Category: Story Time

Entries taken from the journal of Kadol Sakrithadil (Blazewalls), head mason of the Sky Cave team.

1st Granite, 506,

Spring has found us without much food or drink.  That does not make many of us happy, but work must continue without regard to such things.  The team continues to struggle these demon-blasted mud blocks into place.  They do their jobs well given what material we have.  We are promised stone soon, so hopefully we will not be using mud for long.

Husband Shem says that his shop partner, head carpenter Etur, says that they should take on some apprentices.  Both are extremely skilled at shaping the wood, but are our only carpenters, so I agree with Etur.  Will be nice to have more than just the two carpenters, even if they two do great work.

Hauling baby Stukos around with me has made the work hard, but Stukos seems to enjoy watching the work.  Someday maybe I will teach Stukos how to shape rock.  He will learn little from the mud.

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Entries from the journal of Sigun Gebarrigoth commander of the army of Scoutbridge.

1st Granite, 505,

I’ve filed yet another petition with Kadol for equipment.  We’ve only a handful of battleaxes and a few short-swords we’ve confiscated from the odd kobold, and no armor to speak of either.  At the least, we’ve got four full crates of leather that should be used to make some basic armor for all the recruits that have been volunteered into service.  I may go over Kadol’s head and just tell our leatherworker to start churning out armor.  Like as not, Kadol doesn’t even know the leather exists in the first place.

In me latest visit to his office, I was once again assured that once we have something decent to export, weapons will be the first purchase that’s made.  It’s been over a year hearing that promise, so me patience wanes.  In the meantime I’ve put all the grunts to work practicing wrestling and dodging maneuvers.  Better than nothing.  Come fall I’ll probably have to restructure the grunts.  Some of the light-duty conscripts are getting skilled and hardened enough that they should be moved to full active-duty.

The attempts of our incompetent mechanic to breach the water layers continues.  A planning error on her part ended up nearly flooding the crafting shops.  Idiot. Kadol moved that little project outside of the main halls of the fort, just in case another little mishap occurs.  A rare occasion where I fully agree with our leader’s decision.

Me petition to Kadol for greater control over the entrance work was granted. The basic framework of the entrance gate and kill-zone is complete, but there’s a lot more work to be done.  Several masons were entrusted to me command for completing this structure while Kadol focuses more on housing, food, and public satisfaction.  Ever the politician, that one.  The next phase of the gate area is to create a series of drawbridges to section off the killing field, and build the fortifications on the walls above to give our marksmen some cover.  This means I’ll have to ask that moron for mechanisms and levers; she can’t possibly screw up something as simple as a drawbridge, can she?  Hopefully we’ll have a smarter mechanic at our disposal before I need to requisition all the traps I plan to place in the area.


While the construction continues on schedule, I’ve voiced me dissatisfaction with having to make everything out of what is essentially mud-daub made from raw fire clay.  We’re dwarves, we should be using stone.  However, with stone being scarce as it is, mud-daub is probably better than just leaving the front door wide-open.  I’ve been assured by the masons that the structure can be upgraded to stone block once we breach into the stone layers below the water.  I’ll try not to hold me breath for that happening anytime soon.  At the very least we need somebody who knows how to make charcoal so our potter can make us bricks.

Meanwhile those damn ravens are back again.  I’ve talked to the masons and they have a few ideas on a structure they could build that might funnel the ravens into some cage traps.  I’ve put that on the back shelf for now.  Something to consider once we hit a stretch where the masons have some free time and we’ve got a mechanic who won’t screw up a simple cage trap.  A little raven roast is just the thing to boost the morale of everyone in the fort.

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Entries from the journal of Etur Oltarmubun, Undertaker and Master Carptenter of Scoutbridge.

1st Granite, 504,

Today it came down to me to inform Kadol of an issue the others discovered with his plan to vacate Scoutbridge this Spring.  Namely, that I disassembled the wagon and used it to make some of those coffins last fall.  At the time it seemed like a sound enough idea, since we needed coffins quickly and that wood was just sitting there not doing a useful thing.  Maybe if we’d had two wagons with such convenient wood, I’d still have me arm.

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I’ve decided to carry on with Scoutbridge, since two years is really much shorter than I wanted the whole project to be.  So here’s my reclamation group, randomized the same way that I randomized the original.  Also, as an added rule to make things a little more manageable as the colony gets bigger I’m allowing training of Dwarves in untrained skills under the following conditions:  1) There must already be a dwarf with a skill level of master or higher in the skill to be trained (to simulate master/apprentice relationships).  2) The dwarf to be trained must have all redundant skills (basically any dwarves that are allowed to be trained as full-time soldiers).  3)  Only 1 dwarf per Master Skill holder may be trained at a time.  Once the trainee hits expert in the skill, they are considered a journeyman and the master may take a new apprentice.  4) While Dwarves may apprentice in multiple skills, they may only hold one apprenticeship one at a time.

This also addresses what will be done with children when they grow up.  When children grow up, the are available to be apprenticed as above, but otherwise cannot be assigned any untrained labor beyond being drafted into the military.

This new rule will help with a situation where I might end up with 200+ dwarves but only one of them can cook and brew.

The Scoutbridge Reclamation party:

Kadol Tolismomuz: Stonecrafter, Liar, Potash Maker
Meng Onulakrul: Misc Object User, Leader, Mason
Dodok Saziratham: Concentration, Wound Dresser, Lye Maker, M
Sigun Gebarrigoth: Wax Worker, Pacifier, Spearman, M
Logem Loloridath: Appraiser, Diagnostician, Negociator, F
Sakzul Olonmeng: Spinner, Animal Trainer, Glass Maker
Dumed Lilaredem: Herbalist, Mason, Leader

1x Cougar Leather Bag
1x Chestnut Bucket
7x Black Sand
8x Pond Turtle
6x Bronze Bolt
1x Giant Mango Wood Axe Blade
6x Pig Tail Fiber Thread
9x Giant Cave Spider Silk Thread
1x Groundhog Leather Low Boot
1x Cedar Bucket
1x Bronze Pick
1x Kapok Crutch
1x Zinc Cage
6x Lungfish Blood
1x Maple Toy Hammer
1x Llama Wool Yarn
1x Guineafowl Blood


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Diary entries for Udib Fikodosod, Expedition Leader and Armorer for the settlement of Scoutbridge:

Granite 21, 502,

despite two cave-in attempts, and one lost miner we are still stymied by water.  While the theory of collapsing dirt into the underground water source seems reasonable, the depth of this water makes the method impractical.  However, our experience with the freeze over the winter has given our miners an idea for next winter.  They expect that they can tunnel through the water layer by first allowing a large section of it to freeze, and then tunneling away the ice to reveal layers underneath.  However, given the short freezing season, this attempt will be more dangerous than caving large sections of tunnel in.  It may take multiple years of work to breach down into hard rock using this method.  Hopes are that somebody with more knowledge of penetrating ground water will appear from the capital.

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First year is going to be a tad uninteresting because the game is set up to make sure you don’t have any of the fun stuff (like sieges), so expect this to be kinda slow and dry.

Diary entries for Udib Fikodosod, Expedition Leader and Armorer for the settlement of Scoutbridge:

Granite 1, 501,

After a long, arduous journey we have finally arrived at our plot of land!


Wow it’s awfully… green. No wonder it only cost two chickens! I bet this place is just loaded with those prancing tree-loving idiots. An elven welcome is really the last thing everyone needs. I bet they’d bathe and everything.

Well, it’s too late to back-out now, so we may as well start digging. And by we, I of course mean our two esteemed volunteers.

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So, I was exploring around on the Dwarf Fortress Wiki the other day and I found their article on Boatmurdered, a crazy succession game that was outlined in a narrative style.  I’ve done narrative style play summaries of the odd game in the past, and have always been a fan of such things.  It’s like fanfiction without the fanfiction.  Anyway, since I’ve not done a narrative game with Dwarf Fortress yet, I figured I’d give it a go here, much to the chagrin of my audience (He said the secret word! aaaaaahhhh!).  Worse case scenario, I bore you all to tears with a brief tale of how I lost my fortress to a goblin siege 9 months after embark.

To properly set up this game for the narrative telling, I figured I’d add some salt to my game in order to throw me off-guard and maybe end up with a scenario that I wouldn’t otherwise pick for myself.  To that end, with the help of, I randomized both my embarkation site and the skills of my starting dwarves.  I did this by randomizing the X,Y coordinates of the map (reselecting whenever the coordinates picked an ocean tile) and allowing them to randomize the skills of my starting dwarves.  Items were psudo-randomized based on points left after randomizing the dwarves and loading up a basic survival kit.

If you’re just interested in the story, skip to the prologue.  This next bit is just all the starting conditions for my game. Continue reading

Taco’s Writing Challenge

As many/most of you probably know, I’m one of the librarians over at Library of the Damned.  What you may not know is that my wife is an aspiring fiction writer who’s working on getting her first book completed and is starting to consider her publishing options.  She’s still a ways away, primarily because of a certain toddler who takes up a large share of the time she could be using to write/edit, but it’s pretty close.  I think she’s on like the second or third full draft.  From there it’ll likely be a matter of finding a good editor (read: affordable) and then publishing (either via an actual company or self publishing).

Anyway, I told you all that so that I could tell you this:

In trying to be supportive of her journey to authorhood, I’ve tried to think up the occasional writing exercise for her.  Specifically short-story projects and the like.  However, during my stint as one of the Snarky Librarians, I’ve come up with a more broad writing exercise/challenge that I thought I’d share with you.  It centers specifically around bad fanfiction.

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The Breakfast of Champions

Story time!

When I was in college one of the more common breakfasts for me was a cup of coffee and two Pop-Tarts fresh from the wrapper, unblemished by the heating coils of a toaster. It was fast, easy, and one of the only things a person like myself can prepare on 4 hours of sleep.

During my Senior year I took a 1 credit course. The class was held 1 day a week at 7 in the morning. The very first day of class I showed up about 20 minutes early because I apparently don’t know how to read a clock correctly. I brought my breakfast of coffee and Pop-Tarts with me that morning. Upon entering the class room, I noticed that one other individual had shown up as early as I. In front of him was a mug of coffee, and a pair of Pop-Tarts, one of which was sporting a large bite taken out of it.

The two of us chuckled briefly at the symmetry of our respective early morning repasts and declared “Coffee and a Pop-Tart” to be the breakfast of champions. About 5 minutes later another member of the class arrived, carrying, of all things, a Starbucks coffee and the silvery package that only Pop-Tarts come in. The coincidence was too much for our tired brains and the two of us who were already in the class burst into a fit of crazed laughter. Since we had both already consumed our Pop-Tarts, the new member of our secret club could only stare in stunned shock at the two crazy people apparently laughing at his expense.

We never did tell the poor guy what we were laughing about.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

TaProProMo Score

I’ll be keeping the breakdown of my score in November right here, in hopes the shame of failure will keep me on target.

DAY: 30
Current Status: Way, Way Behind schedule.

LoD Work: 480 minutes (0 buffer posts)
Blog Work: 554 minutes (0 buffer posts)
YBWW Work: 314 minutes

Total: 1348 minutes
Today’s Target: 2700 minutes
TaProProMo Target: 2700 minutes (Minor goal: 1800 Minutes)

It’s the 28th of November and I’m more than 1000 minutes behind schedule. I’m calling this year a failure and letting it go. Between only having 16 usable days in November for writing and Tron deciding to transform into super hell child, the odds were stacked pretty heavily against me. Even so, I got quite a bit done on my yarn ball winder write-up, enough that I’m hopeful of getting the updated plans posted sometime in December.