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Author Topic: The Hidden Fortress  (Read 8423 times)

hyperman500

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2015, 03:01:00 pm »

The second picture made me think of something, what if you didn't hide the fact that you had a fortress, but instead hid all you wealth, military, etc. You might still get snatchers and kobold thieves, but those could be helpful, e.g. goblinite.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2015, 04:24:36 pm »

OK, kinda-sorta necroing this, but whatever, it's relevant...

As for DF fortresses, I've always found it silly that the goblins & megabeasts magically know not only how many dwarves your fort contains, but how much wealth they've accumulated. It would make far more sense to have invaders only concern themselves with your fort's exports, and regard your fort's population as completely irrelevant--except when calculating your militia's probable ability to repulse attacks. Even better would be for invaders to be attracted to WHAT you're exporting (and/or obviously gathering): Forts with a visibly thriving agricultural industry should be highly appealing to goblins, who are presumably astoundingly bad about growing enough food to feed their innumberable mouths. Bronze collosi, on the other hand, wouldn't care about food at all, but they might have a similar hunger to absorb metal and increase their mass even further, so your metal-bars stockpile might draw them literally like a magnet. Etc.

Goblins don't eat.  That's totally a thing. 

I've always assumed that the real reason monsters and siegers are attracted to wealth is because it's the game's only way of guessing how far your fortress has progressed.  I'm okay with this.  I like a good reminder now and then that none of this is real.

Actually, it's more magical than you think.  Goblins and dragons don't path to your front door, they path to your dining hall (or other meeting place, the wagon spot by default,) as that is the assumed heart of your fortress.  They have instant knowledge of every pathway through your fortress without ever having seen them, but are vulnerable to traps unless a diplomat has seen them, in which case they are "known" and won't be triggered by that civilization.  Meaning, they know the layout of your labyrinth you dump goblin prisoners into instantly and instinctively, but they don't know about the cages on the front step every previous siege (with numerous survivors) ran into, and can't tell that the narrow corridor that is drenched floor, wall and ceiling with goblin blood, which has a suspicious set of slits along the walls, and which still has a goblin skeleton jammed in with a half-retraceted giant axe blade is actually full of weapon traps. 

Goblins seem to mostly attack because they hate you and enjoy killing things.  They're immortal, don't eat, and have little interest in social constructs like "being wealthy".  They're often led by demons who overtly want to conquer the land to corrupt it all into evil biomes of their own image. 

Bronze Colossi are based on Talos, which was a mythical robot that simply existed to destroy any ships that came near its island because it's a robot, and it doesn't question its programming.  Presumably, it only attacks larger settlements because it's only programmed to attack major settlements. 

Dragons, meanwhile, seem to just enjoy doing it because of a combination of jealousy and desire for wealth.  They think working for their greed is a sucker's game, and instead, they just wait for dwarves to mint a ton of wealth, then swoop in to kill and steal it all.  They'll roost in your fortress if they are victorious. 

That said, yes, a lot of this is a holdover from when DF was more "Gamey", and basically serve as a way for the game to increase challenge in an external threat sense as you progress through the game.  If you look at games like Gnomoria, (best described as "DF-lite",) this is pretty explicit, as goblins are spawned with equipment and ogres in direct proportion to your total fortress wealth.  Keeping fort wealth down while you train a military is critical game strategy, because reckless wealth creation spawns steel-armored veteran goblins and double-headed ogres while you're still only training recruits in copper.



To go back to the original topic, and tie it in with a recent suggestion that linked me to this one, I would very much like to see player-created towers as something of a landmark or even a tourist attraction.

The general problem is that of program blindness to human concepts:

Risk also not need come with reward to make it worthy of inclusion as challenge is it's own reward (the deepest depths), and it would be reasonable to expect a tall tower to be visible from range (ties to this suggestion). A tower should be fairly easy to detect and give the fort a reputation.

Quote
Capntastic:
DoctorZ asks; 'Will the game be smart enough to determine that the building is shaped - like a tower or a pyramid - will it award you points for style? His example is a room with a pillar in it engraved, would it bump the quality up if you have a high ceiling with paintings and stuff on it; would that be interesting for the game, will it be able to determine those details?'
Toady:
I'd like to further point out that DoctorZ said that 'I'd love you forever if you asked/answered this question' so I think that that means Capntastic right now is loved forever. I still have to do my part to be loved forever, so I've got to answer the question. So the idea with this is that there have been a number of topics where people are like 'I want my tower to be recognised as the tower of something' or 'I want my pyramid to be recognised as the pyramid of something'. That pretty much would have to be user defined; you define an area, you give it a name, and you make sure that that system can't be gamed too much as far as bonuses and so on. But when it comes to smaller things like what you're talking about, a central pillar and things like that, the game can start to pick those out on its own. I don't have a lot of specific plans, but it would be worth discussing. Right now the system picks out engravings isolated, it picks out floor detailing isolated, it picks out the room size and so on, so it goes really just step by step through every tile but things like a central pillar ... it knows where the centre of a room is, it knows that a pillar doesn't have anything else touching it, so doing things like locating a central pillar would be trivial, it's just a matter of building up a list of things that dwarves care about and different groups could like different things; that would certainly be an interesting direction to explore.
From DFTalk .

Toady's quote indicates the general problem, but if we assume that towers are always constructions, you could make some forms of reasonable machine extrapolation of player creations by simply counting the number of constructions above the "natural" z-level plane of a fort. 

That is, if you have 25 tiles of construction at an elevation 5zs above the designated surface level, as indicated by starting soil layers, then another 25 constructed tiles at an elevation 6zs up, 25 constructed tiles 7zs up, and so on with maybe 29 constructed tiles at 14zs up (balcony), then it would be reasonable to label it a "tower", regardless of how well the game can properly understand what it is the player is building or its intent.  A "pyramid" might be the same thing, but with 1 constructed tile at the top, 9 one z below, 25 one z below that, and 49 the next z down, etc.  (Provided it was within a certain horizontal distance, as well to make two different towers seen as two different towers... again, kind of tricky, but doable if you count something like support to see if any of the constructed tiles support one another without having to go through natural tiles, first.  Although whether it is counted as two towers in a single embark or not may be irrelevant for game purposes.)

By extension, open-air pits should be notable, as well, as measured by whether or not stone layers are considered "subterranean".  If the player excavates a whole chunk of embark down to the first cavern, that's notable as being a "pit". 

Giving players the option to arbitrarily declare a given random large contruction something other than a tower makes sense, as per Toady's comment, but the game would just be checking for the "unnaturalness" of how much you have terraformed the map before it considers letting you call something a tower or castle or great statue or whatever.

By extension, if players have the capacity to designate specific areas as part of a single large "complex" or whatever, such as with taverns, you could have the game recognize sufficiently large areas as being attractions if they are sufficiently different from their natural state.  (That is, dwarf-carved facilities where once was solid stone that span multiple rooms and z-levels, or conquering a portion of the caverns if you construct walls, and smooth stone.)  This could basically function just as a "Fortress Wealth" of just a sub-section of the fortress, with some sort of behavior change to prevent players from designating the whole darn thing.  If it's all designated tavern, for example, it might be open to wandering guests that might rob from your armory. 
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LordUbik

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #32 on: May 27, 2015, 05:05:37 am »

Well in the Silmarillon we have the example of the hidden elven city of Gondolin. It was founded in secret and kept secret for ages. So we could suppose that, if you want, you can select an option in the embark screen to "embark secretly" or something similar. Noone would know about you and you could capture or kill anyone and anythink could reveal your position.

But, why to do that? Here my ideas:

1- no invasions or trade whatsoever. Some player like to build his fortress without external menace or disturb. I find that boring but... de gustibus!

2- in the future, when the army arc will be done, you'll probably be able to send out you armies and raiding parties. This makes me think of a coulpe of outcomes as well:

2A- you use your spies to keep track of what is going on outside your fortress and send your army to help your civ (or attack your enemies) as a "surprise attack", like in the Silmarillon itself.

2B- you could raid nearby settlement while trying to stay hidden. That would be harder and harder the more raids you do, because of tracks etc...

So in the end, i think that this could be a great idea, but we would have to wait the army arc to use it at the highest potential.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2015, 10:48:08 am »

Well, I could think of two or three good reasons to keep a fortress secret...

1. You want to have a generational fort, with no contact with the outside world.  You purposefully seal off the aboveground entirely, and want no trade or sieges because nobody knows you're even there, and the game respects that in an RP sense, not an arbitrary raw-modded sense. 

2. For storytelling reasons, there would be good sense in making some expeditions secret. For example, in my current world, the south is dominated by two powerful elven empires, with one dwarven civ extinct, one human civ crippled and half-conquered, and one dwarven civ (mine) hemmed in.  I decided in head-cannon that my fort was being built on the far end of elven lands as an end-run to amass strength and garner allies to take on the elven menace.  (Basically, it's secret until I run into the elven scouting party, at which point, yay, open warfare with elves!  It just makes sense to have some reason for my fortress being in the middle of a forest I'm clear-cutting other than deliberately provoking a fight with elves that are more powerful than my own civ and can probably crush my mountainhome.)

3. For future gameplay purposes as things like the miltiary and caravan arc continue, there would be a further use in this, as you could hypothetically set up secret dwarven outposts in a chain that build roads between themselves, increasing the reach of your dwarven civ with each link, so long as the links are not broken. If you were trying to create a tunnel to the north and friendlier, more powerful human civs and access to other dwarven civs via long chain of cavern roads with fortress outpost resupply points, you would need to ensure the minor outposts were not attacked.  (This would basically be playing multiple forts, then retiring them while still secret.)
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Niddhoger

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2015, 08:14:16 am »

As I mentioned earlier... this would require more than a few overhauls of the game.  First off, we'd need start scenarios that allow for this.  The expedition must be assembled and depart in secret.  There cannot be yearly caravans (as they currently exist) and regular migrant waves.  Otherwise... someone will just tell an adventurer "oh yeah, my son went off on an expedition to found a fortress on the other side of the mountain range... yeah along the river, but not adjacent to it.  You know what? Next month a caravan/wave of migrants will depart for there, you can just follow them!" Just like that, everyone knows where your fort is.  Even if no one blabbed, heavy wagons with deep wagon ruts, the massive amount of bison excrement from the pack animals, and all the trampled vegetation left in the wagons wake cut a -very- easy to follow path to your "hidden" settlement.  Same thing goes for a band of 20 legendary cheese-mongers.  20 people leave a ton of foot prints unless they are properly trained to cover tracks.  Migrant waves would need to be smaller and include most dorfs having ranks in ambusher (stealth). 

An addition could be a "secret" underground tunnel dug from your capital/nearest major settlement directly to your "hidden" site.  Since its underground, both access and visibility are virtually non-existent.  You'd still need smaller waves drawn from multiple settlements though, as people might begin to wonder where half the town suddenly ran off too.  This would allow a small caravan to "smuggle" supplies in as well. 

The next overhaul is how to handle visibility.  As NW_Kohaku mentioned, as it stands enemies immediately know both where to find your fort and all its interior halls... so what is hte point of building a single-tile access tunnel in a dead-end valley behind some trees and bushes? The goblins immediately know about the site, your entrance, and the quickest path to your dining room.  If you open/raise bridges/build walls to block off hallways... they instantly know this and recalculate their quickest route.... They'll even immediately know if you have sealed off access to the "heart" of your fortress from the edge of your map.  So... how will this visibility be relayed? Will it be on a squad/army basis? Will a goblin go down a corridor and immediately mark it "dead end/trap zone" for the rest of his army, or will at least one need to escape and bump into another goblin to relay the info?  Will there be "visibility" checks where a goblin can pass by a door but not see it due to how well its hidden? What will be the limit on this? Currently observer caps out at 3 tiles away from a unit, so will legendary observers need to be within 3 tiles to spot a "hidden" door? Will the most clueless goblins be able to instantly recognize doors if they wander within a single tile of it like babies can do to skulking kobolds?

How will armies find your site? Will it check for nearby settlements, and if you are remote enough you can do w/e the fluck you please? Will you have options to eventually send out envoys to break your hidden nature? If you are nearby trade/army routes, will you have wandering adventurers (they often go looking for trouble in remote areas), scouts, and peddlers passing by oblivious to your fort? What if they see several felled trees and the footprints of your hunters, fishers,  and herbalists; will they report to their civilization of a possible fortress site? Can you realize your blunder and send out a squad to "silence" those scouts before they report their findings? How soon will fortress activity observations of passing merchants reach civilizations at war with you? Will you just get a human trader one season "oh hai thar! we didn't notice you there at first, neighbour! However, we did notice all the fallen trees and track marks in the woods- how rude of you not to say hi... anywho, lets trade!"  Then another couple seasons/years later those humans blab to an adventurer who blabs to his brother who blabs to the goblins.  BOOM goblin invasions start cuz you failed to keep your site a secret.  Will every fallen tree and step taken outside your fortress increase visibility? Will ambusher (stealth) skill reduce this visibility penalty? Can you hide constructed structures with shrubs? Will it be hidden from all directions, or can someone change their viewing angle and notice the wall behind the bush? If you build a giant tower/carve a balcony onto the side of a cliff, how far away will passing armies be able to see it? Can your dorfs block off a valley entrance with lose boulders and make it look like a natural avalanche?

Again, far too much will need revamping in the game for this to be properly.  At best, you'd need a start scenario that limited trade/migrant waves and kept your fort off the radar from other civilizations.  However, armies, caravans, and adventurers actually wander through the world now.  What happens when one enters your region tile? What if one stumbles through your local tile! (not uncommon if you settle near a lake/mountain/isthmus that armies must path around/through).  If you have done nothing on the surface but make a single-tile hallway underground, they probably won't notice unless they pass close enough.  They should also be suspicous of fallen trees.  The impact of the fall, the torn earth from a removed stump, and the drag marks from hauling the lumber away are all highly-visible. 

This will become much more interesting when we can begin interacting with nearby settlements.  You could then set up a hidden "guerrilla hideout" that would ambush and harass nearby armies, traders, and settlements from an enemy civ.  You could raid their farms.  You could kill their scouts.  You could discover wandering armies to ambush and flee from.  However... each action would increase awareness of your "hidden" fort.  Anyways... this is getting -way- ahead of what is currently planned for DF XD
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2015, 11:23:43 am »

Actually, if you are remote enough, you already won't get anything but dwarves finding your embark.  (Try embarking on an island - oddly, in spite of humans hypothetically having ships and having [BIOME_SUPPORT:OCEAN], not even they can reach you.)

The idea of goblins not having any sort of sight lines into your fortress, and having to literally explore via LOS on their scouts is a really interesting one, and would make player-made labyrinths much more fun.  There's already code for information to depart with a diplomat, so having code for a map of your fortress to be exported to goblins based upon goblin scouts shouting back layouts, and reporting back the layout if there are survivors would be a possible feature in the future.

Anyway, starting scenarios are already planned to be worked upon soon, and "secret fort" scenarios make as much sense as anything else.  Having a drastic cut in migrants and barring caravans (a couple dwarves with a couple donkeys, instead) for that scenario makes perfect sense, (until cover is blown,) as well.

Still, it's worth keeping in mind that the secrecy of the existence of your fort and the secrecy of your fort's layout are two totally different things. 
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Shonai_Dweller

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2015, 10:13:34 pm »

Siegers learning not to repeatedly throw themselves into the same trap filled corridors is on the development page for improved sieges. Hopefully it's only a small step in logic from learning where not to go, to having to learn where to go in the first place.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2015, 10:21:16 pm »

Siegers learning not to repeatedly throw themselves into the same trap filled corridors is on the development page for improved sieges. Hopefully it's only a small step in logic from learning where not to go, to having to learn where to go in the first place.

Actually, from what I read of Toady saying how he'd do it earlier, that's much simpler than making goblins have to learn the map through seeing it. 

What Toady was talking about doing was simply using a traffic weighting, the same as the dwarven traffics, but where weights went up as goblins died in a specific spot.  (Such that if a goblin dies in a spot, they'll be willing to go one or two tiles out of their way to avoid that spot.  If goblins keep dying on that spot, anyway, they might start considering more drastic steps, like pathing through alternate portions of the fortress, or just climbing over walls well out of the way rather than trying to go through the front gate.)
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Niddhoger

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2015, 10:23:57 pm »

Still, it's worth keeping in mind that the secrecy of the existence of your fort and the secrecy of your fort's layout are two totally different things.

Aye... but I felt if we were talking about one, we should talk about the other.  Especially if we are going to talk about killing scouts and preventing information from being relayed.  A scouting party that stumbles onto your fort can be made to "disappear" before they can tell anyone else about your fort the same as keeping a surviving squad member from running out of your fort and telling the rest of hte army "you guys... probably shouldn't go down the hallway of death on the left"

And yes, I mentioned that if your fort is remote enough none of this will really matter.  Not simply being on an island, but being well beyond trade range of any nearby settlements.  If you are waaaaaay out in the boonies, then no one will even think to pass through your neck of the woods 50+ tiles away from any taverns/safe place from boogeymen.  You might get the occasional adventure that feels like wandering out in the wilderness, but no traders, armies, or even scouts passing through. 

The problem though, is that if people regularly see a caravan going north into hte boonies being followed by 20 legendary cheesemakers... they are going to put two and two together.  This is mostly for adventurers.  "So... there is nothing but wilderness to the north, right? So why are all these people.... oh!"
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #39 on: May 28, 2015, 10:46:35 pm »

Sure, but I'm not sure "throttle migration based upon a specific starting scenario" requires a major overhaul, while having goblins path from a starting point of being blind to anything not within their immediate range of vision likely would.  Fortress obscurity, especially as a starting scenario, could be relatively easy for Toady, while things like recognizing a fortress is a true labyrinth is something that takes far more work. 
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Niddhoger

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #40 on: May 28, 2015, 10:57:54 pm »

No the migration changes didn't need the overhaul... I was simply talking about starting scenarios and tracking "visibility" and the relay of information on the micro and macro levels. 
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SixOfSpades

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #41 on: May 31, 2015, 04:31:30 pm »

Instead of a "Stealth" version of literally every type of embark, it would be much simpler to have the embark screen have a "Covert" flag which the player can toggle On/Off, as well as sliders for how long to delay the arrival of the first liaison, caravan, and migrants. If the player chooses a Covert embark, the first liaison they receive will always be at least a Competent Ambusher, and use that skill upon approach. Every meeting between the mayor & liaison will give the option to change the Covert status of relations with the Mountainhome, with all the adjustments to liaison / caravan / migrant behavior that that would imply.

Personally, I've always disliked the fact that goblins don't eat or drink--it seems just an easy cop-out to greatly reduce Toady's workload in the early stages of the game's development--and I hope that it gets remedied quickly. (It shouldn't come before goblins learn how to escape from cages, though, or cage traps would get even more obscenely overpowered.) Armies are always hungry, picking the land clean as they pass, and at least SOME of the enemies in Dwarf Fortress should exhibit this behavior--to me, goblins seem like a prime contender.

All intelligent creatures & civilizations in the game should learn about of a fortress (that's still trying to be Covert) by common, logical signs; such as exterior constructions, clear-cutting, the presence of roving armored militia squads, and the chit-chat of traveling merchants. But, for the purposes of making enemies more diverse, perhaps different types of creatures should (perhaps "magically") gain awareness of your fort in different ways, have magical "visibility" of different areas/things, and path toward different targets. For example, the goal of necromancers is to Raise the largest possible army of undead creatures. If you're running a strictly vegetarian fort and fend off goblins using batteries of cage traps on a strict catch-and-release program, then theoretically you could embark right next to a necromancer tower and not see a single necromancer, because your fort isn't creating enough death: Either the necromancer doesn't think you're worth his time, or he doesn't even "sense" the existence of your fort in the first place.

ENEMY  MOTIVE  DRAWN BY  SEES  PATHS TO
NecromancerRaise the deadLarge numbers of slainCorpsesBattlefield / slaughterhouse / graveyard / refuse pile
Bronze ColossusConsume more bronzeSmelted bronze, copper, or tinMetal bars / ore stockpilesMetal (especially bronze) bar stockpiles
TitanIncrease reputationLegendary warriorsEngravings of duelsBarracks
Forgotten BeastRampage on the surfaceNone (random wandering)Most direct ventilation path to surfaceOutside air (even air coming through fortifications)
Kobold ThiefScout, stealLarge amounts of cut gemsGem & finished-good stockpilesMost valuable portable item
TrollHulk SMASH!Large amounts of artworkStatues, engraved furnitureBuilt furniture & workshops

Or something like the above. Enemies get boring & predictable when they all behave the same way.

In a future update, once you gain the ability to send out fortress dwarves to start new forts, a "lite" version of subsidiary forts could exist. Instead of the game running a whole fortress (essentially on autopilot), these could just be directly adjacent to your existing fort, and each "peripheral" could have its own separate reason for existing:
To the north is your "merchant front", an unassuming little cluster of tunnels just off the main road, where travelers can buy some food, spend the night in your inn, and maybe purchase some nice craftsdwarfship. Every autumn, a caravan from the Mountainhome comes and goes, and a suspiciously large volume of goods might be handed back & forth here . . . but as long as the wagons arrive fully loaded, and leave fully loaded, who can tell?
Southward is your citadel, rising arrogantly over a volcano, sending a clear challenge to every goblin for miles around--Every year, you send all your warriors there, so you don't have to be bothered with micromanaging all that damn goblinite.
Due east is a settlement of hill dwarves, and you've arranged for a small holdfast to be built here, to serve both as a granary to store the harvest (a portion of which goes toward your main fort, of course), and as a place of refuge in case of invasion. Beat it, goblins, there's nothing of value here, go attack the citadel! This (or the merchants' inn) would probably be the safest place for migrants to arrive, as they could blend in more easily with the other dwarves milling about.
To the west is nothing but the long tunnel that will eventually reach the Mountainhome. You send your half-trained miners and some food there, and they send back raw stone & ore. All that is visible aboveground is a small pipe next to a buried floor hatch; Not even dwarves can perfectly navigate long distances underground, so they must surface occasionally to maintain their bearings--and while they're at it, they might as well install a good ventilation system too. Once the team of miners completes the stretch of tunnel spanning one embark, they automatically "colonize" the next one in their path.
This leaves your central, original (and presumably "main") fort completely free to pursue its own task of mining candy--and, incidentally, free of ALL necessary contact with the outside world, so the only way an enemy need even know of its existence would be if they conquered one of your peripheral forts.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 05:57:45 pm by SixOfSpades »
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Vattic

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Re: The Hidden Fortress
« Reply #42 on: May 31, 2015, 06:32:10 pm »

For necromancers at least that would make some sense as they already seek out battlefields in world gen.

It would make sense for your fort to gain a more detailed reputation than just population, production, trade, gifts. I would also make sense for some kinds of reputations leading to specific parties becoming interested (maybe a dragon heard about your legendary gold mines).

A hidden fort could become well known in name alone perhaps encouraging searchers.
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