A bard, a prophet, and a petty criminal walk into a tavern and they all become friends, each blissfully unaware that their two drinking pals are – just like them – undercover agents sent by rival factions to pump townsfolk for information. That’s the sort of delightful unscripted situation to expect from management sim/anecdote generator Dwarf Fortress [official site] as developers Bay 12 work on its agent system to support its artifact system to support its creation myth system to support its magic system. Dwarf Fortress! That’s an anecdote Bay 12 shared in a recent dev blog, by the way.
Artifacts, see, are much-coveted items whose histories are remembered and whose locations are not necessarily known, getting fuzzy with time and sources. Factions will fight over them, loot them, quest to get them back, and so on. Artifacts will tie into myths and magic and things later but, for now, they’re items people want. To help find them, factions will send out agents who can adopt undercover identities while they snoop around.
That led to this tale, as told by Bay 12 yesterday:
“The last agent I looked at involved a human town on the border of two separate evil lands that was itself half-goblin by year 50. The demons could send in goblin agents to collect information that arrived there without much suspicion (they’d use humans for the towns farther from the border).
“Kutsmob Dentblack decided to assume the identity of a prophet of Oled the Gleeful Healing, the god of justice, and wandered around town shouting about the impending doom of the world. Over the years, he befriended a human priest as well as the gangster boss that hung out at the Fragrant Brunch tavern. The friendships are stored asymmetrically — they thought of the ‘prophet’ as a buddy, while Kutsmob considered them information sources.
“At the same time, a human from a civilization to the south had infiltrated the town pretending to be a petty criminal, and a goblin from the other evil civilization, pretending to be a bard, had made it in as well. Kutsmob’s tradecraft was lacking, and he was ‘befriended’ by both of these agents, though neither of them knew that Kutsmob was also an agent — they just thought he was a good information source — and Kutsmob himself simply thought he had a few buddies to help him pass time during his assignment. It was fun to load up the world and see them all talking together with the ganglord at the Fragrant Brunch.”