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Dev. Diary 15-May-2017: Mages, Magic & the Arcane

Well met everyone!

Today, I want to tell you about the magic system in Rogue Empire. It contains familiar elements such as Mana, but at the same time some new ones such as Arcane Threads.

The objective behind the duality of the system is to make spells feel powerful yet have an additional layer of Meta play to make the use of them more challenging.

So lets try to make sense of this, following this points:

  • Spells

  • Spell level

  • Learning spells

  • Spell Casting

  • Mana

  • Arcane Threads

  • The mage class.

  • Closing Comments & Thanks


Well everyone knows what spells are... right? As in most roguelike games you will find offensive spells, defensive spells and utility spells.

Spells in Rogue Empire represent reflections of the casters thoughts in the arcane world, a place where fine crafted imprints can be manifested on will and then reproduced in the real world.

Once learned spells can be cast any number of times provided the character has enough mana and arcane threads (more on this later).

Spell Level

Distinctive spells in Rogue Empire can have any level starting from level 1. A higher spell level implies its effectiveness is increased (whatever that might be). If we take the fireball spell as an example its range and damage will be higher the higher the spell level (in addition to the casters spell power influence).

The goal with this is make spells scale up as the game progresses and give the player more choices (see next section).

Learning spells

In contrast to other roguelikes, in Rogue Empire a class capable of learning spells can learn them from any spell casting object. This could be a scroll, a wand or a spell book. Now, trying to learn a spell from a scroll will be much more difficult to achieve than a proper spell book.

Learning spells depends mainly on the intelligence stat, the object it is learned from and the spell complexity. In addition to this a failed learning attempt can be very dangerous making the choice of learning not trivial.

Spell Casting


Mana represents the character amount of resources from the arcane world he has available.

As with most RPGs out there, the main resource for casting spells is the character mana pool. This mana pool is intrinsic to all classes even non casters (although it is hidden if not used) as some spells that could be cast from an object depend on the amount of mana available in the character.

The basic rule here is, if your mana available is less than the spell mana cost you can't cast the spell ;)

Arcane Threads

Arcane threads are the threads through which a caster can tap to the arcane world.

Spells are manifested through these threads and in doing so the threads used get damaged. Suffice to say that if all the threads are damaged, no spell cast is possible. Threads get repaired automatically after 1 or more turns past without a spell cast, meaning that continuously casting spells is not possible in Rogue Empire.

The idea here is to avoid mindlessly casting frost bolts and stop and think. Also spells like shields or enchantments permanently use 1 or more threads. Giving meaningful choices to the player:

"Do I put on an detect traps enchantment and risk not having enough firepower in the next encounter, or do I save the thread connections to be able to cast more offensive spells?"

The Mage

The mage is the latest class addition to the main game. The mage as a character is very frail physically and specially so in the early game. On the other side he is extremely attuned to the arcane world, having a huge big pool, and several arcane threads.

His weapon of choice is a staff that helps him canalize mana (double mana regeneration) and gives him a spell power based attack (staffs do arcane damage instead of physical damage).

In the early game the mage will have to rely on cunning and hit and run tactics. Later on he will be able to wield great power both offensively and defensively as long as his mana and arcane threads suffice he will hold the ground against most opponents!

Closing comments & Thanks

I would like to hear your comments about this! Do you like the arcane threads mechanic? Does it make sense? I answer everywhere: IndieDB Rogue Empire forums, Reddit in Roguelikes channel, Steam,, Twitter and Facebook!

In case you wonder, you can get the download the latest version of the prelude (Note: not much of today's diary will be there) at for free or donate to the cause (you will get early access to the main campaign including the next release with the mage class and mechanics!).

Please support the game!

If it is within your reach, support Rogue Empire at! You can also follow us and spread the word about the game in or Anything helps, no matter how small!

See you next time!

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