Dwarven Descent is a game in which you lead a band of Dwarves through dungeon layouts you reconfigure on the fly using rotating hex tiles.
As you change the dungeon layout, some of it will be connected to the Dwarves (contiguous with them) and some will of it be completely disconnected.
From that simple mechanic springs an entirely new kind of action dungeon crawl. One in which the game environment constantly changes based not only on the actions of your party, but also on the ways in which you change the layout of the dungeon.
Traps, Terrain, and Treasure
Dungeon features respond differently depending on whether they’re in the “active” (connected to the Dwarves) dungeon or the “inactive” (not connected to the Dwarves) dungeon.
For example, one such feature—the Necrocyst—damages the Dwarves while in the active dungeon and heals all monsters while in the inactive.
The amount of loot you score also depends on the proportion of the dungeon at the time you acquire it. Some treasures have a higher yield for a larger inactive dungeon while others reward the player for having a greater area of the level active.
Managing that ratio of active-to-inactive dungeon—maximizing reward while minimizing danger—is at the very heart of the game.
There are also a variety of special abilities, relics, and runic enhancements available to help the Dwarves overcome challenges and get out alive. Using those resources at the right time can often spell the difference between success and defeat.
Leveling Through Lineage
As they progress through the game, the Dwarves’ special abilities will increase in power and gain additional effects as they discover the lost lore of their people and the history of their clan ancestors.
This system allows players to customize their party while also revealing more of the story of the game. In fact, almost all of the things that increase the power of the characters or party as a whole are rooted in discovering more of the history of the Dwarves and their perpetual downfall.