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Author Topic: Chasing the elusive Mermaid  (Read 169958 times)

Randy Gnoman

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Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« on: October 08, 2008, 10:29:17 pm »

Recently, I discovered something wonderful:  merperson bones.  Merperson skull totems, at base quality, are worth 500- which means that a masterful one would be worth 6000.  When you're living next to a good-aligned ocean, merpeople are a renewable resource:  the only problem is catching the darned things.  Thus far, I've only recovered the corpses of beached merpeople who drowned on shore.  So, here's the challenge:  help me design an apparatus which will allow me to catch and slaughter merpeople in a fashion which guarantees recovery of the remains!

Now, this is what I have in mind:  an underwater funnel, leading to cage traps and sealed on both ends by floodgates, with pumps on top to drain the funnel.  Catching the merpeople alive would be optimal, because recovering cages is not as time sensitive as recovering corpses, so I could drain whatever underwater trapping area I'd used at my leisure and drown the things on land to get at their precious internals.  Breeding them would, unfortunately, be somewhat impractical, as they have only single children and take 12 years to mature...

The funnel:
Code: [Select]
770╗777777777777777
777╚═╗7777777777777
77777╚═╗77777777777
7777777╠════════╗77
7777777█^^^^^^^^█77
7777777╠════════╝77
77777╔═╝77777777777
777╔═╝7777777777777
770╝777777777777777
Either or both walls of the thin funnel should have screw pumps mounted to drain the thin passage of water if and when the traps are triggered, and the floodgates should be left open at all other times.  I've had relative success using such funnels in terrestrial trapping, but in those cases there was the added inducement of a drafted peasant chasing the animals in question.  I have no idea if an unfrightened animal tries to find a path to a specific destination, or moves totally at random choosing from available adjacent squares- in the case of the former, the funnel channels the creature or creatures from a broad area into a narrow area with good reliability if the creature can be got into the broad mouth of the funnel with sufficient inducement to keep moving, while in the case of the latter one imagines that the funnel may have no effect at all, or even an adverse one...  anybody with greater insight into the movement of creatures could help me with this aspect of my problem.  If unmolested creatures move entirely at random, something more like a "roach motel" with a great many entrances might be more appropriate...

But at any rate, building the darn thing is going to be quite a challenge in itself- any experienced ocean-builders have good advice on doing something like this?
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KaelGotDwarves

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2008, 10:32:10 pm »

Dwarf Fortress: Teaching methods of genocide against merpeople because their bones are worth 6000. :P
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Fossaman

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2008, 10:57:33 pm »

I wouldn't set it up in a funnel like that...I think an open area would be better. Animals seem to wander mostly at random, so banking on them moving into an enclosed area like that is a bad idea.
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mainiac

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2008, 10:58:10 pm »

I disapprove of your actions most strongly.

But if your going to do it, I think you should consider breeding all the same.  You don't need to wait for the young to reach adulthood before harvesting them.  Heck, my kittens don't spend more then thirty seconds in this world before they're off to the crossbow bolt shop.
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sneakey pete

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2008, 10:59:35 pm »

To build what you want, you'll need to set up a ring out pumps, around the area you want to do it to. And continuously power them. Enjoy.
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Magua

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2008, 11:44:25 pm »

Since you want the bones, why is the matter time sensitive at all? 

(Or another way, don't corpses decompose to bones regardless of whether they're butchered or not?)
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Randy Gnoman

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2008, 12:01:41 am »

Since you want the bones, why is the matter time sensitive at all? 

(Or another way, don't corpses decompose to bones regardless of whether they're butchered or not?)
Bones left outside disappear over time, iirc.  Thus, if you want to recover the bones of an animal, and that animal is killed above ground- the issue is somewhat time sensitive.

The insight about the young is excellent, and I'm grateful for it:  it's going to make matters much simpler if I only have to catch one generation of Merpeople!

And the reasoning behind the enclosed area is that I'll need to drain it out after they're caught, and keep it dry long enough for my dwarves to fetch the cages without running away from the scary water.  I'm not daunted by the challenge of continuous power:  windmills don't need any base besides a machine, and can be constructed from any floating staircase on their border, so that shouldn't be the tough part... but I was hoping there might be a design out there that solved the problem of backwash scaring dwarves into suspending or canceling construction...
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sneakey pete

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2008, 12:41:25 am »

Well, the alternative is to carve out your own conveniently shaped bay, with floodgates and the end and a few pumps, then open it to the ocean. Problem would be getting the merpeople in though.
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iskurthi

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2008, 10:55:25 am »

And the reasoning behind the enclosed area is that I'll need to drain it out after they're caught, and keep it dry long enough for my dwarves to fetch the cages without running away from the scary water.  I'm not daunted by the challenge of continuous power:  windmills don't need any base besides a machine, and can be constructed from any floating staircase on their border, so that shouldn't be the tough part... but I was hoping there might be a design out there that solved the problem of backwash scaring dwarves into suspending or canceling construction...

They won't cancel construction, even if the water rises too high, they'll just suspend it. So if you're having trouble with construction right on the edge where the water keeps cycling between 0/1/2... just keep unsuspending the construction. Even if they only increment the construction-o-meter a little bit before suspending again, you'll eventually get it done.
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shackleton

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2008, 11:04:19 am »

I have to admit, I'm impressed by the downright dwarfyness of this entire plan. I've always imagined that animals migrate along a rough path (North to South, etc) but it's a hard thing to prove. Try watching the way they move.

On the other hand, a roach-motel works in any case, so that's the best option. I'd say building lots of smaller traps, with accompanying pump-systems, would be the best option. They'd be harder to construct, but once you got a relaible design mapped out, you could build more very easilly. It might be a wise idea to build a fairly extensive network of walkways also.

One big one has the worrying prospect of turning out to be in the wrong place, and hence being totally useless.
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Pilsu

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2008, 11:50:02 am »

Only in Dwarf Fortress would you try to catch a mermaid to butcher her and make trophies out of her bones  :P

Lord_Shadow

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2008, 03:02:54 pm »

One idea is to dig a massive underground aquaduct
Sry about  the walls, i used

Code: [Select]

ocean          channel(not to scale)
7777777777O===============O
7777777777777777777777777777|| the room
7777777777777777777777777777O============O
7777777777777777777777777777XP++++++X####|| trapped room
7777777777777777777777777777XP++++++X####D
7777777777777777777777777777O+++++++O====O
7777777777777777777777777777||++++++||
=========================O+++++++||
7777777777777777777777777777||++++++||
7777777777777777777777777777XP++++++||
7777777777777777777777777777XP++++++||
7777777777777777777777777777O=======O
777777777777O=============O
P= pressure plate
D= Door

I'm not sure if it is possible to build the wall out in to the ocean if it is this would good, you want to force the merpeoples to travel into 'The room' as it is labled. If any enter this 'the room' you must pull the lever so the flood gates will close trapping the merpeople in 'the room'. After this you pull the lever that will open the last flood gate causing all the water to drain out into floor grates trapping the merpeople out of water to die. You can pump the water back out into the ocean from below the floor grate or let it evaporate.

If pressure plates are tripped by merpeople that simplifies things. Put pressure plates at the entrence and exit. Thus when a merperson trips the plate the doors close allowing you to murrder the ceature at your leasure.

sry about any grammer of spelling errors
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Pilsu

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2008, 05:36:56 pm »

Harvesting their offspring will be difficult if they airdrown

Reasonableman

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2008, 06:13:21 pm »

This is quite possibly the most extraordinary thread I have ever seen.
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Aqizzar

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Re: Chasing the elusive Mermaid
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2008, 06:16:01 pm »

It's ideas like this that make me love this God forsaken game.  All these people talking about the utter atrocity off trapping migrating merpeople and forcibly breeding them, because damn it all their internal organs are valuable.  Tips-

Your double-floodgate trap corridor is the crux of the design, but the rub is to make the merpeople move through it.  As far as I can tell, animals don't have any greater path-finding logic than just picking spots on the map and moving to them with the same system dwarf squads do.  I don't think they care about where walls are because I've certainly see animals path straight through my fortress.

Since you can't build walls in the ocean, I say make your own ocean.  Dig a big artificial lake inland, connected to the ocean proper through your trap-locks.  That way, the mermaids' pathfinding is jury rigged to randomly pick destinations in your lake.  If you develop a breeding stock (which is a good idea), you can keep them in the lake, and just use the same trap system in reverse, re-releasing the ones to keep.

To breed them, you might need to capture a fairly large stock of adults (only need one male of course), but the 12 year growth time is not a problem.  Infants produce as many bones as adults, so just axe them as soon as they... spawn? come out the hole? I don't know how merpeople work.
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