Tuesday, 22 June 2010

TOA - The End?

The beast was slain today by the captain of the guard.

He took it upon himself to protect the miners who had been caught by the beast, and armed with his legendary golden warhammer, he struck the creature a killing blow. In the end, the forgotten beast only injured 2 war dogs, who are expected to make a full recovery.

The miners continued their efforts with new pride, the death of the beast brought them new hope. Aristlitast was unstoppable with it's mighty military, the best trained in the land.

And soon they struck raw adamantium, praise to the miners! The fort would be the richest place in all Tadinramul, with it's hallways lined with the precious metal and a dining room made from solid gold!

But wait, the adamantium vein is hollow, and steam rises up from the depths, tainted in strange purples. The miners lean over the edge to have a look, and the shaft leads down to a chamber below, impossibly vast and with glowing pits in the floor of unknown depth.

Then they heard the screaming, wails of horror echoing throughout the cavern. But these were the brave miners of Aristlitast, normal mortals would have fled and activated the carefully lain traps, but they simply shrugged and started hauling the precious metal to the surface, signalling for the rest to follow suit.

Then the creatures came, some with names, others wihout, salt monsters, steam demons, magma men, and shapeless horrors of the depths, they all poured out of the shaft in countless quantities.

Now they fled, the miners and haulers alike, running for the passage to the surface. The dwarves ahead of them urged them on, sealing the great stone doors behind them.

"We must run for the lever room and seal them in for good, then flood the underground, it is our only option!" screamed the captain of the guard.
"Never, we are mighty, a few monsters won't scare us off our prize, send the military to bar the passage, we will stand and fight!" said the mayor, recently elected to his post after a bountiful trade with the elves.

And so it was, the military were sent down to the passage, they crept their way along, and slowly opened the doors.

What they met was a wave of flame, engulfing the whole passage, ripping the doors from their hinges and killing the military instantly.

The dwarves on the surface heard their screams and pulled the lever to seal the depths, but already 20 of the beasts were on their way up the main shaft and toward the fort.

The top most gate had also broken, no longer connected to its lever, and by the time it was fixed, the demons were upon the mechanics.

The flood was activated, but it only served to slow the flaming creatures, the volume simply not being enough to stop them. The rest of the monsters charged on unperturbed and tore through the carefully lain traps at the top of the shaft and into the fort proper.

There were no more defences, it had been assumed that all the previous defences would have been enough, and now the rest of the fort was entirely open plan, death would come quickly.

What followed was not pretty, dwarven men, women and children being torn to pieces by the demons, burned alive and eaten in front of their friends. Some of the dwarves managed to lock themselves in the farmland, and remove the flooding mechanism used to irrigate the fields. Others fled to the trade hall, only to be chased down by the demons.

The ones who escaped ran back into the top of the fort, their reasons unknown to me, perhaps madness had taken them, perhaps out of loyalty to their friends, perhaps trying to get their pets, we will never know.

But none ever left the fort, it may have been possible to seal the entrance if there had been less panic, but the mad running around meant every dwarf was lost.

The last to die was the mayor, chased into a corner, he begged for his life, but was shown no mercy. He was knocked unconcious in the trade hall, then dragged down a corridor and butchered.

Maybe one day people will return to Aristlitast, to find the fine crafts or to look at the engravings lining every corridor, maybe the demons will leave, maybe they will make it their own home, ultimately the future is unknown, but what I do know, is that the Righteous Picks, are no more.


TOA - Ambush

It is now the winter of 1055 in Aristlitast and the last trade caravan is soon at arrive, the booze supplies are dangerously low as there is nowhere to store the booze, all the barrels having been used for food storage.

The carpenter works overtime to make more barrels, but the demand still far exceeds the supply, hopefully the traders will bring more.

And here they come, upon the Western cliffs a caravan is spotted heading for the fort, prepare the goods for trade!

But wait, something is wrong, goblins have been spotted springing from behind bushes, it's a trap! Send the militia!

But it was too late, by the time they arrived all the traders were dead and the goblins had fled.

The bodies were gathered and taken to the burial chambers in the shaft, and the goods recovered from the mountain, no sense in letting them go to waste, and the personal effects of the traders themselves can be returned to their families when the next caravan arrives (assuming it is better fated).

But now worse news, the scouting party in the depths has stumbled across something else, something big, something evil.

Lashid the forgotten beast has awoken, a great body covered in lidless eyes with thin wings of stretched flesh and poisonous fangs.

The underground is safe no more, the only way to press forward would be to build covered walkways through the depths, and even then there is no guarantee that Lashid wouldn't be able to break through, it is best sealed down there, or maybe trapped...

Friday, 18 June 2010

TOA - The Depths

Zan died from starvation, but in times of sadness, happy events have a way of coming forward, and two dwarven couples have been married, forgoing any formal ceremonies due to the circumstances. There is even a baby in the fort.

All is going well, the farms have once again started producing food, and the drink shortage has been solved so the fort is now completely self sustained, meaning we do not need the traders, and once an indoor water supply has been secured, the gate will be closed, Aristlitast will remove itself from the world while the project is completed.

The great stairway into the depths.

And now that stairway goes somewhere, four years since the founding of the fort, the stairway finally reaches nearly 150ft into the earth, and the miners have found a network of underground caves, filled with bugbats and troglodites, foul denizens of the dark. The militia was dispatched as the yelps of one of the miners dogs were heard and they arrived at the scene to find a bloody corpse and a blood splattered trog eating from it, the militia charged and made swift work of the creature, pausing to build doors as a barricade to any other unwelcome intruders.

While this was happening, one of the traps at the entrance to the shaft had been sprung, we had captured a trog, but what to do with the creature? They are humanoid in shape so it would be strange to eat it, and most of the fort believes them to be inedible, it cannot be trained and setting it free isn't an option. So we will keep it until we find a use, perhaps the militia can train new recruits with it.

But now the caverns, vast and filled with gems and fungi like you have never seen, and fine webs which could be spun into fine clothing. A scouting party was sent, and killed another trog on the way, they pose little threat to fully armed dwarves, and the group discovered a tunnel downwards, a series of ramps and small chambers leading deep into the earth. The route was followed a little way, but then news was passed down that traders had arrived. Not wanting to let them in on the potential wealth down below, the scouting party retreated, sealing the doors on the way out.

Perhaps next time we will venture deeper, perhaps we will find something interesting...

TOA - The Cold Winter

Winter has fallen again, much more so than last year, snow covers the ground, the water sources are frozen solid, and the sheriff of the fort has gone mad.

Zan had removed herself from society for a while, not telling anyone what was happening, but it seems that she had a desire to make something, most likely clothing or a glass item based on her skills, but lacked the workshop. If only she had told someone then the miners could have built anything she desired! The fool! Now she has lost her mind and runs around trying to gather equipment but being unable to carry it as she is too insane, poor soul.

Her condition is worsening as time passes, she now stands by the armor rack, grabbing and dropping warhammers, trying to do combat drills by herself. Beside her stand her 2 wardogs, faithful as always, hopefully if she becomes dangerous, they will be enough to stop her, as it stands, she is locked in the training room alone with them.

A long week has passed, the new farmlands are under construction, but still Zan is mad, the outlook is grim, yet the militia refuses to put her out of her misery just yet, she was a good friend to them.

The stone stores from the top of the shaft are being moved to the surface, an effort to allow the shaft to be cleared faster once building resumes, the preparations are now complete.

But wait, more migrants! This bring the fort up to 52 dwarves, a fine stronghold indeed! But new dwarves means more food need, more bedrooms to be dug, more beds to be made, it will be a slow process, but once it is complete, more workers for the dig, rejoice!

TOA - Madness!

The elves brought with them fine cloth and tanned hides from the forests, but unfortunately their foods were not to the taste of the dwarves. Yes they would provide sustenance, but they were not the fungi that they were fond of.

Still, the people gathered around the trade depot and watched the finest crafts being brought forward, shining scepters encrusted with gems, crowns, rings and a multitude of other things.

The elves were amazed and gladly accepted the offers, giving all the food they had, along with 3 animals, a mule, a horse and a tame fox. While not of much use for the militia nor for food, they would provide nice pets for some of the nobles of the fort.

The elves departed, the dwarves proud of their crafts having been praised so highly, and work recommenced on the shaft into the earth. The flooding mechanism was ready and with a flick of the switch, the whole lower level could be submerged.

But the winter had not been so kind to all the residents of Aristlitast, Dobar Sanreberith had fallen ill, and upon his recovery, he removed himself from the others, claiming a workshop and drawing pictures of shining metal bars and piles of cloth. Fearing for his sanity, and their safety, he was sealed into the metalsmiths. The dwarves would do all they can to bring him the materials he sought, though this means they must build a loom and mine for silver, they are just praying he will hold out until then.

Praise to the miners! Gold and silver veins have been found in the shaft, the ores will be extracted and refined then hopefully Dobar can begin crafting. The weaving has not yet begun, but hopefully in the time it takes the miners to dig out the vein, we will have something ready.

Unfortunately construction was too slow of the loom, the miners didn't prioritize excavating a room for it's construction, they were too caught up in the gold to notice that Dobar was almost at the point of no return. And now he is gone, driven mad by the lack of cloth, he has gone into a frenzy, he bangs on the doors of the forge, screaming to be let out so he can kill any he deems responsible for the lack of cloth.

After a day or so passes his screams turn to the sounds of crying, sorry for his madness, begging for forgiveness, and the dwarves tentatively open the doors, he is led away to his room, he will be watched closely over the coming weeks.

To lift the mood a little, construction of the shaft is paused, and the miners and mason team up to engrave the walls of the workshops and passageways, hopefully this will brighten up the fortress and lead to more happy dwarves.

The food crisis is also at an end, there is now breeding stock of 8 war dogs and several normal dogs, producing enough puppies to feed most of the fortress, hopefully the traders will bring plump helmet spawn next time though as should the war dogs be needed, this supply would soon end.

Dobar has died from thirst, it would seem he locked himself in his room and refused to drink, the fortress needs a new blacksmith.

Next - The shaft goes deeper...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

TOA - Migrants Abound

So after the long winter has passed, spring dawns on the fort again, still out of plump helmet spawn, but surviving on gathered plants and animals meat, hopefully our seeds will be replenished soon.

The thawing lake did nothing to the pillar, leaving the dwarves confused as to why it floats so, some think the lake may be magic, others realise that the rock they used is in fact quite buoyant, none the less, not what was expected.

But then hark! On the horizon travelers are spotted, the dwarves watch them come to the fort entrance and ask for a home with some sadness in their hearts, supplies were barely enough for the fort as it is, and the migrants are great in number, 18 of them in total, 1 more than the fort contains at the moment. But they say they will help out where they can, and The Righteous Picks will never turn a fellow dwarf away.

The miners gab their picks and strike the earth once more to make new rooms along the hallways of the second level, the crafters get to work, and the mason makes new doors, all will be well soon enough.

But the fortress is out of gems, the crafts will be much more valuable with them, and the fortress badly needs a lot of supplies next time the traders come. So the miners start a new project, to dig deep, deeper than ever before, deeper than the lowest levels of the mountainhalls themselves! But the miners are not foolish, they know of tales of things in the deep, so they are prepared.

A nearby lake is attached to the brook, then the lake channeled into the cliffside at the same level. Beneath this a passage is dug to the site of the main shaft, deep on level 3 of the fortress, and barred with a drawbridge, the waters will be freed against it, and in time of dire need, the bridge will be lowered to flood the shaft, and hopefully wash away anything that comes from it.

But what is this, a caravan from the elves, our struggles may be at an end!

Next - The shaft...

TOA - The First Winter

Winter set as the traders arrived, two caravans full of goods, heavily guarded and pulled by four mules, their journey across the mountain was tough, but upon seeing the entrance to the fort their eyes widened with joy, for soon they would have warmth and shelter.

They had come all the way from Tosid Igath so when they arrived, a fine barrel of Prickle Berry wine was brought to them, brewed by the master brewer as soon as the still had been built 7 months previous. Refreshed, they set to business immediately, not wanting to be snowed in for the season, offering clothing, armor and weapons for our gems and crafts.

But unfortunately Alath Evudakrul had been ill of late and had only one jet ring to offer alongside the uncut gems that had been extracted from the rock. Some wine and beer was brought forward as well, along with a crossbow that one of the dwarves had brought with him but no one had the skills to use. The traders were disappointed by the poor selection of goods, but they were assured that next visit there would be crafts a plenty, made from bone, rock and gems. The deal was made, and they began to pack up and leave.

Olin Olinulol took apprenticeship under Alath to make the crafts for next season and was discovered to have a natural talent for the art of crafting. Not a month after he started he made a masterpiece necklace from cow bone and presented it to Alath for his approval. With a tear in his eye, Alath praised him for his work, and said his training was complete, the best apprentice he had ever had, and left him the workshop. Soon the world would speak wonders of the crafts of Olin of The Righteous Picks!

Winter has also come in full force, the lower areas are mostly fine for the moment, nothing more than a thin film of ice on the brook, but the lakes near the fort are frozen solid. The dwarves know not what to make of this fact so tentatively place a pillar of rock in the center of the nearest lake, wondering what will happen when the ice thaws.

There is bad news from the farms as well, no plump helmet seeds can be found to plant, unless they have been misplaced, the fortress may have to rely on foraging and their few remaining animals until more can be procured. This is not helped by the roach infestation which has sprung up in the food stores, hopefully the traders will bring cats with them next time they visit. This winter may be hard on the fort.

But there is some good news, the mysterious lever room has been completed by the chief mechanic, his motives unknown to all and all the levers made from the darkest jet, but an accomplishment none the less; and the bedrooms have been finished, sleeping for 24 dwarves, the stones are just being smoothed then engravings will be added recounting the history of the mountainhomes.

Next - Spring and then great design...

TOA - Departure

#Note TOA = Tales Of Aristlitast#

After the departure from the mountainhomes, the brave explorers came to a valley with a brook flowing through it, steep cliffs were broken up by 2 large plateaus, one in the south at the level of the water, and another in the north set 15 ft higher. The upper plateau had trees and plants a plenty so they crossed the river and climbed the banks and there they would strike the earth to afford shelter for the coming winter, and to found their new home.

The digging was hard work through solid kaolinite and magnetite but the miners pressed on, supported by the rest of the dwarves bringing them booze and food from the limited stocks they had with them. Once the upper layers had been excavated, the supplies were moved inside, and a grand stone pile was made outside the entrance, it's purpose at the moment unknown, but it will surely be useful in future years.

Logging and foraging began until the farming area had been cleared of boulders, but a preparatory channel was dug from a nearby lake to irrigate the soil once the area was ready. The masons and carpenters were soon to work making doors and mechanisms to defend the fort, and building barrels to store the food and booze. Supplies were now at a low and the farmland would need to be ready soon else the dwarves would have to work hungry.

The farmland was sealed and the channel opened, water gushed into the chamber and spread perfectly over the area, the planning was done well, and the dwarves in charge would eat like kings as their reward. A wall was built to prevent any further influx of water in case of heavy rain, and the seeds were sown, the plump helmets would be numerous and all would eat well soon.

The miners, now better supplied, dug out the workshops and stores and a small still was constructed, the fort was taking shape. The area was being cleared constantly by the remaining dwarves, eager to have places to rest and eat, and so the fort took shape.

The dogs who had come on the journey had given birth to 6 wonderful puppies, the parents were trained into powerful war dogs to protect their young and the whole fort, their might equal to that of 2 men each and their loyalty, unwavering. An upper floor with the entrance was expanded via a passage a layer down to include a trade depot and dining room, the entrance itself was rigged with cages and rock fall traps to protect the fort from thieves and wild animals. The layer below which connected the depot and entrance was also home to the workshops and stores, where many dwarves were hard at work preparing for the traders which might visit, and in the far end was home to the farm. The final, lowest, layer of the fort was home to the bedrooms and offices, fine places for the hard working men and women to sleep.

And so the fort was ready, self sustained and productive, Aristlitast was founded!

Next - Winter falls and 2 trade caravans arrive at the same time...

Games - Dwarf Fortress

Been a while since my last update, so I thought I'd start up again with a bit of a story.

Now, Dwarf Fortress is not a game for everyone, I've shown it to Louise, and she is unimpressed (she doesn't mind when I explain the epic tales, but the lack of graphics is off putting), but if you get into it, you get trapped.

The lack of graphics and unintuitive interface are the two most off putting things, giving it a learning curve like a brick wall covered in angry cats, but I somehow managed to overcome this, and now have a fort going.

The following posts will be the tales of Aristlitast, and the brave men and women who live there.