26 October 2013

Another Dwarf Fortress part 4: Siege Aftermath

I am playing Dwarf Fortress again and here I am, writing about what befalls my fortress. Check out the first and second part, before reading this one.

Back in the day, in my play with the Great Draught, I learned that the system of psychology and social interactions in Dwarf Fortress has a disheartening side effect when great disasters happen: After you think the situation is under control and the dying has stopped, repercussions to the disaster happen. Dwarfs who witnessed death are traumatized and forlorn, those who lost loved ones will interrupt their work in fits of rage and depression, some will refuse to eat and drink and die of that, babies of deceased dwarves may go unfed, some dwarves go insane and kill their fellow dwarves, leading to a second wave of death and grief. If you're lucky, that second wave is not as bad as the first one and the dying will, so to speak, die down again.

After the great massacre of my dwarves by the hands of the goblins and trolls whose bodies now litter my refuse-pile, the dwarves were very distraught. Many, too many of them had lost friends and family to the attack, resulting in a wave of grief and sorrow. Sobbing and mad screams of tantrums filled the tunnels and halls of the fortress, whilst the masons tried to focus on their grim work of carving more and more coffins and the miners were ceaselessly expanding the tombs to hold more and more dead.

Some dwarves succumbed to their wounds recieved in battle. Some starved themselves to death or refused to eat. Two went insane, a weakened carpenter, who was stopped by a child biting into  his arm until the militia arrived and cut him down, talking being not an option with the raving madman, the other a cook. The cook butchered another dwarf in the great dining hall, cut down the first militiadwarf arriving on the scene with his meat cleaver and then got bumrushed by the rest of the squad. The dead militiadwarf was the guy whom I had just put on the squad to replace the one deadly casualty they'd suffered during the attack. Wanting to prove his worth to his combat-proven brothers and sisters, he had charged at the maddwarf unarmed.

Despite a new, small wave of immigrants arriving, the dying lowered and lowered the number of citizens, whilst the masons barely got in enough work-time to craft more and more coffins. The ghost of an unburried dwarf was seen haunting around the fortress entrance for a while but it was put to rest when the corresponding corpse had been buried properly.

A human caravan arrived and made me feel a bit safer. Although they didn't bring the alcohol I would have liked to trade for, their guards in my entrance-area made one more wall of meat between the evils of the world and my scared populace of traumatized dwarves. I had given my entire militia (or what was left of it, in the case of the crossbow-squad) the year off, as they had been bothered by long patrol duty in addition to all the bad stuff that had happened around them. The next big scare arrived in the form of a were-lizard child that the game announced like it was the end of all days.

I have made accquaintance with were-creatures in Dwarf Fortress before. They may maim or kill your dwarves, which is bad enough but if their bite is contageous, your dwarves will periodically turn into beasts themselves and that can be the undoing of your entire civilization. Scared, I called the newly instated general alarm: Civilians underground, militia to the kill-zone at the gates! Before much had happened though, the creature reverted into its human form and slunk off the map like the player-characters in the original Rampage. Lucky me. Plus, the civilians fleeing underground had worked. The only issue was that I had no architect and the drawbridge I was trying to get built wasn't going to happen until I did. I'm even starting to lower the number of unburied corpses, steadily enlargening my tomb for that... Other than that, I'm ready for the next attack - I think. Maybe. Oh god.

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