Dwarf Fortress Week: Sample Conversions

Today, Dwarf Fortress week continues with actual conversion examples; I’ll be providing two dwarves – one a generic NPC and the other a named figure from the history of the world I’ve been using this week – and a pair of the more popular traps found in forts.

First up, Cypher System conversions; we’ll begin with Urist McSoldier, a dwarf in the fortress military who helps keep threats to the settlement under control.

Urist McSoldier (Dwarf)

Level: 3 (9)

Motive: Defense of the fortress, desire for good drink and good food, material greed

Environment: Anywhere a dwarven outpost might be discovered

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 4 in melee; 2 crossbow shots for 2 damage each out to long range as an alternate attack

Armor: 3 (Quality iron armor)

Movement: Short

Modifications: Wrestling, melee combat with a specific type of weapon, and speed defense as a level 4; all social interactions involving bribery as a level 2

Combat: Given the chance, dwarves like Urist will close to melee and try to overpower any enemies as quickly as they can; they’re perfectly capable of functioning as a team, with some dwarves trying to wrestle foes to immobilize them for the blades and hammers of their fellows. If need be, they can fight from range, firing well-crafted bolts of metal from their crossbows to pin down enemies until they can be reached for melee combat.

Interaction: While soldiers are the first line of defense for a fortress, anyone who isn’t an obvious enemy of the fort can usually pass by unmolested, or even get information out of them for a modest bribe. Food and drink usually make excellent bribes.

Use: Dwarven soldiers are the first sign that one is approaching a dwarf settlement, as they patrol the perimeter of claimed land to keep opponents and dnagerous beasts from entering and harassing civilians.

Loot: A well-crafted suit of armor sized for a dwarf, a well-made iron melee weapon, and a well-made crossbow with a quiver of iron bolts are all reasonable loot to find on a dwarf soldier, along with a canteen full of liquor and some rations for when they get hungry on patrol.


Ezead Spokespear (Dwarf Leader)

Level: 5 (15)

Motive: Defeat of Ngordax, the Fiend of Bewildering; defense of dwarfkind

Environment: Any

Damage Inflicted: 5 (Adamantine Longsword)

Armor: 6 (Adamantine full plate armor)

Movement: Short; long if charging a single foe

Modifications: Level 7 for anything involving conflict with demons or goblins; Level 3 for any social interactions

Combat: Ezead Spokespear is the fearless vanguard and general of the legions of the Work of Emancipation, the sworn foes of Ngordax. A true master of the art of combat, he specializes in the use of his shining adamantine longsword to slice his foes apart; even demons made of rock and iron split beneath his furious blows. He opens any combat by charging the largest and deadliest-looking enemy he can see, focusing on them to try to demoralize his opponents by bringing it down before his troops can manage to catch up and engage. He relies on the durability of his armor of the mythical metal to keep him safe from harm more than his ability to dodge, and the thin lines of scratches and shallow dents attest to his many battles.

Interaction: Ezead is a single-minded individual, focused on the defeat of Ngordax and his goblin legions; as such attempts to talk to him tend to be somewhat limited in scope. Offer him aid in his mission, and he’ll be happy to talk to you and incorporate your aid in his plans; waste his time and he may get frustrated and try to kill you to get you out of his way.

Use: Ezead is best used when you’re preparing to introduce characters to either the Work of Emancipation or their foes; his single-minded focus can also be used as a GM intrusion when the players are trying to be stealthy, as he leads a squad of soldiers in an assault and throws the situation into turmoil.

Loot: If Ezead can be bested, his superior-quality adamantine longsword and armor can be taken from his body. Even as raw materials to be melted down and reforged this is quite a prize to be had.


Steel Corkscrew Trap

Level: 4 (12)

Damage inflicted: 6 (ignores up to 2 points of physical Armor)

These traps are often found in the entryways of dwarf fortresses, linked to pressure plates concealed beneath the worked stone of the passage. When hit, a massive steel corkscrew (or sometimes more, depending on the destructive intent of the trap) erupts through a slot carved into the decorative artwork of the floor. The trap tends to be preferred over simpler spear traps for the armor penetration it offers, as the spinning corkscrew can punch through light armor easily.

A trap can be bypassed with an appropriate check, or dismantled as a level 6 task, giving access to the mechanisms of the trap and the corkscrews themselves as loot. Given the high quality of most dwarf crafts, this isn’t something to sneeze at, but failing to dismantle the trap can accidentally set it off.


Magma Trap

Level: 7 (21)

These traps are among the deadliest dwarfkind has on offer, second only to the Obsidianization Trap. Whether triggered directly by a dwarf observer or by activation of a pressure-sensitive plate, the end result is the same: two massive stone gates – blast doors, for a lack of better phrasing – seal off the chamber the victims are in, while opening hatches in the roof for molten rock to pour in. Given that most creatures can’t tolerate the incredible temperatures involved, this is often the final line of defense for most forts. Some active forts expecting an ambush will put sacrificial animals into the trap to lure in their bloodthirsty foes more readily. After the room fills, more hatches open in the floor and the magma is drained out again, leaving the room burned clean.

While the trap can be bypassed with a skill check, disabling it completely (a mere level 5 check) often results in this particular trap becoming ‘half-sprung’ – the blast doors are left open, but so are both the ceiling and floor hatches, resulting in perpetual magmafalls.



Dwarf Fortress Week: Sample Conversions

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