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Let's Learn Dwarf Fortress - Time Is Subjective

Dwarf Fortress has a long reputation as being a project having gone way too far out of hand, being absolutely bonkers, and having a learning curve that would make Dark Souls cry in a corner due to it's sheer obscurity. This is primarily in part to its amazingly obtuse controls, formed of menus and menus of key inputs with little to go on as to how they work as well as ASCII art that means nothing to the untrained eye.

A wiki exists that helps this learning cliff a bit, and progress has started on a graphically improved Steam version, but as any DF player will learn, Time Is Subjective, and like many things could take forever to finally happen.

Yet, I've seen a lot of people express interest in Dwarf Fortress but be turned away because they think it's impossible for them to learn. I'm here to prove that it may be challenging, but it's not impossible, by personally teaching you the ropes of playing DF.

Now, I'll take a step back here and fully admit I don't have an encyclopaedic knowledge of this game, and I only really know the basics, but that's why I called it a "Let's Learn", not a "Let's Teach". I'm better at some of the modding, than playing the game honestly, but there's no reason why we can't both do it at the same time.

By nature this will be a somewhat more informational LP, but we'll try to have fun with it along the way. There's a lot of mechanical rabbit holes I could dive into, but I'll be avoiding those to keep this first update as part of a somewhat basic walkthrough on starting a fortress.

I'll go ahead and lay out some basic information for how we're doing this, and how you should get set up if you wanted to follow along as well.

1. We're using the most recent release of Dwarf Fortress as of writing this, 0.47.04-r2.

2. I am also using PeridexisErrant's Lazy Newb Pack, which is an easy to use compilation and manager for a lot of the basic utilities that people make use of. I'm primarily recommending this because of the ease in managing texture packs (though I'm good with the ASCII, most people aren't,) and it's default inclusion of DFHack and Dwarf Therapist.

DFHack's basically console cheats and shortcuts that I'm mostly wanting to have at my disposal in case something goes drastically wrong somewhere. It does help with memory cleanup though.

Dwarf Therapist is the more important one here as it will help us bypass the rather obtuse UI at least in keeping track of our Dwarves' health, skills, and jobs.

There's also the Announcements window which we may make use of later when we do some combat stuff.

Settings-wise, I'm playing with the Phoebus texture pack, and I have my window size set to 900 x 700. If you're not playing on a very strong computer, I might suggest moving the population cap down to 100, but for now, I haven't changed anything.

And before we start, here's the copy of save files from this update.

The update assumes you're playing along with it, but all the information in here is usable in a normal playthrough. The save location is located at Dwarf Fortress 0.47.04-r07/data. To use one of the save files, simply copy one to that directory and rename to region1 (or region2, region3, etc)

"just world" is right after we finish world generation, "start of embark" is just as the gameplay starts in this update, and "end of update 1" is the state of the fortress right at the end of this update.

(You can stick all of them in at a time but I'm not sure how the game would react to that given they're all the same world but at different states.)

Well, that's enough talk, let's get started.

We hit Create New World...

And it eventually brings us to this menu once it's done loading. I'll distribute the world save so you can follow along precisely, but let me run you through these options anyways.

World Size controls how large a world is generated. Medium or Small should be fine for most computers.

History determines how old the world is that you start in. Dwarf Fortress generates entirely new stories, events, gods, and major figures with every new world, creating an entirely unique place each time- it just merely lets you play around in it.

Medium is almost far too long and memory intensive for most computers, so switch that down to Short.

Number of Civilizations controls the number of distinct factions, cultures, and races present in the world. Medium's a fine number.

Max Number of Sites determines the amount of distinct locations the system is allowed to generate. Medium is fine for this as well.

Number of Beasts controls how many large and dangerous creatures are around in this world. We shouldn't have to worry too much about those, however, and Medium should serve us well.

Natural Savagery affects how much of the world is more unusual and dangerous. Giant animals particularly. The Wiki suggests setting it to Very Low, but I'm only going to set it to Low. We can just not settle in a dangerous place.

Mineral Occurence is precisely what it sounds like. This gives you more kinds of minerals and more of them. We want an easy start that can get access to strong minerals easily. Set that to Everywhere for now. When you get a hang of the game, feel free to turn it down though to make it more interesting. Very Rare, for instance, can be really fascinating on occasion, as most civilizations will still be using rather primitive gear.

With those set, we hit "y" to start, and the game shoots into generation.

I don't suggest stopping it early as this can cause bugs. My computer starts to slow down generation around 90 years, but if it's ungodly slow for you on your own time, just push it down a history level. I'll warn that minimum history tends to spawn very little interesting structures, though being part of the start of the world is fascinating.

You can look around and inspect the bits of the world at a great distance, but there's not much info to be gleaned yet. When you're done, just hit enter and the world should save.

After a semi-lengthy save, we should be back at the main menu with a new option available at the top.

Given we only have one world, it will automatically skip us to choosing what to play it as. I'll cover the others later, if I continue with this, but for now we're doing a tutorial of the titular mode, Dwarf Fortress.

After a short load and the calendar progressing by two weeks, you'll be prompted to choose an embark location.

There's a lot of stuff going on here all at once so I'll explain it in order of when it's necessary.

First, look to the right. This explains the details of the highlighted region. Presently, we're looking at a Mountain range named The Large Walls. The temperature here is temperate, there aren't any trees, there's lots of other plants here, and it's a bit wild out here.

There also seems to be brook here called Floormusty. I suppose that's useful information if you know how to make use of one.

There is also sand, shallow metals, deep metals, and a flux stone layer here.

Sand is used for making glass for the most part. It's a potentially profitable business.

A light aquifer is a possibly large problem. Aquifers are underground resevoirs of water, and are often considered one of the hardest bosses in Dwarf Fortress. Among water just being dangerous to start with, it would also block off access to the deep underground where all the good metals are. With a lot of skill, you can take them to your advantage, but we're better off avoiding it for now.

Shallow and Deep metals tells us that we have multiple metals both just a little bit into the ground and very deep in the ground.

Flux stone is stone that can be used as flux for making steel, something that's very profitable to have and something we really want.

For an easy start though, we're missing trees, a Warm temperature (to not have to deal with ice in the winter), and a notable soil layer (for farming).

We could search for somewhere better manually, or we could just have the game do it for us.

Hit "f" to open our search menu.. (As a brief reminder, all inputs are case-sensitive in this game.)

Use up and down to highlight a section and left and right to change the values. In this case, I'm setting a search for no aquifers and Some soil.

When you hit enter, you ought to see a bunch of X's slowly pop up over the tiles, most red, some green.

Eventually, it'll stop and only flash the green spaces at you. Hit ESC at this point to go and browse the results.

This location would be perfect if it wasn't for the dangerous wilderness. Let's go look for somewhere else.

There's a Good biome here, but unfortunately it's all filed with aquifers. It's a shame since Good biomes are rather nice.

Ah, what's this? Hm, only a light aquifer? If we use the 'u', 'h', 'k', and 'm' keys we can move our particular embark location (represented in the Local box on the left) around some and see if there's a spot with no aquifer.

Hm, this side seems good but what about the elevation? If we're digging underground, I wouldn't mind a small hill to start in. So we hit Tab to change our observation mode.

This is the Civ panel. Looks like we've got Dwarves (us) and Elves nearby, and neither is at war. That should be pretty safe for the time being.

This menu lets us pick which Dwarven civilization we're from. The selected civilization will show up as blue omega symbols, some you might be able to see to the far right.

We can change our civ with '-' and '+' here, so I eventually swap over to the Cunning Boulder. They seem like based on their land holdings they could reasonable reach here.

Next tab over and we get elevation, though it's little hard to read on this scale.

One more tab and we have a more readable elevation map based on number values.

There seems to be a lot of hills here, which could be a bit odd, though I do wonder about getting that river in our embark zone.

After some fiddling though I settle on the highlighted area. It'll be a little hilly, but that's fine.

Now we just Embark! (e)

Holy moly that's a lot of options. These are all preset embarks packaged with the Newb Pack, and you can change them from a list or make your own, but for now, we're gonna prepare carefully.

This takes us here to inspect our dwarves. We can spent embark points to give them better skills from the start.

Hitting Tab can also let us swap to spending points on modifying our supplies we bring. There's some optimizations you can do to this (cheaper alternatives to take, mostly,) but I'm mostly going to roll with their default loadout with maybe a few changes. First, I'm going to handle our dwarves.

Hitting 'v' on our main dwarf brings us here. And by the holy pick is there a lot of info here.

The two things in dark green are her attributes, the first being main combat stuff, and the second being more trade skill type stuff. She's not exceptional, but that's fine. The stuff in light green are her favorites, which isn't a bad thing to keep in mind for maintaining mood later.

The next paragraph, blue and gold sentences included, are her values and life goal. The next paragraph describes her personality, and the one beneath it is a list of all the things she can possibly be bothered by.

...It's a lot, I know, but you don't have to take much into consideration right now. Presently, we really only care about their attributes and maybe their likes.

From the main view, you can rename dwarves and their professions with 'c'. I'll name this lady Twybil for now, to keep it easy to remember.

This absolute stud of a man here has some very good stats, apparently being very resilient and strong. He's an immediate pick for being part of our militia.

I'll name him Reyn and get back to him later.

This man isn't too much, seems to be sort of a talker with some agility. I might make him have some soft skills, maybe.

He shall be Jeigan.

This man is absolutely hopeless with art, but happens to be very resilient and has a good balance. He's slow to heal, so I think he'll just be a miner though.

Er, what to name him... eh, I'll just call him Bardin.

Next on the list is this guy, oddly without any life goal. He's a bit weak, but quite quick to heal, so I might stick him on military as well, and hope that weakness rounds out.

He's not good with words... perhaps he's the silent type? Crono it is.

Below that is finally another lady. Jeez, I was starting to think I was running a harem here or something. This lady is also nearly perfect in every way: durable, strong, fast healing, good focus, and wants to master a skill.

Alas, she doesn't really value fighting skills. Hm. She definitely seems like a good crafter, but I'd hate to have all those good stats go to waste. Maybe she'll take up crafting later, because I think we need her on our military.

Her name? Let's go with Savyna.

Last but not least is this rather tough lady. Very slow to tire and strong sounds like an expert miner to me, so I can't really think of a better name than Regina.

So, let's lay out our plans on what our units will do.

Reyn and Savyna are definitely our two militia characters. It should be very safe, so I don't think we'll need more than that.

Regina will be our miner and Crono our woodworker. That alone should take care of most of our working needs.

I'm only quick to heal so I'll set myself as being a farmer. I like chickens after all, apparently.

Bardin's durable, I'll make him our main metalworker.

Jeigan's not doing much else, so I'll hand him the basic stuff like record keeping and medical stuff, but he'll mostly be our dedicated hauler.

So let's set some skills.

Crono's going to be our woodworker, so I give him the wood based skills. Carpentry and Wood Crafting are kinda similar, but they're different jobs still. Carpentry is for big stuff and W.Crafting is for small stuff.

Jeigan gets one point in Diagnostician (doing so allows us to have him analyze medical issues), Record Keeping (which will help us keep better track of our stocks), and Reader. I can't remember if Reader is actually that necessary outside of Adventure mode, but I gave him a point anyhow.

Jeigan's basically going to take up for all of our soft skills, so I also give him Building Designer and two points of swimming as well. The first is needed to build things and saves setting a labor later, while the second is just in case he falls into the water trying to haul something.

I give myself a lot of growing skill and a little bit of cooking. It doesn't take much to raise chickens after all. Planting (the growing skill) takes forever, so I want it sped up as much as I can from the beginning.

Bardin gets all the metalwork skills. The reason why he has slightly higher Weaponsmithing than anything else is because the fey mood mechanic, (basically random crafting of masterworks,) determines the product off your highest skill when it comes to metal. Basically, I'm trying to set up for some masterwork weapons later.

All of these skills will improve the quality of things Bardin will make for us.

Regina gets jumped up to Competent Miner, which is just 3 levels up from not having the skill. Stuff like Mining and Woodcutting just speed up the action, nothing else really.

She also gets two points in Swimming. Swimming is pretty important if you're doing any mining near liquids, and one point isn't enough to stop dwarves from floundering in the water.

With that, we've just got our two militia dwarves to assign.

I give them a very specific layout of skills:

Reyn gets Novice Axeman, Adequate Shield User, Proficient Armor User, and Novice Teacher. and Novice Student.

Savyna gets Proficient Axeman, Novice Shield User, Novice Armor User, Novice Fighter, Novice Teacher, and Novice Student.

Unlike most of skills we've invested in so far which just affect speed of certain actions or quality of crafting, these weapon skills affect accuracy, parrying chance, damage, and a whole lot more. I could go in more deeply on this, but for an introductory one-off, I need to save some room for some actual gameplay tutorials.

It's perhaps not the most efficient, but the idea with this skill set is that they'll train the other in their skills over time by way of Teacher and Student. I don't invest in Dodging because I want to avoid them giving each other dodging lessons.

Dodging lessons can happen, and while it looks goofy, dodging's better learned passively and perhaps sometimes not at all. (It's insanely powerful in Adventure mode though.)

I'll cover why I picked axes later, but just know for now that they're a good general purpose weapon.

With that out of the way, I go back to the inventory and hit 'n' for new. This brings up this menu, which will let us add new items to our list of things to take with us.

The first thing I add is Metal Bars > Copper Bars. We need to set up for our metalworker to actually have some stuff to work on when we start.

Next is Miscellaneous > Coke. This isn't drugs, this is coal coke, or rather, fossil fuel based coal put through the charcoal process. Put real short, it's a fuel for the forge and it won't offend the elves like charcoal will if we accidentally sell it off.

I buy six of each of these for now. I also subtract one of the copper picks set by the standard prep, the idea being we can make more if we need them.

The rest of my points I spend on one female cat, one rooster, and as many hens as I can get, which amounts to 3 after removing 2 Pig Tail seeds from the list.

We should be set with this for now. It's not nearly the start I usually go with, but this is more than enough to work with.

Now I just use 'G' and 'F' to rename our expedition and fort.


*:V intensifies*

Oh, and you can also make a symbol. Sometimes this shows up in engravings.

With that, I back out to the inventory and hit 'e' to embark!

Oh dear, we've got sasquatches? Well, it could be worse.

As soon as you pass by that screen you may want to hit 'Space' to pause the game.

So, okay, you thought all that was overwhelming? Uh, I might have bad news.

Fortunately, I'm here to run you through it all.

First off, I'll suggest hitting 'Tab' a few times to knock that one side view off to give us a bit of viewing room.

We can look around in a general sense just with the arrows, or we can hit 'k' to look a little more precisely around the environment.

Just a bit away, we can discover that we've got feather trees around, the lightest trees in the game, which will be a major benefit over time.

Now, hitting '<' will zoom us off the ground to see that there is a lot of trees around here. If you note the tiny little bar on the upper right side, you'll note that + 1 indicates we're 1 Z-level above the base level. Consequently, '>' will lower the Z-level into the ground.

(Z-level is basically just our height.)

You may note that you can see our dwarves and such, though somewhat darkened- this is a feature of DFHack as well, and one a lot more accessible than the original version which will only display solid air tiles- something that is a decent bit less informative.

Using the scroll wheel you can also zoom out, which can also be useful sometimes. We seem to have a decent hill to the side of us that wouldn't be a bad place to start out. Before we do that though, let's observe our environment just a little bit more.

Hitting you will bring us to the unit list. Here we can more quickly locate and inspect not only our units, but our pets, others, and any units recorded dead.

Hm, it would seem our cart was brought in by two horses. Given something has to haul the cart, you always get two free pack animals, though pack animals aren't terribly useful in fortress mode.

Using 'v' to inspect them informs me that they're both mares. A slight shame, but riding in with a breeding pair is a little rare. Well, maybe we can get a stallion later and start a horse ranch.

There's also a...

Chipmunk Man, apparently.

Dwarf Fortress does have animal-people hybrids.

It's also worth noting that Worm-people exist. People with the head and lower body of a worm.


Anyways, enough goofing off, let's get our final setup for our dwarves done. Hitting 'n' brings up this menu used for assigning nobles and administrators.

We can change the Expedition Leader, though all that really changes is who outpost liasons will prefer to talk to. I go ahead and set it to Twybil, mostly because I'll probably remain in a pretty localized, safe area as a farmer and planter.

The Militia Commander is the head of the military, and you have to assign one to start a militia. I go ahead and assign it to Reyn for now. If you ever plan on invading surrounding territories, you'll want them to have a high Tactics skill, but that's about it.

The Sheriff and Hammerer are positions for handling crime, which we won't have to worry about until much later.

Manager is another useful position, but also not needed until later on when doing stuff by automation is easier.

Chief Medical Dwarf is the head of the medical section, and having one is a requirement for us to be able to see our dwarves' current physical position. Diagnostician is the main skills, but in a pinch you can assign anyone to this position. Jeigan goes here, since he has the skill.

The Broker is the person who handles trades and appraises fortress-wide wealth. I kinda forgot to actually assign someone the Appraisal skill, (I meant to do so for Jeigan,) so we'll just assign Jeigan as the token position and hope he picks up on the skills. Judge of Intent is another good skill for Brokers as it helps to determine a potential customer's reactions.

And last on the list, our Bookkeeper will create a list our present stocks to get a far better accuracy on the status screen. Jeigan goes here as well. It is based off the Record Keeper skill and can be performed as long as the Dwarf has hands (they don't need to know how to read or write, strangely).

Our admin list starts to look like this.

The red REQUIRE on Jeigan indicates he needs something. Checking that with 'Enter', it seems he needs an office (a requirement of being a bookkeeper) but he can still manage his job without one for now.

Using the 's' key we can also set his accuracy in record keeping, but without an office, he's only going to be giving us a token effort with Low Accuracy. As soon as he gets a real office, he'll actually be able to give us something real.

That's enough administration for now, how about we do some more?

Yes, this game is quite a lot of micromanagement, though it will dial back on the 'micro' later, (possibly to your own dismay).

Anyways, let's designate some digging. Our first order of operations is to get everything unpacked from this cart and inside a room so we can lower the chances of it getting swiped by keas or kobolds.

Hitting 'd' brings us to the Designation menu. There's a lot of options we'll eventually cover here, but Chop Down Trees and Mine are the two we care about. Mine is 'd' so you can just mash 'd' twice to get to it quickly.

Let's mine a little hallway into this hill.

That should be good for now. Now, off of it, I'm gonna make a pretty decently sized room to start us off.

The designation controls work by selecting a starting point and an ending point, and just makes a rectangle between the two points. You can also go up z-levels to make 3D designations.

There we go. Now before we let Regina at it, let's give Crono some work.

It may be a little hard to see given the texture pack, but I just picked out a few trees for him to cut (represented by the number 4, their priority). You can also just designate huge areas and kinda level forests if you need, but we're fine for now.

Alright, let's unpause.

After a brief wait, Regina grabs a pick and runs to cut open that hill while Crono already starts chopping into a feather wood tree.

Crono fells that tree pretty fast, while Regina makes quick work in this cave of ours, though it seems we've started digging into the roots of a tree.

It's fine though, they don't actually need those in this game as far as I know.

Eventually, Regina gets enough done I think we can move on to the next step: hauling our stuff with stockpiles.

Go to 'p' for making stockpiles.

Stockpiles are very important as they're just designations of locations dwarves will move objects of a specific type to there and stack them in containers to save space. This greatly helps management of the fortress in the long term as you can have crafters crafting more and mindlessly retrieving materials less.

You can make stockpiles based on a lot of general qualifiers, or you can make specialized stockpiles. In fact, we're going to make one of those right now.

Hit 'c' to select Custom Stockpile and then 't' to modify it's settings.

Hitting 'e' on one of these categories will enable it to be stored in this stockpile and open more granular specifications if you so desire. 'd' will disable that option. Allow All, Block All, Permit, and Forbid are all for the subcategories, but we won't be going that granular yet.

For now, just enable everything but Corpses, Refuse, Stone, and Wood. We'll make piles for the latter later, but for now this is all we need to haul the contents of our cart indoors.

Now just designated that in our opened room like any other desig-

Damn. All those checkerboard tiles are the stockpile I accidentally placed. *facepalm*

But wait! You can actually just remove stockpiles with 'x' (Remove Designation), so it's all good.

There we go. There's still some (not easily seen) roots messing it up a bit, but that's all fine. We won't have to keep this around for too long.

Some texture packs are a little difficult to discern stuff on, though I think we mostly got unlucky with having a particularly camouflaging color of dirt. I still prefer ASCII at the end of the day, but that takes a little getting used to.

Unpause and watch all of our previously stationary dwarves get to work on hauling stuff. For now, let all the dwarves haul this stuff away and dig and designate if you end up needing more space.

Regina finished mining faster than they could haul, so I'm going to dig out a few rooms.

By that I mean a big hallway at least 4 blocks wide.

In the meantime, let's talk about why these dwarves are all doing this like they are: the labor system. Hit 'u' to go back to the unit list screen.

Let's zoom in on Bardin by hitting 'z' for Go to Unit.

This brings us here. If we hit 'i', we can see his inventory, 'w' will tell us his current health, but what we really care about is 'p'.

From here, if you hit 'l' you can get to the labor assignment menu.

(This menu is navigated with '+' and '-')

Right here. Anything half colored means the dwarf does some of those jobs while white means they do all of those jobs (hauling is just a single job).

Under Metalsmithing, Bardin does everything but furnace operating (pearlash, smelting ores, etc.). We can toggle him to do that by hitting 'Enter'.

...This is a lot of work isn't it? That's why we've got Dwarf Therapist. Just launch it from the utilities tab in the LNP Launcher and let it connect to the game.

Yeah, this is a lot better. By clicking the appropriate square, you can assign or unassign that labor, as well as see their skill value in it. Once you've assigned and unassigned what you need, all you have to do is commit those changes. It's also a lot faster to find their current mood, and makes it possible to see orientation as well.

Twybil the dwarf seems to be bisexual which is...accurate enough, I suppose. It's a rather interesting coincidence.

Hovering over a dwarf's name gives you an abridged version of their status page, and you may see "likes working outdoors" a lot. (In game, you can find it on the end of white paragraph.) The first starting seven dwarves always have this preference which makes them less bothered by working outside because early forts usually have a lot of that. It's nice, and it's an especially nice trait to have for outdoors fortresses.

Anyways, managing the labors of your dwarves will be very beneficial in the long run because they won't automatically do the respective if they don't have the skill already, and it really helps to specialize a dwarf into only doing one or two things as a fortress expands so you can keep the job bloat and constant scurrying about to a minimum. For right now, everything is fine, but we'll eventually turn off hauling for most of our dwarves and leave that to Jeigan.

They're making good progress here, and Regina's opened up some space for us, why don't we set up a forge?

Let's back out to the normal menu and hit 'b' to-


Yeah, there's a lot of options here, but luckily you can also scroll through with '+' '-' and select with enter. We only need one thing right now, and that's a workshop, under 'w'.

Yep, they're nested lists :V

Needless to say there's a lot to build, but we just want a Metalsmith's Forge for right now, under 'f'.

First it will give us a box of X tiles we can move around with the arrow keys. When you get the place you want to place it, just hit 'Enter'.

The first part of a forge is the anvil, which came with the starting package. I'll just hit 'Enter' and select the only one we've got.

After that, it's now asking for bars or coke. Why? Because it wants a fire-safe material to make the forge from. Don't ask me how either of those materials qualify in the slightest, but because I forgot to bring a piece of stone and getting to the stone layer would take a while, let's just use up a piece of coke for it. We can make some charcoal later.

Well you can see a few tiles popped up there. Let's open up the Building Tasks/Prfs option with 'q'.

Normally this is how you would manually assign tasks to a forge, but we can also use it check the construction progress. For workshops, only people with the labor assigned can build them.

After a little bit of time unpaused, Bardin finishes the forge. We can assign a task with 'a', so why don't we start by having him make some helmets for our two milita dwarves?

Add Task (a) > Armor (a) > Copper > Forge Copper Helm is all we need to do. We'll want two, so let's go ahead and queue up another.

Combat in DF is visceral after all, and rather incredibly detailed if not ridiculous sometimes. Although I can cover the specifics a little more in depth later, for now just keep in mind that helms provide a full protection for the skull which will help avoid most blunt trauma based deaths.

Because I need to buy some more time for Regina to dig some more storage room, let's go ahead and set up a Carpenter's Workshop and a small wood stockpile near it.

Stockpiles (p) > Wood (w)

I'll have it right up here. It's a little far but that ought to be fine for now.

Now, Buildings (b) > Workshops (w) > Carpenter's Workshop (c)

It'll ask you to assign some building materials, and in my case I chose to assign some wood that wasn't feather wood.

I set that all up in that top corner up there while I assigned another of our custom stockpiles to the room Regina's digging out.

By using 't' to View Items in Buildings, I check our wagon to see that we've got everything out of it.

What this means is now we really have to get started on getting the rest of our dwarves busy.

I set up a larger stockpile for wood outside for the time being. I also make another custom stockpile, but set it to hold only refuse and corpses and put that around the hillside, out of sight.

By using 't' again to view it's inventory, I can then use 'Ctrl+n' to rename it. I rename it the Garbage Pile. So, the thing is that refuse (bits of body parts and unusable, worthless stuff) will cause the degradation of other objects it's in a stockpile with. All corpses on the other hand produce Miasma, a foul poison gas, as long as they're indoors.

We probably won't need this for a while, but I might as well set it up.

At the newly made carpenter's workshop that's hard to see thanks to the brown dirt, we need to queue up some new stuff. We'll be needing doors and beds soon, but we also need some Barrels and Bins first, used to more efficiently store food and non-food items respectively.

This will suffice for now, though we can also use the Repeat flag on 'r' to set the highlighted order to continue indefinitely. I opt not to do that for now because we only need so many bins and barrels at the moment.

I also assign the metalsmith to make a chain shirt, which costs two bars, instead of the one a helmet costs. Chain shirts protect the whole body, upper arms, and neck, which makes for a lot of protection, though they're kinda heavy. I've only got enough for one, so this'll probably go to Reyn since characters with poor armor training get slowed down way more by it.

I also make a Craftsdwarf Workshop by doing Building (b) > Workshop (w) > Craftsdwarf's Workshop (r).

Craftsdwarf workshops are for making small implements, like cups, which our dwarves will complain about not having (which is fair). These workshops can be used for wood, bone, stone, and metalcrafting by default.

I also assign Regina the job of digging out some temporary living quarters. Dwarves will happily accept living in quite small spaces, though 2x2 or 2x3 is always a safe bet on side. Make one spot to put the door, and a hallway connecting all of them.

Back at Crono's Carpentry, I start assigning the creation of beds, but also an Armor Stand (a). We'll need that to start our militia later.

In the meantime, I also decide to carve out another room to start my farming. All the plants we started with are underground plants that don't need light, so we can farm them in the safety of our little hillock. I set that to one priority level higher to make sure I get that first.

(The priority numbers are kinda backwards- 1 is highest priority while 7 is lowest.)

Hm, I'm still running out of jobs a bit too fast. This is fine, I'll take this as a moment to introduce Zones.

So back on the primary menu if you hit 'i', you'll bring up Zone designation.

It's not much to look at when you first bring it up, but for now, let's designate some land over here.

Ah, now some stuff is showing up. The game will inform you based on the tiles you select what kind of zones this qualifies for. Most of these are kinda self-explanatory, but the Garbage Dump one is a bit misleading. It's simply a location that dwarves throw any item tagged to be dumped, not specifically garbage.

(Tagging for dumping can be reached in a lot of places, but can be easily reached by Look (k).)

For now, we want a Meeting Area.

We hit 'Enter' and the zone completes, turning green when hovered over, and allows us to assign it as a Meeting Area (m).

A new option appears, Assign Location (l). If we go ahead and hit that...

We get brough to the Locations menu. Locations let you assign spots as taverns, temples, and more to provide more functionality. Let's go ahead and make a new location.

Inns/Taverns (i) draw in performers and adventurers, though they'll drink up all of your alcohol, and we don't want that. Dwarves have a high native dependency on alcohol, and though you can go sober, it's incredibly stressful for them and also very difficult mechanically.

Only one of us can read and we don't have any books so a Library (l) isn't that useful.

Craft Guildhalls (g) are something new I don't even know about, but is something that will require a lot more infrastructure than we have now.

What we want is a Temple (t).

It'll want us to pick which deity it belongs to, but we haven't got the space for that many worship spots, so we just go with non-specific. This is just a dirt corner you can meditate in after all :V

...And, bam, there we go, a temple. There's more you can do with temples and religion, but for now I'm mostly just trying to give our idle dwarves something positive to do while we get everything set up. This will increase their mood, while providing lasting good thoughts, though knowing if they're truly idle will be a little harder.

So, what about those other zones? Well, they're pretty useful, so let's go ahead and set up a pasture.

Right out front of the fortress, I assign a big pasture. By hitting 'N' we can assign what animals we want to stay in this area.

I assign everything but our cat to it. The horses will eat the grass, and chickens survive purely off of mostly invisible vermin in this simulation, so they don't technically have to be here, but they will be for now. The horses will be eating grass though.

Cats are odd in that they also eat vermin (mice and such), which makes them good candidates for sticking on top of stockpiles to keep vermin away from the food.

As we expand and get a designated food stockpile, we'll pasture our cat there, but for now she's fine.

Now, how does pasturing work, you ask? Mostly, dwarves with the hauling labor set will stop by and drag the assigned animal back to the location if they're outside of it. Animals don't wander too much (cats and dogs excluded) so it should be fine out in the open until it starts getting more dangerous outside.

Oh, hey, Regina's finished that one room I wanted for farming. Let's get that set up as well.

Let's go to Buildings (b) > Farm Plot (p)

These place a little differently than you may be used to. You use 'u' and 'm' to adjust height, and 'k' and 'h' to adjust the width of the selected area.

These are more profitable than their size would suggest, so I'm only going with a 2x2. I set another next 2x2 next to it as well.

After Twybil finishes working on it, we can use 'q' and inspect it's tasks like any other building. However, with farm plots, you just assign one type of plant to be grown in it and it's automated from there. You can mark a field for fallow (letting it rest by not planting anything) or fertilizing, but farming isn't programmed that in depth yet and soil quality never actually depletes, (although fertilizer will still boost the productivity).

Because of this, just set all of your fields to grow in all seasons. For now I set one to grow plump helmets and the other to quarry bushes (rock nuts).

And with that, we've got the first bit of keeping our fortress maintained. To live normally, Dwarves will need at least 2 two units of food each season, and will need a drink every 3 weeks.

Our starting supplies should hold for some time, but it never hurts to get started early. The dwarves will eat raw foods and that's fine for now given it will return our seeds, but drink isn't so easily gotten. We can brew it from plump helmets though.

Mushroom alcohol is a dwarven specialty, apparently.

Buildings (b) > Workshops (w) > Still (l) is what we're looking for.

I have them craft if from cedar, but also notice I seem to have forgotten the amount of copper bars I brought- I've still got two sitting around apparently.

Let's check that out by going to the base menu and hitting Status (z).

In these menus we can see the stocks of our fort. Had I remembered to give Jeigan actual appraisal skill, we'd know how much we're worth, but that's fine.

Before we check on those bars, let's set something up in the Kitchen. For our Plump Helmets, we're going to want to Toggle cooking off (c) (turning the label red), because making meals out of them won't preserve their seeds. Brewing them will, though.

Changing category with 'Tab', make sure you also set our dwarves to not use any of our alcohol when cooking meals. Beer-basted mushrooms would be incredibly wasteful right now given we need the stuff for quenching thirst.

'Esc' to back out, and over to Stocks we go.

If we scroll down and check Bars in here, we can see we've got 3 coke and 2 copper bars left over. Let's go ahead and make another set of chain with that.

Building Tasks (q) > move to Metalsmith's Forge and Add Task (a) > Armor (a) > Copper > Mail Shirt

Looking in our garbage pile, it seems our cat has slain some intruding hamsters. Apologies, small furry things, but you can't have our food.

Now, this also lets us know we do have hamsters in the area, so perhaps later we can go over trapping some of our own and having them around as pets.

In the meantime, it looks like our armor stand eventually got completed. I'd say it's about time we get Reyn and Savyna training.

Build the armor stand from Buildings (b) > Armor Stand (a) and place it somewhere around the entrance to the fortress. You could even put it right outside at the entrance, to combat sunlight sickness, but that's a problem we don't need to worry about right now.

I set it right up at the first stockroom we made, clearing out one of the piles slightly to make some room.

After someone takes the time to haul it over, inspect the Building Tasks (q) of it and you'll note a new option: Make Barracks/Armory (r).

It'll ask for the size of the room, but the default should be fine here.

Once that's done, we'll need to make a real squad before we can do anything with it.

On the primary menu, hit Military (m).

From here, hit Create Squad (c), and navigate down to the Metal armor default uniform.

And now it's been made, the Fountains of Magic, apparently.

There, that's better. From here, we can hit left and right to change column. We just move over and highlight the Available second slot, then move over one from there and assign Savyna to it with enter.

Now, military is a bit complicated but very important, so we'll get to it in depth eventually. For now, I just want to get us set up on having our militia training.

If you hit Schedule (s), we can see that they're already set to train year round. For now, that should probably be fine.

From what I can gather, 10 minimum means that at least 10 units of this squad will always be training (which is consequently the maximum you can have in a squad.)

Now, when we go back to the armor stand, we'll see our squad as part of a list. Hit Train (t) to assign this as the place where they'll work on their skills.

Sleep (z) would mark the place as somewhere they sleep, though there's no need to set it given that this isn't a bedroom/barracks. Individual Equipment (i) and Squad Equipment (q) sets the dwarves to store their combat equipment in this area though I'm not particularly aware of the specifics of both options. Nonetheless, if you want them to store their combat gear here, enabling both should be fine.

(I believe Squad Equipment is stuff shared by all members of the squad while Individual is their more personal stuff.)

And finally, to set them active, we go to Squads (s) from the primary menu. We'll hit 'a' in this case to select our squad and set them to Active (t). I find this is usually the most reliable way to get them at it.

Alternatively, you can also go to Military (m) instead, and hit Alerts (a). From here we set them to Active/Training by moving down, right, and then 'Enter' to highlight both Active/Training and our squad and set them to that. This menu is part of some useful stuff about setting variable alert factors and designating places for your dwarves to hide.

We'll cover that in a later date as well- we hardly have a fortress to hide in!

At the bottom of the screen we ought to get some alerts that Reyn and Savyna have changed into Axedwarves. This means they're on duty and will ignore civilian work.

And almost immediately Reyn's leading a demonstration on punching. I'd think that ought to be the other way around, but it's rather odd for them to do that given they... don't have that skill?

Checking Dwarf Therapist, they're both learning it for the first time and are only at Dabbling skill. How interesting.

Oh well. You can fiddle with setting them active/inactive to make them stop, but I might as well leave it for now. AI dwarves are going to try punching a good bit anyways.

Meanwhile, I get Crono set on making us some more furniture so we can set up some bedrooms sometime here soon.

I also get our craftsdwarf shop set up to carve some stuff. There's a lot of options here, but we're presently only concerned with wood things.

We're going to do:

Add Task (a) > Wood (w) > Make wooden Cup (Alt + g)


Add Task (a) > Wood (w) > Make wooden Nest Box

We'll want a few of each as the cups are so our dwarves won't complain about drinking without a cup and the Nest Boxes will let our chickens lay their eggs.

Yet, Crono's a bit busy on that and Jeigan's not doing anything, so I go and set him to have the woodcrafting labor to go ahead and get that started. He'll be slow at it, but I need both some carpentry and some craftwork done right now.

...But, for now, I think we'll call it here. It's been a month and a half in-game, and we've got a pretty good start on getting things set up, and I've got other things to take care of for now.

If this would be something you're interested in seeing more of, or you'd like to see something for Adventure mode, then feel free to say so. For now at least, it was a fun experiment and a nice refresher for myself.