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DIMWIT FLATHEAD, Excessive Ruler of the Empire

                    "Why pay less?"
                               -Dimwit Flathead

Lord Dimwit Flathead the Excessive (sometimes called the Thorough, somtimes called Dimwit), ruled the Great Underground Empire for 19 years from 770 to 789 GUE. He was the seventh king of the Flathead Dynasty, coming to the throne after Mumberthrax, and before Loowit. He was best known for his outrageousness in style, policy, and engineering.

In 723 GUE, Dimwit Flathead, the great-great-great-great grandson of King Duncanthranx, who would be alternately described as “a colorful figure” and “the most wretched ruler Quendor has ever seen,” was born to Prince Mumberthrax, great-great-grandson of Duncanthrax. He along with his eleven siblings would grow in notoriety. As their vast achievements became legendary, they would become known as The Twelve Flatheads, and play a role in the most romanticized era of Zork’s history, the reign of Lord Dimwit Flathead.

Although it was already clear by this point that Frobwit’s son Timberthrax would never produce an heir to the throne, he was still the next in line to the royal crown. Phloid Flathead's diaries, still well-preserved after so many centuries, make it clear that even he had come to despair of ever becoming king. Mumberthrax, at this point already labeled the Not Terribly Important, would be an old man by the time he could finally claim the crown. Even as early as 725, Dimwit was listed in the royal archives as the eventual successor and in fact would grow up with this expectation, but would in the meanwhile have to sit through a wait of over thirty years, stuck seemingly forever in the shadows of his older relatives.

This in and of itself should have been no big deal. After all, plenty of monarchs in the past have had to wait for several members of their immediate family to pass away before being able to lay claim to power. However, within the Flathead family things were, as always, quite different.

At this point, it may be reasonable to try to understand the personal and psychological origins and explanations for Dimwit’s excessive behavior. Why did Dimwit do the things he did? Was he stupid? Was he insane? The answers to these questions can be found in several places, namely the treatment of the young Dimwit during his childhood, particularly by his father and other royal relatives, as well as in the details of the crown prince’s royal education.

Let us then look at the details. What was Dimwit taught to think about his role as a Flathead and a future monarch? The following excerpt is from a 731 GUE children's history of Quendor that various royal tutors used in their attempts to educate the young prince:

Duncanthrax was the best king of all time. There were many kings before Duncanthrax, and there will be many kings after Duncanthrax, but none of these kings will ever be as amazing as Duncanthrax.

It almost goes without saying that Dimwit did not enjoy this book at all. Rumor has it that in his daily fits of temper during history class, he managed to destroy several thousand copies of the book before his teachers finally gave up. Clearly, Dimwit was plagued throughout his childhood by a sense of deep inferiority to his predecessors.

Mumberthrax, perhaps the most extreme example of being affected by Duncanthrax’s propaganda that he was the most awesome king of all time, spent his entire life utterly convinced of his own unimportance, completely unwilling to perform any deed that would cause him to be remembered by history. Convinced of his own irrelevance, Mumberthrax could see little reason to think that his son Dimwit would turn out much better. (It did not help, that the tad spoiled Dimwit had already tarnished his image with fondness for torturing his nannies in the Egreth Castle dungeon.)

Infected by Duncanthrax’s propaganda and the incessant taunting of relatives, Dimwit would go too far the other way; consumed by the desire to prove his own self-worth, he spent every waking moment of his reign intent on outdoing every single single one of his predecessor's achievements. (It seems that Dimwit spent many of his sleeping moments pursuing this goal as well. S. Zeebin has put forward the surprising but all-too-believable hypothesis that Dimwit dictated most of the 5,521 Mareilon Edicts while sound asleep.)

Nevertheless, it seems a little far-fetched to blame Dimwit's excessive nature on an attempt to outdo the institutionalized vanity of his great-great-grandfather. But when combined with the circumstances surrounding Dimwit’s status as heir apparent to the throne of Quendor, the answer seems clear.

Dimwit spent most of his early adulthood (c. early 740s) vacationing in the sparsely populated Eastlands across the Great Sea with 40,000 of his attendants and closest friends. Dimwit despised the outdoors, and he was petrified of rain, which puddled embarrassingly on his level pate. He soon became enthralled by the underground caverns in those areas, an interest that would one day change the course of the Kingdom.

In 765, during one of his extended summer vacations in the Eastlands (before becoming king and transporting the castle permanently), the future king took 6,000 of his closest friends on a camping trip in the forests of Famathria. After two months of “roughing it” in the wilderness, he suddenly developed an unremitting sneeze that forced him to return prematurely.

Dimwit Flathead spent the subsequent weeks strapped to his bed against his will. Though his retelling is quite certain on the matter, it is assumed that this was seen by all as the only possible way of causing himself even greater suffering. He writes of his extreme longing to itch his nose, discussing in great detail the measures he wished to take in order to stop the relentless sensation, which included, among other things, the insertion of a fully-grown porcupine up each nostril.

Though Prince Dimwit’s behavior up to that point had always been seen as a bit excessive, history shows that his most stunning feats of overindulgence were spent detailing the suffering he experienced, lying in bed, unable to move his arms in the slightest, much less reach up to and scratch his swollen, red nose. The guards who stood watch outside his bedroom were made to pay dearly immediately following his recovery. In fact, some authors have suggested that the entire underground empire was made to pay for their collective unwillingness to let him scratch his proboscis.

As a teenager, Babe Flathead was something of a lady's man and a party animal, and his older brother Dimwit would frequently have to bail the Babe out of jail following one infraction or another (c. 761~7). By all accounts, Babe and Dimwit, despite their 25-year age difference, were closest of all the Flathead siblings.

Starting with his own self-portrait in 766 GUE, and finishing with his Coronation Portrait of King Dimwit in 783 GUE, Leonardo Flathead brilliantly captured the varied personalities of the Twelve Flatheads on canvas over a span of seventeen years. The originals could once be seen on display in the gallery at Flatheadia Castle before it was ransacked in 883 GUE. Reproductions were also made for the 883 Flathead Calendar. During the reign of Dimwit Flathead, noblemen from every province would be escorted to his studio by the king's personal militia to have their portraits painted by Leonardo.

Perhaps the most thoroughly researched era of Quendoran history is the reign of Dimwit Flathead. The political, cultural and moral excesses of the unstable monarch have all been well catalogued by people with more patience and time on their hands, the countless deeds of Dimwit Flathead’s reign shall be summarized here.  

When Mumberthrax felt death's icy hand in 770 GUE, his son, Dimwit Flathead, assumed the Quendoran throne. Every province, country, and city in the Empire owned allegiance to him and to the powerful dynasty to which he belonged. Lord Dimwit, as he liked to be called, was a colorful character, described by Boswell Barwell as “vibrant,” but has also been portrayed as “the single worst ruler the Empire ever produced.” As both the fifth generation of the Flathead seed, and the seventh king of the Dynasty, he would rule Quendor for 19 years until his death in 789.

Lord Dimwit’s first act was to rename the Kingdom of Quendor. Both its above and below ground regions became “The Great Underground Empire” in honor of the myriad of tunnels and passageways built at the behest of King Duncanthrax, this despite the fact that the vast majority of the kingdom’s people, including Dimwit himself, continued to live above ground. This was a great relief to the people. Although the name had been used as early as 668 (some legends say as early as the reign of Entharion, but there is no surviving evidence to support this notation), it shed light on the mysterious acronym of the dating system. Within a few years, the new name had completely displaced the older one. (After the reign of Dimwit Flathead, both names were briefly used interchangeably, until eventually The Great Underground Empire solely referred to the underground kingdom.)

Dimwit’s second act of vanity was to re-title the Great Sea with the name Flathead Ocean. The name never really stuck, and both names are used interchangeably to this day, the original being favored by the Westlanders. The basis of the bloit additionally changed to Dimwit's three-eyed cat.

Having spent countless vacations overseas, Lord Dimwit shared the fondness of Duncanthrax for the uncharted territories of the Eastlands. Thus the same year, he decided to move the capital of Quendor from Egreth in the Westlands, to the little-known colony of Aragain in the central Eastlands, where the seat of government would remain until the fall of the Empire in 883. The small hamlet was replaced with the 8,600 square bloit  monstrosity known as Castle Flatheadia, which was built literally on top of the unsuspecting villagers (rumor has it that some of the crude huts and tents are still occupied in the lower basement levels of the castle). Some bitter, unappreciative chroniclers have described Dimwit’s castle at Flatheadia as his biggest folly. In a surprisingly short amount of time, that small village was transformed, quickly becoming the center of civilization at it was then known.

Dimwit’s vanity was surpassed only by his outrageous sense of proportion. For example, in the same year, planning began for his official coronation, an event of such monumental importance that the 18-month festivity would take 13 years to prepare, thereby placing it well into the latter half of his reign. In fact, the beginning and end of the coronation planning process act as bookends to achievements for which Lord Dimwit is best known.

The two closest advisors to Lord Dimwit Flathead were Lord Feepness and Delbor of Gurth, although it seems likely that Syovar at least played a minute roll. Whether flattery, forced, or authentic, the differences between their praises for the king can clearly be seen:

Your Worship-
I receive news of your word with pleasure and come quickly. 
Your Humble Servant,

                    Lord Feepness

in marked contrast to the more subservient, and therefore much more favored Delbor of Gurth:

To my King and my God, the Lord Dimwit Flathead the Ever-Subtle:  

Swiftly the winds blow to me the blessed news of your eternal and sweeping mercy. Truly Quendor counts itself amongst the most lucky of all worlds to have none other than your Holiness and Beneficence as its sovereign lord. Even in my most distant and frigid northern retreat, made ever worse, my Lord, by its distance from you, even in these grey mountains the sounds of your royal summons bring life to the very snow and ice. Truly, your word, my Lord, can do all things: the ancient Westlands break their fast on Antharian granola at your whim. The malodorous surmin smells as roses at your decree. My Lord, no mighty steed, no magical spell, nor even the shortest route across the magnificent mountains that bear your name can return me to your side as quickly as my heart would beg. Your servant in grateful humility,  

Delbor of Gurth

The 770s were known as the “musty” decade of Lord Dimwit Flathead’s rule, when all standard ground transportation was banned to save then-valuable shoe leather. How commoners got around is too arcane to attempt to relate, but royalty traveled by hot-air balloon.

Dimwit, recognizing a kindred spirit in his younger brother, Johann Sebastian, appointed him official court composer in 771. Later that year, he wrote his famous “Flatheadia Overture for Rack and Pendulum” to celebrate the dedication of the completed Flatheadia Dungeon. Following that event, Johann would spend his later years composing music for ever more grandiose instruments, such as his “Concerto for Woodwinds and Waterfalls.”

Though there has never been an accurate count, it is known that the Flatheadia Dungeon (also known as the Asylum), contained no less than 10,000 occupants at its peak. This is of minor historical note in the context of Dimwit’s other acts of excessiveness, but it is worth mentioning because of a drama of Lucrezia Flathead that would soon play itself out within the dungeon’s walls.

With the entire castle completed, the seat of government was officially moved from Egreth to Flatheadia on the 14th of Jam, 771 GUE. At its peak, the castle at Flatheadia, which was connected directly to the sprawling underground caverns and tunnels after which the empire had been named, housed over 90% of the Empire’s population. The nearby village-turned-metropolis would be home to the Underground Revenue Service, the Postal Service, and various temples and courts of law. The dominating feature of the Flatheadia landscape after 781 would be the 400-story FrobozzCo World Headquarters Building. Much like Egreth, its counterpart in the Westlands, Flatheadia was the focus of all new underground tunneling and exploring in the area.

Egreth was abandoned and collected dust, at least until the all sorts of awful creatures moved in. The old castle became a place of ill omen, inhabited by trolls, grues, goblins, and even horrible old hobgoblins. Without any people around to drive them out, they would have the entire place to themselves. But this free reign would not last long, for soon a bunch of evil magicians would do their horrid magic spells in the royal rooms and make the creatures their slaves. A succession of magicians would continue to use the castle for their black magic until the last of them, Radnor, was defeated during the tenth century.

Let us pause here for a moment to briefly describe some small portions of the 8,600 bloit castle at Flatheadia, and what went into its making. It is not certain if all the following regions were constructed before the castle’s 771 occupation, but they were certainly all finished before the king’s death. The canopied bed in the private bedroom of Lord Dimwit Flathead was alone larger than most farms, while the closest (small by the standards of the castle) could probably sleep a few regiments.

Dimwit loved zoos, because he loved imprisonment of any kind; if the dungeons were full of prisoners he could at least get some joy from throwing a couple of minxes behind bars. The one built in the lower levels of the castle, with 69,105 cages, was at that time easily the largest in all Quendor.

His mania for including every conceivable ecosystem under his roof included the excavation and construction of the Great Underground Mountain, Savannah, Woods, Lake, and Desert, all beneath Flatheadia. The formation of the Desert clearly demonstrates Dimwit’s lack of perspective, as his originally intent was for a personal sandbox. The inspiring view of the Mountain made it easy to see why the king climbed it with such frequency, although some quibblers insisted that it was hardly “mountain climbing” to be carried up in a plush sedan chair, but those quibblers all were tortured to death.

If we were to go on about the great hall which was so big that the ceiling had to be lowered to reduce the frequency of storm clouds forming in the upper regions, the tremendous audience chamber where thousands of visitors would queue up every day (Dimwit rarely had the patience to see even one person a day), each of the wide balconies larger than more castles, a formal garden designed to match a fairy tale he enjoyed as a child, a banquet hall which could easily hold ten thousand guests and requiring the combined farm outposts of three provinces, the scullery where the castle’s pots and pans were the output of the forges of Borphee for three years, a kitchen crowded with 600 chefs, a courtyard where he occasionally ordered carnivals, a library once containing copies of every book ever written, the biggest chapel in all of Quendor, the solar where he would  bathe and dress to meet his most trusted advisors and intimate guests, then we would need to postpone our history indefinitely. Thus without much reluctance, we shall continue.

As the use of magic became more prevalent, so did the problems inherent in its use. Since magic had become available to people in all professions, conflicts arose. One famous issue involved the question whether the plumber's FIZMO spell (“cause stopped-up pipes to unclog”) could be sold as a digestive aid by physicians.

The issue came to a head in the aftermath of an incident known as the Endless Fire, which set back the public’s acceptance of magic by a slight mispronunciation and its rather severe consequences. This magical inferno, kindled on Estuary 18, 773 GUE was so named because it burned for four weeks after destroying the city of Mareilon. A well-meaning local civil servant caused the unspeakable devastation when he attempted to cast the ZEMDOR spell (“turn original into triplicate”) but accidentally cast ZIMBOR instead (“turn one really big city in lots of tiny, little ashes”). He reportedly apologized to the city, with the words: “Whoops! My bad!”

At this point, discerning readers will have noted that all of Dimwit's acts seemed to have been to gratify his ego. This, however, is not true. With the public outcry that followed the Endless Fire, Lord Dimwit Flathead’s drastic response was swift and characteristically extreme. The Endless Fire led him to issue a series of 5,521 edicts over the following few weeks, which had the effect of severely limiting public access to magic (and, incidentally, lawyers). If the hypothesis of S. Zeebin is correct, then most of these edicts were dictated while Dimwit was sound asleep.

Henceforth, all magic was entrusted to the various Guilds of Enchanters, which by now existed in many small communities. These edicts resulted in the blossoming of the highly successful institutions and they found themselves wielding more power than ever before. Each Guild, whose elders comprised the so-called Circle of Enchanters, was empowered to form schools for the training of new Enchanters. This official sanctioning of the Guilds led to the formation of numerous others chapters with membership in the various Guilds in excess of 2,000 by the year 800 GUE. The strength of the Enchanter’s Guild was so great that despite the collapse of the Great Underground Empire in 883 under the feeble-minded reign of Wurb Flathead, that it remained virtually unchanged until 966.

While it cannot be said with precision when the time tunnels were constructed, they were certainly completed before the end of the reign of Lord Dimwit Flathead, who at one point hired a team of 12,000 specialists to trace the labyrinth of time tunnels underneath the Great Underground Empire. The model they presented him with looked so awfully like a great ball of spaghetti that the meeting was terminated and dinner was served. The report “A Meticulous Tracing of Temporal Lateralism in the Great Underground Empire, with Marinara” is still available in libraries and restaurants today.

After all of her eighteen marriages came to grisly ends, with each husband being gruesomely killed in increasingly bizarre accidents, Lucrezia Flathead was rumored to be in a miserable emotional state. Fearing her suicide, the uber-widow was imprisoned in a cell in the dungeon in 774 by her elder brother Dimwit Flathead. Though it pained the king dearly, he had only done so for her own safety. She languished in that cell for the remaining fifteen years of her life.

While Dimwit certainly inherited Duncanthrax’s ambition and ingratiating personality, he directed them in a somewhat less productive fashion. Whereas Duncanthrax used his power to expand his empire, Dimwit was motivated to realize his bizarre whims. Raising the kingdom’s tax rate to just over 98%, Dimwit began a series of grandiose projects that soon earned him the title “Flathead the Excessive.” Thousands upon thousands of golden zorkmids were minted and spent by the royal treasury in an effort to finance Dimwit's remarkable and excessive ceremonies and constructions. Lord Dimwit gave all of his underground projects to the Frobozz Magic Cave Company, chiefly because his brother, John D. Flathead, was President of FrobozzCo International, the Magic Cave Company's parent company. Hundreds of new subsidiaries were formed daily.

One of the first of these incredible projects was the creation of the Royal Museum in 776 GUE to house the crown jewels, along with a technology display, and a famous royal puzzle in the form of a sandstone and marble maze. The Technology Museum contained items generously provided by FrobozzCo International (donated directly by John D. Flathead), nonworking models of Thomas Alva Flathead’s Frobozz Magic Compressor and Frobozz Magic Room Spinner, and a working model of a Frobozz Magic Temporizer.

This museum had incredibly tight security that actually showed restraint on the part of the king. He had originally planned to build the museum under two miles of mountain, and surrounded with 500 feet of steel, but had to settle for a less excessive construction plan. This rare moment of self-control was probably due in some part to the sound advice of one of his chief advisors, Lord Feepness, who said that the idea was “impractical.” His other advisor, Delbor of Gurth, was probably too frightened to give his opinion in the matter.

It was during his inspection of the museum with Feepness, when Dimwit revealed his Flood Control Dam #3 and volcano projects:

“Very nice! Very nice! Not enough security, but very nice! Now, Lord Feepness, pay attention! I've been thinking and what we need is a dam, a tremendous dam to control the Frigid River, with thousands of gates. Yes! I can see it now. We shall call it ... Flood Control Dam #2. No, not quite right. Aha! It will be Flood Control Dam #3.”

“Pardon me, my Lord, but wouldn't that be just a tad excessive?”

“Nonsense! Now, let me tell you my idea for hollowing out volcanoes...”

It is of slight historical interest that on that very day the adventurer who would eventually become the second Dungeon Master used the Royal Museum's Temporizer to travel back in time from 948 to 776 to steal one of the crown jewels. This resulted in a dramatic increase in security measures by Dimwit Flathead. The unexplained theft of his royal ring during the final stages of construction led to a greater eccentric excessiveness on his part, forcing him to place the remaining jewels in a hidden vault buried seven miles under the Flathead Mountains, accessible only by a chain of sixty-three secret teleportation spells. Thus, the following year, the museum was dedicated on Arch 22 without the Crown Jewels of the Great Underground Empire.

Under the management of foreman Mumboz Agrippa, a descendant of C. Agrippa, the Frobozz Magic Cave Company quenched and then hollowed out a 500 foot tall volcano nearby Flatheadia. Dimwit was fond of this idea. The project was conducted under very tight security and he personally reviewed the plans at each stage. Interestingly enough, since the theft of the royal ring in 776, Dimwit Flathead distrusted museum security enough to place his prized possession, an incredibly gaudy crown, within a locked safe in the mighty volcano. Other rooms were installed within, including the official library for the royal family.


The 780s saw the start of the “yet mustier” decade of Lord Dimwit Flathead’s rule, when in addition to the already banned ground transportation, hot-air balloons were banned due to their inability to navigate Aragain Falls.

By 782 GUE, the Babe was such a phenomenal drawing card that Lord Dimwit constructed the kingdom’s largest sporting arena, Flathead Stadium, just north of Anthar. Once completed, it was dedicated to the great athlete.  Double Fanucci, dragon-fights, and shark-wrestling were the primary draws to the crowds who filled Flathead Stadium, which was reputed to have enough seats for every man, woman, and child in the Great Underground Empire.

Ground was finally broken on Ottobur 11th, 782 GUE for the Flood Control Dam #3 construction (which had been proposed six years ago)  in order to harness the mighty destructive power of the Frigid River. This mammoth edifice with virtually no useful purpose, since it never rains underground, was supported by a grant of 37 million zorkmids from the Central Bureaucracy and Lord Dimwit himself; but neither of those concerns diminished its magnificence. It had been said that this is the greatest engineering feat in the history of the Great Underground Empire, as well as the most nonsensical and expensive.

The construction of Flood Control Dam#3 took 112 days from ground breaking to the dedication. It required a work force of 384 slaves, 34 slave drivers, 12 engineers, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. The work was managed by a command team composed of 2345 bureaucrats, 2347 secretaries (at least two of whom could type), 12,256 paper shufflers, 52,469 rubber stampers, 245,193 red tape processors, and nearly one million dead trees. When finished, this impressive structure was composed of 370,000 cubic feet of concrete, was 256 feet tall at the center, and 193 feet wide at the top. The reservoir created behind the dam had a volume of 1.7 billion cubic feet, an area of 12 million square feet, and a shore line of 36 thousand feet. Only four of the fourteen hundred sluice doors proposed by His Lordly Excessiveness were ever actually constructed.

Flood Control Dam #3 was dedicated on the 30th of Estuary, 783 and afterward became one of the most famous tourist attractions in all of Zork. On the first day of every summer (until the collapse of the Empire in 883 GUE), crowds would line the banks of the Frigid River for the annual opening of its floodgates. While there was never a Flood Control Dam #1 or #2, others would follow, including #7 and #678.

The following edict of Dimwit Flathead in 782 serves to illustrate the origin of the main problem of the Granola Riots in 865 GUE:
After thirteen years of planning and two-thirds of the way through his reign, Lord Dimwit’s coronation ceremony began on Oracle 22nd, 783 at Flatheadia. The coronation lasted for an additional 18 fun-filled months, and once all bills were in, cost twelve times the Empire’s GNP. Since Dimwit’s coronation, all subsequent kings were crowned on Oracle 22nd. Leonardo Flathead finished painting his Coronation Portrait of King Dimwit, which was the last of the Twelve Flathead portraits. His portrait captured him in the classic pose of imbecility, astride his gaudy throne. This incredible ceremony solidified the King’s informal title, Lord Dimwit Flathead the Excessive. Those who refused to attend the ridiculous coronation were incarcerated.

The Wizard of Frobozz was a strange little man, usually wearing a long cloak, a high pointed hat embroidered with astrological signs, and a long, stringy, and unkempt beard. He received his D.T. (Doctor of Thaumaturgy) degree from GUE Tech. In the years to follow, the Wizard of Frobozz became a member of the influential Accardi chapter of the Enchanters' Guild before being promoted to a seat on the Circle of Enchanters. He was later removed from his position for forgetfulness bordering on senility. Among his other failings, the lively wit of his youth had been replaced by a semi-sadistic mischievousness coupled with an inability to pronounce spells other than those beginning with other than the letter “F”.

Despite this, in either the 770s or early 80s, he was appointed by Dimwit Flathead as the official court wizard at Flatheadia. If fate turns as a wheel, then the Wizard of Frobozz represented a low point for the excessive king. In 785 GUE, havoc struck Quendor when he accidentally transformed the entire west wing of Dimwit’s famed castle into a mountain of fudge. Thus in one errant stroke of wayward magic, the Wizard’s blunder simultaneously destroyed it with a single word, “Fudge.”

To see the west wing of his beloved Castle Flatheadia transformed into a pile of fudge was too much for anyone to bear. Lord Dimwit, without giving so much as a written reprimand first, fired the Wizard for crimes against sugary goodness. Never one to let himself be outdone by an upstart ruler, Lord Dimwit, without another thought, ordered everyone, everywhere to help rebuild the west wing. Of course, the new wing would be 25 times larger than the previous one because Dimwit wanted it that way. Had he not already earned the nickname “Dimwit Flathead the Excessive,” he would have earned it here. It was declared illegal to eat Flatheadia Fudge (as it had become known) and local authorities were ordered to run a billboard campaign with the slogan “Stop Eating My Castle!” Dimwit built a fudge-melting plant in Fenshire to melt down the pieces of fudge that his castle had been turned into. It took more than a year for it to be rebuilt, and yet the faint smell of fudge would always be hanging in the air. The Wizard of Frobozz was “retired” to a small, obscure, and unoccupied corner of the Great Underground Empire which would later be referred to as the second level of the Dungeon of Zork. Here he constructed for himself a home amongst the caverns.

Toccata and Fugue and Theme and Variations, Opus No. 69105 (787 GUE)
For the royal elite, more classical styles of music were in vogue. The most famous of these works is the “Toccata and Fugue and Theme and Variations, Opus No. 69105” by Johann Sebastian Flathead, commissioned by Lord Dimwit the Excessive. The piece was only performed once in its entirety, in 787 GUE. Legend has it that several members of the 98,000-piece royal orchestra, chorus, corps de ballet, artillery battery, fireworks brigade, and smoke effects crew failed to survive the eighty-seven day ordeal.

Other Excessive Events in the Reign of Dimwit Flathead
The full list of Dimwit Flathead’s ludicrously excessive projects may perhaps never be known, as historians are still uncovering new mysteries of this omnipotent tyrant. Many of these, such as the enormous granola smelters built near the Antharian Granola Mines of Plumbat and the scouting of the time tunnels, remain undated. Dimwit’s Birthday was observed once a week on “Birthday,” a day when everyone in the kingdom was required to give the king a present. (Since the renaming of this day of the week, all records of its original name have been erased from history.) Dimwit’s face has been found upon at least one version of the zm1 coin, the zm100 bill, the zm10000 coin, and the zm3 postage stamp.  It is also known that Lord Dimwit Flathead had a magical life-size chess set that could be accessed by donning a magic robe. Thomas Alva Flathead designed twelve specialty cannons for his brother, including Chloe the Cannon and the Foo dog Cannon. When the Temple of Agrippa was discovered, Dimwit Flathead saw it fit to order its reconstruction by setting an additional level upon the ancient regions previously constructed by Lockmoore and C. Agrippa, thus accounting for a strange duality in the contrast between the old and the new.

The Cultural Complex, constructed in caverns near Port Foozle, contained the Royal Theater. Built to the precise specifications of Lord Dimwit Flathead, this cavernous auditorium is reputed to be the most elaborate in the Great Underground Empire, its excessive structure holding 69,105 seats (which were each built like thrones), not including the royal box seats that were centrally situated on the 37th mezzanine.

Dimwit also developed an incredible urge for odd candies. He commissioned the Frobozz Magic Candy Company to make him candied grasshoppers, chocolate ants, and worms glacee. His love for these was only surpassed by his desire for rare chocolate truffles. In order to indulge his bottomless appetite, he ordered the excavation of entire forests where the truffles grew.

Punishment of Withheld Taxes
Wishing to turn up every last zorkmid, instilling fear if necessary to pursue this end, Dimwit decreed on the 4th of Dismumber, 788 GUE, that “anyone withholding payment of all taxes decreed before this date shall be killed along with everyone they have ever met.”

“My Best Excesses” (788~789 GUE)
Perhaps the greatest insight into the mind of history’s most memorable and controversial figure can be found written in his own words, in the text of his autobiography, “My Best Excesses.” Published over the two-year period preceding his death, the original volume is approximated to be over 122,000 pages in length. However, during its first printing, Lord Dimwit frantically pulled roughly half of the pages from the press and had them sealed and buried four bloits underground, directly beneath the future site of his nine-bloit statue. The issue was, needless to say, not to be discussed within the court on punishment of gruesome execution, thus it can only be assumed that Dimwit got cold feet about publishing his more personal thoughts. Destroying such glorious prose as his own was certainly out of the question, so four bloits worth of dirt and sediment seemed the only rational solution. Due to severe unfeasibility and general lack of interest, the missing text remained buried beneath Fublio Valley for over three centuries until it was excavated by the Grand Inquisitor.

As even the half-sized version was too large to print, the book titled, “Excerpt from My Best Excesses” was thought for a long time hold the only surviving fragments of this historical work. Unfortunately, this book was either authored by a pseudo-Dimwit or redacted after the publication of the Analecta Loowiticia.  If these any of these words are in fact genuine (or are a collaboration of poor editing of authentic documents), they may shed some possible light behind Dimwit’s rationality of instituting his final acts of excessiveness:

“As I will summarize in the following eleven hundred pages, the ninety-eight per cent tax rate is a mere pittance, and nothing worth doing in this empire can be done for any less than a full hundred per cent! My next two or three thousand Tax Bills should further illumine my immensely keen feelings on this subject…”

“I have known my share of detractors. A ruler so excessively wise, so excessively handsome, so excessively flat as myself with always find himself the subject of pernicious slander. There always will be some who lack the vision. Some who think we cannot afford (plebeian concept!) to erect a new continent in my own excellent image. Some who doubt we require (as if that were the issue!) an underground Flood Control Dam, where there is no rain. As if the inspired work of a philosopher king was to be governed by the vicissitudes of the weather! I am convinced however, that the statue of my royal selfness that I am erecting in the Fublio Valley, will be my most excellent excess -- my haute excess, my opus excess magnus flatus! Nine bloits high and counting, the sheer impact of the visage, of my regal nez, when the sun is setting just behind this generous protuberance -- leaves nothing to the imagination...”

The 9-Bloit High Statue (789 GUE)
In all the years of the empire, through all its eccentrics, no one comes close to matching the inimitable mark made by Lord Dimwit Flathead the Excessive. No ego, no vanity, no exaggerated sense of proportion can compare with the likes of the man who in 789 GUE ordered the destruction of 1,400 square bloits, or 400,000 acres, of lush Fublio Valley forest to erect an immense nine-bloit-tall statue of himself, lending credence to the royal motto, “A truly great ruler is larger than life.”

In the process, Flathead’s men had a mission to protect Lord Dimwit from the riotous residents of the Fublio  Valley, who opposed the giant statue his Royal Excessively Highness was constructing at the expense of their neighborhood. Flathead’s men were told to memorize the last line of the popular Zorkian anthem, “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hellhound.” This signal would distinguish Flathead’s undercover men from the local marauders. But, everyone forgets a code now and then, and when it came right down to sword point, with his men stammering, “You ain’t nothin’ but a Hellhound,” which is the first line, rather than, “You ain’t no friend of mine,” which is indeed the last, Lord Dimwit lost 3,000 of his best men, and vowed to make Elvis Flathead required listening for his troops in the future.

This banquet, a minor affair that used 300 dragons to feed a few thousand guests, saw the conception of the last two royal proposals of Dimwit's reign. Wishing to have a dedication for his statue, he suggested giving everyone in the Kingdom a year off, and inviting them to Fublio Valley. The second main topic of discussion at the banquet was Dimwit's idea for the construction of new continent in the Flathead Ocean; a continent whose contours would have resembled his own features. The empire simply did not have enough money to build it, and Lord Feepness, the voice of sanity in the realm, pointed out that raising the tax rate from 98% to 100% simply would not be a wise political move. Lord Dimwit, never satisfied, proposed adopting everyone in the Kingdom and telling them that he'd cut off their allowances.

Lord Dimwit’s incumbency was a 19 year stretch that, despite being full of surprises, became increasingly tiresome for the tormented commoners. But it was not the disgruntled masses that dethroned and killed Dimwit. It was the temper of one particularly skilled wizard by the name of Megaboz. This mysterious, powerful sorcerer lived a hermit's life in Fublio Valley. His unassuming shack was adorned with wall hangings and poems. He was one of the few enchanters whose talent measured up to his ego. According to one of his tapestries, we should “Forget the rest; Megaboz is the best.” Megaboz and his ego wrote themselves into the history books in 789 GUE. This Fublio Valley resident was not impressed by the mammoth statue that casted a shadow over the entire region and intended to make his complaint quite clear. 789 saw the conception of the last two royal proposals of Dimwit's reign:

The 14th of Mumberbur. 789 was another frantic day at the castle; Lord Dimwit Flathead the Excessive had invited a few thousand friends over for dinner to celebrate his new statue. The banquet hall was filled to the capacity, and the guests were raising quite a din. Three hundred dragons had been slaughtered for the occasion, and the kitchen was suffocated by the stench of their roasting flesh. Several excerpts of the king’s conversation were heard by an unknown castle servant, and have been handed down to us over the ages.

Dimwit was seated at the dais, surrounded by his most trusted advisors, cut off from the rest of the party by a legion of personal guards. His loud voice carried across the crowded hall. “Now that the statue is done, we must do something ceremonial. I have it! A dedication! We'll give everyone in the kingdom a year off and invite them to the Fublio Valley...”

The obnoxious Dimwit ranted at his advisor about his greatest dream: the creation of a new continent in the center of the Flathead Ocean. The outlines and contours of the new continent would have been a gigantic reproduction of his own visages.

“There's not enough in the royal treasury to build my new continent, Lord Feepness? Then we'll increase the tax levy! It's only 98%! That still leaves two percent!”

“With all deference, your Lordship, people are refusing to pay even the 98%. Your decree, ‘Anyone withholding payment shall be killed along with everyone they've ever met’ simply isn't working. If you increase it to 100%, the people...”

Dimwit shouted with his mouth full of dragon meat. “How about this? I'll adopt everyone in the kingdom... and then I'll announce that they've been naughty and I've cut off their allowance! It's inspired! Lord Feepness, draw up the proclam...”

Dimwit was interrupted by an explosion of billowing smoke in the center of the hall. A gaunt, bearded man strode forth from the smoke!

“Show me the one responsible for the statue!” bellowed the newcomer. “The statue that now darkens Fublio!” Every head silently turned toward Dimwit, whose delight at the pyrotechnics was now tinged by fear.

“Go away,” ordered Dimwit, waving a shaky hand at the stranger. “This is a private function.”

Ignoring the order, the newcomer paced forward, until he was standing almost next to the servant. “My favorite grove of shade trees now lies beneath the toe of that cursed statue! No man, be he peasant or king, crosses Megaboz the Magnificent!”

He raised his arms, and every guest who knew how dangerous an angry wizard could be began to dive under the tables.

“Dimwit, thy kingship is a mockery of all worldly values! I curse your life! I curse your family! And I curse your Empire!” Sheets of power began to spew from the wizard’s fingertips. “Frobnitz! Frobnosia! Prob Fset Cond! Zmemqb Intbl Foo!” As the last word was spoken, the wizard turned into a vast fireball which exploded outward, searing everything in its path. Then, there was silence.

Where Megaboz had last been seen, sat a huge black cauldron, bubbling and roiling and spewing noisome fumes. All eyes transfixed on the incredible cauldron.

Many of the guests were burned and dying. This did not seem to bother Dimwit much, but he did seem concerned by the bubbling cauldron. He summoned his court magicians, who huddled about the cauldron, sampling the brew, casting exploratory spells, studying the words of Megaboz's spell, and whispering among themselves.

Finally, they seemed to reach an agreement. Combining their powers, the magicians chanted a long and mysterious spell. Then, drained of energy, they turned to Dimwit.

“We have done our best, your Lordship,” began the chief magician, “but the spell of Megaboz is a mighty one indeed. We delayed its effects for 94 years, but after that time, this castle – in fact, all the Eastlands – will be destroyed.”

Dimwit shrugged. “Big deal! I won't be around in 94 years!”

“Truer than you think,” continued the chief magician. “There's more to the Curse. Lordship, you and your eleven siblings are doomed!”

“Doomed?” whined Dimwit. “As in dead? That's not fair! When?”

“Moonrise, perhaps a bit later...” The king lurched suddenly and collapsed onto his dinner. “...perhaps a bit sooner.”

Dimwit's personal physician rushed to the stricken king, and then looked solemnly at the assembled guests. “The king is dead!”

In the end, Dimwit Flathead was forced to pay a price for all his power and extravagance. His family shared his fate, for it was reported at the moment of Megaboz’s curse, that the other eleven siblings of Dimwit Flathead all spontaneously died on 14 Mumberbur 789 GUE:
  1. John D.’s long-time goal was for FrobozzCo to control every single zorkmid of commerce in the Great Underground Empire, hoping to make turn his company slogan, “You Name It, We Do It.” The lone holdout, a small rutabaga farm in Mithicus, was finally bought by FrobozzCo Company in 789. John D. never heard the news, however. He disappeared, along with a huge entourage, while touring the factories of the Frobozz Magic Snowmaking Equipment Company in the Gray Mountains.
  2. Stonewall died during the Battle of Ragweed Gulch, when he was accidentally shot by one of his own men.
  3. Johann Sebastian was killed when a mishap occurred during a rehearsal of his “Minuet for Violin and Volcano.”
  4. J. Pierpont entered one of the Bank of Zork’s vaults and never re-emerged. Although gone, he was not forgotten; reproductions of his portrait still hung in every branch of the Bank of Zork.
  5. Having slept on an unfinished wooden board in the small room behind his laboratory, Thomas Alva died from a severe case of splinters.
  6. Unfortunately, during his later years Leonardo became quite senile, and his painting style deteriorated. He took to flinging paint at his canvases in much the same way that a Borphee baker flings bits of dough into a hot oven to make Frobolli Cakes. His studio became caked with layer upon layer of splattered paint. It was during this period that his famous incomplete work, “Obstructed View of Fjord,” was lost (this piece of art was later found by the First Dungeon Master in 883).  Leonardo made a final, feeble attempt to recapture his former greatness by moving to other media beside paint, but these efforts led to his tragic end. While working on a large statue intended for the harbor of Antharia, he suffered a fatal plunge into a vat of molten granola. Although Flatheadia was destroyed in 883 by the curse of Megaboz, Leonardo's studio, though ruined, was preserved as part of the Dungeon of Zork. 
  7. Toward the end of his life, Ralph Waldo specialized in exploring related themes, as brilliantly demonstrated by the four sonnets found by his deathbed: Sonnet #87,177 “Ode to a Tiny Moist Avocado Pit” 
    Sonnet #87,178 “Ode to Another Tiny Moist Avocado Pit”
    Sonnet #87,179 “Ode to Two Tiny Moist Avocado Pits”
    Sonnet #87,180 “Ode to Two Still-Tiny-But-Less-Moist Avocado Pits”
    An autopsy of Ralph Waldo revealed that the cause of his death was an overdose of avocados.
  8. John Paul died while on a vacation in Grubbo-by-the-Sea, when his old nemesis, the great white jellyfish, finally caught up with him.
  9. The carcinogenic chemicals used in the eighth century to create blueprints finally took their toll on Frank Lloyd, and he died.
  10. It was at the Flathead Stadium, during the shark-wrestling semi-finals, that the youngest of the Twelve Flatheads, Babe, met his end
  11. Some legends say that Lucrezia’s death was self-inducted. But this is contrary to other, more likely, reports. The Flathead widow had angered her own people, and the House of Flathead was not, by nature, forgiving. Not even an enchanter was able to protect Lucrezia from the hired guns charged with dispatching the murderess to the Great Beneath. When Lucrezia met her final misfortune—a secret execution—the enchanter, of whose daughter she bore, made a daring escape soon after with their child in tow. He spirited the young Lucille away to the recesses of the deepest underground, known only as The Dark—a network of catacombs beneath the prison.

In only a few moments, Lord Dimwit and his eleven siblings came to a sudden death, thus ending one of the most colorful chapters in the history of Quendor. Although dead, the Twelve Flatheads foresaw that some cretin might tamper with their remains. Therefore, they took steps to punish trespassers with a curse. It is not exactly sure how all of the corpses reached the same destination nor were preserved, but the “Keeper of the Dungeon” (who is presumably the First Dungeon Master whose reign did not begin until 883 GUE) placed each of the bodies in the Tomb of the Twelve Flatheads with each of their severed skulls upon a pole outside the same crypt. It is assumed that the remains are still there to this day.

Thanks to the efforts of the court magicians, the curse would be postponed for 94 years, but the 14th of Mumberbur was henceforth known as Curse Day, the anniversary of the death of Lord Dimwit Flathead the Excessive and the beginning of the end of the Flathead Dynasty. For reasons that remain lost to history, Dimwit himself was not nearly as excessive at procreation as was Mumberthrax, his father, and thus he produced no heir to the throne, and thus the crown devolved instead upon the eldest surviving male member of the house, Loowit Flathead.

When Megaboz disappeared in a ball of fire, most assumed he was dead and by 882, royal spokesmen would deny rumors of the Curse and historians would dismiss it as a silly schoolyard legend, but ninety-four years later, on 14 Mumberbur 883, in the reign of Wurb Flathead, they would be mistaken. The Empire came to an end. Flatheadia was destroyed, and the age of the Flathead Dynasty was over.

Although many of Dimwit's laws were revoked by a momumental undertaking of Loowit Flathead, the updating committee was unable to go through the entire backlog of the Excessive king's reign, and thus a vast majority of the Great Underground Empire's laws would still remain (hopelessly outdated) even into the Second Age of Magic.

During the beginning of the eleventh century, Wartle, under the command of Mir Yannick, searched for a handful of out-of-date patents—including one for a massive, misshapen machine, a remnant from the Flathead Dynasty—when Enchanters were plenty and plenty troublesome, and Lord Dimwit was always looking for some way to control them. Wartle produced not only the patents, but discovered the very machines first employed by Dimwit Flathead for the same hostile purpose—controlling the magical masses.

Yannick’s call for a return to Flathead values sparked renewed interest in the Flathead Dynasty, which further generated the funding necessary to carry out the largest excavation ever undertaken. Having been buried for over three centuries, the missing pages of Dimwit Flathead’s autobiography were excavated from four bloits deep beneath the statue in Fublio Valley. A team of scholars would spend seven years analyzing the unabridged work, splitting into groups of ten in order to scrutinize each chapter with the attention it demanded, and gathering occasionally to discuss their many findings.

At the time with little Dimwit started teethin in 723 GUE, Nanny Beeble had to fight off a clutch of horrifying demons who were trying to interrupt the children's nap.

A longtime court favorite of Lord Dimwit Flathead's, the Fleezle was once sounded three hundred times in a single meal at Flatheadia Castle, where it announced the arrival of the 299 next courses.

Dimwit's face has been printed on at least the 100zm bill, the 10,000 zm coin, and 3zm postage stamp.

A tacky (albeit rare and semi-collectable) model of Dimwit Flathead cloaked in royal purple has been discovered in the Cultural Complex. There is just enough detail on the model's face to make out its crossed-eyes and protruding tongue.

Lord Dimwit's five wisdom teeth were housed in the vaults of the Frostham Museum of Modern Arts and Sciences during the Second Age of Magic.

A state dedicated to Lord Dimwit Flathead, which frequently wore diapers, was discovered during the Great Monster Uprising. For reasons unknown, university students seemed to take particular glee in dressing it in a huge diaper.