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What Is Kingdom of Loathing?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
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Kingdom of Loathing (KOL) is a text-based adventure game available free online. The game involves your quest to defeat the Naughty Sorceress who has overthrown the good King Ralph IX. KOL’s appeal is based largely on wordplay and puns, and has become a successful online game.

Designed in 2003 by Asymmetric Productions, Kingdom of Loathing is the creation of Zack Jonson and writer Josh Nite. Game play involves pop culture references, obscure movie quotes and surrealist humor. Since its beginning, KOL has attracted more than 100,000 players.

Characters in the game are ruled by either muscle, mysticality or moxie. Each trait offers two sets of characters. The muscle avatars are Turtle Tamers and Seal Clubbers. Mysticality governs Pastamancers and Saucerors, while Disco Bandits and Accordion Thieves are ruled by moxie. There is no real game play difference between character classes, but specific armor and some quests are tailored to specific classes.

After completing the tutorial, which is given by a helpful bird called the Toot Oriole, you are let free upon the Kingdom. Players have a set number of turns, called adventures, allowed per day, the maximum amount being 200. Turns can be gained by consuming food, alcoholic beverages, or through some special items.

On each turn, a player can adventure in a variety of locations, such as dungeons, mountains and pirate lairs. Usually, each turn involves a location-specific encounter, such as a having to fight a Dirty Hippy while visiting the Hippy Camp area, or telling a pirate joke onboard the Pirate Ship. Winning battles gains your avatar experience points towards gaining levels, and may give you special items dropped by your opponent. Battles also grant you meat, a vital component to the Kingdom of Loathing game.

Meat is the currency of the game and is needed to buy food, drink, armor, weapons, and any other necessary equipment. Successful adventuring will almost always give you meat. You may also send a gift of meat to any friend who may be in need of it. Meat is also used to create meat paste, a substance that allows you to bind objects together to create new items.

While some random adventuring is necessary to gain points, most are spent in pursuit of quests. Each of the 11 chapters of the game features a central quest which must be solved before advancing to the next level. Upon reaching chapter 11, you must fight the Naughty Sorceress to win the game.

Kingdom of Loathing runs on its own calendar, and several holidays are celebrated throughout the year. Oyster Egg Day, a parody of Easter, allows adventurers to receive ability-giving oyster eggs at certain locations. On Halloween, adventurers can dress up in special costumes and go trick-or-treating for candy and prizes. During Crimbo, a Christmas like holiday, players may receive special presents from the game-makers. Other holidays allow increased drinking or eating limits, leading to more available adventures.

KOL is a free game, but characters can choose to give actual money to the site. To players who chose to donate money, Kingdom of Loathing offers special bonuses. Players can choose to receive a custom designed-avatar, or special accessories unavailable to non-paying members. Whether or not you choose to pay, Kingdom of Loathing is a unique and intriguing online experience, and continues to grow in popularity across the world wide web.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By anon989933 — On Mar 28, 2015

I was surprised to find that ascension wasn't mentioned in this article.

Each class/avatar has unique skills available as it progresses through the quests, or levels up. Once you take out the Naughty Sorceress you can ascend and basically start over as a new character (reincarnate). During this process you can "perm" one or more of the skills you learned in your past life. This allows you to continue to expand your characters skillset.

There are also unique paths available for special rewards. These paths alter the game play or rules surrounding game-play.

By Vincenzo — On Jun 15, 2014

One of the more notable things about this franchise is how it is, more or less, a throwback to the old door games on old bulletin board systems (BBS). Those games rarely featured graphics and were all about gameplay.

Kingdom of Loathing offers a step-up in graphics, but the game is central to the whole experience. And here's the best part -- the game is always under development, so there is always something new to see and do.

By Soulfox — On Jun 15, 2014

Any role playing game fan that hasn't given this a shot really should try this. You will never find another game like it, but be warned -- the graphics are more than a bit on the simplistic side and the interface is a bit clunky. Some people have complained about the graphics, but the simplicity of them is actually a good thing because almost any computer than can get on the Internet won't bog down under the weight of a bunch of pretty pictures.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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