Inanimate Monsters

I am almost done with v2.1 already! I’m testing it right now and plan to release it in about a week if I don’t find any major problems. It is mostly bug fixes, but the list of changes is actually quite long. There a few gameplay changes as well. Below you can read about one of them.

Non-sleeping Monsters

Inanimate (constructs, undead) monsters never sleep. So how come they recover their hp/mp when they rest? How come a turret that you almost destroyed suddenly mends itself after you rested for the night? Well no more..

In v2.1 any monster that doesn’t naturally sleep also won’t naturally recover. This means that you can damage them, rest up and then continue to damage them. There are actually quite a large amount of such monsters: all undead and most mindless monsters don’t sleep.

Interaction with Non-lethal damage

Non-lethal damage can knock monsters out. Currently even inanimate monsters can be knocked out, which doesn’t make much logical sense. How can an animated club be “incapacitated” really? Or a skeleton that is just a pile of animated bones?

In v2.1, monsters that don’t sleep can also not be knocked out by non-lethal damage. Instead they have exactly one of these two properties:

  • They are frail and can be killed even from non-lethal damage (worms, skeletons and animated hands are examples).
  • They are immune to non-lethal damage which means that they cannot be harmed by non-lethal damage at all. Don’t worry, this applies only to really slow monsters (such as zombies and slimes) and late game monsters (notably all elementals).


The reason for this change is twofold: first of all it is more logical, and second, it makes monster types more differentiated which is a good thing. You have to use different tactics for different kind of monsters. You can sneak by monsters that do sleep, and you can damage non-sleeping monsters incrementally. Overall I think it makes the game more interesting. It also a nerf to many monsters which I think is needed since I have also introduced some new difficulties, which I will blog about in the next post…




  1. I like that a lot! Just saying! Hope I could make some time for new let’s plays soon!

    1. Good that you like it 🙂 Yeah, hopefully the new release will be out when you find time 🙂

  2. What a fantastic game you’ve made! I’m impressed by your bold and creative twists on traditional mechanics, and your clear sense of what you want the game to be. It is strong design work imo.

    I thought it was going to take me a long time to beat this game after several horrible ends, including:

    Stumbling off to inevitable death in a nausea lock after getting hit by a hunger attack from something I never even saw… pack full of food and healing items but unable to eat or rest, my demise was slow but inexorable. Lesson: have a deep fear of any hunger attacking enemy! So brutal.

    Trapped, unable to get out of the light to sleep because I left a door open and a lava bubble went into a corridor and would not come out. Can’t go down the stairs because when I slept there the dead awoke and now they’re surrounded by skeletons I can’t handle without sleeping again. Killed by lava bubbles trying to tease that one out of the corridor. Lesson: close the damn door behind you!

    Just when I thought I was getting a handle on the early through mid game, I died to a dog behind the first door I opened.

    But… Last night I managed to escape the dungeon, on perhaps my 6th or 7th run. I certainly got some lucky RNG in terms of giving me the tools I needed, but I didn’t screw it up! I had never been past depth 8 or 9 before, but the game is transparent enough that I was able to pilot the unknown endgame successfully on the first try.

    I will recount the highlights in case that’s interesting:

    The early game granted me a whip, and I relied on non-lethal damage for quite a long time. I was more careful than ever about needing to rest, and I greedily used several aloes to put off resting, rather than saving them for emergencies later.

    I kept getting clothes for an archer or a thief: nearly zero armor, but a cap, camo vest, and soft boots kept my noise down and laid the groundwork for some projectile build… except I was granted a sling without stones, and blunt arrows with no bow. I found 3 rusty throwing axes, which I used carefully to dispatch disabled foes I couldn’t tolerate facing again after a rest.

    Confusion was my bane, as I found a rod of recovery, and really didn’t want to sleep with the whip as my only weapon. I used a gold leaf early, and several silver leaves, to avoid resting.

    I found a shield, which was a huge help. Eventually I found a short sword which finally allowed me to kill, and even raised my blocking further. Soon I found rocks, and I had both viable melee and a good ranged attack. I had nearly zero armor, but a very high block.

    The turning point was when I found the tailor. What a handy fellow! I had some ready cash, and I spent it upgrading my vest which granted the immense boon of Detect Animals, which allowed me to pass by many unfriendly rooms, having learned the hard way to suppress my greed. I fell three gold short of getting all three upgrades immediately, but eventually I returned, and for the endgame I had upgraded cap, boots, and vest, which gave me an incredibly useful Noise of just 2! Vision > Noise is a beautiful thing. With this and my increased awareness, I avoided many fights.

    I had a ring of war, but also a need to sneak… Many Ep points went into equipping or unequipping that ring! Ep became my bottleneck rather than Hp. Until I slept and someone stole that ring from my pack.

    Here is my character just before my final rest:

    I’ve never been to the endgame before, but I figured I should get as strong as possible and plan to never sleep again. So I blew all of my savings at once and used every great thing I had on myself. Here is the result:

    Being invisible with vision 3 and sound 2, plus speed boosted, I felt pretty confident I could just avoid any fight I wanted! So of course the very first thing TGGW put in my mandatory path was a very long 1-tile corridor with a GIANT at the end! He does 10 damage!? And no way to sneak past… I thought for a while, but then I realized I had coated my sword with poison, so I just stabbed him twice and then waited while his 35 hp slowly rotted away.

    TGGW was not done, thought, and other enemies able to challenge my incredible powers included an elemental that could see invisible! I used a teleberry to get out of his range and snuck away. A room full of octopi blocking my path was a worry, because their Vision-1 attack would be horrifying to get hit by with so many buffs. However, it turned out to be easy to destroy them by slinging rocks from afar while invisible and nearly silent. Poor bastards never had a chance.

    In the end I strolled out of the dungeon pretty decisively. I still had a greater healing potion, two aloe leaves, and a piece of grilled meat in reserve as I ascended.

    What a run of luck though… I was handed everything I needed, but I’m still quite happy I didn’t screw it up being a n00b.

    And I have no confidence my next dungeon run could be a success.

    A+ 10/10 for The Ground Gives Way, well done.

    1. Wow, thank you very much for that account Patrick! Very interesting read.

      I am impressed that you beat it after only the 6-7th run! In fact you used excellent strategies: clear early levels, upgrade all your equipment and aim for a particular build, use all your consumables before doing a long non-rest dive to the bottom while avoiding as many fights as possible. This is exactly how it is supposed to be played! Congratulations!

      The only thing I’d do differently is to rest a lot early and save heals for that final run, that can make the final run last longer. I generally don’t use a heal if I don’t have a buff. Although it also depends on the amount of food available.

      Also thank you for the compliments about the game, I’m really happy you like it 🙂 I am thinking about making a place for player’s stories/wins and other material on the website. Would it be ok if I posted your story there among others?

      1. Absolutely, you can use that post, in whole or in part, in any way you’d like.

        Brogue is another favorite of mine, so I think that experience helped me a lot. TGGW echoes many of the concepts found in Brogue, but applies interesting twists. They aren’t the same, but I was prepared to notice the ideas of aiming for a build based on what you find, and the way that fighting is not an end in itself, but only a means to an end. Very cool to see a different perspective on similar concepts.

        By the way, on windows 10 I notice that TGGW idles surprisingly high on the CPU. In resource monitor it shows an average cpu consumption of 24.2% which feels like basically one full core all the time. Is it possible that your game loop is coded to use busy waiting instead of sleeping? Is that intended? I wonder what impact it has on my battery life if I play on the go on my laptop.

        Lastly, wow I wonder how I misunderstood that nausea lock! Maybe I saw that I couldn’t eat one thing, and incorrectly extrapolated to the rest! It’s also possible I simply remember it wrong, and all the food I carried was really energy-only. But I was thinking the same solution you already have: can eat real food if you have zero+nausea, with some cost.

        The lava bubble… another way is to make it room-locked, or to not stray more than X squares from lava. If you prefer them to remain invulnerable.

        1. Forgot to answer this reply!

          Yes, it is weird. Occasionally people report that it uses up CPU. It doesn’t happen for me and does not seem to happen to everyone which is really strange. I am using C++11 threads which should be independent on OS. I’m not sure what the library I use does when waiting for a key, but it seemed to not be an issue before I introduced threads. I am not really sure how to find the problem currently, but thanks for reporting!

    2. Two more points about your early deaths:

      – you can never be completely locked by nausea: If you are starving and nauseous, you CAN eat things that gives food (but it will make you diseased).

      – the thing with the lava bubble is not really an intentional mechanic. They shouldn’t block your path like that. In the next release they will be killable to prevent this thing from happening.

      1. Well I didn’t escape twice in a row! But I just had a death I didn’t expect or understand, so I’d like to ask a question about time.

        I walked downstairs into 3 monsters, and rather foolishly went back upstairs. In retrospect I should have gone all-in with aloe to take out at least one of the monsters down there before going back up to sleep, instead of going up/down and giving them a free hit.

        Anyway, I after some fiddling, this was my plan: go back down the stairs before resting and use my existing HP to see if I could get lucky and take just one out. But if at any point I got the state of a possible next-turn death, I would just go up the stairs. This was a long shot, I knew, but it seemed safe, and thus wiser than just resting and not utilizing my remaining HP first.

        So I walked down the stairs to fight. 1 money monkey + 2x goblin mage. I checked all the speeds. Goblin mage was speed 6, which was what I had due a haste ring. Money monkey is speed 8.

        So the worst turn for me, I thought, was to get hit once by each goblin mage, and twice by the monkey, for 4 damage.

        I had 5 life so I went ahead and attacked believing I could not lose…. but here is what happened:

        You can see my final action with “You miss the goblin mage” and then to my surprise all three monsters took their turns *twice* and I died. I didn’t understand why the goblin mages got two turns.

        Upon reflection I recall that sometimes I get to throw multiple missile attacks in what I would normally consider “one turn” and I’m not even sure how time works with regard to casting spells.

        Can you explain how that works? I reviewed the manual but didn’t see anything about magic/missile attacks being treated differently with respect to time.

        Also two quick notes:

        The manual has a link to a magic section, but the link has a type so it goes to a 404. It is currently to “manual/magic” but it should be “manual/#magic”.

        Twisty stairs adjacent to a gold door can cut you off from being able to go back up. Totally fine of course – just bad luck, and not the only kind!

        1. Well, it seems there is a bug here. You are correct in that at the same speed you should get one attack each. The exact mechanics is like that you have a hidden speed counter that increases by your speed attribute each turn. Whenever it hits 20 you get to act, and then it reduces by 20 (all actions costs the same in TGGW) and you have to wait until it refills again. This means that it should be impossible for the goblin mages to act twice during your turn, even if your speed counters are not synced.

          Regarding golden rooms and twisty stairs: yeah, it would probably make more sense if golden doors didn’t let sound out.

          Thank you for the reports, will fix the manual as well!

        2. Aha! Went through the algorithm again… It *is* possible for them to act before you when the speed counters are out of sync, because actors are always processed in the same order.

          For example, if your speed counter is 22 and the Goblin’s is 24 you both get to act (you first since the player is always processed first), but then the Goblin’s speed counter will be higher than yours and it will act before you.

          I will think more about this, thank you again for brining it to my attention!

      2. Yeah, bubbles are somewhat annoing right now. I had a situation with the only blacksmith in the dungeon standing in a room with half-dozen lava bubbles flying in it, and I really wanted to use his services but couldn’t. And another time I couldn’t use twisty stairs because of them.
        I have killed one before by coating my longspear in a potion of ice but it was tedious and not satisfying.
        Maybe their presence shouldn’t set player in combat mode? Because bubbles don’t really have intention to fight the player, right?

        And another note – when a sage recharges rods you get the message: “All your wands are recharged!”, but in fact he recharges not wands but only one rod at a time.

        1. Ah, didn’t think of those situations regarding bubbles. Of course they shouldn’t trigger combat mode, good call! Twisty stairs + bubbles can lock you totally, not good.

          Thanks for the bug report about the wands too!

  3. Not sure which post I should comment on to report bugs, but anyway.
    There seems to be something odd about the cost formula for enchanting/disenchanting while wearing an amulet of charisma. I seem to be able to quickly gain money on average by enchanting and disenchanting extremely low cost items like sandals, so long as I have charisma. I could just be really lucky?

    1. Thanks, that’s something I didn’t think of! I will see what I can do about it.

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