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This article is about the current version of DF.
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Pickaxe sprite preview.png

A pick is a digging implement / weapon that can be forged (using the weaponsmithing labour) from most weapon-grade metals, such as copper, iron, bronze, bismuth bronze, steel, and adamantine, but not silver, (although other weapons can be forged from silver). Picks are essential for a properly-functioning fortress: miners require picks to strike the earth, dig tunnels, carve staircases and everything else related to the removal of rock and soil tiles. You will need to purchase or create picks on embark, as miners won't bring their own. Without picks, your dwarves will be stranded on the surface, forced to live like elves. The quality and material of a pick have no effect on its speed when digging through rock; that depends solely on the user's Mining skill level.

Picks can also be used as weapons. They inflict EDGE type damage, tend to impale or dismember enemies, and gain damage bonuses dependent on the user's Mining skill level. Picks combine a velocity bonus with a narrow attack surface, making them on par with spears for penetration while inflicting broader wounds. The effectiveness of picks is often overestimated by newer players who tend to fall short on proper military training. When they then see the effects of skill by the single miner they've been slave-driving to mine stone day and night compared to their late start militaries on part time schedules, they are amazed and imagine that the pick must be a superweapon. Another source of such beliefs is that the Pick seems to be a "superweapon" on paper - as it has Edge attack type, pretty small contact area (100), average penetration (4000) and 2.0x velocity - what, to the inexperienced eye, seems to be a mashup of the best qualities of the War hammer and Spear (which is close to truth, but novice players tend to overestimate the power of such a combination). Extensive testing that examines weapons ceteris paribus has revealed that it is very effective, but not in itself the best in every category.

While other weapons, given equal skills, are more effective against siegers and huge enemies, picks excel at killing undead, in particular armored undead. The main advantage and key thing that sets picks apart is that players can utilize mining quarries to increase the weapon skill of potential military dwarves faster than they can ascend to sparring status, although this comes at the opportunity cost of putting off the other skills you would in a sparring session, especially defensive, blocking and armor skills. An additional point in their favor is that it also results in a large number of miners in case you have a mega project in mind and need FPS-crushing amounts of stone quarried.

Unlike when digging through rock, quality and material are both important when using a pick as a weapon. Since a steel pick, just like every bladed dwarven weapon, can penetrate most armor, picks are effective against any foe, armored, forgotten elemental, bronze, or otherwise. Picks are slightly below average in terms of how many dwarves can wield them along with a shield. Some dwarves must use two hands, which makes them more similar to real-life ice axes than actual pickaxes.

Note that military dwarves will never select a pick as a weapon if allowed "individual choice" - they must be specifically assigned picks as part of their uniform or on their equip screen.

Forging and Melting[edit]

  • Metal picks cost one metal bar to forge, or four adamantine wafers.
  • When a non-adamantine metal pick is melted down, it will return 1.2 metal bars, for an efficiency of 120%.
  • When an adamantine pick is melted down, it will produce 1.2 wafers, for an efficiency of 30%.
"Pick" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: tekkud
Elvish: mubara
Goblin: otez
Human: tekud
Ranged and ammunition
Blowgun and blowdart · Bow and arrow · Crossbow and bolt
Edged (slashing)
Edged (piercing)
Dagger · Morningstar · Pick · Pike · Spear
See also: Attack types