Part 16: The Aftermath

Chaos, absolute chaos.

Despite the destruction, the entire main staircase survived. I was expecting it to be completely destroyed, top to bottom. But most of it is magma-free, and dwarves can still travel up and down on it.

I’ve dug out a few walls here and there to free dwarves from their rooms, and added some walls to stop the entire magma pipe from leaking into the fortress and killing what little framerate I had left.

A dwarf named Ducium Datanfash went mad and picked a fight with a nearby donkey. Everyone else just ignored him.

A few dwarves, mad with grief, throw themselves down the newly-made pits, dying at the bottom. As other dwarves start tantruming, going berserk with rage, and succumbing to melancholy, I check on the baroness. She’s still “ecstatic” and pretends like nothing is out of the ordinary. I’d think an enormous hole in the fort spilling magma everywhere would dampen her spirits at least a bit. I guess not.

One of the champions has taken it upon himself to chain up tantruming dwarves in the makeshift jail. But that’s the dungeon master’s job, and he’s still alive! I think it’s hilarious.

I order all the chains to be removed – I want these dwarves to run rampant around the fortress, causing mischief!

Upon being released from jail, Sarvesh the jem cutter goes around killing things, until he too is struck down.

With things still burning and dwarves still killing each other, the population is down to about 30 now. That’s still too many…

I try killing the remaining dwarves with ballista arrows. It works pretty well, but the arrows don’t fly very straight, and keep hitting walls instead of dwarves.

13 dwarves remain. Most of them are either nobles, royal guards, or fortress guards… and you can’t order those guys around at all, they do as they please. It would be very difficult for me to kill them all.

So, I decide that now is a good time to abandon the fort.

Goodbye, Scouredbridged. It’s been fun.


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Part 15: Lava Rain

21st of Felsite. Today is the day that my laggy fortress shall die.
I open the init.txt file and toggle “temperature” to [YES].

When I load the game, I take one last look at the fort.
Some dwarves are sleeping in their miserable, cramped rooms. Others scurry about doing menial tasks. A marksdwarf practices on the archery range.
Most of the dwarves are hanging out in the dining room, the statue rooms, and the zoo.

Someone pulls the doomsday lever.
The tiny support snaps like a twig.
My computer struggles to load a single frame as the enormous bowl of death begins its descent.

Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting this… when the next frame finally loads, an enormous dust cloud envelops the fort from top to bottom. I suppose cave-ins are instantaneous, because the bowl has already fallen the entire distance, smashing apart along the way as expected. The fortress now looks like swiss cheese… or at least it would, if I could see through all this dust.

The lava, however, falls much more slowly. In contrast with the bowl’s instantaneous fall, it seems to float down from the sky.
The ensuing magma rain kills several dozen dwarves.

The molten rock covers everything as it rains down from the sky. Dwarves and furniture burn. Barrels of alcohol boil and explode. Smoke, dust, and magma mist fill the rooms.

The population of my fortress, 91, has been cut in half.

A 2-minute ascii video of the entire event is available here.

Part 14: The Doomsday Bowl

I’m getting bored of this fort. It’s slow, nothing interesting has happened in a while, and the new nobles are always demanding things I don’t have, like trifle pewter and crystal glass items.

It would be more interesting if the fortress died a natural death, but I think that euthanisation is my only option here.

I have just finished the construction of a doomsday bowl located high above the fortress. And now to fill it with magma…

The giant bowl balances unevenly on a stone support so tiny that it makes me cringe every time I see it.

I don’t have a way to take a screenshot of a multi-Z-level object, so I drew it instead:

(I haven’t mentioned it before, but that little maze there is full of retractable spikes. I’ve never actually had the opportunity to use it on a goblin horde.)

I decided to make a huge stone bowl rather than just pouring magma into the fort, because this way, the heavy walls will smash through multiple floors of the fortress, enabling the magma to spread throughout, rather than just flowing down the main staircase harmlessly.

The tiny support is linked to a lever in the control room. I need only to give the order, and the whole fort will crumble into fiery chaos.

Can you guess which one is the doomsday lever?

Part 13: JELL-O

Some time has passed since the sieges started, and by now, I’ve dispatched 2 or 3 goblin sieges. Small sieges. Never anything this big:

So when I saw this many goblins approaching my fortress, I was a bit worried about my army. As legendary as they are, there are only ten of them in total. Perhaps the goblin’s large numbers will work to their advantage.

I need not have worried.

I would like you to imagine, if you will, 30 little goblin figures made from jell-o. Red jell-o. Now, imagine them wearing cute little aluminum-foil helmets and armor, carrying little foil shields and weapons.
Now, imagine picking up a large meat cleaver and hacking them to bits.
That is what this battle looked like.

My army of ten dwarves, armed and armored with dwarven steel, spilled more blood that day than I ever thought possible. The goblin’s iron armor provided no resistance as their bodies were shredded and flung about.

Here is the aftermath. Yes, that’s 30 bodies right there. Most of the bodies are in several places.

I almost feel sorry for them. Then I remember that it was them who attacked me.

Part 12: Let that be a lesson to you all

I was interested to see that with the new economy, I am able to sell animals. I had just been leaving them in cages, and putting a few of those cages into the zoo. But sure, I’ll sell some animals!

The first thing I realize, though, is that once purchased, the dwarves let the animals OUT OF THE CAGES. I thought they were going to keep them in cages, in their rooms. This annoys me so greatly that I renovate the drawbridge-crushing room into a more efficient, double-wide spike room. Pets begin to die…

Now, pay close attention to this next screenshot. There are two stories going on here.

One, that the mayor, baroness, dungeon master, and tax collector are constantly quibbling over prices of goods…

And two, the fate that awaits any dwarf who spams my announcements feed every 60 seconds because they can’t find their pet hedgehog.

I just want you to know that he suffered very, very greatly.

The hedgehog would also have been put to death, but I couldn’t find the damn thing.

Part 11: The Barony

It seems that my 80-population-limit is more of a suggestion than a rule.

I’ve decided to put it up to 100. The game is already incredibly laggy, what’s a few more dwarves going to do? Not much.

Then, this happens:

Woah, my fortress is now a barony! And I have an economy now! And I’m going to have… a bunch of whiny nobles to look after. That will be… interesting.

What’s the first thing that happens?

Every non-legendary dwarf, unable to pay the newly-announced rent on their large, masterfully engraved, furnished, luxurious bedrooms, is evicted.

Well, this is just absolutely ridiculous. I already had more than enough rooms for everyone. You know what I have to do now? I have to dig out and provide beds and doors for a bunch of tiny, miserable, worthless rooms, crammed into the only place I could fit them – on the edge of the map.

I call these rooms “the catacombs.”

Meanwhile, the baroness receives my special, legendary, incredibly valuable and luxurious bedroom – the one I had been using for years to cheer up anyone sad.

That’s the main staircase in the middle, enveloped by the bedroom. The doors are made of silver. The room is laden with masterwork engravings and furniture.

Oh well. It’s hers now. I begin mining out rooms for the other nobles, on the same level.

One day, this happens:

I’m not sure what it means, but maybe I’ll get some better trade goods now.

Later, an elven diplomat visits the baroness:

What a smug, skinny, tree-hugging, hippie bastard.

Part 10: Alir Ilpiotir, Bronze Colossus

So, I’ve allowed the population to reach 80 dwarves.

I was actually fairly nervous once I hit the number 80, ordering everyone inside for a siege which I was sure would happen instantly. Well, it didn’t, so I relaxed a bit. The population kept increasing, with a few immigrants and births.

I was at about 86 population, and this happens:

A bronze colossus? I was expecting an easily-dispatched goblin siege. This is something else entirely. I’ve heard stories… terrible stories… will this be the end of Scouredbridged?

Instead of heading towards the fortress, however, the colossus begins destroying some hatch covers which lead to a simple rock quarry. The quarry isn’t connected to the main fort at all.

Then, the colossus starts destroying an experimental pump stack I long since abandoned.  It’s not even TRYING to kill my dwarves.

So, fearing the worst, I send my entire dwarven army to kill it.

Will my army be slaughtered like pigs? Will the fortress drown in its own blood?

Uh, no, actually. The bronze colossus is killed INSTANTLY.

Those two purple items are its head and left hand. And not a single injury to my dwarves.

But… but I wanted a glorious bloody ending to this laggy fortress! I suppose it will have to happen some other way.

I’m curious, though, about just how powerful my military is. So, I save and quit the game, and reload from the previous save, when the colossus had just arrived.

This time, I pick two soldiers at random and place them into a single squad, and order them to drop all armor and weapons.

Curiously, since their clothes have become so ragged and worn underneath all that armor, they drop most of their clothes, too. These two dwarves will be going into battle naked. One of them is wearing only a backpack and shoes.

But hey, the colossus is naked too, right? It’s only fair!

I send them out to face what I am sure will be their doom. Without weapons or armor, they’ll be slaughtered, right?


They fight the colossus, unarmed and unafraid. Two stout, incredibly strong figures against a metal behemoth. They wrestle, raining down powerful blows upon each other. When the colossus is injured, it heals immediately. So do my dwarves.  This goes on FOR DAYS. Eventually, one dwarf receives a “mangled” injury, and retreats. The other dwarf, though tired, continues to fight for nearly half a day more until retreating after suffering a broken arm.

So, wow. I guess my military dwarves are really powerful. Each one of them, nearly as powerful as a bronze colossus – without weapons and armor. I’m impressed. It’s going to take  more than even an army of bronze colossi in order to take down this fort.

I quit this game and re-load the save where the colossus had been beheaded, and none of my dwarves injured. It has left behind a masterwork bronze statue.

Someone picks it up, and it receives a place of honor in the statue garden.

Part 9: Wealth and Power!

Scouredbridged is coming along fantastically.

My dwarves have made 15 artifacts so far.

The fortress is worth 3.2 million dwarfbucks and has a population of 50.

I have eight legendary miners and six legendary engravers.

And remember how I said there was no iron ore? WRONG!

I was very pleased when I found this huge deposit of magnetite. Later, I found several veins of hematite and limonite (also iron ore), and even a vein of bituminous coal!

I immediately started forging iron and steel weapons and armor for my military, which has become large and powerful. The puny kobolds and weak goblins are no match. Here’s a picture of them getting paved into the ground!

My fortress is doing so well, in fact, that I’m getting kind of bored with it. My military is unstoppable, my dwarves can now go outside whenever they want, I have tons of food and booze, everyone is always ecstatic, and I have nearly unlimited steel production. It’s boring! I need some drama! “Losing is fun,” after all.

That’s why I increased the maximum population from 50 to 80. Once I get past 80 population, the sieges should start. That will be fun…

There is still SOME drama in Scouredbridged. I think at least one of my dwarves is a serial killer. On four occasions, I’ve found inexplicable trails of blood all over my fort, with a dead or dying dwarf at the end. Here’s two screenshots from two different occasions:

I have NO IDEA what’s going on here. I checked the “justice” screen and there was no information. It seems that while my dungeonmaster is great at smelting and metalsmithing, he is terrible at catching murderers…

Oh, and I had to deal with a quintuple ambush.

I’m starting to think I settled near a goblin tower or something.

A few unfortunate citizens were killed, but once my military got out there, they slaughtered the goblins almost effortlessly.

And guess what I did with all those bodies?

This is Scouredbridged. The fortress is decorated with drawbridges, hematite, and blood. The fortress is encircled with bands of goblin and kobold skull totems. The fortress menaces with spikes of goblin skull totems.

Part 8: I am a monster

On a map without water, the decision to train a military was a tough one to make.

Ha ha, no it wasn’t. Not anymore. Just look at all these useless dwarves!

The number of useless dwarves started piling up after I increased the maximum allowable population to 50. I discovered that my computer can take it just so long as I have nothing else running.

I figure that if someone in the military is injured and dies, they’ll just be replaced later by another immigrant! So why have healthcare when you have immigration? Ah, I’m so coldhearted. Check out my ruthless barracks design:

See all the doors? If a military dwarf is injured, drags him/herself into a bed to rest, and starts complaining for water, I can simply lock the door and leave them to die.

It’s pretty much the equivalent of shooting a lame horse! But slower and more painful.

Oh, I added a zoo as well. (No skylight for the zoo, though.)

Here’s my new army-in-training, looking like a flock of birds. Silly dwarves, you aren’t birds!

They’re being trained in unarmed combat for now. I learned in my last fortress that if your new recruits spar with weapons, they’re quite likely to critically injure each other. Better that they learn other skills first.

So I’m training up my new army, and all of a sudden, the “dungeonmaster” dwarf appears at the edge of them map.

“Oh cool! I’ve never had a dungeonmaster before,” I exclaim.

I’ve heard that nobles can be a pain, but I decide to let him in anyway. However, because there’s no path into the fortress, he doesn’t enter the airlock, opting instead to mill about on the edge of the map. So I lower the main drawbridge for the first time in a while, and send my new military out to protect the entrance.


My military has no weapons equipped. The blood… oh dear Armok, the blood.

You see? You see why I NEVER open both drawbridges? Nothing but death awaits those that dare venture outside.

We win the battle, but 3 dwarves are killed by the goblins. Another 6 suffer critical injuries.

All because I let that dungeonmaster inside. He had better be worth it.

As I close the drawbridge, cries of thirst echo through the halls. The injured dwarves mostly go to their own bedrooms to recover, not the barracks. I start to lock the injured dwarves in their bedrooms. Not all of them are soldiers, but none of them are the numbered dwarves… whew!

Then I come to a room I cannot lock – there’s an uninjured dwarf inside. On the bed is a female recruit, broken and dying. Her husband, a weaponsmith, is lying in the bed with her… as if to comfort her. As if to stop me from locking the door. As if he knows this is the last time he will ever see her.

Passing this room by for now, I look across the hallway and see this: My off-duty dwarven army, gathered around the bed of a wounded, dying comrade.

What… what are they doing? Are they… paying their respects? Giving homage to their dying friend? Seriously? Because that’s what it looks like.

Earlier, I saw them do the same thing on the battlefield – they silently gathered around the body of a dead soldier until I ordered everyone inside.

I’m stunned. The dwarves in a computer game are exhibiting more respect and empathy for each other than I do for them. They are plainly suffering because of my mistakes and decisions.

I feel like a sociopath. A monster. I can almost feel the dwarves shaming me through the computer screen.

Part 7: Vomit and Loss

Now completely protected, and brimming with fresh supplies of wood, ore, and booze, my fortress is doing better than ever. And then I notice that my dwarves, having not seen the sun for too long, have been puking their guts out all the way to and from the trade depot. They’ve been walking on a path of puke. That’s really gross.

Rather than bemoan this, I embrace it! I order the path and part of the outside courtyard to be paved over with olivine – a stone well known for its rich, puke-green color.

But it raises a dilemma. I don’t want my dwarves to become cave-adapted… but I don’t want them going outside all the time either, even within the walls. They’d get in the way of more important operations, like farming.

I come up with a solution. I’ll dig a giant hole in the earth, leading 3 Z-levels down, to the dining level. At the bottom will be a new statue garden. Dwarves love their statue gardens and will surely want to hang out there, even though the nauseating sun will shine down upon them.

Triangle means "mine up!" Sort of.

Look at those pathetic miners. Look at how little stone they leave behind, how slowly they work! Oh 1 and 2, how I miss you.

Unfortunately, the top of the hole must emerge OUTSIDE the protective walls of my fortress. I suppose I’m going to have to risk it.

With half the digging complete, I need to get miners and masons outside so that they can mine downward and construct a wall around the hole. It’s too risky to use the trader’s airlock, so I build a much smaller airlock consisting of 4 doors. Two doors can be locked manually, and the other two are locked by levers. I think it’s a pretty clever design.

Once again beset upon by goblins, I discover I am wrong.

It's dangerous outside

I should mention at this point that I do now in fact have a military. But they are strictly marksdwarves. None of that risky injury-inducing melee combat! Here’s a shot of them training. This is just inside the fortress.

They kind of suck right now

I once tried building fortified towers for them to shoot from, stationed atop my fortress walls, but that didn’t seem to work. So I have them stationed on the ground, instead.

Amazingly, despite harrasment from the goblins AND kobolds, I manage to get the entire hole dug, and walls built around it for extra protection. I’m pleased.

the blue is just sky, not water :(

But all of a sudden, the announcements feed is spammed with these:

no water source no water source no water source

What? Someone was injured? Who? I hope it’s nobody important…

Shit. Another of the numbered dwarves.

‘6’ Rigòthothlest is a VERY important dwarf… just look at all the stuff she’s good at!

There goes my last engraver

While normally a broken arm isn’t such a big deal, she’ll die for sure unless I find a way to get water.

Meanwhile, the barf statue garden is working spectacularly.

Those dwarves will lose their cave adaption in no time!

6 begins to die a slow and painful death. I try everything. Maybe beer will be good enough? Wait, I have milk! Will milk work? I stockpile both of them next to her bed. Nothing. Maybe I can I build a well somewhere? No, wells don’t just magically produce water…

I have no options. As 6’s condition worsens, I decide that the most humane (dwarfane?) thing would be to allow her to die a quick death. I begin construction on a magma pipeline, to fill her room and end her misery.

She dies of thirst before its completion.

I have her body laid to rest in a silver sarcophagus in her room. And then I flood the room with magma anyway. It seems like a dwarfy way to be buried.

Now only 3 founders remain...