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Oh My God(s): Dwarf Fortress's Creation Myths & Magic

But where did all this come from?

As if simulating millenia of erosion and mineral formation and legends didn’t generate complex enough worlds for Dwarf Fortress [official site], developers Bay 12 Games have detailed plans to generate creation stories which will spill over into affecting a world’s physical geography, ideas of death and the afterlife, mythic artefacts, divine manifestation, and magic. Oh yeah, magic’s coming too. No biggie. Just the history of the physical and metaphysical worlds. How lucky we are that our world was generated with the correct conditions for Dwarf Fortress!

Bay 12 are starting by adding non-magical generated artefacts as a first step towards their next major goal of adding generated creation myths and magic systems. They say:

“This is the culmination of years of work on Dwarf Fortress and our other projects which never saw the light of day. We’ve been playing around with magic systems for years, ever since DRAGSLAY.BAS, and are looking forward to finally being able to place the dwarves into a more meaningful, mysterious and exciting universe!”

To see how ridiculous this really is, dig into their dev log. I’m going to quote small things that amaze and delight me all willy-nilly out of context, so do check the log for the full picture. But peep these glimpses:

  • Creative actions taken by gods and ancient races, cosmic eggs and primordial chaos, resulting in humans, dwarves, the land, and every other in-game object
  • Generated explanations for death, the afterlife and the origins of magic fully integrated into the myth
  • Bridge myth and recorded history by converting myth output to world generation start map
  • Wider variety of magical historical figures with new actions and powers, respecting myth
  • Further involvement of deity-level beings and their servants in mortal affairs
  • -Basic divine law as a precursor to law framework
    -Manifestation and even integration with civilizations in high-magic settings
    -Conflicts between deities or the confused/imperfect agents of a single deity

  • Randomness settings: From Earth-like world to standard fantasy to completely random
  • Non-magical worlds will still have (possibly multiple) creation myths

And that’s barely even touching on magic and wizards. Go on, get stuck in and marvel.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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