integral wrote:The shockwave also knocked some marauding goblins unconscious where my baboon killed them.
This sentence makes me want to learn how to play this game.
Is the learning curve as steep as it appears?
Yes. Here's what I recommend learning how to do, in more or less order.
1. Mine a few Z-levels. Learn how to make stone doors, blocks, and wooden beds, bins, and barrels. Bins and Barrels are invaluable. Bins won't seem that useful until #3. Then you're see just how sweet they are when you're trying to move 400 items to the trade depot. Figure out how to make rooms - dining rooms, offices, and so on. Figure out zones as well... I like making the entrance a meeting area just so there's always dwarves/animals wandering around there to catch any thieves or snatchers that might try to sneak in.
2. Get food/alcohol production up. Don't worry about making other crop products, for now just make everything in to food. Learn cooking and brewing. Understand for yourself just how useless Fisherdwarves are for anything beyond fishing... don't get me wrong, fresh fish is wonderful and it's a good idea to have a fisher or two.. just don't expect them to do anything BUT fish. Ever.
3. Figure out stockpiles - what's best to mix together, what's best to separate out, how granular you need to make them... this really depends on your playstyle. If you do minifortresses connected via long tunnels, you'll want many small specific stockpiles. If you do one massive structure, you'll probably one a few large stockpiles that basically take in all of certain types..
(For example, if you want your Forging community set up far away from the entrance and your Craftsmen right at the entrance, and you don't want them to have to ever leave the immediate area, you'll make a small dining room and food stockpile near your forges, as well as bedrooms for them, and the same thing over by your craftsmen and the crafts shop)
4. Figure out moods. Most moods that I've seen need a Craftsdwarfshop. But really, any just about workshop can be required. If you have a dwarf get possessed or taken by a fey mood, and they seem to just wander around, check your workshops and see what you're missing, and build any that do not exist.. the dwarf should claim one of the new shops. I say just about as I've never seen an Ashery, a Dyer's Shop, or an Alchemist Shop claimed. By the same token, this is when you figure out that it's always a good idea to take a couple of gems, some leather, some cloth, some thread, and some turtles along with you when you embark... - in case someone gets possessed early on and needs shells and leather, you won't be up a creek and facing a possible berserk dwarf in a few days.
5. Get some Stonecrafting and Mechanics going. Learn how to trade (stonecrafting's useful for this, as you rarely have a shortage of stone) and how to make and transfer power around your fortress. Learn how to transfer power up and down Z levels. Learn how to create a Well with a refillable reservoir. Make it drainable, either with floodgates or floor hatches hooked to levers (just in case someone gets suicidal and leaps into your drinking water supply). Leave a bit open for fishing. Bonus Points - create a waterfall in your large well room that's self-powering (Water Wheels + Mechanisms + Screw Pumps + Multiple Z-Level Patterns = Happy Dwarves)
6. Figure out the whole Military thing with guards and drafted dwarves.
7. Figure out Trapmaking - stone drop traps are the easiest to operate, Cage traps being the second.. some of the others require pressure plates or levers to control the action.
8. Learn to anticipate who might be showing up on the next migration wave. If you've got 35+ dwarves and no Dungeon Master, go ahead and get the rooms ready for them. Generally speaking, Nobles need an Office, a Bedroom, a Dining Room, and Dungeon Masters, Barons, and their Consort, and the King/Queen and their consort require tombs as well.
Others might disagree with my order, but I think it's a useful place to start.
Just remember DF's motto - Losing Is Fun
As tragic as it is when a fortress falls into a chain reaction of depression and homicidal behavior.. it's also pretty damn funny.