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TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.
7,231 backers pledged $293,184 to help bring this project to life.

Golems and Podlings and Wisps, Oh My!

Posted by Nerd Kingdom (Creator)

Everybody needs friends, and in TUG you’ll find a whole stable of companions! You will, of course, be playing with your real friends as a community of Seeds, but what about those times you are on your own, or need a helping hand? That’s where your companions come into play!

As a young Seed starting off in the world, one of the first companions you’ll be able to enlist is the Pet. Pets are the simplest of critters that the player encounters and can tame. Pets are non-combat creatures and will hang around the Seed on their journeys through the world. Pets won’t engage other Critters or monsters, but can be injured and must be tended to and fed, otherwise they will go feral and run away. A Pet isn’t really useful at first, as all they will want to do is hang around and eat your food, but if you are diligent, you can raise these little Critters into something much more! After a period of training, some of these Pets can evolve to become Guardians or Mounts for your Seed.

A Guardian is the next stage of a Pet that has become fiercely loyal to its Seed. Guardians have the same requirements as a Pet -- they need to be fed and taken care of -- but Guardians provide protection in return for this relationship. A Guardian’s nature is derived from the Critter that the original Pet was based on. If the Pet was a predator, the Guardian will have a very aggressive nature and attack any threats that get near the Seed. A Pet that started off as a prey Critter will have more of a defensive nature, staying near their Seed and attacking only after the Seed has been attacked.

Mounts also derive from basic pets, but their purpose is to serve as transportation for the Seed. Mounts also require the basic care of Pets or Guardians, and their nature and abilities derive from their Pet base behaviors. Mounts raised from fast-moving predators are fast with the ability to sprint short distances, but due to their slim frame may have a limited carrying capacity. Mounts raised from slower, larger Critters may be slower, but can carry more weight and be able to withstand a lot more damage if caught in battle. Some of these abilities will overlap depending on the starting Pet’s abilities.

A second type of companion creature, known as Podlings, are the hardest workers found in the world of TUG. These creatures are very dedicated to their task and are usually found specializing in what they do best. Podlings behavior is dictated by a special item called a Totem, and Podlings must stay near their Totems and perform tasks only within range of this special device. As such, these Totems can be hidden or very hard to find, but if a Seed manages to uncover one, they can begin to train a Podling to do tasks for them. Podlings can be taught a variety of tasks, but they will never perform their secondary tasks as well as their main primary one. Since Podlings are dedicated to remain near their Totems, Seeds may move or carry the Totem in their backpack to cause the Podling to follow them to a new location.

A third type, called Golems, are completely autonomous creations usually found in the wild, composed of elements of their surroundings. With advanced technology, Seeds can eventually craft their own Golems, but early on, the only way to acquire a Golem will be to locate one in the wild. Golems are the most powerful of companions, and by using a Totem imbedded in the Golem’s back, Seeds can program their behavior and alter them in a variety of ways. Golems can be set to be offensive or defensive in nature, commanded to guard a location, serve as a pack mule for very large amounts of resources, or just be the Seed’s personal bodyguard while out exploring.

Totems consist of two parts: a power source, and an item called a Relic. Relics are small items used for logic programming in TUG. They can dictate the behavior of a tamed Podling or Golem, and will play heavily into the magic system in TUG.

A fourth type of companions are the Wisps. Wisps are creatures made of pure energy. These companions are usually formless, but some special occurrences of Wisps resemble critters found in the world. The true nature of Wisps and their purpose is a mystery. They definitely offer something to the Seeds they follow, but what exact uses they may have are for players to discover. Because of the mysterious nature of Wisps, it cannot be said how or why they choose to be companions to Seeds... but this is one of the many secrets of the hidden lore you will uncover in TUG!


p.s. If you like what you see in TUG, you should totally have a look at Son of Nor! We love the ideas they're putting together for their project, so if you have room in your heart for a cool-sounding adventure game where you can change the world with magic, go have a look!

And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel! And join us on our Official Forums!


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    1. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Troy, depending on the companion, absolutely!

    2. Narq on

      Great last days' incentives! I just increased my pledge and I challenge everyone who is already backing TUG to do the same! We've got this.

    3. Troy Johnson on

      I'm hoping we can use pets to carry items.

    4. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Christian, the Kickstarter reward companions won't leave you. And though they can die, there will be ways to bring them back (lore friendly, of course)!

    5. Christian Breitenstein on

      What about the KS special companions / Golem / Mount? If I use them, do they need upkeep as well and leave me if I can't provide?

    6. Missing avatar

      Sharky on

      I appreciate the balancing y'all are doing by requiring upkeep for pets. I personally thoroughly enjoy the concept of being able to have minions to do my bidding as opposed to everything myself, so the concept of golems and pets is so cool! I do however like the fact that they are not free to run, which makes perfect sense. Can't wait to see how you actually implement these systems in game and how they function in respect to everything else!

    7. J.L. on


      Can pets become either guardians or mounts? As in, this $45 sabre tiger could be brought up to be either, via some choice in "upbringing", true?

    8. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Robert, yes, but as Ino said, there will be trade-offs. It will take a LOT of resources to sustain an army of pets, so if you go that route, you'll likely have to cut corners elsewhere. But we don't plan to include an artificial cap.

    9. Dominik Bergauer on

      one week to go ... omg, i sooo want this game to happen. wish i had more money left to spend.

    10. Robert Randall on

      Sorry, but does this mean we could have Multiple pets, companions, and gaurdians??

    11. Missing avatar

      Charlotte Jolicoeur on

      You guys are becoming my favorite game of the year (maybe even 2?)! Love your updates :)

    12. DJC on

      This all sounds awesome! I really hope you guys make it!!!

    13. Lorenzo Gaetani on

      So golem need energy and animals need food, i would like to know more about this energy, i presume it will be a kind of resource but what exactly mechanics will it have? (don't know if previous sentence has a sense) and you will be able to specialize in golem for ex so you can make then more efficient in using energy or in animal so you make them find themselves most of the food they need?

    14. J.L. on

      Poor little Podlings, I may have to start a revolution to free them all from endless labour... (c;

      Now a question for NK! Sounds as if pets could become either guardians or mounts? That is, this $45 sabre tiger could be brought up to be either, is that correct? If so, impressive! (c:

    15. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Fearlessjay & Jonathan, these companions like all systems have a trade off. These things need energy in some form, or they become inactive/ineffective. As a matter of fact, it may be as bad to leave them out of energy, as they may just get smashed for good measure! It sure is possible that you could leave 5 or so golems out, but you would be using lots of energy that may be better off spent used for tools, weapons, fuel, etc.


    16. Missing avatar

      jonathan on

      ok, so i can leave a golem or five or twenty to guard my stuff while im out adventuring on a survival server

    17. Fearlessjay on

      Sounds awesome!

      One question though, is the only limit to companions your ability to care for them all or will there be some artificial limit to how many you can have?

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      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    19. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Addison, "Critters" are sort of the catch-all term for creatures in the world of TUG. "Companions" is the umbrella term for any kind of critter or being in TUG that you can tame... i.e. Podlings, Golems, Pets, Mounts, Guardians, Wisps, etc. Hope that clears it up a bit?

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      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

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      Krozber on

      Neat, I was waiting for more info about pets! I hope raising and training them is an interesting process.

    22. Lars on

      Love your few distinct color art, the birds seen in the recent interview is also fantastic.

      Any chanse the digital art book will be made in a format/size that work with an "order your own book" website, so we can order ourselves physical copies if we want? its something you should look into. I know some of those servies lets you sell your book theres aswell, as an on demand physical book thing.

    23. Billy Barnes on

      Great information! I hope Golems are truly scary. I want to come across one in the woods and have to stop and reroute my plans due to danger. Not invincible, just tough!

    24. Matthew Orbain on

      Will you be able to have multiple companions with you? for example: will I be able to have two golems with me at one time, one for being a pack mule and the other to be used as a bodyguard?

    25. Missing avatar

      danar smith on

      Love the updates you guys are giving us and I think the pet idea sounds really fun. Will your pet, once it becomes a guardian be able to hunt with you/ for you? Will there be birds as pets? I understand it would be unfair to mount them I'm sure but they could serve as guardians as well.

      Thanks for reading!