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This article is about an older version of DF.
If looking for a guide on general fortifications as defense, see the Defense guide and/or Defense design.

Fortifications on top of a round tower.

Fortifications are arrow slits used in the defense of your fortress, (and which are more technically known as "crenellations"). They are probably most commonly used along the outside walls of your fortress and on the upper levels of constructed watchtowers so that marksdwarves and siege engines can fire at enemies from within your walls. Much like real world embrasures on battlements, their utility is limited if the enemy is close and at the same height; their true power lies in shooting from above and at distance, as it is possible to shoot at targets on other z-levels.

Fortifications allow ranged attacks (including siege weapons), fireballs/breath, water, magma, steam, etc. to pass through. Projectiles fired through fortifications have a chance of being blocked, depending on the distance the projectile has flown and the skill level used when firing it.

Building fortifications[edit]

Fortifications can be carved from stone walls, or built like any other construction. They cannot be carved from soil, though they can be constructed on soil, as described below.


Once you have chosen the wall you want to carve, smooth the stone along its length using d -> s. After it has been smoothed, re-designate the same wall for fortifications using d -> a. Stone smoothing and fortification require a dwarf with the Engraver labor.

Built walls do not require smoothing before carving fortifications, regardless if they are smooth block walls (built from stone blocks) or rough block walls (build from raw stone).

Damaged (i.e. partially mined) rock cannot be used for fortifications.


Fortifications can also be constructed from metal, wood, glass blocks, or stone (in lump or block form) using b -> C -> F. Construction of wooden fortifications require the Carpentry skill, fortifications made of glass or stone require the Masonry skill, and those made of metal require Metalsmithing.

Building fortifications does not include the floor on the level above. Constructing a wall and carving fortifications out of it does, however.

Uses and strategies[edit]

Fortifications are designed to allow your marksdwarves to make pincushions of your enemies without exposing themselves to the dangers of melee, and providing them with cover from return fire. Obviously, their utility is derived entirely from their placement. It's a good idea to place fortifications above the Z-level that they will be defending, because otherwise ranged enemies could conceivably stand directly outside them and receive no penalty from them. Raising them above ground makes them inaccessible to enemies.

It's helpful to make the room that the fortifications look out of a barracks or archery range, along with an ammo stockpile, to ensure that there are always military dwarves milling about at all times, ready to fire upon any attackers that threaten the fortress.

Beware that submerged fortifications will not block the passage of aquatic (or amphibious) creatures - wall grates and vertical bars work, but they are vulnerable to building destroyers.

Curiously, a fortification carved into a tile at the very edge of the map will allow water (but not magma) to drain through it and off of the map.

See also[edit]

Animal trapAnvilArmor standBedBinBucketCabinetCageCoffinContainerRestraintSeatStatueTableWeapon rack

DoorFloodgateBarsGrateFloor hatchBridgeRoadWindow
Machine & Trap parts
Other Buildings
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