Tuesday, May 21
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What makes Dwarf Fortress unique? Here are ten key pieces of information to keep in mind:
Not Everything in D&D FitsMagic in the world is much rarer and characters are almost universally Dwarves. The world of Dwarf Fortress focuses more on building and defending a single community and is thus much narrower in scope than other settings.
The World is DangerousLife as a slave to Armok is hard, and even harder when you've been sent to the fringe with only a wagon full of supplies to strike out a new home fit to grow into a fortress. Starvation, insanity, wild animals, and unfriendly neighbours are all daily threats. Every member of an expedition must be ready to take up pick or axe to defend their new home, and stable forts require a standing military.
Everyone has a JobThe Dwarven society is rigidly structured and everyone has a craft, some vital role they perform in the community. This is represented by the Jobs and Backgrounds available to DF characters.
A World of AdventureExploration is vital to the survival of every outpost and fortress. Underground caverns crawl with slugmen and lizard folk, magma vents are home to fire imps and flame snakes, and megabeasts wander the countryside demolishing all that is in their path. And these are only the threats from the outside. Sloppy engineers may very well build a massive decorative waterfall system to irrigate and inspire... without installing drainage or extraction first.
A World of IngenuityDwarves are ingenious builders, constructing grand works of art and grander works of machinery. Expect the complex, the bizarre, and the outlandish.
A World of PoliticsNobles are often self-appointed and self concerned. They see no problem with sending dwarves off to die at the frontier, nor with moving right in and taking over once the new outpost is stable and productive. The balance between the highest castes, who live for free off the labours of the Fortress, and the lowest, who sleep hidden behind barrels in the stockpiles, is a tense one, made all the tenser as new Fortresses which survive off a communal structure, are suddenly thrust into the turmoil of a new economy as a family of lesser nobles immigrates from the Mountainhomes looking to become regents. But balance must be maintained. If the structure were to topple then every Dwarf would suffer and the Fortress would soon fall to invaders.
Above all, FamilyThe Fortress, and all Dwarves, are family, and family comes first. Communal safety is a core motivation in a Dwarf Fortress game and is at the root of almost all adventures. Even in the pursuit of fame, glory, and power the end result is for the benefit of the Fortress.
Slaves to ArmokSince the dawn of recorded history Dwarves have been enslaved to Armok, God of Blood, who calls them deeper and deeper into the earth.
Caravans are the Lifeblood of the WorldAs one Dwarf relies on another, so do Fortresses and civilizations. All across the world trading caravans risk the dangers to bring goods to and from the multitudinous point of light. Still, Fortresses are isolated places and most caravans only make their route once a year.
Evil is BelowDark and twisted things lurk beneath the surface of the earth, and the deeper one digs the worse it gets. A massive network of caves, magma flows, rivers, cisterns, and aquifers webs across the planet and it is rare to dig very far without breaking into some cavern full of deep-dwelling horrors twisted by their proximity to Armok.
Tuesday, May 21