Dwarf Fortress, where Legends are born.
Dwarf Fortress is not only a strategy game or an RPG. It is also a game where from the seemingly random collection of events you can write out your own Epic. A story to which you will be coming back to, share with other players, and thus, in essence, lure in even more people toward Dwarf Fortress. In this article I would wish to share three stories that stood out in my eyes. Here I want to be clear, there are many more great stories and events, described by countless players. Sieges, travels, mystery, perhaps a bit of romance. Some of them will catch your attention more than others, but let me start from the one that made me return to Dwarf Fortress after a long pause.
The Tale of the Hamlet of Tyranny
Imagine if you will, a Dwarf Fortress which dug too deep, releasing upon themselves a near endless horde of Demons. While the Dwarves hastily tried to prepare some form of defense a mighty Demon named Ashmalice appeared. The leader of the Demon horde cleaved through the Dwarves mercilessly, killing their king, and cornering the last remnants of the once great fortress called Hamlet of Tyranny.
As the Demons butchered the Dwarves one among them, Stuvok, was so overwhelmed by the deaths in the fortress that he locked himself in his Blacksmith workshop, while those who had weaker nerves committed suicide. Stuvok was one of the first seven dwarves to arrive at the Hamlet of Tyranny, a Miner who became a Legendary Blacksmith. During the Demon onslaught he lost his wife, and when all seemed lost, a small glitter of hope appeared. Stuvok began to create an artifact, and what he created was a blade, named the “Endless Death of Tears”.
The remaining Dwarves rallied around this new hope. A last attempt was made to stop the Demons. Entire sections of the fortress were collapsed upon the abominations, killing many. Traps were placed to kill those who somehow escaped their fate. Then, Ashmalice appeared, and with him his cohort of Frog Demons. Stuvok, the creator of the Endless Death of Tears died earlier. In the end, when all the dust settled only two Dwarves and Ashmalice remained. One of them was Daneken, the Captain of the Guard, and Sil, the Engraver.
Ashmalice managed to knock Daneken back, which resulted in Sil falling down a deep chasm, to his death. Daneken, and Ashmalice now stood alone… The Demon which slaughtered an entire fortress, and the last remaining Dwarf armed with the Endless Death of Tears. How did this fight end? I shall not spoil the fun of reading the entire story at DFStories.com.
Cacame the Immortal Onslaught, the Elven King of Dwarves
Whenever a Fortress reaches a sufficient level, a Monarch will appear. In the case of one fortress, it was an Elf. Upon closer investigation it turned out that Cacame had an intriguing backstory, bits and pieces added by the players later on.
The Dwarves waged a constant war with the Elves. The village in which Cacame was born was conquered when he was still a child. A Dwarven leader was installed in the village and all went well… until the Elves returned. Cacame was married, yet young at the time. During the attack his wife was killed and eaten (as is the case in Elven culture). Cacame must had been overwhelmed by sadness because he joined the Dwarven Guard, and become a Hammerer. Some time in the future the Dwarven King died in battle (or due to some other cause) and Cacame was named the new Sovereign, at the age of 16.
Cacame refused to wear armor, but he carried around a Hammer of incredible quality. In an attempt to test the Elven King, Holy Mittens (the player behind the fortress) pitted him against a Dragon. The Dragon lost, to an unarmored Elf armed only with a Hammer. According to the stories, it took Cacame only two strikes to defeat the great wyrm.
Cacame was later further trained through the use of goblins and other prisoners, and eventually he earned himself the title of Immortal Onslaught. He is considered the greatest elf to have ever existed. From Peasant to Warrior, from Warrior to King, from King to Legend. You can find links and some information about Cacame on his official wiki page.
Sankis the Mad
Boatmurdered was a Fortress played among a number of players. Each player took turns, and played the fortress for a certain ammount of time, untill he passed it on to the next player. The fortress eventually fell (they always do), but there is one dwarf in particular I would wish to mention.
One of the Nobles, Sankis, an expert engraver, when asked to create engravings in the fortress made only three most recent variants. Dwarves on Fire, Elephants killing Dwarves and the carvings of carvings of cheese. Not only that but he tried to drink magma, instead of water. It would soon become apparent how he has foreseen his own fate… One day Sankis caught fire, and fell into a berserker rage. While still engulfed in flames he attacked a fellow Dwarf with his Obsidian Axe and eventually punched the dwarf to death, before eventually dying himself. This resulted in a phenomenon known as Tantrum Spiral, which lead to the downfall of Boatmurdered.
There is much more to Boatmurdered than this tale alone, but the reason why I bring this up is an item which appears in Diablo 3 which I cannot help but think is somewhat related to this Sankis.
More than meets the eye
In Dwarf Fortress tales such as these appear all the time. Perhaps it is something you will discover during your own playthourgh, or a report somebody else will leave on the forums. There are countless incredible tales coming from Dwarf Fortress. It does not have to be an Epic spanning for a few years, sometimes it is a singular event which will be engraved in your mind. In my case? I will always remember my crippled Captain of the Guard, who despite being paralyzed from the abdomen down still continued to take part in battles, skirmishes and killings of countless beasts. Or the Legendary Crossbowdwarf who died as the last defender of my fortress, from a salvo of goblin arrows…
Alex “WriterX” Bielski