Aug 6, 2010

Them dorfs!

Lately I've been filling the little cracks in my time with a fun little game called Dwarf Fortress. It's an ASCII game *kinda* like Sim City, but a lot grittier and Fun (which is the fanbase's code word for losing). You manage a group of alcohol-soaked dwarves as they strike the earth and try to carve a fortress out of the landscape. Wildlife and enemy sieges provide opposition for your dwarves, and traps and levers allow for really creative mechanisms in the game (some people have actually built computers and calculators within the game).

The game is ridiculously detailed - it generates a world and simulates erosion and some history before it even gets to your dwarves and their adventure. It tracks battle damage down to individual fingers and toes (and further in later versions than the one I play). It also has a very steep learning curve (a big step is getting past where all you see is alphabet soup!)

Here we have "Jim Craig" the dwarf in sorry shape. The attacking hydra (green H) is dead, but Jim is now missing his right arm at the shoulder. Fortunately all his other bits are white (healthy) rather than yellow (broken) or red (mangled).

Anyways, because of the limited graphics, I almost think the game encourages you to look deeper to find a story, which is why I love it so much. These are some doodles I've done lately, inspired by dwarfy shenanigans.

My Captain of the Guard is an awesome she-dwarf who runs around with two swords and leaves goblins in many pieces when they cross her. And no, her name is not a Ninja Turtles reference. X)

Miners make great temporary military dwarves when a problem arises, because their mining skill determines how deadly their pick is in battle.

One of the staples of the dwarven diet is the "plump helmet," a purple mushroom of some kind. You can brew booze out of it, eat it raw, or stew 'em up.

The game also has a roguelike mode called Adventure Mode, where you take a single dwarf/human/elf and travel the full world that's been generated. Having fantastic weaponry like this fella's ☼adamantine battle axe☼ helps... though often a wielded wolf corpse is just as deadly. People have one-hit KO'd enemies by throwing mud in this game. It's awesome.