Dwarf Fortress: Very Ambitious Roguelike

I’m really enjoying reading about this.

Head for the caverns! It’s the dorfen way!


I’ve come to the same conclusion. I was feeling pretty bummed out when I stopped the last session, but I’ve since been hatching some plans for a glorious comeback.

My dorfs finally reached the cavern layer - stairs came out in the roof of the cavern with several z-levels down to the floor. Panic ensued as there were attempts to seal off the stairs by channeling out and building UP-stairs and in the chaos a lonely miners got trapped without stairs going up, and a deadly fall just a tile away. Luckily she had her pick so she could mine some rocks to build a new set of stairs. Just as she was about to lay the last brick on the jet stone stairs a ghost popped out of the wall and scared her right over the ledge and flying several feet away and crashing down on the damp cavern floor. Somehow she survived without any damage except a huge hit to her psyche, from the stress of seeing her old miner friend who drowned tragically after getting caught in a river that suddenly thawed.

Some benny hill like chase sequence down down the cavern layers later the ghost left her alone long enough to mine a tunnel and close it off behind her. Phew!

I think I’ll need to dig out and bury that miners corpse as soon as winter comes!

Have a stoneworker make a slab, engrave it with your poor riverdwarf’s name, and place it somewhere should be enough for your ghostproblem

Dwarf Fortress Fight Club incoming

1st Granite, 101. Early Spring

The tragedy knows no bounds. Our brave leader, Oade, struck down by the murderous bluejays.

While he will never again perform “Weasel and Nothing More”, at least his last words were happy:

(Sorry @vyshka, I didn’t mean for it to end this way. Happy to put you back in as another dwarf to gain revenge.)

The gem cutter Item Peacepaddled has stepped into the now-empty leadership, and is taking meetings from his hospital bed (while unconscious):

We are slowly recovering. The doctor (drafted for the emergency, with no medical training or knowledge) is tending to the patients. And it is possible we have a rescuer:

(That was the end of that bluejay.)

We have established our burrow underground, and forbidden all access to the surface. (I did try to allow a dwarf out to recover wounded, but instead they’d always go get a body or some clothes or something, and eventually our legendary metalcrafter Catten Becortekkud succumbed to the elements. Dammit.) In the safety of our burrow, we have no food source, but well over a hundred prepared meals and drinks, plus a functioning well. We only have 15 logs in our inner stockpile, but plenty of coal, and we’ve established a second smelter to produce steel. Sadly, our legendary weaponsmith was among the casualties, but we nonetheless we will arm and one day regain the surface.

Should we need more wood (though we’ve already produced our five wooden training axes), there is another option:

…the underground caverns.

There are four giant bluejays marked for death:

We cannot fight them now, but in the meantime, we prepare a tombs for the bodies we cannot yet recover, and a memorial hall for all who were taken from us. While we wait for our ultimate vengeance, we find solace where we can:


Edit: Total casualties: thirteen dwarves, of which two were children. A visiting human swordsman and axeman. Numerous animals, eventually all of them, probably, as they are stuck on the surface. Total kills: six, of which four were named (having killed a dwarf or human). Survivors: nine adults (some wounded), one child.

16th Hematite, 101. Early Summer.

Well, this was predictable:

We were trying to get our remembrance hall smoothed before installing the memorial, but the ghosts will not wait.

A human crossbowman visits and is immediately ripped to shreds. At least she was able to get off a single bolt, which tore a tendon in the left false rib. So that’s something.

A hammerdwarf visits. It is not a promising start:

But it turns out nicely:

Bang bang, Urvad’s silver hammer comes down on it’s head. Another one down, three to go.

Sadly, it is not to last:
At least she managed to land some hits on Zulbansezuk, “Bannerslapped”.

Zulbansezuk triggers one of our stone-fall traps, and is hit! Unconscious! Quickly, everyone forms up into a squad and charges!
(It takes surprisingly long for our enraged dwarves to finish tearing apart the giant bluejay.)
But more tragedy: our bone carver, Adil, accidentally triggers the adjacent trap and is instantly killed. Will it ever end? (At least he can be immediately buried.)

Perhaps unsurprising:

Another one down! The visiting human crossbowman Pis Styleword empties his quiver into the thing, and then finishes it off with a blow to the skull:

And then the visiting swordsdwarf Olin Portalbears beheads the last one. We are free!


Perhaps we should figure out what it takes to agitate a bluejay… but for now, we rush out to gather the dead. Finally.

[When burrowed off from the surface, plenty of tasks were canceled as inaccessible, naturally. But when I suspended the burrow, everything started happening faster (in game time, not CPU time). I don’t know if it was because the game was just wasting cycles creating and abandoning tasks, or if the dwarves were happy to finally be released from the threat of death from above, or if I was. I suspect a combination of the first and third.]

I wonder if a legendary hunter would have any success with them, or if they would just tear a hunter apart as well. I had an ongoing issue with Great Horned Owl people, but nothing like these raptors of doom.

As always, nice read. I am invested.


I don’t know for sure, but in my experience the combat tends to come down to whoever can land a good (i.e. disabling) hit first. (This “feels realistic” to me, in a way that hitpoints don’t.) From reading the combat logs, the reason that legendary fighters do so well is that (a) they dodge incoming hits, especially bolts and (b) they immediately lop off a critical part of their target, disabling it. The exceptions to this are when there’s a weird biology involved–I had a forgotten beast made of crystal that suffered a lot of hits, and managed to kill a bunch of legendaries before going down.

That said, I’m not familiar with shooting, because in my last game my squad wouldn’t pick up any more bolts. I suspect that a legendary hunter would have a good chance, though, as the bluejays don’t seem to be especially tough to kill, just fast and deadly. So if they could land a bolt in a good place (i.e. the skull) I think they’d win. That said, the (first) visiting crossbowman did hit the bluejay in the “left false rib” and still died, and the second one used a whole lot of bolts before disabling, so…

Precisely! That’s basically exactly what I imagine the bluejays are doing to my poor dwarfs.

15th Galena, 101. Late summer.

The humans have come! Traders, I mean. We pick up some milk, buckets, bags, fish, meat, plants, and miscellaneous weapons and trap equipment. The total value is probably about a thousand, and we offer some crowns and amulets as gifts, too. Sadly, no booze, but we’re still ok on that front, for now.

A petition!

That’s an immediate approval. Any monster hunter is welcome here.

And, finally, some joy:

Zefon Woundbow, born to Udib the miner and Eral the militia commander (not that we have a militia right now) has represents the hope that Listenwound has for the future. She will need her patience and willpower:
…and of course, she needs alcohol to get through the working day.

Another monster hunter:

However, there is further tragedy. The bluejays have left, but four giant ravens have become agitated. They manage to kill our doctor, but otherwise are swiftly dealt with.

I’ve stopped reporting all the monster hunters flocking to Listenwound, but I’m amused by this name:

Welcome, Tod! We’re now at four. At this rate, we’ll have more monster hunters than citizens, soon.

Labor proceeds slowly. In an effort to bolster morale, we have a non-denominational temple:

…and individual (spacious!) bedrooms:

Our burial hall continues filling up:

The reddish bauxite coffins are for the children. :(

We’ve reworked the entrance with more traps, a secondary wood stockpile, indoor refuse and corpse locations, and an indoor trade depot. The room on the right will be the barracks, once we’re settled enough to begin training.

And finally, our memorial hall, deep below, is coming along:

Nice! Listenedwound seems to be coming along apace. 'Tis the fortress of the giant, murderous corvids, it seems.

Keep an eye on that monster hunter if you have any artifacts. :)

I really need to get a competent military. I’m having trouble keeping up with the hauling tasks, though…

All the monster hunters are just spending their time praying in the temple. They’re less useful there than wandering about on the surface. :-/

3rd Obsidian, 101. Late Winter

The second dwarven caravan arrives. We don’t know what to ask for… it’s not things we lack, so much as people. We request for wood, since our woodcutter was killed; giant axe blades, to stiffen the defenses; and rum, since we always need rum. They request backpacks, but it is unlikely we’ll be in a position to offer much.

We trade for some tin bars, a cage, toys, drink, leather, and a reindeer bone kednath. Perhaps it’s music will cheer our people. We also offer some finely cut gems to our leaders. Maybe they can be swayed to help.

And indeed, no sooner have the merchants made it inside than the bluejays return:

We activate the burrow, but our child is trapped outside.

Fortunately, he makes it, and there is something else, as well:

Well now, what have we here…

(I’m not thrilled with that door being propped open by a discarded leather glove. It’s been ordered to be dumped for more than a season now, and there’s a dump nearby.)

We also (finally) found our first squad, the Ochre Escorts:

We draft three miners and our chief medical dwarf. For now, they have no orders, but they begin gathering equipment.

(I’m a bit lost as to what the different colors on the equipment page mean. I have no idea what “Update Equipment” does, either. At least they seem to be mostly picking up their equipment, though I realize now I’ve forgotten to forge any shields.)

We also train two of our four dogs in the ways of war, for a few extra bodies.

Training begins:
The dog eagerly watches them demonstrate striking to each other.

We are now at eleven (!!) monster slayers, eight citizens, and one infant. The monster slayers resolutely claim that their contract only involves monsters underground, so they refuse to engage the bluejays. (They outnumber us, so what can we do?) Very well, we open up a pathway to the caverns:

(That ramp goes down to the cavern level.)

Alas, there are currently no monsters in the caverns, so they remain in the temple, drinking our wine.

A new kind of visitor arrives:

I have no idea what a Lord Consort does, or what one would think of our besieged fortress, but perhaps we’ll find out. His one mark of nobility is a crown:
…made of human hair. A wig, perhaps? Humans are strange, indeed, but we shall try to be welcoming.

The answer is, of course, slay monsters. That makes twelve.

As the year 101 comes to a close, we have stabilized:

Plenty of food and drink (it rots, trapped as we are underground). Plenty of monster slayers. Few workers and soldiers. Moods are… ok. We seem to have avoided any tantrums for now.

Just about all of our manufacturing skill is concentrated in Ustuth:

Sadly we lost our trained armor and weaponsmiths, but Ustuth’s labor to put our squad in steel has improved his abilities.

And now a question for the room:

  • Butcher and eat the captive giant bluejay. Consume its powers, and make amulets of its bones.
  • Train it, and release it on its former allies. Fight fire with fire.

0 voters

24th Slate, 102. Mid-Spring

Listenedwound has decided that we are going to make the giant bluejay our own. However, this is going to be a long process:

But we’ll make it there:

Meanwhile, we’re finally getting something out of these damn monster hunters:

We also receive our first elven visitors. We carefully gather up some “ethical” items for them–we cannot afford to anger yet another species. [Warning: moving items to the trade depot does not respect burrow assignments! Fortunately we managed to get some items from the surface without provoking the giant bluejays.] We trade for some fruit, instruments, and cages, and offer some gifts as well. Small stakes, but it is nice to get rid of some worn out clothes we no longer need.

For the first time in many seasons, migrants have arrived! And so many I can barely count them! (There were 24.) Three animal trainers, timely. A new broker and manager, to ease the work of our leader. We fill the squad up to ten, and consider upping their training time (currently at 50%).

Praise Armok!

A donkey starves to death in the temple. (After designating the temple, all our animals started spending their time there.) We order the rest of the animals, now starving, to be butchered.

To feed our expanded population, we begin farming:

Just plump helmets for now, on not-too-fertile soil, but it’s safe underground.

And we have another visitor, accompanied by a crash of thunder:

Perhaps we shall fear the night. Now it is the time for our monster hunters to earn their keep!

A Wererabbit representative? Is there a city of them somewhere?!

Were you not able to pasture the animals, or too dangerous with the killer bluejays? I ask, because I had the same issue in my first game, and then learned how you zone a pasture and assign the animals to it which I think solved it for me in my next game.

I had them pastured, then at some point the pasture was deleted and I was unable to re-pasture them due to the bluejays. They were more work than they were worth, and I don’t think I had any breeding pairs, anyway. At some point (if I get an underground pasture set up) I’ll import a pair of some animal that makes sense.

Also, my poor doorfs just can’t get a break. That last episode was quite an emotional rollercoaster for me, with the huge immigration wave (who somehow made it in without triggering the four agitated giant bluejays) followed up with a wererabbit.