At the risk of seeming even more like a Dwarf-obsessed freak, the
following is a character diary from my most recent Dwarf Fortress game.
Obsidian 11th, 1050
"The old world will burn in the fires of industry. Forests will fall. A new order will rise. We will drive the machine of war with the sword and the spear and the iron fist of the orc."
I rolled my eyes. Humans do tend to go on. "That's great and all," I said, "but this tower of yours still won't be finished until 1066."
That got his attention. "Listen here, dwarf. This fortress needs to be finished within ten years so that I have to time to prepare."
I jabbed my finger down at the blueprints the wizard had given me. "No, you listen. A tower 23 stories high at the spires? An outer wall this thickness and all of these drawbridges? Fifteen years is opitmistic, in my opinion."
The wizard narrowed his eyes. "I'm sure that with your, ah, charming demeanor you could convince your fellow dwarves to work at an accelerated rate." I started to object and he continued on smoothly, "For an extra thousand gold for you alone, as a small token of my personal appreciation."
I tapped my fingers on the table in thoughtful contemplation. "Twelve years is the best I can do."
"Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger."
"Yeah, I've heard that one before."
Granite 1st, 1051
We've arrived at the build site. There's a peaceful brook running right through a flat section of land, so we'll build the outer wall around that. We'll strip mine the nearby cliffs for raw material. Trees are sparse; we'll have to rely on stupid humans and smelly elves for wood, I'm guessing.
This place is crawling with lungfish. What are these things anyway?
Are you kidding me? I just got word that one of our three dogs was killed an eaten by a crocodile. I ordered the hunter to hunt the thing down so we don't lose the other two dogs.
Granite 2nd, 1051
The miner Erib just informed me that our only other male dog was eaten by a jaguar. Son of a bitch!
Granite 26th, 1051
Tobul Tobulsumun, mechanic and hammerdwarf, just stopped by to tell me that some fucking kobold thief just waltzed up to our supplies and stole his steel warhammer. It took three other dwarves to pull me off of him.
Slate 12th, 1051
Crap. It looks like crap. "Didn't you use stone blocks?" I asked Stulzulban, the mason. He had the nerve to look all sheepish and start stammering out excuses. I told them to tear the wall down completely. Only a quarter of the first floor wall is done and now we have to start over from scratch. I personally oversaw him build a damn mason shop and start carving out blocks.
Hematite 23rd, 1051
I knew something looked wrong. That idiot Stulzulban measured wrong and now 1/8th of the first floor wall needs to be torn down and moved out another ten feet.
Limestone 8th, 1051
Dammit ANOTHER measuring mistake. Another 1/8th of the wall comes down. At this rate, we won't finish in 20 years, nevermind 12.
Limestone 10th, 1051
Finally the caravan is here from Vucar Imik. And the animals have started having young, including our last war dog. Maybe we'll manage this thing after all.
Moonstone 1st, 1051
Well, winter is here and we've managed to only finish an eighth of the first floor wall. That's it! I've tapped Erib the miner to do some masonry work too, because Stulzulban is an incomptent boob. The good news is that we enough food to last us quite a while, thanks to our fisherdwarf and hunter.
Opal 13th, 1051
Two more thieves. This time they stole a single steel bolt and a damn piece of rope. This is starting to piss me off. I told the hunter Zas to not worry about hunting and instead keep an eye on the supplies.
Slate 4th, 1052
Even with two masons, construction is slow. Effectively, one carves the blocks and the other builds the walls. The first floor wall is only half done.
Felsite 11th, 1052
Finally, Vucar Imik saw fit to grace us with some additional help. A blacksmith, a metalcrafter, a gem setter, two craftsdwarves, a couple fish dissectors, and 4 peasants. I set the last four to immediately help that idiot Stulzulban with the masonry work. We've almost got half the first floor wall finished now.
Unfortunately, we're experiencing chronic wood shortages. We barely have enough beds for everyone, and they're all set up under a little rock overhang, since the basement levels have only just now been dug out enough for us to start living in.
Galena 27th, 1052
Oh fucking great. Erib managed to cause a cave-in and it killed his war dog. Now the only dogs we have are puppies. I can't believe the Dwarven Council won't let me personally whip my workers.
Limesone 2nd, 1052
One of our bone carvers got a funny look in his eye and then locked himself in a crafts workshop. I ordered the dwarves to beat him to death, but they just stood around shuffling their feet and trying to look elsewhere. Bastards.
Sandstone 16th, 1052
Don't I feel dumb! The bone carver came dancing out of the workshop with a fine looking bone scepter. Even better, he's become one hell of a bone carver! I put him to work making practice bolts and trade crafts. Those idiot humans just eat up our crafts.
Moonstone 5th, 1052
The first floor wall is DONE! Now it needs a roof. And I'm convinced this single stairway will not be enough. I told the masons to build a large circular stairway with a nice open shaft running all the way up and down. We've also started moving the beds underground.
Hematite 1st, 1053
The start of our second summer. The ceiling of the ground floor is growing, but not quickly. I'm just now realizing what a monumental task it is to tile a floor that's 510 feet in diameter. What's worse is that the plans clearly say it should be 250 feet in diameter. I fudged the scale notes on the maps for the upper floors so as far as anyone here knows, this was purely intentional. If anyone catches on, I'll just say a wizard did it.
Timber 19th, 1053
My fellow dwarves have elected Såkzul Araknish as mayor. She seems nice enough but she never shuts up about trifle pewter. Trifle pewter this, trifle pewter that. What the fuck is trifle pewter? I've got a bad feeling.
Timber 24th, 1053
One of our metalcrafters had locked himself in a forge. He'd kept searching around the fortress for something and couldn't seem to find whatever it was. Today he came out screaming about fraggles hiding in his armpits. He refuses to eat or drink anything. I told the guards to just shoot him to put him out of his misery and of course they looked at me like I was crazy.
Moonstone 1st, 1053
The mayor requested we make some trifle pewter items. I checked with the stocksmaster and he told me we don't even have any. I tried explaining this to the mayor and she looked at me like I'd grown a second head. I told the metalworkers to just law low and we'll wait for this to blow over.
Obsidian 3rd, 1053
The crazy metalcrafter died from thirst. I told them he was goner. Why doesn't anyone listen to me?
Felsite 20th, 1054
One of the masons locked himself into a workshop. What is it with these guys? This time when he couldn't find what he wented, he went completely nuts and started beating the crap out of everyone. Finally the guards killed someone I wanted them to kill!
The ceiling the ground floor is a little more than half done now.
Malachite 1st, 1054
No sooner than Såkzul is re-elected than kobold thieves steal one of our suits of chain mail and a shield. This is a bad omen.
Limestone 10th, 1054
Holy shit! The second I turn my back, the mayor sends the new sheriff to beat down the metalcrafters because they didn't make her beloved trifle pewter crafts. So this peasant piece of crap sheriff with delusions of grandeur goes up to one of the smithies and snaps the bone in his thigh! I roared into the mayor's office about to bite her head off when I realized that every single surface of her office had the word "trifle pewter" written on it. I just about fucking wet myself. And then she turns to me and she's got this giant terrifying grin on her face. I swallowed what I was going to say and stumbled out of there. What have I gotten myself into?
Sandstone 2nd, 1054
The roof of the ground floor is FINISHED. Thank the gods. I've got the masons started on the second floor wall, which is about half the diameter of the ground floor. I've also moved all the mason shops up there so they can carve their blocks where they're storing them and assembling them into walls.
Opal 20th, 1054
The sheriff, this frothing mentally-deficient pyschopath, just smashed some poor bloke's ribcage in because the mayor told him so. Because of her fucking trifle pewter. I've started quietly floating the idea of mutiny to some of the dwarves I think might be trustworthy.
Granite 12nd, 1055
Goblins! One of the woodcutters came running in to the fortress to warn that a couple of squads of goblin soldiers had been spotted advancing on the fortress. I immediately ordered everyone inside and activated the military. While I was anxiously awaiting the approach of the golins, I spotted Tobul the Hammerdwarf meandering out to the river. I shouted out to him to get back in formation! He just waved back and yelled that he was thirsty and would be right in. And of course, half a dozen goblin arrows put a quick end to him before I could blink. A dog and three puppies that were out there with him were also slaughtered.
The rest of the soldier waited inside the walls. If the goblins got through the doors, it'd be a close-in bloody fight. But as I watched the green bastards approach, they reached the stone-fall traps. A few crushed skulls and the fight went out of them. We all let out a cheer when the goblin scum turned tail and ran. Our first victory!
Felsite 5nd, 1055
An entourage arrive today with unexpected news: this area has been made a barony! A tax collector and hammerer showed up escorting Baroness Solon Gusilkith¨n. Mayor Araknish threw a brief party and spent the whole thing talking to the baroness about the wonders of trifle pewter. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
Felsite 19th, 1055
The second floor roof has been finished. The smaller floor sizes are definitely going much faster. I've moved the masonry workshops up to the second floor so they can build the blocks closer to where they're using them.
Hematite 7th, 1055
The metalsmith mutilated by the sheriff was driven mad by the months of being bed-ridden. He dragged himself out of bed and hurled himself down the open area running down the main stairs. The dwarves have started quietly referring to it as "Suicide Shaft"; not while I'm around, though I do pick up on these things.
Malachite 16th, 1055
Another batch of migrants arrived; no big deal. But Mayor Psycho decided that too many of them were useless. Either they had no useful skills or skills that were not in demand. So she ordered 4 of them to stand under the only finished tower drawbridges and then had it dropped on their heads. I'm starting to doubt whether I'll even survive this project.
Malachite 23th, 1055
I found the Dungeon Master today laid up in bed. It turns out she caught a crossbow bolt in the leg. Considering how far away she was from any goblin attacks, I'm suspecting she got a little too close to the archery practice targets upstairs.
Galena 4th, 1055
The Dungeon Master died from her injuries. Well, starved to death, really, because no one bothered to feed her.
Timber 22nd, 1055
The magma project has been finished. We tapped into the natural magma vent and channeled the magma underneath the workshop area. The mason assured me that the bauxite mechanisms would withstand the heat of the lava and he was right. However, he was less specific on how the diorite floodgate would react. The answer: melt. Grr. Hopefully it won't be an issue. The only reason we'd need that floodgate is if we wanted to stop the influx of magma for some reason.
Moonstone 30th, 1055
I'm doing my best to carve out the noble quarters and get them up to the exacting standards I was given, but it's tough because the masons are so busy trying to build the tower walls and drawbridges. A couple of times now the baroness has thrown fits, screaming at people and kicking puppies. I've shifted some priorities because she is really starting to worry me.
Galena 17th, 1056
We've been made a county! I think the baroness -- sorry, countess -- is letting it go to her head. She's demanded an even more elaborate bedroom and dining chamber. Yeah, it's not like we're here trying to get any actual work done! She threw another hissy fit, punching a peasant in the face and smashing one of the drawbridge levers.
Sandstone 1st, 1056
The countess has gone crazy. Despite the huge effort I put into getting the noble rooms up to their liking, she's finally snapped. Turns out that she'd had a miscarriage and didn't tell anyone. It was all too much for her to take. She just walks around the lower levels, alternating between laughing and weeping.
Timber 7th, 1056
The countess has thrown herself down Suicide Shaft. Fuck, now even I'm calling it that.
Granite 11th, 1057
No time to write! The dragon Tikes "Lacyflesh" Pethitammen is advancing upon the fortress. Yeah, Lacyflesh. I mean, seriously? Anyway, got to run.
Granite 12th, 1057
Somehow the dragon got over the southern drawbridge before it could be raised. It smashed through the doors and ripped the war dogs there to shreds. We were all gathered in the highest level of the basement, cowering at the horrible sounds we could hear above. It had gotten past the bridges, it had crossed the moat, it had avoided all of the traps we placed outside. We waited, gathered around the stairs and resigned to the fact that many of us would not survive the attack.
The beast comes into sight! It hurled itself down the stairs, still dripping dog blood. Every dwarf let out a roar and charged the scaly monstrosity. I've never been so proud to be a dwarf. There were almost a hundred of us, a few armed with swords, axes, and spears, but most were simply grabbing on and punching or biting any bit of the dragon we could reach. It let out a horrible spout of flame that only one dwarf badly singed. We did not run; we did not retreat. Finally, the beast was dead and the only fatalities on our side were our watch dogs. The triumphant roar we let out rocked the tower.
Granite 13th, 1057
Shortly after the dragon was killed, Såkzul Kolkadol, the craftsdwarf burned by the dragon's flame, died of her injuries.
Granite 14th, 1057
While I surveying the underground levels, I was surprised at the amount of smoke still lingering. Then someone ran up to me with a report that the craftsdwarf Thob Fikodecem has also succumbed to injuries sustained in the dragon fight. I was mournful, but accepting. Then when I heard that Kol Rigòthzas also died, I was shocked. Both were so seriously injured and they died so close together? When I was later told that one of the dogs had just died, I began to wonder what the hell was going on.
It turns out that the injured dwarves had been put to bed WHILE ON FIRE. And because of our current military barracks style of bunking, THE BUNKS WERE ON FIRE and the fire was spreading! And NO ONE SEEMED TO NOTICE OR CARE! In fact, many of the dwarves managed to catch themselves on fire by putting away the burning possessions of the dwarves that died!
I immediately ordered the beds to pulled away, smashed, whatever it took to stop the spread of the fire. I was too late though. Two farmers, a mechanic, and a thresher all caught fire and died shortly after. Even one of our mules and a cow could not escape the smoke and flames. Finally though we got the fire under control. I even had to order that the dwarves not touch the burning clothing left behind by the unfortunate victims. We all had to endure dark choking smoke while the garments burned themselves out.
Mayor Crazy Bitch asked me if any trifle pewter items were damaged in the fire.
Granite 18th, 1057
I discovered that the reason the dragon had so easily entered the southern tower doors was that the so-called "drawbridge" there was a retractable bridge. So it couldn't raise up and properly block the doors. I threatened to hurl the whole lot of stoneworkers down Suicide Shaft if they didn't have it fixed yesterday.
Slate 22nd, 1057
We had a serious cave-in during the work on the 4th floor. The hammerer and a gem cutter were killed along with a pair of cats. One of the planters was knocked right down Suicide Shaft and somehow managed to survive. And he's still down there, his body shattered.
Not that anyone cares. No matter how often I tell someone to go get him and put him into a bed, they all shrug. "He's done for." I can't say I disagree but... fuck, that's just heartless.
Malachite 3rd, 1057
The planter who fell down the shaft, Ilral, finally died. From thirst.
Malachite 14th, 1057
The sixth floor walls and floor are finished. The masons are now working on its roof, the floor of level seven. Things are progressing nicely now, when I manage to keep my workers out of the clutches of the crazy mayor. Fortunately we've been able to get trifle pewter bars from the humans. Though they never bring a lot of them, it's been enough to keep the mayor satisfied.
Moonstone 7th, 1057
You haven't lived until you've seen a squad of goblins hurled through the air by a drawbridge. You really haven't.
Granite 15th, 1058
There are now 10 finished floors to the tower and things are coming along well. I've ordered the masons to begin construction on the outer wall. This will be the first line of defense against attack, with drawbridges to crush attackers as well as block their advance. For the raw material, I've got the miners strip-mining the nearby mountain peaks, especially the area near where the wall needs to go.
Galena 5th, 1058
They just KEEP RE-ELECTING Mayor Psycho.
Limestone 13th, 1058
The first ring of the outer wall has been finished, along with all of the gates. I had them make the outer gates in pleasing green olivine, with the inner gates a sharp white alunite to contrast with the dull gray of the wall.
Moonstone 1st, 1058
We had two goblin sieges this past autumn. Fortunately, they were minor annoyances thanks to the outer wall.
Slate 20th, 1059
I've ordered the workshops finally moved from the ground floor of the tower into the crafts area of basement level two. Now I just need to figure out where spillover storage needs to go. As long as we keep storage on the ground floor, we're ripe picking for those damn kobold thieves.
Felsite 2nd, 1059
That pompous elven ambassador had the GALL to tell us that we're chopping down too many trees. Pointy-eared fuckers! We get most of our wood from them, and they have the nerve to say WE cut down too many trees? I told him to blow it out his pointy ear. He just smiled and wished me a good season. Maybe I could lock him in a room with Mayor McCheese.
Moonstone 16th, 1059
Zas Lîlarkol has become a legendary champion! Hail Zas Lîlarkol!
Opal 7th, 1059
I'm not satisfied with the stone-fall traps. One use and they're done until we reset them. I've put the glassmakers to work collecting sand and forging giant glass axe blades. Two blades in each trap ought to grind those goblin bastards into a nice, fine paste.
Obsidian 11th, 1059
The titan Bekat Obinrodem has come! Then he got caught in a wooden cage trap. We put him in the lounge.
Granite 22nd, 1060
Today we finished damming both ends of the river. Let's see how those pointy eared fucks like THAT.
It was honestly pretty grueling work. When I told the mechanics I wanted to build some waterwheels along the river to power pumps, chief mechanic Iden Iden–z presented me with his plans for a self-contained power generator. I pointed out that I was pretty sure his idea violated at least two laws of thermodynamics and he just laughed. And I'll be damned if it didn't work just as he described. Who would have guessed that waterwheels can work the very pumps that pump the water keeping the wheels spinning? And on top of that, they generate enough extra power to run ADDITIONAL pumps.
Getting the pumps set up was easy. Dealing with all the water they pumped out was not. Most of the area inside (and a bit outside) the outer wall is now a muddy mess. Although we tried to pump the water downstream, a lot of it backed up.
Galena 4th, 1060
Some of the best news I've gotten in years; one of the latest yahoos to lock themselves in a workshop came out a legendary armorer. I immediately put Tekkud Delerkilrud to work crafting steel plate armor. I still don't know what in the world we're supposed to do with a platinum high boot. I asked Tekkud to make some regular iron high boots and he doesn't even know how. Only low boots.
Slate 11th, 1061
Runners came rushing into the fortress, warning of a goblin ambush at the strip mine, northwest of the outer wall. Everyone was hurrying back into the tower and I sent the military out, lead by Zas the Champion. Nearly a dozen goblins cut down with nothing more than bruises on our fine soldiers.
Malachite 30th, 1061
SON OF A BITCH! As if Mayor Araknish wasn't bad enough, now the Count has gotten into the action and the new Hammerer Tobul Udilråsh does his dirty work. The Count wanted electrum items. We have no electrum. When he didn't get his precious electrum gewgaws, he blamed the WEAPONSMITH. Two "hammerstrikes" later and the guy was dead. He never knew what hit him.
Galena 27th, 1061
It's like someone put something in the water. Or the rum. People are suddenly going crazy around here. Everyone's angry and depressed and the slightest thing set them off. A farmer got angry enough to start a fight and got tossed in jail. One of the weavers started throwing a tantrum and smashed a drawbridge at the outer wall. Along comes the Hammerer and BEATS HER BRAINS IN. This is the last straw. I've been reluctant to make a move agains the mayor or the sheriff, but they've been relatively harmless so far. This Tobul Udilråsh is a true psychopath. He has got to go.
I'll have to make it look like an accident. Like "oops, we accidentally installed reciprocating spike traps in his bedroom and turned them on as he was walking to the door."
Galena 28th, 1061
The tantrums continue. In a particularly gruesome scene, a peasant beat one of the masons to death with his bare hands. Just started hitting him and then bashing his head against the floor. He was sentenced to a 2 hammerstrikes, a beating, and then 260 days in jail. There's no way he'll survive.
The mason Onolanriz went insane without warning. He'd thrown a few tantrums, sure, but I was not expecting him to drop everything and wander around weeping. He refuses to eat or drink. He's not the only one either. One of the cooks did the exact same thing. Things are spiralling out of control.
Limestone 5th, 1061
Somehow the peasant, Kadol Onshenkilrud, survived the hammerstrikes, though his right thigh bone was completely shattered. He's lying in the infirmary, where he'll be kept until he's recovered enough to GET HIS BEATING. After that, when he's well enough, they'll through him in jail for 260 days. I know he won't live that long; he's not eating or drinking.
The farmer Asmel Besmaraban had started a fist fight and got himself thrown in jail. He couldn't take the confinement. After a few days, he just went apeshit and started clawing and biting at anyone who came near. Including the other prisoners, who could not easily get away. I ordered the military down there and they put the poor sap out of his misery.
Limestone 21st, 1061
The cook and the mason both died from thirst. And then the Captain of the Guard lost it. There's just this empty, dead look in his eyes.
I don't know what else I can do. I pulled the masons off of working on the 20th floor's roof and put them to task smoothing and decorating stone. The liquors supplies are full to overflowing. It's like the insanity is infectious; like a plague.
Moonstone 14th, 1061
Gods, what a day.
Count Meng Usânolon has gone insane. Absolutely stark raving mad. I honestly don't know what happened. One minute he's tearing down a wall. The next he's wacked out of his skull.
A little while later the most horrendous thing happened: a baby fell down suicide shaft. Either it crawled over there or someone dropped it. The frustrating thing is that I don't know who to blame! This is so awful, and yet his parents somehow don't even seem fazed by it. With all the lunacy going on around here, these two are so dedicated to the cause that even their death of their precious child doesn't seem to upset them.
Moonstone 22nd, 1061
The Captain of the Guard died of thirst today. And one of the dwarves pulled me to the tower balcony to watch something. The Count, completely out of his mind, is trying to kill himself by leaping into the moat. It's a drop of about 8 feet. He jumps in, lands without a scratch, walks up the stairs, and then tries again. Over and over he tries this. I considered closing the hatch to keep him down in the moat. I just don't have the heart.
Obsidian 17th, 1061
"Stand here," I said to the dwarf. Who the dwarf was, isn't important. He nodded dumbly. I turned the key in the inner door, then locked all the outer doors save one. "Now pull that lever," I told him. He walked over to it and I opened the final outer door. "Keep pulling it until I tell you to stop." With that, I stepped out and locked the last door.
The two sets of doors did well at muffling the screams of the Hammerer as spikes shot up from the floor of his bedroom, retracted, and then shot up again. Over and over they did this until a satisfactory amount of time passed. The screaming had long since ended. I unlocked the doors and released the visibly shaken dwarf from his task of pulling the lever. You just can't trust them to sit at a lever and work it continuously unless you lock them in.
I unlocked the inner door and verified with my own eyes that the murderous son of a bitch Tobul Udilråsh was dead.
Granite 1st, 1062
The beginning of the new year is here. Strangely, I feel... encouraged. The tower is done except that I am not fully satisfied. I have revised the design of the spires and any grumblings that I may have expected seem to have been offset by the relief at the Hammerer's death.
Granite 21st, 1062
Kadol Onshenkilrud went berserk. I had to call in the military to put him down. The Hammerer's loathsome touch continues on past his death.
Slate 6th, 1062
Our Countess arrived today, along with a new Hammerer. I assigned the latter to the old Hammerer's room.
Slate 8th, 1062
Drat, the new Hammerer is dead.
Felsite 14th, 1062
The dragon Arifi Nayith¨fi assaulted the fortress! However, the fine cage traps arrayed around the outer wall easily captured him. I had him put in the lounge.
Opal 2nd, 1062
Isingar is completed! We threw a huge party in the dining room to celebrate and broke open the finest casks of rum and beer.
The new owner is expect to arrive in the next couple of months. "What will we do until then?" one of the dwarves asked me.
"Rumor has it there's an adamantine vein not to far to the north," I replied with a smile.