The Story of Threepaddles

The Story of Threepaddles
The Dwarven Fortress Episode 1

--This story is the story of my first proper playthrough of dwarf fortress. I'm still an extreme noob at it, and spent several hours and at least two other forts just learning basics. For those not familiar with Dwarf Fortress... it is a top-down city management game at it's most basic... but it is so much more. The game is so intricate that it weaves a story, as everything in the game is so highly detailed. The game isn't for everyone, it's default ASCII graphics (which can be replaced with tilesets as I have here) make it seem like an 80's game with a UI and control system to match. Nonetheless, it hasn't stopped it from inspiring countless games, most notably Minecraft. There are other clone-type games like DF as well, like Rim World.

For those who really want to know what the game can be like (As my first few episodes won't be that exciting, I'm sure) check out this awe-inspiring story: ... everything in the story (minus his narrative) really happened in the game. Just like everything I tell below really happened as part of the game... I didn't add anything for the sake of telling a story. These are things that happened and these are details that are fully incorporated into the game.--


Situated on the Pleated Prairies, the fortress of Threepaddles was established in the dead of winter, at the beginning of the year 126 by seven dwarves who set out to start anew. Bearing their banner depicting three toy boats and a wave, with the wave engulfing the toy boats, the seven short creatures prepare themselves for the hard labors ahead.

I immediately order expedition leader Kib Olillokum to set about carving the entrance to Threepaddles and then digging a ramp several lengths deep to the receiving hall which will eventually hold our trading depot. Then after a flurry of plans to carve out several layers worth of rooms, plans are laid down for the farm hall, workshop hall and two separate great rooms for storage. The two miners of the group, Solon and Cilob get to work. Their pickaxes are relentless while the five other dwarves stand around idly, lazy with nothing to do. I set two of them off to chop some trees down and gather plants and berries.

Capture3.PNG It isn't long until we strike natural gold! What a boon. Hopefully soon we can set up smelters to make proper gold bars so we have something of value to barter with when trade caravans arrive. We're in sore need of some leather for quivers.

With several workshops built and a farm (with a still for those thirsty alcoholic dwarves), the miners are set about excavating the lowest level of the fortress, the dining hall / tavern and the sleeping quarters. The rest of the workforce gets busy with everything needed to furnish those rooms: beds, tables, cups and more. Finally the poor dwarves no longer have to sleep on the cavern floor or drink their dwarven plump helmet wine from their hands. I am hoping this will raise their spirits some, even if their bedrooms are a bit bare now and there is rubble laying about the fortress. Capture5.PNG

Last, at the very top layer of the hill, the miners finish excavation of a large barracks and archery range where the military, once established, will train and reside.

Not long after I seem content with the current state of the fortress, some pesky rhesus macaques make off with precious supplies, stealing some bolts and other things that were left unattended at the wagon we arrived on. The monkeys escape before any of the dwarves can catch them. I make sure that the dwarves set about carrying the rest of what they forgot into the bowels of the fortress for safekeeping.


Finally, late spring a group of wandering dwarf immigrants approach the entrance of Threepaddles (which is nothing more than just a short tunnel in the side of the hill right now) asking to settle down in this promising place. The four of them seem next to useless, save for one who claims to be a skilled thresher. Even though at the moment we have almost nothing in place for clothesmaking and it's not very high on the list.

A ranger was also among the four immigrants, named Led, who I set about training our dogs into war dogs for defense. The other two though... a farmer and a planter aren't needed so they may end up drafted into the Threepaddles military that I will soon form.

Seems the meat stockpile is running low or possibly even nonexistant (I don't have a bookkeeper yet to manage stockpiles accurately) so I set our hunter out. Lucky for the monkeys, they're not around. Instead... a weasel seems to be an easy target. Now if only I could get a butcher on the job...


I've ordered for a few more workshops to be built- most importantly among them the smelter. I set one of the useless dwarves at smelting the gold ore to start... hopefully they'll pick up the skill fast enough and become useful. I have my doubts though.

I'll draw this first episode to a close now as I prepare to lay out a basic defensive system instead of my welcoming hallway down to my receiving chamber. We've been fortunate enough that we've not had any trouble, save for some klepto monkeys, but I can't imagine that luck lasting.
Part 2

Kib is dead. The expedition leader, while mining out caverns for defenses, was found among the rubble of a cave in. The legendary miner, renowned for his leadership, will be remembered. Unfortunately not as gloriously as we'd like, as we cannot spare the time for a proper tomb- a wooden coffin will have to do. It is sad he did not make it even a year.

capture2_death.PNG Kib lying dead.

Catten picks up where Kib left off. Just as winter hits us, early in the month of moonstone, we receive another press of immigrant dwarves. Yet again, more farmers and other various trades join us. I don't know why these farmers keep coming to see us, but I'm forced to put them to work elsewhere.

An eleven caravan visits us in the hopes of trading- the treehugging elves however do not have much that we'd like and are offended when I accidentally offered them a wooden cup for trade. They left promptly.

A couple more months pass as our defensive wall is built, as well as more bedrooms and other pieces of furniture to keep the dwarves happy. Our carpenter Mistem has outdone himself and become a legendary carpenter. He reliably produces masterwork cabinets, bins, barrels and more. The bedroom and office of Catten is decorated with his fine work.


Spring comes and with it, more immigrants. I haven't been able to keep up, but now our numbers have swelled to 45 dwarves, including no less than 8 children. A proper furnace operator and weaponsmith seem to be the best additions to our budding fortress- I set them to work immediately as we have dire need for more weaponry and raw materials.

With that immigration it means it is time to establish the military. Two squads of five dwarves, one squad of marksdwarves and one of skirmishers led by the swordsdwarf milita commander Led. They move to the barracks and begin training.

Further work on the defenses proceeds, with a drawbridge facing the south that will be retractable at first sign of danger. Then a long, booby-trapped entrance tunnel to the north that will channel all invading enemies through. The end of which will serve as a rally point for the squads to face anything that should survive. I am concerned with the possibility that if any flying enemies attack, we are ripe for killing, but otherwise I think we are pretty safe. I keep our dwarves on creating traps in the shops to line the entrance tunnel.

Mistem the carpenter has been taken by a strange mood and locked himself in his carpenter shop, demanding various materials including rough gems for some project. Thankfully everything is at hand around the fortress and after some scrambling about to gather the materials, he begins his mysterious construction.

With my food and drink stockpiles in good shape (and even a kitchen cooking away), I look now to expand my excavation in order to gain access to flux metals and some other ores hoping to grab iron and eventually steel. I will attempt to tackle that and hope that my crazy carpenter has snapped out of his mood.

capture5_bedrooms.PNG The finished, walled courtyard. Very exposed to flying enemies.

To be continued...
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