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Author Topic: Xestsuslozgo - Sing, Sang, Sung.  (Read 8229 times)


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Xestsuslozgo - Sing, Sang, Sung.
« on: August 26, 2019, 08:39:28 am »

This will be a research fort and adventure testing how song and persuasion works in Dwarf Fortress. A short while ago - I asked this question:

Would it be possible to populate the world with poets through adventure mode? For example, if I run around convincing people to join me as musicians, would they continue that life if I go back to fortress mode? I think the adventurer would, if retired, but what about the others? Alternatively, if I argue people into valuing music, would I see the effects?

By a short while, I mean 4 months... which is when I promised to tackle this question. And now, much later, I'm willing to try. Join me, dear reader, into the world of Xestsuslozgo - a world with no musicians.


First, some information on Xestsuslozgo - The Enchanted Universes.

Behold, its tiny glory!

The source of this world was when a friend and I started a tiny legacy fort (popcap at 12) since my computer is about as strong as Zima. Although I love Xestsuslozgo, it comes with one serious problem - no one visits the taverns. There are not wandering bards. There are no travelled story-tellers to bemuse my dwarves. Normally, this isn't an issue for me - in fact, I usually hate the freeloaders. But when they're absent, I do miss them.

All civilizations exist and are alive in this world, which took several attempts. Goblins, obviously, are the most populous - kobolds are holding on by a thread, but that's usual for the little devils. In my adventures, I haven't met any of them - but by god - do they know how to name a cave.

The human civilization took a beating in the past. They're the owners of the worlds only artifact - a sacramental skull which was gifted to some king in the past. Their main city has seen some rough times, as you can see:

This destroyed site, Thunderedbolts, is also the only location with art installations. I journeyed here in a different timeline and stole the artifact and observed the art. I've reverted the save to the original world, but I remember being struck with how empty this city was. Truly a once-great capital.

The rest of the world has some interesting figures - a dragon lurks somewhere. There are two titans wandering the frozen planes. A bronze colossus once got killed by a rhinoceros. It's a place ripe for songs and stories!

I really like this guy - a titan worth remembering. It's killed about 50 goblins and their master. Probably the reason why all the civilizations are still alive, honestly.

Also - what a name.


So, let us take our gaze toward the dwarves. Here's the real plan:
Step 1: Build a series of musicians, artists, persuaders and story-tellers for adventure mode.
Step 2: Wander the world, recruiting as many people as possible into the life of song and travel.
Step 3: Retire everyone as safely as possible in dwarven locations.
Step 4: Build a fortress with an open tavern - to see who will show up.

My friend and I ran our fort for over 12 years - and not a single traveller visited our tavern although it was accessible to the rest of the world, so I am confident that re-using this world, I can test whether you can spread song throughout the world and make travelling poets/bards to encounter in fortress mode.

Wish me luck.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 05:09:00 am by delphonso »


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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Realm in Need of Song!
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2019, 07:01:40 am »

First Adventurer: Dishmab Dimpletool
Primary Goal: Convince dwarves of the value of eloquence.
Secondary Goal: Create a story-telling group.


I plan to mostly play dwarves in adventure mode, but am planning about 4 adventurers, so if someone wants to see something specific, just ask and I'll do my best to make it happen.

So, let's get this experiment underway. I'm going to create an adventurer and convince people to believe in the value of eloquence. My objective here is to change people's values in order to encourage them to pick up the life of the bard later on. I figure this is the least direct, so most worthwhile to do first. Let's meet our adventurer:

Dishmab Dimpletool "Dishmab Storlutlor" is a weakling, prone to arguments though he doesn't care for it much, and generally a kind-hearted dwarf. He is currently in Bowpainted - one of the few dwarven hillocks. I notice right away that he personally doesn't believe in eloquence. This can't stand - so I convince someone of the value of eloquence, then argue with them again and acquiesce to their belief. Dishmab changes his views entirely and believes in eloquence.
Dishmab detailed, for those interested:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I spend about two real-world hours arguing with every citizen in Bowpainted. I convince over half to value eloquence - the rest are convinced that it has nuances beyond simple value. Through all this fighting, I max out my Speaker skill in regards to my attributes.

Most of the arguments are either settled instantly or never make progress. Occasionally, I have to press the issue a few times. I've never played with the argument system much before. I always enjoyed the simple agreement like so:

Though I was shocked at some of the other responses you could get:

I found the hardest group to convince were the drunks. I wonder if alcohol makes you a more staunch arguer or something. Either way, I convinced two to see things my way, then asked them to join me for further adventures!

Not much to say from here on. We wander to the hillock of Oldclasped and do the same there. I realize that my secondary goal of making a group of story-tellers is likely impossible. Story-telling isn't a collaborative art, so I can't improve their skills by having them with me. I spend about four hours total convincing people. I end off in Lashmurders - the third and final hillock. Dishmab retires there - living a peaceful life from then on, I hope.

Legendsviewer says there's only 200 dwarves in the civ. I'm certain I didn't talk to that many, but I probably argued with at least 100, and maybe more. I'd say I had about a 70% success rate in convincing them to value eloquence. We'll see if this has any implications later.

MSPaint Dishmab!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Post script:
I actually posted this before finishing up the task (it's pretty monotonous, after all) and something I noticed while finishing it off. Vabok - one of the drunks - has taken to participating in a lot of arguments while joining me in Lashmurders. Perhaps your behavior will sway your followers to do the same.

« Last Edit: August 27, 2019, 10:54:54 pm by delphonso »


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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Realm in Need of Song!
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2019, 02:50:38 am »

Imic's no longer allowed to vote.
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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Realm in Need of Song!
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2019, 09:46:35 pm »

Second Adventurer: Vucar Verseprides
Primary Goal: Give dwarves great experiences of poetry.
Secondary Goal: Create a poetry group.


Alright, so here's my thought process here - in DF, dwarves are determined by their greatest skill, but historical events can convince them to tackle something else. I made Vucar as a demigod poet. People lose their minds when she speaks poetry in front of them. I'm hoping this will inspire some of them to take of the life of a poet later. I'll also pick up some followers and try to make poems with them. I feel this one is a long-shot, but a fun way to explore the world.

We start off in Drumhall, which was reclaimed by the dwarves in the time between Dishmab and Vucar's adventure. I actually met Dishmab in Drumhall. He seems to be doing well - told me about seeing some big owls.

Vucar Togumnikuz "Verseprides" is full of natural abilities and an expert poet. She's well-versed in 4 poetic forms and knows a bit of dance and music. She - ironically - doesn't care too much about artwork. Here she is, for those who are interested:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

She understands these forms, and I think it's worthwhile to mention that this world once did have great poets. In the history of this world, a few poems were composed by characters from all the civilizations. The most were made by a goblin and an elf - who I think were both in the elf civilization. I think Vucar will have to make her way to the elf civilization and maybe learn a thing or two from them.

I walk around Drumhall trying to find people - there's one little hillock filled with about 20 people. I get ready to recite a poem, but first - I'll need to make one. Behold! The Individual.

People love it. They can't get enough of the Individual. I bring along a drunk named Ushrir. He's nothing special, but he likes poetry and agreed to join without an example of my skill. We walk outside and we form our poetry group:

Honestly, sounds like a bad trance group.

Hmm... Again, not going how I want it to. I recite The Individual with Ushrir around, but he doesn't participate. I wasn't expecting him to do so, but I was hoping he would. I'll grab another follower or two, but mostly just for fun. The next adventure will be with musicians - and that, I think, will be the most likely to generate entertainers. I think there's a chance this poetry group will last past my adventurer, though - and that alone might make some tavern-goers.

Vucar settles in to compose a new poem. I read through the descriptions of the poetic forms and felt that "The Beloved Embraces" is the best choice - it has an interesting pattern of lines and seems the most likely to have more than one speaker - if that's even possible. Vucar creates "Banner: The Sea Knows"

We rush around Lashmurders waking up sleeping villagers and telling them poems. Such is the life of a poet.

We encounter the baroness Ber Gikutfikod - and debut the new poem to her and the animal trainers she is living with...for some reason.
These guys are really arguing a lot in the middle of my performance - how rude.

Dastot, what the fuck?

In Lashmurders I meet the Queen, several baronesses and a gorlak mayor. These guys were not here when Dishmab rolled through. I first shower them with the blessing of poetry~

As I make it to Bowpainted, I realize that certain poetic forms must hit dwarves in different ways. They really aren't impressed by Banner: The Sea Knows, but they love The Individual, which are different forms. I'm going to compose a poem of the two other forms to see what happens - particularly because I'm working my way toward the elven lands and want some way to impress them.

Dwarves LOVE We See Mead - should have known.

Before I leave Bowpainted, I encounter the mayor - who is enraged. I ask to be made a member of The Rhyming Mirror - and ask for membership of all the members of my performance troupe. He asks for an example of my skill, but is too enraged to listen. I follow him around, telling him riddles and whispering sweet nothings in his ear. Eventually, it pays off:

Not sure what this will result in, but I'm hoping that at least this troupe will exist after my adventurer is done. In Oldclasped, The Brushed Barricades of Questing grows to 4 members. My custom keybindings also revert for some reason which is a very annoying bug.

We make it to Birdappears - an elven forest retreat. I climb up into a tree, greet myself to some of these tall-folk, and recited Banner: The Sea Knows. The elves have never heard such poetry. They're going insane for it.

Clearly, culture impacts which poetic forms are most appealing. But there might also be something to do with contact with poetry. The drunks who are with me have started appreciating any of the poems. Anyway, Vucar collapses face-first and falls asleep on a tree-branch. She hasn't slept for two days.

I stop off in Leafysweet - another elven forest retreat - to impress some elves with poems. I'm almost done, just got to get over to the human village and impress some of them.

And here we are, Fissurespots. The last stop on our journey. The distant human hamlet. I walk into the mainhall, and attempt to impress the local lady. It...doesn't go well...

But every poet knows - it's all about finding what they really like.

Why does everyone in this world love riddles so much? DON'T THEY APPRECIATE TRUE ART? I show off the magical abilities of riddles to some humans in their homes. After assaulting everyone with poetry. The group rushes back to Oldclasped and retires there - at the drinking mound.

Overall, I'm neither satisfied or dissatisfied with how this one went. I think we'll see if any of the drunks end up being poets later in life. The next adventure, I'm excited for. I will call it "The Lord of the Sings"

Woof, this is bad.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 08:05:39 am by delphonso »


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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Realm in Need of Song!
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2019, 10:42:02 pm »

PTW. This is very interesting research and good source of fun, too. Looking forward to next post  ;).
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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Realm in Need of Song!
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2019, 08:07:59 am »

Imic & Quaksna, cheers, thanks guys. It's been an interesting experiment so far. Mostly, I've just been messing with the entertainment mechanics which I've never really taken a crack at. It's a bit boring without the threat of death in combat, but that's the life of a poet, I guess.

Mostly, I relish in the opportunity to dig in deep with a small world I really like. I'll keep exploring this bard issue as I go forward.


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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Lord of the Sings
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2019, 12:46:25 am »

Third Adventurer: Mistem Mouthgrooved
Primary Goal: Train at least one of every race up in their musical abilities.
Secondary Goal: Leave one of every race in a different civilization.


The first recommendation when I asked this question was that professions are determined by highest skill - so, presumably, if dwarves joined you and learned to sing/play music enough, their profession would change to entertainer. In the greater world, then, they should travel and become performers. This one is really direct, but also very time-intensive, because I have to train up other characters' skills. But, this should be the most directly causal for making performers. I start a new adventurer.

I figure Drumhall is an appropriate place to start this all off. Mistem will travel from town to town, collecting as many followers as he can, then drop them off as their skill gets good enough. I want to train up at least two of each, dwarves, elves, and humans. Though I'll aim to do as much as I can. Here's Mistem for those who are interested:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I start with a copper spear and strap it to my body. I notice it says I'm also carrying a "nashom" - by its description it seems to be a French horn, basically. Looped horn with three valves. I have some skill with this instrument, but that's not what I'm here for - Mistem is a singer, and will try to stay true to that.

I spawn in an empty hillock and walk around Drumhall. Remember, it was recently reclaimed, so it's mostly empty. I find the civic mound and its 10 or so residents (including Dishmab). Before I can perform, I must compose a song. Just like poetry, I have access to four forms:

My Friend Wilts is a piece which is chanted, rather than purely sung. It is accompanied by an Ozkak and a Laluth. I perform this piece solo, but strangers join in - revealing a bug:

Accompanying performers are nameless, this continues for the rest of the session, even as the characters get nicknames. Unfortunate, as it'll be hard to tell who is improving or not. Ah well, I ask two of the citizens to join me as entertainers. They're happy to do so! Welcome Bembul and Stinthad!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Both of them are the leaders of their families, and both have recently moved to Drumhall. Boy, hope their family does alright with them fucking off to start a garage band.

We find the few other residents of Drumhall and perform in their living rooms. Luckily, My Friend Wilts has three parts - so all three of us can perform. Overall, they do a poor job of imitating instruments. We begin our world tour and travel to Lashmurders, and Mistem composes three more works, one of each musical structure. He also almost starves to death and is now very, very tired. Ah, the life of a musician.

In Lashmurders we find a lot of dwarves in different homes and perform for each one. People love Mistem's performance, but the poor accompaniment is not doing the band any favors. I should probably try to find some instruments for these guys eventually. Another issue, My Friend Scandal and Conflagrations are each solo pieces, one chanting and one singing. We See Miles has only space for an additional singer. Due to this, we basically only perform My Friend Wilts. We're sort of a one-hit-wonder.

We find an eager band-mate, who joins the crew:

We make a real step - the step any band has to make - and name our band. I was going to go for "The Lord of the Sings", but couldn't with the allowed naming tools in DF. I got as close as I could:

I also want to future-proof these guys to see if they ever travel and perform on their own. So I started a little naming convention.

And here's where I'm going to take a break. In the next one, I'll journey to the ruined Fortress and see if they have any instruments lying around - they usually do in the taverns. I'm going to compose a few more pieces and see if I can either make one with 4 parts or one with the nashom. If anyone knows anything about this, I'd really appreciate some advice - it seems they're basically totally random.

Tune in next time as we train these dwarves up and reach out into the elven trees!


So I loaded the world in Legendsviewer to check on the companions' skills and see how we were doing. Frodo (Iden, the drunk) is the only one who could potentially become a musician/singer by profession. The other two I picked up already had professions which turned out to be talented, in order to save time, I'm going to swap them out with losers. I might also keep the party at 3 total for a while, so everyone can participate.

Second issue, the world has about 6 taverns. 5 are in the goblin dark fortress, and one is in the human civilization - in destroyed Thunderedbolts. This comes with an issue in finding instruments. I'll think about it, but might embark a tiny fortress that just makes a few instruments somewhere in the world. This is starting to feel like a Kruggsmash series. (Note: this might be the real reason why there aren't any bards in this world. But I doubt it, as goblin musicians are pretty common in my other games.)

Finally, an interesting note - whenever Mistem made a song, he also composed a poem. The lyrics for the songs were not pre-existing poems as I expected, but actually new ones he made in order to fill in the song. Wish I'd put some points into poet at this point.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2019, 03:51:46 am by delphonso »


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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Lord of the Sings
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2019, 06:13:31 am »

More people should play DF. It teaches problem solving well  ;D.
This whole thing is hillarious. Keep up with the good work. More! More!
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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Lord of the Sings
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2019, 08:17:36 pm »

Gonna be a little bit after this next one... You'll see why.

Third Adventurer: Mistem Mouthgrooved
Primary Goal: Train at least one of every race up in their musical abilities.
Secondary Goal: Leave one of every race in a different civilization.


We rejoin our expert singer Mistem Mouthgrooved as he rests with his bandmates outside a hillock in the southern-most dwarven town of Oldclasped. I feel a drive to acquire instruments - we must if we ever want to be a good band. So, the group heads out - hoping to pick the skeleton of an old fortress of any scraps of meat.

The gang's all here.

We trek back north toward Lashmurders and Drumhall - to the old abandoned fortress of Bootbrands. This site was once a mountainhome for the dwarves, but only lived for 7 years before being destroyed in year 8 by the forgotten beast "Ubbul Terrorhoods". Some say it still stalks the halls of Bootbrands.

The band wanders the empty halls of Bootbrands. They find several store-rooms full of ancient dwarvern works. But none contain instruments. There was no tavern in Bootbrands, and the dwarves produced more clothing and jewelry than anything else. An interesting note - all the bedrooms contained clothes sized for something bigger than dwarves. What could that be about?

Mistem, Frodo, Gimli, and Pippin spend a night in the old fortress, fill up on yak meat which is easily a century old, and head back out again.

I head back toward Drumhall to drop off Gimli and Pippin, and look for a new skill-less drunk to make my protege. (Note, I originally dropped these two off, but didn't kick them out of The Lord of Singing. When I picked up a new character, they said:

So, I had to save-scum and kick Gimli and Pippin out officially. Interesting note, kicking someone out of your troupe automatically ends their agreement to join you on adventures.)

I trek back over to Lashmurders - my favorite of the hillocks. Here, Frodo and I find a new companion in the drinking mound:

And with that, I decide the instruments are the key to any next step. I'll need to make a place where we can acquire instruments. To be honest, this will be a bit of a ball-ache. The instruments in this world are particularly complex, so it'll take a team of competent and skilled workers to put them together. I guess that means...

A little way west of Lashmurders, a group of seven dwarves claim a tiny bit of land to build an instrument shop. They'll provide the world with instruments of the highest dwarven quality. They stake their claim and name it:

They dub themselves:

And put together a symbol for their wares:

Let us take a close look at these dwarves. Strange folks, it seems. Their food supply is basically just roadkill.

Well. Here we go.

Here's my shopping list, by the way -

Spoiler (click to show/hide)


So, there we are. I'll be playing a small fortress for a bit. I'm putting the population cap at 7 - which should stop almost all events except kobold thieves, goblin snatchers (if we have kids) and the occasional very strong weasel. Just going to dig in, make some instruments, and let the fortress live its own life. We brought some pigs for leather, pigtails for cloth, have access to wood, no aquifer - so easy access to stone. There's some clay here too for any ceramic bits. Hopefully this'll be enough. I'll come back with some screenshots of ol' Stringflicker.

Benefits of running a fortress is that it might give time for the two previous attempts to percolate. We might see eloquence and poetry prosper in the realm of the dwarves a bit.

Be back in a while! Might be a few days.


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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Lord of the Sings
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2019, 08:42:39 pm »

PTW, coo stuff!
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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Lord of the Sings
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2019, 10:49:52 am »

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

First Fort: Birutnelas: Stringflicker
Primary Goal: Produce instruments for future adventurers to use.
Secondary Goal: Set up enough infrastructure that additional instruments can be made on short notice.


Welcome to cozy Stringflicker. Primarily a place for instrument artisans to gather, and partially the home to seven dwarves. The residents here are a strange sort – only interested in two things: making music and punching monkeys to death.

This post will be rather light on screenshots. Mostly, I don't think Fortress mode translates well to screenshots, but also, I tried to get it done as quickly as possible, not wanting to waste precious years. I suppose it's alright, as it gave the attempts of Dishmab and Vucar time to take effect. I suppose Mistem and the boys are just relaxing in Lashmurders right now, singing a few diddies. Mistem will visit here and I'll pay attention to anything important in the fort at that point.

The Basic Merchants arrived in the tiny embark of Stringflicker and dug in. Their wagon was loaded with roadkill they found along the way, and the basics to get any fort started. They hauled with them a few bits of bituminous coal and chunks of gabbro.

Here, you can see the basic entrance to the fort. With only 7 dwarves, I don't need to worry about invaders other than kobolds and snatchers. Don't think werebeasts will even trigger.

Our expedition leader seems to have been a bad choice. She's a bit flakey, easy to spook, worthless in the face of stress, and waifishly weak. Her name is Uzol Slingclashed, and I think there's a good chance her mind is addled. Why else would a dwarf set out to make a music shop? Especially outside of a town. Bloody idiot, I'd say.

I put some effort into this design, mostly because I could. I ran into the serious problem of only having 7 dwarves, though: the hauling. Dwarves prioritize hauling pretty high, so work is slow. Particularly frustrating is that the main hall is dug out of a layer of gypsum – a worthless material for the pacifists in this fort. Then they waste time hauling gypsum around instead of digging out some sort of stone worth carving. I play a good portion of this without stockpiles. We dig out a farming area in the loam, setting a spot for the pigs next to the oft-frozen pond. Keep 'em cool, keep 'em fresh. I like how the main hall looks. Very little is different on this level with the end result.

The fortress has great resources. Plenty of coal, iron, copper, and jet for our main economic stone. A few statues are scattered around the fort – depicting historic events and odd creatures. I imagine they're very striking made from jet black stone.

Olon Robeface becomes a very skilled craftsdwarf – spitting out bone and stone crafts which are the primary dwarven currency. By the time the caravan arrives, we trade for some materials that'll help our work – thread, cloth, and clay (which is mysteriously missing).

Moldath Vigorgorge is one hell of a miner, and boy, it's rare to see someone with such a penchant for sticking a pick through monkey skulls. The primary drawback of this fort is that the embark is so small that any animal that walks onto the map is immediately within eye-sight of any dwarves or dogs that might be there. All our dogs are crippled after fighting off hordes of porcupines, weasels, and langurs - defending the dwarves from basically nothing in their kamikaze attacks. Moldath puts a few in the ground, but not before one gets spooked into the fortress proper.

It attacks Uzol, who loses her wits entirely at the idea of a monkey doing something that you would entirely expect monkeys to do. Uzol constantly thinks about being attacked, although it did basically no damage. She mulls it over constantly, and it impedes her work. Basically, the fortress is down to 6 dwarves as Uzol cancels a lot of jobs from the “trauma” she received. I replace her as expedition leader.

Early in Granite of 126, a kobold by the name of Thrushromer is spotted at the front doors. A dog spots it, and immediately learns its name, which is pretty impressive for a dog. Surprisingly, the kobold is startled down the main ramp into the fortress proper. It then interrupts about 50 jobs as dwarves freak out at the little lizard. The problem is solved when it bumps into Moldath walking down the ramp, fresh monkey brain dripping from his pickaxe. Thrushromer didn't stand a chance.

Moldath relaxes by taking a stroll outside and promptly starting a fight.

He ends it quickly by decapitating a langur with a pickaxe, which - to me - sounds utterly impossible.

The elves swing by and witness dwarves deforest the map entirely. We need that wood, nashon and ngegdol are made from it. Mind your own business, elves. Oh, and don't mind the monkey corpses.

The irtir is a stationary instrument, so it goes low on the list. It's also made of metal, and takes ages to produce all the parts – so I think I end up only making one or two. I make at least 3 of every other instrument. It seems that instrument stockpiles are bugged, or that my dwarves just put that at such a low priority, that they never attempted to do it. It's alright, all the instruments end up in the craftsdwarf workshop – either made there entirely or assembled there. Not sure if the irtir will be able to be played – but I'll try, for research's sake.

I believe old Stringflicker is ready for Mistem and his band to swing by. Let's get on with the adventure, shall we?



I didn't set up a tavern in Stringflicker for two reasons. One, it's an instrument shop – not a full fortress. But two, the more serious one, I didn't want to see a bard and then have finished my goal and be done here. I don't think that would happen, but I avoided the chance of it - perhaps in detriment to this research project.

It took a year and some change to do all this – which is longer than I wanted, but was as fast as 6 functional dwarves could do the task. A lot of smelting and forming metal stuff – you know. Uzol is useless and might make a better musician than anything.

Most of the instruments that Mistem knows are actually very easy to make. 3 are made from wood outright. The rest include about 3 – 4 pieces and require metal or clay. Clay was the one that took the most time, because I had to figure that out and also wait for a caravan to come with some clay. This map has only loam – the least useful of all soils.

Finally, don't embark on a 1x1 map.


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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Lord of the Sings
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2019, 11:44:14 am »

Very interesting read so far! If I may put my scribbling skills to use...
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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Lord of the Sings
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2019, 11:43:31 pm »

The DF Forums were down all day for me – so I continued the adventure a bit more and it ended up being quite a long one this time. Please enjoy.

Hydrocyanide, mate, this is incredible. Thank you so much. I think Vucar really got the short end of the stick here. Really a one-hit wonder, just because the world only likes riddles. Just reciting We See Mead for eternity...

Third Adventurer: Mistem Mouthgrooved
Primary Goal: Train at least one of every race up in their musical abilities.
Secondary Goal: Leave one of every race in a different civilization.


It's time for dear Mistem to leave retirement, he's been relaxing in Lashmurders for a year, presumably singing songs on the hillsides and spending the nights drinking. It's quite cold in the dwarven lands – snowing most nights. Mistem talks to someone to see what the latest news is, and seems to be aware of what just happened:

Kivish 'Samwise' must have chatted with Vucar in the break. I'm glad to see Sam gave her a beer for a riddle (this feels very good to see dwarves interacting.) Samwise presses the real issue:

We walk around Lashmurders and give everyone a round of songs. Zaneg, one of the local leaders, let's us know about a new shop to the south: a place which sells instruments and instruments alone. What luck! The Fellowship of the Sing rush to the southwest.

Hesitantly, we approach. Ah. This must be the place.

Mistem and the group walk through a farm area, but mysteriously, no stout farmers are working the fields. Pigtails and Purple helmets sit in the fields ready for harvest. Some unwatched swine dig in the moist loam.

A butcher's area rests in rough carved stone. Still, no one to be seen. The band walks down to the main hall. A nice place, a little rough, and there's a fine powder of atomsmashed gypsum everywhere. Mistem, trying to be polite, clears his throat in the darkness and feels it echo silently through the fort. He walks down the main hall and sees excellent instruments resting in workshops. But still, no dwarves.

Helping themselves, the band gear up with musical tools – they do so deliberately loudly, hoping someone will come around and ask for a fee. Mistem even encourages the group to perform a piece. They gain some attention: but only from one of the non-sentient residents of the fortress.

Mistem walks toward the end of the fortress's main hall. He and the group kick down one of the doors to see a dwarf resting on his bed, for some reason he has shoved his cabinet and chest under the bed in some sort of lofting attempt. They assault him with song.

The Fellowship go from room to room, barraging the residents with music. One of them even joins in, but hates the experience. Such strange dwarves – they make instruments but feel no joy for music.

After talking to all the dwarves, it's become clear they've caught the old dwarven disease: fort madness. They're complete shut ins. Uninterested in any social interactions, even if that includes trade. Poor bastards. The group leaves them to wallow in their sadness, now richer for the experience.

Note: I didn't get a screenshot of this, but the thusest is useless. As a stationary instrument, it must be set up to be played - so I can't play it, as I can't install it in adventure mode (maybe if I built a site. Didn't try.) If I held it in my hands and chose a song for the thusest, I still only had the ability to simulate it.

I distribute instruments. Iden "Frodo" is getting good at singing, so I take the ozkak for a while. Kivish "Samwise" is pleased to pick up the laluth.

We leave the fortress and head back toward Lashmurder, then Bowpainted, and Oldclasped. We sing and play wherever we go, and clearly our performance has been improved by these masterful instruments.

Interestingly, I introduce myself to some of the dwarves and find Erush Bekarobok. If you recall, this world was used by a friend and I for a legacy fort. Erush was one of our first migrants, our first mayor, and our first execution (crushed by a bridge after she murdered a citizen in a rage). Good to see she's doing better in this timeline.

The band sets out for their real world-tour. They travel down to Birdappears in the elven lands. Surprisingly, the site looks abandoned. The trees are all mostly empty of elves. Eventually, we stumble upon a truly shocking sight.

A yak stands confidently on a single branch, twisting and groaning under its weight.

In the hopes of finding some citizens to impress with song, The Lord of the Sings just start performing under the elven trees. It seems to get a response by luck.

Mistem scrambles up a nearby tree and finds a group of 8 elves chatting with each other. These seem like an...interesting group.

Mistem sings a few songs, accompanied by Frodo and Sam who stand attentively on the forest floor. One of the elves expresses interest in joining us, welcome to the band, Icemi!

He follows Mistem to the forest floor and gets the customary initiating ritual:

And finally, a nickname:

Unfortunately, The Lord of the Sings has to remain a trio, which means we have to lose a member. The group talks it over, and Samwise is chosen to stay with the Elves. Goodbye Sam, you've been a great companion.

And with that, we're off toward the human town - rumor has it, they've reclaimed Thunderedbolts. The group will perform as many times as possible along the way.


A companion who joins you for entertainment, will not perform with you if you've formed a performance troupe - until they are also invited into the troupe. This is weird, as random civilians will join a performance troupe's song when they're not members. I'm guessing it's actually a pathfinding thing with preference to any troupe members who can get there. I didn't try it inside a tree, while Icemi was in the tree with me. I'll test this again in the future.

I've been performing in every house and tree that has residents. Basically, this is just a way for me to keep performing without just sitting in one place hitting the buttons over and over. There's no mechanical benefit to being witnessed for your performance skill, I don't think.

The other members couldn't perform with me in the tree, as they weren't on the same Z-level. They also didn't zoom up to me as they usually do when music starts.

Samwise was a proficient dancer and strong musician when we started. Their performance skill increased, but wasn't their highest skill, however the category of performing skills are still a majority of their skills. Frodo is very close to having singing as his primary skill, so I'll keep performing with him to get him there. Samwise also refused to give up the laluth, so I let him keep it as a going-away present. I might have to go back to Stringflicker in the future. Here's what Sam looks like, for those interested:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The time commitment for this is getting a bit bloated. I want to find a way to cheese the performance skill and max it out quickly. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Finally, I composed a few more songs, but all only have three parts and almost always those parts are "chant, ozkak, and laluth" - which seem to be Mistem's specialty.


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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Lord of the Sings
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2019, 06:55:31 am »

In this episode: We learn to hate Legolas.

Third Adventurer: Mistem Mouthgrooved
Primary Goal: Train at least one of every race up in their musical abilities.
Secondary Goal: Leave one of every race in a different civilization.

This one's very short - sorry. Nothing really to report with the full party. Just lots of going through dialogue boxes.

Mistem Dumedtul and his merry band sing at the tops of their lungs as they wander the forest domains of the elves. Whether that is wanted or not really depends on who hears it.

Almost immediately we run into a little problem.

Legolas refuses the Ozkak. It's cool, Legolas, I get it - you've got your own ethics. I'd give you a thusest, but they're useless because you can't install them. I guess, just do your best to imitate an instrument.


Oh hell no.

Legolas took three singing parts in a row from Frodo. What an attention hog. I travel down to Leafysweets to see if that'll shake things up a bit. It doesn't. This is worrisome because Frodo is about to push over the peak into having “singer” as their best skill. I guess this just means MORE singing and playing. Hopefully it's some sort of coin toss.

I performed about 40 songs – each time, Legolas took the singing part, despite having the weakest skill of the lot in it. Frodo – the bloody best chap in the world – merrily pretended to be a laluth the whole time. God bless 'em.

I save, back up, re-load, retire, export - Frodo is at 351 singer and musician – 500 is her other highest skill, so we're pretty close. I wanna bump her up to at least 600 in both, then let her roam free as a potential bard. Legolas meanwhile has a speaker skill of 2500 and a singer of 50. Meaning it'll be a long while before I push them over the top. Likely, I won't. I really wish there was a better way to check characters other than recruiting them, retiring and exporting legends.

We continue performing - which I feel is basically a waste of time, ultimately. Legolas will never be a singer, and is just stealing experience from Frodo. Legolas can't be forced to play instruments, as the ones which aren't installed all have a wooden piece, or aren't in any of my compositions.

We travel to Orangerushes, the last of the elven towns, but boy - this is getting unbearable.

As the sun sets, the group close out the night with a final performance. We keep the elves awake by screaming at the bottoms of their trees. I have a duet piece – one thuset and a singer. Legolas elbows his way past Frodo each time to perform it.

Finally, we reach Fissurespots - the human hamlet far to the East.

Icemi Legolas again pushes Frodo out of the way in front of the Lady of Fissurespots! Of all people! It's time to have a real discussion, Legolas.

I gift the lady of Fissurespots a shitty elf who I now hate. Enjoy him as an entertainer! I doubt you'll be able to stop him! Finally, Frodo and I perform together and Frodo's beautiful voice rings through the halls of this noble house.

I feel this is the type of prick who's going to go around performing “The Lord of Singing Presented by Icemi Legolas”

In the end, though - it doesn't really matter:


I have no clue how to re-order your companions to maybe shake them out of this behavior. Perhaps you could end the journey together and re-recruit them. I'm guessing it's a sort of "last in, first out" sort of rolling for who performs which position in music.

Legolas' performance raised through the ranks, but speaker was still the best. I'll try to find a really inept human, I feel that's the best bet for making future bards. Honestly anything but that is a waste of time. I reckon it'd take about 6 straight hours to push a singing skill up to 2500 - a usual score for a peasant's primary skill. Drunks are luckily basically skillless.

Also, I forgot to take a screenshot of what Legolas looks like. Honestly, I just wanted to get rid of them. They're lucky Frodo and I didn't bash their head in with an ozkak at the end of this.


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Re: Xestsuslozgo - The Lord of the Sings
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2019, 08:45:15 pm »


Third Adventurer: Mistem Mouthgrooved
Primary Goal: Train at least one of every race up in their musical abilities.
Secondary Goal: Leave one of every race in a different civilization.


I rethink my strategy as Frodo and I travel around Fissurespots and sing our hearts out. By only having two, and having three parts to a song, random humans jump in to perform as well. I've noticed that after performing, some individuals change their mind on performing and music. Seeds for future performers, I think.

I also put together a new strategy for finding companions – if I introduce myself to everyone, they're added to my contacts in Legendsviewer – which means I can check their ability scores. Yes, I could use DFHack, but I could also do this bad, inefficient way too. B)

Using this method – or, to keep kayfabe - after taking a quick survey of the citizens of Fissurespots, a few humans stood out. Ngira Puzzleroads has good musical abilities, but is an expert in combat skills, Anlar Truthfulhoney has no skills at all except a moderate ability in combat skills. But perhaps best is the wonderfully named Rono Northsquash – who has only social skills. Likewise, Pessal Soulsglossed is already a competent singer.

In more interesting news, Frodo reached 600 in singing! You did it, bud!

I talk Ngira and Anlar into joining me for some time. I didn't find Pessal again and didn't want to waste much time. I'm going to keep it at a 2-piece band for a while, with a third sticking around, waiting in the wings. Remember, companions who aren't part of your troupe, won't perform with you even though random civilians will.

Iden Frodo is going to live in the newly-reclaimed Thunderedbolts. Live well here, little friend! The four of us march down to Thunderedbolts. There are a few merchants here, but not much else.

We enter the Chocolate of Sugar – the tavern of Thunderedbolts, and Iden Frodo is deposited here.

I then try to invite Ngira or Anlar into the band. I can't.

I have no idea why this happened, but the only solution I found was to part ways with them completely. Usually, they'll give a reason if they're already involved with a group – like “my duties are here.” I recruit merchants named Ihhi and Dur instead. Not pleased with this. I also thought about leaving The Lord of Singing – which is only possible by talking to current members – then starting a new troupe.

Ihhi Boromir is the first human to join the band. I give him the ozkak and imitate the laluth in several songs. Dur refuses to join until he's part of the band, so random merchants join in the merry-making. I notice after a while that Boromir isn't using the Ozkak and is instead singing, while random civilians imitate the ozkak. Is this because it's a foreign instrument?

We try to track down the lord of Thunderedbolts - but it just never happens. Not sure where they are. We head out once more toward the elven lands.

In Orangerushes, we discover something horrifying.

Two elves lay dead on the ground, another is grievously injured. When I ask what is going on, I'm only told about some monsters far to the north-east. Could this be the act of a forest titan? What would it be doing so far south?

Un-easily, we sleep under one of the trees for a night. We're awoken by a boom.

Some silty loam has fallen from somewhere - it explodes on the ground, taking 6 elves with it. 4 die instantly. What the hell is happening?

The band run away. We stop in some other elven forest retreats, but honestly, Mistem doesn't get the same pleasure from music any more. Now that Frodo is off on her own, what is really the point? Boromir stays with the elves in Leafysweet, and Aragorn steps up to the stage.

We go to Bowpainted - the Dwarven settlement - and perform for a while. Mistem has a long conversation with Aragorn. Mistem's journey ends, but The Lord of Singing will live on.

And with that, Mistem treks toward Lashmurders to retire. That's the end of his story. Perhaps he'll live happily ever after. Or perhaps...


Alright, that's that. Boy, what a time-sink.

I'm pretty satisfied with this one. I didn't train up someone of every race - mostly because the time commitment for that would be way too much, with too much chance involved. I'll be keeping an eye out for Frodo in the future, though - who should prove the rule either way.

I didn't learn a whole lot in this last session - not sure why Ngira and Anlar wouldn't join. It was sort of a crushing blow to my motivation. I've put in a lot of time on this adventure, and am eager to move on.

I meant to keep Mistem alive, but after real-life days of playing always with companions, I kind of forgot about bogeymen... Woops.

I'm very interested to see what happens with Aragorn - who is now the sole member of The Lord of Singing. I would have liked to keep everyone in as members, but it seemed their was some sort of cap on it. Though, now with those interactions with Ngira and Anlar, I'm wondering if there really is a cap on troupes. I should have tested this a bit more.

I have three more ideas for adventure mode. I'll be a bit busy the next few days - but mornings are relatively free, so expect another update in the next couple days.

Also, anyone know what happened with exploding trees in Orangerushes? It was like something collapsed, but I have no idea why.

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