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rpg-cli — your filesystem as a dungeon!

rpg-cli is a minimalist computer RPG written in Rust. Its command-line interface can be used as a cd replacement where you randomly encounter enemies as you change directories.


  • Character stats and leveling system.
  • Automatic turn-based combat.
  • Item and equipment support.
  • Warrior, thief and mage player classes.
  • 15+ Enemy classes.
  • Extensible player and enemy classes via configuration.
  • Permadeath with item recovering.
  • Quests to-do list.
  • Chests hidden in directories.


From binary

Just download the binary for your platform (linux/macOS/windows) from the GitHub releases page.

Using Cargo

Assuming you have Rust and Cargo installed:

$ cargo install --git --force --tag 1.0.1

The binary should be available as rpg-cli (assuming you have ~/.cargo/bin in your $PATH).

Other installation methods

Show details

Homebrew (macOS)

You can use homebrew to install the binary on macOS::

$ brew install rpg-cli


If you use Nix/NixOS you can get rpg-cli from nixpkgs, either install it by adding it to your system config, with nix-env -i rpg-cli/nix profile install nixpkgs#rpg-cli or try it in a ephemeral shell with nix-shell -p rpg-cli/nix shell nixpkgs#rpg-cli.

Portage (Gentoo)

If you use Gentoo, you can get rpg-cli from portage:

# emerge -av games-rpg/rpg-cli

Pacman (Arch Linux)

rpg-cli can be installed from the community repository for Arch Linux:

$ pacman -S rpg-cli

Shell integration

The game is designed to integrate with common file system operations, such as changing directories or deleting files. The most basic type of integration consists in wrapping rpg-cli in a shell function, such that the working directory is updated to match the hero's progress, effectively working as a cd alternative:

rpg () {
    rpg-cli "$@"
    cd "$(rpg-cli pwd)"

If you want to go all the way and really use it in place of cd:

cd () {
    rpg-cli cd "$@"
    builtin cd "$(rpg-cli pwd)"

Other commands like rm, mkdir, touch, etc. can also be aliased. Check this example and the shell integration guide for more sophisticated examples, as well as their fish shell equivalents.


This example session assumes a basic rpg function as described in the previous section.

Character setup

The first time you run the program, a new hero is created at the user's home directory.

~ $ rpg
    hp:[xxxxxxxxxx] 48/48
    mp:[----------] 0/0
    xp:[----------] 0/30
    att:10   mag:0   def:0   spd:10

When running without parameters, as above, the hero status is printed (health points, accumulated experience, etc.). The stats are randomized: if you run rpg reset you will get a slightly different character every time:

~ $ rpg reset; rpg
    hp:[xxxxxxxxxx] 50/50
    mp:[----------] 0/0
    xp:[----------] 0/30
    att:13   mag:0   def:0   spd:12

You can also pick a different class (default options are warrior, thief and mage, but more can be added). For example, the mage class enables magic attacks:

~ $ rpg class mage; rpg
    hp:[xxxxxxxxxx] 32/32
    mp:[xxxxxxxxxx] 12/12
    xp:[----------] 0/30
    att:3   mag:27   def:0   spd:9

Movement and battles

If you use the cd subcommand with a path as parameter, it will instruct the hero to move:

~ $ rpg cd dev/
~/dev $ rpg
    hp:[xxxxxxxxxx] 47/47
    mp:[----------] 0/0
    xp:[----------] 0/30
    att:10   mag:0   def:0   spd:12

In this case, the warrior moved to ~/dev. Sometimes enemies will appear as you move through the directories, and both characters will engage in battle:

~/dev $ rpg cd facundoolano/
   snake[3][xxx-] -10hp
 warrior[1][xxxx] -8hp
   snake[3][xxx-] -9hp
 warrior[1][xxx-] -10hp
   snake[3][x---] -12hp
 warrior[1][xx--] -9hp
   snake[3][----] -14hp
 warrior[3][xxx-] +117xp ++level +275g

Each character attacks in turn (the frequency being determined by their spd stat). Whenever you win a fight, your hero gains experience points and eventually raises its level, along with its other stats.

When you return to the home directory, the hero's health points are restored and status effects are removed:

~/dev/facundoolano/rpg-cli $ rpg cd ~
    warrior[3][xxxx][----][x---]@home +27hp

The further from home you move the hero, the tougher the enemies will get. If you go to far or too long without restoring your health, your hero is likely to die in battle, causing the game to restart at the home directory.

~ $ rpg cd ~/dev/facundoolano/rpg-cli/target/debug/examples/
  zombie[3][xxxx] -14hp
 warrior[1][xxx-] -14hp
  zombie[3][xxx-] -16hp
 warrior[1][xxx-] -11hp
  zombie[3][xx--] -16hp
 warrior[1][xx--] -9hp
  zombie[3][xx--] -15hp
 warrior[1][x---] -9hp
  zombie[3][x---] -12hp
 warrior[1][----] -20hp critical!
 warrior[1][----] 💀

Death is permanent: you can't save your progress and reload after dying, but if you take your new hero to the location of the previous one's death, you can recover gold, items and equipment:

~ $ rpg cd ~/dev/facundoolano/rpg-cli/target/debug/
🪦 +potionx1 +275g

Items and equipment

In addition to winning items as battle rewards, some directories have hidden treasure chests that you can find with rpg ls:

~ $ rpg ls
📦  +potionx2

Finally, some items can be bought at the game directory running rpg buy:

~ $ rpg buy
    sword[1]    500g
    shield[1]   500g
    potion[1]   200g
    remedy      400g
    escape      1000g

    funds: 275g
~ $ rpg buy potion
   -200g +potionx1

The shortcut rpg b p would also work above. An item can be described with the stat subcommand and used with use:

~ $ rpg stat potion
potion[1]: restores 25hp
~ $ rpg use potion
 warrior[3][xxxx] +25hp potion

Quests and late game

The rpg todo command will display a list of quest for your hero:

~ $ rpg todo
  □ buy a sword
  ✔ use a potion
  ✔ reach level 2
  ✔ win a battle

Each time you complete an item on the list, you will receive a reward. The quests renew as your level raises, so be sure to check often!

The game difficulty increases as you go deeper in the dungeon; to raise your level, encounter the tougher enemies, find the rarest items and complete all the quests, it's necessary to go as far as possible from the $HOME directory. One option to ease the gameplay is to use a shell function that creates directories "on-demand".

Try rpg --help for more options and check the shell integration guide for ideas to adapt the game to your preferences.

Customize character classes

The character class determines a character's initial stats and at what pace they increase when leveling up. By default, rpg-cli will use classes as defined by this file, but these definitions can be overridden by placing a YAML file with that same structure at ~/.local/share/rpg/classes.yaml. Check the dirs crate doc to find the data path on your OS.

The category field is used to distinguish between player and enemy classes, and in the latter case how likely a given enemy class is likely to appear (e.g. legendary classes will appear less frequently, and only when far away from home).

The hero's class can be changed at the home directory using rpg-cli class <name>. If the hero is at level 1 it will effectively work as a character re-roll with fresh stats; at higher levels the stats are preserved and the class change will start taking effect on the next level increment.


  • The release binary for macOS is not signed. To open it for the first time, right click on the binary and select "Open" from the menu.

Feedback appreciated!

If you find any issue, have features ideas, gameplay suggestions or example shell scripts, feel free to file an issue to start a conversation.