55 thoughts on “The Hamlet of Tyranny

  1. I’ve read this story seven times over the last three days.

    I’ve wept more intensely with each reading.

    This is the highest art imaginable.

    Fuck you Ebert.

    • You know that rule was just made up by some idiot who wanted English to imitate Latin (which physically can’t split its infinitives) and thus is completely stupid and useless.

  2. @Gianni

    Fun fact: split infinitives are just fine. I wouldn’t dare change a word of this story just for a throwback to Latin.

  3. @Wow: You would be surprised at what happens in this game. I once had a warrior, i forget his name at the moment (i cant believe i did because i promised myself that i wouldnt)… well, he was my commander of the guard and he single handedly took out 7 goblins (near the beginning of the fort) and the rest ran for it as fast as they could. I outright quit because of the depression that came after the next goblin attack where not only did the goblins kill his wife (who was picking plants) but they shot him to death as he charged them. They all had bloody crossbows, all 15 or so of them!!!

    and as for demon attacks, one time i broke into the pit and four pages of demons appeared right below. I had no legendary fighters in my fortress at that point.

  4. I’ve told this story dozens of times to people as a way to explain how amazing DF is. No one believes that any game could create so epic a story.

  5. @Gianni, there’s two. Two split infinitives that do nothing to hurt the narrative, and are likely to have been included in the original verbal telling of the story. Go be a grammar nazi someplace else.

  6. @wow

    Oh I can assure you this can and does happen. Just not in this detail. You have someone who knows how to play DF and a friend who can tell an amazing story. All this does happen he just added some flesh to the story.

    o/ will read again!

  7. Someguy: Rules about splitting infinitives are only for written material, you wouldn’t think it abnormal if someone split their infinitives while speaking. Yes, this is written material here, but it’s a story, as told by the author’s friend, so it’s an exception. In any case, most English grammar rules were made up by two guys who wrote one of the first English grammar books back in the 1600’s. Most of it’s bunch of crap, you prescriptivist. If you really want to show off how intelligent and educated you are, why don’t you learn some actual linguistics instead of just repeating what some old lady with a small pay check told you when you were 10?

  8. Why split hairs over split infinitives when you can split Demons instead? Split infinitives aren’t very dorfy. Split demons are very dorfy.

  9. Oh, and @wow, this does happen. Sometimes. Other times, you pull your wagon up next to a river and your doctor gets eaten by crocodiles before you can blink. Your swords-dwarf dodges straight into the water-and he can’t swim. The rest make a run for safety. Fearing to go back near the crocodiles, they are unable to get to their booze, and all end up offing themselves in a fit of depression. Dwarfs 0, local fauna 7.

  10. This is one of the most brilliant stories I’ve read, and inspired me to start really learning how to play Dwarf Fortress. Thank you for the great read!

  11. Dwarf Fortress pisses awesomeness. This story is a testament to that fact.

    As for Daneken… that guy’s got to be the Chuck Norris of Dwarves. Wait, no… he’s better than that. Chuck Norris is old-hat anyway. Daneken is DANEKEN. He needs no comparison to some old bearded actor.

    Henceforth, Chuck Norris is the Daneken of mankind.

  12. Dude, this is EPIC!

    You should go in there in Adventure mode. Maybe you guys could make the world available online somehow so we can download it and go adventure in it?? That would be super awesome.

  13. I read this story of Daneken. He crosses a lone bridge in the centre of a cavern, pursued by a legendary fire demon. he defeats it by plunging it into the depths, and he himself soon follows. I can only imagine that Danekens last words were ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!’ before throwing Balrog– i mean ashmalice–into the abyss.

  14. The great stories of DF are relayed in summary. Legends Mode (the history book of your world) lists summaries: 200 Elves, 30 War Elephants, 10 Giraffes attacked. 150 Elves lost, 30 War Elephants lost, 10 Giraffes lost. 50 Dwarves defended. 2 Dwarves lost. <- This is your average battle report. But you have to do a little cross-checking and embellishment. It often occurs that 1 dwarf will defend a mountainhome against 500 invaders, and then when you look into that dwarf's history, you learn that she's a hammerdwarf, raised by the king, her father died when she was 3 from a goblin attacked, and she killed a cyclops when she was 13. The rich history is there, you just have to look for it. It's not painted on the walls like your average RPG game (though it's often engraved) but it is very real, and it is very amazing.

  15. This could make a freaking movie. All of it.

    Sil sacrificing himself so that Daneken doesn’t fall to his death, followed by the demon charging at Daneken, only to have his wing clipped off at the last second and a stab to the heart which sent them both falling below.

    The remaining demons looking to one another for guidance. Silence throughout the cavern.

    And then “Tink, tink, tink” from below, as Sil engraves the event with his dying breath.

    Truly epic, and what a finish.

  16. That was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. The dwarfs sacrifice themselves to seal away the demon king and his hoard from the surface. Brilliant. This story is at least 1000 times better than twilight. Just wow. Best fantasy game ever. I am now going to try this game.

  17. @cidus – Seconded. Would love a feature to DL saves that an author could optionally upload. Basically, I want to reclaim this fort.

  18. Wow.

    DF makes other video games look like junk food, just entertaining you temporarily and filling you up, while it’s more of a series of *Lavish* meals. You use your imagination and fill in the details and visuals, invest a hell of a lot of time and effort, and it pays off. Man, does it ever. I’m only on year 6 of my first moderately successful fort (I haven’t had “fun” yet), but I’ve spent a few sleepless nights with these little guys, and the story just gets more and more complex. I can’t wait until the stakes are raised, and I accidentally break through to hell.

    DF + imagination = incredible

  19. I take it there was no hope of a new migrant wave? DF players should be in charge of making movies, Telling the tales of Dwarf Fortress.

  20. Pingback: Hamlet of Tyranny – una historia sobre el Dwarf Fortress « Fortaleza Enana

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  23. This would be an awesome story on it’s own, but the fact that it was procedurally generated in a Video Game make it AMAZING.

  24. In terms of utter stupidity, I may have one for you. I enbarked to conquer the wilderness, da-dee-da-dee, and the game placed the wagon on the river which happened to occupy the center of the map. However, it was frozen at the time because of the climate,so it didn’t need to be a problem…so I mined a magnificent fortress complete with traps, fortifications, etc.. All was well until an onslaught of a mighty, invicible foe. It’s name was… summer. Five of my dwarves died right there, as they were drinking and/or eating at the wagon,one went insane and drowned herself to death, and the last died of starvation,as there were no plants to gather and my crop didn’t grow in time.

    Upon reclaim, the murderous spirits of these souls killed my whole company of seven. I have yet to give it another attempt, and after a while that region went from serene to haunted.(I choose serene to use that fortress as a tutorial for my younger brother, so the irony has never been lost on me.

  25. I already played dwarf fortress before reading this. I did not, however, consider writing stories about it.

    I shall do so now, but I shall know I can’t do as good as this.

    I’m also posting to facebook.

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