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Q&A on Dungeon Delvers
Q: What is Dungeon Delvers?

A: Dungeon Delvers is a fast, fateful fantasy game. Within the standard game categories, Dungeon Delvers would certainly be classified as an RPG. But it's a lot faster paced and alot friendlier than a classic computer RPG. You can complete an adventure in a single 1 hour session – there will be 30 adventures in the game with more available though free expansion packs and even fan-made adventures.

Q: “Fast” and “Fantasy” we understand, but “Fateful?”

A: In many encounters, the animated Fate Bar™ determines what will happen through its mystical machinations. Results could be great, results could be horrible. The mix of delvers in your party affect the results dramatically. The Lich and Witch fare rather poorly in Shrines. The Beastmaster is quite adept in the Wilderness. And so on.

For example, a Wilderness encounter might have a horrible result of being ambushed by 8 ravenous werewolves, a great result of a couple weak goblin rockchukkers, and several results in between. A great result in a Shrine encounter might give you several spells and a magic item, while a poor result might be nothing at all. That sort of thing.

Some spells and magical items affect fateful encounters as well! The right spell can cheat Fate in your favor.

Q: How do you play Dungeon Delvers?

A: You control a party of intrepid adventurers - Dungeon Delvers - who wander through a forbidden land encountering strangers, magical markets, chaotic cities, black forests, and wild beasts. Fate plays a large role in what happens in encounters, so a lot of strategy keys on improving your odds in different situations.

Your delvers may help or hurt you in these encounter situations. It’s all part of your strategy in choosing the mix of characters. The combat abilities of Team Savage are formidable, but they have little magic and are terrible in town markets (the locals don’t care to do business with slavering Trolls and Ogres, strangely enough). Do you bring the Merchant along to offset this weakness? Or do you just say the heck with it and bring another thug, figuring you can get needed supplies by beating the brains out of anyone who gets between you and a treasure chest?

Q: That part sounds like a Role Playing Game. What's different?

A: It should, because the combat is RPGish. The combat in Dungeon Delvers is played out as "phase-based" strategy with a dash of luck. Each character decides what they're going to do, who they'll attack, what spell or special ability to use and the like. Then you hit go and a turn of combat is resolved. You continue this rotation until the monsters are whomped or your party flees.

Your strategic decisions revolve around when to use special abilities, which recharge, and spells, which don't (though you find spell scrolls during play). So it's a battle of resources -- do you burn your good abilities right away, unload all your spells and items on 'em, or do you fight normally and hope to save the big guns for a later fight?

But most role playing games take 20 or even 50 hours for you to finish, usually with the same character or group of characters. A game of Dungeon Delvers can be finished in 30-90 minutes. There will be many, many such scenarios to play, and some of the scenarios are even linked by a story line, but it's a whole different feel.

Q: So the short scenarios are sort of like those in some Strategy games.

A: Yes. But even fantasy-themed strategy games with some RPG aspects are usually based around capturing strategic areas or other broad victory conditions.

In Dungeon Delvers, your goals are much more like those in RPG's, finding a certain object, defeating a powerful being, etc. Some scenarios have more involved plots where you must almost be a detective. Others call for strategic combat skills, where kicking butt is your true path to enlightenment.

Q: How much variety will there be in terms of basic character options like races and classes?

A: Unlike traditional role-playing games, you don't roll up characters or pick from a list of skills. You choose four delvers to form your party. There's is a ton of variety in the delvers. Each delver has the same traits: Strength, Attack, Craft, Speed, and Defense. But each also has really unique powers like Track Foe, Falconform, Crypt Sense, Timewalk, and many, many more.

Q: Are delvers all humans? Give us some from that list!

A: Most are humans or similar to humans, but not all. A sample list: Knight, Troll, Beastmaster, Illusionist, Pirate, Golem, and Witch. There are over 30 in all to unlock. Messing around with different combinations, trying out new powers, is a ton of fun.

Q: How do characters improve and go up levels? Do they gain experience or skills?

A: Dungeon Delvers do "level up" a few times during an adventure for some added bonuses. But Dungeon Delvers breaks the mold with RPG's on this element as well. In traditional RPG's, you must slowly improve your character or group over an adventure, gradually getting more and more powerful until you can defeat the big, evil foozle.

In Delvers, you play dozens of short adventures, scoring fame points and unlocking additional, more powerful characters to play. Of course, newly unlocked characters will be more powerful than the ones you've previously accessed.

Q: I see, you unlock new characters as a reward, like in console games. So you always move on to more powerful characters to deal with the more difficult, later scenarios?

A: Often, but not always. There are other aspects to delvers that go into that your decision. For one thing, some delvers may be particularly good in a certain scenario. If you have an adventure with a lot of wilderness areas, taking a Ranger along might be an excellent idea because of his bonuses in those areas. But for a different scenario, you may choose the Merchant instead because he comes in with lots of money and supplies.

Here's another twist: some delvers work very well together -- even getting improved abilities because they're part of a team. Others don't. So that's another decision for you to make. You can pick an all-star party of your favorites or highest level characters, not caring about which teams they belong to. But you could also pick multiple delvers from the same team, even if some of them are low level, because the team bonuses are so nice.

Q: So character selection is a critical part of the strategy then?

A: Definitely. It's up to you to figure out, and there is no one right answer. If you get your butt kicked on a scenario, you may choose to go in with a new mix of characters instead of picking up at the last save point.

After each adventure, you turn the delvers back in, spend your fame points to unlock a few new ones and play another adventure - taking the same favorites on a new adventure or using a few characters you've never tried before. Does the Thief work well with the Spy? Do you take the Witch again? Or the Archmage? Do you really need the Golem this time? Or is a Merchant more valuable in the cities? What about the Scout for that large wilderness area?

Q: There will be lots of weapons, armor and the like, correct? What makes these items special?

A: Loads of things... candles, food, spells, pendants, rings, gauntlets, scrolls, helms, wands, rods, swords, lances, bows, and tons more. As for what makes them unique, items are the way to improve characters while playing. You can increase in combat by finding magic weapons or items that enhance your combat bonus. Or you can find special items that help out in encounters, giving bonuses against certain creatures or situations. Some items are unique and needed to solve various puzzles. And any character can use items that increase their craft - eventually gaining the ability to cast spells!

Q: How does spell casting work in the game?

A: Every delver has the possibility of casting spells, though not all start out with the capability. Spells are cards that you find, win through combat or buy while adventuring. There are many, many spells: Banish, Rally, Hero's Aim, and Outwith the Locals are just a few of the many available. You can only hold as many spells as you have Craft.

Once you use a spell up, it's gone for good. So this is all focused on a war of attrition. Will you push your party to the edge and unload on the evil Wizard Lord? Should you take out his minions first? Or maybe find a way around the entire evil tower, following a path through the wilderness where you have nice bonuses. Each adventure is different and requires different tactics.

Q: How is character death handled?

A: Quickly. If 1, 2, or 3 delvers go down, it's not really death. As long as one delver is still okay, the others are simply considered briefly unconscious and pop back up -- though in a weakened state to be sure.

Now if all 4 delvers go down, the party really has bought the farm, kicked the bucket, and left this mortal coil. At that point, you can restore the game to the last save point.

Or in the worst case, you can restart the whole scenario -- perhaps choosing different delvers next time. We don't make this into a hassle. A few clicks and you're right back in the saddle. You could be the victim of very bad luck such as a powerful vampire appearing in a critical place. Or perhaps a poor mix of delvers was chosen, or whatever. It happens.

An occasional bitter failure will make the successes that much sweeter.

Q: Does the game come with an editor? Can you make new components for the game?

A: All data is stored in simple text files. So if you have a text editor, you can add new material to the game. And it's easy. You can make new character cards, new encounter cards, spells, items --- even entire adventures.

Even if you're not the type to make new adventures yourself, this feature means that there will be free new scenarios to download all the time.

Q: Is it multiplayer?

A: No. DD is designed to be your experience all the way. Besides, the heart of Dungeon Delvers is a really fun romp where a lot can be done in a single sitting, even if you don't have a big block of time to play.

Q: How about the animation and special effects?

A: Dungeon Delvers has both. The game is entirely in C++ and DirectX. We're using a nice particle engine to do fancy special effects in combat. Dungeon Delvers will be an extremely attractive game, and the free demo will give you a taste of its curb appeal.

Q: Price? How will Dungeon Delvers be sold?

A: Less than $20, though possibly just a nickel less. A pittance for such a cool game! We'll have ordering details later, but an 'unlock code' will be in the mix. And you can be sure that the transaction will be on an established, secure system.

Q: Anything else to add?

A: Dungeon Delvers is incredible! It's simple on the surface, but truly cool in the huge amount of combinations during play. It gives you a role-playing flavor, but faster and funnier, and you'll never lose track of what's going on.

You'll be challenged and also get a tremendous amount of replay value. If one adventure is too hard, too long or not your style, just play another. You'll figure out just the right combination of delvers for each situation and loads of strategy in combat - Dungeon Delvers delivers on all counts. It's our best game yet!