Are there roguelike games without (so much) fighting?

Ultima 4+5+6 appeared on GOG.com and for some unknown reason I’ve read bit about roguelike games development out of pure curiosity.

While possibly one certain element of roguelike games is fighting, leveling up and all that… one important part is also exploration. I’m wondering if there are roguelike games (dungeon crawlers or others) where the game is not so much focussed on combat?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Hey!

    While my roguelike (www.mysteriouscastle.com) is entirely about tactical confrontation, the framework is set for non-violence. How? By removing all rewards for killing things. If you give XP for killing, then you punish non-violence. Now I’m in the midst of setting up fun systems to replace the challenge of combat. Right now I’ve got sneaking and pick-pocketing.

    The bottom line is that programming combat is easy. Programming other systems requires you to think outside the box.

  2. Thanks, will check this out. Seems quite interesting (too bad it seems that the project is abandoned though)

  3. If you switch “computer system” with “dungeons” and “software/firewalls/whatnot” with “goblins”, are they close to the same mechanically?

  4. Yeh, tested it some time ago. Tons of stuff. I was wondering if there are any other..

  5. I play the roguelike Decker. It’s a game where you play a hacker who specializes in breaking into corporate computer systems, for which you are paid.

    It’s not much combat. More like Hacking and using softwares to get inside the corporation’s servers.

  6. You may want to check out http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php?title=Cataclysm

    There is still a lot of combat, sadly, (zombie apocalypse and all) but experience gain is linked to keeping your character in good spirits, and survival linked to looting. It’s a running away from combat and hiding and barricading yourself in to avoid combat style roguelike. As far as I can tell (I die before I get terribly far) there’s no reason you’d want to get in a fight with anything.

  7. Can’t recommend Dwarf Fortress enough. (Don’t see that Thief is a roguelike, though that’s a good description of it, and it is a great game.)

  8. Minecraft is essentially a 3D roguelike-to-be and while it of course has combat, combat is far from central to it.

  9. I actually had an idea for a non-combatant roguelike, where the goal is essentially to flee (you can’t fight) deeper and deeper into the dungeon, powering up by avoiding enemies.

    But it’s just a concept. I think there’s a lot of room to innovate with roguelikes and try out concepts like these.

    I’ve never played a RL without lots of combat in them; that’s like a staple of today’s roguelikes :)

  10. While I haven’t personally encountered any, a quick googling revealed at least one that sounds less violent: http://roguetemple.com/forums/index.php?topic=1700.0

    The notion of a less violent roguelike (or an RPG in general) does interest me immensely, though. I’m not yet entirely sure how it could work out, but giving more weight to exploration could be a good way to do it.

    I wonder if my old Ludum Dare entry (http://www.dicework.com/stuff/ludumdare.html) could act as a starting point.

  11. I’m regularly playing Thief 1+2, through my large collection of fan made missions for this game(s). As the Thief Garrett is a weak fighter, many of these missions are about exploration, sneaking up behind guards and knocking them out, sneaking by patrols or traps and find solutions to riddles and such. Plus the occasional story elements, like finding another page of a diary or so. So there IS combat, but more as a last resort…

  12. Matter…. That’s my point. Does it matter for me to see something that others might not have seen? If not then what’s the point? Replay? Not for me at least.

  13. I’ve played many and while exploration is part of them it’s very little rewarding (aside from personal satisfaction). Yeah it’s a big big problem. So I discovered that “secret” place but for what? I can still “beat” the game without doing so… Or I can still see the end without it matter in any way… That’s sad IMHO

  14. It’s a little (lot) more than just a roguelike, but you might want to try Dwarf Fortress.

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