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An Incomplete Compendium of Magma Use in Dwarven Problem-Solving

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[An excerpt of the philosophical text, Civilisation: Or Else (Subtitled: A gripping tale of Dwarven triumph over Elven savagery!):]

Did you know that Elves make furniture out of wood? Their perversions know no bounds!

Did you know Elves cannot work metal or stone? Finer materials flinch from their unclean touch!

My fellow Dwarves urge you to drive the heresy from their innate nature by thorough application of steel to flesh. This is but one method!

A method that requires dirtying steel with diseased Elf blood. Not to mention it leaves a small mountain of rotting corpses. Do you know what smells worse than a single live Elf? A hundred dead ones!

And while this stench is preferable to the live one, there is a better way! A way to purge their base compulsions and purify the very ground upon which they’ve trodden. Magma!

It is the question AND the answer.

[The next thirty pages weigh the pros and cons of magma versus traditional weaponry. Despite the toll on the surrounding landscape, it highly favors magma turned lava. The author includes several intricate scale drawings of potential magma traps and a detailed plan for a fortress surrounded by, covered by, and partially made of magma. This last is largely impractical, as the author refuses to compromise his vision to include even obsidian.]


[An Excerpt from The Dwarves: Problems and Solutions:]

Dwarves! They ARE the problems!

“Dig a magma tunnel to fuel our workshops,” I tell the novice miners.

They dig straight down and fall right in. A shameful waste of perfectly good picks!

“Hunt wild meat to fill our tables,” I tell the hunters. “There’s only so many turkey egg biscuits a Dwarf can take!”

They lead a horde of rampaging elephants in the front door!

“Dig a chute for our future magma falls,” I tell the miner corps, certain our dining halls and stairwells will be the envy of the entire continent.

In a fit of jealous treachery, they dig the stone right out from another miner’s feet. Fools! That was a legendary miner whose blood now graces our stairwell floors!

“Let the goblins break their might upon our glorious traps,” I tell the population as a whole. “Those who survive to be caged shall be placed in The Pit for our weekly entertainment!”

Dozens throw themselves upon shoddy goblin spears in greed for a dead woodcutter’s socks!


Solutions? I have those aplenty!

[Eighteen pages of crude sketches follow. Some are unintelligible scribbling. Some are smudged beyond recognition. What can be discerned would make the most hardened torturer pale.]


[An excerpt from, “You Accepted Torture,” a welcome pamphlet passed out to all who attempt to emigrate from the fabled and infamous Dwarven colony Obsidianspires:]

Be honest.

You knew what you were getting into.

The rumors abound, no matter how we in Management attempt to silence them.

This is entirely your fault.

The first step is to accept it.

But, High Overlords, I hear you cry. What if I was born here?

Do you notice the key word in that sentence? “I.”

Yes, you. You chose to be born in this hell.

No one coerced you into the ongoing colonization of the Adamantine Folly and subsequent daily siege by countless demon hordes and eldritch abominations. (If you believe you were coerced, see page 87. In short, what does the word coercion even mean, anyway?)

Think of it this way: no other colony can boast entire halls carved from purest adamantine. Are those walls painted in the blood and gristle of countless Dwarves who came before you? Yes. That’s just how the truly devout show their enthusiasm. Why haven’t you volunteered a spare limb to add to the ambience?

Don’t you want this colony to be great? Then why were you fleeing into the wilderness?

Fortunately, you can still fix this. Like the eternal torment you chose in living here, you can even choose your future penance.


The magma pumps.

Rumors about the oppressive heat, the constant toil, and the dangerous working conditions are pernicious, difficult to stamp out, and entirely true. They may be underselling it.

Remember: you chose this.

We’d really have preferred not to waste the time of a squad of highly skilled veterans in hunting you down like a Kobold thief and dragging you back in chains in the night. Some demons made it into the unskilled worker barracks--maybe the military could have saved some of those poor sods instead. (If the outbreak was elsewhere, reference index. If there was no outbreak, see page 37 for the program for liars. There is always a demon outbreak.)


The Doomsday Device.

You may think it’s an honor to be chosen for this top secret project. You’d be right!

The death tolls may be high, but we’re due a surviving test subject any day now. Our statistician says a 100% death rate is improbably high, and he knows his numbers.


[The majority of the rest of the 73-page pamphlet is charred beyond legibility.]


[An excerpt from the popular series, Common Sense Dwarf:]

Common Sense Dwarf here, with more Common Sense for you!

I received some urgent missives from my readers after my last volume, Common Sense Dwarf: Two Cats and You. I am delighted to inform you all that their problems had some pretty simple, straightforward solutions with just a little application of Common Sense!

For instance,

!!Urist McDagger!! wrote, and please excuse the edits for clarity, language, and common decency in favor of our family-friendly audience,

“It’s all on fire. It’s all on fire. Why did we think we could harness this terrible power? It’s all on fire. Please kill me.”

Well, now, !!Urist McDagger!!, I can see you’re in a bit of a pickle! All that panic, all that pain--it’s obvious that a little fluid is in order.

Go to your nearest stockpile and get some Plump Helmet Wine. Once you slake your thirst, I’m sure your thoughts will be clearer and your productivity will sky-rocket, like one of those delightful magma geyser ships your colony is so well known for!

I’m pleased to announce that the majority of letters, messengers, and distant screams of anguish all told a tale in a similar vein. A common problem, a common solution, all for a colony with a most uncommon product!

I can’t tell you how much I’d love to see one of those beauties in action. Magma: the only sea worth sailing. One day, with the contributions of !!workers!! like you, we’ll be able to sail that sea right to the moon!


[Excerpt from “The Mortality Problem,” an advertising pamphlet poorly disguised as a self-help book:]

Is Mortality a Problem? Goblins always Sieging or Snatchers making a Ruckus in their latest Kidnapping-cum-Rescue Attempt? Elves whining about all those tastefully dead Trees in your carefully decorated Backyard? Dwarven neighbors getting you Down by throwing Raucous Parties when you’re just getting to the last Chapter of a particularly Good Book? Maybe even this one?

Worry no further! The Mortality Problem has a Solution!: Immortality!

A little bit of Necromancy and those Unruly Neighbors become the Neighborhood Watch!

Protect your precious Tower! Boost Property Values! Contact “We Are Necromancers” TODAY!!!

[Included is a map to an abandoned Necromancer’s tower. The location is widely known to be overrun with Dwarves. Current inquiries as to where the vaunted armies of shambling undead have gone are directed to the neighboring lava pools that have sprung up in the years since publication.]


[The book Can Dying Save the World? reproduced in its entirety:]

[The first 127 pages read simply, “NO.” The last, somewhat nonsensical to those unfamiliar with Dwarven culture, reads, “MAGMA.”]

[The author is unknown.]