the saga of tickwire – part 1

As is wont to happen, Dwarf Fortress was mentioned during the lunchtime video game discussion I was having with coworkers… and I grew homesick. And after looking at the dev blog’s depressing changelog, I decided that it would be pointless to wait any longer for a new release. I’m going to start playing DF again now (v0.34.11).

Between Rift with family, Diablo with friends, and Minecraft with umm, the Minecraft community(?) where do I plan on finding time to play DF? Everywhere. Since DF is such a pause heavy, information dense game, I need to take extensive notes… which I may as well attempt to make entertaining.

So. I am going to attempt to take notes in a more narrative way than I normally do – and take enough notes that I can actually keep track of what’s going on when play alternates between 3 different locations and 7am, lunch, and 2am. It’s going to take forever, but it should be fun. Wish me luck.


I created a world with the default settings and made a sandwich. Or at least, I would have made a sandwich if I was somewhere I could have done that. What I actually did was kick off a stubborn recompile on the build server and think about sandwiches while both it and the world creation ran. The recompile finished first.

When my world finally finished and I hit embark, I was presented with this interesting decision:
I am always tempted to accept the first location the game proposes, largely because I find the search so tedious, but also because it has resulted in some interesting challenges in the past.

What we are looking at this time is a location in a river valley almost adjacent to the homeland… which just strikes me as the sort of place I might want to consider settling. I’d like to think that the odds of hostility are relatively low here (wishful thinking). There is soil and shallow metal (singular) and there are deep metals (plural)… and an aquifer. But upon further investigation, the location actually straddles three different biomes.

The southeastern corner is the only area with meaningful trees – so that will be a bit of a challenge starting out. At least I know where my carpenter is going to be headed. The northeastern biome (which also includes most of the brook’s length) is thick with random vegetation and does not actually appear to have an aquifer. So, I should be able to dig to the east of the water with impunity.

The western half of the area is badlands. Which might mean scorpions… enh. I’ll take my chances with not nudging the embark area a few squares to the right. I like it, we’ll go with it. Wood will be scarce, but real dwarves only use wood for bedding anyway.

It’s time to prepare carefully.


A good leader is top priority. Taking a quick glance at the personalities of my minions, only one, appropriately named Mansionwalks, is lacking any crippling social flaws. Congratulations, we have a leader. 5 points in appraisal, 3 in negotiation, and 1 each in organization and record keeping.

We should be eating a lot of fish here – so a fisherdwarf is a priority. Similarly, we will likely not be doing a ton of carpentry or hunting, so those are lower priority. Dwarf the second, appropriately named Grizzlefences, will be our outdoors type – fishing and woodcutting. He will also get a dog I think.

Next up, we need some miners. There will be a lot of mining to be done early on here – and I doubt we’ll have soft soil for the initial dig in. That means skilled miners. We will also want a mason on 24×7 rock carving duty to deal with their output.

That leaves two more dwarves. We need a cook and a brewer, so I guess that about wraps things up there. The brewer can be our carpenter and the cook can be our rancher. Both can be farmers.

I will be running Dwarf Therapist because I’m not insane.


In order to buy all of these skills, we ditched our wheelbarrow, an axe, and the quivers. If I need archery at embark, I’m already doomed.

We’re going to bring a lot of animals. Most other things we can make ourselves, so I’m mostly throwing lots of junk out to make room. The final loadout looks something like this:

  • copper pick x2, copper axe
  • iron anvil
  • beer x21, ale x21
  • pig tail seed x5, cave wheat seed x5, sweet pod seed x5
  • meat x15, fish x15, plump helmet x15
  • thread x5, cloth x5, rope
  • bucket, splint, crutch
  • leather bag x2 (changed from cloth bags)

Then there are the animals. Did I mention the animals? Yeah.

  • dog: female x3, male x1
  • cat: male x1
  • sheep: female x1, male x1
  • goat: female x1, male x1
  • turkey: female x5, male x1

Strike the earth!


Welcome to Tickwire.

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