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Roguelike Realtime Strategy Concept


KeeperRL is a dungeon keeper Realtime Strategy game mixed with Rogue-like combat. A lot of players may struggle with this concept at first.

Explanation of Concept

  1. Rogue-like and Real Time Strategy are different types of game that are woven together in KeeperRL
  2. KeeperRL has an overhead view that progresses without players taking individual turns to move.
  3. KeeperRL allows you to control any of your minions (in a party or solo) whenever you want to.
  4. Controlling minions switches from the Realtime strategy game into roguelike gaming.
  5. Playing as an adventurer is a purely roguelike experience.

Facts about the Realtime Strategy Gaming

  1. You move minions and build rooms and installations while a clock ticks away.
  2. You can select 4 different clock speeds from slow to fast.
  3. You can pause the game.
  4. You must manage and defend your dungeon from invaders.
  5. You can recruit additional minions and take prisoners - and torture them to convert them.
  6. As time progresses, you move from day into nighttime and back to daytime etc.
  7. Gameplay is somewhat impacted by the time of day or night, including night vision and death of undead in sunlight.
  8. You develop technology as you defeat enemies and must gather resources and loot equipment.
  9. Indirect control of your minions.
  10. Works as a dungeon management game.
  11. The interface can navigate the map, select menus, and issue commands to minions. It doesn’t become roguelike until controlling a minion.
  12. The game design has a good degree of complexity.
  13. The map is 3 dimensional meaning that you can dig out dungeons and build outside structures but also dig down a vertical axis to create lower dungeon z-levels.

Facts about Roguelike Gaming

  1. You can dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels of enemy dungeons and settlements.
  2. The transition is smooth and the object data is the same as playing RTS - all the tribes, monsters, weapons, armour, spells, furniture and all other object data.
  3. You can explore dungeon and terrain features in detail at a very low level.
  4. You can also interact with the game features at this level of detail.
  5. While turns pass during control of a minion, your dungeon will continue to evolve if you are on the same map sector as your dungeon.
  6. You can control a team of minions and have them follow you, or break rank and chase enemies.
  7. It often pays to have a balanced team, such as a healer, a spell caster, a warrior and an archer, perhaps a flying creature to provide line-of-sight, creatures that can disarm enemy traps. Riders and steeds. etc.
  8. If you want to and have the patience, you can control each minion in turn within a team.
  9. You can switch party leader whenever you like.
  10. The graphics are tile-based in both RTS and RL modes and are consistent.


  1. KeeperRL features permadeath of your characters. If you lose a minion you are controlling, you have lost that minion for good.
  2. If you kill enemies, they are dead for good.
  3. If you lose your keeper character in either game mode then you have lost the game for good (and your save file will disappear to help you learn for next time!).
  4. Permanent character death can take some getting used to.

Advice for RTS and Roguelike gaming in KeeperRL

  1. KeeperRL has the rogue-like layer below the realtime strategy.
  2. The combat is resolved at the detailed level and can be managed by the player with various levels of control.
  3. Roguelikes are often daunting and discouraging when you die and keeper features permadeath that makes it hard to learn properly from your mistakes.
  4. Don’t complain if you put your keeper in a dangerous raid and they die.
  5. It is also a deep and addictive game when you start to work things out.
  6. If you want to focus on the RTS aspect I would recommend looking at the possible technologies for each type of Keeper.
  7. The dungeon management is needed for recruiting, buffing, equipping, training, enslaving armies and solo heroes.
  8. Overwhelming numbers in large armies with balanced ranged and melee do have a huge advantage but only on the open battlefield.
  9. Armies will organise themselves with melee fighters on the front line backed by ranged attackers behind them.
  10. Aim to take out enemy ranged units with your melee and take out enemy melee with ranged attacks.
  11. Knights are often the procedural generated end-boss.
  12. Eves can be difficult, you can use harpies equipped with night vision amulets during a night attack or just burn down their forest.
  13. After that it is retired dungeons of other players ranging from easier than knights to much, much tougher.
  14. You may encounter some enemies that pose a significant challenge even to an entire army.
  15. Rogue-like games traditionally involve an overpowered hero slaughtering armies of monsters. In KeeperRL, this can work in reverse.
  16. Your armies of monsters can get slaughtered by an overpowered opponent positioned in fortifications or narrow corridors.
  17. Ambush points such as at the bottom of staircases are a big possibility and are meant to be (not a bug).
  18. It is fairly common to wipe out the last retired dungeon, except for one legendary humanoid or cyclops that is holed up in a powerful defensive position.
  19. All your armies may be useless (they get slaughtered) against well organised defences.
  20. Leaving the game running during dinner to retrieve your equipment for the next invasion, is a bad idea when there are triggered villains.
  21. What you may have to do is to get one or more overpowered heroes of your own and kit him up with all the very best things.
  22. Boost battle success with speed and healing potions, melee vulnerability/resistance potions, and using enchantment scrolls on your top hero.
  23. Look for weaponry that has special effects that the particular boss you are up against is vulnerable to.
  24. Perhaps take a few healers with you.
  25. A small elite team can often crack dungeons that armies cannot because of the huge advantages of fortifications, ambush points and defences.
  26. Sometimes, you need to think outside the box rather than just ploughing in larger and larger armies.


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