The Let's Play Archive

Dwarf Fortress - Boatmurdered

by Various

Part 1: Intro by Evilslug

What follows is a succession-style Let's Play of the game Dwarf Fortress. In it, we chronicle the rise and fall of the epic Dwarven fortress, Boatmurdered. (Actually, it's pretty much all fall.) Each ruler was given a single year of gametime in which to manage the fortress, then they gave the reigns over to the next player in line. I have added the occasional editor's note to clarify things, but mostly I stay out of the way. The madness surrounding Boatmurdered is quite apparent on its own, I feel.

Official List of"Rulers".

mariguana (aka. megor grendel)
Keyboard Fox (aka. Furry, Kalo)
Cross Quantum
Major Failure
Mystic Mongol
Doctor Zero
Guerilla Medic

All eras of Boatmurdered history are highly noteworthy and interesting. Things very quickly progressed from somewhat casual daily elephant deaths to retired rulers rampaging and beating people to death (while burning alive). The heavy downward slide that would come to define Boatmurdered seems to have begun during StarkRavingMad's rule, with the utterly epic "Elephant War". Historians seem to agree that the insanity surrounding Boatmurdered began to increase almost exponentially from that point forward.

The "WTF is Dwarf Fortress?" Crash-Course.

The thread to follow generally assumes you have a tiny bit of knowledge about the game being played. In hopes of making it an easy read for those unfamiliar, I've condensed the most important factors from the general info threads and wiki into this brief introduction. You don't need to know a thing about the game to genuinely enjoy the playthrough, but a tiny bit of knowledge does help. Here's the tl;dr guide, first.

Left to right: Elephant, Dwarf, Miasma Cloud (the purple cloud of stench that comes from rotting bodies).

For a bit better outline of the game, read on. Impatient types and those who already know Dwarf Fortress well, please skip straight to the first update. The initial update outlines the rules by which this game was played (there aren't many, hah!). The second update is where we generate the world and actually get the ball rolling.


What kind of game is Dwarf fortress?

In a nutshell, Dwarf Fortress is best described as a 2-D base building game in the theme of Dungeon Keeper. The concept is simple, the graphics are simple; but the depth of the game is fairly awesome. (Even more amazing when you realize it is all the product of a single man gaming company.)

The dwarves you "control" are somewhat autonomous. They have likes, dislikes, and needs. While you can assign them specific duties and set basic orders, they have minds of their own and will act according to how they feel. You can give them a job, but that doesn't always mean they'll do it right away. Injuries to all animals and dwarves are tracked, down to internal organs and body parts. Dwarves have moods that are affected by the things around them. They can decide to throw a party for their friends, or they might stress out under strain and suddenly kill each other with little to no warning. Female dwarves occasionally get pregnant and, if they are exposed to trauma (say a goblin siege); they very well might miscarry. Sad thoughts caused by things of that nature can lead dwarves to tantrums or even suicide.

You begin with 7 dwarves and scarce few supplies at the face of a mountain. Your only objective is to survive the elements while building yourself as cool a fortress as you possibly can before you inevitably die. Simple enough, yes?

The game is displayed in a pseudo-ASCII style, which uses letters for objects in the game world, similar to Nethack. I hear you groaning, but you'll quickly catch the hang of things. The players provide excellent explanation of what is going on in each screenshot. I've included a general key to some common items, below; should you find yourself needing one.

In the following shot, a bunch of dwarves are charging off to be trampled by elephants outside the fortress. The cliff face bisects the picture, with the outdoors on the left and the cliff interior on the right:

1: This section with the '=' symbols marks a stockpile. It's where dwarves store various crafts, barrels (not pictured...denoted by a % with a yellow background), and food.

2: This symbol represents a cage for trapping creatures. You'll see these a lot.

3: This is a pile of rocks which come from digging away the mountain. You'll see them all over. They can be crafted into all manner of useful items.

4: The matrix looking green crap is the ground. On the inside, to the right of box 10, you'll see the symbols are white, instead. Smoothed stone floors in the fort are represented by + symbols. Some people use a variegated tileset, which results in what you see here. Others will have ground that displays as all periods. You eventually get used to both and can easily pick out what is where on any map.

5: Dwarves are shown as these guys here, or as smiley faces. Different colors indicate different professions. These guys are all military recruits, charging off stupidly to their deaths.

6: The E is an elephant. They murder dwarves in wonderful fashion. Get used to them. Above and below him, the brackets are discarded armor or clothing. The grey blocks to his right represent exposed walls of un-mined rock. The blocks with the cross on them represent stone doors. The small 2's that fill the room behind the two doors are the bones of animals or dwarves.

7: The ^ symbol denotes a trap. The parallel lines below the traps represent a smoothed wall. Below these lines, you see the grey wall of the bone room, which is not smoothed. Different colored symbols in grey rock walls just represent types of exposed mineral, gems, or ore veins.

8: This is a pile of dead dwarves, an Elephant, and a cloud of Miasma. Those are the three most prevalent features in Boatmurdered. Miasma is the purple blotch that shows up when corpses begin to rot. It makes your dwarves angry, which usually leads to hilarity.

9: The two green asterisks are gems. These have been mined out of a wall, already; and are awaiting storage.

10: These are siege engines. In this case, two ballistas aimed at the hallway with all the dead dwarves.

11: The black spaces with symbols like these are areas of the mountain that have yet to be mined.

In other images, you'll often see a yellow X somewhere and a command list on the right side of the screen. The text on that screen generally refers to whatever is under the yellow X to its left.


If you need further details, you can find them here:

Quick links - official site - wiki (tutorials here)

SA Dwarf Fortress Megathread - the big DF Q&A thread in Games.

The shots in the thread are generally pretty self-explanatory, so get to the thread and enjoy. And by the way...In the words of the great ruler, StarkRavingMad:

Welcome to fucking Boatmurdered!