Mafol Barim – The Chambers of Artifice

After one failed irrigation attempt, and 2 failed de-irrigation attempts my first fortress was spiralling into nothingness and a second fortress ending prematurely after a save game went corrupt. It was time to gen a new world and see what I would get. So it was that Mafol Barim, or The Chambers of Artifice in the human tongue was founded. With design philosophies from my previous world and an excellent embark location, it was destined to be a grand fortress. But true to Dwarf Fortress fashion, it slowly began to unravel at the seams. It all started with an Elven caravan that arrived at the same time as a goblin siege. Now there’d been a falling out between me and the elves in the year previous involving a polar bear and some wood. But first, lets get a bit of background on Mafol Barim

The Chambers of Artifice was perhaps wrongly named. My primary export was cooked meals. We cooked everything and it was fucking amazing. I mean you’ve never tasted roast bumblebee brain quite like it, and the trade envoys agreed. So it was that my kitchens were working non-stop turning everything that was edible into an amazing meal and selling it to the trade caravans usually in exchange for whatever lesser foods they had around to then turn into meals and sell on to the next caravan for a price hike and other things like anvils, cloth and cages

It was the first Elven caravan, and as per usual all they brought me was random bits of wood, some shitty caged animals and a fuck ton of cloth they thought I’d give a shit about. But this time was different, this time they had a mother fucking polar bear in one of their cages. This polar bear was to be mine. So I offered near all of my prepared cow intestine stews all handily stored in barrels to make transportation easier for this polar bear. But I forgot the barrels were made of wood. Elves take great offence to you offering them wood. They were outraged! They then refused to trade again and would pack up and leave as soon as I left the menu. I was left with only one option, I seized the caged polar bear and told them to fuck off which they did. I knew this would result in them being arseholes in the future, but we’re nowhere near where polar bears come from and this might be my only chance. So off they trotted furious at my offering of wood as outside my main entrance the prized polar bear was being setup in his cage for all to marvel at. I hoped one day to train him to be an attack polar bear that I could leave to catch thieves and other rotters as they tried to get in or out of my fortress but I’d have to wait for a dungeon master to do that

With the spectacle of a polar bear by my front door, I was ready to do great things! I wanted obsidian to decorate the outside of my fortress with, cos thats just cool as fuck. So down dug my miners! 20 floors, 40 floors, 57 floors… whats this… an underground cavern system? My word! I’ve never found one in all my time on DF. The discovery of this releases some spores into my fortress and part of my aquaduct that was awaiting completion suddenly started growing moss and mushroom trees in it. That was the end of my aquaduct then. I was tempted to dig in and have a look around but thought better of it and continued my downward trend. 70 floors, 90 floors, 110 floors and still no obsidian. Not even anything else that would point to obsidian being close. Then at floor 137 I found it, an underground magma shaft. But even better than that, a magma sea! I’d dug right beneath the crust of the earth to all the cool shit underneath. Unfortunately I couldn’t get to any obsidian, but this was much better. I could finally get a metal industry up and running

Not long after this discovery came the second Elven caravan, maybe they aren’t as pissed off about the polar bear as I had thought. As they trundle across the map to my trade depot the unthinkable happens. A goblin siege arrived, it was only a small one of 16 goblins but they were all archers and I didn’t even have a military presence at this point. So I waited as long as I could to get everyone inside before closing the main entrance gates. Unfortunately the caravan got in and the damage was done. 8 dwarves died during the siege who didn’t make it back inside, those inside were in for a far worse fate. I traded with the Elves and hoped they would hang around long enough for the goblins to leave so I could let them out. They didn’t. They got impatient and they got angry. Not as angry as their pack horse though, he went batshit insane and started kicking all the babies in the corridor and started maiming all the other dwarves who were running around terrified. I hastily threw a military together who had no weapons and told them to attack the horse. They bit it, they punched it, they did everything they could to stem the flow of blood the horse was causing. Eventually it was strangled to death at the hands of Fath Geardrill. The horse went on in legend to be known as Thiciviifedo Ditari Epeve (or ‘Apexconfused, the Crab of Sparkles’ to you and I). 10 dwarfs died to Apexconfused, it was the most dangerous thing the fort had ever had to deal with) ith the success of the defence, and the fear of more pack animals and elves going crazy there was only one course of action. They were to be bit and mildly punched to death as well

Eventually the siege ended, a rather unglorious victory that mainly involved the goblins walking off bored after they’d ransacked my peacock collection. Bunch of bastards that they were, took me ages to accumulate them. While all this had been happening I was discovering a small quantity of people who had died now that my fortress was crammed with people again. But not died in the usual sense, they had been drained of all their blood. A vampire! I don’t even know where to start with tracking and killing vampires in this game, I figured I would leave it alone for now and get to the task of removing all the dead bits of animals and elves that were littering my entrance hall and miasming the place up. The months that followed the siege were testing. With numerous dead having family in the fortress and the loss of so many skilled workers, it was difficult to get production back to where it was. Producing the required amount of coffins was near impossible, and even picking up the bits of dead dwarf everywhere was taking its time. Gradually over time, people began to lose control. Depression and tantrum spirals were becoming a cancerous growth in Mafol Barim. It was a grim situation for my threadbare military who by now had some crappy iron weapons I’d forged in the magma sea. Insane dwarves cause everyone to stop what they’re doing and generally die or be beaten horrendously if they’re caught, with a lack of a justice system in place or a means of neutralising these dwarves it was up to the military to get involved

Over the next couple of years, the military would be called to get involved and to bear arms against their former friends. Doctors, farmers and even children were slain to stop their rampage further troubling the now ailing fortress. But with every slain dwarf, the number of depressed family and friends increased. There wasn’t a solution to the problem that didn’t end in bloodshed and the shadow of a total collapse of society and order (I’ve since learned that cage traps in corridors would solve this problem). But I wasn’t to be given too much of a chance to recover order fully, as randomly a minotaur appeared

A shitting minotaur, how were my military going to cope with that? And worse still, there was nearly half of my fortress outside working on creating a protected courtyard to make the fortress safer. The only choice I had was to call to arms my 10 dwarf army. Only they weren’t needed in the end up. After they’d fannied around getting ready, I eventually discovered that a fleeing dwarf had been chased by the minotaur and he’d went into a makeshift trap room that was to be used for the goblins but became unnecessary and gotten himself stuck in a cage. Huzzah I said! As I dragged the minotaur off to put him beside the polar bear. How marvellous, and only 3 dwarves had to die for this spectacle

Again work returned to fortifying the walls of the courtyard, I’d reduced down the number of access points to just 1 and had plans to create a killing zone so that when I unleashed the enemy inside I could just pick them apart before they were anywhere near my entrance. That was the plan, and it was glorious. It would have solved all my problems, except that one that was coming over the horizon. Was it? No. It was, it was a troll. Oh shit theres 8 of them, wtf! Oh here we go, goblin siege again. Fuck me theres a lot. Its the late Autumn of the year 128 and at the edge of my map I have 8 trolls and what looks to be roughly 20 goblins, and each goblin has an attack crocodile with them. Time to lock down the gates and get everyone inside!

The lever is pulled, the floodgates go up! Well most of them do, theres 2 gotten jammed open. Fuck! 1 must have been damaged by a rampaging dwarf and I hadn’t realised and another was blocked by chunks of a dead animal that had found its way there and hadn’t been picked out yet. I hastily try and construct a wall behind of it to seal us inside or at least pull the bits of crap out of the gears but its too late. 8 trolls come barrelling through inside of the entrance hall way with nearly every dwarf in attendance. Before my military can grab their swords they’re upon us and the end is nigh

This is how DF works, you know when its the end. You don’t even need to know much about the game, but suddenly something happens and you know theres only one outcome. Its like that moment in movies when the good guys know theres no option but to go out with a bang. Only in Dwarf Fortress the only thing banging is usually bits of your dwarves hitting the floor and never getting back up again. Its highly unlikely I’m going to survive this assault, my threadbare military with their crappy iron swords have them tore asunder from their bodies before having their faces smashed to bits by the trolls. And then the crocodiles swarm in and make short work of most of the dwarves in attendance who haven’t already fled deeper into the earth. Slowly but surely they are hunted down and killed as I begin to write the eulogy. Its taking some time to wipe all of them out but I know they’ll get there

But with the number of surviving dwarves sitting at 2 for some time I take matters into my own hands and form them into a makeshift military. Conveniently they’re holding 2 axes from a previous stint in the army and I set them off to charge into a couple of trolls that I assume to be the herd of them, but can’t quite make out for all the blood and rotten miasma in the air. I continue typing and discover that they haven’t died and have in fact killed 2 trolls. Good show gents! Now go get the rest and hurry up and die so I can move onto something else. I check how many attackers are left and discover most have left, except for those 2 dead trolls and the leader of the siege who is standing at the edge of the map still. On forth mighty warriors! Except one dies on the way from complications of getting up close and personal with a troll. My last dwarf has no armour, is covered head to toe in the blood of his friends, of babies and of trolls, and is about to charge head first into a high ranking goblin officer with an axe. I get ready to watch how many bits he flies into.

The goblin takes the first wound and gets winded after being hit by the flat of the axe from the charge, a foolish first attack by the dwarf but I guess it would have worked had he hit him in the head but never mind. As the goblin lashes out he knocks the dwarf back stumbling, but he turns the stumble into a charge and ends up colliding with the goblin and they both fall into a small lake beside of them. The dwarf  recovers first and continues the fight underwater. This is epic! You don’t even see this stuff in Hollywood! The dwarf is beating and slashing at the goblin who is struggling to breath after being winded. The battle continues for a brief while until a slash hits the goblin in the neck and he begins to spout blood into the water before becoming unconscious and dying slowly. The dwarf manages to climb wounded from the water and passes out from his wounds not far from the lake. Hes not seriously injured, but unless he can get some help from someone hes going to struggle. The attackers have failed in their assault, but they succeeded in destroying Mafol barim. I abandon the fortress knowing theres no return from that carnage and I head to the Legends screen to find out the name of that valiant dwarf

I started reading. The battle was called Umuz Smoslu (The Attack of Ransacking), there was 8 trolls and 32 goblins against my 80 dwarves. The final fight took place midwinter of the year 128 between ‘Ngoso the Future Carnage of Fording’ (The goblin) and ‘Oddom Galleyscribes the Flickering Calamity of Denominations’ (The dwarf), he got named for his valiant deed! The guy will be forever talked about in history for his greatness!

But hes not just remembered for being the sole survivor of that fight, no sir. Hes remembered for the 96 kills hes had over his lifetime as a vampire. The guy was a fucking vampire! Hes the one that had been draining all those people. That wasn’t just an underwater battle between an angry dwarf and a goblin siege leader, it was an angry vampire dwarf and a goblin siege leader! Holy shit balls thats awesome! Turns out he managed to survive his wounds and retreated to The Molten Towers where he continues to live to this day and may well turn up in any one of my other fortress

And so ends Mafol Barim, the Chambers of Artifice. It won’t be the only time I play there, I have to go back with a fresh team and either reclaim the place or at least go back and bury all the dead and seal the fortress up as a giant memorial like I did with Inodad all those years ago

The latest update has added such a huge array of subtle tweaks and new features everywhere that I was completely lost for most of it. As evidenced by my initial flooding of a fortress. I haven’t even touched on healthcare and only had a makeshift hospital setup after the first siege to take care of casualties but even that was never equipped to deal with anything close to an outbreak of bee stings let alone a herd of trolls messing your day up

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