Tag Archives: roguelike

dwarf fortress loadout manifesto

Dwarf Fortress is a notoriously complex game, and it isn’t getting any simpler. The barriers to entry are enormous. One of the worst culprits is the process of saying “Hey, I want to start a new game”. Before you start actually bossing dwarves around, you must:

  1. Create a world. This is trivial but time consuming, even on modern hardware – the process is increasingly complex with each build. Thankfully, you only have to do this once, so I consider this the final part of “installing” the game.
  2. Choose an embark location. This is fairly simple but possibly equally time consuming – because see #1. The world is big and there are a lot of possible places you might want to go. Some simple advice can help you get through this quickly enough, and I’ll address this later.
  3. Choose an embark loadout. This should be simple but is one of those choices that can bite you. You can either choose your own dwarves and equipment or you can trust the ever-changing default loadout. Traditionally, the default loadout is pretty mediocre and leaves a lot of room for improvement. I would like to go over my preferred build and the reasons behind it – as well as some reasons to do something else.

I have taken various levels of notes during 14 different playthroughs over the years (starting with 40d up to and including v0.34 builds). Using my notes as reference, I’d like to propose exactly how a person might consider going about the process of choosing an initial loadout.

The current (v0.34.11) default starting loadout is better imho than previous initial loadouts, but it’s still suboptimal – and leaves you open to several potential problems during your first year. If you are aware of your loadout and take care in your embark, you’ll be fine – but isn’t part of the point of the default that it should “just work”?
Continue reading dwarf fortress loadout manifesto

snake from beyond

Well, today marks something of a milestone in my ADOM career. I have finally killed one of the 5 big bosses in the game. And the funny thing is, I did it with a level 17 elven archer (game’s level cap is 50).

I’ve never actually played an archer before. Yup. Never. I’ve been playing the game off and on since shortly after v0.9.1 was released back in ’96. I’ve played priests that have gotten to level 32 or so, I’ve gotten necromancers and elementalists into their 20’s but have never managed to beat the water temple (location of the Snake from Beyond).

This char has been obscenely lucky. He found a pool on level 1 of the puppy cave and drank 4 times, receiving: teleportation control, poison resistance, the “lucky” intrinsic, and a wish. Yup. Level 1 char with a completely non-cheesed wish. So I’ve had the advantage of wearing seven league boots for the entire game.

Archer + running really fast = nothing got into melee with me until I hit around level 10.

I found a helm of teleportation somewhere around experience level 8, and accidentally robbed a ring shop at level 12 – earning myself a whole bunch of crud to offer my god AND a pair of rings of speed. Between the rings, talents, and my high dexterity, the char has 119 speed when unencumbered.

(10:36:37 AM) Betsy: i like how you “accidentally” robbed the ring store
(10:36:47 AM) Ammon: i DID
(10:36:51 AM) Ammon: i teleported by accident!
(10:36:59 AM) Betsy: well, nice work anyhow.
(10:37:17 AM) Ammon: my standard behavior in shops is to pick up everything and stack it in the corner
(10:37:23 AM) Ammon: gives the keeper more room to restock
(10:37:35 AM) Ammon: so i was walking to the corner when my teleport fired
(10:38:47 AM) Ammon: and i hit Z to cancel – which i forgot didn’t cancel the teleport, it cancelled my choosing where to land 😛

So, 20% faster than normal energy recharge plus boots that make walking only cost 500 energy (as opposed to 1000) plus teleportation plus archer class ability that reduces the cost of firing ranged weapons down to 800 and talents that reduce it to 640… he’s a flying machine gun 😉

Oh, and I got a ring of invisibility at level 15 and just picked up an adamantium tower shield (+11 DV) on the way in to kill the snake.

The scariest part of the whole experience of killing the snake – my guy can’t swim. And the level is no-teleport… I took 80 damage crossing a whopping two squares of water. Thankfully, I’ve been able to hoard potions since I don’t tend to get hit very often.

A bit of cleanup to ding 18 and a lot of running and teleportation later: