To lay it right out, there are three difficulty levels. The thinking on each:Easy
This is for the more casual player who is interested in exploring and enjoying the non-crunchy content of the game. I should say though, “casual” does not mean “Bejeweled”; the dungeon certainly does fight back and you’ll have to pay attention on any difficulty level. This one is just more forgiving.
This is the baseline which I’m balancing the other levels against and how I usually test the game while choosing random skills (which are not necessarily optimal). There should be reasonable difficulty and the game should be winnable at this level with any chosen skill set … and enough inside knowledge of game mechanics. Some character builds will probably be pretty rough though, like the ley-line walking, blood-magic-using non-spellcaster who specializes in both shields and dual wield.
This is for players who want to die. Repeatedly. I want to make this very difficult even for myself with said inside knowledge. Insane fans should have to exploit game mechanics to beat the game. No doubt this is the sort of thing that the classic roguelike game is all about.
These are all produced by tweaking variables in a file appropriately named “tweakDB.xml” which contains entries for a large number of variables from “minimum horde size” to “bbq chance”. Naturally you can edit these as you see fit, for example to change the “tooltip border size” to different values for each difficulty level, if that was something you think is sorely needed in Dredmor.