I hope this letter may find you well... and preferably still at home. Please, do not, under any circumstances, travel to Frogtrampled now. I know I've spend the last few letters describing its beauty and trying to convince you to come. Those days are gone. It used to be a splendid place indeed, what with the boozefall and stuff, but you wouldn't like it now. Trust me. Its halls are empty, its engravings stripped of gems, its artifacts stolen, it's inhabitants dead. Eaten.
Except the seven of us. We're fleeing. Somewhere far, far away. Somewhere where it'll be safe. Somewhere where the forest beasts don't find us. Somewhere where we can hide from fear, in peace and harmony, living out our dreams.
I've already written about our dream, haven't I? I mean mine and Leperfish's? About the splendid Great Hall, several floors tall, with tall pillars, magnificent statues, windows made of the rarest gems, magma floor heating? It would be the best place to live – you could come and live with us too! And you know what? We still can do it. Yes, we've lost everything, but we will begin anew and this time it'll be grandiose. We've got a team of the best professionals and we'll do it. We'll build the Great Hall.
And I will be the Architect.
Markus Cz. Orbsand
Welcome to Let's Play Dwarf Fortress: Gemclod.
What is Dwarf Fortress?
Dwarf Fortress is a freeware game that attempts to simulate a fantasy world full of adventure, perils, and dwarves. It has a couple of distinct game modes but we'll be playing Fortress Mode in which you take care of seven dwarven settlers and attempt to build a fortress while surviving against goblins, demons, magma, carp and general stupidity. It's essentially like The Settlers, only with more blood, vomit and flying bodyparts.
The game is notorious for its horrible learning curve, retarded interface, ability to grind even the newest computers to a halt, and – for some reason nobody really understands – being fun. Most of the fun comes from these two facts: (1) it relies heavily on procedural generation. Nothing is scripted in advance. The world you play in and all the events that happen are procedurally generated, and the different nations, wars, characters, gods, demons, landscapes etc. interact with the player with sometimes unpredictable results. And (2): tons of useless but fun features like weather, temperature, water flow, personalities for every dwarf, descriptions for every art object, demons posing as human diplomats, etc.
You can get the game here.
What is Gemclod?
Gemclod is the name of our dwarven fortress and also the name of this Let's Play. I dare say it is quite an unique LP, in the sense that it hasn't been written by a single person, not even by two or three people. Instead, Gemclod is the collective effort of dozens of contributors who have over the course of several months created a thrilling story rich in detail.
The game has been played by 13 people in turn - these "overseers" played one in-game year each, wrote their experiences with the game as a story divided into several "updates", and then passed the game to the next "overseer". Thus, an interesting and unpredictable story has been created which couldn't have been written by a single person.
But the collaboration doesn't end here. All of the dwarves in Gemclod - of which there have been a couple of hundreds - have been named after readers of the Let's Play. Some of these readers wrote "journals" from the point of view of their dwarves, retelling the events from the "official" updates or adding personal storylines to the overarching narrative. Others have drawn or painted pictures of the in-game events. Yet others have composed, sung and recorded songs about Gemclod.
All in all, Gemclod has about 250 "overseer" updates, about the same number of fan-made journals and pictures, and 19 pieces of music. It is indeed an epic! We all hope you will enjoy it as much as we've enjoyed making it.
How to read this LP?
First: this is a gigantic LP. Do not try to read it in a single afternoon – it's probably physically impossible, and you would only rush it and ruin the fun. Instead, approach it as you would a novel. Read slowly, look at all the images and notice the details – they are worth it! Gemclod has several great characters that will slowly develop over the course of the whole LP. Pay attention to their stories and you'll be rewarded.
Unfortunately, there is a huge amount of text and I know some readers will want to read "only the important bits", skipping additional colour or "minor storylines". I've tried to arrange the archive in such a way so that you can easily choose how much you want to read.
Throughout the LP, I'm using the pager (the grey bar that says "Previous page"/"Next page") to divide the updates to three blocks each. See the illustration on the right. The first block, between the first and the second pager, is the "official" update, as written by the overseer. Anything below this block is bonus content made by readers of the LP. However, I strongly recommend not to skip the bonus content altogether because many of the most memorable moments of the LP have been told through the reader-made "journals". In fact, there are events and characters presented here that have later been accepted as "canon" and incorporated into future overseer updates. If you skipped all bonus content, the LP would probably make no sense. So I've taken the liberty to help you here:
The second block is my personal selection of "the best of" the reader-made content. I recommend everyone to read these. The selection is skewed towards just a handful of dominant characters who all had interesting personal stories (mostly the overseers' characters) - I'm sure you'll enjoy reading their journals.
The third and last block is the rest. Make no mistake: these are very often great and entertaining "journals". They just happen to be from the point of view of those characters who have played only minor roles in the overarching story, and thus can be omitted without fear of the story making no sense. If you want a "lite" version of this LP, skip this last block. If you want the full Gemclod experience, by all means, read these!
Enjoy your stay in the world of dwarves!
- the LP's founder and archiver
Table of Contents
Year 262, overseer Markus_cz:
- The Arrival
- Early Spring: Swamp, the Beautiful Swamp
- Mid-Spring: The Bloodsuckers, Part I
- Mid-Spring: The Bloodsuckers, Part II
- Late Spring: A Friend Lost
- Early Summer: So I Guess Those Weren't Really Dogs
- Mid-Summer: Unwelcome Guests
- Late Summer: Comatose Blues
- Early Autumn: Gangrenous Gatekeeper of Gemclod
- Mid-Autumn: Do You Like It?
- Late Autumn: War
- Early Winter: In CommaToes' Footsteps
- Mid to Late Winter: A Grand Opening
Year 263, overseer Leperflesh:
Year 264, overseer Vox Nihili:
- A Bit of History
- Granite 1st 264
- Granite 1st 264, Addendum
- (!Non canon- Did not happen!) Slade 15th 264
- (!Non canon- Did not happen!) Slade 15th 264 - Migrants
- (!Non canon- Did not happen!) Felsite 20th, 264
- (!Non canon- Did not happen!) Felsite 20th, 264 - Lost Ambush
- Slate 16th 264
- Slate 17th 264 - New Arrivals
- Felsite 19th 264
- Felsite 19th 264, cont.
- Galena 7th 264
- Sandstone 20th 264
- Sandstone 20th 264 - the Rosters for the New Guard
- Opal 15th 264
- Granite 1st, 265
- In Search of Gemclod I/III by Sirocco
- In Search of Gemclod II/III by Sirocco
- In Search of Gemclod III/III by Sirocco
Year 265, overseer Boing:
- 1st Granite, 265
- 2nd Granite, 265
- 1st Slate, 265
- 2nd Slate, 265
- 26th Slate, 265
- 1st Felsite
- 28th Felsite - The Fightbattle of Killing
- The Fightbattle of Killing, Part II
- The Fightbattle of Killing, Part III
- 1st Hematite, 265
- 21st Hematite, 265
- 1st Malachite, 265
- 15th Malachite, 265
- 1st Galena, 265
- 17th Galena, 265
- 20th Galena, 265
- 20th Galena, 265 - Addendum
- Enzer's Game
- 20th Galena - Dusk
- 21st Galena, 265
- 1st Limestone, 265
- 15th Limestone, 265
- 1st Sandstone, 265
- 1st Timber, 265
- 1st Moonstone, 265
- 18th Moonstone, 265
- 1st Opal, 265
- 1st Obsidian
- Final Entry
Year 266, overseer Bad Munki:
- 1st Granite, 266: "A Flaw in the Design"
- 1st Granite - 24th Granite, 266: "Project Boing"
- 25th Granite - 20th Slate, 266: "Migrant Workers"
- 21st Slate - 5th Felsite, 266: "Moodlighting"
- 6th Felsite - 18th Felsite, 266: "A Little Friendly Competition"
- 19th Felsite, 266: "Join the army, they said!"
- 19th Felsite, 266: "A Nasty Splinter"
- 19th Felsite - 10th Galena, 266: "Shortcutting the Detour"
- 10th Galena - 25th Galena, 266: "Which way did they go?"
- 26th Galena - 27th Galena: "Stacked Odds"
- 27th Galena: "Reinforcements Needed"
- 28th Galena - 11th Limestone, 266: "Back to Business"
- 11th Limestone, 266
- 11th Limestone - 17th Limestone, 266: "Dwarves Love War"
- 17th Limestone, 266: "A Child Goes Missing"
- 18th Limestone, 266: "Where is Boing?"
- 19th Limestone - 17th Sandstone, 266: "A Gift for Minty"
- 28th Galena, 266: "I Can See The Future"
- 29th Galena - 28 Limestone, 266: "Been There, Done That"
- 28th Limestone - 27th Sandstone, 266: "Minty Reclassified: Deadly Weapon"
- 28th Sandstone - 18th Timber, 266: "Did You Hear Something?"
- 18th Timber, 266: "Do you think they heard us?"
- 19th Timber - 28 Moonstone, 266: "Preparing For More"
- 28th Moonstone, 13th Opal, 266: "Preparing for the End"
- 13th Opal - 28th Obsidian, 266: "A Parting Gift"
Year 267, overseer Minty:
- 1st Granite 267, Early Spring: The Counsel of Will
- Granite 267, Early Spring: Building the Political Capitol
- 1st Slate 267, Mid Spring: Memorial
- Early Slate 267, Mid Spring: Asylum
- Late Slate 267, Mid Spring: Waning Loyalties
- 1st Felsite 267, Late Spring: Many Happy Returns
- Felsite 267, Late Spring: Curse all friends of nature!
- Early Hematite, 267, Early Summer: A King’s Ransom
- Mid Hematite, 267, Early Summer: The Unveiling
- Mid Hematite (Part II), 267, Early Summer: Armok rejoices
- This fucking month will never end: My Regards to the Proud Mule
- Late Hematite 267, Early Summer: Election time
- 1st Malachite 267, Mid Summer: A Rubber Stamp
- 4th Malachite 267, Mid Summer: Farewell, My Darlings
- Malachite 267, Mid Summer: Homeo-apathy
- 1st Galena 267, Late Summer: Because Every Dwarf Needs a Hoard
- 1st Limestone 267, Early Fall: Halfway There
- Limestone 267, Early Fall: A Diplomatic Faux Pas
- 1st Sandstone 267, Mid Fall: The Swampy Knoll
- Sandstone 267, Mid Fall: Brain Drain
- 1st Timber 267, Late Fall: Interrogating the Interrogator
- Timber 267, Late Fall: The Underestimating Ones
- 1st Moonstone 267, Early Winter
- Moonstone 267, Early Winter: Won‘t Somebody Think of the Children?
- 1st Opal 267, Mid Winter
- Opal 267, Mid Winter: Goatse.df
- 1st Obsidian 267, Late Winter: Ballots
- Obsidian 267, Late Winter: The Bejeweled Cloud Breaks
Year 268, overseer YeOldeButchere:
- 1st Granite 268: Counsel of Will
- 1st Granite 268
- 25th Granite 268
- 25th Slate 268
- 24th Felsite 268
- 26th Felsite 268
- 2nd Malachite 268
- Immigrants 2
- OUT OF MY FORGE BEFORE I THROW YOU IN THE MAGMA!
- 27th Malachite 268
- 20th Galena 268
- 21st Galena 268
- 20th Yeol 268
- 13th Sandstone 268
- 2nd Timber 268
- 14th Timber 268
- 15th Timber 268
- 24th Timber 268
- 8th Moonstone 268
- Operation Raise the Hell
- 20th Obsidian 268
Year 269, overseer Pozzo:
- Prelude: Kudust-fucking-Axematched What a Goddamn Hangover
- 1st Granite, 269: Mondul Help Me I Need A Drink
- 17th Granite, 269: Thieves! Damn Thieves!
- 29th Granite, 269: Why can’t I find a man
- DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH: Gemclod Personals
- 30th Granite, 269: Why is this child naked
- 5th Slate, 269: HAWAAAARGARGH
- 14th Slate, 269: I immediately regret that decision
- 25th Slate, 269: That’s awfully fucking drastic don’t you think
- 13th Felsite, 269: You Goddamn Idiots
- 15th Hematite, 269: You’re as bad as the doctors
- 2nd Malachite, 269: I do not feel like shepherding 150 vomiting sociopaths into a bath today
- 20th Malachite, 269: ALLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEE
- 5th Yeol(?!)Limestone, 269: Oh Kudust my goddamn brainpan
- 17th Timber, 269: Geri_khan, you don’t look so hot
- 2nd Moonstone, 269: Damn that is one vicious looking ankle
- 15th Obsidian, 269: You know what it’s obvious I need to drink more
Year 270, overseer Mr. Vile:
- 270 Prelude
- Update 2, 270
- Update 3, 270
- Update 4, 270
- Update 5, 270
- Update 6, 270
- Update 7, 270
- Update 8, 270
- Update 9, 270
Year 271, overseer Charlie72:
- Notice, 12-30-270
- From 1/1/271 to 2/19/271
- From 2/19/271 to 3/10/271
- From 3/10/271 to 3/26/271
- From 3/26/271 to 5/22/271
- From to 5/22/271 to 6/12/271
- Date unknown
- From 6/12/271 to 6/20/271
- From 6/20/271 to 7/19/271
- From 7/19/271 to 8/19/271
- From 8/19/271 to 9/27/271
- From 9/27/271 To 11/11/271
- From 11/11/271 to 1/1/272
- Historical Note
Year 272, first half, overseer Bene Elim:
- 1st Granite 272
- 1st Slate 272
- Slate/Felsite 272
- Felsite 272
- Hematite 272
- Malachite 272
- Early Galena 272
- Late Galena 272
Year 272, second half, overseer Daeren:
- Early Limestone 272
- Mid-Limestone 272
- Late Limestone 272
- Early Sandstone
- Late Sandstone
- "Holy shit what the fuck are those?"
- Early Timber 272
- Mid-Timber 272
- Late Timber 272
- Early Moonstone 272
- Late Moonstone 272
- Opal 272
- Obsidian 272
Year 273, overseer Jazzimus Prime:
- State of the Fortress
- 1st Granite 273
- 3rd Granite 273
- 4th Granite 273 - 12th Granite 273
- 13th Granite 273 - 18th Granite 273
- 19th Granite 273
- 20th Granite 273 - 21st Granite 273
- 22nd Granite 273 - 23rd Granite 273
- The Beast Arrives (I)
- The Beast Arrives (II)
- The Beast Arrives (III)
- With No Defense
- A Vengeful Venture (I)
- A Vengeful Venture (II)
- A Vengeful Venture (III)
- The Final Battle (I)
- The Final Battle (II)
- The Final Battle (III)
- The Final Battle (IV)
- Reclaim by King Penguin I/II
- Reclaim by King Penguin II/II
- Final Journals
- Many years in the future...
- Clash of the Underground Titans, Part 1: The Debate
- Clash of the Underground Titans, Part 2: The Beauty in the Beasts
- Clash of the Underground Titans, Part 3: Beast Wars
- Necrologue of Minty I/II
- Necrologue of Minty II/II
- Necrologue of AJ_Impy
- Necrologue of Markus_cz
- Necrologues of Obmeise and Astus (written by elves)
- Gemclod Adventures (the final save)
- The Adventures of Zasit Hardywall I
- The Adventures of Zasit Hardywall II
- The Adventures of Zasit Hardywall III
- The Adventures of Zasit Hardywall IV
- The Adventures of Zasit Hardywall V
- The Adventures of Zasit Hardywall VI
- The Adventures of Zasit Hardywall VII
- The Adventures of Zasit Hardywall VIII
- The Adventures of Zasit Hardywall IX
- How to counteract the demon induced FPS loss
- The Adventures of Sir Penguin I/III
- The Adventures of Sir Penguin II/III
- The Adventures of Sir Penguin III/III
- The Last Question by Urist McAsimov
- There will come Hot Magma, by Urist McBradbury
- Intro: Dwarf Fortress
- The Anthem of Gemclod
- Boss Theme
- Don't Hold All the World (Markus theme)
- You Crafty, Crafty Dwarf (Leperfish theme)
- Vox Nihili Mentitus (Vox Nihili theme)
- The Madness and Shock (Boing theme)
- It's Christmas Time in Gemclod (Bad Munki theme)
- Nobody Left But the Dead (Minty theme)
- Emperor of Us All (YeOldeButchere theme)
- Watch Out for That Spider (Pozzo theme)
- Where's Your Smile? (Mr. Vile theme)
- Charlie LXXII (Charlie 72 theme)
- Tree Killer (Bene Elim/Daeren theme)
- Let's All Get Killed and Eaten(Jazzimus Prime theme)
- An Eulogy to Enzer
- Elven Jig
- The Day the Heroes Died
- The Battlehymn of Gemclod
- *** All of this music packed for use in Soundsense ***