You have to look at it from their perspective. It’s easy to say that they’re snapping easily when you’re just looking at things from outside the monitor and reading events in lines on the screen.
When a dwarf gets a serious wound, though, they are likely to be maimed for life. It’s not so strange for extremely tough, previously self-reliant types of people to completely flip out when faced with that sort of thing.
And we’re not talking about ‘seeing a rat’. We’re talking about having the fortress that you slaved to create crawling with rats. We’re talking rats and vermin crawling over you while you sleep and eating the food out of your hands.
And don’t forget the other things. Portions of the fortress are covered in noxious, wretched miasmas of decay so thick that they actually obscure your view. Friends and relatives die regularly and are sometimes just left to rot on the ground. Wild raccoons and other horrible monsters are just waiting for the chance to rip out your throat. If you make a mistake or fail to meet a production order, the sheriff cuts you to pieces with an axe. Horrible creatures regularly crawl out of your drinking water and try to murder you in your beds. Filthy new immigrants are constantly being shoved into your fortress’ cramped quarters, forcing you to work yourself down to the bone to get new quarters ready and leaving you with barely enough food to get through the winter. And when food runs out, you’re reduced to grubbing for rats, beetles, and worms in order to survive.
And then, when inspiration finally strikes–when you finally a chance to do what you’ve been dreaming to do for your entire life, the one reason you really went through the hell of this horrible fortress, the one true Dwarven dream–when you finally feel inspiration strike you and can see the form of your artifact in your head, you end up wasting three months doing nothing as your incompetent leaders fail to provide you with the necessary materials. Eventually, the vision begins to fade and you realize you can no longer remember what the artifact you’d waited your entire life for even looks like. Wouldn’t you go mad, too?
Don’t ask why your dwarves go insane or throw tantrums. Ask how they manage to stay sane the rest of the time.
My dungeon master was a pretty interesting guy. I’ve never met someone who loved cloaks as much as he did – enough that he worked pretty hard covering his floor with them. I guess that works as improvised carpeting. Pretty clever little guy.
I was still learning how to make an army, so I simply loaded up on traps and worked on training soldiers and creating weapons as I went. Everything seemed to be working. Occasionally kobolds attacked, but the traps always kicked their asses, so I felt there was time.
Then one smart kobold learned to disarm traps.
The dwarves raised the alarm and ran to the armory, but I didn’t have enough weapons and armor for them all. Armed with chair legs, hot pokers, and anything else they could find, the dwarves bravely ran out to face their invaders. The kobolds, however, broke into two parties and sent a second smaller party down to raid our supplies and steal our weapons, going behind the dwarves’ backs with the hope of mounting a surprise attack.
One unlucky dwarf armed with a table leg was guarding the food. The first kobold to arrive stabbed him with a knife. He struck the beast, sending it screaming into a wall. During this minor distraction three kobolds snuck up on him, pinned him down, then cut off his arm before leaving him to die. The dwarf was pissed as he watched them load up their sacks and walk away. He used some muslin to tourniquet off his arm, then went for vengeance.
Armed only with his severed arm, he ambushed the cocky kobolds, bashing one of their skulls in. The Kobolds wheeled back in shock, slashing his legs. The Dwarf disarmed one kobold by making him stab the knife through the dismembered arm, then stabbed the kobold with the knife-arm until he died. The remaining kobold screamed in panic and tried to flee, but the dwarf tacked him down and found him cowering under a wagon.All that was left was a smear of blood when that dwarf was done with the kobolds. The dwarf skinned all three, then took the skins to be tanned, feeding the corpses to the dogs.
After that he became known RustBeard the One-armed. As soon as the militia was founded he beat the crap out of the captain I chose, then became captain on his own and proceeded to kick serious kobold ass for the rest of his life. Not a single kobold who ventured near our land ever survived again.
Written by Kitsuneae
Illustrated by MK01
So I dug a deep spiral staircase about 20-z levels deep and was using is as my dumping pit. I dug out some tombs for nobles in the sides and it was generally a neat fixture in front of my fort.
Time passed and I grew bored with my pit and decided to fill it from a river. It almost went off without a hitch (someone vacating the pit as it quickly filled dropped their baby and just kept on running). Other than that, I had a fine dwarfmade pond with platforms over it, with a statue garden and a well.
More time passed and I had my first goblin ambush. I was woefully unprepared to take them on. While the 2nd goblin battalion waited in the woods, I quickly whisked my citizens across a bottomless chasm, destroyed the bridge, and started anew on the other side.
The new fort was a little slapdash, but things were okay, except for one thing — Urist McComplain-about-thirst was thirsty. We were out of water. I knew we had an ample supply of water deep within the earth, but I didn’t know that Dwarf Fortress takes water pressure into effect.
I dug out a wonderful dining hall complete with a central pond I hoped to gently fill from the well. I send my miner in to crack the last wall and readied myself to close the floodgate. But a raging torrent of water sent my miner flying, and within seconds I get the message “Urist McUseless cancels Pull Lever: Area submerged”.
And my miner, my legendary miner… he’s trapped! “Get out!” I shout. But Urist McMiner is no pansy. No. Running would be cowardly, and that just not his way. He picks himself up and walks INTO the wall of water.
The torrent rushes past him, drowning his friends and filling his finely cut rooms, but it will not… IT WILL NOT get the best of him. He continued up the 20 levels of spiral stairs without wavering. He stood at the top of the well, alone and soaked. His contempt for nature saved him from a watery grave.
Sadly, the goblins were also happy to see him. But let it be known that this fortress did not fall to poor planning. It died a warrior’s death.
I must start by saying that I am a cold, emotionless man. I’ve seen a lot of bad things, and I usually just give them a “meh”. I won’t cry at a movie and I won’t fawn over cute animals. This made me all the more shocked when I was genuinely moved by something that happened in my fortress, something I feel compelled to write about.
I had embarked on a fairly peaceful spot and for the first five years we had nary a goblin. I did some trading, pierced the aquifer and got a few gems and some silver and plodded along. I had but one squad in the beginning, with Zasit Avedineth, Axe Lord at it’s head. When those wasters of elves showed up with a giant jaguar I was only too happy to take it. It was immediately trained up and put into the service of Zasit Avedineth as a giant war jaguar (what other game has these?).
They trained together all day long, embarked on a few skirmishes and trained up all the new recruits. Anywhere the axe lord was, the jaguar was soon to follow. Everything was just peachy.
Then came Usmza Sadtusnung Obrazongong Sloron, dragon.
Immediately the whole military (about 30 out of 80 dwarfs, with several legendaries among them) was mobilized, but the dragon was too fast. Before he could reach the door of the fortress the drawbridge was raised, blocking the dragon’s entrance, but also locking half the military inside. In a ferocious battle, which involved lots of fire, shin punching and a particularly courageous dog biting the dragon in the head, the dwarfs slew the beast. It was not however, without causalities.
Some of the dwarfs had been caramelized, others had lost limbs, and the particularly courageous dog had bled out. The bridge came down and the survivors limped to the hospital. A couple of enterprising dwarfs dashed to the battlefield to pilfer the goodies of the fallen, but aside from that, the smoky wasteland was left alone. Then I saw As Kizestolon, Giant Jaguar. At first I was delighted – my Axe Lord must be around too. It took me a minute to realize what the reports confirmed. As Kizestolon had been trapped inside, while his master had been first to the dragon. Avedineth had only lost a leg in the scrap, but had bled to death in the aftermath and was dragged back to be returned to the stone from whence he came.
Maybe he knew what had happened, and maybe he didn’t, but I shed a tear for As Kizestolon sitting alone in the ash-strewn center of the burning forest, still the pet of Zasit Avedineth.
This story is one of many which took place in the legendary superfortress FlareChannel, pictured here:
As a prelude to my favorite story of FlareChannel, I’ll fill you in with the history of Giant Eagles in this fortress. Ever since I noticed the elves brought, occasionally, Giant Eagles with them, it had been a goal to purchase a breeding pair to populate FlareChannel with. After decades of trying to do so, I eventually got a male and female pair within their respective lifetimes, and the first natural-born clutch of baby eaglets was hatched.
Ever since, they have gracefully adorned the halls of my fortress. They tend to hang around the meeting area, but occasionally one can still see them flying elsewhere.
Occasionally they would back up military dwarves in taking down a nearby enemy.
Or even venturing out into the sky to spread their wings a bit, and perhaps scan the landscape for any suspicious enemies approaching.
One eagle even decided to stand guard over the glass dome above the throne room. Why, we will never know. He could have easily flown away, and yet he did not. He stayed steadfast until his dying day, years later. Some say he was standing guard over the weak, watching constantly for those who would prey on lone dwarves. Some say he chose to perch up there, knowing that upon mid-day, when the diplomat would meet to discuss trade agreements, his giant shadow would projected onto the throne room floor. Nothing helps convince a lone human to heed your subtle warnings than what appears to be a 100-foot eagle waiting above.
I played no part in the events that play out below, except for toggling Catten as a recruit once. This story is recorded as the best interpretation of events that will, likely, remain a mystery forever. Most of what happens I can’t even begin to guess as to how it could have. It seems impossible unless there is secret coding going on for Dwarf Fortress, or features I don’t know about. Regardless, I was as surprised as anyone else at the series of events that follow.
The Fable of Catten and the Eagle
Our story begins 100 years after the first hatchlings wandered the halls of Flarechannel. In the past, giant eagles have been creatures of their own, almost never befriended by dwarves and only then when a rare dwarf who can sympathize with the beasts is born. They are a species of creature who, in the wild, feast upon the sweet alcohol-infused flesh of dwarves for fun. This is their legacy, and every dwarf is well aware of it.
However, Catten and the Eagle are unique. Catten is a dwarf who prides himself in his skills, and due to this has developed three legendary skills in Masonry, Weaving, and Clothing, not to mention a good number of additional skills across the board.
Perhaps he had even earned his smugness, having created an artifact in his youth
He was a prime woodsman in the forest clearing which led to war with the Elves. Truly he is a dwarf of pride. When it came to the local Giant Eagles, Catten had absolutely no opinion on the beasts. It is well known that dwarves must enjoy a creature to be motivated enough to tame it as their own, but Catten couldn’t care less about the masses of feathers, claws, and beaks which flew among the halls and towers.
But sometimes fate doesn’t ask us for our preferences or wishes, and it was such in the case of Catten. Recently born in Flarechannel was one unspectacular Giant Eagle. She was a little larger and hardier than most hatchlings as one always is, but nothing any dwarves were surprised by. Yet already destiny had woven a fate which bound this eagle with threads stronger than steel. As soon as she grew past childhood, this eagle should have waited for a suitable master to come along (which happened so very rarely). She did not. She went out and found one. Catten. This had never happened before in the FlareChannel’s history. Catten may not have cared one bit about her, but that didn’t stop her from picking him as the dwarf she would stand guard over against all dangers. And thus began the story of unrequited love between dwarf and eagle.
At first, it was merely one of the many mysteries of the fortress. Other dwarves would stop and stare and Catten hurriedly passed between jobs. Collect spider silk, weave thread, make clothes, gather rock, construct blocks, make mechanisms, gather plants, plant seeds, finish a few odd jobs. Catten was no stranger to the busy day, and had no time to entertain a foolish eagle that mistook him for her master. What did he care? Dwarves work, and drink, and kill things if possible. Dwarves don’t sit around entertaining delusional creatures, especially not those who have been known to slaughter dwarves by the dozen. A less determined eagle would have long since left Catten to his duties, but not this one. The eagle knew that one day, Catten would find himself in trouble. She would have to be there to protect him. His disinterest was not such a crime that it justified leaving him to the horror which lay in his future.
And like this, a decade passes.
The year is 505. Catten, now an old man, still rushes from task to task with the persistence of a dwarf half his age. He now finds himself clad in the finest silk of his own making. Even after all these years, he occasionally turns to pick up a piece of silk or rock and catches the outline of an eagle faithfully waiting nearby. Catten is by no means an unpleasant dwarf to be around, but nonetheless even he scoffs at the foolhardy behavior of his eagle follower. Assuredly there are more important things to be doing than following an old man who can take care of himself! A dark raincloud loomed on the horizon and Catten retreated back into his workshops, to once again shut out the world in the endless stream of garments he produced now.
The next day, disaster strikes.
For the first time in countless years, death incarnate approaches FlareChannel. Alarms sound, and the military scrambles into action. From the south, smoke rises and a scout gives the report nervously. A dragon has once again taken its eyes to Flarechannel. This time, it is Tusnung Heatedgilds the Spark of Warmth. Luckily, all dwarves are safely inside the walls not even a dragon can pass, and the military assembles on the main bridge, some who have not seen such a beast stand fearful. In the eyes of others one can see the gleaming of latent blood lust in their veins. You can smell it in the air.
As the final few warriors catch up to the group, a single order sends them down the spiral tower to intercept the dragon, which is finishing up slaughtering a lone human pikeman who straggled to long after the caravan left. But the dragon doesn’t head to the fortress proper. He heads East. The military still pursues, perplexed at the change of focus of the beast. When they realize the dragon’s target, shivers run up their spines. It has been decades since a dwarf has been lost to an enemy. Catten Shoraster is the lone dwarf who ignored common sense and remained outside. Stubbornness does come with old age, but this was insane! Only Catten would be so lost in his work that he would miss the alarm bells. The military would have no way to catch up with the dragon in time.
By now Catten had realized what followed him to the silken-laden hills. The screams of the human as he was ripped limb from limb made sure to that. As unemotional as he is when he works, Catten pulls out his axe and prepares to die as any dwarf would choose – fighting rather than running, even if it means death.
But Catten is not alone in his choice. The eagle has also accepted her fate.
Its likely she had accepted it 12 years before when she chose Catten to protect. Destiny had ensured she would be in the right place and the right time. Diving between the dragon and Catten, the eagle attacks with a ferocity that echos through the legends of all dwarven lore. Spending years around the dwarves and seeing many battles had taught the eagle a thing or two. Like the champions of FlareChannel, the eagle dived fearlessly, directly into the dragon, knocking them both to the ground in a stunned daze. Now that the dragon had lost its footing and fallen down a ramp, the eagle knew it had to act quick. Driven by determination that any dwarf would respect, it rose before the dragon could and attacked it on the one place they were in equal footing – the eyes. In a second the eagle had ripped both eyes from the dragon’s face. Rare is the sound of a dragon screaming in agony heard and all dwarves shuddered at the piercing wail. Still the eagle attacked, destroying piece after piece of the dragon’s head until eventually it was able to reach the brain through the now mutilated face, which was promptly mangled.
A wounded, blind, insane dragon is still a beast to be feared, and Catten finally realized – that eagle was the closest thing to a family he ever had. If he left it to die, then what would he have left? Pride? Masterful silk clothes? He had never met a wife, and he was too old now. His bloodline would die with him. Perhaps this was why Catten drove himself out of the real world and into has work. The rare happiness Catten felt was when he got a chance to help another. He had always valued the dwarven spirit in them. But now, he was seeing the dwarven spirit in a mere eagle. No, not a mere eagle. His friend.
Catten rushed in, wielding his trusty axe that had felt the sturdy skin of countless trees. No stranger to the swing, Catten and the Eagle slowly took down the dragon, working together to keep each other safe from any injury. By the time the military had finally caught up, it was already over.
Catten and the eagle both died a few years later, peacefully in dwarven terms. They were buried together, and immortalized in the very spirit of FlareChannel. From that day fourth, eagles were no convenient guests, or bothersome birds that were looked down upon as inferior. No, from that day fourth they were guardians and embodiment of the spirit of FlareChannel.
And what of Catten and the Eagle in their final years? They still went everywhere together, and Catten looked back at her with a smile of comfort instead of disgust. But much of these details are lost in history. What is known, however, is that during the finishing of the Temple to Armok, Catten’s clothes were mysteriously found on the roof, where no path could have possibly led. Additional constructions had to be built just to retrieve them. Some say it was magic, or the joke of some dwarven child. Still, others say that every now and then, on a rare night when others were asleep, Catten would climb aboard his old friend, strip naked, and fly around the towers, admiring the view that no other dwarf was ever privileged to see – laughing as he had only as a child, without a care in the world.
Written by QuantumSawdust
You can see many more pictures and stories from Flarechannel here.
The Baroness has gone mad.
At least she’s had the decency to do it in an appropriately aristocratic fashion. A forlorn, ragged figure, she haunts the byways of our mighty Fortress Alebaldness, clutching her annoying baby, whining endlessly about the Dungeonmaster having a nicer dining room than her, and occasionally screaming with hallucinations as the withdrawal symptoms set in.
The Baron was much more forthright about it. He went mad about a month after his wife, and promptly turned berserk in the ground-level statue garden. He managed to kill one of the war dogs before The Hammerer turned up and put an end to the brief, rather pathetic rampage.
I’m quite grateful to The Hammerer, really. Because I must admit: we do have an alcohol problem in Alebaldness. As you know, the dwarfs you sent here only function properly at a high level of regular drunkenness. Apparently, our fields and farms are too damned fruitful. We have room after room of food storage: piles of prickleberries, wild strawberries galore, oceans of plump helmets… and meat! We have cat meat, dog meat, cow meat, muskox meat, carp meat, sailfin molly meat, rhesus macacque meat, deer meat, goat meat, and some mouldering piles which the cooks assure me are still edible, but can’t actually be identified at this point. Then there’s the plants. We’ve grown them and harvested them. We’ve gathered them from the wild. We’ve processed them endlessly, and now we have so many stocks of ‘plant’ that nobody really knows what to do with them, except stick them in yet more goddam barrels.
And therein lies the problem. Apparently, the brewer can’t actually create any more sweet, sweet moonshiny booze until he has a barrel or two available, and even though I’ve got three carpenters working full time turning out nothing but barrels, the damned food-storage lackeys keep running off with them all, to stuff them full of yet more anonymous plant matter, mouldering meat, and plump helmets. (Note: what, exactly, is a ‘plump helmet’ and why do we eat it? It sounds terribly… metaphorical. Like a coy nickname for an erection. I’m not really sure that sort of thing constitutes a good diet.
In any case, I’ve put a stop to all farming. I’ve even created a Royal Guard, in the hopes that perhaps the few remaining nobles will be suitably flattered, and thus not go quite as insane as the Baroness and her consort. The Hammerer and the Dungeonmaster are actually quite useful chaps, and I’d hate to see them charging about the place, rending their shabby clothing, gnashing their yellow teeth, and baying at… well, the ceiling, what with us living mostly underground.
At least the goblins have backed off for the time being. Now that we’ve got two squads of marksdwarfs and two teams of champion wrestlers in chain mail, they have been taking a much softer approach. True, we still get the occasional snatcher wandering the boundaries, but in general the populace seems quite cheered by the spectacle of goblin snatchers being torn to pieces by mighty champion wrestlers. And now that the perimeter wall is finished, the only ways in are through the gates with the chained war dogs, the cage traps, the stone drop traps, the weapon traps, and the drawbridges which we can close on a moment’s notice, providing the dwarfs in the control room aren’t too fucking drunk to to pull a lever. Still, it can be quite entertaining if they’re a little late. Three or four goblin pikemen racing frantically around the compound, screaming in horror as the dogs and the wrestlers tear them into itty-bitty green and bloody pieces is a bracing spectacle.
The last goblin raid was actually rather helpful. Since we’ve completed the wall and the drawbridges, the greenies have seemingly decided to time their attacks for the arrival of the regular merchant caravans, in the hopes we’ll leave the gates unguarded. Or something. They sent a score or so of goblins with pikes and crossbows, led by a human Axelord. The arriving caravans were overwhelmed so fast that pieces of caravan guard were still raining down by the time the greenies got to the wardogs chained at the gate. I sent three heavily armoured Champion Wrestlers out to greet them, and raised the bridges. Meanwhile, a team of perpetually half-drunk and insubordinate marksdwarfs set up behind the fortifications and supplied some alleged covering fire. They didn’t hit any of the All-Star Homicidal Wrestling Freakshow this time, so I suppose that’s good.
The slaughter was unspeakable. We lost a hunter who didn’t get inside the perimeter in time, and two babies carried into battle by the lunatic leader of the Pleasant Syrups, which is the title our foremost squadron of steroid abusers has taken. The goblins and their axelord, on the other hand, were ripped into so many pieces by the withdrawal-maddened Pleasant Syrups that over a month later, we’re still cleaning up the mess.
The conflict was so horrific that the sole surviving human merchant instantly went stark raving mad. And his dromedary, too. They just stood there amidst the blood and severed limbs and heads and the vomit and the dead babies. Naturally, I was forced to rescue all the gear they brought with them. We got barrels of free booze, still more plump helmets, a remarkable variety of meats, a range of iron toys, some useful weapons, an entire mule in a cage, and best of all, we got five iron anvils. Five! Added to the four we so laboriously purchased from various over-charging merchant bastards, and we now have more Magma Forges than any sane fortress could possibly use.
Did I say sane? Strike that. In any case, how can you possibly have too many Magma Forges?
The only drawback of the whole event seems to be that the human diplomat went away unhappy. (And how did he survive, anyway? I certainly didn’t see him anywhere near the carnage. Where was he?) Evidently the sight of a goblin army eating his fellow men alive distressed him. Or possibly it was just the fact that we took all their stuff after the event. Which is just tough snot for him. We would happily have negotiated with the remaining merchant, except all he did was stand in one spot and babble meaninglessly. Him and his equally insane dromedary. And you can’t barter with a mad camel, can you?
No, I think the goblins are under control for the moment. And once we complete the Very Long Fake Entrance Hall Of Hideous Trap-Laden Doom With Optional Flooding And Drowning, I think we’ll be fine. So it’s the skeletal mountain goats that really piss me off. They hang around the slopes to the south, where the dwarfs inexplicably go wandering.
Why? Sometimes they say they want a drink. And yet the fortress abounds with wells and underground canals, all nicely set up for guzzling. Sometimes they claim they’re ‘putting items in stockpiles’. What items? What stockpiles? I have a feeling the dwarfs in question are out gathering up bones and skulls of previous victims of the evil skeletal goats, or even the skeletons of previous evil goats torn apart in hideous training exercises by the demented Pleasant Syrups… so you can see it’s a sort of self-sustaining cycle, and I’m damned if I can figure out what to do about it. Except maybe drink more. And even that’s problematic in Fortress Alebaldness, isn’t it?
Of course, the most horrific problem is the children. There must be something in the water here, or perhaps it’s just the perpetual exposure to heavy metal residues. The children are suicidally stupid. They wander around the magma forges at will, getting in the way of the smithies as they pound molten bronze (oh, how I wish we could find some goddamned iron!) into chain mail for the Pleasant Syrups and their fearsomely violent ilk. They play games on the edge of the bottomless chasm, which is particularly annoying because nobody else will go there for fear of the skeletal antmen some ten levels down, who are trapped forever and permanently incapable of harming anyone or anything. Nevertheless, I can’t use the chasm as a garbage dump because my dwarfs get scared and run away from the edge whenever they see the skeletal antmen down there, waving their bony antenna in feeble, futile menace.
But the children aren’t scared, are they? Oh no. Nor are they scared of goblins. In fact, they love nothing more than rushing to the forefront of a battleground before the military actually arrives, so that the goblins can dismember them and make a fine, nutritious snack of young dwarf jerky in order to prepare themselves for the upcoming battle. And of course, there are the babies. Why do the soldiers always breed? And why do they insist on carrying their babies into the battle with them? Why aren’t the other dwarfs whooping it up and producing offspring at the same rate as those hideously fecund champion wrestlers?
Just a few notes to finish up, your Highness. Fortress Alebaldness is short of a few vital things. We can trade for iron (if the merchants survive the goblins long enough to avoid catatonia) but so far we have no sources of sand with which to make glass, and weve run out of turtle shell. These may sound like small matters, your Highness, but so far two of my dwarfs have been taken by Fey Moods and seized the glass furnace… only to gradually go mad for lack of raw materials. The score for turtle shell is even worse: weve lost three. Naturally I walled them up until they died, but the stench is dreadful, and since nobody wants to bury the corpses of these mad dwarfs, I’ve had to order them dropped into the Magma Pits for disposal. You can imagine what that’s done to morale around the place, I’m sure.
Therefore, if you could just see fit to include some glass and turtle shell with your next shipment of totally fucking useless nobility, your Highness, we might possibly see another year or two out of Fortress Alebaldness. Only — please, for the love of Armok, don’t send us any more fucking Philosophers. The one you sent keeps changing the prices of goods without warning, and staggering about the corridors muttering “I drink therefore I am,” and giggling to himself in a very disturbing fashion. I think one Philosopher is really all that any fortress should have to take.
Cog Tosidlar, Town Manager of Mabdugroder (Alebaldness.)
PS: And send more booze. Or at least send us a lot of empty barrels. The goddam elves have demanded we restrict our tree-cutting this year, which makes barrel-making and therefore brewing quite difficult. And if it comes to a choice between the entire fortress going mad from alcohol withdrawal or war with the pointy-eared treehugging hippie stoner bastards, you know which way I’m going to jump, don’t you?
Written by Dirk Flinthart.
As the fire crackled in the pine-log cabin, the dread of the bogeymen now safely avoided; Adol Gusilustir sat down with the human labourers and thanked them ever so dearly for letting him stay overnight, as to not let him face the cackling horror outside.
“So what’s your story?” one of the children asked the dwarf, His bewildered eyes suggested he’d never seen a Dwarf before. “Me? I’m known as Adol Coppercrow… I’m the Militia Commander for the Holy Spears, in service of the dwarven fortress of Firetomb. My story is… A fresh wound.”
The newly founded group known as ‘The Imperial Hammer’ was a decisive move that the royalty of The Paints of Wealth had planned on for years. The idea was for a fortress to be made in the far-flung ends of the world, to forge and create large amounts of wealth for the rest of the Dwarven kingdom. In the year of 275, after training the craftsdwarves and the Metalsmiths that were necessary to this project; seven brave dwarves ventured into the wilderness, to ‘Strike the Earth’.
After 2 years of digging into the mountainside, the newly-found fortress of Firetomb had already created roughly 1,000 worth of goods, ready to be sold to the caravan that was arriving soon. Just as the caravan had been spotted across the horizon by the military who sparred in the courtyard- ready for any stealthy invasions of baby-snatchers or the thievery of wealth by the pests known as Kobolds; a humble soap-maker had one of those ideas; one of the ones you can’t shake. He stormed out of his recently obtained bedroom towards the craftdwarf’s shops. Being that the Masons and Bone carvers were working furiously in the crafting shops, the manager almost fell out of his chair when he heard about the Soap-maker’s recent endeavour. The Soap-maker darted in and out of the stockpiles, grabbing cut Blood-stone, Wolf Bone, Chalk and some recently smelted Steel.
After the merchants departed, the Broker being quite pleased with selling most of the stone crafts for large amounts of alcohol, armour, weapons and some extra wood; the Soap-maker finished ‘Sashafrasha’, a Wolf Bone Sword. It was quite a sight, encrusted with spikes of Bloodstone and steel, and banded with chalk, engraved with a picture of a fabled dwarf battling a hydra.
Another few years on, the Military had swelled to a full 10 soldiers, seven of them already Legendary in their art of combat. The dwarf known as Adol Coppercrow had started sparring and fighting with ‘Sashafrasha’, and had grown accustom to using it. He would be seen everywhere with it. One particular account states that he was fending off the trolls in the under-caverns whilst the masons constructed a fortress into the cavern. Three of them against Adol, wearing only Bronze armour and a recently claimed copper helm (off the dead goblins, who attempted to raid the fortress annually) He was seen managing to dodge the swipes and grabs by the large hands of the Trolls. He sliced an arm off one troll, then a leg. As the troll slipped in and out of consciousness, Adol managed to punch one troll in the face, jamming the skull through its own brain. Then he managed to swing around to face the other troll, just as it grabbed him around his neck and began to strangle him fruitlessly. Adol stabbed the troll in the chest, tearing apart his intestines, causing the troll to throw up onto the floor, and Adol. The dwarf took his chance, and cut off the arm that was strangling him. As the troll unleashed a cry of sheer pain, Adol ended it with a swift stab into the face. The remaining troll who had been slipping in and out of consciousness swiped at Adol with what ounce of strength it had left, but Adol dodged the hand, and sliced the troll across the torso, causing it to sail off in a bloody arc. Adol stood there, in the bloodbath for a minute or two, then head back to his squad, to group up.
It was a winters eve, as the miners of Firetomb found a large menacing castle deep underground. The militia were tasked with scouting this anomaly. As the soldiers slowly stepped inside, they saw shifting figures inside, moaning endlessly. One of the dwarves stepped on a large pebble and tripped over. Just as the thud sounded, all of the figures turned around towards the dwarves- A horrid sight of blood and gore, Slugmen, Tigermen and Snailmen all shambling towards them with flesh dangling out of their ‘Mouths’. The braver soldiers advanced forward, screaming like banshees as they charged into the pack of seemingly undead beasts. All that was to see was bloody arcs of arms and heads flying around the room. Two soldiers lost their lives as the Militia cleared the castle from floor to floor.
It was just as the militia stood at ease, making sure there were no more moans were within earshot. One of the more recent recruits, a spear dwarf, noticed an almost holy weapon in a mantelpiece as he spun around. It was an Adamantine Spear, So beautifully crafted, so well conditioned. He slowly caressed the spear in its mantle, and began trying to force the spear out of the stone. He pulled with all his might, and it slid out, causing him to stumble backwards. “Hey- Hey guys! Check this out!” he yelled profoundly, trying to show off his find. A glyph started to carve its way around his feat as the dwarves all stood around him, all in awe of this spear. The Glyph stopped, and it begun to glow brightly. The dwarves noticed the glowing floor, and all stepped away from it. As they took a few steps back, the floor collapsed into an abyss. The dwarves all looked at each other confusingly, before a braver Mace-dwarf slowly stepped towards this hole. As he peered into the hole, a pair of large tentacle-like arms shot out of the hole and wrapped around his head, and pulled him in. Then demons began to flood out of the hole and descend towards the hardened dwarves. Several of the dwarves managed to escape, and darted out of the castle towards the exit. As the soldiers regrouped in the Mine shafts, they saw the beasts still hot on their trail, many with fresh blood coating them. The soldiers all ran towards the mine entrance, in the heart of the fortress.
The Fortress of Firetomb was designed with the help of the most brilliant of architects. It was designed to be able to still continue existence even if it were locked up for 10 years, and able to be one giant death-trap to any invader from the outside. It was also designed with the knowledge that the caverns deep below the surface are filled with dangerous beasts like Trolls and Blind cave ogres. So the fortress was designed around the mines, in a way to avoid any of the general public getting slaughtered by anything if it ‘were’ to incur from the deep.
As the soldiers regrouped, they signalled for the gates to be shut and the traps to be armed- but they were too late. Many beasts that call the caverns home cannot destroy a gate, but if they can, they will be caught in the crossfire of traps. But this onslaught of constant demons were not fazed by the traps. The Militia charged into the demons to buy the rest of the populace time to figure out a Plan B.
The alarms were sounded to evacuate, the population of Firetomb all rushed for the front gates of the fortress. Among them was Adol, who had managed to escape the clutches of the demons. Only 37 of the total 98 dwarves who called Firetomb home got to the front gate. The rest were assumed to be dead, as the constant screaming and roaring would suffice as evidence. The front gates closed tight, and walls were built around them to stop the demons pouring forth into the countryside.
At that moment, squad of goblins had amassed in the horizon, all seeking revenge for their fallen comrades. Adol tried to defend the citizens, slashing and stabbing at the goblins, until the Goblin Commander whom was riding atop a troll, swung his mighty War hammer into the chest of the Dwarf, causing him to fly backwards and pass out.
Adol woke up later that evening. His eyes slowly adjusted to the setting sun, scanning the landscape for any sign of goblins. Nothing was there, No goblins, No dwarves… Nothing.
Adol stood up, wincing in pain as he breathed. He called out, but to no avail. Stood there for a while and attempted to recall anything that he learned about his surroundings. He remembered that there was a human settlement only about a day’s travel away…
“And that’s how I came to be here, in your hospitality.” The dwarf muttered, sorrow in his tone.
“Well… If you’d like to stay with us for a while, we could use a little muscle around here… Got some outlaws causing us some mischief…”
Just a quick story I thought I’d type up. A tad rusty on the authoring side of things, but hey.
Most of it is true, exception to the whole Township thing. Just assume Adol went there after I abandoned the Fortress.
If you’re wondering how I got the speardwarf to collect the spear, I quickly made him ununiformed, and got him (being the closest there) to remove the spear. Then I selected him to use the spear just as I noticed the floor next to him give way.
This was my first underground ‘goodie’ fortress, I knew that the glowing floor probably was a bad sign and all, but I wanted that spear, Hehe.