Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dwarf Fortress Adventure Mode

I'm still playing Summitspear, as I have time. But I also wanted to check out a new Post-Apocalypse mod for Dwarf Fortress. Since I didn't want to start a new fortress, and since Adventure Mode would give me more of a Fallout vibe anyway, I thought I'd try that.

Unfortunately, the mod was just unplayably slow for me. I'm not sure why. But then, it's still in development, so I hope to play it... sometime.

Anyway, the attempt reminded me of how much I enjoyed Adventure Mode last time, so I thought I'd play it in vanilla Dwarf Fortress for a bit. None of my characters ever last very long, so it's a much quicker game than building a fortress (and a nice change of pace, too).

Enter Kasat Blazesword, human swordsman, member of the Nation of Flickering. He started in Dipfocuses, a little human hamlet in the Blockaded Hills, and quickly recruited some companions - a pikeman and two lashers.

Our first quest was to kill a bandit chieftain in the sewers of Pointycharmed, a nearby town. But I couldn't find any way to get into the sewers. I could see into the sewers from the occasional grate in the streets, but it was always a long drop down (usually into water - at least, I hope it was water - and I couldn't swim).

At first, I didn't realize I'd have such a problem finding the entrance, so I wasn't particularly deliberate in my search. And Pointycharmed turned out to be a very large town.

So I started over, trying to cover every bit of the city. Unfortunately, clearing the "fog of war" in Dwarf Fortress is always only temporary, so it's not easy to tell where I've searched and where I haven't.

At any rate, it was taking so long that I started to worry about my character starving to death. I could have sold some of my clothing to buy food, but I thought I'd just find a different quest. (There's always loot after a successful quest - and often, as you'll see, even when they're unsuccessful.)

So, in a nearby village, I got a quest to kill Obu Floorstokers, a vampire in the hamlet of Ferrymarked. Supposedly, she'd already killed 1217 people! Hmm,... that seemed a bit tough for a beginning adventurer,... but what the heck, I had several meatshields, er, companions, who could help.

When we got to Ferrymarked, it turned out that the whole town knew that Obu was a vampire, though they told us they didn't have any proof. I wondered about that, but they all were eager to point us in the right direction.

Obu turned out to look just like all the other villagers, and she seemed to be getting along just fine with them, too. Certainly, her house was filled with people. But when I accused her of being a vampire, she boldly - and loudly - admitted it. And then, all of her... friends immediately drew their knives and attacked her.

I kind of wondered why they'd needed an adventurer to do this, since I couldn't get through the mob to attack her, myself. But then the vampire quickly killed two of the villagers, so I guess they needed us after all. But she'd been stabbed a million times by the time I edged close enough to take her head off with my longsword.

The townspeople were appreciative, despite their losses. Indeed, they even let me loot the bodies of their poor dead neighbors, not just that of the monster we'd killed. And the vampire wasn't even their only problem, since they quickly gave me a quest to kill a nearby bandit captain, too.

So after selling our loot - and buying plenty of food - we headed to the bandit encampment. It turned out to be a piece of cake. There were only three bandits, none of them archers, and they attacked individually. So it was a simple matter to surround each of them in turn. None of us received even a scratch.

Well, at this point, I was feeling pretty confident, so I figured we'd finish exploring Pointycharmed for that sewer entrance. (I recruited another swordsman, too, just for extra backup.) But we still couldn't find it.

However, there were a couple of ruined temples in town. One of them was just a big hole in the ground, with no passages leading anywhere. But the second was different, with several underground passages. Unfortunately, it was clearly an old burial ground. There were skeletons everywhere.

Well, as long as they stayed dead, no problem. But I wasn't confident of that. Still, we just needed to find a way into the sewers, that's all. We really didn't want to mess with any undead.

But as we continued to explore, there didn't seem to be any real danger down there. There were a few traps, but my character was a pretty observant guy. So we just went deeper and deeper. And at the bottom, we found some really nice loot.

And yup, greed won out. I know that's been the death of many a young adventurer, but I just couldn't resist. I grabbed a few of the nicer items and made a run for the exit. And that's when the mummy ambushed me from the top of the stairs.

You know, I thought I had a chance, despite the curse he immediately cast on me. (Note that curses in Dwarf Fortress are permanent, apparently. I don't think there's any way to cure them, not yet.) I parried the mummy's attacks and counterattacked myself - to good effect, I thought. But then, it's hard to tell. Mummies don't look too healthy at the best of times.

Unfortunately, he'd caught me in a narrow corridor, where I couldn't dodge. He kept charging at me and knocking me down. I don't know what happened to my companions. I thought they were behind me, but I never saw them again after the mummy attacked.

There was a skeleton behind me, though, and the mummy reanimated it. That made it even harder to dodge his attacks (and the skeleton's attacks). I knew I wasn't going to make it when the mummy chopped off my left hand and my bronze longsword sailed off into the darkness.

But I still had my shield,... for a few minutes, at least. Then he chopped off my right hand. Yeah, I still had my feet, but there wasn't anywhere I could run. But I kept trying till the end.

It was lots of fun. I hadn't seen one of those ruined temples before. (Of course, it's been a year since I last played Adventure Mode.) And towns have gotten really big, too. But obviously, I didn't see much of the world. I was still a rank beginner when I died.

So I've started a new character. :)  This one is Bale Flyspell, a human maceman, a member of the Kingdoms of Rock, far to the north of Pointycharmed. And just to give you an idea of how different things go, I'll tell you about his first quest:

Right off the bat, I was asked to kill a bandit chieftain, so I grabbed a couple of good soldiers and headed out of town. But right at the edge of the encampment, we encountered four archers.

Immediately, Ithev, my lasher companion, took an arrow to the knee (any Skyrim fans here?), dropping her to the ground. That effectively put her out of the fight, since archers aren't going to get into melee range voluntarily. A few minutes later, Dether, a fellow maceman, took a crossbow bolt to the head, killing him instantly. Both of my guards were taken out of the fight before we'd even started.

One enemy crossbowman got too close, and I was able to kill him by staying to his northeast, where his own body blocked the aim of his fellows. (I still had to dodge a few missiles, but I was lucky.) But I couldn't get at the others. And note that we hadn't even seen the bandit chief yet!

So I looted the body of the crossbowman - and poor Dether's, too - then headed back to Ithev. She was in bad shape. The bandits seemed to be in no hurry to kill her, since she was clearly no threat. Every so often, they'd shoot her with another arrow or bolt.

Well, I couldn't defend her and I couldn't rescue her. She was dying in agony, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. So I crushed her head with my mace, putting her out of her misery. It had to be done.

And sure, I looted her body (always choose companions with good armor in your size!), but I mean to come back and get revenge. So I'm sure that's what she would have wanted, don't you think? After all, we were comrades. Only for a couple of hours, admittedly. (When she joined me, she said she wanted a warrior's death. But she probably wasn't expecting it to happen so soon.)

That's Dwarf Fortress Adventure Mode. It's been a lot of fun. I'll probably play Bale until he dies, then jump back into Summitspear again. But I haven't had a lot of time to play anything, really. Or to get much blogging done, either. Well, it's summer, and that's a very busy time of year for me.

PS. Sorry, but I didn't expect that I'd be writing about this, so I didn't get any screenshots. (Here's a comic for you, though.) Well, there wouldn't be much to see, anyway. Dwarf Fortress is all about using your imagination.

2 comments:

m1nks said...

You might find this amusing.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/02/dwarf-fortress-ten-hours-with-the-most-inscrutable-video-game-of-all-time/

WCG said...

Heh, heh. That's funny, M1nks. But really, it's stupid to try to play a game like Dwarf Fortress without looking at any instructions. What was she expecting?

And then she deliberately made it as hard as possible on herself by not using a graphics pack. Dwarf Fortress isn't that hard, it's just complicated. And the interface is terrible.

Well, when Cataclysm gets too easy for you, M1nks, you can try Dwarf Fortress. Or Aurora, a game which makes Dwarf Fortress seem like Checkers. :)