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August 6, 2013 1:21 PM   Subscribe

"The very first single-player dungeoncrawl game was not a video game. It was a series of charts printed in the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons, back in 1979. By rolling dice according to the instructions, you could generate a dungeon which was illogical, arbitrary, super-lethal, and which often didn't even produce useable results.
THIS GAME USES THOSE CHARTS."

Dungeon Robber is a flash text game that simulates playing AD&D by the AD&D Appendix A dungeon generation rules. You'll probably die a lot, but the game saves every time you head to town. Blog of the creator.
Dungeon Robber comics!

Note, the illustration isn't a map of the dungeon, but more of a metaphorical map of the dungeon generation process. The yellow drop-down item provides context sensitive help and documentation. Part of the fun of the game is that, as characters die and/or retire, they customize the town; retired characters open up shops and such to add more options to town, and dead characters go to the graveyard. You make available new character classes when you retire a character at 3,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 XP.

A page on Wizard of the Coast's website with a link to a PDF of a substantial excerpt from Appendix A of the 1E DMG.
A 1E dungeon generator using a custom algorithm.
A variety of other random dungeon generators.
Previously
posted by JHarris (127 comments total) 93 users marked this as a favorite

 
Too bad it doesn't hold the generated state, but still, WOW, I actually gasped out loud when I read the description. What a throwback.

Also, it was a bit too realistic - after several minutes, I had found nothing.
posted by GuyZero at 1:25 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Neat, but Colossal Cave Adventure was 1976, Hunt the Wumpus 1972.

However, both of these took place in caverns, not dungeons, so this could still be right. Can I get my no-prize?
posted by MartinWisse at 1:25 PM on August 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Those are not dungeon crawls, which is a specific kind of game where you fight a horde of monsters in a RPG style.
posted by JHarris at 1:28 PM on August 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


MartinWisse: "Neat, but Colossal Cave Adventure was 1976, Hunt the Wumpus 1972.

However, both of these took place in caverns, not dungeons, so this could still be right. Can I get my no-prize?
"

I remember playing Hunt The Wumpus on a pay-per-hour TTY terminal.

It cost me a goodly bit to learn I suck at it.
posted by Samizdata at 1:29 PM on August 6, 2013


Rogue dates back to nearly the exact same time period and is most assuredly a dungeon crawl, but Gygax, et al probably have it beat very slightly.
posted by GuyZero at 1:32 PM on August 6, 2013


Since a post about horse_ebooks is on the front page as well, might I nominate today to be Metafilter Random Generation day? I could put it on the calendar....
posted by JHarris at 1:33 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just found 110 platinum pieces as a peasant.

fuck all y'all, ima make it rain like I'm a 20th level druid.
posted by boo_radley at 1:35 PM on August 6, 2013 [27 favorites]


I identified Rogue as having been inspired by Appendix A in @Play once, but admittedly, it might not have actually seen those rules, although its creators did know of D&D in its earlier editions, it had already been around five or six years by that time. It's possible that, like many other things in the 1E DMG, the random dungeon rules might have been printed earlier than that in some supplement or newsletter or some such, somewhere, maybe in a prototype, reduced or incomplete form.
posted by JHarris at 1:36 PM on August 6, 2013


What's interesting is that these solo-player mechanics fell out of style for D&D while other games, mostly Traveller kept them to the point of going out of their way to make as many game mechanics single-player-friendly as possible.

I mean, very few people probably ever ran a space battle with High Guard but a lot more people build ships & fleets with it.

It's a pity that video games came along so quickly and killed the nascent solo pen&paper RPG genre.
posted by GuyZero at 1:37 PM on August 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


I call dibs on Blog Of The Creator as either a band name or the name of my new religion/cult.
posted by The World Famous at 1:39 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the most JHarris post ever.

I meant that in an entirely positive way.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:39 PM on August 6, 2013 [14 favorites]


Also I may still own a set of Dungeon Geomorphs.
posted by GuyZero at 1:40 PM on August 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Uh - how do I eat food?
posted by Iridic at 1:43 PM on August 6, 2013


You have to find a dead end, I believe, to eat food. Those are chosen as "safe spots" in the dungeon. Alternatively you could find a place where you can backtrack to the stairs and just go back to down, I suppose.
posted by JHarris at 1:44 PM on August 6, 2013


JHarris: THIS IS AWESOME!
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 1:47 PM on August 6, 2013


I backed the original project on Kickstarter. The full map is really cool / gigantic. Though, I haven't figured out what to do with it.

This is a cool little game.
posted by chunking express at 1:48 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


how do I use stuff? I have this potion I want to drink.
posted by boo_radley at 1:55 PM on August 6, 2013


Oh, you probably have to be in a safe room. Fine.
posted by boo_radley at 1:56 PM on August 6, 2013


I got the option to use my scroll during monster encounters, not sure about potions.

This is awesome.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:58 PM on August 6, 2013


Sometimes when you're at a choice of where to go, it'll ask you, among the other options, if you want to (u)se an item. It's usually the places where it asks if you want to backtrack.
posted by JHarris at 2:00 PM on August 6, 2013


Also note, like the old days, a lot of your experience comes from finding treasure, although in this game you have to give up the gold pieces to the bank for your retirement, Pirates! style, for it to count as experience points.
posted by JHarris at 2:05 PM on August 6, 2013


Oh dear - that ate a lot of time. Fishing is a dangerous occupation - tried it twice, both times eaten by a sea monster. From fishing in a pond.

Yeah, needs to play faster.
posted by YAMWAK at 2:06 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is sort of cool but, am I right that your exploration choices (except for backtracking) effectively don't much matter? Places discovered before don't seem persistent, and the same random procedures seem to apply pretty much whatever you choose. It makes the whole exploration process feel empty and pointless after a while.
posted by advil at 2:08 PM on August 6, 2013


It makes the whole exploration process feel empty and pointless after a while.

Welcome to the world of playing D&D by yourself.
posted by GuyZero at 2:11 PM on August 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


Yeah, but that's the 1E dungeon generation tables for you. Once you realize it's meaningless, usually, whatever you choose, you can stop obsessing about it and just move on towards the next encounter. It's not just a game, but a window back to that time before computers when it was conceivable people might actually do this.

Although I wonder... what could be done to make the act of exploring such a random sequence of locations more meaningful? Maybe have a hidden preference for monsters if you turn left? Make traps more likely if you go straight ahead? Maybe randomize those biases, and change them on each dungeon level?
posted by JHarris at 2:12 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


There appear to be some weird items to find. I just stumbled upon a "van helsing kit," which makes vampires, werewolves and medusas much easier to handle. Maybe I should dive....
posted by JHarris at 2:14 PM on August 6, 2013


JHarris: "There appear to be some weird items to find. "

I'm burdened by furniture! What kind? Who knows! It's heavy, though.
posted by boo_radley at 2:15 PM on August 6, 2013


To make a more meaningful comment, this is like playing playing-card Solitaire. Arguably there's no point to that either - you could even make the argument that Solitaire requires a small amount of skill to win as there are occasionally choices to make that affect the outcome of the game. This is literally a time-killer. But as JHarris says, it comes from a time when pen&paper RPGs were still new and the game designers didn't have any idea what people actually wanted to do with them. Steve Jackson would come out with the Fighting Fantasy books only a couple of years later. They had pretty much invented the computer RPG game but didn't have computers yet.

Also, in the 80's kids apparently loved rolling dice. I have to say, it happened to me. You rolled dice like your life depended on it.
posted by GuyZero at 2:19 PM on August 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


It is a time-killer, yes. But there are lots of games like that, and they don't have a great deal more to recommend them than this. At least this game realizes how silly it is, has a bit of fun with it, and also provides some historical perspective along the way. And you can imagine the career of your adventurer, shaped by the whims of fate.

Unlike, say, a flash game that wants to be a JRPG kind of thing, which provides a more "structured" and "narrative" experience, with better graphics and sound, but is ultimately less interesting than this, because it doesn't even have random weirdness to recommend it.

BTW: you can hover your mouse over items in your inventory to get a description of them. You can also drop items at any time. (BTW, you can open your character sheet at any point and use or equip items from there, if anyone hasn't realized it yet.)
posted by JHarris at 2:30 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


less interesting than this, because it doesn't even have random weirdness to recommend it.

Well, I dunno, I find this interesting on a bunch of levels, but as far as game mechanics go, it's the same basic gameplay as a slot machine. So by "interesting" I think you mean "supplies intermittent variable reward."
posted by GuyZero at 2:34 PM on August 6, 2013


I just stumbled upon a "van helsing kit," which makes vampires, werewolves and medusas much easier to handle.

The kit is just a copy of 2004's Van Helsing, starring Hugh Jackman. It'll make anything yearn for sweet release.
posted by griphus at 2:36 PM on August 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Interesting" is many things. It's not just choices that can make a game interesting, but also simulation, and imagination. The mapping, in your mind, of the completely arbitrary events of the game onto the fate of a pretend person. That's a lot of role-playing gaming right there.

I just found a +1 dagger. Not a great weapon compared to a bludgeon, but it sells for 500 GP, which is half an experience level.
posted by JHarris at 2:37 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This really kind of reminds me of a BBS door game.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:39 PM on August 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


That's why I think the retirement options add more to the game; they conclude your character's story. Also, once you retire a character at 2,000 XP you start being able to being in hirelings, which I haven't tried yet but might open up the strategic options a little.
posted by JHarris at 2:39 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess the game pretty much acknowledges this: from the intro thing that I didn't read the first time: "By rolling dice according to the instructions, you could generate a dungeon which was illogical, arbitrary, super-lethal, and which often didn't even produce usable results."

Speaking of which, the result of my first game: I found a "priceless ruby" worth 2500 on dungeon level 1, and retired with enough exp to unlock the thief.
posted by advil at 2:53 PM on August 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


JHarris: " at 2,000 XP you start being able to being in hirelings,"

You can also bribe jerks in the dungeon for hirelings. It works pretty well.
posted by boo_radley at 2:57 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


So in early undergrad I moved into this big house full of nerds. One day, while kinda bored, I whipped out Appendix A, a dry-erase mat, and a bunch of minis, and started a solo-explore on the dining room table. I played about an hour on my own before someone came by and said,' Huh, what are you doing?' Then there were two of us. By evening we had a party of five.

The rules were simple: The only map that exists is the map that is currently drawn. All new rooms and passages must be generated by Appendix A. Town exists, and you start the day there, but unless you happen to find a random staircase back to the surface, you're stuck in the dungeon. Magically, though, if the game ends for the night, it then restarts the next time in the village.

Finally, character death is final and remorseless.

Having a character survive to third level was a pretty big feat. Finding a stair back to the surface was fucking unheard of. You find lots of stairs going down, but every so few going up....

We played this like basically every day before dinner for two months, I think. It was fantastic. Completely mindless, DM-less monster bashing with minis. Good times.
posted by kaibutsu at 3:06 PM on August 6, 2013 [16 favorites]


kaibutsu: "So in early undergrad I moved into this big house full of nerds. One day, while kinda bored, I whipped out Appendix A, a dry-erase mat, and a bunch of minis, and started a solo-explore on the dining room table. I played about an hour on my own before someone came by and said,' Huh, what are you doing?' Then there were two of us. By evening we had a party of five.

The rules were simple: The only map that exists is the map that is currently drawn. All new rooms and passages must be generated by Appendix A. Town exists, and you start the day there, but unless you happen to find a random staircase back to the surface, you're stuck in the dungeon. Magically, though, if the game ends for the night, it then restarts the next time in the village.

Finally, character death is final and remorseless.

Having a character survive to third level was a pretty big feat. Finding a stair back to the surface was fucking unheard of. You find lots of stairs going down, but every so few going up....

We played this like basically every day before dinner for two months, I think. It was fantastic. Completely mindless, DM-less monster bashing with minis. Good times.
"

Unless you are playing this and keep finding stairs that collapse under you like something from a demented fun house.
posted by Samizdata at 3:24 PM on August 6, 2013


Responding to advil's discovery, I think those random swings add a lot to the experience. They're random, but generally not too random. It's enough to feel like woah, but it doesn't destroy the structure of the thing, you don't become King by finding a diamond on level 1. (Well, I suppose it's possible, but vanishingly unlikely.)
posted by JHarris at 3:24 PM on August 6, 2013


I retired a guy at the "Mayor" level but the position is still vacant. Do I really have to fill every intervening position?
Alternately, is there a way to retire that doesn't involve dying in the dungeon first?
posted by tiaz at 3:25 PM on August 6, 2013


Samizdata, "demented fun house" is an excellent description of a classic D&D megadungeon.
posted by JHarris at 3:26 PM on August 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you die, you haven't retired. To get the option to retire, go to your house in town.

If you weren't playing Advanced mode, your save file should still be there. Note, when you retire, your save is erased.
posted by JHarris at 3:28 PM on August 6, 2013


Huh. So you sort of have to retire to advance in the game. Let's see how henchmen help.
posted by GuyZero at 3:59 PM on August 6, 2013



I love this!
posted by Jalliah at 4:01 PM on August 6, 2013



Ha. Such a nerd. I just whooped out loud when I found a ring of invisibility. I'm suffering from a big dose of nostalgia here. It's making me want to play D&D again. Unfortunately finding a game around here is pretty much impossible.
posted by Jalliah at 4:04 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, very cool.
posted by TonyRobots at 4:05 PM on August 6, 2013


Responding to advil's discovery, I think those random swings add a lot to the experience. They're random, but generally not too random. It's enough to feel like woah, but it doesn't destroy the structure of the thing, you don't become King by finding a diamond on level 1. (Well, I suppose it's possible, but vanishingly unlikely.)

I found a priceless ruby on level 1!

It could happen to you!
posted by winna at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Van Helsing kits don't work on ghasts man that's some bullshit

(oh my god I am going to lose so many hours to this game this week)
posted by kagredon at 4:32 PM on August 6, 2013


I can't even describe how much I'm enjoying this. It's the perfect blank-out game for me right now.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:34 PM on August 6, 2013


This is great - at first I didn't understand the concept of retirement, but decided to try it, and it appears to make things easier in the long run.

(Also, noticed a bug where if you buy chain mail from the smithy it doesn't appear you can equip it but you just have to stow it, then try again - of course I discovered that *after* I stumbled across some plate mail)
posted by antonymous at 4:52 PM on August 6, 2013


How persistent is the game status?

(I'm afraid to close the tab!)
posted by TonyRobots at 5:04 PM on August 6, 2013


Oh, jesus. I didn't know that if you died before retiring (even if you pick the retire option after death, wtf?) you lost the progress you'd made towards the other classes. Be warned.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:06 PM on August 6, 2013


Retiring after death creates a marker in the graveyard with some notes on your progress. You can't run a business when you're dead.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:33 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think you're all overlooking the possibilities of town encounters. To wit, Harlot:

01-10 Slovenly trull
11-25 Brazen strumpet
26-35 Cheap trollop
36-50 Typical streetwalker
51-65 Saucy tart
66-75 Wanton wench
76-85 Expensive doxy
86-90 Haughty courtesan
91-92 Aged madam
93-94 Wealthy procuress
95-98 Sly pimp
99-00 Rich panderer


In my day, I built whole encounters around a "saucy tart" pickpocket that eventually became an NPC thief in my campaign.

"Wanton wench" still troubles me. There was a point when I admitted that my female Cleric was not a member of a celibate order and celebrated the Goddess of Love and Fertility. The dudes became very quiet then, and plotted their own campaigns.
posted by SPrintF at 6:50 PM on August 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


How persistent is the game status?

If you're playing Basic, the game saves every time you go to town or enter the dungeon. On Advanced I think it does the same, but if you die it erases your save. I assume -- I haven't tried that yet, but I think it might end up being more entertaining really. I wonder if there's any advantages to retiring Advanced characters.
posted by JHarris at 6:57 PM on August 6, 2013


Unfortunately finding a game around here is pretty much impossible.

Weird but fun fact: the D&D players all went to Google Plus. Most of the D&D I play at the moment is in hangout games. There is a large, thriving community of RPG fans at G+. Most of the other people I know are only vaguely aware it exists.

Dungeon Robber is a neat toy but it's not a Braunstein so it lacks the magic of a real RPG, which is that anything can happen.
posted by graymouser at 7:02 PM on August 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I ran a Call of Cthulhu adventure for some MeFites some time ago. I keep meaning to do something like that again. Actually, Edogy might still be doing something like that. Hey, Eggy, you listening?
posted by JHarris at 7:07 PM on August 6, 2013


Yesssss a +1 Fishing pole sea treasure you are mine
posted by zug at 7:48 PM on August 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I spent so much time on an old flash version of Chainsaw Warrior, but it seemed to have disappeared. Luckily, its coming to iOS.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:33 PM on August 6, 2013


Ah this game is too addictive. Killed by a giant rat! that's proper old school hard.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:34 PM on August 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait, is anyone else is playing it on the advanced setting?
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:38 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't yet, but may start soon. I wanted to get a good handle on how it plays in Basic mode first.
posted by JHarris at 8:53 PM on August 6, 2013


Not yet, I want to get some of the unlocks done. The advanced classes make the game so much more interesting - you can actually survive longer and deeper runs.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:54 PM on August 6, 2013


I'm playing it on Advanced, but I die just as quickly.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:07 PM on August 6, 2013


Near as I can tell it's just "basic" with only one stat bonus and no inventory at the beginning. I've had two good runs and got to merchant, so that's something.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:11 PM on August 6, 2013


You know, now that I think about it, this is basically Candy Land for people who like the illusion of Free Will. So I'm guessing that streak of mine was the Random Number Generator's way of paying me back for all those games of Candy Land my son keeps winning. I'm not sure how you can be good at Candy Land, but he is.

Also, I love the fact that about half the randomly assigned names are female.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:18 PM on August 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


oh god send help i can't stop playing
posted by dogheart at 9:33 PM on August 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


So some notes in case other people are not finding this as obvious as I am.

- Each level has ten rooms. Choosing "Explore" from the center area advances the counter by one.
- Dead ends that you have to backtrack from lose all your progress.
- The tenth room will have the stairs down. I didn't notice this for ages because I was mostly ending up down randomly-found stairs and chutes and stuff.
- Backtracking may get you lost. I'm not sure if when you recover from "wandering" if the room you're in is random or what.

Also, this should be obvious, but when you go back to town, make sure you check how close you are to leveling before you spend money on healing. Leveling up heals you completely.

Anything else people are finding? I haven't played a ton with parleying with intelligent monsters...
posted by restless_nomad at 9:44 PM on August 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I killed a giant rat. It seems it'll be a long long way to Otto's Irresistible Dance.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:46 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, it seems to have lost a save of mine. Bad show, Dungeon Robber.
posted by JHarris at 10:08 PM on August 6, 2013


Bracers AC 14 are nice to have, but sell for 1,500 GP! I just jumped from Lv 0 to Lv 2 on Advanced by selling one, meaning I've got hirelings available there but not sacks.
posted by JHarris at 11:25 PM on August 6, 2013


I can't bring myself to retire! Deeper! Deeper!

Unfortunately finding a game around here is pretty much impossible.

Weird but fun fact: the D&D players all went to Google Plus.


I played my first Hangouts game on the weekend—definitely the only way I would be able to find a group to play Torchbearer (which is thematically very similar to Dungeon Robber). It was a surprisingly good experience, and once we get the hang of the Roll20 plugin it will be even better.
posted by robcorr at 12:24 AM on August 7, 2013


I wish I had realized that because I was playing Basic, I should (q)uit instead of (r)etire the first time I died.

Also, I really, really wish you could click on the choices instead of using the keyboard.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:49 AM on August 7, 2013


This is so great but I need someone to do this with Traveller. I am serious. I will bake you cupcakes.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:32 AM on August 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, I got down to level 13 and had enough gold for four kingdoms.

Turns out getting back up is the hard part.
posted by solarion at 3:39 AM on August 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


grabbingsand, a level 0 Dungeon Robber. Descended to level 3 of the dungeon and won 0 GP. Defeated a Bandit. Killed by a Piercer on level 3! REST IN PEACE

I'm okay with it.
posted by grabbingsand at 4:01 AM on August 7, 2013


Cleric's are pretty great. I got some plate mail, and it becomes a game of slowly blugeoning whatever comes at you while managing your supply of cure light wounds.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:05 AM on August 7, 2013


Yeah - if you get lucky and find some plate armor before you are dirt napped, your survival chances soar. I've got a mayor and a tavernkeeper in my village, basically thanks to metal person-walls.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:06 AM on August 7, 2013


Seconded on the choice clicking. Or at least map each set of choices to the same keys on the keyboard. Some choices use numbers, some letters, without apparent pattern.
posted by JHarris at 4:13 AM on August 7, 2013


Hunt The Wumpus

This was on the school district's HP 2000-F. I remember convincing the aide in the computer lab to change boxes of paper on the tty for us.

Good Times... Good Times...
posted by mikelieman at 4:16 AM on August 7, 2013


Oh my!
posted by mikelieman at 4:24 AM on August 7, 2013


(Also, the ration of corridors to rooms in these dungeons is ridonk. It's like being in an episode of Blakes 7...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:27 AM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's the old Star Trek game, mikelieman, which I still think of as the computer version of Star Trek despite being more of a text-based combat simulator than anything else. Someone really should write out a history of that particular program.
posted by JHarris at 4:51 AM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone really should write out a history of that particular program.


( say this in Richard Dawson's voice ) Google says....
posted by mikelieman at 5:16 AM on August 7, 2013


How do I get stats? All it shows is that I have a boost on whichever stat I have a boost on, but the rest of the stats are all blank. Is that how it's supposed to be?

This is fun, thanks, I will never get anything done again.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:21 AM on August 7, 2013


I think so - basically, you get "Primary boosted stat", "Other boosted stat" and "regular stat", rather than a numerical value.

It's forgotten my progress and is therefore dead to me.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:36 AM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you play around with the scrollwheel to resize, you'll see a hidden "reroll" box above the main screen. Just sayin', haven't actually tried it.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:31 AM on August 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


mikelieman, I didn't mean just a flat explication of its history on Wikipedia, but a more longform-ish discussion of the game, its history and its popularity, with interviews and such. It's really an interesting game in a software archeology sense.
posted by JHarris at 9:25 AM on August 7, 2013


OK, I have unlocked the Wizard but now I am going to start over in Advanced. We'll see how long this lasts.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:03 AM on August 7, 2013


About half an hour. Man, I killed off a dozen characters and just got zero traction with any of them.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:33 AM on August 7, 2013


From that Star Trek link:

12. lf, to save maneuvering time toward the end of the
game, you should cold-bloodedly destroy a Starbase, you
get a nasty note from Starfleet Command. lf you destroy
your last Starbase, you lose the game! (For those who think
this is too harsh a penalty, delete lines 5360 - 5390, and
you'Il just get a "you dumdum!" -type message on all future
status reports.)


I love it. Imagine "Call of Duty 37.5: Killing an Arab" having a manual that suggests hex-editing the game to change the game play.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:40 PM on August 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


restless_nomad, you have to be a lot more careful with Advanced characters. If you take damage, at low level, you should try to head back to town first thing and rest up at (h)ome. Take out a loan if you need it. And the moment your first character gets 1,000 XP, retire. Do this at every tier to build up the resources your later characters have access to. The game wants you dead, you should play with that understanding.
posted by JHarris at 3:40 PM on August 7, 2013


"what could be done to make the act of exploring such a random sequence of locations more meaningful?"

Attach a money collector & a payout chute and make a video slot machine of it.
posted by Ardiril at 3:40 PM on August 7, 2013


The game wants you dead, you should play with that understanding.

Yeah, I've finally got the first couple of slots filled. I just had a run of really bad luck - like, death on the first encounter sort of luck. Those extra couple hit points turn out to be important.

"what could be done to make the act of exploring such a random sequence of locations more meaningful?"

One of the interesting thing about this game is that at least half the choices aren't meaningful at all. Which turn you take, what size room you end up in, how wide the corridors are - those have no gameplay effect whatsoever, but are treated with just as much importance by the mechanics as whether to attack or retreat. If it were being used to generate a graph-paper map that would then be used for later games, like it was intended, that would change those rolls significantly.

I would love to see someone do a v2.0 of this and tweak it just a *little* - pull out the useless rolls and maybe add a tiny bit of stat management or something. It would be pure, high-test crack.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:47 PM on August 7, 2013


I would love to see someone do a v2.0 of this and tweak it just a *little* - pull out the useless rolls and maybe add a tiny bit of stat management or something. It would be pure, high-test crack

Noooooooooooo, not high test!

I downloaded Witcher 2 yesterday, a game I've been wanting to play for some time. So what has happened? I've been playing this! I keep saying, okay I just want to unlock the wizard and then I'll play Witcher. That was 4 hours of play time ago. (not all at once).
posted by Jalliah at 4:24 PM on August 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rapiers and oil flasks FTW!
posted by Zimboe Metamonkey at 1:09 AM on August 8, 2013


Soooooooooooo addictive.
posted by Eideteker at 2:02 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I still have games I bought at the summer sale to play, and money I owe Tom Nook to earn, but I have spent all my game time playing this, so thanks, I think, JHarris.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:20 AM on August 8, 2013


I would love to see someone do a v2.0 of this and tweak it just a *little* - pull out the useless rolls and maybe add a tiny bit of stat management or something. It would be pure, high-test crack.


Yeah - waiting while the system rolls for four different TOTALLY MEANINGLESS doors is a bit of a trial. Also, if one was tweaking the original mechanic, one could possibly push the chances of a room being empty below 60%...
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:53 AM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does the dungeon level have any effect on anything other than the monster table and how hard it is to get back to the surface?

Which is to say if I'm just grinding for treasure should I stay on level 1 forever or are the odds better further down?
posted by ook at 6:46 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure quite how appropriate it is to add this mid-thread but I've added a MetaTalk about getting involved in PnP RPGs if anyone is interested here. For those of you who don't frequent the Grey, join in and register your interest!
posted by longbaugh at 6:49 AM on August 8, 2013


Heh, just noticed something: increase the font size on the page and see the new green buttons that are normally just offscreen....
posted by ook at 7:17 AM on August 8, 2013


Which is to say if I'm just grinding for treasure should I stay on level 1 forever or are the odds better further down?

It changes the XP for monster kills (10xp per level) and the treasure table (all of the entries are "per level.") Once you get into needing 10k+ xp to get to each new rank, it makes much more sense to grind on a level where you might get 1000pp in a roll rather than 100.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:36 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the big differences with my old 'tabletop' version of this was that when you had one of those four-meaningless-doors situations you could try them ALL. Doors tend to lead to chambers and rooms, meaning the chance of encounters was quite a bit higher. This would help the game here quite a bit.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:02 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Version 1.2 is up!
8/8/13: Version 1.2. Revamped the savegame system for more security. Added Settings button for backing up savegame. Also added some inventory slots.
Oh there's all sorts of things you can cheat with if you zoom out. That's... tempting.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:40 PM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


What does the oil flask do?
posted by Eideteker at 5:20 PM on August 8, 2013


Found while fishing:
You catch a message in a bottle. It says, 'This underground river flows to a sunless sea, where ships ply black waters carrying grim and unspeakable cargoes. If you get this note, please send me one grim cargo.' An address follows.
posted by JHarris at 5:21 PM on August 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh.... fwoooosh!
posted by Eideteker at 5:58 PM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


thankfully this isn't html5 so I can't play it on my phone.
posted by jepler at 6:58 AM on August 9, 2013


You pull up an exquisite +2 fishing pole! You are now a compleat angler.
posted by jepler at 7:19 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Two new discoveries today:
* You can go to levels below level 10, followed swiftly by
* Succubi and their level-draining attacks SUUUUUUUUCK. Got knocked back to level 0, but had 14,000gp in haul from the raid, which brought me to just below where I'd started....
posted by kaibutsu at 7:59 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


except that I'm now noticing that the level loss doesn't seem to have reset my attack bonus properly (playing as a fighter), so I now have +14 to hit. Sweet.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:07 AM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


More thoughts!

- Since the update, not everything is showing "Equip", but if it's equippable and you click "Stow," it'll equip it properly anyway.

- There's a chance that a successful Parley will result in the monster becoming your henchman.

- Using a whip on a Giant Rat in combat may result in it becoming your henchman. (I don't know if this applies to all creatures, only non-intelligent ones, or whatever.)

I still think the Cleric is the best class - healing spells, free healing in town - but Con is the best Advanced stat imo. Surviving to get even basic equipment is so freaking hard that starting with one more hit point than a d6 roll can be critical.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:33 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I usually take the loan of 100 gp from the bank, and buy chainmail and a shield (or chainmail and a sword) right off the bat. That dramatically increased my survivability.
posted by JonahBlack at 11:43 AM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I may have changed my mind on the Cleric. A Thief with Wisdom and a ten-foot pole is immune to nearly all traps, which is a *huge* help. (Arrow/spear traps seem to use a different roll, and the ten-foot pole doesn't apply to poisoned treasure, apparently.)

Also, the fact that parleying on a "monster with treasure" roll doesn't actually get you the treasure annoys the shit out of me. All out of proportion, really.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:56 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


restless_nomad: "I may have changed my mind on the Cleric. A Thief with Wisdom and a ten-foot pole is immune to nearly all traps, which is a *huge* help. (Arrow/spear traps seem to use a different roll, and the ten-foot pole doesn't apply to poisoned treasure, apparently.)

Also, the fact that parleying on a "monster with treasure" roll doesn't actually get you the treasure annoys the shit out of me. All out of proportion, really.
"

Parley isn't hypnotizing. You talk, you agree to work things out without fighting and move on. READ THE PLAYERS MANUAL, PEOPLE.
posted by boo_radley at 2:51 PM on August 12, 2013


Right, but if I'm going to bother with diplomacy I'm going to talk the bastard into sharing the loot. Otherwise why bother?
posted by restless_nomad at 3:29 PM on August 12, 2013


Right, but if I'm going to bother with diplomacy I'm going to talk the bastard into sharing the loot. Otherwise why bother?

Yeah, there's a couple of reasons I can think of, but they're all based on scenarios involving high charisma and being almost dead.

Also, I'm pretty proud of my sporadic playing getting me to Noblewoman playing only on Advanced. It turns out my super-cautious playing style honed over generations of Angband\Moria variants comes in handy for this kind of game, even if it means I take forever beating turn based strategy games.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:18 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really my objection is just that it's not parallel to the other options, so I keep forgetting it doesn't work like I expect it to. Sneaking, spell-casting, and fighting get you the loot, so I expect the other stat-dependent skill to work similarly.

That said, rolling with a pair of giant centipedes or carrion crawlers as a charismatic cleric is pretty damned sweet.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:35 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I can see that. I don't know, for me, the fun of these games is learning the weird little quirks in the rules and figuring out how to exploit them.

At least, that's what I tell myself when I realize I just spent 5 min. hitting variations of "e, 1, e, f, a, a, b, l, m, s, b, 4, h, w"
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:25 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yes I did run through a scenario in my head to get those letters.
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:37 AM on August 13, 2013


Hmm, the first part is...

(e)xplore, (1) [passage choice], (e)xplore, (f)orce open a door

...and the last part is...

(b)acktrack, (l)eave, (m)arket, (s)ell, (b)ank, (4) [stash some amount of gold], (h)ome, rest for a (w)eek.

Can't remember off-hand what the 'a's are.
posted by JHarris at 11:49 AM on August 13, 2013


Attack, attack!
posted by restless_nomad at 11:50 AM on August 13, 2013


I usually take the loan of 100 gp from the bank, and buy chainmail and a shield (or chainmail and a sword) right off the bat. That dramatically increased my survivability.

Thinking bat this for a few says, I think armor and shield is the way to go. Most of the early monsters only have a few HP, so the 1d8 damage the sword does is not as helpful as the extra AC the shield gives you. One good "monster + treasure" will earn you enough to repay the loan and get a sword if you really want one.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 12:12 PM on August 13, 2013


Pretty much, I was figuring I killed any level one (I only had to backtrack once) critter that wasn't a skeleton (I run from those guys early game) and found a mid level random item (finding treasure would've involved a 't') that covered my resting bills and had 50 left over to deposit, so I think a statue would work. I didn't put in the mouse clicks so there could've been equipping a weapon (if it was kobold) or selling the glands (if it was one of the bugs), but I was imagining a rat originally.
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:22 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm still playing a couple of weeks later. I've now retired a king on Basic and have a second Basic character at about 80k experience. And I still can't decide which is my favorite class—they've all got some great features. It sure is nice to just hit most things to death, as I can now with my level 10 fighter (AC20, +13 to hit). There may also be a few things in here I haven't encountered; earlier today was the first time I actually rolled a Libram of Improvement, for example.

While not everything is the same, the board game rules clarify a lot of things that happen and for instance explain the different powers of each monster.
posted by jepler at 1:56 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Back, and to the left...
Back, and to the left...
Back, and to the left...
Back, and to the left...
Back, and to the left...
posted by Eideteker at 3:12 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


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