Home Games Dorf Fortress #3: Admission

Dorf Fortress #3: Admission

by SCG
A screenshot of the game Dwarf Fortress, displaying the land by a riverside.

When last we left Roughrewards my starting seven were still hewing living spaces from our endless supplies of mountain chert and swapping stories of the one time everybody punched that alligator a lot. It’s been suggested that a shrine be constructed in the pool of alligator blood to memorialise this founding event, and honestly I can’t think of a more appropriate thing to do in Dwarf Fortress. We’ll get to that at some point.

First, though, I need to get this shithole mountain home functional at a basic level.

I have a farm plot, but what concerns me is ensuring I have enough Plump Helmet seeds to endlessly grow Plump Helmets. For the benefit of those following this journal who know little of the game and are merely looking forward to the point when everything hilariously explodes in my hilarious face, Plump Helmets are the stock mushroom that can be grown year-round and eaten as well as brewed into beer. Dwarfs may get sick of ’em, but they won’t die so long as there’s Plump Helmets. Well, of starvation or thirst, anyway. Unless they get sick. Or–

From what I recall from a fuck-up some years ago, to ensure you have a continuous supply of these mushrooms, you need to ensure that some are eaten and they’re not all brewed. Eating leaves seeds; brewing does not. Or the other way around? My final decision is fuck it, let’s just plant everything and see how we go.

Dwarfs carving out a large room to the east of some bedrooms.

The grand hall to the east of my initial bedrooms is underway. As soon as there’s just enough space to do so, I set the meeting area in here and all my idle dwarfs and animals head straight down and try to squeeze themselves into the same tile. You know, like humans do at house parties.

I’ve drilled the stairwell down a few levels deeper. Partly I’m looking to see what we find: happily, the answer is lots of things that aren’t chert. Different rock, some rough gems, etcetera. No caverns yet, thankfully. A few z-levels below my housing I carve out an area for mining, stone workshops and a stone and gem stockpile. The rationale here is that Dwarf Fortress apparently models noise so I want some distance from the living area, and I want workshop materials close to the workshops. This area will be the central point of our underworld industry.

Above ground, we already have our elf-offending industry (they don’t like it when you cut down trees; I have cut down many). I built a carpenter’s workshop next to the wood stockpile, and it’s been set to making beds and doors for a while now. I also added barrels to the list, because I figured they’d be useful for brewing, but all the barrels that are created are immediately claimed by dwarfs to put in the stockpile so they can store one item inside. O-kay. At least all the bedrooms will soon have beds and doors, as you can see in the screenshot above.

Near the farm, I carve out a space for a still and a kitchen. “Fresh” beer and prepared food for all! It’s the same ingredient either way, but hey: civilization.

I have no idea how much time has passed since the game began. Is it over a year? Probably not, but my dwarfs and I did spend a lot of time with that alligator. I figure traders will show up soon enough, so I mark out an area for a broker’s office, and then try to place the trade depot. After a little trial and error I realise I can’t, and this makes me more conscious of a problem I’ve been ignoring since I began: my top level, and therefore every branch off the stairwell it contains, is too close to the edge of the map.

When I started the game I chose a small embark area, on account of harebrained assumptions concerning the computational capacity eaten by this ridiculous simulation, and when I carved out a tunnel into the mountainside I went right up to the edge, because that’s where the earth was. In retrospect I should have curled a tunnel down and back on itself, or just dug straight down at a central point in the map. It’s whilst thinking about this that I also admit I’m already thinking “when this fortress fails, I’ll do a better job with the next one.”

Sorry dwarfs. Mentally, I’ve already written you off.

Anyway, I’ll persevere until something goes wrong. And I certainly shan’t do anything to hasten that!!

The top layer of the fortress, with several new rooms added: a trade depot, an office, a still and a kitchen.

I eventually carve out a new room for my trade depot, opposite the original location. I leave the latter empty. I’ll have a nameplate for it engraved, simply reading “Folly”. Or perhaps I could use it to store the dead lungfish remains which, for some reason, are scattered all over the place above ground. I file this under “harmless Dwarf Fortress weirdness” and move on.

All of the above is quite a lot of work to be getting on with, and my dwarfs are busy. I tinker with the job settings – I’m still doing this manually in the game – pretending I’m optimising things, as if I know what I’m doing. Most of the dwarfs are veeeeeery slowly lugging rocks around, or much more rapidly hacking holes in the earth. One lucky individual is making more doors and barrels, and another – who I have also made my broker – is cranking out stonecraft goods. I plan to trade these with everyone, especially the elves, because they’re stonecrafts and contain no wood. Theoretically.

The text reads, "Some migrants have arrived!"

It’s during this levelling-up period for the fort that my first migrants arrive! This is traditionally the point at which a DF diary or let’s play moans about bloody migrants complicating things, but I’m really excited. I want more workers to grow my fortress faster, and there’s plenty of work that needs doing. Let’s see who we got!

The new arrivals are a Planter, a Thresher, and a child.

Oh, fuck off.

[Next time: more migrants, some with useful skills but mostly not! Traders, with more goods than anyone could need or indeed desire! An artifact befitting this fortress! More things I don’t understand, and a growing, anticipatory sense of failure! DORF! FORTRESS!]

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