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, so this page exists to try and explain the concept.
Rogue-like and Real Time Strategy are different types of game that are woven together in KeeperRL
About Realtime Strategy
KeeperRL has an overhead view that progresses without players taking individual turns to move. You move minions and build rooms and installations while a clock ticks away. You can select 4 different clock speeds from slow to fast. You can also pause the game. You must manage and defend your dungeon from invaders. You can recruit additional minions and take prisoners - and torture them to convert them. As time progresses, you move from day into nighttime and back to daytime etc. Gameplay is somewhat impacted by the time of day or night, including night vision and death of undead in sunlight. You develop technology as you defeat enemies and must gather resources and loot equipment. In this game mode, KeeperRL features indirect control of your minions and works as a dungeon management game. The interface is pretty neat and there is a good amount of complexity in the game design. 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 levels.
Realtime strategy is about dungeon management
About Rogue-like gameplay
KeeperRL allows you to control any of your minions whenever you want to. This will switch from the Realtime strategy game into turn-based gaming. You can dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels of enemy dungeons and settlements. The transition is smooth and the object data is the same between both modes of play - all the tribes, monsters, weapons, armour, spells, furniture and all other object data remains in-memory - and you can explore these features in detail at a very low level. You can also interact with the game features at this level of detail. 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.
In KeeperRL you can control a team of minions and have them follow you, or break rank and chase enemies. 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. There are many roles that you may wish to have on your team. If you want to and have the patience, you can control each minion in turn within a team. You can switch team leader whenever you like.
The graphics are tile-based in both RTS and RL modes and are completely consistent.
KeeperRL also features permadeath of your characters. If you lose a minion you are controlling, you have lost that minion for good. If you kill enemies, they are dead for good. 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!).
Permanent character death can take some getting used to.
About the way KeeperRL balances both styles of games
KeeperRL has a rogue-like layer below the realtime strategy. The combat is resolved at the detailed level and can be managed by the player with various levels of control. Roguelikes are often daunting and discouraging when you die and keeper features permadeath that makes it hard to learn properly from your mistakes. It is also a deep and addictive game when you start to work things out.
If you want to focus on the RTS aspect I would recommend this link to improve your game.
You can understand this sentiment and have some sympathy:
"Kinda sucks that an entire army is useless against a few legendary humanoids."
Rogue-like games traditionally involve an overpowered hero slaughtering armies of monsters. In KeeperRL, this can work in reverse. Your armies of monsters can get slaughtered by an overpowered opponent.
Knights are often the procedural generated end-boss. The elves should give you a bit of trouble as well though. After that it is retired player dungeons ranging from easier than knights to much, much tougher.
It is fairly common (I'm writing in Alpha 27) to wipe out the last retired dungeon, except for one legendary humanoid or cyclops etc. All your armies may be useless (they get slaughtered). A common mistake is to leave the game running over dinner and loot back all your equipment to have another go at it, only to lose a second time.
What you may have to do is to get one overpowered hero of your own and kit him up with all the very best things. I recommend speed potions, healing potions, melee vulnerability and melee resistance potions and using all your enchantment scrolls on your best hero. Look for weaponry that has special effects that the particular boss you are up against is vulnerable to. Perhaps take a few healers with you. A small elite team can often crack dungeons that armies cannot. Think outside the box rather than just ploughing in larger and larger armies.