The dwarven-flavored life-simulator Dwarf Fortress has inspired a bevy of video games with its granular look at daily life and management of a clan, but that’s far from the only thing that impresses with this title. Upon creating a new world, bodies of water and land masses take shape, along with civilizations that generate their own heroes and constructs worthy of legend. This history can stretch as far back as 500 years upon original generation, with cultures rising and falling to the throes of war and the ravages of time, although it can be difficult to appreciate this interconnected world in the standard Fortress mode. This is where Legends Mode comes into play.
Legend Mode offers players a historical browser in-game, where they can read and discover the vast histories of a specific land. Whether it’s their own impact on the world, the guiding culture of an elven kingdom, or the master-craft creations that inspire the world and bridge peace among rivals, all of this can be found within Dwarf Fortress’ Legend Mode. Legend Mode can only be used on a generated world that doesn’t have an active Adventure or Fortress game ongoing, and reveals all history impacting that specific world.
It’s far from dry — the tragedies and triumphs that occur throughout history manage to inspire and impress, developing convoluted tangles of historical import, creating notable historic sites (and riches) across the world for others to exploit. One tale of a male elf named Evala finds him falling in love shortly before a war, where he fought on the front lines, only to have his love taken from him weeks before the war ended. He wandered the wilderness after, stumbling across a cyclops called Zex Brightyelled which, tragically, ended his miserly wandering at 27 years of age. Zex Brightyelled still wanders the Forest of Chewing today.
Stories such as these become a complex tapestry on which your Dwarf Fortress plays out on, subtly influencing trade routes and powers without ever forcing a history lesson on players, or rote walls of text. There are a plethora of reasons that Dwarf Fortress has become the icon of gaming that it is today, and this glimpse at history is just one way to interact with these brilliant worlds.