Dwarf Fortress – Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1

Due to the number of guides I have on here for Dwarf Fortress, I do have a great deal of traffic coming to the site interested in Dwarf Fortress. It also means I pop up every now and then on search engines for some very specific DF related questions, well I’ve decided to sit down and pull some of these questions out and answer them below, just in case anyone else out there is struggling!

How do I get all Dwarves inside my fortress?

So this is a common question, most likely being asked because you’re under siege or attacked. To do this you use burrows, press the ‘w’ key to bring up the burrow Burrow screenshotscreen. From here press the ‘a’ key to create a new burrow, by default it will be painting, press space to change to delete if you make any mistakes. With the brush set to paint just click and drag over the area you want your dwarves to use and press enter to confirm. This newly marked area will be highlighted blue and it signifies where your dwarves will be allowed to go. You can keep adding or removing to this burrow until you have covered all the areas you want, be sure to include food and sleeping areas so they don’t starve or go mad! To activate the burrow when needed, press the ‘m’ key to bring up the military screen and then press the ‘a’ key to view the alert screen.
Press the down key onto the Active/Training alert, then using the arrow keys to move right highlight the name of the burrow you just created (by default it will be burrow 1 if this is your first burrow) and hit enter. This will mark it with a green A and now each time you activate this alert your dwarves will make to this burrow! Why don’t you test it now? Use the arrow keys to move back left until Active/Training is highlighted and press enter. ESC out of this menu and watch as your dwarves make for the burrow, this is invaluable in sieges.

How do I make a bedroom or a barracks?

Simples, build a bed at a carpenters and then place it down inside a room. Press the ‘q’ key and hover over the bed, it will give you the option to press the ‘r’ key and make it into a bedroom. Use the +/- keys to enlarge the selection until Bedroom screenshotthe whole room is covered (be sure to place a door before doing this, that way you can keep expanding without going into the corridor by mistake). This will enclose all other beds within that room within the bedroom designation. Now place beds as required.

To make a barracks do the above, but this time you only need a maximum of 10 beds for a maximum squad size of 10 dwarves. Be sure to place cabinets, armor and weapon racks and leave space for them to spar (or make the room long and thin to place archery targets at the far end). Now, once you’ve made a bedroom that encloses everything you will notice that the highlighted bed has new options, one of these is b:Barracks (N). If you press the ‘b’ key it will assign that room as a barracks, finally you will notice your squad names pop up at the bottom, use the +/- keys to move up and down the list to highlight the squad you want to occupy the room and then press the ‘t’ key to select. The selected squad will now use this as their barracks.

Where do I get food for my dwarves from?

Again a common newbie problem, just press the ‘d’ key and then the ‘p’ key to choose gather plants. Click and drag anywhere in open ground and it will highlight all plants for gathering. Any dwarves with the gather plants skill will set to work right away. In the long term you will need to put down farm plots which take a little more explaining, have a look at my post about it here.

Hopefully that helps some people! There are a few more questions I’ll cover at some point.

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