Final time on the BoC: Expedition chief Lorbam shepherded her dwarves to the Jungle of Hides, the place they spent the spring digging out a house in a lush valley. Rakust the lumberjack received his leg bruted by a tree, and Imush the craftsdwarf obtained extraordinarily enthusiastic about bins.
Writer’s disclaimer: As soon as once more, issues get fairly bizarre right here. Accordingly, I ought to remind you that I’m not really the author of this column: the sport Dwarf Fortress is. And I’ve restricted management over stated recreation. Primarily, my position is to report on its selections, and try and recognise patterns amidst the electrical insanity.
Early summer time
Because the onset of summer time buries the forest in anvil-dense warmth, Lorbam makes a vow. She has come to this foetid jungle to construct a zoo – the Basement of Curiosity itself – and it’s time her band of settlers acquired cracking.
Her first command is the development of a stout picket tower, to loom over the rainforest cover and appeal to curious travellers to the Basement. She decides that the timber used shall be macadamia wooden: after Rakust’s leg acquired binned by a falling log of the stuff, the dwarves have developed an awed respect for it.
Talking of Rakust, he’s nonetheless mendacity within the filth of the forest flooring, panting via gritted tooth as his untended wound throbs. His ideas are fevered, consumed by cascading flashbacks of tumbling logs, and the tower of macadamia rising over his susceptible type might be actually not serving to with the trauma.
“Gotta use a wooden that you simply respect. One you understand might mash your legs, if it needed.”
– Previous dwarven saying
The brewer Oddom sometimes brings him a bucket of water and a handful of heat eagle guts to eat, however the different dwarves simply step over his physique on their option to work. It’s in all probability no shock that the one coherent thought in Rakust’s head is “watch out of your so-called pals”.
Lorbam, nevertheless, doesn’t have time for pity. The tower is hungry for timber, and it gained’t chop itself. So she grips the axe she seized from Rakust’s arms, and lays into the rubber timber rising over the fort’s feasting corridor, with the gusto of Phil Mitchell laying right into a wheelbarrow filled with curry.
Mid summer time
Days later, Lorbam is screaming on the feasting corridor’s flooring, her proper leg obliterated by falling wooden. A rubber log seems to have hit her like a railgun blast, busting her shin into a large fan of slippery ribbons, and punching her straight by way of the fort’s roof into the area under. It’s an ominous damage: at this level, solely 5 dwarves stay unbeasted by logs. As such, it’s not simply the warmth making them sweat as they collect for lunch beside their chief’s writhing physique.
The forest is rising extra oppressive by the hour, its brutal trunks crowding in on the sodden township like administration consultants round a travelodge breakfast buffet, and the dwarves are freaking out about who the timber will come for subsequent.
Understandably, the aid is palpable when the echo of a dwarven working music reaches the valley from the north: immigrants have arrived! The tower should have labored! A mob of animals is pushed earlier than the settlers – a reindeer, a goat, a horse, a yak and a water buffalo, who’re swiftly herded into the pasture housing the fort’s vile-tempered geese.
Behind the beasts stroll a younger married couple: Avuz and her husband, Id. Whereas united by a relaxed manner and a perception in harmonious dwelling, they couldn’t be extra totally different: Avuz is a serious-minded farmer with no time for jokes (though she does love her pet goat), whereas Id is a useless and lustful dancer, with a wild sense of humour and a style for elephant seal meat.
Subsequent into the fortress are Ingiz, Minkot and Sakzul, three extraordinarily giant, historic fishery staff, all properly into their second century. Whereas there are not any waterways to be fished within the Jungle of Hides, these three have turn out to be sturdy and multi-talented of their lengthy years of toil, and can be very important in holding the fortress operating.
Final by way of the gate, ducking beneath the lintel as she comes, is Udil. Though the youngest dwarf within the fortress at solely 20 years previous, she is actually an enormous, absolutely twice the dimensions of the petite miner Nil and significantly bigger than the typical human. Previously a member of a mysterious organisation referred to as ‘The Moth of Status’ (Is it a prog band? a cult? a sports activities group?), she’s an abrasive, cussed bonecarver who completely likes to get together.
Since this rambunctious titan is riven with battle between her deep love for chaos and her respect for concord and order, she is clearly management materials. And so, whereas Lorbam stays the fort’s political chief, Udil is hailed because the Basement’s supervisor earlier than she even units down her pack, and is ushered to a makeshift workplace carved out among the many roots of a pomegranate tree.
Late summer time
However Udil is just not the one new arrival to take pleasure in promotion. As they share rum and hen viscera with their new comrades, the dwarves of the Basement uncover that Sakzul – one of many three wizened fishmongers – as soon as sutured a wound shut. Whooping in ecstasy, the dwarves push a set of rusted instruments into his wrinkled palm, and proclaim him Chief Medical Dwarf.
A dismal gap beside the “properly” (a toad-haunted pit of swamp water) is magically declared to be a “hospital”, and poor previous Rakust is lastly dragged there from the forest, and plopped right into a mattress beside Lorbam. Alas, his ordeal isn’t but over, as Physician Sakzul ignores him completely to work on the expedition chief (paradoxically utilizing a rubber wooden splint and crutch to get her again on her ft). As soon as the work is completed, the doc saunters off to the rum retailer together with his newly healed affected person, to have fun by getting endgame pissed collectively.
Every week later, Rakust continues to be in mattress, unconscious, in an precise pool of his personal pus. He’s like some ghastly parody of eggs benedict. At this level, his fragile thoughts appears completely cracked: In his temporary moments of fevered wakefulness, all he feels is guilt: guilt that he’s being allowed to relaxation. Certainly, no matter bodily torment is inflicted on Rakust, it will probably by no means match the ache he inflicts on himself.
However salvation is at hand. Ultimately, Sakzul staggers again into the “hospital” reeking of booze, and batters Rakust’s leg into one thing like a straight line. Rakust will probably by no means absolutely get well, however he’ll no less than be capable of get round utilizing a crutch.
Alas, life continues to be not type to him – seconds after he rounds the nook into the fort’s fundamental hall, he’s accosted by the hate-filled chef Ushat. The moment she sees him, she launches right into a full-on Gordon Ramsay monstering – the complete hairdryer remedy – for seemingly no cause. From what might be deciphered from her puce-faced bellowing, she’s completely sick of slurping dwarven rum from her personal cupped palms, and presumably blames Rakust as a result of he made the barrels.
“I’m sick of guzzling rum from my very own filthy palms, you irredeemable bastard.”
– Ushat, fortress chef
Listening close by are Oddom the brewer and Imush the stonecrafter, who’re the closest factor Rakust has to associates. It was Oddom who stored Rakust from dying of thirst throughout his 4 month ordeal within the forest, and Imush who… properly, Imush spent a very long time shouting at him about how good bins are, and that’s a sort of friendship I assume? In any case, the 2 dwarves really feel dangerous for his or her mate, and determine to type out the booze state of affairs to be able to cease Ushat’s bullying.
The miners Nil and Ineth have been carving out a cavern within the layer of gabbro beneath the present fortress, so Imush begins to hew some crude mugs from the rock they’re hoying up from under. In the meantime, Oddom begins brewing a choice of unique wallop from the eagerness fruits, papayas, bitter melon and taro leaves he has been plucking from the forest flooring. Now the dwarves are capable of hroop down a greater variety of blackout juice – and from precise mugs! – they’re significantly cheerier.
It’s not solely the drinks state of affairs that’s enhancing. Lorbam is busy hammering picket planks over the holes left the place felled timber have pulled plugs of soil from the fortress ceiling, whereas the massive fisherdwarf Ingiz is shipped down into the deep mines to arrange a charcoal burner and a forge. Her first job is to assemble a row of iron nesting packing containers for the geese, elevating the likelihood that whereas eagle guts could be the mainstay of the dwarves’ weight loss plan for months to return, they could at the least come to take pleasure in eagle intestine omelettes.
However the dwarves will not be right here simply to eat omelettes. As Lorbam reminds them by way of a stern tackle from atop the feasting corridor desk, banging a crutch on the planks for emphasis, they’re right here to make a godsdamned zoo!
And so the oval cavern dug by Nil and Ineth is designated as the location for the Basement of Curiosity itself, whereas Udil orders the stockpiles full of cages and mechanisms. The forest is strewn with snares, and the dwarves rub their arms with glee on the considered the unusual beasts they may seize.
However after days of watching the mist for a twig to snap and a cage to fall, the dwarves have caught nothing. As soon as extra, they start to fret. Solely a single weasel and a depressed-looking rattlesnake have been sighted in the entire valley since they arrived – is the Jungle of Hides not the savage paradise that they had been anticipating?
The nervousness is alleviated as a commerce caravan arrives from the mountainhomes, drawn by huffing yaks and laden with effective dwarven produce. Upon unloading, the caravan’s chief asks what items the dwarves need bringing in future, and Lorbam fishes her rigorously compiled record from her overalls with aid.
If she will purchase some livestock from the dwarves to put in within the Basement, she will save face and purchase time for some extra unique creatures to seem within the jungle. However as she opens her mouth to start studying, Ushat the chef – who has barged in out of nowhere – interrupts.
“Eagle guts,” she snarls via a grimace. “All of the eagle guts you possibly can carry”. Lorbam stays speechless as her prepare dinner continues to barter away the fort’s whole wealth for raptor offal: barrels of big barn owl liver, big buzzard kidneys, and naturally casks and casks of excellent previous eagle intestines. Seeing her chief’s dismay, Ushat decides to compromise by additionally shopping for a number of barrels of worm blood. You realize, as a deal with.
Crestfallen, Lorbam meekly tries to purchase a herd of yaks, however the dealer solely laughs: Ushat has already traded away all the stone trinkets Imush ever managed to carve (in between bouts of hollering about how good bins are), and the fortress is broke. Swallowing her satisfaction, Lorbam sells off half the fortress’ meagre provide of bizarre rainforest wines, as a way to afford the most cost effective animal within the caravan’s wagons: an emaciated canine in a cage made from lead.
“She is extremely skinny. Her hair is goldenrod. Her ears are saffron. Her tail is mahogany. Her head is auburn. Her entrance paws are charcoal. Her rear paws are copper. Her pores and skin is pale brown. Her eyes are ash gray.”
– The primary attraction within the Basement of Curiosity, as described by Dwarf Fortress
It should do. Because the dwarven caravan disappears again into the steaming jungle, Lorbam seems to be morosely at her new star exhibit, and drags its cage down into the darkness of the fort. With a depressing thud, the cage is put in on the dusty gabbro flooring, and the Basement of Curiosity has its first exhibit.
Subsequent time on the BoC: a fated youngster arrives, a state of affairs involving a weasel spirals into full fiasco, and really monstrous violence is enacted on the face of a leopard.