Tag Archive: Story



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.

scoutbridge_entry

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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Today’s game is only sort of a game, but still really neat.  Today I bring you Rory’s Story Cubes.

61fKliT2WwL

Story cubes are more of an imagination exercise than an actual game. However, the list of activities people have though up for these cubes is pretty hefty. The cubes are aimed more at the younger folk to help bolster imaginative thought processes. Again, not really a game, but still really neat. Their example of super-heroes and villains on the site itself actually opens the doors for use of these cubes (or indeed any kind of randomization generator) as a DM/GM tool. One of the things that I’ve always wrestled with in my games is to create new/fresh villains. With a little imagination and some randomization, one might come up with a very interesting villain indeed.

In fact, using either the stock random flickr generator (before Yahoo screws it up, anyway), or any of the various random generators you can find with Google, you could produce a set of images from which to build just about any character or NPC in a gaming environment.  It’s probably a little too chaotic for generating characters for literature, but I’m sure somebody could make it work.

Something to play with, at least.

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


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

Kit:
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

Onward!

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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!

Scourbridge_Start

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 Random.org, 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

Being So tired that it’s fun!


In my younger days (Hold on, let me go get my cane) I’d often pull all-nighters for various reasons. Sometimes it was because I was cramming for a test or completing a project for school… but more often it was to do a sleep adjustment. For a handful of years I worked a night shift from 5pm to 3am four times a week. However, one of the issues with this is that no matter how I start out, my schedule would always adjust so that I’d wake up at around 4pm, go to work get back at 4am, and then kick around until 9am or so when I’d finally get tired and go to sleep. This made living in the real world rather difficult; so from time to time I’d have to adjust myself for use in the real world.

This usually entailed staying awake until I collapsed at a reasonable hour, say 9pm. So really I’d only have to stay awake for around 29 hours before I could finally collapse into unconsciousness. And let me tell you, that point where you let yourself go to sleep after a prolonged wakefulness is some of the best sleep I’ve gotten. Generally I’d pass out right away and sleep for a solid 8 hours and wake up around 5am feeling great and prepared to rock the day. From there my sleep would be pretty good for about a week, or until I went back to work, whatever came first. But until the work came along and borked my sleep again, I’d be falling asleep around 9 or 10 and waking up around 6. Nice for a guy who’s battled moderate insomnia for most of his life.

But there have been occasions when I’ve had to push the boundary of wakefulness. When I’d have loved to pass out at 29 hours, but couldn’t for various reasons. One of these was an ill-timed sleep adjustment. We were going out to visit a friend for the weekend, and for some reason I miscalculated when Friday was. I think I forgot that if I’m up past midnight on Thursday, it becomes Friday… or something like that. All I remember, and I can say that I don’t remember a heck of a lot about that day, is that after being up for 32 hours, I found myself in the passenger seat of my wife’s car as we drove across the state to visit said friend. It was that day that I learned something: after I’ve been awake for 30 hours, I hit an energy spurt. From about hours 32 to 46 I was in a wonderland of excitement and anticipation. It was going to be a good weekend, and I had a 6 hour car trip to play one of my new DS games. Everything was coming up Taco! I kept the coffee flowing just in case I got tired, but it wasn’t an issue since I was Mr. Energy. It was all my wife could do not to smack me as I bounced around the car (figuratively) on our drive. Once we got to said friend’s house (now at hour 38.. something like 2pm) she and my wife had to go to a bridal shower and left me to my devices.

My devices ended up being to play my DS and hassle our friend’s cats for 6 hours while singing and dancing around her living room. I’m glad only her cats were around to witness that. Anyway, then 8pm hit; 44 hours awake. Friend and wife were getting back at 10pm, at which time we’d planned to game for a few hours then go to bed. 8:00 found me sitting on one of the chairs in the living-room, staring at the cat sleeping on my lap, and holding my DS dejectedly trying to gather enough ambition to turn it on and play something… or even reach over and grab the remote and turn on the TV. My energy burst had run its course and now I felt like I was dying. I can honestly say that before that moment I had not realized what being entirely bone-weary exhausted felt like. My entire body lost its ability to temperature regulate and I bounced between being way too hot and shivering with cold. I had dry mouth like I’ve never had before; and I kept zoning out and snapping back to myself without realizing how much time had past. By 9pm I couldn’t hold on anymore. I laid out the bed and decided to go to sleep. That’s when friend’s cats came alive. The first thing they did was to pop the air mattress with their claws; which was awesome. I have a moderately bad back, so sleeping on hard surfaces is a no-go, no matter how tired I am. I moved up to the sofa, at which time the cats decided that they wanted to play with me. They pestered me for a good hour (or at least it felt like that) before I finally passed out.

At 11 friend and wife got back and had to wake me up. I was sleeping on the sofa which was also the only other bed in friend’s house, being the least comfortable pull-out bed ever created. Still, dead exhausted I didn’t have too much trouble falling asleep; though I slept for about 10 hours, I still work up sore and tired due to my bad back and ill-designed bed. And thus I learned that my burst of energy was a double edged sword. It was great and euphoric when it pounced on me, but it drained me in a way that only hours of hard labor can mimic.

So we fast forward to the early days of Tron’s toddler-hood. A few months after he turned 1, he decided he didn’t want to sleep anymore. Tron’s never been very good about sleeping; something he probably gets from me. As a baby he’d rarely sleep for more than 5 or 6 hours in a day, and if you could get him to nap it was a small miracle. Until he was 1, like clockwork he’d wake up every 3 or 4 hours at night and want food; and again no real naps to speak of. With some restructuring and a few “hard-love” nights we finally got him on a schedule; which helped a lot since now he sleeps 10-12 hours a night and we can usually get him to nap once during the day… though napping is still a battle. Granted he still wakes up a lot a night, but for the most part he’s learned how to get himself back to sleep without us. Tron also groans, moans, whines, and cries in his sleep a lot; which makes it nearly impossible to sleep in the same room with him.

Anyway, around the time he was 15 months or so, he went through a phase of not wanting to sleep again. We’d put him to bed and he’d sleep for about 4 hours (around the time his parents were just settling down into bed to sleep) then wake up and throw a fit. He’d want to go out to the living-room and play… all attempts at food, water, changing, or what not failed; all he wanted was to be up and nothing else. So, we’d plop him back in the crib and let him scream his anger at us until he passed out… usually it would take an hour or two before he would finally settle down and sleep for the rest of the night.

Now, mix this with Taco’s insomnia and we can have some fun. It was a Monday in February when insomnia had hit me pretty hard and Tron was making a nuisance of himself. I’d been battling for sleep until about 1am when Tron finally woke up and decided he wanted to play. Since I was up anyway I pulled him out into the living room and let him go at it for about a half hour… the entire time he was rubbing his face and only playing listlessly; the sure signs of a mightily tired toddler. When he started to drift off while sitting on my lap and watching some TV with me, I was certain he was ready to tank out. I put him in his crib and he passed out… for about 10 minutes. He woke up again and screamed for about an hour before finally going to sleep. By then it was 3am and I was wired to the nines. So, I got myself ready for work and quietly messed around on my computer for 4 hours before leaving for a fun-filled workday as a sleep-zombie. I don’t remember anything about the day at work; but I think it was busy.

10 hours later I’m home again and feeling like death warmed up with a fast-foot heat lamp. I spent the rest of my day listlessly trying to maintain consciousness so that I could pass-out at a reasonable time (like 9pm). We put tron to bed and I hold out until about 8:30 when I decide it’s late enough and I had for bed; now having been up for 37 hours. That’s about when the energy burst happened. I was laying in bed, wide awake yet exhausted and wired to the nines with energy. My wife joined me in bed 3 hours later and I was still attempting to have every thought in the universe simultaneously… all with Toto’s Africa stuck in my head on repeat. I heard her fall asleep within minutes and was green with envy. An hour later Tron woke up and wanted to play. The night before repeats itself. Though he is clearly tired and in need of sleep, Tron takes a good hour of fussing before he finally passes out and sleeps soundly. it’s now around 4am and I know I’m not going to see any sleep again for the second night in a row. I make myself 8 shots of espresso which I nurse until work and make myself another 4 shots for the road. That day is one of the few days I’ve drank so much coffee that I threw up. Coffee, if I have way too much without food, upsets my stomach because of the acid. Apparently if I have way, WAY too much I just hurl and carry on with my life. I’m pretty sure I was busy at work, or at least something important was going on because I do remember that I couldn’t call in sick; which I would have being that tired, nor did I go home after beaning up at work.

So, once again I come home and am truly, utterly dead. I’d lost temperature control of my body and I’d developed a mild case of the shakes. I had no appetite and was suffering mild vertigo whenever I stood up or turned around too quickly. At this point I hadn’t slept more than a few minutes in the last 58 hours or so. I’m told that if you keep a person awake long enough they start to exhibit paranoid schizophrenic behavior. I can vouch for the paranoid part of that, at least. Around midnight that night, after having finally captured 3 hours sleep, Tron woke up again. I became absolutely convinced he was doing it on purpose. He didn’t want me to sleep because he hated me for some reason. He was a vindictive little toddler who hated his parents and wanted them to suffer for their transgressions against him. I would never get to sleep again because he wouldn’t ever let me; I was nearly in tears with my frustration. At that point my wife made me put in earplugs, which I generally don’t wear because they hurt my ears quite a bit, and I passed out again. By morning my psychological break was healed and I was ready to join the world of the living again. I was still tired, but more of a “just 5 more minutes” tired than the agonizing tired of the night before.

A few weeks later Tron’s sleeping pattern stabilized again and has remained fairly good since; though he does lose his blanket in the night sometimes and freaks out. Generally though, once you get the blanket back into his hands he’s good for the rest of the night.

I can honestly say that I’d never been as tired as I was that third night. 60ish hours of constant wakefulness is pretty painful and has some pretty profound physical effects on a person. I don’t recommend it at all. I also don’t have many solid memories past the first day outside Tron keeping me awake. I think the brain starts to have trouble storing memories once sleep deprivation starts hazing things up.

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


Here’s a short blurb of a “fan” fic I wrote on a YSaC post last year. I had an opportunity to mock both Harry Potter and Twilight, so I did so.

Harry Potter and the Living Caretaker, the Twilight Years

Excerpt:

Bella looked across the table, longing yet pensively anxious in the feelings that, while confusing and contradictory, were strong nonetheless. Her heart skipped several beats, starting a cascade of rhythm that lead to a small, heart style percussion solo in her chest. She licked her lips and tasted the strawberry lip gloss she had applied only moments before; it was the kind with the flavored glitter in it. Though she didn’t know how they made the glitter so flavorful, she liked it anyway. She leaned across the table towards the dark haired youth sitting across from her and uttered, “Harry, I think I love you. You’re the coolest vampire at the school now.”

“I’m not a freaking vampire, how many times do I have to tell you idiots that? I may be moody, self-effacing in my relationships with others, and wracked with simultaneous feelings of entitlement and despair, but I DO NOT SPARKLE!”

“Oh,” Bella said, losing interest, “And I thought you were cool.”

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