At the start of the long holiday weekend here in the US of A, my son asked if we could play a DCSS character together. I’d explained snippets of the game to him when he’d seen it up on my computer screen before, and somehow the thought struck him at an opportune time. We chose a MiBe-he’s a D’aulaire’s Greek Myths fan, so the minotaur was an easy sell, and the god of getting angry was also very tempting; for my part, I wanted to give us a decent shot.
We’ve been playing along at 10 floors per day (while clearly not a screen time Nazi, I am also not a screen time anarchist). Our minotaur has 3 runes and will make his run at Zot tomorrow.
Here are the parts of the game that seem to resonate most with a 5 year old:
- Monster pairings of more and less dangerous relatives. He very seriously explained to my wife that a death yak is much scarier than “just a dungeon yak”, and is a big fan of that pattern repeating in (?:dire) elephants and yaktaur (?:captains).
- The names of different parts of the dungeon, and the flavor text at their entrances.
- The mysterious promise of places we have yet to be. Today we discussed where the scariest monsters are (I answered tomb) and where the yuckiest are (I said slime, which he has been told our minotaur can likely visit).
- The heavy dose of stuff from his Greek myths book.
- When monsters have a red outline, particularly if they then have unique flavor text to read.
For my part, I find the experience of being a tour guide/narrator to be a lot of fun; I pay more attention to the flavor text and try to explain everything more as a story. Our journey through the depths, on which we wanted both GDS (because good) and storm dragon scales for a trove, was edge-of-your-seat territory on several occasions.
…aaand trying to play a character with a five year-old’s hopes riding on it is stressful! Fortunately we’re generally overpowered for what we’re up against, but I’'m far from good enough to confidently call my shot even on an easy build. Fortunately the storytelling and pressure improves my play; our closest call thus far was against Vashnia, and I realized it was getting dicey soon enough to call in an ally and find a slightly hidden corner; when we met a caustic shrike pack in depths I basically unleased the whole arsenal as he revelled in seeing FOUR red monsters on screen at once.
Anyhow, that’s a little field report from an unusual playthrough. Tomorrow morning we take our shot at Zot; wish us luck!
(Morgue is here although that’s not really the point of the post.)
the last thing I forgot to add - this has been very present in his make-believe this week; he has invented a monster called a “teal worm” which he portrays by climbing into his teal sleeping bag, which can steal all of the player’s magical abilities and is the final guardian of the orb of zot. No ingenuity on my part has done anything against it; if I ever encounter a teal worm in the game I am getting out of there post haste.
Ah dang a spell book trove on a trog character. Love that y’all are having such a good time. Good luck against teal worm!
This is really cute! Has he started coming up with his own branches yet?
So far I don’t think I’ve heard him make up a branch, but I’ll keep an ear out.
Massive Tiamat welcoming party greeted us as we entered Zot this morning. Purple dracs and quicksilver dragons put a stop to my dreams of stair dancing and tping away, respectively; we dug a kill hole and got many of them but eventually the grand lady herself showed up with a distortion bardiche and sent us on a trip to the abyss.
I wouldn’t have survived all this were I not caretaking the boy’s favorite minotaur, but for now we’re still alive, in the abyss, with Tiamat and her bardiche squatting the kill hole to which we will return. Getting a five year old excited about a game with permadeath is tricky business!
Small tip: you can read teleportation scroll while standing on an Abyss exit and wait 4-5 turns before exiting, should give you good chances of escaping from Tiamat (if there’s no space to blink away instantly). Pre quaffing haste potion is good as well. Good luck!
Yeah I have to decide between that and haste, exit, dig, evoke blink down the dug hole, and I think we can probably sprint to a downstairs after that. Probably do the latter since I think it should get us away with her only being able to take one swing at us (not sure what the rules are about whose turn it is when you emerge from abyss).
To my great relief, we have completed a 4 rune win. The escape plan described above worked great, and we were able to pull Tiamat’s pack apart from below and then handle her with a phantom mirror and some javelins.
Slime takes the prize for most popular branch; a place where all the monsters are yucky appeals strongly to the sensibilities of a five year-old.
Fortunately we never met the teal worm, but I will remain ever vigilant.
Congratulations! Sounds like a great time and glad that your 5yo could enjoy the scene setting descriptive text too. When I was a little bit older, my dad being willing to play the Heroquest board game with me was the coolest thing in the world haha. Vashnia, Caustic shrike pack, a Tiamat welcoming party and a trip to the abyss… entertaining run!
I’m quite late, but this rules. Thank you very much for posting this! The dev team is united in agreeing that we need to add teal worms ASAP
Thank you very much, and all the devs, for making a free game that offers the possibility for this kind of fun. Very high creativity : sensory overload ratio, I was pleased to see the way it spurred his imagination.