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Video Game / Dungeonmans

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"And so graduated so-and-so, newly minted Dungeonmans of the grand Dungeonmans Academy"
Opening text

Dungeonmans is a 2014 traditional Roguelike with Macrogame elements, developed and published by Adventurepro Games.

You create a Dungeonmans! Diligent student of the Dungeonmans Academy, Looter of Dungeons, Crusher of Monsters, and Doer of good (Probably...).

Being a roguelike, there are ample opportunities for Yet Another Stupid Death, completely putting an end to your character.

What are the Macrogame elements? Each Dungeonmans starts at the Academy, which can be upgraded with stat points, equipment, pets, and other amenities. All Dungeonmans created benefit from the Academy's upgrades.

For those who prefer the old-school roguelike approach without the Macrogame, Dungeonmans has that too with Ironmans mode.

The developer has been very involved since the game's release, providing consistent support for bug-fixes and adding additional content. Of significant note is the addition of pets in June 2021. A massive gameplay addition nearly 7 years after the game's initial release.

Can be found on Steam here.

Pay2Lose DLC was released in 2017.

Not to be confused with Thy Dungeonman.

Dungeonmans contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • When attempting to enter a Trivial-ranked dungeon with no interesting features, the game informs you that playing it "would be an exercise in grindy boredom" and offers to let you just One-Hit Kill the entire dungeon, producing a few pieces of loot immediately.
    • Most Holiday Mode events can be activated outside of their holiday by using a (ridiculously expensive) consumable item, the effects of which will last for 72 real-world hours.
    • Artifacts can be identified to provide random magical items to your future characters. Since this would be useless in Ironmans mode, they are replaced with shovels that let you dig up already-identified items.
  • Are You Sure You Want to Do That?:
    • Attempting to open certain chests with a red champion glow warns you that this will summon a horde of powerful champions, giving you a chance to back out.
    • If equipped with a bow or polearm, it's possible to shoot yourself. The game will ask if you're sure you meant that — allowing you to confirm with "Right in the face".
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Foomstorm Circus, obtained by finding and using a rare not-Dragon Ball, deals massive damage to every enemy in a 20-tile radius... and then has a cooldown of two thousand turns.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: One of the character classes / skill trees: Psychomanser. Acrobatic jumps, kicks, and barefisted punching are the rule of the day.
  • Battle Aura: Champions, Ancient Kings, and Echoes from Time Unknowable all glow with pulsating auras. If you drink a Combat Potion, you can gain the aura (and buffs!) of a Champion or Ancient King yourself.
  • Bee Afraid:
    • Some of the most deadly enemies early on are bees. Some sting you at a distance, some charge you and do heavy melee damage, others are carpenter bees that build up fortifications and restrict movement. The most feared enemy in the endgame is the Bee Magistrate, which applies "punishment shields" en masse to its bee allies, dealing 15% of your max HP if you hurt them while the shield is up.
    • One of the options available in Pay2Lose arbitrarily makes a percentage of all bees immortal, forever.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: "Bees Please" fires a wave of bees at the opponent, and is available both to the player (as scrolls) and their battle birds (by eating bee steaks).
  • Black Speech: The Southern Gentleman's Blasphemous Tirade skill works by shouting insults in the purple language, heavily damaging everything around them. It also gets the Purple's attention, which is why you're warned "Do not make a habit of this..." in the skill description — if you use it while you still have the "On Notice" status, you'll be punished.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Enemy Decoymans have a description informing you that they are extremely dangerous, and the best way to defeat them is to immediately remove all your gear and waste all your consumables.
    • Enemies that have turned "invisible" can still just barely be seen — and their hover description informs you that you are looking at a "Completely Empty Tile".
    • Terraforming Beacons give you one shot of a skill that removes a mountain from the overworld map. The skill's name is "Gently Adjust Terrain" and it works by calling down a meteor storm on the target mountain.
  • Book Ends: One of your starting items is "Yesterday's Knife", which is described as "Might be the worst weapon in the game". You can use it to make the Infinity +1 Sword, "Tomorrow's War", which is described as "Might be the best weapon in the game".
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Inverted and parodied with the Pay2Lose DLC, which, for a cost of five dollars, adds a slew of options to make the game even harder.
  • Butt-Dialing Mordor: Blasphemous Tirade, using the Black Speech of the Purpleonians, draws their attention when you use it. The skill description warns you, "Do not make a habit of this..." and actually using it inflicts an ominous "On Notice" status effect for several hundred turns. Using it again before the effect expires will summon two Ancient King Purpleonians, and doing this repeatedly will cause them to increase in power. Eventually you draw enough attention to burn out the star forge, and you are explicitly warned never to use the skill again. If you disobey this final warning, the Academy will be destroyed.
  • Challenge Run: The Pay2Lose DLC unlocks dozens of options one can enable at the beginning of a run to make it harder, from "bosses have more HP" to "autocrushing Trivial dungeons is forbidden" to "all damage has a 1/1000 chance of instakilling you". There's no rewards for any of it, but the more you enable (and in the case of sliding-scale options, the higher you crank them up), the higher of a Brutality score you're given for the run.
  • Copycat Mockery:
    • The description of the Arbiter of Arbicide (which destroys trees) is "'Oh nooooo, I can't get in the rooooom, there's a tree in the way, I didn't take any jump or teleport powers, mew mew mew mew mew' FINE", as if mocking the kind of player who would need it.
    • After defeating the Corrupted Fool's first phase, he'll say some stuff about being done playing games and crushing you with his true strength, to which one of your available responses is to mock how clichéd he's being by saying "mew mew mew, now face my TRUE power, mew mew mew mew".
  • Crutch Character: Battle birds are extremely helpful at lower levels, and with liberal use of Poultry Protection Potions can even tank an Echo from Time Unknowable for you. Higher-level adventure maps eventually render them pretty useless, though, since their power scales directly to your Character Level, which is capped at 15.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: Although most areas (and the world as a whole) are randomly generated, the Towers in the game all have the same layout. They consist of 2 floors filled with bandits and wizards, a treasure floor, then the boss at the top of the tower.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Using Pay2Lose to massively boost the HP of multiple enemy categories (normal enemies, Champions/Ancient Kings, and Bosses/Warlords) turns out to apply multiplicatively to any enemies that belong to multiple categories, resulting in such terrors as level 14 warlords with three million HP. If it goes far enough, bosses can become unbeatable simply by having such a massive HP pool that you can't outdamage their natural regeneration. Hope you brought some scrolls of Carefully Escape Dungeon, cause if you didn't, your run is already over.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Level bosses, upon being defeated, will float up into the air and explode in rays of light. Subverted with Dread Foom, who will interrupt the explosion and ask Did You Actually Believe...? it would be so easy — your only available response is "not a chance", because of course he's about to transform into his true form.
  • Developer's Foresight: You're not supposed to be able to die in one hit, not if you're playing the game properly, so if it happens, the Final Report will ask if you were facing something blatantly out of your league — and tell you that if you think your death was truly unfair, you should tweet the developer about it.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: Character Level caps at 15, so Post-End Game Content relies primarily on improving your gear through enchantments, renown, and warding. The Bonus Dungeon Amaranth Pandemonium adds glory, which is exclusive to this dungeon and quickly outstrips everything else.
  • Escape Rope: The scroll of Carefully Escape Dungeon will warp you out of a dungeon back to the overworld — after a 20-turn delay, so be sure you can Hold the Line from whatever made you scared enough to use it.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three classes of armor map to the three class archetypes — Light 'Armor' provides little direct protection but allows use of magical shields, Medium Armor is sturdier but focused more on dodging and mobility than surviving hits, and Real Armor relies on easily surviving heavy damage so you can turn around and hit back even harder.
  • Final Death Mode: While each individual character already gets but a single life to live, Ironmans mode goes one further and removes the Macrogame elements; the Academy is a useless ruin, and when your one and only Dungeonmans dies, the whole world is destroyed.
  • Hero Killer: If a standard mook kills you while in a dungeon, they'll be promoted to the leader of that dungeon and will be much more powerful if they're encountered by the next dungeonmans.
  • Holiday Mode:
    • Around Halloween, "The Tale of the Horseless Headsman" will be in effect, causing powerful monsters to drop Spooky Baskets full of loot and candy corn — and sometimes pumpkin bombs. A special sidequest will also be available, allowing the player to seek out and destroy the Horseless Headsman in his lair.
    • November 3rd, the creator's birthday, is the "Best Day Ever", and playing on this day causes Champion monsters to drop gifts filled with extremely good loot — skill books, high-end gear enchantment scrolls, piles of metal, Proofs of Stremf... it really says something when the disappointing outcome is top-tier potions.
    • December 25th is Crushmas, and once again Champion monsters drop gifts filled with amazing loot. They're identical to the Best Day Ever gifts except for color and Flavor Text — in fact the holiday seems to be reusing some BDE code, as it shows up in the status menu as being the Best Day Ever.
  • Interface Screw: The Hexblade has a unique enchantment that "hexes" you. It displays all numbers in hexadecimal. It's an entirely cosmetic change, but it can be a little disorienting.
  • Joke Character: The Touristmans class is described as having "accidentally wandered into the graduation ceremony on the way to the family farm" and is appropriately completely unprepared for dungeonmansing.
  • Macrogame: One of the game's defining characteristics:
    • The player can deposit Proofs of Stremf to the Academy, which increases the available stat points on the current character by 2. They also increase the stat points of every newly created character by 1.
    • Characters who die drop a piece of their best gear, which can be recovered by their successor, and if their best gear was magical or less, it'll be upgraded to Heroic. Characters (un)fortunate enough to acquire multiple renowned weapons before they die will only drop one, but the rest will be added to a pool of items that can randomly reappear later.
    • Characters of level 10 or higher can choose to retire, becoming a teachernote , a tavern keepernote  or wanderer. If a character dies after level 10, they'll automatically become a ghost teacher, granting the same benefits as if they'd retired but with slightly different flavor.
    • Equipment that is Legendary, Set Piece, or Heroic can be stored in the Wargear Vault for future characters. Melted down equipment can also be used later on by any character to give equipment upgrades.
    • Consumables (Scrolls and potions) can be pre-identified for new characters by return books and alchemy equipment to the Academy.
    • Monster knowledge (how dangerous an enemy is, max HP, etc...) can be accrued by returning monster books.
    • Pets. Even if a player dies while a pet is in their inventory, it will be returned to the Academy Ovomanser.
    • Major story advancements — locating the Dread Spire, clearing each of its four corners to unlock the Sanctuary Ascent, and finding Amaranth Pandemonium — remain in place for future characters to access as soon as they wish. Unlocking Amaranth Pandemonium even creates a second portal at the Academy so future characters can jump right in if they so please.
    • The world map is largely persistent between characters, as exploration progress is kept and dungeons discovered via adventure maps remain on the world map for future characters to plunder if they so desire. Similarly, dungeons destroyed with Dungeon Dissolver, and mountains destroyed with a Terraforming Beacon, remain wiped from the map forever.
  • Magikarp Power: Yesterday's Knife is described as "Might be the worst weapon in the game", and it's not wrong. But if you hold on to it, infusing it with two Radiant Starshards at the Cosmic Forge will transform it into a legendary weapon.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • The game can be hard enough with the help provided from previous Dungeonmans. If it isn't, the difficulty can be increased with Ironmans mode, which removes Macrogame and completely destroys the world after the Dungeonman's death.
    • The "Pay2Lose" DLC provides a ton of options the make the game more difficult.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • To prevent "staircase dancing", leaving a map heals any monsters still alive, "emboldened by the sight of a fleeing Dungeonmans".
    • Using Xespera's Challenge to championize the infinitely-spawning super-weak zombies that appear in graveyard levels mostly works... but instead of Proofs of Stremf, they'll drop Poofs of Strimf. You'll want 500 of these for an endgame sidequest, but they're otherwise completely useless.
    • Using Blasphemous Tirade again while still On Notice spawns two Ancient King purplonians as a punishment. Originally, this was all it did, but since killing an Ancient King reliably drops a Radiant Starshard, some people were exploiting this to farm them. Now, if you do it too much, the star forge will burn out, and you'll be told in no uncertain terms not to use the skill again — if you ignore that warning, the Academy will be destroyed.
    • Pay2Lose modifications that spawn extra bosses specify that the bosses in question give no XP. This is Pay2Lose, not Pay2HaveMoreBossLoot.
  • One-Hit Kill: Few Normal Attacks in the game will kill a properly prepared player in one shot. There are, however, telegraphed attacks that highlight certain tiles red, indicating they'll be damaging in the near future. These are much more likely to kill players in single hit.
  • One-Steve Limit: You cannot create multiple characters in a given world with the same name. Whether they die, retire, or quit before graduation, they're permanently done. The game does suggest giving them a suffix if you really can't come up with some other name.
  • Palette Swap: Many later game monsters are variations on weaker monsters fought earlier. Mountain scrobolds look like regular scrobolds but blue/green.
  • Permadeath: As with most roguelikes, a character who dies is gone forever. They're remembered as part of the Macrogame, though — names used previously cannot be used again, because the adventurer they referred to is already dead.
  • Permanently Missable Content: During the Tale of the Horseless Headsman, if you use the map to the Headsman's Hollow but fail to complete the incantation correctly, the map will be consumed and you'll never find another one on that character. The quest will restart if you create a new character, but if you're trying this on an Ironmans run, that's not gonna be an option.
  • Player Nudge: Spawning an Echo from Time Unknowable from the gambling minigame will also toss four scrolls of Carefully Escape Dungeon on the ground, as if to say "This is a highly-dangerous Superboss, consider the merits of fleeing immediately".
  • Point of No Return: Entering the portal to Amaranth Pandemonium is a one-way trip — your hero won't be returning to the world above. Ever.
  • Post-End Game Content: The ostensible "end" of the game, finding the Dread Spire and defeating Final Foom, is fairly simple to accomplish without using most of the high-level character enhancement features. There are, however, infinitely-dropping adventure maps that slowly reach higher and higher levels, allowing players to continue pushing that make-number-get-bigger rush. And if that's not enough, there's a cryptic sidequest to unlock Amaranth Pandemonium, an infinitely-long dungeon with each floor harder than the last, and the only source of the infinitely-scaling "Glory" gear buff.
  • Press X to Die: If equipped with a bow or polearm, it's possible to shoot yourself. There is almost neverException (spoilers)  any reason to do this. But the game lets you do it — after confirming that you really want to, of course.
  • Pretender Diss: Heavy armor isn't called "heavy" armor in this game, but Real Armor. Extra disdain is given to robes and cloaks, dismissed as Light 'Armor'.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Horseless Headsman, in its first phase, requires you to seek it out in a maze. Both there and in phase two, rhyming is required of you — it will occasionally speak a poem that rhymes, and you must steal it at the last line.
  • Randomly Generated Loot: Magical loot comes with one or more prefixes, each bestowing a particular benefit. There's some control over this — there are several scrolls that will bestow random additional enchantments (up to a limit), upgrade hammers to apply specific enchantments (though only once before you risk destroying the item instead), scrolls of Salford's Solvent to erase existing enchantments so you can try again and Salford's Sealant to permanently erase one undesired enchantment, and a handful of very rare items that are the only source of their one enchantment.
  • Razor Apples: Rarely, one of the candy corn skulls in a Spooky Basket will have a razor blade in it, causing you to bleed for several turns.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Horseless Headsman speaks in rhyme, and responding accordingly is required to advance its sidequest. During its battle, it even tries to trip you up by changing the rhyme scheme.
  • Scare Quotes: Mage-type armor, robes and cloaks and the like, are referred to as Light 'Armor'.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Trainees at the academy will occasionally almost-quote lines from "Make a Man Out of You" — "I am too suited for the rage of war!" and "We must be swift as a coursing river!" and the like.
    • Some bookshelves contain "a stimulating history of dwarf fortresses"
  • Superboss: Echoes from Time Unknowable are absurdly overpowered monsters that can be found occasionally. The game makes it very clear that they are highly dangerous and outright encourages you to run if you're not sure of your chances — but if you beat them, you get a slew of valuable loot, including the unique Echoes of Stremf Long Forgotten, a consumable which substantially levels up a weapon's Renown and spawns over a hundred Proofs of Stremf for the Academy.
  • Tactical Door Use: Doorspikes are a moderately common drop, and they'll seal a door shut until a monster bashes through them.
  • Technicolor Magic: Dread Purple is the color of Eldritch Abominations and corruption, and the opposing element to heavenly Starlight. The Very Definitely Final Dungeon is a whole spire made of Dread Purple crystals. While all magic is color-coded (red/orange Fire, blue Cold, green Poison, silvery Starlight), Purple is the only one referred to directly by its color.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Mostly averted with Consumables. Scrolls and potions are plentiful and many shops stock useful consumables that become affordable in midgame. There are very few elixir-like items that are incredibly powerful but very few exist. Although the player can still hoard items, the game discourages this kind of behavior:
    "Use your consumables. Use. Your. Consumables! If you die with a backpack full of healing potions and scrolls of protection, you bring great dishonor to the Academy!"
    The Wall of Text
  • Trapped in Villainy: He never really explains why, but it's made quite clear that Mazzik the Grieving is bound to Dread Foom's service whether he likes it or not. The player can point out that he doesn't seem "into it", and he'll state that his own opinion on the subject doesn't matter — though he'd rather have an alpaca farm.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: One quest has the player ascend a tower that initially appears to be empty instead of being filled with bandits. A few floors in, they discover the bandits are fighting off the purplonians who are in the process of taking over the tower. The bandits offer to side with the player. The player can side with the bandits, leave, or take out everything that moves.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Occasionally in towns and on the map, you'll run into an old beggar named Doomsayer. If you call him crazy, he'll summon a horde of bees to attack you for your rudeness.
  • Villain Respect: Both times you fight Mazzik the Grieving, he acknowledges your strength if you win, and in the second case, seems to be quite glad it's all over for him, since he didn't exactly want to be there in the first place.
  • Visible Invisibility: Enemies that have turned invisible are actually only like 95% transparent — and hovering over their tile still shows a monster description, informing you that you are looking at a "Completely Empty Tile".
  • What the Hell, Player?: Played for Laughs with the Flavor Text of the scroll of Bees Please, which simply reads "You are the worst person."
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly:
    • Averted in the base game. There is no mechanic that imposes time pressure on the player. No need to eat, no super nasty monster that shows up after a set amount of time, no impending doom for the world on a greater scale. The player can take their time with every Dungeonmans they create and go through as many Dungeonmans as they like to build the Academy.
    • One Pay2Lose option adds food and a hunger meter the player must manage. By default, Resting Recovery ceases while hungry, but additional options allow increasing the penalty to dealing half damage or suffering instant death.
  • Word-Salad Humor: One Pay2Lose option gives you a chance of misidentifying an item. When this happens, the name and description will be randomly-generated nonsense.
    Increased dodge for a monster in line of history's most powerful buff. Die.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: The cornerstone of the "Fire and Brimstone" line of Southern Gentlemans skills:
    • Blazing Vituperation unleashes several literal F-Bombs throughout the area, dealing fire damage to anything near them for several turns.
    • Icy Vitriol looses a cone of literal chilling invective, freezing enemies in place and weakening both their attack and defense.
    • Blasphemous Tirade causes the character to "spew forth the most foul and vile Purpleonian curses", heavily damaging every enemy within 7 tiles and randomly knocking around anything that survived the damage. It also attracts unwanted attention if used too frequently...
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: The player can die very quickly if they aren't paying attention. There are also several one-hit kills in the game which are telegraphed. Trying to tank the telegraphed hits is generally not a good idea...
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: By following a trail of oblique hints starting with certain loot items dropped by Final Foom, it's possible to acquire an "Anticosmic" item. Attempting to make it "Cosmic" by powering it up at the star forge results in the thing being torn apart by the conflicting magics, opening up a portal to Amaranth Pandemonium.


Video Example(s):


Exploding bosses

Defeating an area's boss causes them to float up into the air and explode in rays of light. There is no reason for this, it's just cool.

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / DefeatEqualsExplosion

Media sources: