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This is the start of my new settlement in Dwarf Fortress, since I had to start over last week. If you're looking for a tutorial, you might check this out. The wiki is a big help, too (maybe even essential).
I'll be posting annual reports - from my dwarves' point of view - until... I stop. Yeah, no guarantees. I love the game, but I tend to get bored and move on. That's the case with all games, in fact (if you're wondering what happened to my last Minecraft game).
In the spring of 251, seven bold dwarves from the Fence of Dreaming set out to create a brand new outpost for dwarvenkind. Calling ourselves the Rhyming Towers, we confidently followed our leader, Urdim Lovedmetal, as she led us to our new home... a hot, humid jungle.
Standing there in the rain, panting from the heat, swatting flies and mosquitoes, we were all a bit dismayed. This didn't look much like a home for dwarves. Our flock of sheep hardly looked as badly out of their element as we did.
But Urdim insisted, and we had confidence in her leadership. The river to our north poured over a cliff, and the rocks below showed signs of silver and iron. And it did look defensible, if we just burrowed into the cliff-face.
But that's when Urdim surprised us again. We would dig, of course - that's what dwarves do - but we'd dig down from the top, in the middle of the jungle. And we'd create not just an underground dwarven lair, but also a sizable structure above ground, something to demonstrate to the other peoples of Ospazslzgo - humans, elves, and goblins - that we were here.
She called our new home Kobellokum, "Summitspear." And swinging her miner's pick, she took the first bite out of the admittedly swampy, mucky jungle floor. Well, it was a start.
While Urdim dug into the earth, the rest of us unloaded our wagon, pastured the livestock, and started surveying the site. Our first priority was to dig a moat around our encampment. There were alligators nearby, and who knew what else might show up? Defense was our first concern.
But it was a miserable experience. Even in early spring, it was hot. And it rained pretty much all the time. We had to sleep on the ground - in the mud - and eat standing at the wagon. Well, we didn't expect a grand dwarven hall right from the beginning. But I must admit that we hadn't expected to be settling down in a steaming, stinking jungle, either.
By mid-summer, we'd made a good start. We'd dug the moat and put a couple of bridges over it. We couldn't raise them, not yet, but at least it let us concentrate our defenses. And we were very pleased when ten new dwarves joined us. Our first immigrants!
Truth be told, they weren't a very prepossessing bunch. Half of them were just children. And their parents were hardly more than children themselves. Poorly skilled and poorly groomed, they clearly wouldn't be missed by their former home. But at least they were willing to work.
And their leader, an older dwarf who'd led these youngsters to us, turned out to have some considerable skill at metal-crafting. That should be very useful, eventually, although it might be some time before we can take advantage of it.
In the fall, another young couple showed up, with their three children. What's with all these youngsters having kids at such a young age? Again, they were poorly skilled, but willing to work. And with 22 dwarves now - a full seven of them children - we really needed the labor.
I thought the year was going well enough - slowly, perhaps, but uneventfully - but Urdim became increasingly moody. Late in the fall, she fell into a strange mood, shutting herself up in our mason's temporary shop and refusing to speak to any of us.
As chance would have it, that was right when dwarven traders arrived, with an outpost liaison from the Fence of Dreaming. But Urdim, still in the grip of that strange mood, refused to speak with him, and the diplomat left in a huff. I hope that doesn't cause us problems later.
The caravan, at least, was willing to trade, with or without our leader. Truth be told, we didn't have much to trade them. They brought a lot of goods that we could have used, but we really hadn't had time to do much crafting, ourselves. But they seemed happy enough when they left, so I suppose it was a start.
Winter turned out to be not much different from the rest of the year - hot, humid, and buggy. But Urdim emerged from the mason's workshop with the most astonishing armor stand, made of rock salt and encircled with bands of rock salt cabochons and silver.
She called it Buzat Sanreb, the Twigs of Owning (whatever that means), and it looks as valuable as hell. Oddly enough, she's a miner, not a mason. And she's never given any indication of knowing much about masonry - still doesn't, in fact. But she's back to her normal self again. Whatever that strange mood was, it's over now.
So here we are. It's spring again. We've been here one full year. So far, everyone is healthy and happy, though our water buffalo somehow starved to death, standing in the middle of a lush jungle. The dogs had puppies, the ewes had lambs, and we've got quite a bunch of chicks and turkey poults running around.
We're doing quite well for food and drink, and we've all got decent bedrooms now - if nothing too fancy (but it sure beats sleeping in the mud!). Our dining hall is still pretty rough, too, but we've come a long way.
However, at the end of winter, we were plagued with goblin thieves. We caught four of them in traps. (I'm not sure what we're going to actually do with them.) If there were more than that, we never saw them. I don't think they were successful in stealing from us - certainly, our children are all still safe - but this is only the beginning.
Now that they know we're here, we can expect further attacks. And to be honest, our defenses are still quite limited. Our traps were set up to defend against the occasional alligator or other wild beast. Against goblins,... well, we were lucky this time. But we can't count on that. And if any archers show up, our moat really won't be much protection.
We need to build walls, but there just aren't enough of us, not yet. We need more immigrants - and adults, not children. Skilled adults, hopefully. Certainly, another mason would be really, really useful.
But we'll take what we can get. And if we don't get anybody, we'll still manage. Because we're the Rhyming Towers, and we'll do whatever it takes to make Summitspear a fortress of legend.
Note: Part 2 is here.