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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Tech Deck

Why we fear the night

Why we fear the night... The Werearmadillo (Andrew Smith)
Why we fear the night... The Werearmadillo (Andrew Smith)

Egngun Tunnelash waved goodbye to the six brave dwarves as they set off to seek their fortunes in the mountains to the South. They had only a wagonload of goods and some herd animals to aid them. The journey was difficult, but eventually they had arrived at the foot of a steep mountain. They had made it to Adilsebir. Strike the Earth!

Rather the semi-grand entrance to Adilsebir!
Rather the semi-grand entrance to Adilsebir!

For many years people of Adilsebir lived in peace. They dug into the great mountain. Homes, offices, workshops and even farms were dug out of the mountain’s strength. After several years new migrants arrived, bringing supplies, children and most importantly, workers. Trading was established between Adilsebir and nearby elves. The Elven wood and supplies were traded for stone tools and instruments.  Adilsebir grew and prospered.

All things come to an end. A shadow crept over the fledgling fortress. At first, a chitter. Then a roar! A dark beast emerged from the forest, eyes glowed a terrible sickly lime green. Its thick reddish-brown plated hide rose and fell with its breathing. Strands of hair pushed out between the plates. Three foot-long claws glinted in the moonlight. Terrinoth Felldeth the Werearmadillo has come. Now you will know why you fear the night.

Panicked, the dwarves rushed to seal off the fortress, protecting them from Terrinoth. In the process though, they doomed those outside.

Terrinoth vanished into the brush. At first there was hope that the beast was gone for good -- until the screams began. Terrinoth set upon the dozen or so dwarves who remained abandoned outside. They put up a valiant defense, but were poorly equipped.

There was nothing that could have been done. The fortress was ill prepared.
There was nothing that could have been done.
The fortress was ill prepared.

As the night waned the sun began to rise. In an instant, the mighty form of the Werearmadillo transmuted into a frightened goblin. Small and confused, with a scream it howled, “I must withdraw!” The goblin escaped to the South, far too fast for pursuit.

Realizing the danger was gone, the people Adilsebir dropped the drawbridge and rushed to help the forsaken victims. Survivors rushed passed them. The three wounded were carried to hospital beds. The rest were interred by the slowly rolling creek.

Days turned to weeks. The fortress was still morning the loss of a third of its family. A dark thought began to haunt them: the wounded. Could they have been bitten? Acting quickly they moved the wounded into a quarantined area. On the day of the full moon, the three dwarves were sealed inside. The fortress waited as the night set in.

As hours passed, the dwarves remained themselves. The curse was not transferred. The fortress is safe … until the screams began. It came from the residence hall. Grabbing sword, shield and bolt, militia dwarves rushed to the scene. A Werearmadillo was rampaging around the halls. The dwarves of Adilsebir charged…

The attack was swift and deadly.
The attack was swift and deadly.


At that point I had to go to bed because it was passed 2am and I needed to sleep for work at 6am. This whole story is based on a random event that happened in the game Dwarf Fortress. It is an amazing game that has a mind-numbing amount of depth, especially considering it’s free. It’s like Minecraft crossbred with the Sims, on a spreadsheet, hopped up on crack. You can create machinery and all manner of traps, using physics and your own whit.

If you do play I highly suggest you get the Lazy Newb Pack. It comes with all manner of skins, mods, programs to help play the game. Most importantly, use Dwarf Therapist! Also, don’t be ashamed to use the Wiki. I’ve played this since my college years and even I forget what Tetrahedrite is or how pumping magma onto goblin invaders works.

Remember: Losing is fun.

As a great example of the fun to be had in Dwarf Fortress read the tale of Bronzemurder. “Bronzemurder is both a fortress and an epic tale of dwarven tenacity, gloriously illustrated by Tim Denee.”


For those Dwarf Fortress players out there, I’d love to hear about all the fun you’ve had. Please leave a comment below or on my Facebook page! See you for the next blog. In the meantime, have fun adventuring!

Uh oh…the miner is berserking, again. Uh………. Get the crossbows! Hopefully we can contain him before we lose too many dwarves.” - Me my first few games of Dwarf Fortress

Andrew Smith is one of The Spokesman-Review's IT gurus and resident dungeon master.