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Unusual volcanic wall

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This article is about the current version of DF.
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An unusual volcanic wall is a pillar-like formation consisting primarily of obsidian alongside various precious and rare gems. These formations are commonly found in the magma sea and the deepest parts of the caverns.

Upon discovery, the player will get an announcement that they have discovered an "unusual volcanic wall studded with gems". Digging into the pillar will reveal various pockets which will contain water, magma, fire that will extend outward when revealed, divine artifacts, or other fun things. Veins of adamantine can also be found deep inside the pillar.

This can only end well!

Upon becoming the Capital and meeting all of the monarch's room requirements, an announcement will prompt the player to acquire "seven symbols not of this world" as well as a "true throne" made from adamantine or any divine metal. The "symbols" can be any object made out of divine metal or adamantine, and do not need to be of artifact quality. Once the symbols are assigned and the throne is constructed in the monarch's throne room, the fortress will be elevated from Capital to Mountainhome.

Small 3x3 "geodes" of obsidian and similar valuable gems may also be found throughout the caverns. These geodes sometimes contain similar surprises to those found in their larger counterparts.[Verify]


  • Variously sized pools of water and magma
  • A pocket containing fire, prompting an announcement of We checked that stone for heat! What devilry is this?! The fire will expand outwards on the same z-level and (potentially) kill whichever unfortunate miner discovered it. As the announcement message implies, these pockets are not surrounded by warm stone.
  • A set of 1-3 artifacts made of a random divine metal, prompting an announcement of Deep within this strange place, we've uncovered what must be a treasure of the gods! Note that it is possible for many of these artifacts to have no graphic. These items can be assigned to your monarch through the nobles and administrators menu, although depending on the usefulness of the item you may wish to allow your military to use it. Much of the armor will probably be the wrong Size for dwarves to wear.
  • A random demon, prompting an announcement of Something evil is emerging from this newly exposed pocket! Demons often have some fun attacks such as fire or webs, and will most likely kill the unfortunate miner who discovered it.
  • A random angel, prompting an announcement of We have unleashed the echo of a forgotten divine retribution! Angels will usually be equipped with a randomly generated set of divine metal armor and weapons, which, similar to the unique artifacts above, may be invisible. Unlike the unique artifacts, these can be melted down into bars at the smelter. It is advisable to only have a single smelter set to melt items at this point, so the extra "fractions" accumulate into bars instead of being lost.
  • A pillar of raw adamantine. As in previous versions, it is hollow, and breaching it will likely lead to large amounts of fun.


Due to the danger of what lies within the pillar (even a single demon is capable of wiping out an entire fortress), care must be taken when exploring, but there will always be a risk. Isolating the pillar from the rest of your fortress with only a single entrance and keeping the military nearby would be wise.

Collapsing a single layer of floor on top of the pillar with a cave-in will expose all pockets, and the resulting dust will potentially kill (or at least injure) any hostiles that pop out. The military can then be sent in to kill them, and that layer of pillar can then be safely mined out. On the other hand, this carries a risk of releasing several still-living, very angry demons at once, which may be far worse. However, if done a little at a time, you can stay reasonably safe, and your dwarves won't be set on fire with devilish magic, though the risk of this can be mitigated by pumping a bit of water into the area first or using some of the water deposits inside the wall itself.

If you prefer a slower and saner method, you can designate the volcanic walls to be carved into fortifications before you mine them. This will allow you to see through the wall and get a good look at what's on the other side of it, which may be nothing, but may be a demon that can't get out, which at the very least will give you ample time to prepare for the battle, get civilians to safety, pump water in to wash off deadly dust and put out fires, close any bridges, and summon the military. Be aware that when using this method, any dwarves working in the area are still exposed to danger from anything that can get through fortifications, like deadly spit, dust, fire, ranged attacks from angels, and fluids. When using this method, fluids can be deadly even if you only uncover a pocket of water, since flowing liquid can actually push enemies through fortificationsBug:5458, so be extremely careful when carving through warm or damp stone.

If using DF Premium's graphical mode, glass floors are transparent and will graphically replace any floor they are constructed on, so if you want to really take a peek before you dig or carve anything, construct a glass block floor over the top of the wall to reveal what's beneath. Clear glass works best, as green glass will tint everything green, possibly obscuring necessary visuals, but green glass may work just fine. This method does not reveal the contents of the pockets, since the game does not spawn the contents until revealed through more conventional means. However, it does reveal the locations of all pockets.

Devilish fire can only spread outward orthogonally and not diagonally or upwards. When channeling to reveal a pocket, it can be prudent to dig the corner first. Channeling without checking carefully first carries a risk, though – enemies can still climb or fly out, and if you're already near a pocket of adamantine, you could risk digging too deep.

Angels will attack demons on sight (and vice versa), so if you're truly desperate (or looking for fun) you can try to set them on one another and wait to pick off the survivors of the ensuing fight.

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