I really like Dwarf Fortress, and I just don’t play more of it because the game wrecks my schedule.
It sucks you in, making you plan for the next step. God knows how much time I spent putting silver tiles and pillars on a dining hall, and arranging my turkey farms while goblins got shredded by glass-spiked-ball traps.
But there’s a thriving community playing it, and you can harvest the playthroughs for ideas. Personally I’d recommend Kruggsmash’s channel on YouTube: https://youtu.be/98CnBDoyS5I.
Thus, I convinced my players to start an all-dwarf campaign based on DF, and using a mix of monsters from DF and “Out of the Pit”.
We would be using Shatter6, and each player would choose skills listed in the DF Game. We had a herbalist marksdwarf, a brewer marksdwarf, a tactician macedwarf and a tracker swordsdwarf.
They started on a flooded fortress, something common in DF when players try to introduce waterworks for several reasons. The farms were taken by a dwarf Werecrocodile, and the remaining peasants were starving.
The Fortress Overlord, a thinly veiled attempt of introducing myself in the game as the DM/Quest Giver, gave them the option of trying to stop the water from flowing in, dealing with the werecrocodile or leaving the fortress to seek help. They chose going to the flooded part of the fortress, meeting desperate locals in the way, who claimed their relatives were trapped, but alive, in the lower tunnels.
Near the flooded stairwell the group met some fishmen that were fleeing from an unknown threat below, and almost suffocating themselves out of the water in the process, but they could not figure out that these budget Gill-Man were able to stop the flowing water with the right incentive.
As they took their sweet time to decide what to do, I perused the monster list from Dwarf Fortress and decided to surprise them with a non-suffocating creature: a Ruby Golem.
Although insanely tough, the dwarfs made short work of him, and informed the Fortress Overlord that the flooding could not be stopped, and they should leave the fortress.In order to gather some supplies they rose to the farm level, but were ambushed by kobold thieves.
The ambush didn’t bother them much, but it drew the Dwarf Werecroc, who backed them into a living quarter and almost killed one of the group – I was getting the hang of combat using Shatter6, and penalized players who weren’t clever in the description of their actions.
With the Werecroc gone, the remaining peasants gathered foodstuffs and tools, and assembled a caravan. The Overlord was found dead, murdered by an unkown enemy (a Dwarf Vampire! But it would only matter in the future).
Scouting outside, they were met with a barren wasteland and at least two other fortresses to go to: the Mountain Home of their civilization, and another newly created fortress.
They decided upon going to the mountainhome, and before the peasants could be assembled, the group had to deal with Vulture-Men, ninja kobolds and furry marmots, which proved to be delicious – rendered marmot fat (tallow) was added to their inventories.
The group made of 7 peasants and the four heroes travelled north, through wooded areas and highland peat swamps, with their large cart and a couple of bisons.In the first days nothing bothered them, except for a robed figure accompanied by six large humanoids, which stayed faraway on the edge of the horizon.
Unknown to them, it was a Necromancer with six zombies, but he decided not to close in for the kill against such a formidable group.
Travelling to the Mountain Home of their civilization, a place they had never seen in person, they came across a heavily wooded area, with lots of bamboo. Just as they drove the animals through narrow tracks, an ape-like humanoid came into sight.
The shabby creature had green fur that resembled weeds, and a friendly face. It could communicate using simple words and concepts, signaling that the group could rest in the middle of a bamboo grove. The creature also carried an infant of her species, a tiny green monkey with lustrous red eyes.
The brewsdwarf thanked the information and gave a little bit of beer in return, which the creature merrily drank.
During the night the appointed watchdwarf botched his rolls, and completely failed to protect the group from the horrors of the land.
The dwarf mother woke screaming, looking for her baby, but they could only find the tiny grassy monkey that was harmlessly rummaging through their foodstock.
Not knowing what had happened, the brewsdwarf took the savage infant in his arms, which clinged to his beard for safety. The rest of the group found tracks leading deeper into the bamboo grove, to a stagnant pond thick with swamp weeds
Lying face down in a shallow puddle, the dwarf baby seemed inert. One of the dwarves approached it and lifted the tiny corpse, whose face and brain had been eaten.
The horror! The outrage! The same dwarf who had botched his roll while guarding the camp, made another try to figure out if the culprit was nearby, and rolled so high that I just pointed out that high on the bamboos he saw something.
It was the friendly shaggy monkey, with a face splattered with gore and dwarf baby parts. Unbeknownst to them, it was a Champaque, a classic AFF monster.
The combat didn’t take very long, and the only surprise was that the Champaque baby, which had been snuggling the brewsdwarf beard, clawed his way out, gouging one of his eyes before being stomped to death. Infant death toll: 2.
The evening had gone to hell, and they spent the rest of the night hating themselves, digging a tiny grave and carving a tombstone.