A true role-playing adventure. Set in the icy Staglands, this party-based CRPG has you take the role of a trapped god on a perilous journey across a beautiful, deadly peninsula.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (98 reviews) - 76% of the 98 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 28, 2015

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May 14

Expansion system in action in Copper Dreams! Kickstarter now live


Hi everyone!

If you wanted to check out how the system we're using for the Serpent expansion is shaping up, our cyber-espionage game Copper Dreams is the start of it! Vol will certainly have less firearms, but you can see the movement, 3d world and how combat works.

We'll be going over a lot of the systems in detail throughout the campaign, but the Burning Candle ruleset section will be essentially the same for the expansion.


Below is the Greenlight link, we'd love your support getting it on Steam!


Also, one of the miniatures we'll be offering for the KS will be a Pasaaran Bloodless Hunter in all their 3d glory, we'll be sure to post a picture.


9 comments Read more


“The game's primary point of interest is the Open World map with unbarred freedom to explore any nook and cranny you want in any particular order. Your only barrier being your ability to defeat the level of monsters in that area, or rather your desire to keep yourself in safer combat zones.”
4/5 – RPG Watch

“Those who enjoyed the openness of the first two Fallout games will feel right at home in the Staglands.”
8.0 – Nichegamer

“Serpent in the Staglands is a little gem and a great new entrance to the old school RPG renaissance. It has an excellent RPG rule system and a wonderful, magical and unique world.”
90/100 – http://ragequit.gr/reviews/item/serpent-in-the-staglands-pc-review

Soundtrack Available!


Serpent in the Staglands soundtrack by V-Axys! Listen to some of the finest adventuring music around while outside of Vol! Featuring 30 tracks of Staglands horror, exciting adventure, mysterious undergrounds, and chilling landscapes. Perfect for any Spicer's listening pleasure!

Demo Available!

Want to check out if the game works on your system or get a feel for gameplay? Download the demo for Windows, Mac or Linux!


About This Game

A true role-playing adventure.

A campaign within the world of Vol, a fully realized setting inspired by the late bronze age in a Transylvanian landscape, with unique politics, races and gods steeped in history. Featuring a chosen party of five, you role-play Necholai, a minor god of a celestial body who descends to the Staglands for a moonlit festival only to find the way home blocked and immortality slipping away. Seeking answers and aid, you take on a mortal body and the guise of a traveling Spicer. This isn't a story of good and evil, saving the world or being a hero, it's about intrigue and your adventure of survival in a harsh land.

While the game rolls the dice for you, you'll traverse the Staglands on a path narrated by your own wits and choices. A tabletop inspired experience with adventure-game like navigation, Serpent in the Staglands offers no auto-populating map markers, checklist quest grinding and rigid story exposition.

Examine hand-drawn maps in your inventory for secret locations, diagrams of foreign languages, note encounters of interest in your in-game journal and figure out on your own how best to smuggle Spices. Roleplay, investigate, and pray to the RNG god when combat begins.

Serpent in the Staglands features:

  • Party-based, real time with pause combat focused on macro tactical decisions and creative party skill combinations
  • Classless role-playing system: create builds via any combination of the over 100 magic, combat and aptitude skills available to create or find up to 5 unique characters
  • Non-linear storyline to explore as your adventure allows
  • No level scaling or story-blocked map barriers impede your adventure
  • Dynamic item use, including an incantation book, hand-drawn maps, and a herbology kit for brewing potions
  • Combat designed for minimal pause spamming and without cooldowns, instead focusing on pre-buffing, positioning and auto-triggering skills
  • An unmarked map filled with wilderness, cities, towers, temples, dungeons and caverns to explore.
  • Write your own journal notes for quests, puzzles and leads as you investigate. The game won't hold your hand or tell you what to do.
  • Huge variety of enemies and challenges, including monsters, rogue mages and mutilated outlaws, which all can have the same spells and skills you do

You'll never pay for updates, patches, or DLC of any kind for Serpent in the Staglands.

For more gameplay information and official forums, please visit: http://serpentinthestaglands.com

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP +
    • Processor: 2.4 GHz Pentium IV or equivalent AMD Athlon processor
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB +
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.6 +
    • Processor: 2.4 GHz Pentium IV or equivalent AMD Athlon processor
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB +
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 +
    • Processor: 2.4 GHz Pentium IV or equivalent AMD Athlon processor
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB +
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Mostly Positive (98 reviews)
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80 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
40.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 14
I liked this game. Figuring out which combat/magic/lore skills to develop in order to form an effective adventuring party was a big draw for me. The experimentation was definitely rewarding. Meeting the world's characters and delving into the lore made it feel really immersive for me.

Not everything is perfect, however. I found it difficult to get through the beginning stages of the game against the steep learning curve. As other reviewers have noted, there is no hand holding. So in the beginning I died a lot. Experimenting with the different options (combat/magic/lore) were key to overcoming this obstacle.

Some of the puzzles in the game force you into certain solutions that are not intuitive. For instance, you may want to use your diplomacy skills to encourage an enemy that is perfectly willing to talk to you to go to a different area, but the dialogue options will force you to encourage the enemy to go to a town and cause problems there. Maybe encouraging an enemy to go to a town to cause problems is part of a larger quest that I did not become involved in, and then the reasoning would make sense. Again, as other reviewers have noted, there is no hand holding, tutorial, or hint system. Another time, I needed to get to a certain area within a civilized area. I pumped points into various skills, but no dialogue options appeared so I could resolve this peacefully. I eventually resorted to killing civilians and guards until I got what I wanted. It is possible that my skills simply weren't high enough, but there is no way for me to know that during the game.

Bottom line, I still recommend this game. There were enough reviews on this game that I knew what I was getting into and the challenges I would face. The learning curve can be overcome with fun experimentation, and the satisfaction of overcoming that is rewarding. I can gloss over some of the non-intuitive solutions due to the fascinating world-building that the creators put their hearts into.
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2 of 5 people (40%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 16
I love this game's art style but its gameplay is boring and at times verging on unplayable. Do not expect hand holding but this is not the game were one feels success in overcoming challenges
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
179 of 198 people (90%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
19.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 28, 2015
This game is great. A little different, but different is definitely good. It reminds me of when I was younger and get a new game, like Darklands, Dark Sun, Wiz 7, or Realms of Arkania, and I had to take my time and figure out the rules and not know what was going to happen. We have kind of been indoctrinated now to know our hands will be held and we can just click through everything or not worry about the character development system because gimping your character is impossible and combat is mindless. This game gives me that feeling I had when I was younger and installed a new crpg and I knew it was meaty and I had to think and plan and take my time to figure things out.

Graphics are not the best, but the gameplay and mechanics more than make up for it.

RtwP combat almost always sucks, but isn't too bad in this game. I think it is done a lot better than Pillars of Eternity and the IE games at least.

I give it an 8/10 since it doesn't have TB combat.

I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes real crpgs in general; anyone who liked the Infinity Engine games or NWN; or, for more recent examples, anyone who liked Pillars of Eternity, D:OS, M&MX, or WL2.

EDIT: Just some more information on the game. It has old school puzzles, such as from the original Quest for Glory 1 and 2 (where you had to type all commands), where you have an object in game that you know does something, but you have no idea how to go about getting it to do what it was made to do. For instance, (slight spoiler ahead) there is a ring of purple flowers. If you use your woodlore skill on it you find that a fairy is trapped inside by magic. There is a linguistic system where you type a prefix, power word, and the object of the spell. This system may have an effect on it, or not. Or maybe you need two skill points in linguistics? Who knows? Not me. It could be something completely different. I would have said yesterday I love things like this where you have to think and put your brain against the game, but I'm finding I'm a lot more impatient than I was when I first played QfG and this game is making me feel stupid. And there are no walkthroughs. I do think this is a great aspect of the game, but I kind think it is also kind of infuriating. I'm kind of obsessive and I am having a real hard time leaving the first outside area because there are two things I haven't been able to figure out.

If I were normal I would just add some notes in the jounral and come back later, but I'm not, and after work I plan on showing these puzzles who is boss. Sadly, there is a good chance I'm not the boss. though.
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102 of 111 people (92%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
22.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 5, 2015
These days, even mere mortals are more than awesome enough to do everything in spectacular fashion. Take Skyrim for example, everybody needs your help, you always have the capabilities to solve every task, and within hours you become strong enough to singlehandedly kill dragons. Along with this unparalleled power, players enjoyed countless luxuries, such as dozens of quest indicators, as well as arrows that point out exactly where to go and who to talk to. Serpent in the Staglands takes an approach that gamers have either long forgotten, or never even knew existed.

You are the all-powerful Moon Lord, or were I should say. Someone or something has trapped you in the mortal realm. When you start off, all you're given are some directions, papers identifying you as a merchant, and the assistance of a few allies. Before long, you will face your first great adversary, a wolf. Starting off in this game reminds me of the first Baldur's Gate. In that RPG, you started off at level 1, and even the weakest creatures led to life or death struggles. In the beginning of my adventure, I summoned an ethereal ally, and requested the help of a couple of others. Our party of four was no match for a few wolves.

We all need a little help sometimes, but this game won't provide any. Aside from the always handy ability to save anywhere , you're on your own. Actually, I take that back. You're also given a journal so you can jot down any and all notes. Yes, if you come across a quest, you should write it down along with all pertinent information, because you might forget. Another aspect to keep in mind is that alongside combat and magic skills, there are also certain talents you should be training. With up to five party members, there is room to specialize, so you'll want someone that can speak to nobles, another that will brew potions, the one guy who can understand old texts, and so on. As you explore the Staglands, you'll meet others willing to join your "cause". It's worth swapping allies around, as they can have better stats as well as mastery of different skill-sets. Failing to do this could have disastrous results.

Speaking of disastrous results, early on combat can be especially difficult. Like Baldur's Gate, this game employs a "real-time with pausing" system. By pressing the space bar, you can pause everything, giving you ample time to issue orders, prepare spells, and pray to the RNG deities. One of the main aspects where Serpent in the Staglands differentiates itself, is in the magic system. Spell-casting is infinite; you are not limited by points nor the need to rest and recharge. However, there is a charge time for everything, and most spells require that you maintain the cast, possibly for the duration of the battle. This simplifies things somewhat, since you can designate one of your party-members as "the tank" and channel all of your healing and stat-boosting spells to them. However, just because it's easy to learn spells, won't make you effective casters. If the enemies are too strong, the spells will fail to do anything. In fact, I've seen some of my foes not even notice my presence, despite everyone in my party channeling curses at them.

You'll likely find yourself relying on physical combat. Each party-member is capable of learning several combat techniques, although only three can actually be used at a time. These arts of war "proc" after so many swings of a sword or firings of a crossbow. With the right combination of party members and skills, you can do more damage as well as inflict numerous debilitating effects on your foes. In my play-through, I had two characters using shield-bash. This skill can knock enemies down for a couple seconds. There wasn't much the toughest enemy could do against this onslaught. All skills are strengthened via points incurred upon leveling up. As with AD&D, level-ups are few and far between, so you have to make the most of them. By the time I completed the game, my level had barely crossed into the double-digits.

There are other methods for dealing with hostility. Traps can be set to damage as well as impede enemy forces. This is all but required for handling the dreaded crawlers, who can kill party-members in 1-2 hits. Most enemies can also be lured out with ranged weapons or curses, in case your party can only handle one at a time. Admittedly, I've also foregone the pleasantries and sought the first strike when dealing with some people. There are a few crowds of bandits who attack all at once after a short verbal exchange. Rather than get torn to pieces by archers, I lured everyone out one at a time with missile weapons of my own. It's a cheap method, but considering how heavily the odds are stacked in the game's favor...

Bringing up a party from nothing, and the growing pains that go along with it, is one of the more compelling aspects of this game. The story is mostly in the background, and you might find yourself stumbling over plot-important NPCs in unlikely places. Most of your vacation in the horrid Staglands, will be spent exploring, getting a feel for the world, and using your talents to find solutions for various side-quests. There is a strong element of non-linearity, and play-throughs can be pretty different from one another, depending on how you handle every situation. I've noticed that my lack of diplomacy and understanding of foreign languages has led to a number of closed-doors. There is a sizable population of natives inhabitating the peninsula, but if you can't speak their language, then it's just more enemies to do battle with.

Still, there are moments that I can only describe as "lovingly obtuse". Certain events will happen, and you'll get to thinking that there's more to the story, but nothing comes of it. It's difficult to explain without resorting to spoilers, but let's just say that not all threads will resolve in a suitable fashion. There are also a couple puzzles where you will struggle with game mechanics (such as placing objects on pressure-plates). It helps to pay attention to the notes you acquire. Keep in mind also that something can be useless in the area you acquire it, but could be relevant in a location several miles away. There are actually not that many conversations to be had in this game. Most of the settlers aren't interested in gossip, and the dialogue trees have few (if any) branches. Sometimes you just have to read between the lines, and maybe fill in the blanks with whatever sounds good. On the bright side, the dialogue is well-done, and the bits of world-building are nicely handled.

The one major problem I have with this game is all the time spent staring at a loading screen. This can be especially grating early on, due to all the reloads caused by exceptionally squishy party-members. Serpent in The Staglands is also shockingly resource-heavy. The pixel-graphics have their charm, but there's nothing here that should demand such a large chunk of my PC's power. On the bright side, my adventure in the Staglands was mostly bug-free, with disappearing guards during some quicksaving shenanigans being the only outlier.

While not without its faults, Serpent in the Staglands is an ambitious and engrossing RPG. Considering that it was developed by two people, I'm rather surprised it turned out as well as it did. The main quest is on the shorter side, but there are a number of ways to play through the game, and there's plenty of freedom in terms of character builds and party organization. An expansion is currently in-development, so fans can expect to see more of Vol eventually. All in all, this is a worthwhile title for genre veterans as well as players who tire of having everything handed to them.

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92 of 103 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
36.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 20, 2015
What a beautifully crafted game, I truly regret I didn't hear of this when it was on Kickstarter.

So, Serpent in the Staglands is a CRPG made by 2 people, a couple, who are pretty amazing at what they do. One makes art that is in the same style of old 90s games aesthetically, and the other creates the assets/rules/codes like some wizard determined to bring out a really great game.

For the game itself; it is truly a throwback to the old immersive RPG's from the 90s, no quest markers, nothing to hold your hand and only you and your characters actual knowledge of what is around you. It treats you like a normal human, one with normal situational comprehension, deduction, forethought and reasoning.

Writers for characters in videogame has most of the time complained that romances is the last thing they write, as it mostly reminds them of bad writing in literature. And it mostly is since it adds nothing to the depth of the character. You will see none of it in Serpent in the Staglands since it tries, like many non-romancable RPG's of the time - to be a respectable game.

The game has a classless system where you decide for yourself what you want your character to use or become, on its own it opens up many unique opportunities; to roleplay as someone else if that is your thing; since the game has a ton of skills to choose from. (I myself made a Castlevania-esque inspired vampire slayer - whip and all kinds of thrown stuff and holy magic). Like many old games it relies on the player to -be- their character, no logs to backtrack quest progress, no mystical magical map of the whole world that pinpoints your exact position or holding your hand towards your "next" location. It wants you to explore the world on your own, find letters, find someone elses journal/diary about what or where they were, mystical tomes of ancient knowledge, understanding why everyone is so hostile. By listening to what everyone has to say, everything is not what it seems and you really can't trust anyone and have to craft your story based on who you believe to speak the most truths; when every single character you meet in the game has some sort of agenda.

It's no wonder that this game is not vastly more popular amongst people, as it foregoes a lot of the common "comforts" of modern AAA rpg titles of letting the player think as little as possible or treat them as if they aren't intelligence enough to know what to do or where to go.

The ones who will love truly love this game are those that had to treck the harsh journeys that old games had, or feel like you are being undervalued in modern games and underestimates how much you truly know. There is a lot of reading involved and nothing to hold your hand and this causes it to lose out on people who seeks a more streamlined experience.
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136 of 173 people (79%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
19.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 20, 2015
Firstly, everything that you've read about this games opacity and difficulty is true. I never played Darklands, it's 'spiritual predecessor', but just about every other 16bit classic I have - including Ultima VII again, only recently.

I liked: The setting, character and the writing of the game. At times knowing or literate or funny, and at others merely enjoyably silly. It felt like the strongest part of the game. I like the 'feel' of the low magic (even if it's less exciting to play, and it is.) The skills system is clever and would probably reward more play than I'm prepared to put into this game.

So what did I bounce off, given that list of positives? This game still feels very much like an alpha build, rushed to publishers demands, and incomplete. The feedback in the world is at times non-existent. I spent HOURS trying to figure out where a particular well was(a quest was pointing me at it.) in the first town. No text cues at all, you're meant to see a tiny altered graphic on the screen, and it clearly isn't MEANT to be obscure. Just one example, but that felt typical of the play experience.
The load times are just horrendous, and indicative of ineffecient coding and design - oh, and you'll be seeing the gratingly amateurish death and load screens a lot, almost as much as you'll be playing. This is as the combat is brutal and unforgiving, unknowingly encounter enemies for the first time and die. Again and again and again, till you start learning what the games systems.
And BUGS. BUGS everywhere! sometimes game stopping. You can read about them all elsewhere.

I find that now I just don't care enough, certainly not enough to have paid £15 to be a beta tester on a game. I am already sick of the game's flaws.

There's much to admire about this game and its creation, but unfortunately not as much to enjoy.
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80 of 93 people (86%) found this review helpful
23 people found this review funny
10.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 28, 2015
This is delivering on the promise. It's hard. I imagine that there will be much crawling bit by bit to kill one enemy at a time - in my future. Character creation left me wondering "How much of this affects things." there is an air of unease about everything. Atmospheric is the word I'm looking for.

My only regret is I drank too much before starting up. I made some terrible life choices. I will start fresh soon, and take the Staglands by storm.

One quick saved skirmish at a time.

This game will appeal to those that liked Darklands. It delivers on that big time. This will also appeal to people who like challenging RPGs, Freedom, and character agency. (PS the interactive items are super neat)

Wandered outside of starting area. Was devoured by a pair of foxes.
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67 of 77 people (87%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
28.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 21
SitS has its heart in the right place, but unfortunately there are too many severe problems that drag it down. The game's many areas are either stuffed with trash mobs (in the wilderness) or with nameless NPCs and empty houses (in the settlements). Unique NPCs and puzzles are relatively rare. Meanwhile, most side quests are bounty missions of the "go there, kill that" variety. As a consequence, exploration is rarely interesting or rewarding. There are still a number of bugs, including broken quests (a guy steals your license, but you can't steal it back because the pickpocket skill doesn't work on him -> you have to either murder the man or walk away). It's 10 months after release now, and I would expect these issues to be fixed by now.

Most problematic, however, is the braindead combat, which is further exacerbated by an extremely imbalanced ruleset. Basically, you either equip your party with fast weapons, slap on a few flat damage bonuses, and watch them hack the enemy to bits, or you equip them with slow weapons and prepare for a long, boring slog. Either way, there is very little you can do to influence the battle once combat has begun; the developers describe this as

"Combat designed for minimal pause spamming and without cooldowns, instead focusing on pre-buffing, positioning and auto-triggering skills."

Unfortunately, the game's posititioning mechanics are not exactly complex (melee attackers in the front, ranged attackers in the back), and the other mechanics just lead to a hands-off, auto-combat playing experience. Combine that with a terribly boring magic system, where mages just stand around channelling buffs or healing spells throughout the entire battle, and the overall combat experience becomes soul-crushingly dull. I'd compare it to playing Baldur's Gate 1 with a party of only Fighters and Rangers, about 500% more filler monsters, and 10% of the unique NPCs. Rather hard to recommend.
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55 of 59 people (93%) found this review helpful
32.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 16, 2015
They did not lie the game is really a throw back to the 90’s rpg like darklands , only adding more things over it, a melting pot from the best classic rpgs ,some bladur’s gate influence a fallout like overland map with events , and a whole flexible and customizable at will combat and spells kill set in an unique setting.

Unique is indeed the best word to describe it , the beautiful pixel art gives an eerie and alien atmosphere to the game . You are left ,as a fallen god, to wander with only a few supply and companions you can recruit in unknown and strange landscapes .

You are free to go wherever you want with ,just given a vague guideline by your head clergy , then it’s up to you, no hand holding , no quest log. Explore chat to npc discover new locations ala fallout, solve clever puzzle and do some dungeonering with real time with pause combat.
There’s character creation, stats, attributes, lot of it, very good writing and good lore .So its really back to what pc rpg really where if not more . If you liked darklands , Ultimas, if those name rings a bell this game is for you.

It’s a game done by only two guys yet I had lot of fun playing this, quite impressive what they could do with a meager 28k$ budget . The game had a rough start cause of bugs wich might explain the low scores , but they are patching surprisingly fast and listening to feedback.

As of today I can say the game is mostly bug free , and completely playable. If you want an old school rpg , this is the best thing released since a long long time
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74 of 92 people (80%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
5.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 12, 2015
Ok, heres the formula: take Skyrim, darken it down, with a really bleak and atmospheric feel, make it isometric with a hardcore D&D/Baulders Gate character creation, add in some really interesting features, like in game note taking, writing incantations, making inscriptions, spice selling, and you will get serpent in the staglands. a seemingly open ended CRPG with a bleak feel, paused based combat, lots of exploration, lots of stuff to read (and dont think for a second you can get away with not reading pretty much everything in the game, and then taking note based on that reading), lots of lore, lots of choice. recommended for any hardcore RPG player, isometric fans, CRPG enthusiasts along the lines of icewind/baulders gate. if you get angry at losing or having to start from your last save, if you are impatient, if you want an instantly accessable adventure, if you want handholding, then go elsewhere. this is for the rpg grognards.
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Recently Posted
1.0 hrs
Posted: October 15
Not worth $19.99 to relive Darklands irritating movements and game engine. Now to find out how to get my money back an uninstall ..
Helpful? Yes No Funny
46.1 hrs
Posted: September 7
Awesome cRPG, love it. Very fulfilling. If you like games like Baldur's Gate (D & D) then you'll love this too.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ceres & Calypso
29.2 hrs
Posted: August 30
Baldur's Gate meets Ultima and Darklands in this beautifully unforgiving RPG

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Serpent in the Staglands is the unconventional difficulty and the uncompromising lack of handholding. But beyond that layer of nostalgic graphics and game-design Serpent in the Staglands is one of the greatest RPGs in recent years.

Old-school is en vogue when it comes to roleplaying. Between Pillars of Eternity, Torment and Divinity we see more and more RPGs with turn-based combat, extensive character-creation and -developement, many hours of gameplay and focus on story and worldbuilding. But few have the balls to go as far as Whalenought Studios. This is truly a throwback to a time where RPGs did value the player's ability to figure things out on their own. You will have to write your questlog yourself (there is an ingame function for that), dive headfirst into the magic-system that is a far cry from usual and think about how you tackle the tasks and quests given to you beforehand. If this doesn't sound appealing for you, don't buy this game. You WILL need all of this if you want to finish the adventure. If it does, you are in for an amazing ride.

The combat is real-time with pause, meaning that your party attacks in real-time, but you can pause the game at every second during combat to give commands, cast spells or use items. People who have played the old Infinity Engine-games, Pillars of Eternity or KotOR will already be familiar with this system. Only spells work a little bit different here; every spell has to be channeled, meaning every spell is essentially a buff or debuff. Some spells heal continously, some shield, some drain hitpoints. Only one spell per caster can be active at every given time, so you better plan ahead. Sadly, most of the time this system is reduced to healing-spells because those are by far the most convenient way to get through combat. Just load up your healing ray and you're good to go. The puzzles are a mixed bag, too; they range from ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t to great, from too difficult to just right.

Decisions matter. Seriously. We are not talking Mass Effect here. We are talking about losing entire settlements because every singe inhabitant was eaten by monsters if you make the wrong decisions (or were they?). We are talking about a system of virtuosity that reminds a bit of Ultima IV. The story is good - it is low-key, dark and personal. Essentially, you are a god trapped in the world of the mortals after a night of partying with your followers, because an unknown entity has closed the portal to your homeworld. You have to find your way back home, so you recruit a bunch of followers and trek from one corner to the world to the other and back again. Don't expect epic cutscenes or great emotions; most of the story is told in a calm, textbook-like way. But it is interesting, engaging and twists wonderfully over the course of the game.

The graphics are good. They were made by hand with obvious amounts of love, the portraits are great and the character-models look amazing. Sadly, the animations are wonky at best and the environment could have benefitted from a less modular design. Still, a good sense for aesthetics shows in every nook and corner. The world itself is cold and bleak. The climate is harsh, and the people are even harsher. Don't expect a warm welcome, neither from the game nor from the people who inhabit it's world. The creatures are weird and creative and the entire world is shrouded in fog of mystery. All of this goes hand in hand with the gameplay and create a constant feeling of uncertainity and fear.

But the game is not without it's flaws. The loading-times were atrocious when I played it. You will die often, which makes matters even worse. There could have been more different events on the world-map. Why was my party lured into the same trap by a bunch of Imps dozens of times during their adventure? Why didn't they learn the lesson, say, the tenth time or so? The sound is okay, but nothing to write home about. The last twist at the ending feels kind of weird and tacked on, even if it is not as bad as in Pillars of Eternity. Weapons are interesting, but lack in variety, same for armors.

Still, Serpent in the Staglands does a lot right - in fact, far more than many of the other recent isomentric old-school RPGs. Because it doesn't make compromises. Every difficulty you face has it's purpose and place in the world. The gameplay is harsh, the world is harsh, the adventure is harsh. But in the end, it is bloody satisfiying.

tl;dr: Serpent in the Staglands decided to be the 100% brutal, no compromise, no handholding OG-option when it comes to recent "old-school" RPGs. If you don't have the patience to learn it you probably won't finish it. But if you do, you are in for hidden gem with nice graphics, okay sound, some minor flaws in combat and technical issues, that can scores with an engaging story full of hard decicions with real consequences and overall great gameplay.

! I did not encounter bad bugs, but I have heard about them, so be cautious !

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43.9 hrs
Posted: August 11
Confusing and very hard game. Gives you no help at all you don't even get a quest log. But I felt very accomplished when I beat it. Worth it if you're into a hardcore challenge.
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62.8 hrs
Posted: July 25
Serpents in the Staglands is an injection of good old RPG directly into your veins.

Game is done by a husband-wife duo but it feels like the work of a larger indie studio. I don't like pixelated graphics other than 2d platformers, but Staglands actually looks good. The sound effects are okay too and I liked the soundtrack.

This a detailed RPG, with a pen&paper&dice system. Combat plays like Baldur's Gate, it is not turn based but you can pause the game and give commands to your units. I find it mostly strategic and fun and oddly satisfying. Skill system is both familiar and unfamiliar. For example spellcasting is not your every traditional spellcasting, but without spoiling it, I can say that it is a different and enjoyable system.

Besides the combat, gameplay is mostly old-school. There is no automatic journal to track your quests, you need to write down them manually into the in-game journal or to a paper. No one will hold your hand for a quest. There is no mini-map, no quest-markers. Enemies won't scale to your level. Game has a beautiful world-map where you can wander like Fallout 1&2. But even the towns are not shown until you discovered them, and the locations of your destinations are generally hinted by dialogs or hand-drawn maps, and sometimes not hinted at all. And yes, this is an open-world game. You can wander wherever you want unless you get killed.

Staglands is a hard game. You will reload many times. At the beginning, your entire party can be easily killed by local wild life and low-life grave diggers will beat you to death. I recommend everyone not to give up in the first hours. Slowly you will be used to skills and you will gain a few levels. Spend your points wisely and you will find yourself enjoying the combat and the game.

I wished the game contained more dialog, for an old-school RPG, I think it lacks a little bit text. Another pitfall is the loading times, they are frequent and long.

Staglands was a good distraction from modern RPGs for me. I recommend this game to every RPG fan.
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24.8 hrs
Posted: July 8
This game is charming, and I really wanted to like it. But alas, it is not complete.

The obvious thing is that it was not tested enough. There are bugs, bad systems, no tutorials (although the manual does give some insight), horribly implemented magic, and many other problems that other rpgs solved a long time ago.

The magic, oh the magic. Spells that take forever to proc, and by the time they do the enemy has moved away from the target location. For many spells it's not possible to actually target the enemy, so when it moves the spell just fires at the ground instead. Many of the spell descriptions sound really cool, but they end up either being buggy or just not effective.

The combat is too volatile. Either you die in a couple of hits, or the enemy does. Therefore potions don't really have any effect as they work over time, and there is no time for combat since it is just over in a flash. I managed to get pretty far in the game by having two dedicated healers, two tanks, and an archer, but this became pretty boring. You can't really use other magic than healing, since they party memebers just die instantly then.

The music is good, the visuals are charming, and the writing is great.
It's hard to say that I cannot reccomend this game, because it's so close to being what an old school RPG fan wants, but it's just too much frustration to be any fun.

The game is hard, make no mistake, but in order for a hard game to be fun it needs to have good systems and give the player full control. This game will make you reload save after save (which takes forever), because the spell you selected didnt trigger, or the potion you clicked on didnt activate. Stuff like this kills the enjoyment, especially when it's happening all the time.

Here's hoping that a new version can be made in the future, with a full team of developers behind it.
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0.2 hrs
Posted: July 6
10 years ago crpg and rts is my fav genre.
But with so many genres out there today, isometric rpg often being left behind.
This game will only appeal to a certain type of people.
It's classic old school crpg in all it's glory.
This game is only 165mb as I can recall.

I really wanted to like this game, if only they would improve the graphic and add more animations.
Times have changed and sadly so do i......
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Zombie Rudeboy
8.9 hrs
Posted: July 2
-found a hollow tree
-no one in my party could fit into the entrance
-turned into a kitty and went in solo
-there was a possessed child in there that killed me in 2 hits
-10/10 would kitty again
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