Design Log 01: Mystery Items

On your adventures, some items you find are of obvious use. Obviously juice boxes and fresh meat are delicious. Nom nom.


But sometimes, you’ll come across bottles of alien fluids. As the typical packrat adventurer, you’ll be compelled to pick them up and store them in your backpack. That’s just what you do, right?

Well, when you find a Fluid, you can’t be sure what it will do. Some Fluids are best to drink – they heal you, or give you Strength. But some Fluids are better to throw like grenades – they are flammable, or cause radiation poisoning. The only way you’ll know is to drink it or throw it, and watch what happens.

Let’s say, for example, you throw your Red Fluid on an enemy. It splashes, breaks, and nothing seems to happen. Hmmm..

What, punk? Come at me.

What, punk? Come at me.

So let’s say you find a second Red Fluid. Since throwing it didn’t work last time, this time you drink it…. And become Sneaky! Enemies won’t notice you as easily. For the rest of this run, you now see that Red Fluid are actually a Sneaky Drink.


Through similar experimentation, you discover the Blue Fluid is radioactive toxic waste and the Green Fluid is healing. Well done, scientist!

But the next time you start exploring, the Fluids are re-randomised again. Blue could make you hallucinate. Red could increase your Wits.


Similarly, alien artifacts can have a variety of effects based on their crystal’s power – beware healing your enemies during your experiments, or setting an ally on fire!


Some might point out, correctly, that we’re inspired heavily by our love of Brogue!

Our hope is that this can encourage player superstitions, strategy comparisons, and by-the-seat-of-your-pants extreme decision-making. When there’s crabs everywhere, and you only have a few hitpoints left, you can either guzzle all of your fluids, or throw them and fire your guns wildly in the hopes it will distract them enough for you to make your escape. It’s a balance challenge, but ideally players can debate the optimal time and place to experiment.

We’ve brainstormed over 50 possible effects for Fluids and crystal guns, but there’s room for lots more.

Do you have any interesting ideas for interesting effects from drinking a mysterious alien fluid, or firing an alien artifact? Leave your idea in the comments!