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Lets Play / Waterburned

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This is a masterwork evil gloom. It is encrusted with One-Hit Kill and menaces with Spikes of Doom.

"Heaven sought to destroy us with toxic fumes. Heaven failed.
Hell sought to destroy us with an endless horde of abominations. Hell failed.
This is Waterburned. And Death Himself is afraid of us."

The year is 251. The dwarven civilization of the Massive Room has launched several expeditions to distant corners of the globe in search of wealth and amusing stories of death, because that is simply what dwarven civilizations do. One of those groups ended up in... this place. Either they got lost, or they really pissed off their guide.

The primary feature of the landscape is the weather pattern dubbed the "evil gloom", a mass of fog that passes over the landscape and induces profuse bleeding followed by death in anything unfortunate enough to get caught up in it. Flocks of giant insects flit across the landscape, and two ocean inlets beat against their narrow shores.

Anyone with an ounce of sense would keep going; dwarves are not known for being sensible. They leapt out of the wagons and burrowed into the earth below, naming the resulting (literal) hole in the ground "Waterburned".


Then the overseers came, and the world was never the same again.

In short: The TV Tropes Dwarf Fortress Succession Game, found here. The game has been concluded; however, the saga continues in the fortress of Beigeknife.

Provides examples of:

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Rotpar IV becomes overlord of Waterburned at age three.
  • Alcohol Hic/Drowning My Sorrows/I Need a Freaking Drink: Dorku didn't take the mass deaths and resultant tantrumfest at all well.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Dorku, who lives in a fort that has invaded Hell, refuses to believe in ghosts and walls a guy up to prove it.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Let’s see. Over the night, Bembul got so fed up with waiting that he started dragging himself up the stairs. Edwards Grizzly threw a very brief tantrum. Yet another child carked it. Gloom rolled over us without killing anyone. I still have no pants."
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  • Badass Army: The Waterburned Militia. Who the hell do they think we are?!
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Waterburned Militia charging into Hell in time to save Adil Aristcatten from a gruesome death at the hands of a giant three-eyed demonic coati.
    • Ultimatepheer has pulled this often enough that it's now his job title.
  • Black Comedy: Exhibited throughout, but especially Dorku's turns.
  • Blasphemous Boast: "We currently have enough metal to build a new god, and enough trade goods to bribe the existing ones to give it life."
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "Bizarre things are everywhere. We have an entire sealed-off staircase that is full of water. Well, water and a corpse. But mainly water." Also, grey langurs are described as "mug-stealing tantrum-inducing child-murdering monkey beasts" following the death of Ultimatepheer's son.
  • Breather Episode: Dorku's first turn contained exactly one tantrum and only a handful of deaths. (This is by contrast to his second, in which Hell got a second wind.)
    • It's rather telling that "only a handful of deaths" is counted as Breather.
  • Buffy Speak: Dorku. Alcohol. Cue a rambling rant about how much living in Waterburned sucks, dotted with comments on how humans die at the slightest prov...prov...incon...stuff. Only more slurred.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The third overseer, who believes dwarven culture is run by demon-tainted ducks, quotes nonsense from his equally unhinged mentor, believes a random child to be the reincarnation of said mentor, and speculates on the genius-enhancing nature of honeybee venom, but is also a legendary carpenter.
  • The Caligula: Virtually everyone.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Rotpar's turn, featuring an enormous gloomdeath, the overseer going crazy, demons, and Neon Genesis Evangelion references.
  • The Chosen One: Rotpar IV, supposedly.
  • Cluster K Bomb: one of Dorku's updates, while Hell was getting payback, used the word "krutz" 83 times. The update in question only spanned one month.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Two - Tuefel's first dwarven alter ego only sustained a mild bruise while pickaxing a wild troll to death, and the elite dwarven military went through a tribe of olm-men like a +steel battleaxe+ through butter.
  • Death World: Not as bad as most evil biomes, but the area around Waterburned tends to produce blood-red clouds that kill on contact.
  • Deal with the Devil: Revealed to be how Dorku got out of Waterburned.
  • Defensive Feint Trap: A boy named Minkot Unalunib runs up to an elk bird and decks it, then leads the enraged bird into a corridor of traps. He becomes known as the Slayer of Birds.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? —> Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu
  • Difficulty Spike: fishsicles' turn was spent ballsing about with an aquifer and building a massive amount of water wheels, with the evil glooms as just a side note. Tuefel Hunden IV's turn featured the death of several dwarves to glooms (including one that spawned right on the entrance), followed by a tantrum spiral.
    • Rotpar's turn, forever remembered as when the circus came to town, and fishsicles' second turn, when the town fought back.
      • And then Dorku's second, when the circus fought back and killed about half the military before Hell was simply declared off-limits and walled up.
  • Disorganized Outline Speech: "One, I like wood; B, it’ll give us an indoor reserve at the cost of spending a staggering amount of time outside hoping we don’t get murdered by these psychopathic glooms that keep popping up. And four, I like wood."
  • Drowning Pit: The entire fortress becomes one. The levels above the aquifer aren't sealed but can't be reached due to the flood waters coming down the stairs.
  • Due to the Dead: Defied, Rotpar IV declares that anybody who dies was a faithless sinner and forbids their burial or memorializing. This leads to a squadron of ghosts rising and eventually bites him in the ass.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Discussed and Defied by the Rotpars. Armok demands Fun and will destroy the world if he doesn't get it. They lead Waterburned into Hell in hopes that Armok would be appeased by the fortress' devastation.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Armok itself.
  • Eternal Recurrence: The epilogue. Many years later, a group of familiar-seeming dwarven settlers arrive to tame the unknown wilderness. They excavate the ancient ruins and will be Waterburned once again, as it was and always will be.
  • Epic Fail:
    • The military's first engagement resulted in total defeat... by kobolds.
    • A misplaced channel made the drowning trap flood the fortress.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Tuefel's first turns of both Waterburned and Beigeknife told the world rather more about those forts than anyone really wanted to know. Tantrum spirals, psychotic overlords, murderous paranoia and going insane.
  • Evil Counterpart: Rotpar was killed on an early turn but the save was lost and the turn replayed. She survived this time but a second Rotpar was accidentally re-dorfed. Rotpar became Rotpar II's Evil Counterpart, the insane evil one who had died in the alt-universe turn.
  • Faux Horrific: Langurs, anyone?
  • For Science!: Dorku's experiments with the evil gloom (does a cage protect you? Yes, as it happens) and with Project WRAITH (do ghosts exist? Yep they do and the project did produce one.).
  • Fun with Acronyms: Pretty much standard for a Dwarf Fortress succession game.
    • Unending Rotationary Aquifer-supplied Interior Urist-producing Mechanism (URANIUM)
    • Projected Assailant Repulsion Technology with Inherent Crushing Legionary Engine, Automated Cruelty Calibrator, Extended Levitation Eliminator, and Rapid Attacker-Termination Optimised Rocks and Spikes (PARTICLE ACCELERATORS)
    • Dwarf-Engineered Subterranean Transportation Infrastructure Now Available to Transport Items, Ore, and Nobles (DESTINATION)
    • Circular Automated Revolving Operation for Unifying Science in Elliptical Loops (CAROUSEL)
    • Aquatic Collection-Redistribution Ocean Network "Y Model" (ACRONUM, because an illiterate dwarf mislabeled it)
    • Tgh'sa! Emgh rny'l Mwaft! Ia! Nthi'va Armok Lgui! Dnah o'klr grul Mrifk Armok! (TERMINAL DOGMA)
    • Thread-only (at least for now): Narrowly Aimed Projectile of Accelerated Lava or Magma (NAPALM)
    • Stupid Lucifer-Allied Yokels Eat Revenge (SLAYER), the ultimately sort of successful plan to invade the so-called "Hellmouth".
    • Dwarven Opportunity to Win Notoriety and Unseat Nasty Demons, with Extra Revenge (DOWN UNDER), the hell colonization plan that Operation SLAYER was a major component of.
    • Aquatic Torrent Hell Entry-Nullification Annihilator (ATHENA)
    • Project Wight Research and Auditory Investigation of Tomb Haunting (WRAITH), a gratuitously evil plan to "disprove" the existence of ghosts by walling up some guy and starving him to death.
    • Then, with 20% more Running Gag, there's the Crushing Ultimate Retribution System with Engineered Ruthlessness, Optimal Termination Protocol, Annihilating Righteous Systemic Neutralization Artifice, and Moron Eliminator (CURSEROTPARSNAME).
    • Compressive Rubbish Unmaker to Shatter Hopeless or Evil Refuse (CRUSHER)
  • Glass Cannon: The slush demons. One killed five dwarfs, only to be instantly decapitated by a kick from ultimatepheer.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Tuefel V made it out of Waterburned, only to lose his mind to a strange mood and change his name to Mr Fwible.
  • Hallucinations: Dorku's strange mood, which opened with insane paranoia and culminated in full-blown crazy encrusted with ghosts and menacing with spikes of crack.
  • Handicapped Badass: No less than three of Waterburned's military have lost at least one hand without becoming less awesome. Several of them staunched the bleeding midfight.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: fishsicles II and Rotpar II, to unseal Hell before Operation SLAYER.
    • Senseless Sacrifice: ...leading to some pretty ferocious casualty rates before the whole operation was cancelled and Hell sealed off again.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Rotpars, arguably. The only reason they ran the fortress into the ground was to appease Armok, but nobody else knows about this, so it is assumed they did it for the main reason any overseer does anything. See also Running Gag.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Rotpar IV is beaten to death by the ghost of Etur Orrunoslan, after forbidding burials for the dead and causing them to raise as ghosts in the first plce.
  • Hollywood Tactics: When left to their own devices, the Waterburned Militia tend to operate on a policy of charging toward the target and attacking it. Even if it brought several friends. Even if the soldier in question only has one hand.
  • Hypocritical Humour: When the next strange mood after Dorku's had a child rambling about werewolf conspiracies, Dorku considered him a nutcase...bear in mind that his own strange mood involved concluding that a frog was an elven spy.
  • In the Style of...: Rotpar's final turn is written differently per the narrator.
    • The gospels of the children following Rotpar IV, write in the style of The Bible.
    • The ghosts whispering to Dorku speak in the style of the Buzzing.
    • The epilogue journal is written in the style of House of Leaves.
  • Intoxication Ensues: A diplomat visiting the mayor while said mayor was lying strung out on painkillers in a hospital bed.
    Mayor: Are you a horse?
    • Shortly afterwards, Dorku cured his depression with strawberry wine, leading to lines like "I'll be the besht queen of the woodpeckersh ever!"
  • I Pulled a "Weird Al": "Pulling a Rotpar" is synonymous with "ruining everything".
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Lizard tallow biscuits do, apparently. Shortly followed by biscuits that tasted like wombat and feet.
  • Kick the Dog: All the players. Most of the thread's discussion is centred on the fact that there is nothing horrible happening to the fort, and how to create a crisis amusing enough to make the game interesting.
    • Pet the Dog: Player!Rotpar is the one who finally does create the crisis (namely, he breaches hell), which results in the death of most of the adult population of the fortress. Of course, the players all leap to the defense of their alcoholic minions. This is what led to Operation SLAYER.
    • Back to kicking with Dorku walling a guy up to disprove the existence of ghosts...a task doomed to failure.
  • Kill 'Em All: Aside from Count Dorku, every last dwarf in Waterburned dies.
  • Legacy Character: Anyone who's been dorfed except Dorku, wikkit, and Noaqiyeum.
  • Little Miss Badass: Urist Nishsodel, the daughter of a militia Spearmaster. She followed her mother into the Danger Room, but not only did she survive, she managed to train her armour user, dodger, and fighter skills to a decent level, befriending most of Waterburned's Badass Army in the process. Sadly, she ended up going insane after her mother's death not long after Operation SLAYER.
  • Locked in a Freezer: A number of the surviving children are able to lock themselves into rooms and avoid drowning. Unfortunately, all but one are completely cut off from escape, food, or drink. Eventually, one child snaps, opens the door, and drowns his gang of survivors.
  • Meaningful Name: There is definitely water, and this being Dwarf Fortress it is just a matter of time before the burning starts.
  • The Millstone: One Running Gag is that everything that's gone wrong is Rotpar's fault. Hence the page quote.
  • Mood Whiplash: Going straight from triumph to despair is an old dwarven tradition. There's also one whiplash from "crazy paranoid hallucinations" to "mundane task".
  • Oh, Crap!: Count Dorku's letter to Tuefel; warning him about the ACRONUM activating, a massive outdoor construction project, mining picks being made en mass, and an absurdly massive mining job involving hollowing out entire levels, all with no known overseer.
  • One-Hit Kill: The clouds of evil gloom.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The fortress's one ghost just hangs around and attract tourists. After Rotpar IV creates an army of them they rampage around. The final chapter is their Hive Mind telling Count Dorku what happened while he was in his bunker.
  • Paint the Town Red: There is a lot of blood in this fort. Grizzly's promised to clean up the town.
  • Pet the Dog: Dorku, an unhinged lunatic who stuffs sentient creatures into cages to !!experiment!! with the fog and who would eventually wall a guy up alive to "prove" that there was no such thing as ghosts, closing his reign by giving the grieving Adil Aristcatten a cage containing his favourite creature, a turkey. Of course, this was partially pragmatic in that Adil is an experienced enough warrior that he could probably go through half the fort single-handedly if he went berserk.
  • Precision F-Strike: Dorku, having used "Krutz" pretty much exclusively, drops an F-bomb when more three-eyed demons turn up.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The hell invasion plan has, directly or indirectly, cost more than 100 lives and broken the back of the Waterburned Militia. As a result, Hell has been declared off-limits and walled shut. May even qualify as Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu.
  • Redemption Equals Death: the Rotpars responsible for ripping open Hell ended up giving their lives to drive it back and hold the demons off long enough to seal it off, respectively.
  • Running Gag:
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Discussed when a tantruming child is killed by a giant toad.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Dorku and Tuefel V are trying to tunnel their way out. According to Beigeknife, they succeeded.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Hell has been returned to this state following the deaths of a surprising number of dwarves at the hand of a demonic earwig.
  • Shoot the Dog: Dorku sealed a child in Hell when the walls went up, in order to preserve the rest of the fort.
  • Shout-Out: Rotpar's first turn has many to Neon Genesis Evangelion, while fishsicles' second goes the other direction. The game itself gets into it at the end of that turn and a child's fell mood creates an adamantine artifact flute Drillcrusher, engraved with images of itself like a never ending spiral. Various other points have included references to everything from "Stop Meeting the Heavy", to Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
  • Show Within a Show: Axedwarf: the Animated Series.
  • Sinister Minister: Rotpar IV, the Chosen One and Prophet of Armok.
  • Spikes of Doom: There are a lot of spikes, ranging from weapon traps crammed with pointy wooden things to the entire bottom floor of the PARTICLE ACCELERATORS.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Anyone who wanders into the danger room without a suit of armour, except for Urist Nishsodel.
    • A legendary miner, who decided to take a smoko in Hell.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Krutz", taken from Nodwick.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Evil glooms, blood-red murderclouds that slaughter whatever they touch almost instantly, are more or less a monthly occurrence at Waterburned.
    • The typical response to a corpse is generally along the lines of "meh".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Waterburned was made the capital and the king and entourage where en route. So why did they never arrive?
  • Whole Plot Reference: Completely by accident, Rotpar's turn is essentially The Cabin in the Woods. Somebody with power is arranging for gruesome but entertaining sacrifices to appease an evil, mad god and prevent the end of the world
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: fishsicles' conquest of hell was swift and deadly, but not particularly concerned with long-term implications. Dorku was left to "put out the krutzing fires", eventually just sealing it off when an earwig monster kicks down the door. Dwarves are not particularly good at peace.


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