So before I forget how excruciating it was, I shall recount my demolition of the Goblins hiding out atop my gigantic fortified public housing unit that I had built in Dwarf Fortress.
My original plan was to build a giant platform a safe distance away with seige equipment and blast them to bits, but I wanted to be able to use the structure after mopping up their giblets, so I had to do something more awesome.
And so, the plan to build a gigantic stone sarcophagus around the structure before collapsing the roof right on top of them was put into motion! The whole fortress population were given building tasks, as I set about building staircases atop staircases and even used wooden “scaffolding.” I was so goddamned pleased with myself at the start, with construction actually going quite well. Building superstructures in Dwarf Fortress is kind of awkward, especially if you plan on doing it all in one sitting, because you have to plan and designate jobs kind of… in reverse.
At any rate, in 5 in-game Seasons, I had a huge rectangle around the building, 5 Z-levels in height with platforms to move around each level on and staircases leading to the very top to begin blocking out the sun itself.
Yes, that is a long time. Goblin seiges don’t stop Goblin ambushes from occuring. That was a painful lesson to learn. And during this time, a disgusting tragedy befell the Fortress- a Kobold paedophile attempted to steal one of the Dwarven infants. He was taken out by a crossbow-armed sentry, shot through the left leg, right arm and then through the eye before bleeding out. Then I panicked. The infant attempted to crawl back to the fortress, and its path lead it right underneath the Goblins holed up in the housing estate. I couldn’t watch as they let loose arrow after arrow at the little tacker, but somehow it managed to get past completely unscathed! In jubilation I watched it get nearer and nearer to the fortress. And then for some reason, the infant triggered a stonefall trap and it was crushed to death by a block of limonite. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. The simplicity of the graphics used in this game don’t take away any of the barbarity of what happens in it at all. If anything, it exacerbates the impact, because you have to conjure the image in your own mind and draw your own conclusions from the results.
I did my best to make restitutions. I gave the infant a burial fit for the King (I used his platinum sarcophagus, set it in a mined-out Platinum mausoleum with elaborate carvings, filled it with statues of Rose Gold, of Aluminium and of Electrum. I constructed a walled statue memorial park outside the Fortress, where the Dwarves still chose to throw parties decades later. However, I was still haunted by the thought that in some sick way, perhaps she was better off dead than living in the bowels of this gigantic machine. What part would she have played? Which cog was she to be in this engine of iniquity? Was she destined to extract valuable metals and minerals in the dark her whole life? Or perhaps carve pieces of fashion jewellery from rocks to appease nearby Elven morons? Would she brew beer, the only comfort the Dwarves could regularly expect to punctuate their working lives? Was she to hammer out Iron and Steel weapons of war? To farm mushrooms or to butcher rampant kittens? Would she have formed part of the living wall of flesh punctuated by pointed pike and crossbow against all who would seek to throw spanners into the working mechanisms of the Fortress? Perhaps the Kobold was just trying to show her a better life? How can moving ASCII art represent systems so deeply repulsive that they can bring someone to ponder these kinds of questions?
Perhaps a discussion for another day. I designated the the level of the huge stone cover as a “floor,” my Dwarves happily set to work at shutting in the Goblin bastards. I became a little giddy as the shadow closed the Goblins in, , as they stood around picking their noses and licking their own eyeballs (I’m assuming.)
I was amazed that it only took 3 seasons to complete. And there were no further disasters, atrocities or even the slightest catastrophe. And so it was as simple as using a cookie cutter on raw dough to outline the building I was about to drop tons of rock onto. And all I could think about was the Iron I was about to scavange and melt down from their equipment. Naturally, some idiot happened to be sleeping right in the middle of the soon-to-collapse roof. I did not wait for him or his dreams.
The roof fell, squished the Goblins and I was left with a heavily fortified external structure. I utilised the tunnel I had used to flood the building earlier as a main entrance. I then rigged up and tested it as a trapped flooding chamber that I could use to block off and drown intruders. It worked perfectly. I set up the King’s bedroom, throne room and the other expensive garbage Kings usually demand. There was a stockpile for food and alcohol, and a Household Guard of five soldiers. I removed all the external staircases from the walls. New ones were build on the inside so I could position Marksdwarves at intervals atop them. I opened parts of the wall at ground level to allow ballistae to fire through, and dug layers of earthworks designed to lead beseiging forces around in a spiral, open to fire and whatever else I could throw at them whilst they ran around like morons. Not unlike the ‘mazing’ techniques in some Tower Defence games.
At any rate, that’s how I deal with life problems. I herd umemployable Dwarves into crowded, sterile, halls to get butchered by little greeen ‘g’s’ before dropping tons of rock onto the ‘g’s’ and squishing them horribly.