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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.

DEATH COUNT: 61

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.

Ho-

-ly

Shit.

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!

I WILL KILL YOU.

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

Yup.

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!

DEATH COUNT: 41

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.

Oh balls.

DEATH COUNT: 43

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?

DEATH COUNT: 46

STOP GOING OUTSIDE YOU FOOLS!

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.

Yup.

I hate you so much.

So.

Very.

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!

DEATH COUNT: 47

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?

Oh.

Fuck.

Next Time: The Fall of Zaskidet?
 
 

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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.

‘Kay.

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.

Awkward.

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.

Oh.

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.

Oh.

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?

Yes.

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.

Nah. CHARGE!

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.

Elves.

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!!

Ahem.

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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Smells Like Dwarf Fortress, Part Three: Winter is Coming

Skipping ahead now…

Mid Autumn, in the Year of the Forks 405

The snow has yet to stop. For nearly six months straight, nothing but blizzard after blizzard. Another Blizzard Man comes. Dent, dent, dent, dent, dent, dent dent dent dent dent dent.

I think the fog is creeping into my mind.

Speaking of fog; what should come shambling down from the heights of the Scintillating Ash and it’s glaciers? A yeti!

Yay.

Though many take the Yeti to be violent, demented beasts, some have been tamed (with great difficulty) and even integrated into Dwarven society. This can be attributed to their joyful and cheery nature; often they can be seen playfully tipping over workshops and accidentally crushing anyone working within. Many dwarves admire this warped sense of humour and the Yeti’s obvious love of beer, wine and spirits.

WARNING: The above may be misleading.

OH MY FUCKING GOD-OF-FORKS!

Ice Wolves are devastating. Blizzard Men are hilariously inept – the Feral Walls simply beat the Blizzard Man about the head and neck until he starves to death.

But this? Fuck me! Get everyone inside the fortress now!

I really need some swords!

With that goal in mind, it is time to set up some forges. Though the farms are not yet ready, we at least have food. Alcohol, on the other hand, is running dangerously short. Damn it Adrian! Get to work down there!

What’s that you say? A Giant Cave Spider.

Quote: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! End quote.

Yeti’s above. Giant spiders below. Bromgev Foley has surely led us to our doom.

Some might fear this place. Some might suggest flight, leaving this blasted glacier and its demon-spawn creatures. What are we, Elves? So cowardly we would flee, huddle and weep like babies? To the dissenters, I say we must remember Ulteg Umrek, Dragonslayer, the very Dwarf whose legacy we carry!

In the meantime, LAVA! A Dwarfs best friend!

Here it is, seeping down the tunnel I dug. Soon, it will be below the furnaces and forges, powering Zaskidet industry! Then it will be time to sword, and sword good. I am also moving the meeting area down here. Perhaps standing next to a lava flow will keep my Dwarves warm.

Late Autumn, in the Year of the Forks 405

Aaron Small, whom some of you may remember as my bookkeeper, has, for most of the year, been digging calculations into the stone walls of his room. Finally he has tallied everything in the fort. He won’t stop muttering dark words, and the shivers that run through his body tell of a far deeper cold than that of the ice and snow. He refuses to enter his room anymore.

As I creak open the heavy obsidian door to investigate a wave of air washes over me, like the fetid breath of a great slavering beast. The numbers, carved layer upon layer over themselves, drip with the blood of the poor bookkeeper’s torn fingers. In all the Ice Wolf commotion, I never did get him paper and pen. I look at numbers that seem to delve into the future, peering through the eyes of time. Even the date of Bookkeeper Small’s death is written here, yet still the numbers continue, cataloguing goods we haven’t even made yet. I hear a voice from beyond the walls, speaking of promised souls and damnation everlasting.

What has Aaron done?

(Fun fact: Once your bookkeeper has “done enough work” and stops working completely, even if he dies you’ll never need another one again as the books stay perfectly updated forever. Aaron has done such good work, he knows what stocks will be in the future, and can even take into account his own death. Smells like Dwarf Fortress.)

So far, both the Yeti and the Giant Cave Spider have stayed away from us.  Still, if they don’t bring Zaskidet to its knees, thirst will. Ice Wolf meat, while stringy and unsatisfying, keep starvation at bay, but without any strong farming underway, there is nothing to brew. Our alcohol-dependent little beardies are constantly ‘taking breaks’ as their blood-acohol level drops dangerously low. Soon, it will drop below the dreaded 2.2, and they won’t be able to work at all. To distract them from their impending sobriety, I draft a few more into the Feral Walls and arm them with the copper woodcutting axes I so pointlessly brought with me. At the very least, they might be able to fend off the terrifying Yeti should it tear down the fledgling walls about the Pit.

Thus far, the beast has stayed its wrathful hand. Instead, it pulls a Calvin and stares at the gates, hilariously inept.

Things are getting absolutely desperate on the alcohol front.

Early Winter, in the Year of the Forks 405

If you measure success by the amount of Dwarven blood coating everything, then this month has been hilarious. The Yeti finally decided to make use of his Building Destroyer 2 tag and tear down my gates. Tuvorn, Hildybritches, Jimmy Breau, Justin Currie, Adrian King and Jeff Copp have all died charging the Yeti. There are seven dead Dwarves, but over twenty separate chunks of Dwarf-parts. I locked the Yeti out with quickly-constructed walls. Unlike mechanic Jamie Gib, who nearly let a horde of Troglodytes in from the caverns with his sloth, mason Robyn Cross managed to build up a temporary wall; enough to send the blood-lusting Yeti – once white of fur, but now decked in scarlet red – wandering elsewhere. He’s still up there, snarling and shambling, scaring the Yaks.

Hilarious.

Bob Normoyle and Andrew Osborne have died of thirst. It seems the lack of water is a problem on this glacier. You’d think someone would lick the walls or something, but no.

Death Count: 10

 I am shitting my Dwarven pantaloons as the first of the brewable items is brought up from the caverns. I assign a Brew Drink job.

And all my barrels are full of Ice Wolf meat – no self-respecting Dwarf would put alcohol in anything else, and thus, they refuse, even unto their own demise.

We fought Ice Wolves. We fought Blizzard Men and Troglodytes. We’ve fought Yeti and seen giant spiders. We’ve survived a snowstorm that never ends, even in the height of Summer. All this, only to be undone by thirst.We’ve run out of coffins in which to place our deceased brothers and sisters. Even as I write this, my hands shake and stutter, my eyes grow droopy. Dwarves have taken to opening veins and drinking their own blood. I don’t know if that will work or not, but anything is better than nothing. Goodbye my friends.

Wait, what’s this? Bromgev Foley herself has moved to the still! I quickly assign the Cook Lavish Meal job from the kitchen; waste as much meat as you can, cook! FREE SOME FUCKING BARRELS!

SUCCESS!

 

The first barrel of alcohol does not even make it out of the still before being consumed, but holy shit that was so close oh my fucking God-of-Forks!

 

To celebrate, one of the Yaks gave birth. Yay.

Sadly, it was too late for Chris Picard, who stripped himself naked and ran raving through the halls of Zaskidet. I’ll have what remains of the Feral Walls keep him under watch.

Hah! Mr. Picard wandered into the room of the (now deceased) Aaron Small. Let his madness gaze upon the eldritch writings of our late bookkeeper!

MIGRANTS! Not enough to repopulate, but migrants all the same! I might just survive!

Death Count: 12 (Two migrants ran into the yeti)

 

Progress is slow.

Next time: Crawling out of the ass-pit I’ve dug myself.

(Yes, I realize I am probably playing Dwarf Fortress all wrong. I haven’t touched the game in almost eight months, and everything is VERY different from what I remember. For one, I’ve never run out of booze so fast, and I made sure to embark with extra.  I chose an all-evil, all-savage biome to start from. Without trees. Or water. I set myself up for an ass kicking. But it is so much !!FUN!!)

 
 

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