The Hammer of Damocles

I call my fortress “Hammertime.” All my military dwarfs, except the archers, use hammers.

Also, my dwarven empire is ruled by a vampire, who has ruled for over 50 years, and has no doubt murdered countless innocent dwarves. Our goal is to become the mountainhome and bring the queen here. We will create a throne room of the likes never before seen on The Future Planes. The centerpiece will be a massive silver hammer suspended above the throne, representing the wealth and might of Hammertime. When the foul vampire takes her throne, the Hammer shall taste blood for the first time.

Hammer-of-Damocles-TVH-DFStories

The Great Hammer of Damocles by TaranVH

I started preparing by building her throne room and quarters, a grand throne room deserving of Nilashok, though certainly far more than the filthy bloodsucking witch deserves. Above the throne is the hammer: A 5x5x4 solid block of silver walls, held up by a single support linked to a lever that can be pulled upon my whim. I like to think of it as my own variation of the Sword of Damocles.

In the spring after I finished my preparations, she finally arrived – Cerol Degerith, Vampire Queen of the Pages of Murdering, along with her Vampire King Consort. I knew I had to get them both under the hammer. I checked the bloodsucking witch’s profile, checked her kills. She had accumulated well over a thousand kills, all of them dwarves. If i had any doubts before about the righteousness of my cause, they were erased right then; Cerol had to die.

I put a burrow in the queen’s throneroom, at the area under the hammer. Just to make sure, and I put the King Consort into a squad, so I can be certain he was under the hammer as well. Luckily, it worked, and they both took their places under the hammer. It was time to put my plan into action, it was time to end the bloodsucker’s madness, it was…

Hammertime!

I ordered the lever to be pulled, and who else arrived to pull it but the Duke, who was the original expedition leader. It’s as though killing the queen was his idea, not mine, as if he founded Nilashok just for this moment, so he can avenge the hundreds of innocents who perished to slake Cerol’s unholy thirst. He pulled the lever, the hammer dropped, and the filthy bloodsuckers were crushed to death.

I do not know what the future holds for Nilashok and the Pages of Murdering, but I know that I will rebuild the hammer, so that if a new king or queen comes to Nilashok, they will have to sit under the hammer, and be reminded of their place.

It’s now been over a year since Cerol’s demise. We haven’t had any contact with the Pages of Murdering since – not even a caravan – and as far as we know, they still haven’t picked a new monarch. I’m wondering if the power vacuum I created started a civil war or something.

Written by Battlesheep

Illustrated by Taran



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The Crimson Pyramid

You know, I’ve run a fortress like an Aztec cult before.

I don’t know how it all got started. Maybe it was when I noticed how fun it was to drop  an elf invader 20 Z-levels and watch the explosion paint the walls red, sending little peasants scurrying to clean up the gore. Maybe it was when I renamed my philosopher’s profession to “Priest” and then “High Priest.”

I definitely know where it went. Some urge made me create a sort of sacrificial pyramid that stretched fourteen Z-levels to the heavens over the rest of my fortress. Each section was engraved with all sorts of horrific events, as the local legends seemed to revolve around the wounding of some dwarf when he tried to fight a cyclops and got his arm ripped off or something, not to mention all the inhumane atrocities committed by the little buggers. Needless to say, when the temple was finished, it was covered from top to bottom in pictures to rival any glowing pit. I was quite content with my little megaproject.

red crimson pyramid aztec dwarf fortress

But that was only the start. Now, to understand this setup, you have to understand the layout of the fortress itself. The temple was constructed at the center of this open-sky fort, where I had also designated the meeting area. Around this, there were several nobledwarf’s and legendary’s houses and a few grand dining halls and such. A small wall separated this section from the larger, more industrial area of the city, and finally open-air farms ringed the walls that were a good 3 levels high and patrolled by 2 squads of marksdwarves. The lower class living quarters, which consisted of 2×1 squares with a door and a bed, the magma-fueled steel foundry and the barracks were all underneath the city, where the miners toiled all day long and the noise and heat were unbearable. Mind you, these hellish subterranean apartments were located just below the grand temple.

Now, one day, I decide that I want to see an goblin explode in the middle of the town square, so I order that a cage be dumped at the top of the temple (which, of course, had a 3×3 notch in it designated just for that purpose). So my will be done, a little metalcrafting immigrant dwarf climbs to the top, releases the doomed prisoner, and watches as the goblin’s guts spray all over the 10+ idling dorfs.

He immediately goes insane, and produces a steel-gold-silver-aluminum monstrosity of a chair that’s worth millions of dwarfbucks. Apparently, Armok was pleased with my sacrifice.

So I test the system. Every time a peasant gets sick of the hell-pit they live in and goes berserk, I sacrifice an invader. Every time a dwarf screams for shells and crystal glass, I sacrifice. Every time a noble mandates a steel-plated bedroom, I sacrifice.

And it works. Like a charm. A bloody, gored-smeared charm.

Soon, I realized the necessity of these near-weekly offerings, and how the sadistic dwarves seem to love them. I installed grates to allow the blood and guts to splatter down into the lower levels, staining the living quarters crimson. The king bathed in carmine near-daily, spending all his time in the meeting area. The subterranean river runs red with gore, and the nobles demand mandates of ruby and bauxite and hematite to visually satisfy their thirst. The engravers are going mad with all sorts of demonic pictures, and the temple itself is stained.

I loved it. I loved every siege, for it meant more sacrifices. I murdered the human caravans so that they might fall into my traps. I provoked the wildlife into my snares. I would have Armok be exalted by my worship.

Soon I realized the madness, soon I realized the sanguine path on which I tread. I watched as the streets ran red with blood, as the mines flowed with red rivulets and dwarves went berserk with bloodlust. I realized what I must do.

I saved the game, removed an old 512 mb USB drive from my desk, and copied the file to its barren memory. I then deleted the original from my hard drive, took the stick to my back yard, and buried it.

As far as I know, it remains there today, slowly polluting the ground with its thirst.

- Author unknown

The Story of Idenzatthud

Idenzatthud, also known as “Paddlejungle,” was glorious in my eyes.  It’s the best fortress I have ever created, mostly because it’s the only fortress I have ever created.  I plodded along, adding workshops and areas as I realized their critical importance in the game and trying to figure out what the heck you were supposed to do in order to get a military and a hospital up and going.  I even found time to smooth out a great hall in preparation for any epic acts that I could engrave on to the wall.

Oh we had goblin attacks, sure.  My effective tactic was to let my utterly worthless immigrants take their tools and mob the goblins until I won.  This had the benefit of free armor and a good way to cap the population.  And for a while, all was happy and kind of boring.  That is, until I learned of glorious, glorious, magma and all of its wonderful uses.  I had to have it.

After digging down about 122 levels, I found caverns, which I promptly walled up in order to not have to deal with them.  As it is with dwarves, of course one of my miners was stuck outside the walled in staircase and started to wander around the cavern until he died of thirst, I was disappointed at the loss of a pick, but oh well.

A few in-game months later, I finally found the magma sea and mined into a pillar so I could reach down to the magma and run a channel to make my magma furnace placement easier.  It was going pretty well, and I started reading about channeling on the wiki to see what I could do with it.  At about the exact point when I noticed that I shouldn’t do exactly what I was doing, my expedition leader mined out the last rocks holding back the molten rock.

I didn’t really see what happened, because of all the smoke, so I thought he might’ve escaped, until I noticed some oddly colored magma. It was molten copper.  Izen had a copper pick.  I quickly switched out his coffin for a memorial slab. Close enough, I suppose.

I set up the forges and started building copper armor and swords for my to be military. (My dwarves weren’t appreciating all the migrant deaths.)  After I sold about 200 mugs to a caravan (“I went to dwarf fortress and all I got was this stupid mug,”) I was feeling pretty good about myself as everything was in perfect order.  Then we got hit by another goblin ambush.

Before, these guys were no big deal.  My migrants with picks and axes could take them on with heavy casualties, but they still won fairly easily.  These goblins were different.  They had steel armor, flails, swords, and battle-axes and they knew how to use them.  I was feeling pretty cocky and sent my two full squads which had literally started training two days earlier, as their armor and weapons were being produced.  They stood no chance as the invaders cut through them like a scythe through wheat.  Blood was splattered all across the front of my fortress.

I panicked and raised the drawbridge, promptly launching one of about 60 idle chicks through the air to its death.  The goblins had no way inside, so I just had to wait for the armor and weapons to be made.  In short order I had two more full squads (with copper armor and weapons this time) waiting by the raised drawbridge in preparation for attack.  There was only one goblin outside; the rest were wandering the countryside killing my chickens.  I lowered the drawbridge and charged.

I watched in horror as about 10 seconds later, the goblin emerged from the blood and corpses completely unscathed.  I immediately ordered my drawbridge raised, but of course the bridge only was raised after he had run well past it, locking my remaining 30 dwarves inside with him.

At this point I had given up, and I ordered the great hall to be engraved so that hopefully some history would remain.  As the goblin gleefully chased my terrified dwarves and puppies down the halls, the fortress eventually grew silent, except for in the great hall.  One dwarf remained, and of course it was a noble…

This noble figured he’d try his hand at engraving, so I watched him engrave a few walls, and then the goblin found him.  The noble tried to run but the goblin just splattered his brains across my beautifully smoothed flooring.  At least he finished a few engravings.

The first thing I find he engraved was a circle, with no decorations or anything.  I viewed his other engravings and found two more circles, two engravings of reeds (which didn’t exist in the biome my fort was in) and two engravings of giant Axolotls (which have never existed or been relevant to my fortresses history.)

How incredibly anticlimactic.

So ended the story of Idenzatthud, a fortress whose downfall went unrecorded due to one noble’s artistic deficiency.

The Tale of Shit-Sack

I, Ib Reksasolthez the Weaver, have begun this record of events to share with those who come after the tale of the downfall of the once-mighty fortress Atirshistsak.  Or, as some of us called it, “A Shit-Sack.”  I was not much more than what you’d call a “dabbling” writer, but having little else to do, I studied several fine books on the subject in the vacant halls of our library before setting quill to page, so that my account could be more legible.  I have set the events down as true to my memory as possible.  You will note that this diary is being written on the finest of vellum.  Why not?  There’s no one left to scold me for being wasteful.  The librarians are all dead.  The broker is dead, so no one will ever even know how many pages of this fine, soft vellum I have wasted with my scribbling.  Even the Mayor is dead.  I suppose I can be the Mayor now…  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

14TH OF GRANITE, EARLY SPRING, OF THE YEAR 527

Today is, I hope, to be the day on which I finally determine the sex of the skilled jewelcutter dwarf, Catten Agdobar, who works in the shop across from my loom.  Catten came with the latest wave of migrants, and has no family living in Shit-Sack.  But with that soft, luxurious flowing beard, those delicate, adept hands, and those broad, muscular calves, Catten, just *has* to be female, right?  If Catten turns out to be another male, I’m going to have some very strange feelings to sort out…

An Elven caravan showed up today.  Those bastards.  Why do they even bother anymore?  They have almost nothing we want or need.  I think the broker has just been continuing to trade with them for the sake of honing his trading skills, and getting rid of useless trinkets that are cluttering up our fort, which somehow seem to make the days drag by with amazing slowness.  I guess maybe all that time clambering over all of the goblets slows us down.  Anyway, the Tree-huggers showed up looking pale and shaken (even more pale than usual, if you can believe that) babbling about a massive horde of goblins they saw off in the distance on their way.  I hope they don’t try to use that as an excuse to stay extra long.  We didn’t think much of it, as our military is mighty.  They are lead by a couple of legendary hammerlords and macelords, and are equipped in the finest of steel armor and the sharpest of steel weapons, forged right here in Shit-Sack by our very own legendary smiths.  That’s more than enough to deal with a rabble of goblin scum, right?

16TH OF GRANITE

An ambush!  Curse them!  Today I was finally going to come out and ask Catten if he/she had a stalactite or a cavern under those leather trousers, and the goblins decided to show up.  The Captain of the Guard announced a civilian alert, and now everyone is scrambling around in a panic, and I can’t even find Catten.

17TH OF GRANITE

Today, things got serious.  All five squads of our brave, invincible military were lined up just inside the entrance, just out of sight, waiting for the pitiful rabble of goblins to stumble through our extensive field of traps before heading out to do clean-up duty when the reports starting to rush in, one after another: more goblins had been sighted.  And more.  And more, and more.  This was no measly raiding force, this was an all-out invasion.  They were coming at us from 4 different directions, riding beasts of war.  Reports varied, but the general consensus was that we were facing a horde of over threescore goblins.  A force like this had never been seen before in Shit-Sack.  I have done some digging through the library, and I can’t find a record of a force this size being seen by any fortress in recent memory.

Our original plan was to remain out of sight, let the traps do their work, and then let the Elven caravan guards get slaughtered, hopefully taking a few of the goblins out in the process, before charging out to meet the enemy on the field of battle.  But then we received word that a group of civilians were trapped on the outside, having apparently ignored the civilian alert.  They were running to and fro, panic stricken, along the southern border of our lands.  His face grim-set, the Captain of the Guard ordered the squads forward…

18TH OF GRANITE

It was all in vain.  The enemy were far too many, and far too organized in their multi-faceted assault.  Their fearsome drow-spiders webbed many of our warriors right at the first clash of steel upon steel, decimating our forces.  The trapped civilians were slaughtered, along with all five squads of our military, to a man.  And we’d barely made a dent in the enemy forces.  Hastily, the mayor ordered a few squads of untrained civilians to take up weapons and gather inside the fort’s entrance, falling back to our original plan of letting our traps, and the elves, do the work for us, but the enemy still outnumbered us nearly 2 to 1.

19TH OF GRANITE

The plan worked, but just barely.  A sizeable force of goblins broke through our deadly weapon traps, smashed the Elven caravan, and rushed through our last-ditch line of defense of cage traps littering our entrance, to meet the untrained, fearful, hastily armed militia in a slobbering, howling, bloodthirsty frenzy.  The battle was short, but intense.  Only a meager handful of dwarfs survived, and most of those were gravely wounded.

28TH OF GRANITE

Things are looking grim at Shit-Sack.  Our once-mighty fortress of over a hundred dwarfs has dwindled down to less than a score, not counting the vermi- I mean children.  Tempers are flaring as dwarfs release their anguish over lost loved ones and the horrors of battle in the form of violent tantrums.  The wounded and injured are dying, one-by-one.  Some are bleeding to death from lack of medical care, but most are simply dying of thirst, as the tantruming dwarfs refuse to bring water to those who can’t walk on their own.  More dwarves get wounded every day as fights break out, and as things stand in Shit-Sack right now, a wounded dwarf might as well be a dead dwarf.

12TH OF SLATE, MID-SPRING

The worst is over now, if that can be said, if only because there is no one left alive aside from myself, 9 children, and one other adult dwarf, a useless moron.  He’s (it would be a “he”, wouldn’t it? I had hopes of single-handedly repopulating the fort…) a completely unskilled peasant named Melbil Mat.  Melbil was a hauler before the goblins came, and was so deep underground that everything was over by the time he finally finished dragging a lump of Schist up the hundred or so flights of stairs to the stone stockpile.  We used to tease him back in the day, and tell him that if he worked hard enough and hauled well enough, he might someday become a noble, and claim the titled of Master Hauler.  I try hard to avoid him, but he caught me in the dining room having my breakfast rum this morning.  This was our conversation:

“So Ib, you’re the Mayor now, right?”

“Yeah.  What do you want?  Oh, and that reminds me – as my first act as Mayor, I shall issue a mandate against the exportation of goblets!  Because why?  Because screw this fort!”

“That’s nice Ib…  Say, when did we vote you in?”

“Ahh, er…”  My eyes darted around.  “It was last Tuesday Melbil, don’t you remember?  Ohhh, that’s right, you were busy hauling, so you got marked down as ‘abstained’.”

“Oh…  Well I guess that’s fair then.  Well, since you’re the Mayor now, that means you can appoint me to the Master Hauler position now, right?”

“What?  Oh.  Yeah, sure kid, whatever you want.”

“Oh thank you thank you thank you Ib!  This is the happiest day of my life!”

At this point, my eyes gleamed with a sudden inspiration.

“But Melbil, are you sure you’re ready for all of the extra duties and responsibilities that the Master Hauler position carries?”  His face fell.

“What extra duties, Ib?  No one’s ever mentioned extra duties…”

“Well sure there are extra duties, Melbil!  You don’t think becoming a noble is all fun and games do you?”

“Well Ib, I couldn’t help but notice that once you became Mayor, you helped yourself to the noble’s stockpile of exquisite lavish prepared meals and wonderful booze…”

“What?  Oh, that.  Kid, with just the two of us, there’s enough of that stuff to last us both for many seasons to come.  Help yourself.  Now about those extra duties…”

“Yeah?”

“The Master Hauler is responsible not just for hauling, but also for: burial of the dead, cleaning, feeding the animals, disposing of remains, fertilizing the fields, farming…” I racked my brain for any other jobs that I hated. “…and doing the Mayor’s laundry.  I can’t believe you didn’t know all this, kid.”

“You can count on me sir!  I’ll be the best damned Master Hauler this fort has ever seen!”

“I just bet you will, kid.  Now, about that laundry…  You make sure not to lose any of my socks, okay!”

“Yes sir!”

22ND OF SLATE

The kid isn’t doing so hot with the burying of the dead.  It’s been nearly a month, (the days are just FLYING by now, with no one around to get in my path) and rotting corpses still litter the fields in front of our forts.  It’s not all his fault though; we quickly ran out of coffins, and these delicate weaver’s hands were absolutely NOT made for chiseling lumps of rock into coffins, so it’s very slow going.  You make a mistake with the loom, and you just unravel the thread and keep going.  Make a mistake with a big hunk of rock, and it goes in the “to be prospected” pile and you start all over.

But I have to work faster.  The ghosts are appearing.  Ghosts everywhere.  I creep from silent, haunted corridor to silent, haunted corridor, trying to avoid notice.  At first it wasn’t so bad, it made the fort seem a little less empty, but now they are getting angry.  Objects are disappearing, and yesterday one threw something at me.

28TH OF SLATE

I threw my first tantrum yesterday, though I must say it wasn’t my fault.  I was…possessed by the ghost of my erstwhile crush Catten.  I believe that she (yes, SHE, of course) found my diary, and became angry at me for never speaking up about my feelings.  She took control of my body, threw a few things around, and started a fistfight with one of the little brats that are always running around underfoot.  I must say, feeling my masonry-toughened knuckles bash into that little whiny kid’s bearded chin was the most satisfying thing that’s happened in Shit-Sack since the day I unlocked the door to the nobles’ booze stockpile.

3RD OF FELSITE

Some migrants have arrived!  Finally, more dwarfs to entertain all these kids, and share in the burial duties.  Wait…  Two.  There’s only two of them.  And one of them had the audacity to comment on the corpses that remain rotting in the fields.  You know what I had to say to that?  “Here’s your chisel, buddy.  Get crackin on those coffins.  And you, here’s another.  Start engraving those slabs.”

14TH OF GRANITE, EARLY SPRING, OF THE YEAR 528

Well, it seems that The Great Goblin Invasion of ’27 might not be the end of Shit-Sack after all.  Against all odds, I, Mayor Ib Reksasolthez, have carried the fortress through its darkest night, and have seen it through to the dawn of a new era.  We had a sizable migration wave last season, and our numbers are back up over a score.  We have began planning new defensive measures to assure ourselves that we’ll never be caught off guard like that again.  If all goes well, our fort will be nigh-on impregnable in about a month or so, and we can start thinking about training up a solid military again.

15TH OF GRANITE

An ambush!  Curse them! … … …

Anurushul Lathon. The Wonder-Realms of Myth

Deep within The Dwarven Mountain Halls of Fathlocun, the Spikes of Danger, lay the ruins of a once mighty Dwarf Fortress, known by the name of Melbillaz, Tomescale. It persevered in one of the most inhospitable environments for nearly six decades; producing many battle hardened veterans, and nearly unstoppable dwarven warriors. But one dwarf stood above all others in the records found beneath the halls: Lor Unolbomrek. He led the militia in one final defense of the fortress, against a horde of angry, starving goblins, but before you hear about that, you should know his story.

Year One:

Seven founding dwarves arrive at Fathlocun, with naught but a few chicks, a handful of yaks, some digging tools, weapons and armor, and of course barrels upon barrels of alcohol. The area is haunted and the undead encroach upon them quickly. The two caravan guards, a hammerdwarf and speardwarf, armed with iron weapons and leather armor, defend the others while they work quickly to dig out a small home in the nearby mountain.

Year Ten:

Having survived the initial undead that haunted them for years, Tomescale is now a thriving trade hub. The fortress boasts a huge supply of bone crafts and a rich trading agreement based on gems and stone with the humans to the north.

Years Eleven to Sixteen:

Goblin sieges plague the Fortress, preventing trade and nearly destroying the fortress. The clever tactics of the “siegemaster” dwarf save the fortress countless times, thanks to marvelously placed traps.

Year Seventeen:

Lor is born in the midst of battle. He is the son of the mayor. She raises him carefully, never allowing the goblins to steal her precious child.

Years Eighteen-Twenty Nine:

Goblins seem to have learned their lesson and send only scouts for several years. Small sieges attempt to break the walls, which are crushed by traps and the military.

Year Thirty:

Lor becomes an adult, and develops a keen bond with a wooden axe crafted by one of the novice craftsdwarves who came to Tomescale some months before. He joins the militia and begins training.

Year Thirty-two:

Lor’s skill with the axe and prowess as a leader earn him the position of guard captain in the ranks of Tomescale’s military. At the time, Lor is a Master Axedwarf. His training slacks and he becomes complacent with his prestigious title.

Years Thirty-three to Fifty-one:

Tomescale thrives under the leadership of Lor’s mother, and goblins dare not test the might of the Guard Captain. They have learned that time and time again.

Year Fifty-two:

A massive goblin army appears – the largest the fortress has seen to date. They slaughter seventeen helpless dwarves caught outside fishing and hunting. With so many years of peace, they had begun to believe the goblins would stop attacking. The dwarves would not make the mistake again. Lor’s mother is killed in the initial attack. Furious, but stable, he destroys the goblin invasion and orders the construction of a massive entrance to the fortress.

Year Fifty-Three:

Construction finishes. The massive six story gates to the fortress towers over everything in sight, aside from the mountain that Tomescale itself is dug into. Behind the gate is a huge open courtyard enclosed between the gate and the mountain. There is only one entrance into Tomescale. Beyond the gate is a valley which leads out into the plains. The valley is lined with intricate mazes and innumerable traps. Nothing can reach the gate uninvited. Every trap in the valley is linked to a lever, and only one dwarf has access to the lever… Lor.

Year Fifty-Four:

No goblins dare show their faces, not after the devastation two years ago. Not even the kidnappers come to steal children. For a time, Tomescale is prosperous. A master craftsdwarf produces an artifact of incredible value and brings it to Lor. It is an axe, by the name of Ibruketur, The Ashen Boulder. Its troll bone handle is lined with rubies. The blade itself is the smoothest steel ever produced in Tomescale, it is a masterful work of art. Lor cherishes the weapon for his remaining years.

Year Fifty-Five:

The goblins start their kidnapping again, taking at least one child a season. Several pets go missing as well. The militia trains, and watches diligently. Lor keeps to himself, still mourning the death of his beloved mother. The entire fortress weeps for his loss. Her tomb is moved to a catacomb dug beneath the enormous courtyard behind the gate. A statue is erected in her memory and placed next to the entrance.

Year Fifty-Six:

Fearing another siege, Lor initiates martial law. No dwarves are allowed outside the gate. The main water source is the underground river used to supply the underground farms. The militia waits for the inevitable.

Spring of Year Fifty-Seven:

The siege begins. The goblins arrive with vengeance in their eyes. A massive army, larger than any previous force several times over fills the horizon. The gates are still barred shut from the previous year’s paranoia. There is no way for them to get inside Tomescale. The fortress is safe. Lor wants revenge…

Summer of Year Fifty-Seven:

Lor stares at the army from the ramparts. He is the only dwarf with the power to avenge his mother. He can make amends for her death by killing the enemy before him. As fall begins, he pulls the lever.

Fall of Year Fifty-Seven:

The gate opens. The horde rushes for the entrance. The traps are set. Lor hurries down from his place above the gate. It looks as though he will join his men in the battle that is to ensue within the courtyard. Not many goblins will make it beyond the trap-lined valley though, not many at all… He hurries past his troops, and through the gate. He evades every trap in the valley. He waits for the charging monstrosities. They meet. Dozens fall to Ibruketur in moments. He cuts down his enemies with ease. Gory goblin pieces fill the valley; no living creature passes the dwarf. The militia watches from their post, awestruck. No enemy is left standing. Lor breathes heavily amid the bodies, alone. A tiny scratch on his left arm is the only success made by the sieging goblins.  He is now a Legendary Axedwarf.

Winter of Year Fifty-Seven:

Lor sits alone in his quarters. Still holding the bloodied Ibruketur, he falls into a fit. Infection has spread from the scratch on his arm, and he loses all grasp on reality. Every dwarf in the fortress is now the enemy, the goblins that slew his mother. The militia try to stop him, but they are cut down in seconds. Lor has become a god among his fellow dwarves. The entire population of Tomescale watches helplessly as he murders their only defenders. In his fit, he pulls the lever and the gate shuts on Tomescale forever. No goblin shall escape his wrath.

Written by Wakkatata

Splatterwine: A Story of Bloodshed and History

Splatterwine was one of my best attempts at making a FUN fortress, simply because of the way the world was made.

It was supposed to be a suicide fort, a way to have a hilariously short and brutal game for that cathartic mad scramble to survive up until the bloody end, and I found the perfect place: The intersection of a savage jungle, fairy forest, and sinister swamp, placed at the ford of a central river, and the foot of a goblin fortress. I geared up my seven dwarves, and sent them to their demise.

It went about as expected; frequent harpy raids were set to the backdrop of an ogre tribe that watched hungrily from across the river. The fortress lived up to its name, as blood-rain came weekly and set half the map awash in the vitae of man. Eventually, the ogres crossed the river, and the fortress was destroyed in a futile attempt at defense. The last dwarf, a farmer, was beaten for three straight months by a pair of sock-wielding brutes, a scene which would be commemorated time and again by artifacts within the fortress.

The goblins never arrived, so I resolved to continue to reclaim the fort until it attracted a proper goblin army. Their capitol was right there! So, a squad of seven recruits, armed and armored in copper with a contingent of war dogs, were shipped to Splatterwine.

When the game started, an ogre was already in the wagon. No one survived.

The third attempt at a fortress was more of a success. The reclaim squad dealt with the ogres one by one, and used what supplies and burrows were already in place to begin the new community in earnest. Eventually, the harpy clan was driven off for good, and immigrants came, despite the danger.

Blood became as water to the dwarves; a life of constant violence beneath the perpetual deluge of crimson. A castle was built, with parapets and gatehouse, moat and traps, which was ever painted red. The first stone layer had both iron and coal, and steel ran in rivers from the forges. The dwarves sharpened their axes, and built strong their walls, and prepared for a time when the goblins would come. Artifacts came in three varities: weapons, armor, and doors.

But the goblins never came.

What was meant to be a FUN little adventure had instead grown into prosperity, with a full two years and hundred dwarves coming to pass before I realized the absence of our sworn foe. For a time, I suspected they were ever just a season away, and continued as I had. Then, while checking the civilizations screen, I noticed that the Dwarven General was no dwarf, he was a goblin! I immediately backed up the save and delved into Legends Mode…

The world was only 250 years old, but what bloody years they were. Fitting. The first 50 years of existence were a time of growth and expansion. The Elves were untouched in the southern reaches, while Man, Dwarf, and Goblin were cramped between the northern mountain ranges and the Sea of Ghosts. Violence came easily between them, but always had a trend: Man and Dwarf killed Goblin. This habit grew in momentum until in the year 82 it erupted into open war between the goblins and their neighbors. This conflict lasted over a full century, and in that time, the goblins won just two battles. These two fights were led by who must have been a great commander, General Malicehammer. He routed combined dwarf/human forces twice in defense of his hometown, only to be shot and killed near the end of the second battle.

Crushed between the strength of Man and the steel of Dwarf, and devoid of heroes, the goblins’ cause was hopeless, leading to the annexation of all their border states. Most of the conflict, however, was only raiding. It seemed to be a monthly sport for the “civilized” factions to raid and slaughter goblins in their heartland, but never conquer them.

That’d spoil the fun.

In the year 190, a demon emerged, who took leadership of the goblin nation. I suspect that a century of horror had forced the goblins down desperate paths, and that the beast was summoned intentionally. It acted quickly, rallying the goblin military, and led a massive force to battle against the human/dwarf coalition. The resulting bloodbath was a stalemate technically, but the armed forces of both sides were fully destroyed in the conflict. In the wake of such devastation, a peace was brokered, and recovery began.

For a decade, things were calm, but Man and Dwarf were wary of the new goblin overlord. They feared its power, and all that its existence implied, but they were too weak to challenge the goblin state as it was. Convenient, then, that an elven hero and known Titan slayer appeared and killed the demonic overlord.

By the end of the year, the violence against goblins began again. This time, however, there would be no recreational raids, no allowed shadow of a goblin government, and no mercy. Every goblin site that didn’t join Man or Dwarf was razed. Every goblin that didn’t submit to capture and slavery was killed. So it was that the dawn of the second century saw the death of goblinkind as an independent people.

Now I knew why no invasions ever came. The dark fortress my settlement was built near was just a charred husk of its former glory, the warrior people that inhabited it broken and destroyed. The goblin that now led the military of our civilization had a rather unremarkable service record, but some spark of the fighting spirit and tactical ability of the goblins of yore had surely kindled a talent in him. Splatterwine would grow fat during this age of (ironically bloody) peace, eventually becoming a capitol. It has a storied life that continues to this day, but I can’t help but feel that whatever I do, I will never live up to the past.

Written by Lord Navry

The Tomb of Horrors

The fortress of Silver Saints stood and was ever growing, by capitalizing on masterpiece Stone Mugs (“I went to dwarf fortress and all I got was this stupid mug”) and other assortments. There were precariously placed watch towers and traps designed to fend off invaders. Everything seemed to be in working condition, until the newest batch of dwarves arrived.

The Silver Saints was not without its flaws, and one was that the introduction of new migrants would put resources low for several winters. So, a plan was devised within the community to fan and weed out the weak from the strong. A three-layer gauntlet was created deep inside the mountain. The entrance and exit were sealed by drawbridges. The entrance led to the surface world, and the exit led into the fortress, with a hospital nearby.

The gauntlet was brutal. The first and lowest level was a narrow passageway over a set of pits that would beckon and capture kobold and goblin invaders. The survivors would progress up into a long hallway with equipment from past battles strewn across the floor. The place smelled of ambush. By levers creaking and cages squeaking, the migrant dwarves would be surrounded and set upon by the captured enemies.

The third and highest level pitted the remaining migrant dwarves against enraged bears and other beasts of the time that were captured, and sometimes pitted them against each other if one completely snapped and went berserk. The winner, or winners, soaked in the blood of the fallen, and bearing the equipment of their enemies and fallen comrades, would be permitted to enter the fortress and promptly recover in the hospital. There, a tomb would be made only for dwarves that survived. The rest were left to rot, adding to the horror that awaited future migrant dwarves.

The Silver Saints only desired strong dwarves, as they were hasty at battles with goblins and elves. Surely throwing the cannon fodder would be an insult, and it would be pointless to arm them only to have them die. The odds of losing would outweigh the odds of winning, so they thought. The gauntlet continued for a few winters, until the spirits of the dead grew restless.

Eventually, the spirits began attacking, weakening the dwarves and their reserves. Finally, overwhelmed by spirits and attacking goblins, the Silver Saints fled into the very chasm they considered the gauntlet of rites. They stepped into the world of the victims they perilously put to this indwarvity of a section. The countless bones and blood piles made progress a nightmare. Chased by invaders, they ran down the upper chasm, and were slaughtered one by one. As they ran down the second chasm, some dwarves turned and fought, sacrificing themselves to give time for the others to escape.

The surface world was in sight. As the dwarves ran through the lowest chasm, the passage with the pit, they were greeted by the deathly wails of all those that were killed at the very spot. Attacked by ghosts and goblins, the last remaining miner pulled the emergency lever to pull down the gate to the surface. He then fell down the chasm, joining those he and his comrades refused to take in. The few remaining dwarves of the Silver Saints fought desperately against the goblins, and managed to barely defeat them.

Two bleeding and exhausted dwarves remained. They were great friends with each other, but one of them snapped. Mad, he attacked his friend, forcing the friend to kill him.

With the blood of his comrade on his steel hammer, this last dwarf of the Silver Saints grieved. While bleeding out and anticipating that the ghosts would finish him off, he set his last task to engrave writings on the walls. He engraved every inside wall of the gauntlet’s entrance. After his last carving, his went to his dead friend and fell asleep. And there, he never woke again.

Written by Daesmendu

Learn from thy Misfortunes and Laugh

I was new to Dwarf Fortress. Everything was magical and awe-inspiring, from the immensity of the world to the intricate detail of each and every dwarf and item. It was too much to behold at once, and so I hardly knew what I was doing. I read books, watched tutorials, studied the wiki, and finally I dove in to my first fortress in the peaceful lands of a quiet forest.

I loved my dwarves. They dug down into the earth, and crafted works of stone and wood. I looked down upon them with tender care and intrigue, especially when one of the cats started chasing a firefly around outside after I had locked it in inside. Even the cats had personality! All was joyous and glad in my peaceful little forest, and my dwarves would enjoy revelry and parties often.

After four years of peaceful living, my humble fortress had become over-populated and since it was my first fortress it was disorganized and alas, undefended. Word of my dwarves’ ingenuity and success spread, and a Minotaur full of greed and strength did come. It began to chase and kill the dwarves and their livestock with its Great Axe! I tried to sound the alarm, but I had not learned how to use burrows. I tried to raise the bridges, but I had not learned how to build them properly, and so they only retracted. I watched in horror as the slaughter ensued, until one brave dwarf, a hunter by trade, stood toe to toe with the great beast and fought him. They exchanged blows, one for another. I paused the game to loo[k] at the Minotaur to see what damage hath been done to it. A cut on his left hand. I loo[k]ed at the hunter… [broken head] [lacerated arm] [punctured lungs] [broken guts] [severed hand] [severed nerves] [broken spine]… it was not good.

Not sure of what to do, I signaled my dwarves to abandon the fortress! I could not bear to watch them be slaughtered.

Now, almost a full year later of playing Dwarf Fortress off and on, I have commanded many fortresses, each time becoming better and more cunning. Within three in-game years, I had a standing army clad in iron, and walls enclosing the entrance and pastures, with extra large bridges designed to crush foes beneath them. Word of my dwarves’ ingenuity and success spread, and once again, a Minotaur full of greed and strength did come… and this time I was ready for him. I like to think that it was the same Minotaur, though I know it wasn’t.

I rang the alarm and all dwarves ran underground. I mustered the militia, and armed dwarves ran up to the surface. I ordered the gate lever to be pulled… but for some reason it took the surrounding dwarves some time to pull it. The Minotaur was only a foot away from getting inside when the bridge raised, launching him into the fortress wall. Unconscious, he ricocheted off the wall and fell to the ground, having given into pain from a shattered right hand.

I laughed. And I laughed some more. I couldn’t stop giggling at the hilarity of what had just happened. My wife asked me what was so funny, and I tried to explain it to her, but she doesn’t speak Dwarf Fortress and thought I was nuts. Eventually the Minotaur woke up and tried hobbling away, falling over at every third step. Well, we lowered the bridge and my iron clad axe dwarves made hamburger out of the now crippled foe. The same foe that had brought ruin and death to my very first fortress was defeated BY my fortress, literally. Much satisfaction was had and I still beam with pride at its mention.

Written by Mythalinear

Revenge

This just happened in my fort, and i thought it was really cool. My current fort is getting pretty large. We have weathered many goblin sieges and even captured and publicly executed the goblin civ’s war leader. We are still bothered by kidnappers from time to time, however.

One such kidnapper showed up right by one of my children. Rather then stuffing him in a sack right away, he decided to tear up the poor kids arm with his knife. The kid was a quick little bugger and managed to run away even with his injuries. I dispatched my steel clad hammerlords to deal with this, but i figured the kid was probably done for.

The kid actually managed to give the goblin the slip, and i noticed one of my hammerlords was gaining on the goblin. On a whim i checked his relationships, and it turns out the kid that got stabbed was his little brother!

What followed was what really surprised me. He was a hammerlord, he could have ended this goblin in a few strikes and been done with it, but he didn’t. He sat there and beat the everloving shit out of this goblin with his silver hammer for a really long time, longer than i have ever seen an armed dwarf fight a goblin. He kept biting him and shaking him around, he smashed out all his teeth and broke his limbs, and in particular he kept on hitting him in the right hand, even though it was essentially mush.

Only after the goblin finally passed out from his myriad injuries did Feb Wheeledtomes the confederacies of raining finally bring his hammer down one more time on the goblins head and ended his suffering.

I don’t know if it is just a coincidence or if he was exacting some dwarfy revenge for the attack on his little brother, but i love this friggin game

Wyzak

An Icy Tomb

It had been many happy and peaceful seasons since embarking. The fortress was thriving and migrants were common. 100 happy dwarves lived next to a river delta in a 3-story deep fortress. It was not well organized, nor grand in any way, but it was home. Shortly after another migrant wave and a human merchant caravan arrived, the goblins struck.

The fortress was not without a militia, but it was meant to keep thieves and snatchers at bay, certainly not a goblin invasion. While the civilians rushed to the meeting hall on the lowest level, the humble militia guarded the drawbridge. Once all the civilians had made it inside, they retreated and raised the bridge. Two dwarves had fallen. But they had died saving the fortress.

The goblins would not be able to attack the fortress directly, but unfortunately for the dwarves, this was only the beginning. Soon, the alcohol ran dry and without a fresh water source within the fortress walls, dwarves began to die of thirst. They frantically dug through cavern walls into stagnant pools for temporary respite, and even raided the trapped trade caravan. But there was not enough to drink. Several dwarves went insane, another turned up dead drained of blood, and still more succumbed to thirst. The few sane dwarves that remained knew that the fortress was lost and could not bear the sound of their brothers and sisters murdering each other in thoughtless rage. In an effort to preserve the memory of the fortress, they tunneled into the nearby river delta.

The fortress flooded, then winter came and entombed the fortress in ice. When the last cry faded into the frozen wasteland, the goblins left.

Written by Anstosa