Hello, my fellow Dwarves!
AVARICE is now available for print on demand. It is a silly roleplaying game where you play as a population of Dwarves venting out their rage and frustration while trapped under the earth.
STRIKE THE EARTH
AVARICE is now out in the wild and available. 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.
You can get the game here – https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/273922/Avarice
This game is blessed by Toady and made in conjunction with Kruggsmash, sharing profits with both of these guys. We love and respect the Dwarf Fortress community and have taken a strict stance of making this game free to all and humbly requesting any donations you see fit.
AVARICE is a story-telling game of Dwarven hubris. It launches for digital distribution via DriveThruRPG on Tuesday May 7 – next week!
This week, we preview the character sheet used in Avarice and break it down for you. This is an oftentimes silly game which many players choose to also make a drinking game. As such, we knew that the design of the character sheet needed to be clear and to the point. There couldn’t be a lot of fiddly rules and there couldn’t be a lot of rules references. Thus, we limited the design to half the size of a Letter sized sheet of paper. The character sheet represents an entire Clan of Dwarves and is more a statement on culture than any individual preferences or abilities.
We start out with the Fortress section. Here, the Game Master leaves their mark and plants the seeds of their game intent by selecting the Fortress Type and naming the Fortress. The Fortress Type will determine a few of the starting embark resources and Events, setting the theme of the game early. As with just about everything, players and GMs are free to just roll randomly here and see where the dice take them. The Fortress name is chosen by the Game Master here as well. This is a tough one to come up with on the fly, so it’s suggested that the Game Master think a bit on the Fortress name before coming to the game. A few suggestive words put into the name can have a subconscious echo effect on how the players get inspired and build their own creative outputs. For example, a Fortress name like BronzeTitan the Keep of Ancients might plant the creative seed in the players’ mind to think of cyclopean stone, gigantic enemies, and decrepit ruins of lost civilizations.
The next section is Skills. Each Clan rolls 7d12, assigning ranks in skills that match the number rolled. A skill can only start at Rank 2, so any extras are placed in other skills of the player’s choice. After that, the player selects three additional skill ranks, to be placed anywhere they wish, so long as no skill starts above Rank 2.
The skills are described in detail in the Avarice document. They are purposefully vague so that there is lots of overlap and room for interpretation and creativity. They are also purposefully lopsided, some skills are just demonstrably worse than others, depending on the initial embark setup. The game can’t ever be won, so you probably shouldn’t get too hung up on optimizing your character.
Each Clan has Favorites. They arer fascinated by and regard in the highest form a particular stone / ore / refined metal, a type of gem, a type of animal, and worships a god covering a sphere of influence like war or agriculture. Where possible, the Clan should use these inclinations to inform how they decorate and design their living and work spaces. This has no in-game effect but is used to help players bring their Clans to life in their descriptions. Each category is determined randomly by consulting d100 lists of randomized descriptors.
Each player must choose a Specialty for their Clan, or roll randomly. This represents the Clan leader’s exalted position within the greater community of the Fortress and comes with a unique special ability. No two Clans may have the same Specialty.
Each Specialty grants the acting Clan Benefit when making a skill check within the described areas of expertise. A Clan that Helps another Clan in a skill check within the described areas of expertise grants that Clan Benefit as well, in addition to the bonus die from Help. The areas of expertise are purposefully broad and can cover a lot of topics.
AVARICE is a story-telling game of Dwarven hubris. It launches for digital distribution via DriveThruRPG on Tuesday May 7, just two more weeks.
Today, we look at how Avarice is designed to give a positive feedback loop, creating a fun minigame and character advancement in response to failed skill rolls. We fail forward, always, and use this mechanical character development to reinforce the escalating tension that accompanies the late stages of the game.
The Dwarven Clans in a Fortress learn from their mistakes and grow. After three failed skill checks by any of the Clans, the currently acting Clan enters a Strange Mood. They are stricken with an insatiable, burning desire to craft a magnificent artifact. An artifact is the ultimate expression of a Dwarf’s desires, fears, memories, and hopes in art form.
The player must draw out the artifact on a separate, small piece of paper, such as on an index card. Consult Appendix G and roll randomly for the base type of item. Draw it. Other players then call for three types of material found within the Fortress, such as lumber, gems, metal, scraps of leather, etc. The weirder and more mysterious the material, the better. These are needed to complete the artifact. The active player then draws out the artifact, using each of these materials. These creations are often adorned with jagged, menacing spikes and exquisitely cut cabochons. The artifact created increases one of the acting Clan’s skills by one.
Describe it—it is of the highest craftsdwarfship.
Draw it—including where all of the exotic materials come into play.
Name it—this artifact is an invaluable object of grandeur that shall be passed down as a family heirloom for all eternity.
Example: A Dwarf living in a Fortress in a sand-scrubbed badlands area enters a Strange Mood. The other players decree that to craft this artifact the Clan needs high-value metal (rose gold), rare stone (blue kimberlite), and the hide of an exotic animal (alligator). I took literally five minutes to scribble this together and it comes out pretty cool.
This artifact is a regal throne carved of flawless blue kimberlite.
It is encircled with bands of rose gold and studded with carbochons of rose gold. An oversized rose gold crown rises from the back of the throne.
The seat and back are upholstered in soft alligator leather.
The Dwarves know this great work as The Blood-Gilded Serpent.
All craftsdwarfship is of the highest quality.
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!