Chapter 4 :: The Foul Fog comes to Roomcarnage

May 23th, 2014

The dwarves of the Momentous Dye are hard at work in Roomcarnage. The manager, Tun Noselance, tries his hand at metalworking as he churns out copper cage after copper cage. Zon Heldlashes, the furnace operator, keeps him well-supplied with metal bars.

A copper axe is forged and forced into the hands of the glassmaker Rith Boattribute, who then cuts down the two blood thorns in the middle of the farm, claiming wood which is quickly turned into beds for the migrants.

Having reached a point of relative balance and peace in the fortress, I designate a few passages dug in the deep, so that the dwarves of Roomcarnage may know more about the dark, almost lifeless caverns that stretch beneath them. The passages terminate before they reach a known cavern wall - then, I designate the wall to be smoothed.

Then, I order fortifications to be carved into it, which safely reveals the cavern beyond, without exposing the fortress to a high degree of danger from flying cave creatures.

Soon, my dwarves discover a blessed wonder in the deep - more magma!

The deep vent lay to the northeast of the volcano's magma tube. I have no purpose for it yet, but it is good to know that there is no shortage of easily accessible magma on this map.

On the 20th of Slate, Mid-Spring, disaster strikes.

No! I don't have enough food to feed another migrant wave! Alcohol, there's no problem, but food stores are already dangerously low!

I unpause and watch as a long line of cheerful, talented workers file across the frozen gore-soaked snowdrifts, along with their children and animals. A sinking feeling creeps through my viscera.

As is typical in Dwarf Fortress, it is not the exterior threats - goblins, wild animals, horrific weather - that pose the greatest danger to Roomcarnage. It is the citizens themselves, it seems, who will spell the doom of the fortress.

I cannot turn them away. I must either accept them into Roomcarnage, or let them die on the surface of exposure - or worse. In the end, I resolve to allow the migrants into the fortress, in order to avoid a situation where the surface of the map is crawling with a sea of undead horrors. I may pay dearly for this, but it seems boring to just lock the door and leave them to their fate.

In the time it takes the migrants to find their way into the heart of Roomcarnage, food supplies have already dwindled. Fortunately, the stock of 45 plants consists entirely of plump helmets, so I still have some time to figure out a solution.

The solution lay with the several stray animals the migrants themselves have brought along. Alive, they are a deadly liability - not only will they certainly perish within a short amount of time, but they also have hooves and tend to be large, which makes them even more dangerous than a normal zombie. However, carefully butchered and processed, their meat may keep the fortress going long enough for me to install more farms.

I also need to figure out a way to get all these fuckers to work.

The silver lining of all of this is that I now have a huge workforce ready to tackle basically any task I lay before them. So, there's no point in working in small doses anymore, except for safety. Massive operations are needed to take care of the massive needs of all these goddamn migrants. Food and housing - both require more of the cavern to be at my disposal.

Unfortunately, the dwarves are still hard at work preparing the butchery. I'm not nearly comfortable with the number of cage traps that are constructed and loaded, so I decide to direct the efforts of the fortress towards farm production.

For additional farms to be sown, I need to claim more of the cavern layer. I order the construction of a series of walls around the flat area directly beneath the current dining hall. This bit of cavern is two z-levels tall, so it will require a second level of walls to be build atop the ground level.

Using Dwarf Therapist, I enable masonry on every worker in the recent migration wave. The initial curtain wall is completed quickly and efficiently, although it is becoming impossible to ignore the jarring spikes of lag.

Then, I order stairs constructed on the inside of the walls, so that the second layer of rock blocks may be laid. I do it segment by segment, rather than constructing a scaffold along the length of the area to be constructed - that's just my own personal preference when it comes to constructions.

The northern end of the area I've selected ends in an upward ramp that climbs steadily towards another section of the cavern. It's visible here to the northeast of the dining hall - it's too broad and open to wall off by using the same method.

A few z-levels higher, the passage grows quite narrow. I decide to fill this section of the passage with constructed walls, which will effectively seal the passage.

This is the arrangement of the walls, which will form a sort of "plug," completely blocking off the passage.

One z-level higher, you can plainly see how narrow the passage is right here.

And here is how the "plug" appears from above - totally impassible.

Now that the walls are completed, I order the stairs to be deconstructed, so their blocks may be used for other constructions. First the upper level...

...and then the lower. To make space for the farms, I order the few blood thorns in the area hewn, then crafted straight into more beds for the burgeoning population. Just as I'm preparing to order the construction of the farms, my view of the fortress is jerked towards the frigid surface, where a skulking threat has just revealed itself.

Fuck! I had forgotten that most of these upper doors were set to be closed tightly (not pet passable), and so all of the livestock that I had hoped to butcher never made it into the fortress. Now, they are trapped in the antechamber beneath the frozen northern cliff with a kobold foul fog zombie. Wonderful. And what is this trail that the zombie has left in the snow?

I should have guessed.

I suppose I should count myself fortunate that the livestock caught the kobold before it made it into the heart of the fortress, otherwise I'd have an epidemic on my hands. The kobold is covered with foul fog contaminant, which spreads from creature to creature like influenza in a petting zoo. I lock the doors and forget about ever returning to the surface.

The battle is quick - this is the entire combat report - but the effects are immediate. The foul fog caked on the kobold's body sloughs off, and a single touch is all it takes for the livestock to be instantly and permanently zombified.

The foul fog zombies shamble outside into the blizzard of gore, where they wait. Two other long smears of foul fog are visible in the bloody snowscape, indicating the presence of two other kobolds still in hiding. All three diminutive thieves leave the map once they realize that they have been noticed.

The livestock, however, remain. Suddenly, I am thankful for the sudden surge of migrants - they may be the last Roomcarnage ever receives alive.

I turn my attention back towards the caverns. Two large plots are marked off in the cave mud, tripling the amount of farmland available to the fortress. Hopefully, this will prevent any starvation or dehydration issues in the future, especially if I ever manage to deal with the foul fog threat on the surface.

Not quickly enough - the stocks of plump helmet are nearly empty. The fortress will starve to death before the next harvest arrives, unless I take swift action.

I order the last stray grazing animal left alive - a mule - to be butchered. (Something wonky is going on in this .gif - anyone have any ideas?)

The refuse is hauled all the way up to the upper part of the fortress - I erred, forgetting to remove the refuse stockpile here so that the skin and hair of butchered creatures remains within the area protected by cage traps. Fortunately, the body parts don't reanimate before the dwarves toss them down the old undead disposal shaft.

The mule doesn't provide nearly enough in the way of meat. Not enough to support the fortress through the growing season.

I order the slaughter of the seven dogs brought with the initial expedition. There are plenty of puppies, who will grow into a breeding population, providing an emergency source of food in a future situation, just like their parents.

As the seven dogs are slaughtered, the dwarves of the Momentous Dye swarm in and out of the charnel room, hauling meat, skin, and tanned hides to and fro. One of the dog skins is possessed with necromantic energy during the tanning process and flaps horribly towards a stray puppy.

The reanimated skin is quickly put back down, and the tanning process continues.

The battle results in a few oddly named body parts. TIL dwarves skin animals very, very thoroughly.

The butchering of dogs results in a significant amount of raw meat. It looks like the farms are beginning to produce as well, so the crisis seems to be averted, at least for the time being.

Around this time, while checking the units screen, I notice some troglodytes - the first wild animals that have been sighted in Roomcarnage since embarking over a year ago.

They're off in a secluded part of the caverns, far from the fortress - but it is good to know, nonetheless, that some life persists down here, even life so foul and twisted as these reptilian humanoids.

Shortly thereafter, the bone doctor Imush Truthfulcanyons is taken by a strange mood, the first in Roomcarnage!

She claims a craftsdwarf workshop...

...and offers me a clear indication of the materials she requires: wood and metal. We have copper bars, but all of the blood thorn wood was crafted into beds. More will have to be gathered in order to satisfy the mood.

I order a stairwell to be dug down to a ledge, a ways beneath the new farm area.

Then, the woodcutter goes down to gather wood. I install a couple doors in the passage afterwards and lock them, just in case I need to go back out into the caverns.

Imush claims a blood thorn log and a bar of copper and gets to work.

Shortly thereafter, the ghost of Minkot Zimzon (the miner that burned up in the heat during the previous year) rises and begins haunting the fortress.

Fortunately, Minkot's not a particularly violent ghost, so I queue up a slab and don't worry about it too much. There are much more dangerous forms of undead to worry about in Roomcarnage.

This crown is essentially useless, but it's pretty awesome conceptually. It is, literally, a crown of thorns. Representative of the suffering soon to be inflicted upon the dwarves of the Momentous Dye? Time shall tell.

Appropriately enough, it menaces with spikes (thorns?) of deep red blood thorn. And the image seems to indicate that wildlife DOES live somewhere in the Ice of Ghosts... I simply have yet to see it.

An all-too-familiar announcement alerts me to the presence of newcomers.

If I don't act quickly, these migrants will only worsen the situation on the surface - any interaction with the foul fog zombies will turn them into soulless husks as well.

I unpause, but the zombified livestock - nor the migrants - move at all. It is the 12th of Galena, Late Summer or 1202. It seems that I have some time to attempt a rescue, if I dare. That and more, next time.