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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part One: STRIKE THE EARTH!

05 Dec

The year 404: the long-prophesied Lost Year of Dwarvenkind has come and gone, and the Dwarves remain. Nûmulshul, the Windy Realm, remains whole (and as windy as ever!). Lara Foley, Bromgev and Prophet of the God-of-Forks, has been laughed out of the Mountainhomes, exiled for her evangelical ravings of doom and her ceaseless disruption of industry. But dark things stir in the corners of the world – goblins and demons range across the west, while Titans and forgotten beasts ravage the far north. The Lost Year, it seems, was only the beginning.

Into this world venture seven unhappy Dwarves – Ngotûn Ìltang, the Cult of Forks. Though the Bromgev claims visions of salvation, those under her suspect insanity. She leads her hapless flock into the cold North, where they await their end in a place called Zaskidet – Crystaltalons.

Eventually, they come upon the volcano known in legends as the Scintillating Ash, where Ulteg Umrek struck down mighty Hekülimaar, the greatest of the old dragons.

Early Spring, in the Year of the Forks 405

"Here", the Bromgev says. "Here we shall make our fort, our Zaskidet, our Crystaltalons! STRIKE THE EARTH!"

(Click the image to enlarge)

Winter is coming. Winter is always coming. We must prepare! We survey our surroundings. To the south, the Scintillating Ash (it’s very shiny) stands separate from the rest of the mountain range – clearly a sign of God, that even mountains flee the anger (and shiny) of the Ash! When we tame it for our forges, our glory will be all the greater.

But I think I’ll build the fortress on the other side of the glacier. Just to be safe. God punishes hubris.

Further down the mountain, nearer the valley floor, we begin to carve our fortress. We will not carve into dirt or sand like some pansy Elf. We are DWARVES! We shall carve the fortress of Crystaltalons through the ice and into stone! The very flesh of the world shall part against our picks! STRIKE THE EARTH!

But first, we must deal with this invasion of... Camels? On a glacier? Smells like Dwarf Fortress.

No trees. No shrubs. No water. No arable land. The Bromgev has truly led the Cult of Forks to its doom. Thanks for ruining everything Lara.

One of the Yaks kicked Patricia once. It hurt. She is now wandering the halls confused, probably suffering from a concussion. This is… unfortunate, as she is the fortress manager. Without her, production will grind down.

For now, this is the entrance to Zaskidet; a great pit dug into the ice. It goes down to the stone layer, where the fortress proper begins. Eventually, there will be a castle here, but for now, there's a slide. These dwarves are going to need every bit of excitement they can muster in the coming years...

The expected horrors of Zaskidet have failed to materialise. This hasn’t stopped Miner Austin from flipping his shit at the sight of a goat. Progress is slow.

Late Spring, in the Year of the Forks 405

That thing I said about the lack of horrors?

Ice Wolves. Lots of them.

The pack of Ice Wolves has killed one dog, and battles another. The only recourse, it seems, is to abandon our food supplies in the caravan and bury ourselves in the fledgling fortress. God save us!

I only hope the Yaks fare better than our dog pack. You can’t see the dog blood in the Stonesense screenshots, but there’s a lot of it. It’s everywhere around the mouth of Zaskidet. My plan is to rush every Dwarf inside the fortress, pack them in a small hallway, and force the wolves down said hall. Hopefully, the concentration of Yak and Dwarf in such a small area will increase the number of attacks-per-round made against the wolves. Maybe we can beat them to death with ham-fisted flailing.

Miner Nelson has been made temporary head of the militia, with Farmer Adrian King and Miners Justin and Austin in tow. Together, they form the impromptu Feral Walls unit. Maybe their picks will fare better against the-

Nope.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dwarf Fortress, this is what it normally looks like; ass. The other screenshots are taken with a program called Stonesense, but it doesn't show blood or corpses. The d's are dead dogs, the w's are wolves, and the little 2's are body parts strewn about. One of those body parts is Miner Justin Currie's left leg. The wound could not be staunched in time. Sorry bro.

 Death Count: 1 (Justin Currie) – plus the four dogs I hoped to train into War Dogs to prevent exactly this sort of thing.

Setting the Yaks out to pasture among the scraggly grass and black sand (sand?) between the glaciers, I catch sight of… more fucking camels. I’m going to need some hunters. I think that, since the region between the glaciers is technically a desert, it spawns desert creatures. Like camels.

I have designated the caravan for deconstruction – we need the wood for beds, for we have no other materials. Without water and arable land to farm, nor shrubs to forage, my only hope is to breach the caverns below. Who knows what might await us there? Forgotten beasts of an ancient time? A subterranean civilization of frog-men? I send Austin and Nelson, my surviving miners, to rapidly dig straight down into the Earth. Nûmulshul shall bare to us her gifts! Hopefully before we all starve to death. The Cult is in no way prepared for this hasty descent, but it must be made.

Jamie Gib has become the Mechanic of Zaskidet. Levers are my first order of business, then locks on doors (and attaching said locks to remote levers). With these basic defences in place, perhaps I can lock whatever horrors await us in the depths of the caverns out of the belly of our fort. Bookkeeper Aaron Small looses a mighty war-cry and gets to work keeping the books. He locks himself in his office – his is the only room in the fort thus far – and begins counting. And counting. Without any books or quills he sets to digging his calculations into the stone of Zaskidet with his fingernails.

Patricia remains concussed; without a skilled doctor and a hospital, she will likely remain soft-headed for some time. It is almost as if the fog of this haunted place has seeped between her ears.

There they are, all huddled in The Pit. That big blue thing is the trade depot. Lara Foley, our Bromgev, has decreed trade with outsiders an 'acceptable sacrifice'. Please stop being crazy.

The first snowfall since our arrival threatens to freeze the Cult solid. Snow covers the unburied corpse of Miner Justin. As Spring turns to Summer, the hearty, worn and worried Dwarves of the Cult shiver in their halls and dig, always dig; for their salvation, for their God, for their insane Bromgev. But most of all, they dig because to stop is to die. The heart must beat, blood must flow through cold-constricted veins.

Progress is slow.

Next time: Summer! (Don’t worry, I won’t be doing this season-by-season for every post. But spring was… eventful.)

 If anyone else wants a Dwarf named after them, say so in the comments, and I’ll Dorf you as soon as I can. There’s not much room left, but migrants will come, I’m sure.

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One response to “Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part One: STRIKE THE EARTH!

  1. snarkangel

    December 14, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    Why is there a scorching desert – complete with camels – in the middle of a glacier? Does this make sense to ANYONE else?

    Maybe the volcano did it.

     

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