Dwarf Fortress Succession Game: Boatmurdered

By: Derek Yu

On: July 9th, 2007


One thing I love about games are the stories within the stories – the ones that are not created by the developers, but by the players and their experiences. Dwarf Fortress is a game that is more or less built around this idea. Zach Adams spins fantastical yarns that his brother Tarn then makes possible within the game’s engine. Excitement, tension, and high drama arise naturally from the player’s choices and their interactions with the game’s ruleset.

Actually, while reading this “Let’s Play” succession game of Dwarf Fortress, even the more mundane events that occurred were interesting to me, because of how they were framed. Like this journal entry, for example:

12th Hematite, 1052: Today one of our apprentice carpenters fell asleep on the bridge and was swept away by a flood, never to be seen again. On the same day, the metalsmith gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Doren Clearingsilvers. Also, mandrills stole several objects we had lying around outside, but nothing important. Just a few bits of clothing and an iron helmet.

Diablo took the Roguelike genre and dumbed it down and gussied it up. It’s a fun game, but there aren’t many compelling stories in there that Blizzard didn’t come up with first.

(Source: GameSetWatch)

  • Rz.

    you may enjoy this thread from the Dwarf Fortress forums. (http://www.bay12games.com/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=11&t=000325) a forumite posts a story detailing the adventures of a deranged dwarf hermit who slaughters and tortures people. quite cheerful stuff, really.

  • John H.

    Right on! Diablo is tremendously overrated, especially to someone who’s played a lot of Rogue and such.

    A future in which 50% of computer games take inspiration from Dwarf Fortress instead of Doom, Ridge Racer, Street Fighter 2, Warcraft or Everquest is a future in which I could conceivably remain interested in games.

  • Dominic White

    Aaah, the tale of Boatmurdered – greatest (so far) of the Something Awful Succession Games. There’s at least one other currently running, too.

    My favourite excerpt from Boatmurdered is as follows:

    Month Opal – 1050
    “Those fucking monkeys. I didn’t even see them come in, but one of them ran off with something.”

    “Oh shit. These are not cute little chimpanzees… oh no. These are big mandrills, pissed off and greedy. They feel justified in stealing anything not nailed down, and if they can pry something (for instance a dwarf’s arm) loose, it ain’t nailed down in their book. A whole horde of them busted in looking for gods know what. One of our war dogs went out to fight them off…”

    “Which didn’t go so well.”

    “A few more war dogs ran out and attacked. I have to say I’m slightly terrified by them. One of the bitches actually gave birth while she was attacking, and her puppies joined in on the carnage. At the end of the day, the three mandrills were dead, and they took one war dog with them and injured another one and a puppy.”

    “The poor dog’s in sad shape. He keeps trying to find the dwarf who trained him, and then passing out. A few minutes later, he’ll wake up, take another few steps, and pass out again. I’m tempted to have him put out of his misery by the butcher, but nobody will touch him and seems a sad way to treat someone who fought off the mandrills. The puppy is still running around with half his chest missing. Makes it damn disturbing when he humps your leg, I’ll tell you that.”

  • Chris L

    Reading though it. The saga of Boatmurdered has me enthralled. I love how each new Ruler is completely disgusted with how the last has managed the fortress. Make sure you get to Overseer “Ral Swaeringen” for some rough Deadwood style DF commentary.

    “To begin with, all of our fucking workshops and trade goods are sitting outside in the fucking rain. One of the previous Overseers must have been some sort of shallow-dwelling skygazer because having our production out here is just inhumane to the poor hoopleheads who have to stand out there. I almost went fucking crazy having to be under the goddamn open sky for the whole trip out here, instead of in a nice safe cavern, and some of these poor bastards have been working out in the open for four years now. Four years standing out in the rain, or even worse, under that horrifying yawning expanse of blue open sky.

    Fuck that, I’m moving everything inside.”

  • Chris L

    Ok wait, new favorite line.

    “Picture of the new food preparation area, new dining (which I’m about to have engraved), and new Elephant-In-A-Fucking-Cage storage room.”

  • haowan

    I must get around to playing this.

  • I Like Cake

    Dwarf Fortress is goddamn excellent. It’s possibly the only game around now that makes me wish I had more time to put into it.

    I’d really like to see a lot more stuff in the same vein, in future.

  • haowan

    This is some hilarious reading btw.

  • DrDerekDoctors


    Now I have to give this game another chance. Which means trying to wrap my head around it. I wish someone would make an ascii interpreter for it which turned the graphics into sprites…

  • Dominic White

    Fun fact: Dwarf Fortress isn’t really ASCII. It actually uses tile-based sprite graphics, but because the developer isn’t an artist, he just uses the roguelike convention of coloured text.

    You can get proper sprite packs for it here.


  • Dominic White
  • Skyleak.

    Here’s some sprites for the characters.