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Dwarf Fortress, pt2

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Current fortress

I figured out at last how to change the init file so that all the underground features are visible on the pre-embarking screen. This is going to be useful.

The new map has a magma pool, a magma pipe, an overground river, an underground lake (which may be problematic later on), sand, ... but next to no trees.

With "next to no trees", I mean that there are maybe 20 trees to be cut down in the course of a year. More likely less than that. That means that wood is strictly restricted for the making of beds and storage bins.

It's a bit weird, as this is in the arctic region of the world (and the fish is arctic fish as well), but it was classified as "hot". Maybe the planet rolls on the side, like Uranus.

The underground lake, on the other hand, isn't underground at all. At least where it was shown on the pre-embarking screen, there is an open lake with nasty lizardmen and stuff. It's clearly an underground lake with a collapsed ceiling, just like the volcano on the "lack of sand"-map was. But I don't know if this means that it doesn't count for the growth of the subterranean trees that I read about or not. If it doesn't count, well... crap, but I can cope with that. The caravans eagerly bring me wood and barrels so far. This will mean no fertilizer and no soap, but I've got enough food and booze as it is, can build more farms if necessary, and the dwarves never wash themselves anyway.

I did things differently this time. Instead of digging into some cliff, I made a fortification by means of a channeled moat around the designated area for my fortress. It's on a quite wide plateau. Then I digged straight down into the lower z-level for the first rooms. This design means that every single attacker (and caravan trader, and dwarf that is running outside to cut trees or to collect spider webs) has to run over the 3 tile wide drawbridge. Pull it up and no one can pass. (At least unless the foes have things to smash down my architecture from the distance). Muahaha.

This plateau wasn't very close to the river, but it was a distance that a thirsty dwarf can cope with in emergencies, and so I spent the next 1.5 years with the building of a proper well. It's really proper. It's fed by a channeled, 2 z-levels deep canal, and it's several z-levels deep into the ground. The fisher can use it to fish the occasional salmon or turtle.

I think I could build a waterfall there to entertain the crowd near the well with it, but I need to figure out some things before doing that.

So far, I've located the magma pipe (still haven't got a real clue what to do with it though, maybe I should pry it open on the obsidian cap atop of it to see how it looks like inside? The DF wiki warns of pressure issues when digging into that obsidian layer, but I would dig into the pipe with several floodgates and a sealed off floor anyway, so further pressure shouldn't be a problem. Knowing what I'm digging into might be a better idea than randomly smoothing and fortifying all the hot stone tiles (or than sacrificing a less important peasant by telling him to just dig around the pipe.)

I have several legendary dwarves (ultra skilled in their craft(s)). I have set up a proper textile industry and the food storages are full. I am producing rock and plant fibre crafts and toys with some really skilled dwarves - which means more money to buy more barrels and wood and bauxite.

I have acquired a tame leopard from the elven caravan and hope to get another for a breeding pair.

The issue might be the magma pipe. Or the fact that I've gone insane and started to build a real castle on the surface level, inside of the moat. Alright, it is small (yet), but I've begun the construction of towers at the corners, I am doing it serious by only using one type of stone -diorite, that is- so that it looks properly, and I'm seriously considering to put a roof made of glass on top of the entire thing when it is done. A sexy, domed roof, that is. Or some really impressive massive waterfall? Mhmmmm.

And I need to find out if I can get the subterranean tree things or not.

I'll modify the init to allow more immigrants soon.


Ok, I just ran this fortress with a 3D Visualizer program. The diorite looks awesome - but the fortifications on the ground level were not such a good idea. Need to fix that by just adding more thickness to the walls. It also needs more floors. Totally. That mountain behind it is still taller than the castle. :P

Also, while flying through my canal, I noticed -tadaa- a "tower cap" tree. That's the subterranean trees that are unlocked if you've found an underground river or pond. => The wood problem can be solved.

I guess I'll go for the magma next, since that's so potentially fatal, hehe.


This went well indeed, but I needed a change after a while.

So, I tried smaller regions next. It's sort of hard to find a small, say 4x4 map that has a magma pipe, underground water of some sorts, and above ground water so that nobody dies of thirst while I'm doing the plumbing projects. That difficulty aside, smaller maps seem to be harder on the monster spawning rate side, too.

Looking back at my 6x6 regions, I was basically left alone by the goblins and the other crap. On the small maps... you have one year at most until the fire creatures will leave the open magma shaft and screw you, and only some years until goblin raiding parties appear.

So, this was interesting and educative for the defense plans for my fortresses.

Note: don't dig a channel all the way around the outer edge of the map, or the caravans can't reach your trading depot. Not even if you fill them up with constructed floors afterwards.

Another note: don't destruct a trading depot when one caravan has put their wares onto the ground inside of it. The poor elves did so when my mason finally arrived and put the depot down; the elves wandered off to the new depot but left their wares. Free for taking. They didn't seem to think of it as theft though, but lets just say, it felt wrong. And the elven caravan of the years after was extremely poor and had only crappy goods.

Yet another note: I don't know how you can check it out pre-embarking, but if your dwarven civilization (press "c" once embarked) is pathetic, small, without a king, or ruled by an elf king (!) then there won't be a trading liaison and you can't order bauxite. This spells trouble. I had the elf king for my dwarven civilization at one point.

And finally, if you have a social, friendly, empathic.. but totally neurotic ("socially crippled because she thinks that everyone is watching and judging her") dwarf - then don't make her the expedition leader. I had one of those. I didn't see what exactly happened, but I observed two instances where her neuroticism was probably the cause for destruction:

1. goblins had killed a pet cat. The cat had belonged to a quiet, calm, happy dwarf. Of course he was devastated at the loss of his cat, so he ran to a counceling session with the leader for comfort. I think it was when he returned from that counceling that he suddenly dropped all his clothes on the ground, and started to be stark raving mad for the next couple of months... until he died of dehydration.

2. another unhappy dwarf was seen running to a councelling session and didn't get better as well.

This fortress had coincidentally also the issue that it ran out of food at one point, and everyone was hunting vermins for food. No, I don't blame the leader for that, but I partially blame her because some people never got better after the starvation issue was solved.

Anyway, I know how to dig into rivers and magma safely now, but my tower-cap farm projects (plus plumbing) can take years and they're not really efficient.

I have two things now that I want to find out:

1. life on a freezing cold map. Not sure if it has to be a glacier or if tundra is sufficient. To make outside life rather impossible, except when the dwarves wear socks, perhaps.

2. getting settled on that marvel of a map that I found while searching (magma pipe, sand, underground river, sand, surface water, lots of trees, very easy to defend and use surface overall which is inviting to build a fortress on the soily ground and a tower on the summit... plus a bottomless pit aaaand a glowing pit (aw man!))

Updated 14-02-2010 at 11:27 by Lytha