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The life of a noble is difficult. They are cursed with highly refined tastes that are difficult to satisfy. Because of this burden, they often fall prey to tragic accidents. Here's a simple guide to ensuring the safety and happiness of the upper classes.
Any dwarf of high standing should have a well-crafted lever among the amenities in his spacious quarters. If he should find himself stressed by overdue mandates, or accidentally locked in his room, he can amuse himself by pulling it repeatedly. Pulling levers is one of the few tasks only fit for nobles, after all. For some nobles, pulling a lever is a show of solidarity with the working classes. "See? I contribute to the well-being of our great civilization! I understand the plight of the pump operator, the mechanic, and the craftsdwarf!" Other, more anal retentive nobles have levers installed so that they can pull them in the optimal sequence before calling for the production of adamantine piccolos. Some nobles call for a lever to be installed as a bell-pull, the better to alert the rest of the fortress that one of their nobles has a request. Whatever the reason, be sure to include a high-quality lever in all of your nobles' quarters.
A lever can be made personal to a specific noble in therofile for that lever, just as if it were a common, lowly workshop.
What could be more dwarven than a menacing spike? Better make it retractable, in case your noble needs the space. Put this steely symbol of dwarven strength in one of your noble's rooms, possibly next to the lever.
Hammerers just can't get enough spikes.
It is worth noting that nice masterwork steel spike encrusted with rubies looks very nice and may boost the room's value.
All dwarves love the soothing mist of a waterfall. Why not give your noble an opulent waterfall of his own? The hypnotic cascade of falling water will help relax him after a hard day of mandates, and the soothing sound will help him sleep. Take care that the drainage system is working properly. Any obstruction could cause the room to fill with water, and water can ruin the best leather cloaks. Remember to put an attractive grate over the drain, to keep anything from falling in and stinking up your plumbing.
Everyone loves a zoo. Why not put a savage, exotic beast right in your noble's room? Who wouldn't want to see a giant desert scorpion or zombie carp every day? Just make sure it doesn't escape. It may be prudent to hook this up to another lever in the noble's room, so they can secure the cage door if the creature somehow manages to escape.
Nobles are often frustrated with the lackadaisical labor attitudes of other, more trivially minded dwarves. Hence, why not alleviate your nobles' frustrations by instigating opportunities for them to inspect the work stations of lowlier laborers? As nobles are particularly attracted to the aesthetics of obsidian, an optimal choice of location would be your masterfully crafted obsidian farm. Place an amusing lever inside for your noble to repeatedly pull as he scrutinizes the process. Be careful not to forget the noble inside as he amuses himself with the lever, however, as the subsequent dropping of magma onto the water-soaked interior would thoroughly encase the unsuspecting
moron nitwit gentledwarf in obsidian. Subsequent mining would also prove fruitless to rescue the poor soul, so for extra security, link the noble's lever to the mechanism that releases the magma, so that he may halt the process should it go awry.
Your highest noble will meet with various visitors and emissaries in his throne room. To give him that extra edge in negotiations, make it intimidating. Put a magma pool right there in the throne room. Watch as your fortress wins valuable trade agreements at the table, securing the future for your great dwarven civilization. No glittery gold throne, either - make one out of iron, steel, or some other material with a high melting point.
Vault of Kings
Nobles are precious and fragile things. To make sure that your nobles don't get injured in battle, you might want to hook up their chamber doors to levers so they can be sealed firmly in case of invasion. Since the noble
trapped hiding safely secured inside wouldn't know when it was safe to come out again, best to put the lever somewhere outside. That way, once the confusion of battle is over, some dwarf will surely miss the noble and remember to release him. It may seem logical to put some food and water in with your noble, but this could lead to rot and miasma in your noble's safe room, which would only serve to make a difficult situation even worse.
For extra impenetrability, construct a wall in front of the door. Be sure to make note which section of wall the noble is behind so you'll be able to find it again later when it's time to let him out!
For the most regal of nobles, nothing less than a balcony perched above a pool of magma will do when trying to get the attention of the underlings. The construction of such a sacred pulpit is elaborate, but a true noble would expect nothing less.
A support must be built on the edge of a sheer cliff overlooking the attention-getting feature (magma is always impressive, although a pulpit overlooking a chasm can also produce a pleasing resonance for those nobles who enjoy haranguing the masses). A bridge must be built to the edge of this support, and a floor placed on top of the support. Provide the noble with a lever on top of this floor which retracts the bridge -- it's not a proper pulpit if the masses can reach the noble while he speaks. The lever is also connected to the support beneath the floor -- this is a safety precaution, we are told.
Before using the system, an additional lever should be built elsewhere in the fortress that attaches to the bridge, in case the noble's lever should... happen to jam. Then, invite the noble to inaugurate the platform by pulling the sacred lever placed on top of it. Be certain that only the noble is allowed to pull this lever -- it would not do to have a commoner desecrate the holy pulpit.
Each noble who wishes to use the pulpit must be provided with a newly-built platform (column, floor, and lever). Only the best for our nobles.
Demonstration of military might
Nobles are prone to worry, and reassurance is often hard to come by. However, many a noble is comforted by the sight of ballistae hurling spears across the countryside. As such, you may wish to treat some of your nobles to an artillery show. Build a ballista emplacement, and a spot for the noble to watch from. This vantage point should have a channel around it, to prevent any wild animals, perhaps enraged by the spears hurtling through their habitat, from getting at them. Make the central throne accessible by bridge, with a lever next to the noble's seat, for retraction. Ask your noble to pull the lever, and begin the demonstration. Be careful not to put your noble in the line of fire, for ballista bolts are traditionally engraved with the words, "To Whom It May Concern".
Madhouse Sealed noble-exclusive area
Why should your nobles have to eat, sleep,
be useless work to improve the fortress, and mingle with the common rabble, many of whom clean their beards with a pickaxe, for Armok's sake? Give your nobility a quality apartment all to themselves, preferably one sealed off from the dirty plebes. Ideally, only nobles would be allowed into this part of the fortress; servants would lower food and other necessities into a compartment that only the nobles can physically access. Just make sure the servants are quick to meet the needs of your nobles; desperation among the upper classes could lead to unsettling results.
Impressive Precarious Rooms
The nobles with a bit of a taste for the thrill of danger might enjoy having a room held by a few precarious supports, over a high shaft directly over the main entrance to your fortress. From there, they can watch the masses of worthless peasantry go about their meaningless lives below. The thrill of danger could be further increased by adding a lever that would, in the event that it was pulled, break all the supports and send the whole room crashing down upon the heads of anyone below! With the noble still in it! Make sure that in the event of a siege, that your defenders do not mistake the bedroom for a much larger, lever activated rockfall trap. This would result in a horrible tragedy, barely alleviated by the dozens of crushed skulls of the goblin hordes rushing your defenses.