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Caves of Qud is a post-apocalyptic Science Fantasy roguelike game developed by Freehold Games, heavily influenced by ADOM and the Gamma World RPG. Set on a future world many centuries after an undefined apocalypse, the game places you in the titular region of Qud, a jungle-like area bordered by a desert of salt and large mountain ranges, and boasting a large number of ancient ruins. This realm is actually a terrible place to live, but still attracts many adventurers due to the abundance of Lost Technology within its borders, particularly within its vast cavern systems. However, things may be taking a turn for the (even) worse, as signs of an ancient evil begin to emerge from the dark and forgotten Caves of Qud...
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The game is still in active development, has been released available on Steam Early Access in 2015, which can be played here. The Wiki is here.


The game provides examples of:

  • Achievement Mockery: In the Steam version of the game, there are many achievements that you can only earn by killing yourself with weird and unique methods, like getting annihilated from the explosion of Neutron Flux.
  • After the End: Just how long after the end is never specified in-game, but the developers have stated that the Age of the Eaters ended a thousand years ago.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: If you're a True Kin, you get to pick one of these as your point of origin.
  • Alliance Meter: The player has reputation values with every faction in the game, which will determine whether they attack you on sight or not. Particular factions like or dislike each other. For instance, Hermits and Albino Apes start neutral to the player but will fight to the death if nearby.
    • Named Non Player Characters have their own individual reputations, visible when using the Look command. Performing the Water Ritual with them will improve your relation with friendly factions and reduce it with enemies. The opposite is true if you kill them.
      • Since individual reputations are randomly generated, you can sometimes get into a situation where the Head Watervine Farmer in Joppa is immediately mobbed and slain by the other farmers, for anything from eating their young to cheating at dice.
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    • Be warned that if you kill an NPC after performing the Water Ritual with them, you will be labeled an Oathbreaker and lose reputation with every faction in the game.
  • Anti-Gravity Clothing: One of the player's equipment slots is "Floating Nearby". This can be anything from a floating glowsphere to a hoversled to a Spindle artifact.
  • Anyone Can Die: Most of the named townspeople are much tougher than a starter character... but still mortal.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Amaranthine Prism, which causes people who possess it to become obsessed with it. If you equip it at the end of the questline where you're sent to retrieve it, you'll never be able to remove it, and it will steadily amplify your Ego further and further while lowering your Willpower. Going by the in-game texts about it, it's the key to a Sealed Evil in a Can named Ptoh, though there doesn't seem to be any way to interact with it beyond that.
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  • Autocannibalism: When you get dismembered by enemy attacks, you can choose to eat your own severed limb. If you have the Dismember ability, you can intentionally dismember yourself with your axe for eating your own limbs!
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: The Six Day Stilt, being a holy site for Qud's most prominent religion, is surrounded by tents and merchants of all shapes and sizes. It's the largest collection of shops in the game, and the only place guaranteed to sell a Spray Bottle, an artifact essential for curing fungal infections. The inhabitants are varied as well, including things like Bouldermensch and Mimics as pilgrims looking to pray and trade.
  • Beast Folk:
    • Many residents of Qud. Dromads and snapjaws are the ones players will encounter most frequently, but albino apes and (also albino) mutant quilled bears are also prominent.
    • Players who invest heavily in physical mutations can end with a character like this.
  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • Bears can show up as early as Red Rock, and can be lethal for players who only have a level or two under their belt.
    • The trope keeps going when you meet the Urshiib (sentient mutant bears), who run the second town most players visit. Not only are they located at the bottom of yet another dungeon, but they insist that you complete a Fetch Quest in a very dangerous location before they'll allow you full access to their enclave. You do get partial access, however, which still allows you to trade with a trader there.
    • You think normal bears are bad? Meet the slumberling: It's a bear crossed with puma. It's extremely tough, can do massive damage, can spawn in the first dungeon. The AI code also is quite...crazy in that it will exclusively target your character even if it's been awakened/attacked by other hostile enemies. Fortunately they are asleep most of the time, and if you evade their pursuit long enough they'll go back to sleep.
  • BFG: There are huge guns like the Missile Launcher or Blast Cannon, and they hit much harder than other guns. However, they are cumbersome to wield, so without the Tank skill you will suffer movement penalty.
  • Blackout Basement: Potentially any dungeon, if you let your light source go out.
  • Blessed With Suck: Most of the mutations have no drawbacks, but a few do, and they can cause you a lot of grief if you're not paying attention. Woe unto the player who too casually uses Disintegration (which paralyzes you for a few rounds as part of its "cooldown"), or uses the clone-creating Temporal Fugue while also having an area-effect attack, or picks the Nomad class (whose biggest perk is a free recycling suit) after taking a mutation that disables body armor...
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Weapons and other items can be spawned with modifiers like Painted, Engraved, or Jewel-encrusted. Those modifiers make the item more expensive.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • The lairs of legendary beasts can pop up randomly on the world map, and taking them on is optional.
    • In Bethesda Susa, you can meet Saad Amus The Sky-Bear, a Human Popsicle. If you wake him (or he gets woken up by, say, the insane rocket-wielding enemy in the same room), he's an outrageously tough boss fight, but successfully beating him will let you claim his sword and jetpack, two of the best items in the game.
    • Oboroqoru, the Ape God of Kyakukya, can be found in a lair somewhere near that village; he's outrageously powerful, but if you beat him, you can claim the Fist of the Ape God, an Infinity +1 Sword for anyone who uses clubs and is strong enough to carry it.
    • While not unique, Leering Stalkers and especially Chrome Pyramids are stronger than almost any enemy in the game, never need to be fought as part of any quest, and will only be encountered by players exploring far, far deeper into the caves than they ever (currently) need to go or wandering around the Deathlands.
  • Boring, but Practical: All those copper/silver/gold nuggets you see in merchant inventories? Those aren't just Vendor Trash, they're a much lighter way of carrying your wealth than what they're worth in water. Also qualifying is the basic tinkering recipe for making lead slugs for your guns.
  • Beneath the Earth: The titular Caves of Qud are host to astounding treasures and terrors. Non-story dungeons allow you to descend until you hit lava floes, and you can cross the game world entirely underground if you wanted to.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: On defeating a Chrome Pyramid, the strongest enemy in the game, it will sometimes drop its Swarm Rack, a weapon that fires eight rockets per shot and requires no ammo... and also weighs 1500 pounds. But anyone who can both beat a Chrome Pyramid and carry a Swarm Rack doesn't really need it.
  • Breakable Weapons: Most of your weapons are vulnerable to rusting and/or breakage.
  • Break Them by Talking: Using the Berate skill can shame the foe, and it makes them more vulnerable from your attacks for awhile.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: Giant chameleons, naturally. They change their color scheme to match adjacent tiles.
  • Chain Lightning: Electric melee weapons produce electric discharge when they hit enemies, and the said electric discharge can harm nearby enemies too.
  • Classic Cheat Code: The game has a "Wish" command (for debugging purposes), and you can earn basically anything by wishing. You can also wish things like decapitating yourself.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Qud's white books have text that is randomly generated every game (via Markov chains). The resulting prose is... very reminiscent of this trope. Two of these books have clues buried in their text that lead to the location of the Ruin Of House Isner artifact pistol.
  • Commonplace Rare:
    • A Taco Suprema is an ungodly valuable item, with prices far beyond most legendary high-tech artifacts from lost civilizations.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Averted; every boss in the game is vulnerable to the Decapitation skill which provides a very low chance of instant death on hit (and a higher chance when using the Dismember skill). Of course, it doesn't matter for creatures with multiple heads or that don't need a head to survive.
  • Cool Key: One category of artifact are the colored key cards that can unlock doors of the same color. Unfortunately for looters, keycards of any color tend to be rare and expensive as artifacts go. The psychometry mutation bypasses the need for these Keycards, as you simply use your biological item scan to help the door "Remember" its passcode.
  • Crapsack World: Even untold millennia after the apocalypse, most of Qud is still a ruined, barbarism-ridden, monster-infested, and sometimes radioactive Death World with only the most isolated pockets of "civilization". Better yet, you have but to finish the first quest before you receive a big warning that it's about to get even worse...
  • Dash Attack: The Charge ability allows the player to dash forward and hit the enemy. Certain skills add various additional effect to this attack.
  • Death Glare: Using abilities like Menacing Stare or Intimidate can scare hostile creatures and make them run away. It's more effective when you have higher Ego.
  • Developers' Foresight: Perhaps not yet to the level of NetHack, but the game already features such things as being able to douse yourself with your own canteen if you're on fire, or use an enemy's acid spamming to breach a wall.
    • The Spinnerets mutation allows you to spin webs. If you take the Phasing mutation as well (which allows you to phase out of reality), then activating your spinnerets will produce phase webs instead of normal ones, trapping anyone who is caught in them outside of reality until they escape.
    • You can use the Kindle mutation to light webs on fire. If you do it with the aforementioned Phase Webs, the fire will be phased out and will only burn other phased-out things.
    • The Bloated Pearlfrog has an attack that uses its tongue to draw in anything unlucky enough to be near it. If it uses that attack on anything coated in black ooze, a substance that causes one of two diseases if consumed, it will start to contract one of those sicknesses.
  • Departmentof Redundancy Department: When you dismember limbs from creatures, the dismembered body parts often have duplicated adjectives, like "bloody bloody bear's tail".
  • Dialogue Tree: One feature that helps COQ stand out among roguelikes.
  • Disadvantageous Disintegration:
    • The Corrosive Gas Generation mutation is incredibly destructive... but after it kills enemies, it will rapidly dissolve anything they dropped.
    • While the actual Disintegrate power leaves the enemy's gear behind, it will destroy anything that was already the floor, which makes it hard to use it without obliterating some of your potential loot.
    • Pyrokinesis and Cryokinesis create damage fields which will destroy the stuff your enemy drops; Pyrokinesis (and other fire-related powers) have the added problem that they'll increase the temperature in the area, which can make stuff spontaneously combust and can start fires that spread over the entire level.
    • And all of this gets worse if you use Temporal Fugue to create duplicates of yourself while you have them or recruit an enemy with these powers, since your allies are completely careless about destroying potential loot.
  • Disaster Scavengers: The player character, by default. The elder of Joppa used to be like this, but now sees himself as too old to risk his life plundering Qud's chrome caverns. (He encourages you to go right ahead, though!)
  • Disc-One Nuke: Several are possible, as it is a roguelike.
    • Finding a Carbine or ElectroBow will allow trivial resolution to encounters in the salt marshes, provided you have ammunition. You might even be able to tinker one early.
    • Finding a Giant Weep of any beneficial, reasonably-transportable liquid (honey and wine are the obvious ones) near Joppa, giving you effectively infinite amounts of liquid to trade for equipment and medicine. Just watch out for the infectious Goldpuffs that are often nearby.
    • Certain castes of True Kin start with randomized weapons and artifacts, which (if the RNG smiles) can include things like gaslight flyssas and overloaded energy weapons.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Good advice if you've invested in the Bow And Rifle skill branch, as passing a turn lets you "aim" and gain a to-hit bonus. More advanced skills along the branch allow you to execute special attacks with your rifle if you're aiming. On the other hand, the Pistols tree contains a skill that specifically removes the accuracy penalty for firing while sprinting.
  • Downloadable Content: If you support the development of the game in Patreon, you can receive special codes that give you exclusive pets.
  • Dual Wielding: Getting various skills in Dual Wield skill tree makes you good at using two weapons at once.
  • Dug Too Deep: While the deeper layers of the underground often have rarer treasures, if you go into the deepest caverns, there is a chance that you would see extremely deadly enemies like the Chrome Pyramid.
  • Dump Stat: Character creation uses a point system, and — like many such systems — there'll probably end up being at least one attribute that doesn't play a massive role in your particular character build. Ego in particular is used in the places most games use Charisma (shop prices, recruiting allies), which is less essential for many builds; Intelligence is needed for skills like tinkering and contributes to your skill points, but even without it you will have enough for basic competence. Additionally, there are weapons whose accuracy doesn't depend on Strength (especially ranged ones), which turns Strength into a complete dump stat for certain builds.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Golgotha is normally a maze full of deathtraps, slime, and absurd quantities of vent crabs. However, breaching the bunker on the surface lets you access an elevator shaft that leads directly to the bottom floor. Surviving the fall is another story, but possible with a Rubbergum Injector and over 100 hit points.
  • Easy Exp: Looting the homes in Joppa. Did you find any artifacts? You can turn them into Argyve for his first couple of quests and make level 2 before you've even left the village.
  • Elemental Crafting: Melee weapons and armor can be made of bronze, iron, steel, carbide, folded carbide, fullerite, crysteel, flawless crysteel, zetachrome...
  • Elemental Weapon: Flaming, Freezing and Electrified are weapon modifications that add extra damage on your melee weapon.
  • EMP: Some of the weapons and mutations are based around EMP attacks.
  • Enemy Scan: You actually get some of this functionality for free, as you can see a monster's equipment and how relatively tough they are by simply (l)ooking at them. Having the right gear equipped will let you learn even more about them.
  • Energy Bow: The Electrobow. Highly useful early on due to its high penetration, especially if you have solar or fidget cells. Other energy weapons will supplant it later, however.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Killing someone who is water-bonded with you is universally considered as an unacceptable act in Qud, and doing it will cost you a large amount of reputation with every single faction in the game. Animals, murderbots, predatory goatfolk villages, Sultan cults, demonic girshlings, newly-sentient beings, flowers, pariahs who are already hated by everyone, malfunctioning hyper-sentient (and immobile) baetyls, the frigging Putus Templar - somehow all of them agree that water-bond breakers are the scum of Qud.
  • Everything Breaks: You can destroy the walls, furniture, trees, and most everything else in Qud if you have a weapon that can penetrate their toughness. In fact, one of the best uses of the burrowing claws mutation is not combat, but simply to dig around locked doors that you don't have a keycard for. Mutants who overuse the Pyrokinesis mutation in combination with Temporal Fugue (cloning yourself) or high-level Mass Mind (rapidly resetting its cooldown) can take this a step further by discovering that the game's temperature system means that repeated applications of searing fire can eventually burn stone, melting it with such heat that it can rapidly spread and destroy the entire level.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Some of Qud's plant life is just as obnoxious as any of its animals. The qudzu eats your equipment, the young ivory pop out of nowhere to slap you with massive bleeding, the jilted lover plants hold you in place (while eating you, of course), the seed-hurling plants have a better range than your line of sight... and all of those things can be found in the starter regions of Qud.
    • The Spray-A-Brain item turns any inanimate object into an intelligent creature that will try to kill you if you aren't liked by the Newly-Sentient Beings faction.
  • The Exile: Pariahs are the people who were exiled from their own faction. Hindrens outside Bey Lah are always Pariahs, because their culture forbids them to return to the village.
  • Expospeak Gag: The Gaslight Flyssa. A flyssa is a type of saber, and gaslight is just a way of producing light. In other words, it's a lightsaber.
  • Expy: The Putus Templar sound and behave like the Knights of Genetic Purity in Gamma World. If you're a mutant, they will attack you on sight.
  • Falling Damage: Most shafts in the game are safe to enter, but particularly deep shafts will hurt. Fortunately the game will warn you before you jump. Can be mitigated with Rubbergum Injectors which make your skin bouncy.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: The in-game book On the Origins and Nature of the Dark Calculus lists advancements made by mathematicians such as "Russel, Godel, Eisencruft, Atufu, Wheatgrass, and System Star", who gave us advancements like "undecidability, pointed regularism, and abyssalism."
  • Fantastic Light Source: The glowsphere and particularly the floating glowsphere. The latter is especially prized not only because it's expensive, but provides light without taking up one of your hands.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • There are various intelligent plants and fungi in the game, and the two groups hate each other fiercely. The player can run afoul of this if they show up in Kyakukya with too many fungal infections, causing the Cucumber Vine merchant to try to kill them.
    • The Putus Templar in a nutshell. They're a radical faction of True Kins, and they want to exterminate everyone who is not a pure, unmutated human.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Qud has some elements from Middle Eastern culture. The prominent Eaters that ruled Qud before the cataclysm are called Sultans, creatures that resemble to camels are the most common merchants, and in the Six Day Stilt, people are smoking hookahs.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: Goatfolks are humanoid creatures that have huge horns, and they live in the jungle of Qud.
  • Festering Fungus: Watch out if your character complains of itchy skin. You will imminently develop one of several varieties of fungal growth that takes over one of your body parts.
  • Fetch Quest:
    • Argyve of Joppa is fond of handing these out. Becoming his apprentice involves finding him two separate artifacts, and then 200 feet worth of copper wire.
    • Sparking Baetyls will demand a random item and quantity. These can be anything from a dozen extremely rare security cards to a pair of leather boots to a pile of pig corpses. The rewards for doing so are always extremely powerful, such as artifacts and extra mutation points.
  • Fission Mailed: In the Tomb of the Eaters, you must enter Brightsheol, but the only way to do that is to lay in Resheph's sarcophagus and die. If you do this, the game will indeed tell you that you died and even present a standard death screen with your score... but a brief Interface Screw places you in Brightsheol, and your quest continues.
  • Five Races: Averted. The only playable races are True Kin and Mutated Humans. Plans do exist, though, to implement Mutated Animals (so that people can, among other things, play as an Urshiib like the residents of Grit Gate) and Sentient Plants.
  • Flash of Pain: A useful part of the interface is the way your (or a monster's) symbol will briefly change after an attack, letting you know whether the attack hit, failed to penetrate armor, or just missed completely.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Rainbow Woods. The name sounds like a pleasant Super Mario level, but it's actually a labyrinthine hell of poisonous mushrooms and primordial ooze that spawns endless quantities of hostile sludge monsters.
  • Force Field: One of the more powerful mutations, and practically a must if you've sunk all your points into being a mutation-heavy esper.
  • The Force Is Strong with This One: Powerful psychics emit a psychic glimmer that attracts bounty hunters. You can sense them as well and will be warned when one is near.
  • Follow the Money: Not money, exactly, but those 200 feet of copper wire that Argyve wants are just laying on the ground of the Rust Wells, and if you're particularly unlucky, you might end up collecting some of it 1 foot at a time.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Light Manipulation mutation allows you to use your passive light emitting to fire laser beams as an attack.
  • Friendly Fire: Ranged weapons will damage anything the projectile or explosion hits. One way tinkers die is building turrets that shoot through them to the enemies.
    • One of the encounters in Bethesda Susa is a single cannibal with a rocket launcher, fought in a room with several sleeping super-bosses. If one is woken up with splash damage it's usually game over for the player.
  • Full-Boar Action: Qud has many aggressive swines that can easily murder unprepared adventurers. Fire Snouts can breath fire, Two-headed boars can bite you twice in one turn, Slugsnouts spit deadly slugs from their long snout, and there are Two-headed Slugsnouts too.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The game's abbreviation of "COQ" (aka "cock").
  • Future Primitive: The Naphtaali tribe is a faction of aggressive humanoids, and they use primitive weapons like blowguns or clubs. This tribe seems to worship the robots called Chrome Idols, and they wear a mask too like the people of this faction.
  • Garden of Evil: The Rainbow Woods.
  • Gatling Good: There are multi-barreled weapons like the Chaingun or Chain Laser, and they have hefty firepower.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: Like most roguelikes, no references of any kind are ever made to your character's gender.
  • Giant Spider: One category of monster, complete with webs for you to get stuck in. Interestingly, they behave somewhat realistically. They'll generally keep their distance from you and only attack if you get too close or get stuck in a nearby web.
  • The Goomba: The Snapjaw Scavengers and Snapjaw Hunters are the most common enemies in the areas near Joppa, and they are the weakest enemies in this game. They are armed with the weakest weapons like bronze weapons or shortbows, and any player with decent equipment or attack abilities should be able to kill them quickly.
  • Gradual Regeneration: The most common healing tonics work by this principle.
  • Green Hill Zone: The watervine marsh around Joppa, the starting town, is one of the safest areas to explore. The most dangerous thing you're likely to encounter is an occasional crocodile or salthopper (and even a salthopper shouldn't be wholly under-estimated); the Red Rock cave you are pointed to as a starting quest is also usually forced into being pretty tame. (Usually.) Everything becomes sharply more dangerous the moment you wander out of the marsh or into a cave that isn't the Red Rock Noob Cave.
  • Green Thumb: The Burgeoning mutation, which lets you use the horrific plantlife of Qud against your enemies.
  • Grimy Water: Purified water may be your currency, but most of the water you'll find in Qud isn't so nice...
    • Liquids can gain unpleasant adjectives when mixed with other adjectives. Slimy, Bloody, Lush, Honeyed, Putrid, etc.
    • This being said, salt is still tasty and useful for cooking, once you purify it a bit by pouring it out and re-bottling the dilute salt.
  • Guns Akimbo: If you have the Akimbo skill, you fire each handgun on your hands at once.
  • Hack Your Enemy: Every True Kin player can use an exclusive ability, Rebuke Robot. It can pacify robotic enemies. If you have high enough Ego, you can even make them your ally.
  • Hair-Trigger Explosive: Neutron Flux. You can carry it around in whatever container you found it with no problems... but trying to use it as a cooking ingredient with no recipe or even pouring it into another container will be the last thing your character (and everyone around them) ever does.
  • Healing Factor: The regeneration mutation, which even allows you to regrow lost limbs.
  • Heroic Dog: Dogs is one of the very few factions that are friendly to you from the start of the game. This means, dogs in the wild will often assist you in the fight.
  • Hidden Supplies: The caves, lairs, and ruins of Qud can be surprisingly rich in chests and even whole rooms filled with useful loot.
  • Hollywood Acid: Played straight with acid grenades, corrosive gas, and other acid-based hazards. The corrosive gas is available as a player mutation and the grenades are craftable, if you get tired of being on the receiving end.
  • Horned Humanoid: Mutated Human player can have horns as a physical mutation. While having the horns prevents you from wearing headgears, you can use your horns in melee combat and they can protect you from damage after you leveled up this mutation.
  • Human Popsicle: Bethesda Susa has several cryonics chambers. Most are broken, but some contain horribly powerful creatures in stasis. You can also find cryonics chambers as rare encounters underground.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: The humans that used to thrive before the apocalypse are called the Eaters.
  • Hydra Problem: Twinning Lampreys always come in pairs, and one will instantly copy itself if its partner dies. Both must be killed in the same turn for them to stay dead.
  • Ice Person: Mutations like the Cryokinesis or Freezing Hands allow characters to attack with ice.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The aptly-named "Deathlands", ruins which are infested with very dangerous late-game enemies like Leering Stalkers and Chrome Pyramids. It was even more overt in earlier versions of the game, when the Deathlands were described as "ancient radioactive ruins".
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • If you have the Carnivorous mutation, you can eat raw corpses without much problem, and this includes humanoid corpses. Even when you don't have the mutation, you can still cook meals with severed body parts from human characters.
    • Cannibals are one class of low-level humanoid enemy.
  • Improvised Weapon: The game will let you attack with any object that you can put in either hand.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Downplayed. In Grit Gate, you can meet Sparafucile, a master gunsmith who happens to be mute. One of your dialogue options is to remark how inspiring it is that someone like him managed to become such a legendary tinker. Sparafucile is not flattered.
  • Intangibility: The Phasing ability allows you to go through solid objects like creatures or walls.
  • Intrepid Merchant: It's possible to encounter random traders while wandering the world map. This is also one of the starting backgrounds available to mutant characters.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game keeps track of (in-game) time. Luckily for players who don't want to be inconvenienced because they stumbled back into town at 2 AM, none of the merchants or quest dispensers ever seem to sleep or close their business, except for...
    • The merchants of the Six Day Stilt will go sleep next to campfires at night, as will the main merchants of Grit Gate, requiring you to wake them up (or just wait) before you can shop with them. The former will even occasionally pack up and be replaced by other merchants.
  • Item Crafting: An entire branch of the skill tree is dedicated to disassembling the junk and artifacts you find, and reassembling the bits into useful gear.
  • Justified Save Point: How the Precognition power works. Players without Precognition can still save their game at any time, but if they die, their save is deleted and they must start over with a new character (as is typical of roguelikes). The Precognition power, when activated, creates a save point that you can revert to while the power is still active (you automatically revert if you die during this time, or you can manually revert if you simply decide you don't like what's happening).
  • Killed Offscreen: If you didn't choose Joppa as the starting point at the start of the game, you will eventually find the ruin of Joppa. There are the corpse of Argyve and his disk in the destroyed workshop.
  • Killer Gorilla: Orge Apes are aggressive and deadly gorillas. Downplayed for Oboroqoru, Ape God, who won't attack you unless provoked.
  • Killer Robot: Another class of enemy, whose threat levels range from weak waydroids all the way to nigh-invulnerable and missile-spamming Chrome Pyramids.
  • King Mook: The monster races can spawn uniques and "legendary" variants of their type, both with names and a nice pink color to give you fair warning.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: You can get away with looting the houses in towns if no one can see you. This is particularly useful in Joppa at the beginning of the game, since the chests can contain guns, tonics, and other useful artifacts for getting your run started.
  • Knockout Gas: Gas like Sleep Gas or Stun Gas can incapacitate enemies. Sleeping Gas is especially deadly, because you can deal bonus damage against the sleeping enemies.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: "Salt Krakens" can be found in the desert. They are extremely durable and have very high HP, but their ridiculously heavy corpse is extremely valuable.
  • Level Drain: The Saps are fragile bat-like creatures, but their bite attack drains a small fraction of stats or maximum HP from you, permanently.
  • Level Grinding: The game makes an effort to avert this (by progressively lowering the XP gain for killing monsters below your level), but grinding in level-appropriate areas is still possible and useful.
  • Light 'em Up: The Light Manipulation mutation allows you to attack with laser beams of light. This ability also can be used as your light source.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: The game does this twice; mutants are quadratic compared to True Kin, and psychic-oriented Esper mutants are quadratic even compared to other mutants.
    • For mutants vs. True Kin, mutants get a mutation point every level, which can upgrade their mutations; or they can spend four to gain a totally new mutation. True Kin do have access to cybernetics from the beginning, which are nice (and have gotten steadily better over the game's development cycle), but physical mutations are still more powerful and versatile.
    • For Espers, it's even more extreme. Ego raises the level of all your mental mutations at once, but provides no benefit until you're high enough level yourself to use them at that power; additionally, you can spend your chargen points to start with nothing but randomly get a more powerful random mutation later on as you advance in level. This means that a level 1 Esper might have two or three mutations and nearly all their stat points locked up in a stat that does little at level 1; by level 20 they'll have 12 or so mental mutations at level 10+ (as opposed to, say, two level 10 mutations for a physical mutant), resulting in a character who can teleport anywhere, clone themselves 7 times, boost their Strength or Toughness to godlike levels, set the entire map on fire with their mind, and reset the cooldown on their mutations to do it all again five turns later. Recent versions of the game have introduced Psychic Glimmer that causes increasingly powerful Espers to hunt you as your mental mutations grow, which is a headache that physical mutants don't have to deal with... but there's no denying that Esper builds can achieve levels of destruction and sheer absurdity that physical mutants could never touch.
  • Locked Door: A common feature of Qud's ruins. Luckily, the walls around these doors aren't always as Ragnarock-proofed — sometimes the map generation leaves gaps leading to the other side, or you can breach them with powerful weapons, acid attacks, and burrowing claws.
  • Machine Blood: Robotic creatures bleed oil instead of blood.
  • Magikarp Power: Ego-focused Esper builds, all the way. As mentioned above, at level 1 you have two or three powers (which are also locked at power level 1) and much of your stat points in what is a Dump Stat in the eyes of most other builds. By level 20, you are Qud's answer to the Kwisatz Haderach.
  • Magic Knight: You can choose to become a mutant human who utilizes melee attacks and psychic abilities at the same time. While your raw power will become somewhat weaker than a pure melee fighter or esper because you need to spend attribute points on both physical stats and Ego, there are many psychic abilities with great synergies for melee-oriented characters.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Fricking Golgotha. Doing your quest there involves jumping down a one-way pit from the surface level, where you land on a conveyor belt that will be quickly overrun by an acid cloud or some other heavily-damaging hazard. The conveyor proceeds for several levels like this, eventually dumping you into a big scrap level that holds the object of your quest — and a horde of monsters eager to finish the job that the Conveyor Belt Of Death started. Afterwords, depending on how you handled the bossfight at the end, you could contract a disease which can make the game Unwinnable for certain builds, particularly characters with regeneration, who can no longer safely eat food, or drink water.
  • The Maze: The "underground" levels may not officially be a maze, but they apparently reach all over Qud and you can wind up in them if you go too deep in many dungeons.
  • Mega City: Consider that each of Qud's settlements covers (at most) nine screens of terrain, or one full world map tile. Now look at the Deathlands, which cover most of the eastern side of the world map. "Mega-city" is the only word for what the Deathlands must have been before the cataclysm.
  • The Minion Master: If your Psychic Glimmer climbs too high because you've leveled too many mental mutations, Agents of Ptoh will appear with a variety of psychic thralls to harass you.
  • Monsters Everywhere: Qud has only few settlements and the world is populated with tons of hostile creatures. However, it's possible to improve the reputation with various factions and make them less hostile to you.
  • Mook Maker:
    • Clonelings will create copies of any creature they bump into.
    • Feral Lahblooms can't attack directly, but do produce seed pods that follow the player and explode.
    • Scratched Vents, which are near indestructible and produce endless quantities of the infamous Vent Crabs.
    • Primordial Ooze is a liquid that will spawn sludge monsters if it's tainted by any other liquid. The Rainbow Woods has rivers of the stuff, placed dangerously close to sprinkler-like Weep Mushrooms.
    • Snailmothers produce eggs that hatch into hostile slugs if not destroyed. The mother itself is weak but has extremely high armor.
  • Mooks Ate My Equipment: The qudzu plants, which can rust your equipment with a hit. Luckily, they can't move. Less luckily, they can spawn on walls — including the walls surrounding one-tile corridors.
    • Sludges in the Rainbow Woods can disarm the players.
  • More Dakka: Available to those who are lucky enough to scavenge a chaingun or chain pistol.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous:
    • The multiple arms mutation, just the thing for players who want to be human (or rather mutant) cuisinarts.
    • The helping hands is a wearable item that works as extra arms. Combining this item with the multiple arms mutation makes you a six-armed mutant!
  • Multiple Head Case: The Two-headed mutation gives you an extra head.
  • Multi-Melee Master: In theory, you could gain enough skill points and attributes to max out all the melee weapons. In practice, though, most players stick to one type of weapon.
  • Mushroom Samba: Happens to those that partake of the Eaters' Flesh mushrooms, revealing the Coral Road through the Rainbow Woods. The Steam version of the game even applies some distortion effects to the screen during the sequence.
  • Mutants: Of the second variety.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The leader of Kyakukya, the mushroom village, is an albino ape who proved too thoughtful to settle for his race's traditionally berserk lifestyle.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Putus Templar, a faction of militaristic True Kin whose goal is to genocide all of Qud's mutants.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Those mutant skunks, worker ants, and other monsters that belch clouds of acid at you? You can lure them to that wall or door you can't get past, and let them melt it for you...
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Chrome Pyramid which can be found in The Deathlands. It will kill you.
  • Nintendo Hard: Like other rougelike games, this game is quite hard. After you leave from Salt Marsh, it gets even more harder since the game starts throwing more nasty and dangerous creatures.
  • No-Sell: Robotic and Plant-based creatures won't be affected by mind manipulation abilities.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • Contrary to the easy way this trope usually goes, you need one of the more advanced axe skills to pull off a decapitation. But if it works it's an instant kill (assuming the creature doesn't have extra heads).
    • There are Relic weapons that can decapitate creatures in certain faction in a small chance.
  • Organ Drops: What you can get if you invest in the butchery skill tree. In addition, if you have attacks that can cause dismemberment, you can collect severed body parts.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dawngliders are snake-like creatures with feathery wings, and they can breath fire too.
  • Quest Giver: The civilized towns have at least one (and sometimes multiple) inhabitants who serve this function.
  • Permadeath: Luckily optional for those who don't like it.
  • Paint the Town Red: Fighting causes characters bleed, and the blood from creatures remains on the floor and paints nearby objects and creatures. If you kill many enemies with lengthy melee combat, you will see the environment becomes red with blood from you and the slain enemies.
  • Phlebotinum Overdose: The artifact tonics are a good source of temporary powers and resistances... unless you try to use too many of them at once.
  • Piñata Enemy: Spark ticks, which have an unusually high level for when they first appear (and for how easy it is to defeat them). This means that unlike most monsters, they'll continue to grant a nice XP award for many levels after they're no longer any threat to your character.
  • Planetary Romance: Complete with Schizo Tech, a Low Fantasy feel (at least at early levels), and a largely-unexplored far-future Earth (if not an outright alien planet) described in lush detail.
  • Playing with Fire: The pyrokinesis and (to a lesser extent) kindle mutations.
  • Powerful, but Inaccurate: The ranged weapons like the Chaingun shoot many projectiles in a single turn and they have much higher damage output than most guns. But they tend to be extremely inaccurate, to the point where you miss the opponent in 5 tile range.
  • Power Incontinence: Some of the selectable bad mutations include teleportitis and randomly releasing EMP bursts.
  • Power Nullifier: Normality Gas prevents anyone inside from using psychic or dimensional abilities.
  • Power-Up Food: Cooked meals give various buffs to the player. Some of them even give temporal mutations like the Breathe Fire.
  • Practical Currency: Qud's common currency is fresh water, and you need to drink regularly or you die. Water is also very heavy so hoarding it is difficult. It can also be used to clean things and douse fires.
  • Psychic Powers: Mutations! Clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, psychometry, domination, sunder mind...
  • Punched Across the Room: The Slam is a powerful Cudgel ability, and it can send the enemy backwards. If they are pushed against walls, they get extra damage for each destroyed wall.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: As with Gamma World itself, it's highly unlikely that all these guns, robots, artifacts, and (in some cases) Taco Supremas could have possibly survived this long after the apocalypse, but that's not the point.
  • Random Encounter: The world map throws this trope at you on steroids. You won't encounter random monsters when traveling overland — no, you'll get lost, forcing you to explore one monster-infested zone after another until you finally regain your bearings and are allowed to return to the world map. To be fair, world map random encounters can also be good things, like wandering merchants, ruins with loot, or legendary monster lairs.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The game procedually generates the world. While there are few hand-crafted places like Joppa or the Six Day Stilt, almost all places, ruins, or caverns in the game are randomly generated ones.
  • Randomly Generated Loot:
    • Generic items sometimes have modifiers, like Sharp(+1 to penetration) or Feathered(improves the reputation with birds). Some strong modifiers are more rare than others.
    • Relic Items are however, completely randomized and they tend to be very powerful, because always have powerful modifiers that generic items never have.
  • Random Number God: As usual for most roguelikes. If you have bad luck, your attacks might not hit or penetrate.
  • Rare Candy: Using an Eater's nectar injector gives you 1 attribute point or 1 mutation point. Naturally, this item is extremely rare and expensive.
  • Regenerating Health: Again as usual for most roguelikes. Having the regeneration mutation makes it even better, of course.
  • Roguelike
  • Required Secondary Powers: The mutations that give you sleeping gas, acid gas, or the ability to spin webs also provide you with immunity to those things, thankfully. This applies even to ones created by enemies; in particular, the Sleeping Gas mutation makes you entirely immune to being slept.
  • Retraux: The game's aesthetic is a conscious aping of space age planetary romance novels and the early homemade computer games inspired by them. The title screen even emulates a crinkled old sci-fi paperback cover.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Axes and Swords are perfectly effective against the various killer robots you'll find in Qud. Of special mention are the Bouldermench of Bethesda Susa who can do horrendous damage with their enormous thrown boulders.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Zig-zagged. Qud's many ruins do have a specific origin as the remnants of the Eaters' extinct civilization, and the named locations that are quest targets do have obvious purposes (waste disposal, cryogenics facility, Sultan cult headquarters, etc). But the generic random ruins that populate the rest of the map? Good luck making any sense of them as actual facilities that were ever used or inhabited by human beings.
  • Rust-Removing Oil: The Fix-It Spray Foam can remove "rusted" or "broken" statuses from your item.
  • Rock Monster: The Bouldermensch that live in the upper part of Bethesda Susa.
  • Sacred Hospitality: One of the game's skills is a "Water Ritual" you can perform to befriend faction leaders and improve your reputation with their faction. If you kill them afterwards, everyone will hate you.
  • Scavenger World: Most technology still can be manufactured with the right knowledge, but most people are seemingly unable to make anything beyond melee weapons and makeshift firearms, with anything more advanced gained through scavenging alone.
  • Schizo Tech: Throughout your character's journey, you'll find (and use) every sort of tech from bronze weapons and armor to ultra-tech artifacts.
  • Science Hero: Any character that focuses heavily on tinkering is this.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: According to the in-game texts about it, the Amaranthine Prism is the key to the prison for a mysterious space-warping entity named Ptoh, which was sealed on Qud long, long ago.
  • Self-Duplication:
    • Twinning Lampreys are always found in pairs and will copy themselves unless both are killed in the same turn.
    • Segmented Mirthworms will duplicate off-screen until they're engaged, leading to enormous swarms of them when the player arrives. Fortunately they're individually weak and provide good experience points.
    • Last but certainly not least, there is the infamous Temporal Fugue power.
  • Sentry Gun: A common enemy type in ruins. They have low HP but extremely long range and firepower. The player can build their own out of any ranged weapon, including wooden bows.
  • Shock and Awe: The electrical discharge mutation, with a free Chain Lightning effect.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: A secret tunnel leads from Joppa to Red Rock, providing an alternative to braving the world map... but the monsters in this tunnel are at least as dangerous as the ones around Joppa, and you can get lost in the vast underground map if you take a wrong turn.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The description for the hologram bracelet is a shout out to Total Recall, and you can also build a timecube, a ridiculously expensive one-use Time Stop.
    • You can wish idkfa with the Wish command. It enables the God mode.
    • The descriptions of several artifacts like the Laser Pistol reference Dwarf Fortress.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Qud's artifacts, robots, Becoming Nooks, and ruins have their origin in the Eaters of Earth, but only hints are known about their civilization and the cataclysm that ended it. The Eaters achieved an interstellar civilization, joined a powerful alien Coven which governed all known regions of space, and were entrusted by the Coven with imprisoning the godlike entity Ptoh on Qud... it is this last act which may have lead to the Eaters' demise.
  • Sidequest: Many of the quests and locations are completely optional, but finishing them is a good idea if you can manage it.
  • The Six Stats: Strength, Agility, Endurance, Intelligence, Willpower, and Ego. Ego is somewhat unusual because it represents how much the character influences other people via speech or intimidation, and the effectiveness of their psychic powers.
  • Skill Tree: A downplayed example. All skills require one 'root' skill for their category. Most don't require anything else beyond high enough stats, but there are a few skills with additional prerequisite skills, especially in the Long Blade and Bows / Rifles trees.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: While the Putus Templar explicitly have the overall goal of eradicating Qud of all mutants, it's briefly mentioned that they also keep mutants in slave pens. Perhaps thankfully, no mention is made of exactly what kind of slavery the human supremacists engage in.
  • Spike Shooter: One of the uses of the quills mutation. It fires in every direction at once, too, making it great for when you're surrounded by mooks.
  • Spread Shot: A feature of the shotgun family of weapons.
  • Squishy Wizard: Dedicated enemy espers are like this. The player can be one by putting all their stat points in Ego and Will and focusing on ultra-long-range mutations, but (due to the point-build system for stats and mutant powers) that's not the only way to make a mental mutant; you can play a psionics-based Magic Knight, Kung-Fu Wizard or a Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot if you prefer.
  • Stance System: Long Blade skills unlock three different stances; Aggressive, Defensive, and Dueling. You get different combat bonuses from each stance, and the stances also change how Long Blade abilities work.
  • Status Buff: A few of the mutations specialize in this, and then there's all those injectable tonics...
  • Subsystem Damage: Limbs of characters can be dismembered from certain attacks.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: With a few exceptions, most monsters won't hesitate to attack you on sight, even if you can plow through their ranks with ease.
  • The Swarm: Several enemy types operate like this. There's even a trait, Swarmer, that makes them more deadly the more of them are next to you.
    • Special mention should be made for Vent Crabs, which are individually trivial but are usually fought in groups of thirty or more.
  • Telepathy: This is one of the mental mutations. It's quite useful for commanding your allies from a distance.
  • Time Stands Still: One of the game's artifacts, a timecube, can be used as a one-shot item to stop time briefly for everyone but you.
  • The Turret Master: The player can be this, if they invest enough in the Tinkering skill branch to learn how to make turrets. There are the grenades that spawn a mini-turret too.
  • The Unpronounceable: The uniques and legendary enemies tend to have names out of this trope's playbook.
  • Vampiric Draining: The Syphon Vim mutation allows you to steal the life force out from the opponent.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Qud is a hostile place, but you don't have to be a total murderhobo. With the reputation/faction system and a little NPC luck, you can make friends with wide classes of beings that would otherwise be kill-fodder, including insects, robots, oozes, snapjaws, mollusks, trolls, the Putus Templar, the Mechanimists, and many others.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: On the other hand, you can kill neutral or friendly NPCs and rob their items.
  • Vigilante Militia: The Fellowship of Wardens is a faction of Wardens, who protect villages from threats. They are capable and deadly fighters, but if you manage to befriend with Wardens, they would tell you the location of other villages and settlements.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Mimic monsters can change their sprite to match walls, floors, water, and even the player.
  • Tear Off Your Face: If you use attacks that can dismember the opponent's limb, it sometimes dismembers their entire face. You can even equip the dismembered face as a mask!
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: As usual for roguelikes, you'll probably lose a lot of characters learning how to play the game. Luckily, the potential frustration of this is somewhat lessened by all the variety in character creation...
  • Unknown Item Identification: Artifacts must be identified before they are wielded. The player can identify items based on their intelligence, or pay a tinker to identify them. Trying to examine an item with low intelligence can cause it to break.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: Enough time has passed since the demise of the Eaters that almost no knowledge of their society (or its downfall) remains, even among True Kin. Towards the end of the main quest, Old Barathrum speculates that the Eaters offended an alien federation enough for the planet to be quarantined, but even he doesn't seem to know exactly what sin the Eaters committed, how their civilization was destroyed, or how long ago it all was.
  • The Wandering You: If you manage to get lost on the Qud's world map (and you will), you'll certainly feel like you're getting brutalized by this trope.
  • Wallet of Holding: Averted. The common currency of Qud is fresh water, and every dram counts against your weight limit. Liquid water is really heavy, so players are encouraged to trade for valuable gems and artifacts to reduce how much they have to carry. Even if you find a spring of fresh water, you need enough empty waterskins to hold it all.
  • Warp Whistle: The town recoiler family of devices.
  • Wasteland Elder: The elder of Joppa, and he does the Mr. Exposition bit, too. Nuntu, the leader of Kyakukya, qualifies as well, despite being an albino ape.
  • We Buy Anything: Conveniently, any merchant will buy anything you're carrying. Also conveniently, they never run out of water to pay you with, either.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Killing normal NPCs of a faction doesn't actually ruin your reputation, unlike when you kill legendary characters or unique characters.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: This game boasts huge procedurally-generated world, and you can explore various places or vast underground caves as you want to.
  • Winged Humanoid: The wings mutation, which can make it a lot easier to deal with hazards (like monsters and getting lost) when you're outdoors.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Caves of Qud is even harsher than most roguelikes with this trope, as your character needs to eat and drink to survive. And your water doubles as your currency. At one point in the early game questline, it's possible to contract a disease which makes both have a chance of killing you.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Legendary characters are usually strong and deadly since they are often high-leveled and have additional mutations, but on the other hand, they are sometimes just a high-leveled version of very weak creatures like glowpads or vines, which can't move at all.


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