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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Two: Heat Wave – haha just kidding, I hope you like blizzards!

07 Dec

Early Summer, in the Year of the Forks 405

In the dark of the never-ending blizzard comes another pack of Ice Wolves, bent on vengeance! They threaten our Yaks, having already taken our dogs. The Yaks may be our only source of food for a long time - milk and cheese, and perhaps even meat if straights are dire enough. To lose them as well... Send the Feral Walls!

Adrian King arrives first. Which is unfortunate, as he is unarmed. I recall him; though a Yak is frightened and flees up the mountain, the wolf does not chase it. To send Farmer Adrian against an Ice Wolf alone to save a Yak in no danger would be rank stupidity.

Battle lines are drawn at the foot of the Scintillating Ash (so shiny!), while civilians flee the wolf pack. Three Dwarves, two armed only with their copper picks, one totally unarmed, charge the Ice Wolves.

Through the snow and sand they rush, leaping thin grasses and uneven ground. Hares flee their mad charge, dashing from their holes and hiding places. Adrian pulls ahead of the others, tackling the first beast. Nelson and Austin range ahead, chasing down the rest of the pack. Copper lodges in skulls, tears ligaments. The Feral Walls scream their bone-snapping hate, descending upon Wolf after Wolf. Crimson life spills over snow, turning the black sand into a strange, purple mush underfoot. No Dwarf escapes unharmed; Nelson, bleeding but otherwise intact. Austin, suffering from intense nerve pain in his legs, nearly unable to walk.

And unarmed Adrian, alone against his Wolf, escapes with nothing more than a missing tooth. Barehanded, he gouged the Wolf’s eye, heaved and flung its canine body through the air, smashing it again and again against the hard, cold ground. Victorious, his chest heaving in exertion, he stands tall over the pulp that once was a terrifying Ice Wolf.

Another hard-fought victory for the Cult. Praise the God-of-Forks! Zaskidet’s honour remains.

And as they trek back home, exhausted and bloodied, the snows come to an end. After more than a month of unceasing blizzard, the Dwarves of Zaskidet have their peace. Now all they need is warmth, food, and drink, all of which are in short supply.

Mid Summer, in the Year of the Forks 405

We dig and dig, looking for the caverns we know are here. Bromgev Lara Foley says it is so! So we dig and we dig and we dig, endlessly down.

Sometimes, we find something worth diverting our attentions for – hematite for iron ore, or native gold. We will need goods to trade to any caravans that come along – though why any would venture so far north is beyond any of us. Bob Normoyle and Robyn Cross nearly came to blows over the most efficient method of exploratory mining. We do not have the time to be thorough, however; a small series of straight tunnels will have to be enough. I cannot help but fear that we might dig right past the caverns and unearth something more sinister in the bowels of Nûmulshul.

A wave of migrants! How dare these unbelievers stain the snow about the Scintillating Ash with their blasphemous boots! Nelson, you lead – nay, are – the militia! Strike them down with your copper pick! GOD WILLS IT!

Oh. They come to praise you say? Not spread heathen profanity? This is awkward. Fine, let them come, these believers. The Cult of Forks grows, swells its numbers. Perhaps we will not be alone in our endeavour. Perhaps there are some in the Mountainhomes who feel the weight of God-of-Forks on their souls.

Perhaps we can make a Mountainhome of our own.

Our first migrant decided to chillax with the Yaks. There were eight migrants, but this is the only Dwarf to just wander about the pasture. Is he hungry? Grass shan’t provide much sustenance for a Dwarf! Or is he touched in the head?

The migrants walk straight into a pack of Ice Wolves. It seems one of them is a warrior – not that I have any equipment to give him. He is quickly drafted into the militia, and the Feral Walls do battle once again. I can see it on their faces as they walk heavy-limbed from The Pit. They speak of a profound weariness, as if to say what, this shit again? Strange that gruesome battle can become so mundane. I’m sure the bone-numbing hunger is getting to them too. The Feral Walls close with these feral wolves right at the lip of The Pit. Adrian King is grievously wounded when a Wolf takes hold of his head and begins to haul him through the snow, much as he once did to the Wolves. Adrian begins screaming his hateful war-cries even from within the Wolf’s maw. Taking hold of the jaws, he pulls his head free, tearing skin and scalp from his skull. He then proceeds, in his battle-madness, to headbutt the Wolf to death, until Wolf teeth litter the ground about his feet. Though victorious, Adrian King lies broken and bleeding. Still there is no hospital. And even if there were, there would be no beds to place within, nor sutures and needles to care for our crippled Wrestler/Farmer. I know not whether he will live out the season.

Bloody Adrian and the Wolves. He’s the one glowing yellow, surrounded by wolf corpses - though he himself killed only one.

I have turned one of the three bedrooms into a hospital. At least Bloody Adrian can get some rest. There is no water to give him, nor supplies to heal him.

Another pack of Ice Wolves. Adrian remains bleeding on the surface, alone. I send what remains of the Feral Walls to the pack. They stand their ground between Bloody Adrian and the Wolves. Adrian attempts to crawl towards the battle, but by the time he arrives, the battle is over. The Wolves are dead.

And a Blizzard Man comes.

Late Summer, in the Year of the Forks 405

Calvin Thompson, the idiot dwarf wandering about the Yak pasture after the migrant wave, is not an idiot; he’s an idiot child, wandering slack-jawed among the great beasts. One tried to kick him, but he was sadly unharmed. Perhaps he has learned to fear the creatures, for he no longer stares stupefied at animals. Now he stares at walls. That boy is touched in the head, but the migrants claim it is he who led them to this place; his visions, and his guidance. Could he be a prophet? If the Bromgev is any indication, sanity is not merely superfluous to prophecy, it is outright antithetical.

Please stop being crazy.

The caverns! At long last, the caverns! Depressingly devoid of water, but there might be underground trees there, and the mud that coats the cavern floor could support crops!

For those of you unfamiliar with Dwarf Fortress, this is an insanely quick breaching of the caverns. Caverns can be !!FUN!!, though this is only the first cavern layer and thus unlikely to cause balls-tightening levels of danger.

I set Mason Robyn to work building walls. It’s time to lock those Ice Wolves out! Speaking of Ice Wolves, I may have a way to stave off starvation. There sure are plenty of Wolf corpses lying around…

But a new foe comes; Troglodytes boil up from the caverns, intent on rape and pillage. The Feral Walls have been stationed in the cavern mouth until defences can be set up. Meanwhile, a Blizzard Man wanders the surface near The Pit, while the whole fort trembles in fear of another Ice Wolf pack.

The Blizzard Man approaches the pasture, only to be struck down by the herd of Yak. Fierce kicks and rams bring the elemental humanoid to the ground. I leave it for dead. Keep this in mind, as it will turn out to be a mistake. I finally get those levers and locks from Jamie Gib – who nearly cost the fort with his sloth – and set up a fortified door beneath the fort. The Trog’s will never make it through! The Feral Walls return to civilian duty, unworried by the Troglodyte threat from below.

So that Blizzard Man apparently managed to get up after a long coma. Checking his status screen, every bone in both arms is broken, and his torso is, uh… dented. In about four different places. Kind of like Bloody Adrian, actually. Except the Blizzard man is made of ice, and therefore dents are marginally less disconcerting.

Adrian, however, refuses to enter the ad hoc hospital, opting instead to hang out with the rest of the idle Dwarves in the meeting hall. The blood staining his wounds goes well with the frost caking his flesh. He’s the lifesblood of the party, and everyone loves him.

I’m kidding. He’s ‘that guy’; the one everyone else stares at until he goes away, but he won’t so they keep staring and he’s oblivious so he strikes up conversations with people clearly uncomfortable in his proximity.  “Please go away,” they say with their eyes. But Bloody Adrian has gouged so many eyes, he refuses to look at them now. They haunt his dreams. Kind of like he haunts this party; like a caked-on nightmare smelling of rotten flesh. Smelling of Dwarf Fortress.

Please stop being crazy.

This is our meeting hall. It’s just where two walkways intersect. Fancy, I know. The rooms are carved out around the central section, but without beds there’s no point. From the walkway, one can see down to the layer below; I channelled the wing of each hallway, leaving suspended walkways.

It seems I underestimated the Blizzard Man. Having risen from his month-long coma, he descended upon my only unDorfed Dwarf, ripping him apart. Poor what’s-his-fuck, he won’t be missed. There is no time for grief in Zaskidet! But this is an affront I will not abide. Send the Feral Walls!

Death Count: 2 (UnDorfed Dwarf named Cog joins Justin Currie the First)

The great elemental beast stands its ground, waiting for the Feral Walls. It seems Stonesense has no idea what a Blizzard Man is; I like to think it's a humanoid/punctuation ice-monster hybrid.

Unlike the Ice Wolves, this is a sapient creature, and humanoid, though with great scales of ice for skin and sharp icicles for teeth. Its eyes glow red in the fog and blinding snow, but the Feral Walls do not relent. They charge, picks held high. Bloody Adrian is only now dragging his broken body from The Pit. Will he make it in time?

No.

Blows swing wide as the dented elemental flails wildly at Austin, Nelson, and Justin Currie the Second. In its exhausted, crippled state, it can do naught but suffer the copper blows of the Walls – which do little but add to the already numerous dents. This is a fight that cannot be won or lost. It shall drag on to eternity perhaps.

I really need some swords.

I’m getting a metric ass-tonne of cancelled job spam – the Yaks flee the Blizzard Man and leave the pasture, which prompts a Dwarf to dash out. I mean, what is life and limb when there are Yaks out of pasture! “Fuck sanity”, Jamie Gib says. “That shits overrated anyway. Asparagus.”

He then promptly pulls an Austin-and-the-Goat and flips shit, high tailing it out of there. As soon as he gets out of sight, however, he forgets what he was afraid of and, keeping in mind the importance of getting right back on the insanity horse, turns back around to return that fucking Yak to its pasture. And flips his shit again.

Smells like Dwarf Fortress.

The Dwarves, in their unyielding fear of this elemental stalker, have begun whispering a name; Unegostar – Failburial. I’m not sure what burials have failed, but it terrifies me nonetheless.

Or it would, if he didn’t keep falling unconscious under the blows of the Feral Walls.

Finally, Failburials, that haunting – if lacklustre – foe is felled. Investigating the kill records of the Feral Walls, I learn that Justin Currie II, despite his short service, has two Wolf kills.

Holy shit, Austin has ten!

 …

HOLY SHIT, Nelson has twelve and killed Failburials!

If I had medals, I would award them. If I had rooms, I would assign them. I have nothing but my thanks. Thank you, Feral Walls – a militia of untrained Dwarves. Thank you Nelson Lovestrom, for defending our lonely Zaskidet.

 

The fortress safe for the moment, I reassign the Feral Walls below ground, rooting out the Troglodytes and defending my fledgling farms.

Wait, where’s my farmer?

Oh right. Bloody Adrian. He drags his broken body down the hundreds of flights of carved stairs, descending into the bowels of Nûmulshul to get his lazy ass to work.

By the God-of-Forks, could you hurry up?

Progress is slow.

Next time: Autumn! (I promise I won’t do season-by-season! There’s only so much I can do with Ice Wolves – of which there were two more packs during Summer that went unmentioned. Also, over the three months, there was maybe a week of no snow. If Summer is nothing but blizzards, what does winter carry with it?)
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