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These are the chronicles of the Dwarven settlement of ChanneledKisses. I love Dwarven names. Founded in 1051, ChanneledKisses sites in a wooded valley below a towering volcano. The mountains are rich in marble, while the rock salt of the wooded valley holds coal and iron in abundance. The site has no flowing water, only a scattering of murky pools. But with ready magma, coal, iron, and flux stone, our hardy band of settlers knew that there were few sites with as much potential. And being far from marauding Goblins, the Dwarves hoped that they would have a little extra time before the inevitable raids began. With a little extra time, a site like this should reward raiders with nothing but hot and pointy death.

"We'll keep a low profile, fellows," said Ingiz Isanbomrek, the plucky young lady leading the group. "This site is rich, rich beyond dreams of avarice. But we don't want to let everyone know that, do we? We don't the hordes descending on us. And by 'hordes' I mean those lazy loafing Urist-come-Latelies. If we find gold, we don't even smelt it." She ignored the chorus of groans and protests from the other Dwarves. "We smelt steel, brother. Cold, hard steel, sharp as we can make it. None of us are warriors, but by next year, we will need to be. Even as distant as they are, the Goblins will never let us take a site like this uncontested."

The group's Cook/Weaponsmith, one Avuz Adilmangoz, suggested that, perhaps, those loafing newcomers who were bound to show up could be shown which end of a spear to hold and which end to put in the Goblins and thus be put to good use, when they weren't smelting metal for him to make pointy. Avuz is just selfish that way.

So they worked through the spring, making a small but comfortable and more importantly, self sustaining hamlet. First the band dug out some large halls in the soft loam of the valley floor. Ingiz knew none of them were miners anymore than they were warriors, and so a bit of training in soft soil would make mining rock much faster later on. Taking turns with the unfamiliar picks, they worked to create a long entry hall, wide enough for wagons. "I don't think anyone uses wagons anymore, boss," said Sakzul Zanegmal, the group's carpenter and chief medical dwarf, but the rest of the group agreed that the wagons were simply leaky, and would be back as soon as they were patched.

"Let's put in a big pool of magma under the hall, if things start getting Gobliny, we can dump 'em in!" suggested Asmel Udimush, the farmer and jeweler of the bunch. This was heartily agreed to, and a trench was dug. Sodel Akilamfol, the mason and architect, took a walk around the valley, thinking about the best way to build the defense. The valley formed a huge square with mountains on three sides, open to the north. After consulting with Ingiz, Sodel decided to wall in the valley and remove the slopes, forming a relatively safe enclosed space. "We'll put in fortifications and a walkway above the wall, to let our marksdwarfs fire at seiges," thought Sodel, "and a tower near the entrance, to fire down at any that make it into the baily. In fact, we'll put in some fortifications on the ground behind the wall, forcing invaders past the tower, and letting marksdwarfs in the baily fire at them the whole way as well. If we make the tower three stories tall, we can have squads train and sleep in it, too. And behind the tower, we'll put in an archery range."

The dwarfs also put in some clever twisting tunnels that appeared to provide a shortcut into the fortress. Invaders would go down the shorter tunnel, through all the traps, then triggering a bridge that would throw them backwards down the hall. Then back through the traps and down the longer tunnel, also full of traps, and with the same sort of bridge-a-pault at the end. The magma trap would kill some, and keep the rest out until the militia and guards assembled in the main stairwell. Once in place, the bridge would be extended again, and the invaders let into the meatgrinder. A gate in the outer wall would let them segregate invaders into manageable groups. The tower could also be reached from the main stairwell, and eventually, ballistae would be placed guarding the approaches.

Our intrepid band worked hard that first spring, setting up a sustainable and comfortable fortress. First, they excavated and flooded a farming cave. After constructing the entryway, trade depot, and storerooms in the soft sand of the valley floor, The dwarves dug down int the sandstone layers, setting up the initial industries of masonry, carpentry, jewelry, and a mechanic's shop. They then dug a wide stairwell descending nine levels, past sandstone, schist, microcline, and gabbro. At the bottom, far from the noise of wood cutting above, they dug out a comfortable warren of wide passages and tiny rooms. Above that, they created a kitchen complex with still, kitchen, dining hall, and store rooms. With the necessities out of the way and the jewelers as quick source of income, the dwarves turned their efforts to developing their main industry: metalworking. First they dug out some tunnels to feed magma to the furnaces and workshops. Then they created a large complex of rooms for the workshops above. With everything in place, one lone dwarf set out for the top of the mountain to dig the channel and let in the lava.

Flowing with all the speed of Dwarven Syrup in the month of Opal, the magma descended the shaft and slowly began to fill the magma moat and the tunnels below the furnaces and workshops. While waiting for this molten bonanza, the band set about making the basics of dwarven life: wooden beds and chests, stone doors and cabinets. After sleeping their first night on the cold, hard rock floor, they decided beds were a priority. Some tables and chairs for the dining room and bookkeeper's office completed their initial furnishings.

With the fort complete, at least for now, they began to explore for coal and iron. They discovered a huge deposit of magnetite, with a coal seam running down the middle a short distance north of the magma complex, a fortuitous find. Along with the marble found higher up the mountain slopes, this was all they would need to make huge quantities of steel. Continuing their streak of good luck, the miners struck a kimberlite vein and found a cluster of pale and light yellow diamonds. By the start of summer, things were looking very good for the new fortress, and despite their vows of secrecy, word had apparently gotten out that the fortress of Channeled Kisses had a wealth of opportunity for intrepid immigrants. A small band of six more dwarves showed up that summer, followed in the early fall by a family of four.

The dwarven caravan arriving in the fall found a fully functional and self sustaining fortress, albeit one with little to trade yet save some nice cut gems. Oh well, being self sustaining and not yet having any demanding nobles, our hardy band of dwarves need little from the caravan anyhow. Despite having over two seasons worth of food and drink stocked up, our band decides to purchase extra supplies of food and booze. "But we have enough, Ingiz," said one of the band, to which she replied, "Yes, but what if we don't? Do you want to drink the murky water around here? I thought not."

The liaison from the mountain homes seems happy with our progress, and discusses trade with Ingiz. Despite having a whole valley full of trees, she decides it would be safer to trade for wood, which is cheap anyhow. Ingiz asked, "And could you bring us some leather? I think we'll need some leather armor for our marksdwarves. Oh, and some steel bars. Yes, we have a ton of iron, but I'm not sure how much steel we can produce by next fall. And dwarven ale, rum, and beer. We're making wine hand over fist, but dwarves may get bored with that before we get the rest of our crops set up. Now, what do the Mountainhomes want? Hammers and helms? I think we can do that, my friend, we have a deal!"

In late fall, anticipating combat and injury in the spring, the band of settlers dug out a small cistern under the main living area and filled it from one of the three medium murky pools inside their little walled off valley (for it was walled off at that point, although the fortifications and walkways wouldn't be complete until spring.) They built a well, and a hospital area nearby with a table, traction bench, three chests and three bags, and ten beds. "Ten beds?!? Are you sure we'll need so many, Ingiz?" asked one of the dwarfs, "After all, we're less than twenty now." To which the stalwart leader replied, "Have you ever seen what a Goblin will do to a dwarf? I have. We may have dwarfs recuperating there for years, my friend. Years for all their injuries to heal, and meanwhile, more raids. And more raids. And yet more. Do you see? We should plan for the worst, because that is what Goblins bring: the worst, and worse than you've ever seen."

Winter came, bringing a late freeze and a small snowstorm. The little band worked hard through the long winter, smelting iron, making steel, installing traps, and making weapons and armor. Ingiz took a few immigrants who had a smattering of military skills ("Dodging, armor use and shield use, but no weapons skills?" she thought, "Sounds like someone has practiced at running away.") and started training them.

stuff to write: exploratory mining reveals huge iron and coal deposits, first militia set up, marble mining up the mountain, immigrants, first trade with dorfs, big wave of immigrants, trade with elves and humans, expanding militia, breaching the first cavern, first ambush (went well, 1 dead), Amber McWebbyStagasaurus shows up below, we get a mayor, second ambush (not so good, 10 dead including expedition leader and mechanic, next time set alerts/burrows!), We are Bothered by Flies, er, bugs which prevent us getting a barony, which brings us up to where I'm at now, winter 52-52. Third ambush went well, interesting case, two squads plus about six goblin snatchers. We lost only two, killed six, captured eight! The dwarfs invent perpetual motion, and use it to power a waterfall. Our mayor loves copper, and is apparently upset by the shortage of helms 'cause we can't sell 'em anymore. Not that that was the plan anyway. We fill her spacious rooms with copper furnishings. The Guard is formed, and the Captain promptly beats someone to death. For what? Captain meets out justice, crap, did I miss a mandate? No helms, check, make copper crap, double check, why did she beat one of my best furnace operators to death? I freaked out when I saw the 'struck down' message and him outside, I thought he'd been ambushed and put the fort on alert, sent the squads out there, but nothing. So I checked the reports, and then her thoughts. "She took joy in slaughter recently. She has seen death. She beat someone recently." Yikes! Elven traders come, followed by an ambush. I'm seeing a pattern. Are they in cahoots? We lose six, but the newly formed squad of Guards, made up of our best, plus some nice military immigrants who helpfully show up right before we really need them, comport themselves very well. No goblins captured. Twelve killed. My injured keep dying of thirst, evidently, I need a lot more buckets. A human caravan arrives, they don't make it inside quick enough, and solve my ambush problem for me, at the loss of one trader. Hmm, all his goods are just sitting there. Well, okay, they took care of HALF the ambush, good on them, but they left the Goblin Bowmen for me. No one else dead, yet, but one seriously injured. The fort hits a peaceful patch, no ambushes for over a year! We decapitate some Kobolds. Migrants arrive, and a giant, yikes! The squads rush out to protect them. We take him down, zero casualties! One guy with shattered bones, that's it! This game is so accurate regarding numbers, unless something is plain impervious, a swarm is gonna win. You can't defend enough even though you are constantly defending, you are trying to shake dogs off you, someone gets a lucky strike in, bam! It's down hill from there.)