Vagrus: The Riven Realms is grim-dark caravan management at its most deadly

Deadly spirit warriors, post-societal dregs, legionnaire-esque inquisitions and ash zombie-demons. After an hour with Vagrus: The Riven Realms you’ll have met the set.

It’s rare that an RPG comes along with a setting half as deep as that of Lost Pilgrims’ Vagrus: The Riven Realms. There’s a reason for that. The post-apocalyptic, dark-fantasy strategy-RPG was born out of twenty years of the core development team playing pen and paper RPGs together. As many of us who have played tabletop RPGs will be able to attest, the freedom to craft a world on the fly which you gain when players are steering their way through it is unprecedented.

And Vagrus is almost impenetrably deep. I got to sit down and play through a recent build of it while at AdventureX late last year. I opted to take the tutorial, which happens to be an extensive prologue that takes you through the basics of trading, navigating towns and some of the many systems which work away in the background as you attempt to navigate your caravan through a sweeping, deadly world. While it’s not as deadly as games like The Banner Saga — and comparisons will likely be made between the two — your descent towards a fail-state can still be quite fast if you disrespect your crew and the rules of the world.

I spent almost an hour with the game. It was more than enough time to sample the turn-based combat system as well as start collecting information on the world. However, even the version which I played was quite on rails — something that the team informed me would not be the case in the final version. The final version’s world will be a massive, multi-landmass map with dozens of cities, and hundreds of location markers across the map – the world will twist around you, pushing you along through the story of a world stuck in a self-destructive loop.

My time with the demo had me run into a ghoul of a man who served as a kind of judge-jury-executioner become exorcist we ended up travelling together, him alongside the veterans who served as lieutenants in my caravan. Magic, death and weapons fill the pock-holes which litter the post-apocalyptic ruins… Vagrus: The Riven Realms world is grim but fascinating, no less so than the humanoids who are bearly clinging onto life within it.

Vagrus: The Riven Realms was funded on FIG and will be launching on PC later this year.

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  • Sztaszov

    Thank you so much for this brilliant review. It was really great to meet you Dann at AventureX2019 and awesome to watch you play Vagrus there.
    Indeed, the main part of the game is gonna be open-world with a massive amount of content. We are really close to reaching that milestone in our crowdfunding campaign (https://fig.co/vagrus), and hope to see you try that too once it’s released. 👍