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Frequently Asked Questions

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This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

This page documents commonly asked questions and answers. Some of these questions were taken from the Bay12 Gameplay Questions page.


Game Basics

What is the Z-Axis?
What is the point of the game?
How quickly does time pass in Dwarf Fortress?

Game Interface

Menu interface guide
What do these symbols represent?
What do the flashing icons mean?
How do I make the game run faster?
How do I accomplish tasks with fewer keystrokes?
What are good key bindings if I have a laptop or unusual keyboard?
Where can I get color graphic tiles for this game?
On the z stocks page, why are numbers displayed in yellow such as 10? 20? etc
What do the C H and S in the top left border mean?
What configuration options are available?

Beginner's guide

Basic getting started guide
Where in the world should I settle?
What skills and items should I equip my dwarves with?
Where in my area should I build my fort?
What should I build first?
How do I assign tasks to specific dwarves?
How do I get more dwarves?



Practically everything Magma related
What can I use to make magma-proof items?
How do I channel magma?
Digging designation canceled: Warm stone located
Where can I find magma?
Can magma cremate dead dwarves instead of burying them?


Do I really need wood?
Where can I get wood?
Where can I get even more wood?
Is it possible to grow trees underground?
How long do tower-caps take to grow?
Do dead trees spawn new trees?
How much protection does wood armor provide?


How do I move water up levels?
How do I stop water moving up levels?
Can dwarves swim to the surface for air?
How long does it take for a dwarf/goblin/creature to drown?
How deep is the water?
Is it possible to melt ice?
How do I build a well?
How do I channel a path for water?
Will water push items around?
Can I build a dam to stop the water?
Digging designation canceled: Damp stone located
What is the best way to proceed on a map with no rivers? Will my dwarves die of thirst?
How can I divert a river to allow safe(ish) indoor fishing?
How can I dig through an aquifer?


Buildings, Constructions and Rooms

When I try to build a bed/door/chair why does it say needs bed/door/chair?
How do I make and build chests?
How do I construct a wall from a particular direction?
How do I designate rooms or areas?
Help! My doors are stuck open!
Once placed, can furniture be moved?
How do I increase the value of a room quickly and easily?


What's the easiest way to check dwarves happiness?
How do I get my dwarves to sleep peacefully?
How can I keep my dwarves happy?
What does "taken by mood" mean?


How do I make steel?
How do I make glass?
How do I make cloth?
How do I make soap?
My items are 'stuck' in a workshop; how do I stop this from happening?

Error Messages

Dwarf cancels Store Item: Job item misplaced
Dwarf cancels Store Item: Item inaccessible
Dwarf cancels Construct Building: Item blocking site
Dwarf cancels task: Dropoff inaccessible
Dwarf cancels task: Dangerous terrain
Dwarf cancels task: Could not find path
Dwarf cancels task: Forbidden area
Dwarf cancels task: Job item lost or destroyed
Dwarf cancels Pickup Equipment: Equipment mismatch
Dwarf cancels task: Interrupted
Dwarf cancels task: Handling dangerous creature
Diplomacy Stymied - A diplomat has left unhappy
Dwarf cancels construct "Rock object": Needs non-economic rock
Cat cancels Store Item in Stockpile: Too injured
Digging designation canceled: Warm / Damp stone located
Miner cancels dig: Inappropriate dig square
Dwarf cancels fill pond: Inappropriate building
Their wagons have bypassed your inaccessible site
Dwarf cancels Construct Building: cannot reach site
Dwarf cancels construct "Rock short sword": Needs sharpenable rock
Dwarf cancels construction of Wall: Creature occupying site
Needs butcherable unrotten nearby item.



How do I build a farm?
How large a farm do I need?
What is the best crop?
How do I manage my seeds and crops?
What does "Reserved Barrels" and "Reserved Bins" mean?
Why are crops sometimes displayed with red writing?
What do I do with these inedible crops?
What does the option "Fallow" mean?
My dwarves will only farm on a small part of the fields, why is this?
How do I make absolutely sure my farm plot is all set to produce crops?
If I don't see any dwarves working my farm plot, does that mean there's something wrong?
Can you grow surface crops on multiple z-levels in a tower if the floors are glass, even though there's soil on the glass?
What is the "seas fert" option for?
How do you create a custom stockpile that accepts only prepared foods?
How do you successfully breed and utilize animals(grazing, non-grazing and poultry)?
How often do you need to irrigate your farm fields?
Having banned seeds from the kitchen, how to prevent dwarves from eating them raw?
Why do my planters keep complaining they have no seeds?
Why won't my animals breed?


How do I get my dwarves to fight?
Recruiting, equipping, and managing your military
How do I train my dwarves' martial skills?
How to train civilians into super-soldiers
How do I keep armor from slowing my soldiers down?
How do I train and deploy animals when needed?
Help! My civilians keep running into combat!
How do I remove weapons from caged prisoners?
Why can't I get my dwarves equipped?
How do I stop my marksdwarves from wrestling?
Why do my soldiers keep dropping their equipment?


How do I get my dwarves to haul stones only from certain areas?
How do I find ores to mine?
How do I get my dwarves to haul ores and ignore useless stones?
How do I get rid of all this stone?
How do I stop miners from falling in channels as they dig them?
What causes a cave-in?


What are the best goods for training?
What are the best goods for trade?
Which weapons are best?
Which armors are best?
What is "flowery" metal, "dark" metal, etc.?
Why did my moody armorsmith produce a "bulging" breastplate?

Gameplay: Uncategorized[edit]

Water Questions

Q: If you drain water into naturally flooded caverns, will it flow off the map? Or will they eventually start to fill up?

A: It will flow off the edge of the map.


Q: I've got someone in a mood and he wants bones. Well, there's a dead bear skeleton just outside the fort, and I've got lots of tame animals tethered or wandering around.

A: First off, make sure you've got a butcher's shop, and a dwarf with butchering labour enabled. Then go to the "animals screen"(from {z} screen), and toggle "ready for slaughter" for those you want to kill. Your butcher will also automatically butcher every dead animal in the refuse stockpile. This includes extracting bones from "partial skeletons". Make a refuse stockpile by the butcher's, and enable refuse gathering from the outside(o->r->o, iirc).


Q: I have 3 miners in my fort, 1 is a migrant (He's the working miner) the other 2 came on embark. The original 2 won't mine anything. (I checked and they're holding picks) The new guy is steady mining all the time. What gives?

A: If you're mining a tunnel which is only 1 square in width, only 1 dwarf will mine. Ensure they all have picks equipped. Did you perchance assign mining through Dwarf Therapist? Either way, unassign, unpause, and then reassign mining labour. Could be all that's required. In some of my own tests, it wasn't even necessary to unpause - just going into v-p-l, selecting Mining (or Wood Cutting) and hitting Enter twice was enough to fix it.


Q: Is there any way to edit the frequency or max/min amount of migrants that join your fortress? I keep keeping double digit migrations and I hate being forced to expand quickly. I know I can just draft some into military positions, but I have a picky principle on better to not have labor than to waste labor.

A: See Immigration


Q: I've recently noticed while browsing Legends that some of my dwarves started a group, "The Noiseless Thing". It doesn't say it worships anything/anyone, but dwarves entered it en masse (though I don't think all of them). Should I be worried? I also have not found anything when searching for "group" on the subject on this wiki.


Q: Dwarf Fortress automatically quits the game after saving and then loading it up again takes a while. So saving frequently is really inconvenient, however, due to how unstable the game is at the moment, I find it necessary to do so. As such, is it possible to save without quitting?

A: Autosave can be configured in your d_init.txt file to save at the beginning of every year or every season, or to turn off autosaving entirely. If Autosave is on, it can be configured to back up your previous save game before saving. Additionally, DFHack offer an option to Quicksave, you can do so by typing 'quicksave' in its terminal to save the game immediately.


Q: Every time I start the game the sound is at 255/255. Is there any way to make it start at a different level?

A: In your init file, you can turn sound off by default with [SOUND:NO] or set the sound to a specific volume with [VOLUME:100] or whatever level you want. The init file can be found in the Dwarf Fortress folder under data/init/init.txt

Using DF Wiki (Editing policies)[edit]

While browsing the wiki, users are encouraged to contribute by adding information, correcting mistakes, improving links between articles, and researching unconfirmed or incomplete facts. If you're new to the game, you are even more likely to encounter errors, be confused by inconsistencies or phrasing, or have unanswered questions that should be answered here. While you gather your answers — from the [[::Forums|forums]], on [[::IRC|IRC]], through playing and testing, or by other means — and figure things out, you're in a unique position to improve the information here for the next person.

A good wiki is not just about quality information, but also quality presentation and accessibility. There are many editing customs which contribute to quality and consistency of the wiki. Please take a few minutes to read the Rules. You can also look through the Style Manual and some of the other discussions on the centralized discussion page found through navigation panel on the left. For technical help with editing features, such as linking and formatting, click the Help link, also on the left navigation panel.

Facts should be verified to be complete and accurate, preferably in game, before adding to the wiki. When in doubt, but you think it's useful information, just add it and someone will fix it later. If an item of information is not verified, it should be labeled for verification.

Each topic has a Talk page where you can ask questions, discuss your ideas and reasoning with others until the facts are worked out, or say anything that doesn't belong in the actual topic page. Remember this is not a forum, so don't expect replies or even to be noticed if you didn't use a verify label in the topic page. Always sign your talk page comments with ~~~~, and read the talk page guidelines. Note that not all topics have an existing Talk page. Clicking a verify link or the Discussion tab on the topic's main page will create one (see Starting a New Page below).

Starting a New Page: There are various ways to start a new page. However, only the "Autoconfirmed" user group may do so. You will be automatically added to this group once you have contributed a reasonable number of edits (currently 3). Until then, you may request the creation of new pages on this request page.

Writing answers policy[edit]

If you know of a page on the wiki that answers a question already, don't just redirect to it. Edit the FAQ and change the link to point to it directly.

Whether you link to a page, or create a new page to answer the question, don't forget to add the template code! That would be: {{Name of FAQ}}