So I started building a new fortress. I found a site that looked good: cold enough to freeze part of the year, and most of the soil near the surface is a happy salmon color. The biome is badlands. A minor river cuts the local area in half. It's not too cozy (I hate too cozy): there's a multi-level aquifer over the whole thing, the surroundings aren't calm (it was hard to satisfy this on the world map I generated), there are no trees, and there are barely any plants aboveground.
I brought five mining picks and distributed them to the five bravest individuals, and upon arrival in spring, we set to work on freezing our way through the aquifer in a huge hurry, before anything would have time to thaw.
The dwarves, being in as much of a hurry as I am when it comes to channeling (I hate channeling almost as much as I hate too much safety, perversely)--decided to work upwards. (This is new behavior in DF2010, and I hate it.)
So I noticed a miner going down into what was about to become a water- and then ice-filled trench, to finish digging..and Armok was like [slow motion] "NOOOOOOooooooooooooo---" but it was too late.
The first miner became encased in ice.
Then the second miner rushed down to finish the first miner's work, and became encased in ice too.
Then the third one. Then Armok managed to undesignate the channeling and re-designate it one annoying square at a time.
Then, Armok looked away from the mining site, since a dwarf was throwing a tantrum elsewhere. Armok did not notice that (s)he had left an additional square designated for channeling. The fourth miner encased himself in ice.
Three dwarves remained. One held the last remaining mining pick, and had just inherited the post of expedition leader. The second was having a tantrum and following the one with the mining pick around, begging to schedule a meeting to be consoled. And the third was eerily going about his business, whistling while he worked.
The tantrum-thrower eventually sank into a deep, incurable depression. Lacking anything high to jump off of, he began starving himself to death. He's currently standing outside near the river, waiting for death.
The other two dwarves desperately slaughtered the pack animals, built a couple of fields, and have been gathering herbs. The expedition leader is on the verge of tantrumming at all times, because there's only one bed, one chair, and one table, and the other guy keeps nabbing them first. (I can't build any more—there's not enough wood!) They've got plenty of food, at least, but nothing else. There is no stone, and no wood, except the small number of logs I brought along. There are no other materials.
Nutscaves could hold out a long while like this, given that no serious enemies show up. We can brew until the barrels run out, and our turkeys are laying eggs. But this settlement is basically hosed.
Armok was about to call it quits.
But then some migrants showed up. Naturally, they were on the other side of the river, and there was no way across. I deconstructed some stuff to get enough wood to make a bridge, but I don't know what's going to happen with these useless mouths. Two dwarves would fare a lot better in this situation than ten. But I can't just leave the new guys out to starve too. As we've seen on Stargate Universe recently, that would be just wrong. Unthinkable. We'll all starve together.
To the bitter end!