Chapter 3 :: Self-Sufficiency in a Terrifying Glacier

The third part of my ongoing chronicle detailing the exploits of the dwarves of the Momentous Dye at Roomcarnage.

  May 18th, 2014

It is the 5th of Timber, Late Autumn of the year 1201. Roomcarnage endures, if only out of caution and an apparent lack of any surface threat. Perhaps this place is truly and completely dead - I haven't seen any wildlife here whatsoever since embarking. I can't count on that, though. I trusted this place and let my guard down once, and it almost destroyed the infant fortress. I shall continue to be careful, and cautious, and try to survive for as long as I can.

I order the relocation of the beds from the surface, immediately beneath the haunted Ice of Ghosts, into the depths just south of the new dining hall. As the furniture is placed, it is impossible to ignore the shortage of sleeping areas. A tantrum spiral can be devastating to any fortress, but the curse of undeath that plagues Roomcarnage may amplify a single fistfight into a bloody tempest of terminal fun. The dwarves of the Momentous Dye shall have every please that may be safely afforded in this awful place, so that the possibility of tantrums may be kept to a minimum. The first step in that process is more beds.

Unfortunately, I cannot harvest any new wood at the moment. I can't even lay claim to the two blood thorns that grow in the middle of the farm plot - I have no axe. A spare log would be needed to make a training axe, and an anvil would be required for any metal weapon.

Additionally, the recent influx of migrants introduces another kind of danger - starvation. With only a farm plot to grow from, my dwarves are dependent upon mushrooms for food, and our reserves of prepared insect brains are running dangerously low. I have plenty of dogs (and puppies!), but these cannot be slaughtered, for fear that their skin will rise again, animated by the same foul forces that prevent a forge from being built in the first place.

Plump helmets take time to grow, and with dwindling food reserves, time is one thing I do not have enough of. I decide I can waste no more of it: the anvil must be reclaimed, and soon.

My solution is rather simple. A long corridor, at the end of which I will place doors that may be locked in the event that the monster makes it past the trap designed to destroy it. In the broader passage immediately to the north of the chamber containing the anvil, I shall place drawbridges, with which I hope to smash the water buffalo corpse into nothingness.

As the passages near the surface are being excavated, I designate the magma forges to be dug out and prepared. This way, when I obtain the anvil I can begin crafting cages immediately, and safely secure another food supply - the puppies.

This will serve as the magma reservoir, which lay immediately beneath the previous picture. Rather than laboriously dig out a channel from the magma vent to the forges, I just linked the reservoir on its east side to the cavern layer. Then, I'll strategically tap the magma tube, flooding this part of the cavern with molten rock and safely heating the forges.

As my miners go about their work, I get an alert. Reading it, my eyes immediately narrow with suspicion. The embark screen had indicated that I would have no trade with the mountainhome. I zoomed to the location of the alert...

What. The. Fuck. My outpost liaison is a foul fog zombie.

Whatever the outpost liaison walked through, the merchants were caught in it too. I haven't seen any foul fog near the Oily Furnace, but the Ice of Ghosts is a big place, and there may be other regions with different types of evil weather. I don't have a trade depot constructed, so I desperately hope they won't path towards the fortress. Holding my breath, I unpause the game.

A moment later.

Within seconds, the outpost liaison and the merchants are gone. I'm not sure what to make of it. It's almost as if they didn't realize that they were undead monsters until they had arrived at Roomcarnage. I suppose, in the absence of any other creatures, a group of travelers might not realize that the glacier had stolen their souls and instilled in them an icy hatred for the living. I make a mental note to construct a trade depot, so that hopefully some of the goods brought by the zombie caravan might be somehow salvaged, if they arrive again next year.

Meanwhile, it is time to tap the magma vent. I designate a pair of breach points, in order to quickly fill the reservoir. This is an inherently dangerous procedure - if a miner doesn't retreat as soon as the volcano is breached, there is a good chance they will burn up in the heat. I'm aware that there are other ways of doing this, some of which are rather exploity, but this is what I went with.

The western breach is skillfully handled, but the eastern one... well, I guess it's a good thing I have two other miners.

The silver lining here is that the miner's body was instantly incinerated in the magma. Mercifully, their loved ones (if they had any, idk) will never have to endure witnessing their shambling corpse. I figure, as far as the fates that I can expect to befall most of my dwarves, being ashed in the heart of the mountain is probably the best any of them can hope for.

As with basically every other death so far in Roomcarnage, I bear mute witness to the fate of Minkot Zimzom, Miner, while the rest of the fortress trundles along in unquestioning ignorance.

Soon afterwards, the magma fills up the reservoir. I construct a few magma smelters and set a metalsmith to work smelting copper ore. The time has come to reclaim the anvil.

The bridges are constructed and linked to a lever in the dining hall far below. I send a lone miner to breach the passage, but the water buffalo corpse doesn't notice the dwarf or the hole he quickly carves in the cavern wall.

I order another bit of wall carved out, and this gets the zombie's attention. As the monster passes beneath the drawbridge, I smirk and order the lever pulled...

...and the bridge shatters into its components as it slams against the water buffalo corpse! I order the second bridge raised as the undead continues shambling mindlessly forward.

To no avail, the second bridge crumples atop the water buffalo corpse. Both bridges lay in pieces, their bricks scattered throughout the passage.

I wait patiently as it shambles further along, entering the long passageway that eventually leads towards the stairwell - and the rest of the fortress.

Once the water buffalo corpse is a safe distance down the tunnel, I order the anvil to seized, and a door constructed in the gap at the north end of the old dining hall.

Once it's in place, I lock it. Then, I lock the other door, trapping the water buffalo corpse in the passage. Success!

For the first time since Late Spring, the upper fortress is relatively safe of danger. However, the dwarves have now moved more or less completely into the lower, newer fortress. These tunnels, until I have found a use for them, are likely to remain abandoned.

I order a magma forge constructed. As a dwarf hauls it into place, the year turns - it is now the Early Spring of 1202.

A year has passed, and Roomcarnage endures. A productive farm has been established. A functional magma forge has been constructed. The dwarves of the Momentous Dye may yet flourish beneath the terrifying Ice of Ghosts.

I queue up as many copper cages as I please. Once the butcher's workshop has been established, I will turn my attention to other endeavors - this is the last step in making Roomcarnage self-sufficient and able to provide for its citizens.

I'm considering a megaproject centered upon the volcano itself. Perhaps a fortress carved out of the sheer walls of ice that form the rim of the caldera, or a palace of cast-ice built tile by tile via bucket brigade. I haven't decided yet, but the possibility for awesomeness on this map is high, and I don't intend to waste that by cowering underground like a shivering plump helmet man.

I leave you with a rendering of the Oily Furnace using Overseer. If anyone has any ideas for a megaproject, I'll hear them out. If any ideas seem particularly popular, I may go with the will of the subreddit and try and implement you suggestions. We'll see!