficult to make a NWN module not use the standard ruleset. Some people have done it, but only with really major hacks. You can’t just replace feats and whatnot.

This is part of the licensing agreement, I’m sure. Atari was even upset at the prospect of a non-D&D premium mod being released, which is why Hex Coda is free.


Yeah, that sucks. I think Atari is wrong. I guess they think it would have diluted the brand’s power, but nothing would have invigorated the community more than having some great nontraditional modules released. Even as it stands, the best modules tend to be the ones which push the boundries of the ruleset the hardest. I love the CCG game in Demon, for example.

I think of vanilla Warcraft 3 – it would have died out a long time ago, but the custom playstyles like DOTA kept it alive.

After being truly shocked and awed at how bad the original NWN official campaign was (my review: ), I’ve been very hesitant to give Bioware anymore of my money. The fact I don’t have all expansion packs means I was really limited to what mods I could download and play. That, and I really didn’t like the combat. Real Time with Pause, to me, is the worst solution for RPG combat as it seems to take control away from the player and have them watch the events as oppose to participate. With this in mind, yeah there is plenty of room for indie RPGs. If nothing else, you aren’t allowed to make a profit on intellectual property designed with the Aurora Toolset. So if you want to be a full time indie game designer, you have to break away from it.

Meanwhile, here’s a stickied thread from RPGCodex where users have posted links to indie RPGs since 2003: .

You’re missing out, the NWN expansion packs, in particular the second one, are truly excellent.

The only indy RPG I got into was U5:lazarus. Just couldn’t seem to enjoy the spiderweb games, to my great embarassment. Like, I think of myself as the kind of dude who would enjoy them, but I didn’t.

RPG Codex links should be filtered IMO.


The core mechanics of d20 is hardcoded into NWN. There is basically no way around that. But in the world of PnP, there are a million different flavors of d20 (modern, scifi, Cthulu, etc etc). In NWN, two systems I am aware of have done a complete system swap: d20 Modern, and Nightfire (which is based on Traveller t20). Nightfire as designed is about the Firefly universe, and the classes, skills, feats, weapons, placeables, etc support that genre. I know the author and yes it was a ton of work, but nothing more or less than total conversions for other games out there.

Most people using those systems are DM campaigns, and not scripted mods or PWs. The only exception I am aware of is “The Quick and the Dead”, and its sequel. Its an decent SP mod, but nothing like playing a DMed game. All of the mods/systems above are available at, but I’m too lazy right now to give all the specific links.

I have actually tried the second one, upon hearing people claim it redeemed the sins of the first. I went away underwhelmed. The core story, characters, etc. were much better. Problem was there was still a ton of filler combat that was identical to the combat in the original NWN. I hated that combat, so not surprisingly I found myself struggling in this one as well. My second gripe was for a game that took place in the planes, I just couldn’t help feel everything was a lot cooler and more interesting in Planescape: Torment. So I guess I’m divided on this one. Shows Bioware knows how to make an interesting RPG in the DnD universe, but in my mind they were still stuck on this idea that you had to have a lot of combat.

Stefan Gagne’s modules are excellent, every one of them. And he’s gotten better with each one.

I think the main thing he’s done to make his modules engaging is to make combat worth zero XP. The only way to advance is to actually progress in the module. This places the focus of the modules on the story – where it belongs – and makes combat an actual obstacle to overcome, not the point of the game. It also means every class is viable, because you’re usually just as free to resolve situations with diplomacy as with combat.

The problem I’m having with RPG games anymore is the whole “attrition” method of challenging the player. Take NWN, for example. It gives you 10% of the experience that D&D 3.5 gives and uses monsters that have no real hope of killing you.

In some games (like Titan Quest or Diablo) this system works because the attrition comes really, really fast, but in more traditional RPGs the attrition is much more of a trickle so it ends up just being lame. I barely got involved in any NWN fights because I really didn’t have to. I’d win on auto-pilot, so who cares?

I would really like to see some RPG experiment with significantly fewer significantly harder combats, like the Shadow’s of the Colossus of the RPG genre. I’d rather get a level after one combat but have that combat take an hour and be intense, then get a level after an hours worth of leaning back in my chair and drinking a coke while the AI handles everything.

Chris Woods

I think they should bring back turn-based combat in RPG’s. Give it a tactical element.