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



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3 thoughts on “Learn from thy Misfortunes and Laugh

  1. So Tomb of horrors isn’t the most original name, but fitting for the events that unfolded in. The fortress of Silver Saints stood and was ever growing, with capitalizing on masterpiece’d Stone Mugs, (“I went to dwarf fortress and all I got was this stupid mug”) and other assortments. There were precariously place watch towers and traps to fend off the goblin invaders. Everything seemed to be in working condition, until the newest batch of dwarves came in.

    The Silver Saints was not without its flaws, and one was that the introduction of these new migrants could put resources low for the next couple of winters. So a plan was devised within the dwarven community to fan and weed out the weak against the strong. A 3 layer gauntlet was created deep into the mountain. The entrance and exit sealed by drawbridges. The entrance was led from the surface world, the exit led into the fortress with a hospital nearby. The gauntlet consisted of the lowest level being a 2×6 passageway over a set of pits that would beckon either a dwarf or the initial wave of captured kobolds and goblins into it. When the ones that survived progressed, they ran into a long halway that smelled ambush, and by levers creaking and cages squeaking, The dwarves would be surrounded, but with some equipment from the captured ones. The 3rd level pitted dwarves against enraged bears and other beasts of the time that were captured, and also pitted them against eachother if one completely snapped and went beserk. The winner, or winners, soaked in the blood of the fallen, bearing the arms and equipment of their enemies and fallen comrades, would be permitted to enter and promptly recover unless they bled out. There a tomb would be made only for dwarves that survived. The rest were left to rot and amount to the horror that awaited future dwarves.

    This kept going for the next few winters, until the spirits grew restless. The Silver Saints did desire the strong ones, as they were at hasty battles with goblins and elves, and surely throwing the cannon fodder would be insult and would be pointless to arm them only to die. The odds of losing would outweigh the odds of winning, so they thought. But then the spirits began attacking, weakening the dwarves and their reserves. Finally they were overwhelmed by goblins as the Silver Saints fled into the very chasm they considered the gauntlet of rites. They stepped into world of the victims they perilously put to this indwarvity of a section. The countless bones and blood piles quickly made going through a nightmare. What didn’t help was them being chased by the invaders. As they ran down the first upper chasm, some were slaughtered in the run. As they ran down the second chasm, some dwarves sacrificed themselves to give time for the others to escape.

    As they ran down the third chasm, the passage with the pit, they were greated by the deathly wails of all those that deceased at the very spot. Attacked by ghosts and more goblins, that last required miner to find the emergency switch to pull down the gate to the surface, fell down the chasm, joining those he and his comrades refused to take in. The Silver Saints fought desperately against the goblins and managed to barely defeat them. But the two left bleeding were in despair. The two were great friends with eachother, and one snapped. The mad one attacked his friend, forcing the friend to kill him. With the blood of his comrade on his steel hammer, he grieved the loss. While bleeding out and anticipating the ghosts to finish him off, he set his last task to engrave writings on the walls. He engraved every wall on the entrance side of the floor. And after his last carving, his went to his dead friend and went to sleep. And there, he never woke again.

  2. I recently began delving into DF just like you did. Watched tutorials and read books & all that.

    So I find it nice to read this awesome moment you experienced. And the fact that it was well written helped too!

  3. You werent locked in with that minotaur. He was locked in there with you! Haha! Hail and strike the earth, friend!

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