Frayed Knights: The Skull of S'makh-Daon is a 3D indie computer RPG for Windows featuring turn-based combat, old-school sensibilities, and a story of high adventure and comedy. In a world of jaded heroes and veteran adventurers, you play a team of misfits.
User reviews: Mixed (14 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 24, 2014
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Recommended By Curators

"In this oldschool indie game a party of misfits tries to survive challenging adventures - comedy meets turn based combat - pure fun!"
Read the full review here.


“This is a game I’ve really wanted to like for a long time. However, I don’t, I love it! It was a breath of fresh air poured into a genre.”
5/5 – RPGWatch

“Succeeds both as satire and as a proper dungeon-delver in its own right. With great characters, enjoyable writing and solid combat, I’m more than willing to overlook some interface issues, the odd mismatched asset, and the need for frequent trips to the inn. Frayed Knights is well-made, fun, and entirely unique.”
4/5 – IndieRPGs

“Frayed Knights is, quite simply, the kind of game a lot of CRPG fans have been waiting for.”

About This Game

Frayed Knights: The Skull of S'makh-Daon is a 3D indie computer RPG for Windows featuring turn-based combat, old-school sensibilities, and a story of high adventure and comedy. Who says RPGs have to be so serious?

In a world of jaded heroes and veteran adventurers, you play a team of misfits: Arianna, a dainty warrior with an attitude problem; Dirk, an adrenaline-junky rogue who doesn’t seem to understand the word ‘subtle;’ Benjamin, a nature-priest and an ill-suited newcomer to the adventuring lifestyle, and Chloe, a ditsy sorceress with a love of cute, fuzzy animals and setting her enemies on fire.

Adventuring is always a dangerous profession, but recently things have gotten bad. Very bad. Teams of expert fortune-hunters are getting "morted," suffering great losses against enemies that are better prepared than ever. In the taverns and Adventurer's Guildhalls, whispered rumors speak of the return of an evil that once all but destroyed civilization. But as many great and famous adventurers fall to this growing threat, perhaps this bunch of losers - called "The Frayed Knights" (but never to their faces) - might just be the heroes the world really needs:

The wrong people at the wrong time.


  • 30+ hours of gameplay.
  • Challenging, turn-based combat in a game that plays at your pace.
  • A unique "Drama Star" system that rewards the player for playing through tough situations instead of reloading and replaying.
  • A spell named, "Power Word: Defenestrate."
  • Over a hundred base spells, most with several upgraded variants.
  • An innovative trap-disarming / lockpicking system using character skills and items to disable a device one component at a time.
  • Over 80 feats to customize your party as they progress through the game.
  • A detailed, "stats-heavy" rules system... which you are free to ignore if you choose.
  • Nearly 200 different items to be used and abused by your characters.
  • A "Quarterstaff of Nad-Whacking."
  • Sixteen "dungeons" (interior adventuring areas), five outdoor areas, one village, an alternate dimension, and some green dude's one-room hovel.
  • A THICK (virtually) 69-page PDF manual. For those who want more than just the tutorials...

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP or Better
    • Processor: 1.2 gHz CPU
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL + Compatible 3D Card
    • Hard Drive: 400 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Windows Sound
    • OS: Windows XP or Better
    • Processor: 1.2 gHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL + Compatible 3D Card
    • Hard Drive: 400 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Windows Sound
Helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
39.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 5
Awesome turn-based fantasy game. I started playing since it was recommended as a modern version of Pools of Radiance. Similar gameplay. More humor. Great developer support. This is neither a hard-core min-max game or for fluffy carebears. You will die and everything won't be obvious right away. But you don't need the perfect class builds to be successful.

Most important: fun game at a great price.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 29
A surprisingly deep dungeon-crawler, a-la Wizardry, with humorous writing and tons of quests. It's a bit dated, but if you're someone who likes old-school gameplay with a more modern spin, then you'll enjoy this game. Grab it when it's on sale.
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3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 3
Frayed Knights is a dungeon crawler in the vein of certain old school games like Might and Magic. You control a group of 4 adventurers in search of fame and fortune.

The combat is turn-based, allowing you to take your time with each move. Movement is accomplished through the keyboard, while you can also mouse-look and click on items to open or read descriptions. The majority of gameplay consists of combat and exploring dungeons, searching to solve puzzles and find loot.

The graphics in this game are also as old school as the games it harkens back to. While it may work for those games, since they are a product of their times, certainly a newer game can update the graphics. There is no voice work, which might be a plus because by looking at the graphics I feel it may have been sub par. No voice work is better than terrible voice work all the time.

The party banter may be a big selling point of the game, since it differentiates it from other games of the genre, but I found myself not particularly enjoying it. It just wasn't my type of humor. If it works for you, then this game will become infinitely more enjoyable for you. For me, I found the humor a little bland, and the gameplay a little tired.

I would not recommend Frayed Knights. I feel there are better dungeon crawlers to play at this time. It just feels a little too old school, missing some things you'd like to see in more modern games. The humor fell flat for me, which is what is supposed to set this game apart in the genre.

Grade: C-
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 3
i bought this game too and it does not work i have wasted so much money on steam and half the games dont work steam needs to correct this problem
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 7
Frankly, I didn't give this game much of a chance.

Interface feels like a flash game. The graphics aren't 'dated'; they're simply bad. The banter is shallow. The combat is lackluster. There wasn't a single aspect to this game that made me think, "That was done well."
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34 of 39 people (87%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 22, 2014
I bought the game from the dev's site when it first came out in 2011. I played through the entire game in one marathon session, which took me 20ish hours. If you like old school dungeon crawlers, you will love this game. You have a premade party, which seems like it was done to make the story work, but it's pretty open to how you develop each character's abilities. The game is very tongue-in-cheek, and the characters sometimes break the 4th wall. The dungeons are very well designed and many contain secrets, hidden areas, and puzzles(The Tower of Almost Certain Death is the best IMHO). The game is balanced around attrition, so if you never use consumbables or make poor decisions you will be going back to town to rest or reloading a lot. Most of the mainstream reviewers complained about this, but I didn't really have a problem with it. Judicious use of "liquid nap" potions and drama stars will keep you from going back to town constantly. It's obvious that the designer has a deep love and understanding about what makes old school RPGs work, which many devs who try to make new games with older styles don't understand. The only thing I have bad to say about it is that the UI isn't great. It's not horrible, I never had any problems figuring out how to do what I needed to do, but it could have definitely been more streamlined. Still, that is a minor quibble for what was overall a great experience. I'm looking forward to FK2.

edit: spelling
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18 of 23 people (78%) found this review helpful
30.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 22, 2014
I bought this game a little while back direct from the creator, I had a great time playing it. (and look forward to future sequels!)

This is one of my favourite games, due to it's mix of old school RPG goodness with great party banter, genuinely funny. It has various innovative features that I liked, the Drama Stars feature giving various bonuses and encouraging you to live with mistakes over reloading being one of my faves. The characters are very customisable, you can specilise or diversify as you like, if you want your Fighter to be a Paladin go for it.

So highly recommended, go for it! Watch out for the Rats of NOM!!!:D

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13 of 15 people (87%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 25, 2014
This is a game by Jay Barnson, aka The Rampant Coyote, who does a great blog on CRPG game development. Essentially what you're getting here is a fun, humorous CRPG. The combat system is fairly complex, so you'll find much to enjoy if you like stats. You won't mistake this for Skyrim, but the graphics are pleasant enough and evoke a Might and Magic 6 vibe for me (one of my favorite CRPGs). Movement is first-person and combat is turn-based. Considering that all of this is the work of Jay and a few friends, it's really amazing what he's accomplished.

I posted a review of this game on my YouTube channel - just look for "Matt Chat 203: Frayed Knights."
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14 of 19 people (74%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 22, 2014
If you can get past the UI and occasional lack of polish you'll find one of my favorite RPGs in a long time. While the storytelling is lighthearted and fun, the core game is deep and challenging. The combat is heavy into resource management and tactics often revolve around limiting the energy you spend while still overcoming the threats. The drama star system does a great job of helping you turn things around even when crap is hitting the fan and is far more satisfying than the average Save scum victories old-school RPGs are known for. If this isn't enough to satisfy you, there is quite a bit of customization that you can do to make the pre-made heroes your own.

I love this game and highly recommend it to anyone who still enjoys old-school RPGs.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 25, 2014
If you enjoyed games like Wizardry and Might and Magic from days gone by, Frayed Knights will not disappoint. Loaded with lots of humour and some rather unique characters, FK will have you cheering for the heroes and cursing the monsters in no time flat!
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
42.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 24, 2014
Overall a good tactical party-based RPG. Funny without being corny. It not only takes itself lightly, it mocks some of the common tropes of the genre.

Graphics are mediocre, dialogue is hilarious and riveting, and quests are often surprising.

Combat is not simply about killing the enemy, it is also about resource management. The more spells or attacks you use, the more tired your characters become.

Characters start with defined roles (thief, fighter, priest, sorcerer), but with open customization you can make them whatever you want.

If you want a good RPG but aren't afraid of a little sillyness, give Frayed Knights a shot.
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6 of 15 people (40%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 28, 2014
Genuinely funny dialogue and an interesting combat system let down by:
- occasional (apparently) random encounters
- Drama star system designed to prevent save scumming also misses the point of saving for reasons *other* than save scumming. In fixing one problem, they created another.
- Seems to be deliberately designed to push you back to town on a regular basis
- The town is... basically pretty boring. Takes too long to wander around it compared to the amount of stuff to do.
- NPCs that are nowhere near as interesting as the protagonist PCs
- The effects of many of the perks & upgrades are not well explained.
- The graphics are about on par with Might & Magic 6-8, which is to say mediocre by late 90s standards. I don't actually mind this much, but if you want eye candy look elsewhere.
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6 of 19 people (32%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 25, 2014
Let me start off by saying that this game isn't terrible. During dungeons, its graphics can pass for "dated," and it /does/ have many of the qualities that I've come to love about the CRPG genre. However, it has downsides. Granted some of these are personal dislikes and may not be the case for everyone. In fact, if you -disagree- with this review, that's cool. I think I'm going to go ahead and be the bad guy if that means pointing out the flaws in this game that so many people are intentionally blind to. If you want the cliffnotes version of this review: take the positive reviews of this game with a grain of salt, and maybe go play something else.

So... first off, I felt I had a few miscommunications going into this game. The game claims character customization, and for some reason I was thinking that meant character creation. Not so: you play the game with the same party of four characters. To be fair, there's dialogue and banter and character development with these four characters, maybe even a bit with the npcs in the game. Even so, I consider this one one of the game's downsides. Why? Well, my all-time favorite games in the CRPG genre allow for actual character creation where you can pick race, class, and skillsets. To me, that makes each of the characters feel more relevant to -me-. I've seen games pull it off without char creation (Aarklash Legacy did that very well), but I really just kind of failed to care about the main characters in Frayed Knights. If you don't have that issue, good for you.

The graphics were probably the real deal-breaker for me. I try to be open-minded with graphics, considering some of my favorite CRPGs have dated graphics. That being said, Frayed Knights was simply unplayable at times. The models, textures, and animations of monsters weren't great, with some standing out as being particularly yuck. My real sticking point here is the towns, though. You are free to walk around in towns the same as a dungeon, yet that makes my next point glaringly obvious for players who make it this far: there really was a bare minimum of effort put into the towns. The house layouts are uninspiring, sure. But the real problem is the character models. Out of the few that don't have really terrible anatomy, they probably aren't even animated. It's honestly an embarassment of a town.

So, yes. There are a lot of things this game did. There might even be a few things this game did well. I -don't- think it poured life back into the CRPG genre, I -don't- think it's what CRPG fans have been waiting for, and I hate to say it but I don't think it's worth the ten dollars you could be spending on a better CRPG. Putting zany character sprites with goofy dialogue and fantasy names like "smakh daon" are really kind of misplaced effort--no matter how much you polish a clod, it's still a clod. In essence, this is an unfinished game that really can't stand up to the legacy of its genre. You could probably put the ten dollars needed for this game toward something good like Aarklash Legacy or Wizardry 8.
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