Caves of Qud is a post-apocalyptic roguelike turn-based open world RPG set in the retrofuturistic world of Qud. This is my take on the Caves of Qud.
Character Creation: Mutants
When you decide to spend your time in Qud you can play as either a mutant or a ‘pure- strain descendant’ called True-Kin. When creating Mutant characters, you get to choose from a plethora of positive and negative abnormalities. A few of the mutant abilities are on the typical side of things such as having an extra pair of arms, a set of horns or even being telepathic or capable of teleportation.
My favourite part of creating a mutant character in Caves of Qud is the negative defects, which can range from having an evil time-bending twin to having hooks for feet. The defects (in comparison to the mutations) are currently lacking in terms of quantity, however, Caves of Qud is still currently in development under the Early Access program, so maybe we’ll see more in the future. Caves of Qud also utilises the Steam Workshop, which allows community members to create and distribute mods for the game, so in the future, we may even see some community-created abilities & defects.
After your abomination has been created, you can then proceed to choose your ‘calling’, which impacts your attributes, starting inventory, reputation and skills. It should be noted, however, that playing as a mutant will start you with lower starting attributes than a ‘True-Kin’. Though in my eyes, that’s a small price to pay for being a four-handed gunslinger who has a time-bending evil twin and a tendency to spontaneously combust randomly.
Character Creation: True-Kin
When you choose to play as a True-Kin in Caves of Qud, you may immediately notice that each of your stats are a whole two points higher than that of the indigenous mutant characters. This makes it a little easier to have a character who is capable of more than just one or two things. The next stage of creating a True-Kin character is to select your starting arcology & caste, similarly to the Calling which mutants get to pick, your starting arcology & caste will have an impact on your skills, reputation, attributes and even resistance against certain status effects.
After you have chosen your arcology & caste, you then move on to my favourite part of creating a True-Kin character: Cybernetics. In the beginning, you have around sixteen cybernetic enhancements to choose from at character generation (with some only being available to certain arcology & castes) with a total 42 cybernetics in the game so far. In order to acquire more cybernetics, you must have the license points to support the future cybernetics you wish to have installed (every cybernetic implant has a noted number of licence points).
After you have chosen your cybernetic implant, the game will begin. If all of these choices seem to be a bit much for you, Caves of Qud allows you to let the game roll a random character for you, or, alternatively, you could partake in either the weekly or daily challenges with a premade character and world seed.
I have decided to go with a personal build of mine (that is probably awful) I like to call the ‘Unstable Gunslinger’, where you start off with no mutations except for the ‘Unstable Genome’ Morphotype and the minimum amount of health possible.
The Journey Begins
Today is the day Yishrijr arrives in the oasis-hamlet of Joppa, a peaceful little settlement of watervine farmers, who (after some conversing with the townsfolk) appear to be having trouble with critters eating their Watervine! With borderlands revolvers in hand, Yishrijr sets out to the northern cave of Red Rock to investigate and kill these bothersome critters.
At first, you may notice that Caves of Qud looks a lot like other games, such as Dwarf Frotress or Rogue Survivor. Caves of Qud is a text-heavy game, which means if you don’t like reading, this probably isn’t a game for you. The first quest you can undertake in the game can be accepted by speaking with Mehmet, the red watervine farmer just north-east of where you start.
After a few hours of travelling, Yishrijr arrives at Red Rock where goats idly wander by and bleet occassionally at the soundless gunslinger. Our hero eventually finds their way into the cave by squeezing past a tree which had grown infront of an entrance way to the cave. It was then that Yishrijr began the descent.
As mentioned earlier, Caves of Quad is a roguelike, this means that every time you start a new game, the world will be procedurally generated, meaning each time you begin a new adventure in the world of Qud, you will experience a very different world every time. Joppa and Mehmet’s quest ‘What’s eating the watervines?’ are not procedurally generated, however, meaning that they will always be there for you to interact with.
As the gunslinger descended deeper down into the cave, the light slowly began to fade and soon, Yishrijr found themself engulfed in the uneasy presence of the darkness. Yishrijr reached into their bag to retrieve an unlit torch, only to suddenly feel a sharp, piercing pain explode from their shoulder as an arrow struck them. The gunslinger lit their torch and revealed three Snapjaw archers. There were blinding flashes of light as bang, bang, bang, each gunshot eachoed throughout the cave, smoke arose from the gunslinger’s pistols and the cave faded to silence.
Combat in Caves of Qud is (in typical roguelike fashion) turn-based, meaning you will need to think about when you move, who you attack and how you engage your opponent(s). You also need to manage your hunger and thirst.
After their first victory over the Snapjaws, Yishrijr was feeling confident and tended to their wounds before continuing to explore the cave, a decision that Yishrijir would come to regret. As the gunslinger made their way further into Red Rock they would find themselves fighting tooth and nail against Snapjaw warriors, each falling in defeat, just like those before them. Yishrijr was feeling unstoppable in the face of the opposition, until they made a fatal mistake.
After meeting my doom at the hands (legs? feet?) of a giant centipede, I decided to look up a guide for people new to Caves of Qud. As it turns out, Caves of Qud is one of those games where there’s a helpful, well-maintained and very well detailed wikia page regarding the mechanics of how Caves of Qud calculates different player stats, such as carry weight and health points. A very useful tip I picked up from the wikia is regarding one of the four available quests in the starting region of Joppa, called ‘Fetch Argyve a knickknack’.
Fetch Argyve a Knickknack is a quest where the resident of the western-most building will ask you to find him an artefact, upon bringing one to him he will request the second artefact and once the second artefact has been provided, you will have earned enough XP to level up. The real beauty of this quest is that you can reach level two without initiating a single turn in combat, by stealing artefacts from the chests in Joppa buildings (just be sure nobody can see you stealing someone’s stuff). After you have completed the second quest for Argyve, he’ll ask you to get him some copper wire. I’ve never managed to get the wire for Argyve, mostly due to the work hazard most roguelike adventurers face: Fatal injury.
Something that I didn’t see on the wikia was the location of the Joppa merchant, who resides in the easternmost residence. You can trade with Tam by speaking to him with ‘C’ and then pressing ‘Tab’ (a prompt in the bottom right corner that I initially missed).
You might be wondering what the currency of a world filled with mutants and humans running around with cybernetics that would make a shadowrunner blush would be. As it turns out, you pay for goods with ‘drams’ of water. Yes, that’s right, this is a post-apocalyptic game where you’re actually trading resources instead of some specific piece of scrap like a bottle cap or glass shards. I’m not sure how you measure a ‘dram’ of water, but it seems the folk of Qud manage to keep track accurately.
So what is My Take On: Caves of Qud?
Caves of Qud is a difficult game and when I say that I don’t mean in the sense of ‘Oh it’s just a bit bothersome’, I mean it’s going to beat you over the head in ways you probably didn’t think it could and then maul your unconscious body with a gang of ravenous carapace-covered badgers. Caves of Qud offers the player a variety of ways to build their character and a hardcore roguelike experience where something as simple as your water flask carries a heavy influence. If this sounds like your kind of experience, then you might be interested in purchasing Caves of Qud, you can currently buy it on Steam for £6.99/$9.99/€8.10