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Monthly Archives: October 2010

(Woops! Almost forgot it’s Sunday! Not too late yet!)

8th of Lignite, 1058 Age of Myths

A few days ago Kol Tusungerush locked himself in the workshop. He had fallen to the craftsman’s inspiration. He was quite adamantly demanding that we deliver turtle shells and some sort of bones for him to work on. His vision was clear, and though Ekol the bookkeeper assured him that we had no such bones in storage he stubbornly refused to leave the workshop until items had been delivered to him.

We  decided to be wary and hope he settled down. This being an expedition into pacified lands we did not bring any weapon experts who could put him in place and have him face dwarven judgement for his foolish behaviour. This inaction proved to be Kol’s undoing as he yesterday broke out of the workshop and tipped over Amos’ lama. Amos was upset over this, but not quite as upset att Kol seemed to be. He was acting very erratic and constantly spoke to himself about some form of bone carving to appease whatever delusion that was tormenting him.

9th of Lignite, 1058 Age of Myth

Narm the carpenter tripped over Kol as he was bringing wood into the carpentry earlier today. This was a most unsightly event as the  whole debacle that ensued took several minutes to resolve before work resumed.

When one cog in the machinery malfunctions, so does the rest. Several parts of our meticulously planned tasks for the day were put on hold while waiting for Narm’s products. Why do we have plans when they cannot be adhered to anyways? A corpse is only a corpse. No amount of emotions is going bring it back. I resolved the situation as quickly as possible by ordering Errok the farmer to drag the corpse out to the dump. Wouldn’t want to spread any miasma around. And I also suspect he is slacking off while the crops need no tending. I know how much he hates the garbage dump and the smell of rotten turtle.  Serves him right.

Oh well, at least now we’ll have the materials the next time someone is in danger of going insane over needing to carve in a pile of bones.


4th of Lignite 1058, Age of Myths

I hear them knocking on the door.


I know what they want. I know the score. They don’t want me to finish my baby.

They don’t want me to finish my beloved. But I tell them. I tell them. I tell them what I need.

But they won’t bring it. They have it stashed somewhere. There are storage rooms below where we don’t go.

They must bring it soon. I must make it soon. I see it so clearly.


6th of Lignite, 1058 Age of Endless Laughter

They say we don’t have it. They say we don’t have the bones.

But I need those bones. I need them now. I must finish my job.

I can’t silence the laughter if I can’t finish it. They must bring it. They must.


7? of Adamantium, Age of Treason



Edit 1: This one is also before the sunday post, so it’s bound to be a little odd. Well, it serves to be some further instruction in how the game works:

Expedition four. Also known as the one where Kol went mad after having locked himself in the craft workshop.

This time playing Dwarf Fortress with the wiki tabbed down in the background I came prepared to answer most questions that could arise. Having already whetted my appetite and eager to come back for more I set off immediately. The fourth expedition came equipped with miners, masons, craftsmen, carpenters, cooks, etc. Most of the dwarves doubled in a couple of roles. It would be needed to set up the initial settlement.

Having been around the ropes for a bit I sorted out all the woodcutting and plant gathering immediately. I let the miners dig their way into the mountain and make the first part of the settlement. On the left in the above image is the masonry and the soon to be smelter. The smelter will not be operational until quite some time into the game, due to lack of charcoal and furnace operators. But it was there at least. An affirmation of this settlement’s determination to not vanish. Immediately to the right of the cavern entrance is a storage zone. It was designated to store rocks like the storage space to the right. When the miners dig their way into the mines they leave rocks behind that the other lazy jobless dwarves can haul off to some storage area or for the garbage pit. Having a craftsworkshop just above the stone storage unit means the dwarf responsible for the workshop can get materials quickly for his work.

After getting production rolling I needed somewhere to store all the finished goods. When the trade caravans came rolling in in Autumn I would need to be able to trade stuff for an anvil to get my metalsmith making some armor and preparing a militia. With the need for storage of various things I built a warehouse by the expedition cart. Which is also the place where the lama hangs out. The warehouse had a food storage and kitchen attached to it. These would later be destroyed to move all storage into the mountain. Our dwarves wouldn’t want no thieves to come and steal all their stone cups. The roaming elephants could also prove to be a problem. Having only one dwarf able to wield an axe with the intention to kill could be highly problematic if the elephants decided to stampede through the outer settlement.

Having finally made the settlement somewhat self-supporting there were a need for fresh blood. A furnace operator would be swell. And well, other kinds of people would be great. Finally some people came.. Among others a dwarf named Kol Tsungerush

*remember, this post was written before the gravy*

*having already posted the Sunday post, this one in its pre-written state might be a bit redundant, so might even the next post be so I’ll post it tomorrowtoday aswell.*

Expedition Two, also known as the one with the wrong people in the right place.

So, this time I came equipped with the knowledge of how to assign skill points to the dwarves. While this is all swell and dandy, I didn’t actually know what I’d be needing. This is how it went. Seven dwarves. One lama. And one War Dog.

The expedition had one miner, a cook, a trapper, a mason, a carpenter, a woodsman and a farmer. This time I resorted to the in-game tutorial for hints on how to make them work. It’s a bit wonky in the beginning. There are a ton of keys you need to be aware of. You have to designate areas for cutting wood, gather plants, mine, etc. It’s all pretty shady in the beginning, but you get the hang of it fairly soon. So, it wasn’t long before my woodsman stopped loitering by the cart and finally decided to do something! My miner started picking out the first little burrow. It was pretty awesome.

With the wood I had gathered I made a house too! I made it into a carpentry. That’s where the carpenter dwarf would endlessly toil  at making beds and doors for the burrow. I now know, though, that the building lacked a roof. Sure was lucky no rain came during the second expedition.

With the carpentry in gear I had started to get some beds and other necessities going. So I could finally start making my burrow inhabitable! I also made some new workshops. And of course craftworkshop. That damned craftworkshop. After I started construction of it I realised that I actually needed a craftsman to finish it. I didn’t know it at the time, but you can assign a dwarf to do anything, really. It’s just that they’ll suck at it without training. But I didn’t know it so I thought it was all over. This expedition was doomed to fail. So I abandoned it. I tweaked my seven dwarf lineup. And soon a third expedition was on its way. This expedition left the designated site immediately after arriving. But the forurth one…

Saucy times again!

At the time of pre-writing, I have been playing Dwarf Fortress non-stop since I sent out my first expedition. This despite the fact that I rebooted my Company of Heroes campaign. Anyone who has tried Company of Heroes will know that it’s a great game. Awsome in fact.

(Pro-writer tip No.1: Cursive writing makes words seem more  important)

And yet I have been playing this ascii game for all of my free time. Today I managed to force myself to stop playing sometime at midnight. Though I have to admit I played for just a little bit more to build a brewery and assign a brewer. Dwarf Fortress is a veritable black hole of time draining. When I was putting pizzas into the oven earlier today I set the timer to 13 minutes. These 13 pizza minutes usually feel fairly long. Meaning I have time to do some serious internet browsing. But when I sat down to play DF while waiting it felt like it took only a heartbeat before the alarm went off. I thought to myself “What the fuck? I just set the timer..?” But no, I was just consumed with trying to keep the goblin thief from kidnapping one of the babies.

I well enough understand that most people will look at this game and only see the interface. A block of grass, a block of stone, a block of stone, a block of dwarf, a block of armored dwarf, etc. It’s a shame. Because when you begin to scratch the surface of this complex, unforgiving, fantastic game, you realize that it’s one of the best games ever. Fully knowing how subjectively fucking insane that sounds I hold firm to this notion. Dwarf Fortress is an amazing game. The tag-line is “losing is fun”. Partly because there is no winning. And partly because you’ll fail. And you just have to be able to find the fun in failing. Here’s something I ripped from the DF wiki to illustrate this:

“A free dwarf will get assigned the job of pulling the lever. This dwarf might be a long way away, and the delay in pulling the lever can result in fun.”

“There is no built-in indication of what a lever does, and pulling them to see what will happen can be immensely fun.”

What I’m getting at is, if you can’t see the hilarity of accidentally flooding your fortress and wiping out fifty lives, then you’re probably not very good company on a desert island.  These things that tend to happen are kind of part of how a Dwarf Fortress game characterizes itself. The very infrastructure of DF is one that doesn’t give you any clear-cut goals to pursue, but provides probably the most amazing framework ever for making  its own stories. Like the one where Kol Tsungerush went mad after having locked himself in his craftsworkshop. Or the one where the fortress broker tried to sell crafted goods to the merchant without the merchant having a chance to make a profit, resulting in an insulted merchant and a dwarf settlement without their much needed anvil. Or the one where the militia commander started hoarding various random items from the public storage in his own room, and calling them his personal belongings.

They weren’t his personal belongings. And as I resume the pre-writing of this post he has filled the hallway with his personal belongings. He is now also the proud commander of 9 dwarven defenders. All fitted with steel armor and weapons. They’re currently hard at work training in the barracks. To spice up the training I decided to steal an idea from off of the internets. Training in Dwarf Fortress is mainly done by repeating tasks. I.E if you’re an armorsmith you will train your armorsmithing skills by making armor. Armor-usage and dodging is trained in a similar fashion where the dwarves have to be put in situations where they get hit and have to dodge. Hence I made their barracks into a danger-room with spike-traps emerging from the floor. To operate these traps I have assigned a jobless dyer to pull a lever constantly to make sure the militia is properly harassed. I just wish that the militia personnel don’t get any funny ideas like having children or getting pets. Because if they bring the children or the pets inside the danger room it will result in fun


Fun happened in the danger room after writing the previous paragraph

Dwarf Fortress has a nigh perfect formula. But I guess it requires a lot from the player. It’s not mainstream and it probably won’t ever be. But it’s a game that simulates a dwarf fortress to perfection. My next plan is to capture live elephants and make them into war elephants. I have a feeling that the goblins will be knocking on my gates soon. And in a proper paranoid fashion I’ve made ballistas and directed them at the main fortress entrance. After this fortress is in so much fun that I’ll have to abandon it I think I’m gonna make a dwarven scouting expedition in Goblin territory. That way I’ll be in for a lot of fun. You should go ahead and have some fun too. Dwarf Fortress is free.