Beards, Fear & Incompetence: A Dwarf Fortress Diary (Part 3)

Winter

Winter arrived, and so did some more immigrants. Thank fuck this Fortress doesn’t take the Daily Mail.

These immigrants were surely glad to be informed that Fikod’s remains had been scooped off the ground and tossed into the corpse pile, although they might have been slightly perturbed to discover that all his clothes and belongings were still on the floor where he fell. They’re very nice about it all though, and don’t even ask whether it’s normal for the dead to be stripped of their clothing before being dumped outside alongside the hamster remains that continue to decorate my fort like so much confetti.

There are now more than seventy Dwarves in my Fortress, of whom an insane amount are children. Of course this means that the vast majority of the fort contribute fuck all, eat my food and throw hugely disruptive parties all the fucking time, but that’s the twisted, perverse beauty of Dwarf Fortress – it manages to screw you over every five minutes whilst seeming innocently unaware of it, like a child who doesn’t understand why leaving Lego bricks all over the floor in a darkened room can make people upset. I don’t mean to complain about children for this entire series, but they’re all massive gallivanting shits, both in the real world and in that of the game.

Anyway.

Winter was, I won’t lie, difficult – both for me and the poor Dwarven schmucks I’d been left in charge of.

There’s less food around in Winter see, and when your fort has been attracting new settlers at the insane rate mine has, it doesn’t take long for the supplies to run out – especially when my only source of water (the aforementioned murky pools, which are basically puddles) froze. Also, due to some monumental screwups on my behalf, I realised during the first snowstorm of the season that all year I had been accidentally cooking the mushrooms I was growing, which mean that the seeds they produced weren’t being collected like they would be had the fungus been eaten or brewed into alcohol – which meant that eventually, my Plump Helmets were going to run out; and they were my main source of food. This is not good news, for those who weren’t paying attention, although according to Dwarf Fortress players, it is apparently Fun.

(Note to Bay12: Potential promotional line for the game: Dwarf Fortress; make accidentally starving a community to death fun!)

As a result of this, the majority of winter involved desperately clawing for food, before discovering a huge stash of seeds I didn’t know about and then immediately digging farms absolutely anywhere that I could (after headdesking so hard I nearly broke my own knees). Other than that, the only other thing that happened over the Winter was that Tun, one of the many, many children I seem to have attracted to my overgrown, understaffed Day Nursery, was taken by a Fey mood.

Yep, another one of those, like Fikod.

Luckily, Tun’s childish exuberance meant that he was nowhere near as picky as the skill-less oaf who was once my militia leader (and was now a ghost; must remember to lay his spirit to rest), and as such didn’t demand stupid vague things that I had no hope of providing him with (ARE YOU LISTENING FIKOD, YOU CORPSIFIED MOTHERFUCKER?). The items he wanted were all available in my fort and so little Tun soon skipped around the fortress, kicked my resident jeweller out of his workshop, and made a lovely clay crown. Good job Tun. Depression avoided (I couldn’t deal with having a terminally depressed fucking child wandering the halls).

Further fantastic news: this miracle of craftsdwarfship meant that I now had an expert jeweller in the fort, a Dwarf who could produce legendary shiny accessories that would be famed and lusted after the world over. I immediately set him to work.

Well, I tried. Then I remembered he’s a child and they do whatever they like, which is very rarely making jewellery. Children’s tasks involve being a drain on society, holding parties and getting in the way, as I may have mentioned before.

My brain boiled. The most talented dwarf in my entire fortress was a child who couldn’t be made to do the only thing that stood to make us any serious money. I started to understand why Primark do it.

Dwarf Fortress is a twat, and while I understand why so many people love it for the hilarious journeys it takes them on, right now I wanted to poke both the game and the pissy little sod in the eye.

Instead of physically abusing a child however, I decided to take somewhat of a different tack: I made him his own grand bedroom, complete with smoothed walls and personal workshop. I didn’t know if that would encourage him to do anything useful or not, but I figured if I kept him happy and alive (mainly alive) then one day he might grow up into a lovely skilled jeweller that would produce legendary shiny accessories that would be famed and lusted after the world over, like I wanted him to.

If you're a good girl, I'll build you your own workshop.

This was me attempting strategy in Dwarf Fortress, and it was about as effective as playing Alex Kasparov at Chess, but trying to move the pieces with a twelve foot piece of drainpipe and your eyes superglued shut.

Once the Tun debacle was over, all efforts within the fort returned to ensuring food and booze supplies were replenished, and Winter came to a close rather quietly as food was scurried away, ready for the next batch of MOTHER FUCKING IMMIGRANTS that were bound to turn up and ruin everything for me.

Next episode: Things that aren’t immigrants ruin it for me.