Freehold Games, LLC
Based in South Bend, IN and Berkeley, CA

Release date:
Original Beta: December 2010. Steam Early Access: July 2015. Full release: 2020.

PC / Mac / Linux
iOS / Android (Coming in 2020)
Freeware ASCII-only version (out-of-date) - Windows (zip)


Regular Price:

Desktop Early Access$14.99 (USD)
Desktop Full ReleaseTBD
iOS / AndroidTBD


Caves of Qud is a science fantasy RPG and roguelike epic steeped in retrofuturism, deep simulation, and swathes of sentient plants. Come inhabit an exotic world and chisel through a layer cake of thousand-year-old civilizations. Play the role of a mutant from the salt-spangled jungles of Qud, or play as a true-kin descendant from one of the few remaining eco-domes: the toxic arboreta of Ekuemekiyye, the ice-sheathed arcology of Ibul, or the crustal mortars of Yawningmoon. Decide: is it a dying earth, or is it on the verge of rebirth?


Caves of Qud is a project of epic proportions that began in 2007. We wanted to weave a rich, exotic, and well-researched culture around deeply simulated physical and political systems. The result is an open-world roguelike where the gameplay is unpredictable, the plants are sentient, and the development is ongoing.


  • Assemble your character from over 70 mutations and defects, and 24 castes and kits — outfit yourself with wings, two heads, quills, four arms, flaming hands, or the power to clone yourself; it’s all the character diversity you could want.
  • Explore procedurally-generated regions with some familiar locations — each world is nearly 1 million maps large.
  • Dig through everything — don’t like the wall blocking your way? Dig through it with a pickaxe, or eat through it with your corrosive gas mutation, or melt it to lava. Yes, every wall has a melting point.
  • Hack the limbs off monsters — every monster and NPC is as fully simulated as the player. That means they have levels, skills, equipment, faction allegiances, and body parts. So if you have a mutation that lets you, say, psionically dominate a spider, you can traipse through the world as a spider, laying webs and eating things.
  • Pursue allegiances with over 60 factions — apes, crabs, robots, and highly entropic beings, just to name a few.
  • Follow the plot to Barathrum the Old, a sentient cave bear who leads a sect of tinkers intent on restoring technological splendor to Qud.
  • Learn the lore — there’s a story in every nook, from legendary items with fabled pasts to in-game history books written by plant historians. A novel’s worth of handwritten lore is weaved together with a procedurally-generated history that’s unique each game.
  • Die — Caves of Qud is brutally difficult and deaths are permanent. Don’t worry, though — you can always roll a new character.




Selected Articles

  • "There’s a sense of magnificent history to dredge from its depths."
    - Chris Priestman, Kill Screen
  • "Caves of Qud has a particular kind of New Wave science fiction imagination that just can’t be beat."
    - Cameron Kunzelman, Paste Magazine
  • "Narratively, this is one of the most compelling game stories that I’ve seen in a long time."
    - Charlie Hall, Polygon

Caves of Qud Dev Stream
Jason Grinblat streams Caves of Qud development every Thursday from 12:30 to 2:30 PST. twitch.tv.

Design Talk: Markov by Candlelight
Jason Grinblat's talk from Roguelike Celebration on procedurally-generated books in Caves of Qud. youtube.com.

Design Talk: AI in Qud and Sproggiwood
Brian Bucklew's talk from the 2016 International Roguelike Developer Conference on AI in Caves of Qud and Sproggiwood. youtube.com.

Design Talk: Collaborative Storytelling through Procedural Generation
Jason Grinblat's talk from the 2015 International Roguelike Developer Conference on authorial voice in procedural generation. youtube.com.

Design Talk: Data-Driven Engines of Qud and Sproggiwood
Brian Bucklew's talk from the 2015 International Roguelike Developer Conference on the entity component architectures of Caves of Qud and Sproggiwood. youtube.com.

About Freehold Games, LLC

Freehold Games is an independent studio dedicated to building imaginative games. It was founded by Brian Bucklew and Jason Grinblat, who grew up playing games together. In 2012, we began to collaborate with artist Jaana Heiska. Our mission is to build games with offbeat settings, interesting tactical situations, and a whole lot of emergence in the tradition of the roguelike genre.

More information
More information on Freehold Games, LLC, our logo & relevant media are available here.

Caves of Qud Credits

Brian Bucklew
Engine and Gameplay Programmer, Producer, Designer

Jason Grinblat
Designer, Writer, Gameplay Programmer, Producer

Nick DeCapua

Sam Wilson

Craig Hamilton

Brandon Tanner

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks