This was very early on in the fort's life. The Dwarves had finished constructing the ground floor (it was as easy as letting them swarm the designations), but immediately above everything had to be designated in such a way that when 50 or more masons tried building at the same time, they didn't wall each other inside/leave tiles unbuildable without reconstruction.
Here you can see towers in various stages of construction, up top the ground level hasn't even been secured yet, on the right you can see newly constructed towers with only the scaffolding finished (I always try building the scaffolding into the actual structure to save time), one tower nearly having a complete roof and on the left there you can see some towers nearly finished in construction.
Everything is built as unplanned as possible - which can sometimes make it difficult when adding new things (and require brainhurt levels of planning - like removing the ramps to the ditch required)
Oh and on the far left you can see the moose pit back when it still served as an execution tower and undead storage facility, resplendent with fortifications and doors.
Oh so many doors.
I really like doors.
This is the signature of Silentthunders, besides maybe were-civets and endless bureaucracy. Behind every fortification there is a door.
The Dwarves all travel on the passage 1zlvl below the fortifications - and as a result, nothing except fliers ever see what's inside Silentthunders, and those get shot down pretty quickly too. The only other way you can see inside is by making it past the courtyard and the Dwarven army gathered there, or look up and see a door open, only for a Dwarf to look down at you crossbow in hand.
You can't make it out, but not all of those walls are fortifications. Each wall adjoining one of the doors in the towers is a solid wall, the rest are fortifications. This is inspired from arrow slits in medieval castles, which essentially give crossbow Dwarves a 130* (roughly) firing arc from the tower diagonal faces and a 270* firing arc from the horizontal/vertical faces, whilst also providing the smallest possible target for enemy archers to fire at.
However arrow slits did not have cover. If a Dwarf for whatever reason steps away, the door will of course close and stop enemy missiles from reaching the Dwarves within, and if the corridors are too dangerous to traverse the lower levels can be used to safely resupply/reposition. Not only that, but it also breaks line of sight allowing Dwarves to actually restock on ammunition instead of charging into melee (not that they could, even if they tried).
Something even more fun is that if my marksdwarves somehow lost the ranged superiority (it'd be unlikely they were defeated, got a few elite marksdwarves - more likely they run out of steel bolts or something), the sheer amount of doors would nullify the enemy's ranged advantage, forcing them to have to split up to fight any Dwarves that failed to withdraw to the next level. And fight - very slowly, even with building destroyers. More on the defense levels later.
There's the scaffolding of the courtyard, with holes leading down to special parts on the dais below that gets bloody when it rains. The courtyard is 3zlvls high to give more of a sense of grandeur the Dwarves are known for, but in retrospect it makes things easier for hostile fliers, especially with the entry points. Alas, I will not plug the gaps in the ceiling, for the blood rain dripping through is too awesome.
This sums up just how painful it was for me to build everything, especially the citadel. Every, single, tile.
Far left, the Western gatehouse (controls the N/S passage), middle left the Southern Gatehouse (controls SE/SW passage), top right the Northern bridge (controls the NE/NW passage), bottom right the view of the Western Gatehouse on zlvl +1 and far right is the Western gatehouse on zlvl +2.
Of note is the hamstonetm
defense system showing in all of the bridge entrances and exits - when triggered the supports fail, causing a cave in of all of the walls. This generates a large 10x10 dust cloud from each hamstone pillar (the brilliant part being the Dwarves are protected by the DOOOOORS cover), scattering hostiles in a relatively non lethal manner, useful when zombies are about and you can't clear the corpses. Or maybe you want to scatter that siege that's encroaching on a caravan? Maybe just gut a bunch of corpses so you have a clear shot to that necro? Disperse offending archers?
Who cares! It's an explosive hamstone charge ON DEMAND!
*I assume non-lethal because I accidentally set one off on top of 4 civilians. This literally unfortunate accident knocked them all out flat, but no one was injured. I'm not sure what will happen if you set off 4 or more, near enclosed spaces like ditches/walls. Hint hint.
I suppose you could link them to pressure plates to make it automated, but these things can be very devastating in enclosed spaces or in sufficiently large number. I'm not a big fan of insta-gib traps, and this one is sufficiently destructive (and resource intensive-it takes a lot of scaffolding to make, kinda) whilst being all round interesting. I feel like it's very balanced, it has the pay off one might expect from an explosive. Oh and those slabs on top? Those are engraved memorials. Even in death one can serve Silentthunders well.
If you want to put the slabs of your dead on top btw, use stockpiles, don't build them. If you build them, after hamstone explosion they remain floating in the air with disturbing grace. Quite beautiful really, but undesirable for asethetics. Unless you want floating memorials that is.
In the event of an invasion where the gatehouses have been bypassed or a small force needs to be rallied (and not in the courtyard for various reasons), the brass palisade is the line of defense for such a thing.
And whenever a large force (i.e. the entire fort) needs to be rallied to go forth and smash some skulls in, the courtyard is the common rallying point, and usually the stage of battle too.
Left, the courtyard + Palisade on zlvl+1, right, the courtyard on ground level, under renovations.
As you can see the palisade is without doors, and for good reason. Let's take a closer look.
INDEED THERE ARE MORE HAMSTONES! These were actually the first hamstones constructed, and even then they're actually quite new. From the time of this post they haven't even finished linking all the supports, and you can still see the remains of the scaffolding so a test fire is not available yet. In the outer palisade they're basically your normal regular relatively non-lethal crowd dispersal hamstones. The ones on the inside of the Palisade... These hamstones are quite larger (an extra wall taller), a great deal more numerous and in a confined space. Roar in the above ground caverns.
Quick safety note: Do not build hamstones above anything other than a wall. They will otherwise wreck through the ground leaving a hole you'd much rather not have.
Chained in the front are also the resident guard humans. The only ones to have seen what's inside Silentthunders, other than Dwarves. The secrets must be preserved :|
*Note, whilst chained they do not attack anything. I am considering perching them atop pillars as sentries - there is one in particular, a bowman who would be useful in this manner. I wonder why the human caravans haven't returned with more guards ;(
In the courtyard+Palisade pic, you can see some bridges, standard lockdown bridges in case of serious OMFGWTFBBQ (never happened so far), and as with any good courtyard - once fighting their way inside, enemies are just greeted with more bolts and axes. Also a Kobold catcher being constructed in the courtyard. A bit redundant really, but it helps - especially with necromancers afoot.
The Palisade also has a bridge cover that can allow Dwarves trapped around the map to congregate around in the event of a siege whilst cutting trees/building or something via tunnels, but that's for later.
The limestone bridge is actually a weather cover stopping the humans there from falling asleep on the cage traps, but the cage traps are getting salvaged and the humans moved, so in all likelihood it's probably going to be turned into murder holes. Fun fun fun.
The chokepoint with the weapon trap is all crossbows, the room with the 5 levers in it (connected to the hamstones) leads to the citadel and the civilian hive, just in the far bottom right you can see the farm and that stockpile with all of the rock pots and wooden barrels is the original booze stockpile.
Considered on the same layer as the courtyard, marksdwarves patrol the outer wall shooting invaders and providing support to any skirmishes going on around the map.
That room with all the levers? HQ. It's in a very risky position in that if the courtyard were to fall, all of Silentthunders would be isolated and locked down.
This is my way of knowing my fort has reached the endgame, and to retreat to the next layer of defense.
The citadel and the civilian hive-those two irregular pseudo-hexagonal structures, they would fill to the brim with the last remnants of the Dwarves to defend. By this point all of the civilians would've taken shelter in the civilian hive, the grand hall or the booze stockpile, whilst the military Dwarves that couldn't make it to either fortress would lock the doors to their towers and ready their minds for death. Likewise this is the time the Dwarves that made it to the Palisade would sally forth to attack one last time together. If even this is not enough then there is one last solid layer.
See, I was of the belief that since such Fun often occurs within the abode of the legendary dining room, I thought to make it Fun indeed...
And this is just the ground level. There are two more zlvls above of fortifications, breweries and other such kitchen workshops some still under construction.
By this point the only goal is to inflict as much damage as possible to the enemy before falling. All of the Dwarves would remain in the upper levels of the kitchens (really nothing much than scaffolding and workshops so far so you're not missing much), whilst the picture shown is just the proof of the inefficiencies I put up with daily for the sake of being prepared. You know, for fortress asplosion.
If the Dwarves get to this point - even if they win, they're as good as crippled. So by this point S.T.001 apocalypse event is announced and the Dwarves pat themselves on the back, give each other their last flasks of booze and say goodbye. Because by this point the tide will have started rising, and I wasn't talking about liquids, no.
See for everything beneath the dining room is pure stockpiles. The underground barracks might hold out for longer but it'd fall all the same without Dwarves to defend it.
Silentthunders lies between the Axe of covers and The Coincidental Portals - it cannot be taken by any hostile organized force. Even if it means giving it to the corpses of those who sought to unmake it in life.