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

If this story inspired you,
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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


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

Hotel California

My newest fort is basically Hotel California. You can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave — because there’s a swarm of 291 (and growing!) undead outside the barricaded entrance.

I embarked to an evil biome and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of bloodsucking monsters. Then, a vile red slush crept in. It didn’t instantly kill my dwarves so I figured it was harmless. Turns out that it seems to induce unconsciousness through a fever, and suffocates everything to death. Only the two dwarves I had mining the initial base survived. My current goal is to accumulate enough wealth so that the humans will send trade caravans. Then I’m hoping enough will die so that the humans, elves, and goblins will all send armies to Tomeblankets…Vile red slush

Brought to you by the color red.

Written by Soritesparadox

Legendary Burial Chambers

dwarfy burial chambersI always try to go for some sort of “Hall of Legends” near my Great Hall somewhere, and right after an ambush/siege/tantrum spiral I have my engravers start engraving and my craftsdwarves start making statues. If a legendary dwarf falls in such a battle, chances are they will engrave/make statues of him/her. So I find an engraving of the battle, put the statue of the fallen hero next to it, and put the best coffin I have next to that.

This all comes from a time I named a bunch of my initial dwarves after some friends and myself, and we all died in a glorious battle with about 10 cave dragons, the last of us dying from our wounds, but victorious. I decided to make a tomb next to the great hall to put us in, and some statues to increase the value to stop a tantrum spiral. By sheer chance I inspected my heroes’ tombs and they each had a statue of themselves next to their coffin. And engravings of the battle covered the walls. It was glorious.

Sadly, the next siege had about 100 goblins and 20 cave dragons, and with all my legendary dwarves dead, I didn’t stand a chance.

Written by Arrkangel

Ringwild, Fortress of the Dead

It had been such a good day.

Work on the guard towers was nearing completion. The mechanics were busy preparing traps for the next inevitable goblin invasion. The windmills were creaking in the crisp mountain air, the crops were in full bloom, and food and ale were plentiful. The marksdwarves complained good-naturedly about having to practice in the sun, but the glare and heat were far preferable to the horrors of cave adaptation. From the barracks came the clanking and grunting of the melee squad honing their skills.

A sudden goblin attack had left the fort wary, and several dwarves had been found in their beds, bloodless and desiccated. A vampire was on the loose somewhere, but it had yet to slip up.

Ringwild’s walls were strong. Its forges were hot, its craftsmen were legend, its halls were vast and opulent. The Windy Grains knew of these treasures, of the riches to be had. And so they came.

The smell of death on the air.

The horror of fifty corpses, trudging in unison towards the walls.

The shrieks of the goblin ambush as they were torn to shreds by rotting hands.

The shouts of dwarven panic as they attempted to close up the walls.

The masons were the first to fall. Fearlessly running to the open wall, hauling stones, attempting to shore up the open wall. Bolts whizzed past them, lodging uselessly in shambling flesh. Decaying hands, ripping, tearing, striking.

The melee squad charged forward. Two corpses fell, three, four, and then the horde was upon them. Dwarf after dwarf, ripped apart, lives cut short at the hands of the undead.

The rest of the fort was soon among the ranks of the dead, raised back into unholy motion by dark powers.

Except one.

He still stood in the main courtyard, axe flashing left to slice off a leg, right to sever an arm, back, forth, an impenetrable wall of razor-sharp iron. He darted from zombie to zombie, reducing the undead to piles of butchered meat. To Ringwild, he was Nomald Cobaltseasons, the elderly, battle-scarred master of the axe.

For months he fought the undead, searching for the invisible masters of the rotting army, to no avail. He fought without tire, without food, and without drink, single-mindledy crushing every undead abomination in his view, seemingly blind to their inevitable reanimation moments later.

Until, one day, he stopped. He hadn’t eaten, hadn’t drank, hadn’t laid down for months.

He dropped his axe.

He wandered, thirsty, back into the halls of Ringwild, but the stocks of alcohol did not beckon him.

He passed the great dining room, with its barrels filled to the brim with the feasts of master chefs, but did not slow.

Nomald walked (slower, now, than before) on the familiar smooth rock towards the masonry, ignoring the piles of furniture that had never been used, would never be used…

And, as the spirits of his restless comrades swirled around the room, he began to carve, slowly, painstakingly, a coffin, and a large slab of rock.

He dragged them both to the center hall of Ringwild; once the Stronghold of the Sabres of Helping, now the Slaughterhouse of the Windy Grains.

He took up hammer and chisel with shaking hands, carved the slab as best he could. Four hundred thirty-two years of life, and not a single engraving to his name.

And, with a final effort, he hauled himself into his coffin. He closed his eyes, and waited for the wailing spirits to end the long, bloody history of Nomald Cobaltseasons, known to the world as Das Clincheddreamy: the Unkempt Word of Splashes, murderer of five dwarves in Ringwild and thousands more across the world; vampire.

Written by Vondre

A Fitting End

I just put to rest my adventurer Sibrek Talonboulder. I should warn the newbies that this post contains spoilers.

Anyway, this dwarven hero single-handedly ushered in a Golden Age by slaying all the bad guys in the world. It got to the point where everyone would just shrug and say “I’m flattered, but I have no use for you” when he offered his services.

A couple of civilizations had demon law-givers or demons posing as gods, and I thought about cleansing the world of them, too, but they didn’t seem to be doing any harm and the people loved them, so in the end I left them alone.

Then I journeyed into the depths of the world, back to the slade temple where I’d found the adamantine scimitar that had made the heroic escapades possible. Down I went into the pit, thinking I’d simply try to kill as many demons as possible — to reduce their numbers a little.

Dayfly brutes swarmed and coughed up some terrible extract, but their chitinous skulls couldn’t withstand the adamantine. An undulating blob of snow stood no chance, for obvious reasons. Bronze insectoids were also a dime a dozen, but were dispatched easily enough with a quick stab to the head. The first sign of trouble was a group of dimetrodon monsters, which actually managed to land a couple of hits and didn’t seem to go down as easily as their smaller companions. The dimetrodons soon became quite many, and were joined by dayfly brutes. The end came in the form of a rib-crushing kick to the upper body, which sent Sibrek flying, shattering a bone in his right arm so he lost his shield. Before he could recover, another dimetrodon which bit off that arm while another kicked off Sibrek’s right foot. Sibrek had just enough time to lodge his sword in the thick skull of one of his aggressors before being reduced to complete mush.

Somewhere deep below the ground, a demonic dimetrodon monster is walking around with an adamantine scimitar stuck in its head.

Written by Quantumtroll


Back in one of my early games, I had run out of all food except for plants, and I was constantly brewing. Then I noticed my dwarves dying left and right.

I really can’t think of a more appropriate way for a fortress to fail then by the dwarves brewing literally every edible thing into alcohol and subsequently starving to death.

Written by anonymous


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