Saturday Special: Let’s Read Dwarf FortressPosted: February 20, 2016
Heyo, Patrons. SC is currently in a multi-day standoff with Glasses and cannot tear himself away to riff this week. Something about Glasses wanting to host a bunker-wide naked fun-times day with compulsory participation care of a sudden rash of clothing thefts. At this point we’re not really sure which of the two forcible item procurement specialists is to blame for the sudden lack of pants, but we’ve got the Ninja investigating. In any event, SC has locked her on sub-level 32 until she forgets about the whole thing.
It gets weird around here during the off hours.
While all that gets sorted out, I’ve come here to bring you the magic of Dwarf Fortress! Dwarf fortress at its core, is a castle building game where you act as overseer for a bunch of
crazy fucks dwarves. Your goal as overseer is to do whatever the hell you want. Well, whatever you want except directly control the dwarves. See, Dwarf Fortress takes a page from an old game called Populous where, despite your powers to control things surrounding your people, their free will is their own, and, often enough, they’ll just do whatever they hell they want rather than what you need them to do. In Dwarf Fortress you do have a kind of pseudo-control over things. You can order that things get built in certain areas, you can order certain items get built, you can even order dwarves to confine themselves to quarters. You certainly seem to have a lot of control.
Until things go wrong.
The illusion of control over your dwarves is something that will get crushed at some point during any play session. Generally it’ll involve an insane dwarf beating another one to death with a sock while both are completely engulfed in the fire caused by your booze supply igniting.
I could literally sit here all day and type about Dwarf Fortress. But let’s cut to the chase here. It’s a game that’s been available free to download since 2006 and has spawned a cult gaming community that is second to none. Which is impressive since the game itself has a punishing learning curve and utilizes only ASCII characters for its graphics. So, once you’ve finally built your city, castle, cave, whatever, it’s going to look something like this:
But, anyway, if you want to check it out, you can download the latest alpha build on the website here: http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/
One of the things that’s been said about Dwarf Fortress is that the biggest gift it’s given the gaming world isn’t a good game, but rather a tremendous volume of literary works. Early in the days of Dwarf Fortress, somebody, whose name is widely debated, had the idea to start doing something called a succession game, also sometimes called bloodline game. In these games, players take turns managing a single fortress by passing a save file around. Generally the term of leadership is one year of in-game play, then it passes to the next player and so on until the fortress collapses.
Then, something magical happened. People started writing about these succession games. They took on the role of one of the dwarves given temporary leadership of the fort and wrote journals about the events of the fortress. And from there, the modern succession game evolved where now players all have dwarves named after them, there are factions within the kingdom, competing forts, cloak and dagger espionage, shifting alliances and full wikis tracking the plot lines and canon events for succession plays. It’s truly an experience to be part of these succession games, and the story lines as well as the RP can get very intricate and engaging.
And there are some succession games that have gone down in the annuls of dwarf fortress history as legends. Two of these are Boatmurdered and Headshoots. You can find the text version of both these succession games archived here:
However, the real reason we’re all here today is because I found an amazing Let’s Read series of these two succession games done by Dr. Professor Robot. In fact, I found these over a year ago when they were originally posted by DPF over on the dwarf fortress forums. The reason I bring them up now is that, after a year long hiiatus, DPF has started producing more videos in the series within the past two weeks! Here is the first video of each series followed by a link to the playlist:
So, go check them out. Even if you know nothing about dwarf fortress and have no intention of playing it, the insane exploits of the dwarves and the doomed overseers who direct them are worth listening to.