Climbing Aids

example definition

  "type": "climbing_aid",
  "id": "item_stepladder",
  "//": "We can generalize the grappling hook mechanism to portable ladders, so why not?",
  "slip_chance_mod": -20,
    "down": {
    "menu_text": "Place your stepladder below and climb down.",
    "menu_cant": "Can't place your stepladder (needs open space one story below).",
    "menu_hotkey": "l",
    "confirm_text": "Climb down with your stepladder?",
    "msg_after": "You lower the ladder into place and climb down.",
    "//": "This removes a stepladder from inventory and places it on the ground below.",
    "max_height": 1,
    "allow_remaining_height": false,
    "deploy_furn": "f_ladder",
    "easy_climb_back_up": 1
  "condition": { "type": "item", "flag": "stepladder", "uses": 1 }


Mandatory. The id of the climbing aid.


Mandatory. Must be climbing_aid.


A comment. Disregarded by the parser. Can be used in any object. Encouraged, because climbing aids are more complicated than some other types.


Optional. Integer. Defaults to 0.

This value modifies the chance for the character to slip and fall when using this climbing aid. It is applied after calculating a base chance based on strength, dexterity, stamina, carried weight, wetness and other factors. The basic slip chance for a beginning character with a light load and most of their stamina is around 10%. When climbing down multiple stories, the chance to slip occurs once per story.


Mandatory. Object with the fields listed below. A single condition governing whether this climbing aid is available.

For the most part, each climbing aid will have a unique condition, with possible exceptions for those that optionally deploy furniture, such as the VINES2 and VINES3 mutations.


Mandatory. String. One of the following.

  • ter_furn: One of the tiles on the climbing route has terrain or furniture with the given flag.
  • veh: One of the tiles on the climbing route has a vehicle part with the given flag
    • Flag detection is currently unsupported and a veh condition will be activated by the presence of any vehicle.
  • character: The one climbing has the given flag.
  • trait: The one climbing has the trait named by the flag field.
  • item: The character climbing has the item identified by the flag field in their inventory.
  • special: Used for special conditions hardcoded into the C++ engine of the game.

Note: When climbing down, ter_furn and veh are checked for the space below a ledge and every space below. The ter_furn check stops at the first Z-level with solid ground or any type of furniture


Mandatory. String. An identifier, usually a flag, indicating the specific condition within the type.


Mandatory if type is item. Not allowed for other types. The number of an item that will be consumed when climbing. Usually 0 or 1.


Optional if type is ter_furn. Not allowed otherwise. Integer. Default 1. Defines the maximum distance from the player, in stories, for this aid to be used.

Note: This is not fully implemented.


Mandatory. Object with the fields listed below. Rules for climbing down with this aid. Does not apply to stairs or stair-like objects (eg, permanent ladders) at this time.

Note: The player can climb down by walking into a ledge or using > near a ledge. This will first present a menu with any climbing aids that can deploy furniture, plus the safest climbing aid that does not deploy furniture based on slip_chance_mod. eg: A stepladder takes priority over a downspout.


Optional. Integer. Default 1. The maximum number of stories that a creature can descend using this climbing aid.

Set this to 0 to disable using this climbing aid to climb down.


Optional. Boolean. Default true. Whether this climbing aid may be used to climb only part of the distance down to the ground. Typically, the player will fall after a partial climb down. eg, this is set to false for the climbing aid ‘place my stepladder below’.

Note: Due to limited implementation, this should only be set to false for climbing aids that use deploy_furn, otherwise the player may be prevented from climbing. A grayed-out menu option with menu_cant text will be displayed when an aid is disabled by this rule.


Optional. Integer. Default 0. When climbing down this many stories or fewer, the player will be told it should be easy to climb back up. This bypasses the normal estimation of climbing difficulty. Typically set to the same value as max_height for climbing aids that leave climbable furniture behind.


Mandatory. String. A sentence in the form of a question, shown at the end of a prompt describing the dangers of the climb. This prompt appears after choosing this climbing aid in a menu (see below).

This string may use %s to refer to the furniture one Z-level below the player on the climbing path. %s will be expanded into a string of the form "the (furniture)".


Mandatory. String. Text of the menu option for using this climbing aid.

This string may use %s to refer to the furniture one Z-level below the player on the climbing path. %s will be expanded into a string of the form "the (furniture)".


Mandatory if deploy_furn is set. Optional otherwise. String. This is the greyed-out version of the menu option displayed when a climbing aid’s condition is satisfied but allow_remaining_height or existing furniture prevents it from being used.

This string may use %s similar to menu_text.


Mandatory is deploy_furn is set. Optional otherwise. A string containing a single ASCII character. This is the default English-language hotkey for selecting this climbing aid. Avoid using the same letter as other climbing aids, and avoid j, p and f which are used for additional options in the ledge examination menu.

Note: Each climbing option that can deploy furniture should get its own unique hotkey. Non-deploying options default to c.


Optional. String. Message added to the log before climbing down. This message will be logged even if the player slips and falls.


Optional. String. Message added to the log after climbing down. This message will only be logged if the player successfully descends with the climbing aid (although this does not necessarily mean the player climbed all the way to the ground).


Optional. Furniture ID string. Identifies a type of furniture which will be created at every Z-level beneath the character until they reach the end of their climb. At most max_height copies of the furniture will be created.

Note: A climbing aid will be disabled if there is any furniture in spaces where new furniture would be deployed. It will still appear in the menu, grayed out, with its menu_cant text.

Note: Pay special attention to whether deployed furniture has the ALLOW_ON_OPEN_AIR flag. eg: webs and grappling hooks do, stepladders don’t. allow_remaining_height: false can be used to avoid placing furniture without this flag on open air.


Optional. Object containing the fields below. This penalty is applied to the player once for every story they descend using this climbing aid.


Optional. Integer. Food calories used up per story.


Optional. Integer. Thirst increase per story.


Optional. Integer. Pain increase per story.


Optional. Integer. Damage taken to the torso per story.