Community / Dwarf Fortress

This is an online community. All craftdwarfship is of the highest quality. It is encrusted with Dolomite, decorated with turtle bone and cave lobster shell and encircled with bands of Dolomite, Tower-cap and Rose Quartz. This object menaces with spikes of kitten tallow, adamantine and magma. On the item is an image of a dwarf and a computer. The dwarf is playing. The image relates to the creation of the Community Page for the online community.

Community links:

Community Games and Fiction:

Tropes of community forts:

  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: Done deliberately by the community; talk of the GCS and the HFS prevents spoilers.
  • Affably Evil: The Dwarf Fortress player community is quite welcoming and helpful to new players, showering them with links to tutorials for the nigh-incomprehensible interface and helping them troubleshoot newbie mistakes and dwarven intelligence. They're also infamous for pushing Video Game Cruelty Potential to new and exciting extremes for the sake of convenience, lulz, and the dwarven way.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Headshoots' Room Outside Space - there was nothing out of the ordinary about it or the way into it, except that players were somehow unable to find it unless there was a dwarf inside to zoom to.
    • When the last "overseer" made a pact with the HFS to bring down Headshoots by turning its 2 greatest champions into skeletons to kill the others, one dwarf hid in this room, taking supplies with him. He was allowed to live after the player found him by zooming to him.
    • The forums ran a contest to build a tower from soap. Only in Dwarf Fortress...
    • By the time it ended, Battlefailed was an absolute rat's maze of chambers, tunnels, shafts and caverns, interconnected and interlaced, some of which were rapidly flooding with water or magma.
    • Almost every player turn in Deathgate usually begins with something along the lines of "this place makes no sense at all".
  • Black Comedy: A greater majority of community content is overloaded with this. Expect fans to laugh at absurdly excessive violence or accidents (or some combination thereof).
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Quite a bit of the community, Dwarf Fortress being the game it is.
    • Blue and Orange Morality: There is really no way to reconcile the kind of things that are considered "acceptable" and "unacceptable" among the community. We're just too far gone for simple concepts such as "morality" to matter any more.
  • Complexity Addiction: Much of the player base. In a game that allows players to do many things in needlessly elaborate ways (particularly building Death Traps) experienced players will often prefer a very complex Difficult but Awesome solution. When asked why not just use a simpler, easier method, the typical response will be "Because it's not dwarven enough!"
  • Crazy Awesome: How many other games feature an elf becoming king of the Dwarves, then defeat a dragon with only a little skill with a hammer? In how many others games does a berserk Dwarf on fire proceed to beat all of the military, with each other?
    • The community itself. Dwarf Fortress fans are the kind of people to reject a simple, practical solution to a problem on account of it needing more magma. Threads will be spawned to discuss how Dwarfy the solution can be made, delving into realms of the impossible. Then someone will implement it and make it work.
  • Did You Just Kill Cthulhu and Move Into His House: Since it was proven to be possible, several forts have gone on to colonize hell.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Some veteran players were actually a bit squicked by the Mermaid Farming thread. Chief among these people was Toady himself who made mermaid bone be worth very little to stop people from doing again. And then, of course, there's the Obok Meatgod incident (see below), but we don't talk about that.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: DF 2010 added genetics to the game. Cue players trying to selectively breed livestock and your dwarves to possess various physical traits. Why would you do this? Well, for livestock, for higher meat yields. But for Dwarves, it's probably just because players have determined they're going to run a Nazi-fortress and only keep dwarves with blond hair or some other arbitrary physical characteristic. And of course, For Science!!
    • It is also worth noting that rather than disallow this sort of thing somehow, which would be difficult (to say the least), Toady simply plans to implement AI that will allow the dwarves to become paranoid if mysterious accidents keep happening to certain portions of the population.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Kisat Dur (literally "Empty Fist"), the community's effort to pick through the countless potential hand-to-hand combat techniques to find those worth remembering and using. The resulting style is pragmatic and brutal, exploiting both realistic openings and Good Bad Bugs in the system to destroy even armed and armored opponents.
  • For Science!: Members of the online fan community, when asking about something that's never been tried, are implored to do it FOR !!SCIENCE!!!note  Dwarven science has already accomplished a number of interesting feats with the game engine which the developer probably never had in mind.
    • It's also said that anything that is ludicrously hard to build and completely pointless and useless is considered EXTREMELY dwarven. The more useless it is, the more your prestige will be enhanced. This has led to some pretty silly things, known as "Stupid Dwarf Tricks", some of which include a massive tower made out of soap, projects to drain an ocean tile and a fully-functional, water-powered digital computer.
      "I believe it is turing complete, for anyone who cares."
    • Possibly the most dwarven thing ever seen. It's a thread tracking the process of creating a viable means to create self-sufficient colony pods SUBMERGED IN MAGMA SEAS. HOLY SHIT. The Dwarf Physics abuse being used in these experiments led one user to comment:
      "Considering the general state of DF, I think Einstein and Newton are already rotating fast enough (in their graves) that you could hook them up to pumps and use them to kill Elves."
    • A Magma Sea Colony Was later successfully created, through the equally dwarven method of draining the entire magma sea in order to "safely" construct the colony on top of the semi-molten rock.
    • In the culmination of Dwarven aerospace technology, a player has built a working Sky Fortress, suspended in mid-air by supports attached to the sky itself.
      "My Armok... We've walled and roofed whole map tiles just because the sun irritated us. We've drained the magma sea and built a fort under it. We've drained the real sea, just to try and get at mermaid bones. We built a fort in hell just to prove we could. And now, we've built a fort in the sky. There is no natural obstacle a dwarf has not overcome."
  • For the Evulz: The other main motivation of Dwarf Fortress players, it usually manifests in building needlessly sadistic death traps for captured prisoners. Or sometimes nobles.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Played straight in Battlefailed, with Queen Led Shakeoars, human monarch of the dwarves. She does worship a number of monsters and gods of death and is implied to send dwarves to the fort as a form of genocide.
  • Good Bad Bugs: A handful of bugs from the old 2D version received names due to their humorous nature.
    • Contents Under Pressure: melting a bolt or arrow down for scrap resulted in 30 bars of metal instead of 1/30th due to a * instead of / in the code.
    • Love Conquers All: chained animals break free upon spotting their trainers.
    • The Most Dangerous Game & We All Fall Down: Both involved the removal of the floor on which a dwarf was standing, either by himself or another.
    • You and What Army? If you embarked on goblin tower, then soon abandoned (or all 7 dwarves died), then went and reclaimed the fort, the game would calculate the fortress wealth including all of the goblin loot, making the reclaim a force of 150 dwarves or more.
    • Infinite Blood/Mud aka Wipe Your Feet: mud and blood as pseudo-liquids had a "wet" flag that when a dwarf stepped on it they'd track it a few squares, which would then also be marked as wet, and as it took so long to dry dwarves would re-wet squares with other squares causing an eventual takeover of the entire fort. Bridges and Grates over open space "wiped off" the dwarves feet, containing the mess. This is making a, hopefully fixed, return in the next version.
    • Buff Swimmers: any creature that naturally swam raised their Swimming skill, and due to the total exp of all skills being used to calculate attributes, natural swimmers ended up supernaturally strong. In the earlier versions this led to Carp being regarded as the worst thing to find in your water supply, ever...
    • Endless Quiver: A "feature" has been discovered that lets a marksdwarf carry a quiver with thousands of arrows, making him a one dwarf army, since crossbows fire like machine guns.
    • 31.01 version had its own named bug already: Acid Rain. That is to say, dwarves melting in the rain. It appears that the "fat" tissue layer's melting point was set to 110° F (43°C) in the raw files, meaning that even overly hot summer weather would cause all of your fat to melt and drip off your body, resulting in massive bleeding until you died of blood loss.
    • Not named, since it's only ever happened once, but too awesome not to link: Zakosp the dancing destructive demonic diplomat.
    • <Name>, Dwarven Baby cancels Clean Self: Too insane. Apparently the data flag that marks a dwarf as being a baby (and therefore unable to do things like, say, cleaning itself) is bunched up with the ones marking various kinds of insanity, for some reason.
    • A 2212 z-level spire of raw adamantine. Turned out to be due to the game failing to remove existing data from memory when generating a new world (in particular, doing a Search from one world and aborting the embark would leave map feature data files hanging around, and generating a new world would merge them in). Said bug also resulted in oddities such as a cavern layer being generated in midair, mountains made of magma instead of stone (occasionally with adamantine spires of their own at the centre), and large chunks of the ground collapsing for no obvious reason. In all these cases, physics started applying to them immediately upon embark, with predictable results.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: One player built a fortress which contains a Dwarf-powered clock, synced to the actual game time.
  • It Gets Easier: This game is not kind to idealism. Unless you care for that particular dwarf, when a dwarf dies in a veteran's game, the reaction tends to be either "meh" or outright "Did that berserk baby just cleave a dwarf in two? Holy shit, that's hilarious!"
  • Let's Play: Many, but especially Boatmurdered.
    25th Moonstone, 1063, Early Winter
    OH MY GOD. Sankis is on a bloody rampage! He mauled a baby and a cow, and now, at this very instant, he's beating the Elite Marksdwarf Kadol Lokumad into paste!
    • Speaking of beating things to death, there's the awesome story of Nist Akath (which started in version and progressed all the way to version which, among other things like surviving on a haunted glacier full of skeletal elks, includes the story of Captain Ironblood, a dwarf so mighty he was able to kill a Hydra with nothing but his hands, while covered in nothing but all the vomit and other fluids covering him, and then proceeding to very easily kill the treacherous baron (and his wife) who'd attempted to kill him. A bit lengthy yes, but certainly a good read. Whether or not you should fear the winter (as the fortress is named), or the armed dwarves of Nist Akath is another matter entirely.
    • Another notorious one is Headshoots which is notable for three things:
      • Two champion dwarves who, due to the bug which removed the cap limit, became so overpowered that were practically invincible. One of them preferred to fight by beating enemies to death with a backpack, and once waded over a stream of magma to kill a kobold thief.note 
      • In defiance of the game's motto, nothing, including intentional sabotage from the rulers late in LP, seems to be able to totally destroy the fortress, even in the situations where the UBER-PWNING powers of above champions were useless.
      Bobbin Threadbare, the SA Goon - Headshoots: So Metal That Killing It Just Made It Stronger.
      • The ending, when the last ruler turned above champions into skeletons. The slaughter of the fortress and final duel between them was magnificent.
      • One dwarf survived. By hiding inside the Room Outside Space.
    • The current (now archived) fort, Syrupleaf, may be even more insane than all the previous forts put together. For the first few years, they managed to survive without any water (They're stationed in the bottom left corner of the world map, in the midst of a frozen wasteland that is nigh-impossible to approach in Adventure mode.) They created a single golden boot (Which was magnificently roleplayed, as it was the current leader of the succession game who went into a fey mood to craft it.) Numerous Shout Outs and Continuity Nods to the previous major fortresses: The disastrous Boatmurdered and the demon-corrupted Headshoots. In fact, one of the major adversaries the fortress faces is The Spawn, which are modified dwarves/undead. In-character, they're undead dwarves, powered by a clump of magma, who serve underneath Holistic Detective - Wielder of the Rat Leather Bag, God Amongst Dwarves, and the surviving Demonic Dwarf of the legendary battle between Hollistic and Nemo. Also among the thread are the various journals of the The various dwarfed goons, who go in-character and comment on the current situation as describe in the update. Insane. Awesome.
    • Spearbreakers began with the ambitious goal of being the first epic fortress of 34.xx, featuring the return of Syrupleaf's Spawn of Holistic and encouraging players to participate in storytelling. What followed was a chaotic mess of mismanagement, hypercompetent management, Spawn getting stuck on ledges, accidentally producing hundreds and hundreds of mugs, serial medical malpractice, zombie sieges of apocalyptic proportions, and lots and lots of fiction, ranging from a humble caravan guard accidentally averting the apocalypse to a convoluted science-fiction plot involving planeshifting agents of corrupt interdimensional research corporations and an Apocalypse Cult spearheaded by a megalomaniac trying to take them down.
    • The beautifully illustrated story of Bronzemurder (not to be confused with the aforementioned Boatmurdered) has been making its rounds across the internet, a brief little tale of a small mistake resulting in much fun.
    • Battlefailed became the self-appointed "Boatmurdered of DF2010", and, to its credit, did a terrific job of living up to that lofty title. Started as the (entirely co-incidental) combination of a genocidal plot by Jerk Ass human queen of dwarves, Led Shakeoars and the gambit of an incredibly ancient body-surfing sorceror. Seven dwarves ended up on the hellish coastline separating the Plains of Ooze from the Blueness of Malodors. Only halfway through the first turn, most of the original dwarves and a good chunk of the immigrants were either dead or dying. Ten turns in and the fortress was an Escher-like nightmare of tunnels, shafts and stairwells leading nowhere, under constant assault from fifty identically-named goblins, forgotten beasts and hordes of undead grazing animals. Eventually, parts of the fort started leaking water or magma for no apparent reason, occasionally in places that it should not have been possible for water or magma to be. Extinction-level events that would kill up to half of the population became not only frequent but regular.
      Seth Creiyd: My god... this was a terrible idea.
      • A sequel has been made FailCannon: Super Happy Fun Beach. god help us all!
      • When Battlefailed fell, there were attempts to reclaim it and continue the awesome. They failed, the fort was flooded beyond belief and apparently no longer playable. They gave up and made Failcannon nearby. But then several month later. This happened.
    • Matul Remrit is also notable. There's a complex ongoing storyline, with each chapter told from the point of view of a different dwarf. It's also illustrated, both with drawings and screenshots from the Stonesense 3D-fortress-viewer.
    • Skyscrapes, The Tower Fortress. where every single structure is above ground.
    • Drunkenwhims of Artifice is a currently ongoing fort that is already shaping to be pretty awesome. In the first few turns Kobolds have become a serious threat to the fort, they have survived a tantrum spiral, and enslaved a dwarf inside the lever room.
    • Deathgate lacks some of the insanity and massive bloodshed that made Boatmurdered and Syrupleaf epic. It makes up for this by colonizing hell.
    • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Zombie Troll doesn't have the epicness or bloodshed of many of the above stories, but it is a delightful Better Than a Bare Bulb story with MS Paint illustrations.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    • Obok Meatgod, former Memetic Badass, had the details of his exploits expunged from the forums after...well. If you really want to know, ask Google.
    • The "most horrible/evil thing you've done" thread is another thread that's been nuked, for obvious reasons. See the Nightmare Fuel page for details.
    • And then there's the infamous "Goblin Fortress" mod and "Joinedspider" LP. It sounds every bit as innocuous as it wasn't. Again, if you really want to know, there's Google. It's not nearly so bad as Obok Meatgod, so, uh, there's that.
  • Memetic Badass: Captain Ironblood, Morul, Âsax the Monster-slaying Cave-swallow-man, and the Elf King of the Dwarves, Cacame Awemedinade (who's most notable for being considered the only elf that's loved by most of the fanbase).
    • Forum user Footkerchief certainly qualifies. His ability to find information you're looking for is so great that he's often referred to as the search function itself.
    • Derm Basementchucked the Walled Depression of Slaughter, Soulchopper, has a record 20 forgotten beast kills to his name, solo. Plus the goblin's armored Forgotten Beast leader.
      • Was alternate dimension tested against all of the legendary adamantine equipped military and won without a single scratch. Investigation proved that due to fanatical training, he had acquired a skill of 130 out of 15 (15 is legendary), much more powerful than either of the champions of Headshoots above. The fort leader is planning to see whether he can kill the clowns solo.
    • Vanod Openfires, naked, human, last of his kind, carrying only a copper spear. Dedicated to exploring every inch of the only dry land in the world, the monster-haunted island Elifa Adapi, and killing every single inhabitant. And then eating them, if possible.
  • Military Mashup Machine: Nazushdur Anrizgeshud Nom, one of the finest examples of Dwarvern hubris awesomeness.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: A loose example of this can be found in the reclaim of Battlefailed. The various poisons and dusts which permeated the Fortress of Old Battlefailed became the new fortress's best defense; while the poisons killed all of the dwarves livestock and any dwarves dumb enough to take off their shoes, it stopped countless barefooted Kobold invaders and about a dozen forgotten beasts.
  • Noodle Incident: For newer members to the Bay 12 Forums, the deleted Various Nonsense Subforum can be this. Most of the senior members of the community seem reluctant to talk about it, besides cryptic offhand notes involving Penguins and Inter Subforum Invasions. The infamous Obok Meatgod incident also counts, though a .txt of the original posts can be easily found in the Foundry, thus lessening its noodleishness a bit.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Ages of Emptiness and Death Experiment, in which every sentient being in the game world was killed... For Science!.
  • One Dwarf Army: In the LP Headshoots, a dwarf became so ridiculously powerful that when a band of kobolds arrived, said berserking dwarf waded through a pool of magma to reach them. And was completely unharmed. Sadly the kobolds fled before the dwarf in question could reach them, leaving her to console herself with single-handedly butchering a dragon. Also without being harmed.
  • Only Sane Man / Surrounded by Idiots: The usual character POV in a Let's Play.
  • Pointless Doomsday Device: Boatmurdered's infamous Project: Fuck The World, which exploited a "feature" of fluid handling to flood the aboveground with infinitely replenishing quantities of magma.
    • Headshoots' WEAPON, which even the creator doesn't fully understand. Its first activation set half the fortress on fire. Later upgraded to TRIBUTEWEAPON with even more catastrophic results. A fire sprinkler system using magma raining all over the map.
      • There was also a freezing-water-based one named WEAPON ICE FUCK, but that project was apparently abandoned once the player discovered the climate was too warm for it to work properly.
      • Headshoots also includes a drainage system specifically designed to drown nobles... and everyone else, if the wrong door is left open.
      • And a device to unleash all the cats in one go. The various succession players seemed to enjoy making these and forgetting to tell anyone about them. This of course is half the fun.
    I added two levers. One opens the magma. The other sets free all the cats.
    • The SparkGear series of succession forts, now in its 6th incarnation, also seem fond of this.
      • Oddly enough, inverted in one SparkGear: The overground fortress/town had a large complex that would cause random explosions, killed a few dwarves in its construction, and had to be micromanaged just to keep it from flooding the place with magma - while it was idling, not to mention in use. Its purpose was to provide water on a glacier.
    • Syrupleaf, quite oddly, seems to lack a suitable one of these. MOLENAROK comes the closest, unleashing 60 or so giant Moledogs to tear apart invaders like a feral wolf pack. It hasn't been used very successfully, though. GLACIERASER had potential for this, and would have possibly melted the entire south pole had it worked, but failed to. Even now, the goons clamor for a suitably apocalyptic superweapon for Syrupleaf.
    • Battlefailed had FAILCANNON, a device intended to sluice anything that came near the front gates with water, and lived up to its name by spectacularly failing to drown the many goblin invaders that besieged the fortress, succeeding due to a mechanical failure only in drenching a couple of elk. The final administrator attempted to create a similar weapon for the deployment of magma, which he named FAILCANNON PRIME, but the fortress was torn apart by a Forgotten Beast before he was able to complete it.
      • Against all odds (more likely, because of them) Battle Failed has been reclaimed. FAILCANNON LIVES!!!
      • To quote from the forums "FAILCANNON will be able to shoot both hot and cold running fail."
    • A fortress dedicated entirely to pointless doomsday devices.
  • Schizo Tech: The Dwarf Fortress community can put fortresses far beyond Medieval Stasis.
  • The Spartan Way: Dwarven "Child Care": "it's like regular childcare, except with more dogs, and less care."
  • Take That: From the Dwarf Fortress Talk #15 mini podcast (transcript here):
    Toady One: It's really hard to say what an ETA is on this thing, but we're basically just going now until it's fun enough to release. It's certainly not now, I mean, if you go down into a dungeon they're very barren.
    Capntastic: Like Oblivion!
  • Taking You with Me: Many times, fortresses that are invaded and have no chance of survival will send a miner to intentionally release the HFS out of sheer spite, which will kill the fort entirely but will also slaughter all the invaders.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Fun" and "Unfortunate accident."
  • Would Hurt a Child: Besides the aforementioned "day care" some people don't even see dwarf children as worth having around and actively try to kill them all.
    • Dwarf children take 12 whole game years to grow up and start work while drinking your fortress' booze the whole time.
      • Add the fact that they won't have any skills unless they have a Strange Mood or are put into "day care".
    • And then there's Obok Meatgod. Dear Lord, he is evil, even by Dwarf Fortress standards.

Strike the earth!