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40d:Spirit of fire

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Spirit of fire




Alignment: Evil

Building destroyer: Level 2

· Flying · Trapavoid · Genderless · No Stun · No Pain · No Exert · Fire immune · Learns · Fanciful · Humanoid

Cannot be tamed

Adult at: Birth
Max age: Immortal
Becomes after death

Ash bar

Horrors! Demons in the deep!

Spirits of Fire are one of the possible creatures that will attack your dwarves if you discover glowing pits in Fortress Mode. Owing to their association with the sphere of Fire, the upper levels of the glowing pit will contain small pools of magma and be littered with bars of ash and charcoal.

These creatures are the greatest of the three lesser demons. They will burn or boil everything that they come in contact with except adamantine, and throw giant fireballs at dwarves. Spirits of fire cannot feel pain or bleed to death, and, like all demons, they are immune to traps. Their one weakness is that their limbs sever instead of breaking. Spirits of Fire are immune to fire, so magma traps won't save your fortress. Drowning chambers are completely ineffective, due to the spirits' innate heat boiling water away from several tiles away, but moats remain effective despite the spirits' ability to fly, due to pathfinding quirks. When they die, they leave a pile of ash behind that can be used to make lye or potash.

Spirits will rapidly move toward any dwarf they can reach, and chances are that the dwarf that opens a glowing pit will never live to wall it back up again. (Unless you've sought it on purpose knowing what to expect, the odds are, none of your dwarves...) A partially completed wall will be destroyed with the message "Wall toppled by Spirit of Fire", but this is a misdirection - a completed wall, fortification or other construction is the only thing that can stop the Spirits from spreading out and rapidly destroying the fortress. So surviving with the Spirits involves first avoiding the lowermost levels until adamantine is spotted, then carefully locating the veins and tracing their pattern to its center to locate the chamber, then using a disposable dwarf to wall himself up and dig down into the chamber. Note that a downward stairway is an open invitation to entry for any Spirit in any adjacent square, even if there is solid rock beneath the downward stairway. After the first dwarf is dead, the battle can begin in earnest by using some "picador" to breach the chamber from a large chamber you've prepared lined with fortifications and archers and partially filled with water (about 2/7) with an up-ramp to a place with a diagonal passage so that a wall can be built without ambiguity about which side the dwarf will be left standing on. You can choose either a picador skilled in mining and masonry to have some versatility and possibly survive one round of attack while the archers open fire, or else use one you won't miss. The Spirits rarely (if ever) manage to get an attack through a row of fortifications no matter how close they are to them, and once revealed they make easy prey for archers.

Combat is complicated by the problem that the Spirits are ambushers that cannot be attacked until they attack a dwarf or animal (directly or by fireball). The spirits can effectively be detected by partially flooding a chamber and watching where steam rises. Only some sacrifice can reveal them, such as pets or other animals (cats work nicely). Animals can be placed in cages which the Spirits may break on occasion, but it is just as likely that they will die from the heat without revealing the creature. Babies that crawl out through fortifications, when their mothers conscientiously by dwarven custom bring them to the firing line, work particularly well, since the Spirits seem to show surprisingly little interest in claiming them for the underworld but will pause to cripple them with desultory attacks while following some other dwarves you'd prefer to keep.

Once the Spirits have thinned out enough so that you can enter the glowing pit, it is important not to confuse them with an even more fearsome enemy, lumps of glowing charcoal. Dwarves that will abort any job to avoid shallow water won't hesitate to stride across these insidious enemies, and as soon as one burns its little finger it will cancel whatever job brought it there and stand on the spot moaning until its masterwork armor is burning atop a pile of its bones. Spirits of fire can set the charcoal on fire as they move toward your dwarves, so it's important to forbid everything that ends up in the pit (and the mommy of the baby above will still run in if allowed to find her infant on the pile, on duty or not). The charcoal can be put out with water, though doing so will likely also destroy the pools of magma and wash away any items below you might want to claim. If left alone long enough (about 9 and a half months), it will burn out completely, gradually passing through the x‼(charcoal)‼x, X‼(charcoal)‼X, and XX‼(charcoal)‼XX stages, but don't hold your breath.

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