Category Archives: Dwarf Fortress

Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Ten: The Fall of Zaskidet

The Year of the Forks 410

Vile glacier-mists spread anew through the halls of Zaskidet, seeping into empty rooms, permeating the empty workshops. Blood and Dwarven viscera stain the walls and floors, drip from the ceilings. A tribe of Troglodytes fight Goblins for loot, scavenge what they can, and return to their cavern homes. Doors kilter off their hinges, rats run rampant, and the last Dwarf of Zaskidet throws himself from the Shrine and into the molten core of the Scintillating Ash.

The Cult of Forks is no more. The pilgrimage is over.

As Austin Jones drowns in magma, he thinks back on what he has done and laughs a mad laugh. After five years of torture, death and disease, it is over. No more will friends suffer and die under the mismanagement of ill-trained medical staff, or from the assault of giant maggots wreathed in flame. No more will the terrifying visage of Ishashstumäm haunt the sleep of family. They sleep their eternal sleep now.


All the Dwarves of Zaskidet. That long balancing act on the edge of insanity finally wore the Dwarves of the Cult down. When Austin snapped, he took with him the entire fortress. When the dust settled and the blood pooled, only he remained standing – missing an arm, and an eye, and a tooth, but he lived.

Then I abandoned what has been the most exciting, !!FUN!! fortress I have ever had the honour of playing.




Smells Like Dwarf Fortress.


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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Nine: Tantrum Lull, or The Quiet Before the Storm

Sorry for the long wait between posts. Not much of interest is happening in Zaskidet anymore, now that I have a military capable of fighting almost everything.

Spring, in the Year of the Forks 407

It’s the slowest tantrum spiral I’ve ever experienced, a plodding descent into madness, one-by-one. An underground Troll comes along to ruin my farms, the petty asshole.

Hey you! Get away from there! GET OFF MY UNDERGROUND LAWN!

I hate Trolls. Almost as much as I hate those pathetic Elves.

Seriously, stop wrecking my farms. It’s really annoying!


Death Count: 33 (Stanley Clone attacks Austin, who promptly wrecks Stanley’s day)

The tantrum continues, as does construction on a fancy-as-balls dining hall. Statues made by our master mason, Robyn Cross. Walls engraved by Jamie Gib and Justin Currie the Xth (where X is a hilarious number). Some tables and chairs of finely-wrought gold and silver, though most are simple stone – the gold and silver are being used for more important projects, like the Shrine, and fancy goods for the Bromgev – now that we’ve settled into our safe routine, Lara Foley is demanding a room fit for the Prophet of God. My first project, the Shrine, isn’t even finished, but I’ve started carving a giant mansion out of the mountain. It’ll be fun – and with the magma waterfall I intend to build, maybe even !!FUN!!

Here's the dining hall, rooms, hospital, and the well in the upper left, where all the cool Dwarves hang out. I also need to put a roof on The Pit. There is far too much snow inside Zaskidet. I do not approve.

And here is the Shrine (which really needs a better name. Leave suggestions in the comments!). A walkway, doors and floors and first-floor walls of solid gold! If God is not pleased with this, may he melt us all with magma.

Year of the Forks 408

Yes, that’s one whole year. I told you nothing interesting happened!

Oh wait, Death Count: 33

Ishashstumäm is still around. I nearly forgot about him. I’d like to say that my recently recuperated military had an epic fight against the many-blooded Yeti.

But they didn’t. They wrecked him. That was anticlimactic.

It was at this point that I used DFHack to clean up the map. No more bloodstains, no more Goblin bits and Dwarf vomit. My FPS was hurting, and I needed to get rid of the tracking of so many smears. I’m sad to see it go; it was almost like the Yellow Brick Road of Zaskidet. Except red. And made of blood. But it lead hapless adventurers and migrants through the glacial valley and to the Pit itself.

It will soon be remade, I think. Another Goblin ambush – easily dealt with. This time ’round, there are many more Gobbo bits than Dwarf bits. An improvement, I think.

Phase Two of my Increase My Playability Plan (IMPP) is melting EVERYTHING I’m not using. GET THOSE SMELTERS CHURNING!

Year of the Forks 409


Year of the Forks 410

THE FORGOTTEN BEAST TORMUK HAS COME! A great maggot composed of flame. It has a knobby trunk and it undulates rhythmically. Beware its poisonous vapours!

Fuck. Everything. Well, you wanted excitement? Here, have this MAGGOT MADE OF FIRE!

Luckily, I have not been slothful in the empty years. Send in the new-and-improved Feral Walls!


It seems Tormuk can break down doors. He got into the fortress and killed three Dwarves before the military slaughtered him – though to his credit, one of those Dwarves was my militia commander, so now I need to appoint a new one. Austin Jones gets the job, since he’s been giving a good showing lately.

The rest were killed in the subsequent tantrum spiral. I seriously need more challenge – this is getting ridiculous.


Oh balls.


More deaths, this time by Goblin ambush. Then another. And another. Three in rapid succession, killing a few Dwarves ont he surface. I send the Feral Walls, but their new captain is asleep, so the squad stays inside. The Gobbo’s laugh and laugh as they slaughter our defenceless Dwarves.

OH COME ON! Yeti, Blizzard men, Ice Wolves, two Forgotten Beasts, and we’re going to die to some GOBLINS? What is this nonsense?



That’s it, I’m locking every door. Zaskidet is in lockdown until Austin Jones gets off his sleepy backside and can lead the charge.

Still sleeping.


I hate you so much.




Because now you are awake. You see the Goblin horde – having now killed all of our Yak – milling about outside. You decide food is more important. After spending literally weeks eating, you decide drinking is also important, and spend weeks nostril-deep in wine and beer.

You’re fired. Jimmy Breau, take over. Show us what you’re worth!


Well, he at least got his squad to the fight, even if he failed to get himself out. Call it the Charge of the hilarious Brigade; Jimmy leads the way, straight into a veritable forest of Goblin bolts. There are enough bolts to equip an army – which is unfortunate, because that’s what we’re facing here.

Were facing here. Once the Feral Walls finally got their butts out the door, they ruined some Goblin flesh. Which is now decorating the glacier, top to bottom. It looks like Christmas – red and white.

It looks like boredom.

Wait, what’s this? Austin Jones has gone Berserk?



Next Time: The Fall of Zaskidet?

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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Eight: Sanity on Hiatus

After Christmas and a horrible, unending head-cold, I’m back! Happy New Years – and what an arbitrary date it is! Wasn’t the solstice a week ago? Why is New Years now? Why not February 1st instead – what’s so special about January that s/he gets all the attention? Doesn’t anyone love August? But I digress. Welcome back to Smells Like Dwarf Fortress: Tantrum Spiral edition!

Early Winter, in the Year of the Forks 406

Progress on the shrine has halted thanks to Ishashstumäm, that ferocious Yeti that stalks the glaciers. With Jeremy Banks – friend to all – now suffocating on his own throat, I need to make sure there are plenty of happy thoughts to go around. Statues and engravings are commissioned for meeting halls and bedrooms. With any luck, I can –

Bob Normoyle has gone stark raving mad!


That’s not good.

Anatomy of a Tantrum Spiral:

Bob punches Sam Cote before streaking down the halls, doffing his clothing and screaming gibberish.

Sam trashes a magma forge. It deconstructs right out from under Adrian King, who falls into the magma and… drowns? In magma? Smells like Dwarf Fortress.

Death Count: 23

Adrian’s husband Andrew Osborne goes berserk and kills a Peacock, the pet of Tuvorn.

Turvorn gets a strong unhappy thought, as do all the friends of Adrian King. For a moment, I think this is it. Then another ambush catches Bob Normoyle and Oleander out in the open. It couldn’t come at a better time.

Death Count: 25

From here, its ass-over-tits. While the military easily slaughters the Goblin ambushers, Ishashstumäm decides this would be a good time to wander down from the cliffs of the Scintillating Ash and ruin my day, killing an un-dorfed Dwarf.

Death Count: 26

Man, these Dwarves die fast. Good thing I’m pumping out so many useless copper goods, weapons and armours (as training for my metalworkers and smiths) – migrants tend to come in huge waves every time. Otherwise, Zaskidet would be a ghost-fort.

The spiral continues as more Dwarves go berserk. In the end, I sport a Death Count of 32.

Thirty. Two. Thirty-two dead Dwarves in two years. More than half of the Dwarves that have come to Zaskidet are dead, and my makeshift hospital is overflowing with wounded Dwarves. Most of them seem okay, but Jimmy Breau has proven to be a monumentally horrid choice of Chief Medical Dwarf – he keeps misdiagnosing minor flesh wounds. He’s probably amputated a few healthy limbs by now.

I re-dorf those I can, but I’m falling behind thanks to the sudden upswell of Dwarven deaths. Immediately, Bob Normoyle II is possessed. He’ll make a fancy artefact from his mood, but no boost to legendary in any skills. Stupid possession.

Almost simultaneously, the game informs me that I have discovered a magma pool. Zooming in on this pool takes me to an empty part of the second cavern layer. Hmmm… investigation ahoy!

In the meantime, Blllllizard Men! Two of them – plus Ishashstumäm, wandering about. Austin, following his macabre pattern, dislodges one of the Blizzard heads. The severed part sails off in an arc. The other Blizzard Man is soundly defeated moments later, while ferocious Ishashstumäm remains, still wandering the glaciers. He’s preventing work on the Shrine even now.

Bob snaps out of his mood, the possessing spirit leaving his body, it’s mysterious, unknowable mission complete; to create a completely worthless alunite bracelet called Shakethfullut the Torrid Rabble. Let’s take a look at it, shall we?

Holy crap, this spirit really likes alunite!

This is an alunite bracelet. All craftsdwarfship is of the highest quality. It is encrusted with alunite, decorated with two-humped camel leather (glad to see that getting some use!) and encircled with bands of alunite. It menaces with spikes of alunite.

On the item is an image of Thotil Elderchant the human and giant eagles in alunite. Thotil Elderchant is surrounded by the eagles. The image relates to the taming of the Giant Eagles of the Axe of Labours by the human Thotil Elderchant in the year 219 during the Journey of Thotil Elderchant.

On the item is an image of Shakethfullut the Torrid Rabble the alunite bracelet in alunite.

On the item is an image of Shakethfullut the Torrid Rabble the alunite bracelet in alunite.

That is not a typo. On Shakethfullut the Torrid Rabble is an image of Shakethfullut the Torrid Rabble. TWICE. IN ALUNITE.

Why so much alunite?

Actually, the Journey of Thotil Elderchant – particularly the Taming of the Eagles – is a common theme among the Cult of Forks. He’s engraved in the walls repeatedly, and Robyn’s best statues are of the event. I should check him out in the Legends screen sometime.

Here is the floor of the Shrine, finally laid after so very long. Soon, the Shrine will be built atop this gold-and-silver floor.

I need a name for the Shrine. I’ll be taking suggestions in the comments below.

The smiths and craftsdwarves: Foundations of Zaskidet Industry!

Food production and alcohol distilling: Keep Those Bellies Full!

The Pit and its walls: Keeping the Enemies of the Cult at bay!

The start of the Shrineroad, carved into the glacial ice and the stone of the Scintillating Ash: Praise Be to God!

The farms and the first cavern layer: The Hoary Depths of the Earth!

Wait, what’s that near Andrew Osborne? A… Hungry Head? I don’t know what that is, but GET IT AWAY FROM ME! I send the Inky Hatchets and Feral Walls at the vile creature.

It goes down like a bitch (however bitches go down – I’ve never been particularly clear on that one). If only Ishashstumäm would follow suit. Still, my tiny, injured army can do little against the mighty Yeti.

Another ambush comes along, but does little more than kill a few pets. With the recent tantrum spiral though, the fort may just tip over once again thanks to the wanton slaughter of all these Ewe’s and Cavy pups. HOW DARE THESE GOBLINS MOLEST MY CAVY PUPS!

To close out the year, the forts very first party is organized, by none other than Bromgev Foley herself. Happy New Year, you inebriated louts!

Oh wait, parties mean a dozen idle dwarves stuck in a room for entire seasons, doing nothing of any worth.

Progress is slow.

Next Time: Year Three!

Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Seven: Zaskidet Under Siegeish

Autumn, in the Year of the Forks 406

The fortress faces its first goblin ambush.

After Ice Men, Yeti and Forgotten Beasts, this almost feels anti-climactic.

The invading goblins seem inordinately interested in my Yak herd. So much so that Austin Jones, Justin Currie (the fourth!) and Jeremy Banks close to sword range against the Goblin Crossbowmen. An easy rout. Austin proceeds to thoroughly wreck their shit, killing every single Goblin. He has earned two infinitely perplexing nicknames: Clawarmour and… The Crab of Fissures.


I can’t seem to take any more screenshots of Dwarf Fortress itself, so I can’t show you the blood and body parts strewn about. They are everywhere. Dwarf bits. Yeti bits. Blizzard Man bits. And now Goblin bits.

A lot of goblin bits. I think every single goblin ended up in at least three pieces. Damn it Austin!

Though I may have fixed the alcohol shortage, I am still without liquid water. And injured Dwarves need water.  I send the Feral Walls to explore the caverns, hoping to find at least a puddle of some kind.

Work on the shrine has begun – sort of.

The observant reader might notice the Yeti that has so rudely interrupted work on the Shrineroad - a bridge and walkway made of solid gold, dangling over the pit of the Scintillating Ash. Looking at it in Stonesense, I realize it looks absolutely odd without some kind of pillared support. It just kind of... floats there. Fixing that is, I suppose, the next step.

Death Count: 19 (More nameless Dwarven workers fall to a Yeti)

Everywhere I turn there are more Yeti, more Ice Wolves, and more Blizzard Men. Dread Ishashstumäm – as the Cult now calls him – wreaks havoc on the building of the Shrine. Why God punishes us for our works, I cannot say. Perhaps more gold is needed to slake His violent jealousy. I shall build the Shrine entire of finest gold! No expense shall be spared!

Nor, it seems, shall we. Ishashstumäm continues his rampage across the high-topped mountains and glaciers around Zaskidet, killing animals and terrifying more Dwarves. The Feral Walls keep their distance – Ishashstumäm seems more fearsome than any faced thus far, and the Feral Walls are exhausted, injured, and hungry. They keep their vigil, attempting to draw the ferocious beast closer to the walls, where the Inky Hatchets – Moses and Jeff Copp – can pelt him with fine iron bolts from their Yak-bone crossbows.

Death Count: 20 (Nelson Lovestrom, torn to pieces by Ishashstumäm )

Fuck. Everything.

Austin Jones is made the leader of the Feral Walls – he and Bromgev Foley are the only two of the original seven remaining. Everyone else has died (at least once!).

Death Count: 21

I honestly don’t know what happened. I got a ‘Tirist Abdoreg has been struck down’ warning. Zooming in on the issue, he is… In his bed. Alone. Rotting. And no one seems to be in any hurry to bury him in one of the many coffins I’ve placed – seeing as there’s been so much death in Zaskidet. Only Tirist’s pet dog seems to love him; it hangs around in his room, soaking in the miasma his body exudes.


Ishashstumäm has taken a terrible toll on the Feral Walls, so I order the retreat. They need medical attention immediately! As Robyn Cross is now quite the skilled mason and stoneworker – but still absolutely unskilled in the medical arts – I set her to work carving statues and wall engravings. Since not one single Dwarf has one single medical skill, I guess I’ll foist the job on some unskilled rube, rather than waste the time and talents of my only worthwhile mason. Who should I choose?

Jimmy Breau! This feels like sound judgement! He promptly gets to work misdiagnosing injuries and suturing wounds that don’t exist.

Please stop being crazy.

In the meantime, I prepare to up the death count once again, but Justin Currie IV fares better than his predecessors and escapes the infinite wrath of Ishashstumäm by falling ass-over-tits down the mountainside. He survives though, the hardy bugger.

The second cavern layer has been breached!

There are underground trees here! With luck and caution, we might be able to start a logging industry and build some damn beds! The fortress has survived on only four of them this entire time. For forty Dwarves. I hope you like snuggling together!

Meanwhile, Jimmy Breau remains a faildoctor, and the Feral Walls remain inside the fort. Ishashstumäm continues to slaughter, not discriminating  between the tame animals of the fort and the wild camels that so infest our glacier. He seems enraged, endlessly howling as he kills and kills.

And Tirist rots and rots. I can’t bury him, I can’t even engrave a memorial for him. Smells like Dwarf Fortress!

Bugbats swarm up out of the depths of the cavern, but they don’t seem hostile. I keep my eye on the tiny buggers anyway, just in case. At least they aren’t Elves.

Snowstorm after snowstorm buffets the fortress as we head into winter. They almost seem expected now, blasé. I do so miss the sun.

While my attention was in the caverns, Ishashstumäm got hold of Jeremy Banks and brutalized the poor off-duty military Dwarf, leaving him a heaping pile of bloody flesh in the snow. The Yeti is driven off by the Inky Hatchets and their expert marksdwarfship, but I doubt Jeremy will survive the season. I visit the poor Dwarf in the hospital – which has recently seen something like a renovation. His head jerks about, gazing blindly at the walls, at passing Dwarves, at any sound that echoes in the rough-carved room.

Ishashstumäm took his eyes. And his left arm. And his right hand. And his left foot. And his upper lip. And his spine.

That last one seems pretty important.

Don’t think this absolves Jeremy of his duties as member of the Feral Walls. There are only forty of us to weather this unending, haunted place. No Dwarf may slack! Bromgev Foley stands over the bed of our butchered friend and says a quick prayer, splashing holy alcohol on his bleeding, tattered body. God will see him safe – in this world or the next. May he imbibe many barrels of ale in the hereafter, and bed many bearded women.

Slowly, day by day, Jeremy loses his breath. His lungs fill with fluid, his breaths come shorter and shorter. He was loved by many, the most social Dwarf of the Cult of Forks. I checked the relationships of my Dwarves, and Jeremy was friends of every single Dwarf in the fort. If he dies, his death may be the tipping point for a tantrum spiral – the Dwarves of the Cult in Zaskidet are… unhappy.

Memorial slabs are commissioned for the dead. Though they rest safe and free of worry in their fine coffins deep in the mines, I feel this does not sufficiently immortalize the actions of my bravest of Dwarves.

The Hall of the Fallen - soon to be adorned with memorials, statues and engravings. In the upper left, you can see the locked door leading to the caverns and the lever used to work the gate.

In the meantime, another caravan!

In the meantime, another ambush!

The combined forces of the Feral Walls, Inky Hatchets, and friendly Dwarves easily shatters the Goblin force, strewing even MORE Gobbo bits all over the glacier. It is serious gorefest on the surface.

Death Count: 22

Jeremy Banks has suffocated.

Progress is slow.

Next time: Tantrum spiral? Tantrum spiral.

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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Six: Oh shit!

Summer, in the Year of the Forks 406

And a Yeti!

Fuck. Everything.

 Then Jimmy Breau, his mind overtaken by the obscene circumstances – this monstrous siege of Zaskidet – snaps, falling into a Fey mood. He has been possessed by creatures beyond the veil!

I told you this place was haunted. I told you all. But would anyone listen? Nope. And now we’re besieged not only from the glaciers above and caverns below, but from within our very halls by the spirit-fog that never relents in this evil place! Jimmy takes a Craftsdwarfs Workshop, then runs into the rotten pile of bones and half-corpses that makes up our refuge pile, digging up a Yak bone. He then begins his profane work in mysterious secrecy.

If he is truly possessed by the fog of Zaskidet, he may need to be exorcized, culled from the halls of the fortress for the safety of all. So the Bromgev has declared – so it shall be.

In the meantime, let’s check in on EDI, our friendly neighbourhood Forgotten Beast.


So that's Edi. In my fortress. He has Bulding Destroyer, just like the Yeti.

Speaking of the Yeti, let’s see what it’s up to.


Here he is, wrecking my front gate.

And here's Moses, directly above, failing to crossbow the Yeti as there is a floor between the two. Balls.

Meanwhile, in the mines below:

Dwarven screams echo through the mines of Zaskidet, followed by the limbs of shorn bodies. Arms, legs, and more than a few fingers and toes litter the dark – and now damp – deep tunnels. Edi  Apufi Cavemi – Edi the Jackal of Servants – tears into the brave, undertrained militia of Crystaltalons, Nelson Lovestrom taking the worst of the assault. Still, he stands firm, piercing his iron pick again and again into the flesh of the twisted creature of the deeps. Not even the crashing of the gates above disturb the vicious  melee. Not even the rage of a Yeti ransacking the fortress proper will end this fight to the death. Screaming aspersion and hate, the Dwarves of the Feral Walls hack and tear into the ancient foe.

Nelson loses his pick in the stiff flesh of the monstrous beast, leaving him unarmed – adding his name to the growing number of Dwarves known to bite their foe in the heat of battle.

The combination of piercing iron picks and heavy silver warhammers quickly cripples the Forgotten Beast, but not before a young Dwarf is pierced through the heart and killed outright.

Death Count: 14 (an un-dorfed Dwarf)

Andrew Osborne, in a display of insane bravery, decides the industry of the fortress is more important that some quaint Forgotten Beast; so much so that Andrew figured stone-hauling was worth the risk of death.

It went very well for him.

Death Count: 15 (Andrew Osborne II)

Am I having !!FUN!! yet?


Nelson maintains an unbreakable grip on the Forgotten Beasts… *ahem* … lower body. He remains our most prolific killer – seventeen Wolf kills, plus Failburials. But it is Austin Jones who slays the fearsome Edi  Apufi Cavemi. He’s come a long way since fleeing a goat barely over a year ago. He also has ten other kills.

Poor Justin Currie has only one Wolf kill. It’s time to earn your keep, Justin, or you’ll be left behind!

Jimmy Breau has created Inirmerseth, a Yak Bone Helmet. All Craftsdwarfship is of the highest quality. This object menaces with spikes of Yak bone.

Thanks for the help Jimmy.

Now for that Yeti…

Death Count: 16 (Justin Currie III)

He didn’t even make it to the Yeti before dying of blood loss. Maybe I should pay more attention to my Dwarves needs.


Nelson strikes the Yeti down with the aid of Austin Jones and Moses, who, after the Feral Walls drew the Yeti away from the walls of the fortress, managed to land a few bolts in the Yeti’s chest.

Then a Blizzard Man comes along. How quaint. It falls easily to the properly armed Feral Walls, Austin removing its head. WITH HIS WARHAMMER. Damn, Austin, you sure do like removing heads with weapons that shouldn’t remove heads! Ever!

What a mess to clean up…

Speaking of messes, both Austin and Nelson seem to be bleeding everywhere, which is unsightly and an inconvenience to the workings of the fortress. I tell them to stop, but they don’t listen. Instead, they collapse into unconsciousness, the silly Dwarves.

Robyn, my newly-appointed Chief Medical Dwarf – the last one died somewhere along the line – tells me they should receive medical attention, but why would I listen to her? She isn’t trained in the medical sciences any more than I am! In fact, she has no relevant skills whatsoever. Her opinion is promptly ignored.

Sadly, my impromptu hospital from before is still functioning, and the lazy Dwarves decide bleeding in a hospital bed is superior to bleeding in the halls. They track smears and pools of their blood all through the halls to get into those beds

Damn there’s a lot of blood. Shouldn’t that be on the inside? Lazy Dwarves can’t even keep their life on the inside. Yes, they are the Feral Walls, Heroes and Protectors of the Fort – this only makes their failures all the more glaring. Should heroes not be held to a higher standard than the peons of the Cult?

I am adding Jeremy Banks to the Feral Walls – he seems to have at least some training in the use of armour. He can pick the rest up as he goes.

Get it? Pick? Because the Feral Walls uses picks as weapons.

I’m kidding. He’s getting a sword.

More migrants! Seriously people, I need more Dorf names. If you want any name – it doesn’t even have to be your name – leave a comment below. You can even have more than one!

Still no medical dwarf. Looks like Robyn is going to start diagnosing those injured warriors. This can only end well.

In other news, now is the time to begin our first project: the shrine to God atop the Scintillating Ash. First step, digging a stairway into the core of the mountain. Yeti and Blizzard Men abound.

Progress is slow.

Next time: Building a Stairway to Heaven!

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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Five: Out of the Ass Pit, Into a Blizzard

Happy New Year!

Spring, in the Year of the Forks 406

Holy crap, migrants! A lot of them. Twenty of them. I suppose word of the hell-hole that is Zaskidet has escaped to the world at large. And Dwarves are anything if not masochistic, as everyone knows. Or maybe these are just too damn sober for clear thought, and decided the barren north would make an excellent summer home. Either way, I lock them out of the fortress; I can barely produce enough booze for my current population. Adding twenty to that number will cripple the fort.

Or I would lock them out, had  the Yeti not destroyed my gates. Migrants come spilling in. Crap.

Not all is lost, however. Among the migrants is a Dwarf named Mosus (now Moses), a hunter and marksdwarf. We have the beginnings of a real military!

That said, this migrant wave brought an inordinate number of animals. Grazing animals. Where on a glacier/desert they are going to find grazing pastures, I have no idea. I have ordered the slaughter of all that are not pets, but this still leaves me with an abundance of animals to feed.

The Walls of Zaskidet, finally raised and repaired. Not very high, nor very foreboding, but walls nonetheless. Lets see those pesky Wolves face the might of Crystaltalons now!

Another caravan! We rush out to see what wares these new friends bring, but our souls sink at the sight of them.


Filthy, blasphemous, hippy Elves.

We steal everything they have – even the stuff we don’t want. They get al huffy and leave. Good riddance, and never return you foetid flotsam, you worthless stool-water scars of hells own asshole! LEAVE!!


A Blizzard Man wanders into the recently expanded pastures. Animals now graze over everything that isn’t ice – not much, considering the location. Sparse grasses poke up between waves of black sand. Perhaps I should let the Blizzard Man thin the herds of Yak and Oxen the migrants brought with them. Sadly, these are all the beloved pets of some Dwarf of another, and letting them die would surely tip the balance of this hungry, thirsting, angry population into !!FUN!! and tantrum spirals.

So out go the Feral Walls, as well as my newly-anointed Inky Hatches, consisting solely of Moses the Marksdwarf. Time to see how well they work together. Before they arrive, however, one of the Yak calves suffocates to death, its throat having been ripped out by the Blizzard Man’s claws. VENGEANCE SHALL BE WROUGHT!

Just as soon as Moses stops shooting Nelson in the back.

Austin Jones and Justin Currie, armed now with picks of iron instead of copper, easily reduce the Blizzard Man to chunks of ice. I was going to give them proper weapons, but they are my miners, and this way they a) already have training and b) are always armed.

This also means they do their mining in full armour. Smells Like Dwarf Fortress.

Fun side note: both Justin and Austin punched the Blizzard Man more than they struck it with picks, until eventually Austin Jones PUNCHED THE BLIZZARD MAN’S HEAD OFF. They are so used to being unarmed, they are legendary wrestlers, capable of deconstructing an elemental made of BLIZZARD with their bare hands. The picks still do better, however, and they will be deadly once truly trained. Still; PUNCHED HIS HEAD OFF.

Nelson is lying in my hospital while Robyn Cross removes the lodged copper bolt and sutures the wound. Nothing serious, but absolutely hilarious. Silly Moses.

Summer, in the Year of the Forks 406

THE FORGOTTEN BEAST EDI APUFI CAVEMI HAS COME! A towering feathered chameleon. It has a knobby shell and a bloated body. Its gold feathers are long and sparse. Beware its web!

Oh shit.

Stonesense can't even tell what the name is supposed to be. So great is the terror exuded by the Forgotten Beast that it glitches computers!

Progress is slow.

Next time: Oh shit!

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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Four: Mr Jefferson, Build up that Wall!

Late Winter, in the Year of the Forks 405

A pale blue fog drifts through the rough halls of Zaskidet, slipping into every corner and crack. The gibbering screams of an insane Dwarf echoes through the corridors and deserted rooms, the howling of great, slavering beasts above and below harmonizing to strike a chord of madness. The Pit, entrance to the once-hopeful fortress of Crystaltalons is blocked, walled by hasty constructions. Huddled in the cold, the last survivors of the Cult of Forks surround their life-giving Bromgev. Never again shall they doubt.

Never again shall they sin.

They have been tested by God. Those found wanting met their end by savage claw or maddening thirst. The Holy Still churns Dwarven Ale, distributing its life-saving spirits to the weeping survivors. Still cold, still hungry, now they have hope. God-of-Forks has tested them, and they have lived.

The False Prophet – the child Calvin Thompson – did not. The Yeti slew the young Dwarf, and Calvin’s screams were heard throughout the fortress. Some weak hearts were saddened by the death of the child, but most were overjoyed. No longer would they hear the blasphemies of this maybe-prophet.

Death Count: 13

Work began in the smelters and forges. Samantha Cote, Zaskidet’s undertrained metalworker, forged arms and armour from iron. What remained of the Feral Walls – Nelson Lovestrom and Austin Jones – were geared in true weapons. No more picks and fists, but swords. Bruised, bloody and broken, they took Cote’s fresh-forged weapons, donned her fresh-forged armour. No more would Zaskidet fear the Yeti, or the Spider. The Scintillating Ash would be cleansed by the wrath of God.

Suddenly, the wails above went silent – the Yeti, ending its infernal rage. The Dwarves of Zaskidet dared a peek above the Pit.

A caravan of Dwarven traders! What fools – what lovely, blasted, welcome fools – came this far north to make trade with a poor outpost? God truly smiled on the Dwarves of the Cult. The blocking wall was torn from its foundations and cast aside, and the last of the Cult stepped forward into the light. Some covered their eyes. Others, so unused to fresh air and wind, curled into balls, vomiting their last meal, weeping at their freedom. The foreign van looked upon thirteen emaciated, sickly dwarves, bloodied and bruised all, and whispered to each other.

What is this place?

They knew not the glories they passed – had not the words to express what they saw. Zaskidet sat outside the circle of the known. What happened in the fortress of Crystaltalons was not to be understood by those who did not share in the experience. It could not be known. The Cult’s suffering was endless, beyond comprehension. It transcended family bonds the way only plague and famine can – in the way of battered souls holding one another for comfort. They would never again be of the world about them. They forever stood apart.

In silence they watched the caravaners approached. Finally, the Bromgev approached them, bid them empty their wagons and spread their wares. The Cult had little to trade but the clothes of the dead, and what few gems had been smoothed by Justin Currie before his death. Hopefully, it would be enough.

Negotiations commenced. The visitors were immediately frowning as piles of clothes were thrown at their feet, stinking, torn and bloodied. Of the many hundreds of articles of clothing so unceremoniously dumped, a few caught the eye. A bauble here, a silken shirt there. Then the gems were brought forth, and these sparked real interest. A few copper weapons, made to train Blacksmith Cote in her metalworking, fetched fair prices.  Barrels were bought, along with every log these Dwarves brought with them. Zaskidet shall suffer no more.

As Lara Foley and the Dwarven merchant speak, a great howl rose on the wind. The Yeti returned to wreak its terrible wrath on the Dwarves. The merchant guards, alongside Nelson and Austin, charged the beast. Though armed now with hammers and swords and decked in iron armour, the Feral Walls were quickly shown what true warriors could do – the Hammerdwarves of Kulet Am lay the beast low. The terror it eked into the hearts of the Cult at last can be staunched.

Austin, however, did manage one amazing feat. Before the Yeti died, it knocked the poor Dwarf from his feet. Austin, his grip already impaired due to earlier injury, lost hold of his sword. But the Dwarves of Zaskidet are hard, even if they are untrained. And Austin had been with the Cult since its beginning; he would not back down. Not after the horrors of the past month. Blind with his inestimable hate, he leapt to his feet and tore into the beast with his teeth, piercing skin and even snapping the bones of the Yeti’s left hand.

To close out the year, another herd of camel wandered between the glaciers of the Scintillating Ash. The Dwarves of the Cult looked over these strange animals with undisguised hunger, tired of meal after meal of wolf meat.

And finally, finally, the weather cleared. The seven-month blizzard came to an end.

Progress is slow.

Next time: The new year!

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