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Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition: tabletop fun for your PC

During GDC 2013, VG247's Stephany Nunneley sat down with Behold Studios' Ronaldo Nonato to discuss how the desktop version of Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition differs from the original.

Set a course for adventure

Knights of Pen & Paper, a turn-based, retro style pixel art RPG, IGF 2013 finalist, and one of the top 10 best-selling games on iOS and with over 10,000 downloads on Android, is coming to desktops. Inspired by RPG games of the 90's, Behold Games has created a title which has all the tenants of your typical, kitchen table session of D&D only in the game, players will take on the role of in-game players taking on the role of their characters in a traditional pen and paper RPG.

It's not as confusing as it sounds. Trust me. It makes perfect sense, especially considering the developers came up with the idea during their own pen and paper session one night.

While the desk top version will be almost the same as the mobile version, it will contain new content not included with original version. It's still all about recreating the experience of the pen and paper RPGs, what with people sitting at a table before a dungeon master.

At the start of the game, the player creates two characters based on real-world versions of people: nerdy, brawny, grandma, kid brother, brainy, your basic stereotype characters. Then, you will pick from a list of classic roles such as rogue, knight, hunter, mage, etc. Every character will also have its own personality, for example: one who likes to drink will be more proficient when it comes to making potions. Basically, you are putting together your own role-playing group complete with the dungeon master – the role-players and the roles they are playing. Even the items on the table the players are sitting at will impact the game, so if you have a soda on the table, it will give extra magic; depending on how the furniture is arranged or if the character is wearing a headgear, it will also provide some sort of bonus.

Once you have chosen your characters, the game starts off in the basement of a house when the players are sitting down at a table. When the game starts, the scene around them changes, but you can still see the backs of them, sitting at the table. The first quest is a cliched scene in which the players are locked up in a cell and they must defeat the guards in order to escape. Behold's marketing and PR executive Ronaldo Nonato said to expect various nods to RPG cliches in the game, as it's all part of the fun, so there will be plenty of winks and nudges.

When the turn-based battle against the guards starts, the player will be taking on the role of both the players and the dungeon master, which means you will get to choose how many guards you are going to fight. The more guards you fight, the bigger the rewards. If you choose to fight only two, that's fine as well, just don't expect the reward to be as large.

Your next quest is dependent on what your dungeon master chooses, and since you “are” the dungeon master, you get to create your own quest log. Say you want to save the princess in the Sunset Castle next, you can. If you want to go slay an evil monster residing in a cave, perform an escort mission, or go to a basement and kill a bunch of rats – you can. Once you decide upon your quest, it will start. These are all basically side quests which occur in the game – again, much like your typical D&D session – but there is still a main storyline with a big boss at the end. The storyline is basically these about these guys who get so immersed in the game, that the actual bad guy in the meta-game is trying to escape his pen and paper world to get to the “real” one. He must be stopped, of course.

To get to your quests, you will need to use the travel system, which is rather simple considering the size of the game map: you just click on where you want to go and then a dice rolls. Depending on how well the roll was will determine whether you are attacked or not on your way to your destination or when you arrive at said destination. All of this should sound familiar to anyone who has ever played a tabletop game with a diabolical DM. I won't name names, but I've been thwarted by my fair share.

'Thar in yon tavern lies a sneaky wretch

For those who have played the mobile version, all of this should sound familiar. So, what's new in the +1 Edition? For one, a tavern has been added to the game, which should delight many as it was one of the most requested features to be added to Knights of Pen & Paper.

In the tavern, say you have a slight altercation with one of its carousers. You can get other tavern revelers involved and a bar fight will break out. You can also pick up new members to your party while frequenting the place, and if they don't work out for you, you can always put the character you swapped it out for back in the game. This was another requested feature players asked for, whereas before, when you had a full party and wanted to add a new character, you had to delete one in order to make room or start a new game.

A fast travel system has also been added. In the original game, when traveling long distance, you had to make stops along the way which could take more time than the player wanted to spend. Now, you just click your final destination, and again, the dice rolls and you go from there.

The largest edition coming with the desktop version is the Dungeon System. It's a more “hardcore” area where you get to face several enemies and come across the dungeon boss lair and the bigger treasure it contains. Be prepared for bigger traps, rolling the dice for every step you make, and be prepared to heal up on the spot. In the rest of the game, when you health is low, you can run off to the tavern and rest: not in the dungeon system. You will have to heal with potions and consumable items and go all the way to the boss. I imagine you will need to be prepared for to toss quite a few saving throws.

"We've talked quite a bit about [multiplayer], but we feel it wouldn't do the game justice.”

With the game coming to desktops, one would assume co-op or multiplayer would be added to the game. It would only make sense, really, since it is based off your traditional table-tops games; however, the game will remain a single-player only experience.

“We've talked quite a bit about this, but we feel it wouldn't do the game justice,” said Nonato. “There's so few things you can do with this game in that context, and multiplayer is whole other beast. There's so much work you have to do just to add multiplayer to a game – network support, things like that.

“It wouldn't really benefit the existing profile or personality of the game.”

The desktop version of the game will include all content found in the mobile version as well as new dungeons, monsters, traps and bosses. It will also provide the player with more options so as to create more depth and variations to fights. There's even more unannounced content and improvements coming, that Paradox and Behold weren't ready to discuss.

Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition was born out the Behold Studios' love of the pen and paper genre: a game which it feels recreates and does justice to the fun and immersion those who play tabletop games experience.

Released for mobile devices back in October 2012, the title is being re-released for Android and iOS through Paradox, and is to be made available for Linux as well as Mac and PC through Steam sometime this summer.

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