Dwarf Fortress Story Submission
We’ve had a great submission from a player about their first “proper” fortress (post-tutorial, I am guessing). It covers the epic fall of the fortress and provides some slight spoilers about the “happy fun stuff” that exists in DF. Anyway, here it is in full, thanks Ben!
Thanks to you I’m now horribly addicted to the game, and here is the
story of the fall of Bomreknon, my first fortress, leaving out the early
years and jumping straight to the discovery of adamantium:
Then, suddenly, a miracle! The exploratory shafts dug to seek out coal
hit adamantite ore, a mythical ore so rare that to the dwarves, any
hardship was worth it just to be able to work it into artifacts of
unparalleled beauty, strength and suppleness. With these seams their
fuel concerns were over, and even only a few dwarves properly fitted out
with adamantium weapons and armour would be a match for anything the
goblins could throw at them.
The first adamantium products began to emerge from the forges, and more
than a few dwarves were overcome by strange moods and urges, selfishly
closeting themselves away with hoarded adamantium and emerging months
later with priceless crafted artifacts representing the pinnacle of
their life’s work.
Even the local king took notice, and apparently entered the halls
disguised as a peasant amongst the flood of new migrants, though his
true identity was never revealed before disaster struck.
The search for more adamantium led the miners ever deeper and further
into the heart of the mountain, and every newly discovered seam fuelled
further creativity and fervour in the dwarves. Nearly the whole
seventy-strong community was involved in mining, hauling ore, extracting
adamantium strands and hammering out adamantium tools.
Until one day a miner struck a gaping hole in the floor beneath his feet
and a huge underground cavern was revealed in the depths. Magma roiled
down there, and smoke obscured almost everything within, but his
attention was distracted from the huge piles of adamantium present by
what seemed to be cages containing humanoid species down there –
dwarves, elves, humans and others.
Then it happened.
“Horrors from the deep!” cried the dwarves, scrambling over each other
to escape through the narrow mining shafts even while other oblivious
dwarves piled in from the other direction to haul up more ore.
The spirits of fire that emerged from the cavern set about roasting
every dwarf in sight, and the smoke and flames obscured much of what was
was happening. The miners were burnt alive, and many more were dying
from heat and suffocation in the cramped tunnels.
The champions were ordered in. Equipped with steel and adamantium plate
and hammers, hardened through years of training and combat with goblins,
it was hoped they would be a match for the demons…
Unfortunately metal of any quality offers little protection against heat
With maybe half-a-dozen demons slain and twice as many dwarven warriors
dead or dying the entire area was ordered sealed off. A couple of masons
worked frantically to wall off the adamantium-rich shafts while the
surviving warriors presumably fought for their lives in what had quickly
become a charnel house.
The masons succeeded, consigning their brethren to a fiery death.
Eventually the reports of battle died out and the smoke cleared, and to
everyone’s surprise a lone survivor’s voice was heard! Badly burnt and
near death, a lone champion lay amongst the broken demon bodies and the
smoking dwarven corpses.
The walls were torn down as quickly as they had been built, and the
survivor hauled out to his bed and supplied water. Other dwarves took
the opportunity to venture back in and haul out the bodies of friends
and loved ones.
The adamantium was still down there, waiting, and with the demonic
assault over it was in the end just too tempting to ignore. With a newly
equipped band of rookie speardwarves standing guard, the other survivors
began to haul out excavated adamantium ore as fast as possible.
When the cry came, as everyone half-expected it would, the inexperienced
rearguard and slower civilians were slaughtered. The masons walled off
the cursed caverns and entombed everyone within, including the
expedition leader and mayor, Mestthos Tiristasiz.
The survivors mourned the loss of wives, husbands, friends and children,
many of them refusing to work and simply wandering the echoing halls,
staring into space or drinking the rapidly dwindling stocks of alcohol.
Then the champion’s mind snapped. Zuglar Mersetherith, survivor from the
depths, still burnt and hideously wounded, went berserk. From beside his
sickbed he snatched up his battleaxe and cleaved his own pet cat in
twain. Staggering from the barracks he cut down a bewildered passer by
and launched himself at the nearby brewer working a still. The dwarf
turned and ran for his life but was cut down from behind. Grievously
wounded though Zuglar was, there were no warriors left alive to
challenge him, only peasants wielding weapons they had no training or
experience with. Finally Zuglar was brought down by sheer weight of
numbers as attack dogs from the local kennels and dwarven wrestlers
piled on. Five loyal dogs were added to the day’s losses.
Almost at the same time, a lone dwarf wandering outside was ambushed by
the largest combined goblin and elven raiding party yet. After killing
him and looting his corpse they didn’t venture into the heavily trapped
main entrance. Instead of braving the gauntlet of whirring serrated
blades and falling rocks they simply set up camp outside and waited. The
dwarves were now under siege in their demon-infested halls, and any hope
of reprieve from caravans was lost.
Some dwarves went on minor rampages, throwing down tools and destroying
furnishings crafted by their own hands, others withdrew from society and
a few still soldiered on, trying to restore and maintain what they had
left. The children were hardest hit. Lor was uncontrollable, raging
endlessly and rampaging through uninhabited rooms trashing everything he
could lay his hands on. Zon went insane, spiralling into depression and
refusing food and water, fully intending to starve himself to death.
The fortress had no future, but a sense of responsibility for the
awakening of the terrors from the deep led to the hatching of one last
The few remaining dwarves still willing to work took up their picks and
began carving a channel to link the well source, itself linked to the
brook, and the underground mining shafts. With that accomplished, one
dwarf breached the wall and allowed the water to flood down the
stairwells and up against the last wall, the only thing separating the
dwarves from the demons within. Another shaft was dug to just above that
wall, and a bypass channel dug from above to allow the water to flood
through and drown the demons!
One spirit of fire advanced down the long corridor even as the water
rushed toward him. The water rushed toward it and… evaporated. The
demon was slowed, but kept moving inexorably forward. Steam filled the
corridor and the demon was lost to sight. The dwarves realised their
mistake. Despite the pressure created by the long vertical drop, the
water source was after all nothing more than a small brook. Against that
heat there could only be one outcome, and now there was a direct route
from the depths to the heart of the fort! Even worse, it couldn’t easily
be sealed without constructing a floodgate, and there were no surviving
Taking up what arms and armour were left to them, about half the
remaining dwarves left their insane and maudlin’ companions behind for a
last ditch rush against the encamped raiders and abandoned the fortress.
And that was how Bomreknon fell.