Defy Danger is axe-cited to announce the start of a mysterious construction!
Avarice is a new tabletop game coming out from DDE Adventures digitally on May 7th and then a print-in-demand release later in the summer. It is a story-based roleplaying game where players tell the tale of an underground fortress of Dwarves doomed to disaster. It is a game which chronicles the lives and accomplishments of stumpy alcoholics as they struggle to avoid sobriety. It is a silly game.
Like all of our games here, Avarice is a creation made out of passion. Just like so many others, we are enraptured and fascinated by the video game Dwarf Fortress. Beyond the intense learning curve, complicated technology tree, and utterly byzantine user-interface, Dwarf Fortress is a game about stories. We’ve been working on Avarice off and on for several years now. We started with the wrong focus – on the mechanics and procedure, trying to out-process a computer system. But that’s not the heart of what makes Dwarf Fortress so great. The truly best parts are the way the disparate elements come together into a cohesive whole, when you as player look back on the events and construct a cohesive narrative around the actions. It’s random and built piecemeal and is always a delightful surprise.
That’s the way Avarice works. It’s a story-based game with a clear structure and a clear end-game. It’s collaborative, drawing on the experiences and feelings of everyone at the table. It’s random, using both dice and a deck of cards to inject chaos into fictional world.
We’re teaming up on this one with a well-known personality in the Dwarf Fortress community, Kruggsmash, and using his extensive backlog of artwork. Known best for his work making YouTube videos, Krugg has the same passion about the series and the same goal of bringing the deep, rich stories of Dwarf Fortress out into the forefront. Profits for the project will be shared between us, Kruggsmash, and Dwarf Fortress creators at Bay12Games.
How It Works
Each player represents an entire clan of Dwarves, each with their own randomly generated desires, preferences, and skills. During a game, the clans of Dwarves work
together to advance the grandeur of a shared Fortress and alleviate catastrophes that have befallen them. The players describe an action their clan takes, roll dice, suffer consequences, and draw out the results. The drawing happens on a shared side view map. It’s a tactile and collaborative effort by all the players to physically draw out the Fortress and its surroundings. When things are drawn and shared in this way, they are made more real. Randomized Events will also come to the doors of the Fortress.
Often, the player will also need to pull a block from out of a Jenga tower. This tower of precariously stacked wooden blocks is used in play to represent the fragile state of the Fortress and its inevitable descent into disaster. The tower can represent many things but focuses on the mental health of the Dwarves in the fiction of the world—the Dwarves’ collective levels of stress, their dwindling supply of optimism, and the catastrophic mistakes caused by their growing lust for wealth. The Dwarves will always delve too deep and the tower will always fall. The tower symbolizes a tragedy at the heart of Avarice, a story of hubris, guilt, and regret. The beauty of Avarice is the acceptance of inevitable defeat. Players must embrace the loss of the Fortress from the start of the game and appreciate the moment of gameplay as they experience it in the now. When the tower finally collapses, however long it took for the players to experience its history and elevate its grand works, they believe in the story of the Fortress as they destroy it.
Here are some photos of Fortresses created in past games. It’s a very creative endeavor and each of these amalgamated creations has hours of story behind it.
Next time, we’ll take a preview look at Artifacts and Events!