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Author Topic: House rules for difficulty  (Read 7484 times)

Clamatius

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House rules for difficulty
« on: July 22, 2011, 07:10:38 pm »

I'm curious what house rules more experienced players use to add a bit more challenge to the game without making it impossible. I haven't lost a fortress yet except to lag, but I don't regard myself as expert, so I'm looking for stuff that livens up the game a bit. The way I want to play is that everything is fair game unless specifically disallowed by the ruleset, rather than going by an aesthetic ruleset.

The major things that seem to make the game too easy (except maybe the HFS) once you have a good handle on how everything works:
  • Movable bridges (and in the early game, simply forbidden doors) mean that sieges cannot get into the fortress, even if they are all flying
  • Traps are too effective - a long line of weapon/cage/spike traps in a corridor will dispose of almost all non-TRAPAVOID creatures
  • Relatively small underground farm plots are sufficient for feeding an awful lot of dwarves
  • Danger rooms train military to legendary levels with little effort

Anyway. So to address the combat side of this, which seems like the most fun way to go, has anyone tried something close to this ruleset?
  • No movable bridges
  • No traps, including upright spikes
No forbidden doors could also be on the list - but in the "midgame" where building destroyers are present on most sieges that wouldn't matter. Would make it easier in the early game though for sure. Stone traps are probably ok since generally they don't seem to do anything except take up dwarf time to reload them.

This seems like it might be worth considering although it may be pretty much impossible to keep the fortress going past a few years. I figured I'd ask to see what people thought before I put a bunch of hours into it.
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Lectorog

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2011, 07:22:26 pm »

It definitely puts a bit of a "challenge mode" into the game. I play almost entirely without traps, and never use bridges. That said, I usually don't keep a fortress past year 4 or so. Usually. I've kept several fortresses sustained for quite a while on this ruleset. It makes sieges considerably harder.

I generally don't use a set house ruling to limit myself - if it makes the game too easy, I don't use it, or counter it. These are pretty good rules, though. It's far from impossible to play like this. Hope you have fun!

Also, you may want to check out the Fortress Defense mod, if you haven't. It makes the game a lot harder, and the different enemies can be very Fun to fight.
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Clamatius

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2011, 07:25:09 pm »

I did try Fortress Defense, but without some other house rules it had the same problem.  Since you can just seal the fortress and make it independent (lack of trading is annoying, mostly for moods etc but not disastrous) nothing can get in, so it doesn't matter much how horrible the creatures are.
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Nil Eyeglazed

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2011, 07:29:29 pm »

The number one thing I do is place a high value on life-- including the folks that come with the caravans.  Traps and bridges are nice, but they won't protect caravans from ambushes.

It can be interesting too figuring out how to keep your miner alive when you're trying to unleash the clowns....
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Clamatius

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2011, 07:37:43 pm »

Valuing life seems too close to an aesthetic rule for me, I think.

I did forget one thing on the ruleset. Vanilla world gen with no altered parameters seems good. Starting on a volcano makes setting up a magma trap too easy. Drowning traps may be too good too, we shall see. You could fix that with a "no river, lake or sea on embark" rule if necessary.
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Lectorog

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2011, 07:43:35 pm »

In my opinion, magma traps should be perfectly allowed, even when on a volcano. As long as they're convoluted and of suitably dwarven architecture, that is. There's so much cost, including danger, associated with making one that it's a bit of a challenge in itself.

As for world gen, I don't see the problem with changing things, as long as the hostile civs are still alive and you don't up the mineral content. In basic world generation, that is. Probably want to limit advanced, though.

These are all your rules, of course - I'm just giving my opinion, based partially on what I do.
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thegoatgod_pan

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2011, 08:08:22 pm »

No cage traps, no weapon traps, no danger room, have your meeting room be square in the middle of the third cavern and never, ever built weapons or armor out of blue stuff.
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Shmo

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2011, 10:00:17 pm »

A challenge I like is "no digging". Exactly what it says. Everything is made from wood on the surface. No stone allowed on embark either, no metal, no forges. Live like a rancher. Imported armour/weapons optionally permitted. Your created value is usually so pathetic that you get no immigrants between the first two caravans.
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eataTREE

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2011, 10:03:40 pm »

No volcano (I hate igneous strata anyway, and it's Dwarfier to dig). No danger rooms, and I always choose embark sites where we're at war with at least one non-Goblin civ. (Preferably the Humans, as Elves are well-known sissies.) However, I also mod butchering of sentients back in, which makes things easier as Goblin Christmas then features gifts of meat and bones as well as goblinite.
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Corneria

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2011, 10:05:27 pm »

A challenge I like is "no digging". Exactly what it says. Everything is made from wood on the surface. No stone allowed on embark either, no metal, no forges. Live like a rancher. Imported armour/weapons optionally permitted. Your created value is usually so pathetic that you get no immigrants between the first two caravans.

Get out of here, Elf.
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Shmo

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2011, 10:10:15 pm »

My only industry is the industry of butchery - butchery of trees, of animals, of invaders. The only exports are bone, leather and meat roasts. The only imports are tools of slaughter.

Who, then, is higher in Armok's eyes? He who spills rivers of blood (and sap) in order to survive and prosper, he who deals in all things visceral and gory, or he who hides in a cave, chipping away at limp, lifeless stone?

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Graebeard

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2011, 10:16:40 pm »

A lot of succession and challenge forts require enemies to be able to path into the dining hall at all times.  This means no bridges or doors completely sealing off the fort.  Using some bridges/doors to change or limit paths is OK, as are any complicated traps involving bridges or magma.

Also, I like to limit the total number of traps I can have at one time.  Start with some arbitrary number, say, 12, and then hold yourself to that.  I also get rid of danger rooms and have my military practice in live fire situations or on captives.  You burn through a good number of dwarfs this way, but hey, that's what migrants are for, amiright?
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Jake

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2011, 10:40:45 pm »

I never use magma. This started out as a house rule to make the game easier in 40d, after the second disastrous embark that left half my starting seven horribly burned to death and the others insane, but after a while I came to appreciate the extra challenge that comes of metal and coal being a precious commodity. The militia have to be kitted out in whatever you can scrounge at first -no melting down anything that's not masterwork in my forts!- and the elven caravan is one of the highlights of the year for all the cloth they bring.
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Urist_McArathos

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2011, 11:26:39 pm »

I keep to a single, broadly-interpreted rule that can make the game rather challenging depending:  No Meta-Gaming.  Basically, I try to approach design, defenses, etc. from the mindset of what my dwarves would do if they were in charge.

I do usually have a bridge (since IRL drawbridges were frequently used to keep out invaders), but few if any weapon traps (I had a few friendly dwarves get caught in the crossfire once, and felt real dwarves would deem them too risky, and too cowardly for handling invaders), and few cage traps (I felt it made sense for dwarves to take captives, but it's TOO easy to catch things, so I limit my cage traps out of fairness).

You'll quickly be amazed how this rule can really alter how you play the game; anything I can't dismiss as a simplification/extrapolation for the sake of gameplay is considered too "gamey" or "exploity" and forbidden.  So, no atom-smashers, perpetual motion machines, wells that magically desalinate sea water, etc.

It can even affect your approach to certain projects (maybe the dwarves would consider an expanded farm, better defense system, or nicer jail more important than a magma-works or massive deathtrap).  Granted, this may not be the answer you're looking for, but it DOES make for nice storytelling and forts that can be significantly more complicated to run than one where the lives of your dwarves revolves around seeing your vision through to completion, danger and costs be damned!
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RAKninja

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Re: House rules for difficulty
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2011, 11:33:21 pm »

this is what i do.

no danger rooms, my military gains skill by way of practise and hard work.

no iron or coal, there doesent seem to be any of either on this world, for some reason.  just loads and loads and loads of copper and silver.  it seems to me that importing all of your bronze, iron, and steel requires you to set up an industry before metal, and it takes years to actually get enough to be worthwhile.

imperfect security,  sure, i can seal my fort off from the outside world, but what's the fun in invulnerability without an achilles heel?  personally, i have an unwalled opening into the third cavern layer.  i do have cage traps, but the things that can actually cause problems tend to be trapimmune anyway.

projects, nothing like a megaproject.  but gratifying all the same.  it took almost a decade to build my obsidian tower, complete with pump fed moat.  the last 5 years or so have been refinements to the design.  sure, it's only 1/10 the size of the 70-z dwarf that pisses magma OR water, but i did it under constant attack.  there's nothing like trying to get a minataur out of your future power canal with woefully unskilled and wounded troops.

along with projects is !!SCIENCE!!.  right now i am trying to see if i can get my duchess married to my king, and if so, if i can unify the succession of both titles.  there are other tests i wish to run as well, but those are on the back burner for now.

way i see it, DF is what you make of it.  if survival is all you have, you'll lose interest fairly fast.  survival is not the toughest challenge out there.  granted, survival takes a few tries to get the hang of, but this is to be expected of any "simple" task in something as complex as DF.

i can think of a few interesting challenges, offhand.  how about an all foreign weapon military?  terraforming the entire embark?  the ever-classic "fortress built with exploring in adventure mode".  mind you, this is not the same as "fortress for equipping and training adventurers".  how about embarking at war with the humans or elves... or both?

in a game where you can do nearly anything that you want, there shouldent be too much trouble finding something fun to do and a !!FUN!! way to do it.
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