Freehold Games, LLC
Based in South Bend, IN

Release date:
December 2010 (Beta Release) / July 2015 (Steam Early Access)

Steam - Windows
Steam - OSX
Steam - Linux
Old Free ASCII Only - Windows (zip)
Old Free ASCII Only - Windows (exe)




Caves of Qud is a science fantasy roguelike epic steeped in retrofuturism, deep simulation, and swathes of sentient plants. Come inhabit an exotic world and chisel through layers of thousand-year-old civilizations. Play the role of a mutant indigenous to the salt-spangled dunes and jungles of Qud, or play a pure-strain descendant from one of the few remaining eco-domes—the toxic arboreta of Ekuemekiyye, the Holy City; 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 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 storied pasts to in-game history books written by plant historians.
  • Die—Caves of Qud is brutally difficult and deaths are permanent. Don't worry, though—you can always roll a new character.


Caves of Qud Trailer YouTube


download all screenshots & photos as .zip (30MB)
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Awards & Recognition

  • "Top 20 - Roguelikes of the Year" Ascii Dreams, 2012

Selected Articles

  • "Caves of Qud feels much more like a true adventure rather than the more artificial progress in many role-playing games. "
    - Waltorious, Waltirous Writes About Games

Caves of Qud forums forums.freeholdentertainment.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 we want to play, which usually involve 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
Producer, Developer

Jason Grinblat
Game Designer, Writer

Nick DeCapua

Sam Wilson

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