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And again during the Uristid-19 quarantine - Taverns, Shrines, Missions - FUN!Albedo (talk) 01:04, 9 June 2020 (UTC)

Back after a 5+ year hiatus - last edit late May of '10. Just catching up to new version atm - we'll see. Albedo (talk) 16:50, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

Feb, 2010: I just added my name to the list for Asst. Admin for this site - see here.

Gate Scar[edit]

New (as of 2020 fortress) diary here.

Beast Whips[edit]

BeastWhips game diary moved to here.

Basic Farming Article[edit]

There was a recent thread titled "seeds" that was hoping to get "world gen seeds" - but [s]it's now[/s] it was slipping toward page 3, before I accidentally bumped it. ::)

Anyway, these were the 2 responses...

I thought you meant strawberry seeds or something. Now I have nothing to contribute :(
Yeah, I was hoping to learn something new about seeds, but alas...

mmmm... "seeds"... indeed... well, deep on page 2 doesn't look like "world seeds" is taking off... ok, by request of 2 posters, some thoughts on plant seeds and related topics, targeted at a variety of game experience levels. Don't know how much "new" this will be, but I was struck by a strange mood...

First, let's talk about the planter, your Grower. Plant stack size is based on the Grower doing the planting, not the harvester. A better Grower means fewer seeds are needed to produce the same number of plants, and your farm plots can be smaller, saving irrigated space and keeping farmplots closer to your kitchens/stills/etc (which should all be in the same area, and near the Dining Hall - but we digress.)

With the exception of Quarry Bushes (which pad out prepared meals nicely, but usually a food industry is not up to that level in the first couple seasons), plants are mostly for booze, at least to start. [i](Later, flours and such - but not at first.)[/i] You can trade, hunt or breed for all the food you need, but the 1st caravan won't bring enough booze, and you shouldn't rely on them later. Booze is the lubricant of a Fortress, and without it will, quite literally, come to a grinding halt. Plants give you your booze, and Growers give you your plants.

If you count all the tasks, from planting to drinking, Grower is THE single most important skill in DF for multiplying its effect on the labour force. A Legendary grower saves something like 30 tasks for each stack of plants that are brewed. Yes, thirty per stack - it's just absurd. (See the wiki on grower for a detailed breakdown.)

By embarking with a proficient Grower and with only 3 of each UG* seed type, you will have more seeds than you need for planting later seasons - the multiplier is huge and the demand low. (If you collect them all and destroy none, 3 seeds -> ~8+ next season -> 20+ and you're set unless your plots are larger than that, which is a bit over-enthusiastic unless you only have 1 or 2 crops.)

(* UnderGround, vs. AG, above ground. You can only buy UG plants and seeds at embark. There are 4 UG booze plants (all are also edible, some can be processed into other food-stuffs), plus Quarry Bushes, plus the non-edible Dimple Cups.)

While I cannot emphasize how strongly I, personally, recommend starting with a Proficient Grower, it is also true that an unskilled Grower, if set to "Only Farmers Harvest" and with only 25 tiles or so of crops, will train to Proficient easily within a year. But a Proficient will be Legendary in just over a year, and then you're unstoppable. (They'll be Professional or so by the time your first migrants are expected to show, and a single unskilled apprentice back-up Grower (to help w/ harvests) won't crush the production during planting.)

On the flip side, if using unskilled growers, a 1:1 production of seed:plant seem to be the standard, and so replanting at the same scale requires that 100% of the plants are either eaten or brewed with no seeds eaten - no cooking, no eating seeds, no bad luck (harvests of "stack = 0"), or it's a losing proposition. (Smaller plots mean "bad luck" is easier to come across!)

Splitting the diff and putting only ~2-4 ranks into Grower at embark wouldn't be a dealbreaker by any means - ample to avoid "bad luck", and you'll get a few larger stacks for brewing/cooking. (Some micromanagement is necessary to save the larger stacks for processing and only let the smaller ones be eaten raw.)

For newer players, be aware - eating plants leaves seeds, brewing plants leaves seeds, but [u]cooking plants destroys seeds[/u]. This can be controlled in the z-kitchen menu. ((I'll also presume to draw your attention to the fact that cooking seeds also destroys seeds - as does eating seeds. This is usually only a dealbreaker for early fortresses, but it does happen. Forbid some if you want to be paranoid.)

(And while my rambling refers mainly to food-plants, dye-plants work similarly. They are separate from plot-size discussions, as they feed your cloth industry ([u]if[/u] you have one), not your dwarves.)

So, making seeds into more seeds is the job of a Grower, and now we all understand the trade-offs there.

One seed can produce a single stack size of anywhere from 0-5, with larger stacks being reliably produced only by higher skilled Growers. (Also larger if fertilized.)

So, you don't need to start w/ a lot of seeds if you have a Proficient grower. 1 seed will produce a stack of maybe 2-4, on average, so let's call it 2.5 to be on the safe side. At x5 for booze production, that stack will on average become 12.5 booze. That means that 3 seeds should become [i]at least[/i] 7 plants or 35+ booze, which is more than enough to for 8 thirsty dwarfs for a season. That times your 4 different UG plants [i](Pig Tail = ale, D'n Wheat = beer, Sweet Pods = rum, Plump Helmets = wine)[/i] is... well, more than enough. (4x35 = 140 booze/season, which would keep 35 dwarves/season lubricated, plus more from trading.) And that's only 3 seeds for each of 4 crops, with extremely conservative estimates for stack production.

So, starting with 3 seeds each for your 7 dwarfs is ample, even if you're going to let that grow as the fortress does. (If you can get your crops in before the end of the 1st Spring, you're in good shape; before end of 1st Summer can be a bit tight if you have a large migrant wave early.)

Some players do fine with a single 5x5 plot of Plump Helmets* [i](at least for up to 60-100 dwarves, depending on Grower, fertilization, other food sources and Trade)[/i], but dwarves like a variety of booze. Some combination of UG & AG plots that equal around 25-30 tiles (don't count non-food plants) is adequate unless they're going to be trade exports (or you lose your Proficient Grower). That means 2x2 of each is too big if you have a lot of AG crops; 1x3 seems about right w/ your favorites at 2x2, and [i]possibly[/i] some few larger (sun berries, PH's, quarry bushes?). A strip of adjacent plots, w/ some 1x3 sticking out and seed stockpiles placed in the indents for the 2x2 plots works well for me.

(* If you're going with only 1 or 2 crops, spend the 1 dwarfbuck at the start for 1 seed and a free bag for the other crops. But you still really don't need much more than 3 seeds each, as they'll multiply quickly enough, depending on your use of raw plants, and you should be bringing about 60 total booze to last until the 1st caravan, unless you have a personal plan that calls for another approach.)

So, 1x3 or 2x2 each seems a good size for most crops to start, unless you're going to use plant products as trade exports. (Same w/ UG size plots.) 25 tiles total of [u]food[/u]-plant production is "common wisdom". (Don't count plants that produce only dye/etc.)

And since "fertilzing" sees a cutpoint at "size 3" as a cutpoint (next is size 7), let's go with size 3, which also allows some refined customization if you want to tweak the final output one way or another.

(At a total footprint of 3x7, this is only 17 tiles of food production, and so while adequate for your 1st 7 this needs either some expanding or some AG food crops to back it up before your fortress grows too big.)

Seeds are stored in bags - 100/bag max (so getting 6 free bags at embark is a good move, but you won't get any more than that). And then the bags will be set into barrels. If your settings are on "mix food" (<o, m>), then 1 barrel can hold all you need - but you can easily customize your food stockpiles to have no barrels at all. I like to set 1-tile large stockpiles customized to accept only that one seed adjacent to the plots they will serve - makes planting (and visually checking your seed supply) too easy. (While the bags might get wear from being walked on, the seeds won't suffer - put them in hallways if you have to, and/or use <d, o> to set Restricted traffic on them.)

Adding a specific seed stockpile at the end of each row is handy. Note that walking on seeds/farm plots/crops doesn't seem to hurt them, which is not true of wild plants or saplings. Food does not take "wear".

Crop Rotation[edit]

A glance at the time for growth for underground crops shows that different crops grow at different rates - Plump Helmets and Pig Tails grow 3x/season, the others 2x*. With 5 fields of size 3 and a dedicated Grower, you can just about balance the 5 UG crops and feed your fortress up to 100 dwarfs very easily.

(* At least in theory. The time to harvest/replant is very tight with 84-day seasons (since all months are only 28 days long).)
Spring Summer Autumn Winter
Plot #1 SP x2 SP x2 PT x3 PH x3
Plot #2 SP x2 PT x3 PT x3 PH x3
Plot #3 SP x2 CW x2 CW x2 PH x3
Plot #4 QB x2 QB x2 QB x2 DC* x2
Plot #5 QB x2 CW x2 CW x2 DC* x2
Legend: DC = Dimple Cup, CW = Cave Wheat, PH = Plump Helmet, PT = Pig Tail, QB = Quarry Bush, and SP = Sweet Pod.
* Dimple Cups are non-edible, but if you want to start your dye industry, toss them in. Otherwise, Plump Helmets are the only other winter UG crop.

Over 4 seasons, the harvests that these plots yield are...

  • 9x Plump Helmets
  • 9x Pig Tails
  • 8x Cave Wheat
  • 8x Sweet Pods
  • 8x Quarry Bushes
  • 4x Dimple Cups (dye only)

I like to send a quick, large wave of unskilled Plant Gathering out early in the game, 1st Spring or Summer (once everything is nearly underground but before real trouble shows up), to get a nice selection of AG plants, and then brew those up (or forbid all other foods and let them get eaten first) to get the seeds asap for a Summer planting.

Cooking with seeds is a great way to get rid of them in later game as they start to reach triple digits each, but turn off all "cook" orders early on (again, in the z-kitchen menu). This is critical with newly acquired plants/seeds (from Plant Gathering or Trade), as otherwise your Cook might decide a SunBerry Seed Roast is just the ticket. Oh noes.

There. I've probably mispoken somewhere, so I trust the veterans will come along and rub my nose in it and correct me. And/or suggest valid alternatives, and invited to do so - a complete discussion was my goal.

I also have made some strong personal recommendations that are just that - my personal opinion, no apologies. There are many ways to approach DF, and to have fun (in all its forms) - this is just one solid way to get there from here.

Next Fort[edit]

Beastwhips (see section & link near top of this page) was many versions ago, and this next effort calls for a more refined approach. So, to that end...

(EDITOR'S UPDATE: This is from about 2013, so a LOT of the details are out of date - and in DF, the devil is, indeed, in the details. e.g., Silver is not longer the rough equiv of iron/steel for blunt weapons, etc. etc. etc.

As a result of this edit, the below is now a combo of my most recent beliefs and the original record.)

Starting Seven[edit]

(updated for 2020) Screened my original seven slightly, tossing out the first couple groups - no cat lovers, no real slackers, no serious over-indulgers or quitters. Very diff than before, switching several secondary skills, both in choice and pairing.

(Edit - this is not the original BeastWhips 7, but closer to my current (2020) layout.)

The party now consists of the following:

  • 1) "Boss Axe": Axe +4, Armor User +5, Discipline 1
  • 2) "Dirty" Grower +5/Glassmaker 5 (or Wrestler 3/Discipline 2?) (or ???)
  • 3) "Stoney" Mason +5/Stonecrafter +4 (or ???)
  • 4) "Cutter" Weaponsmith +5/Brewer +3/Appraise +1, Judge of Intent +1 (or ???)
  • 5) "Hardpan" Armorsmith +5/Cook +5
  • 6) "Cagey" Mechanic +5/Carpenter +5
  • 7) "Striker" Miner +5/Armor User +5 (or ???)

(& see Sample Starting Builds#Albedo's 7)

1) Boss Axe: Leader/Security, misc. (non-Moodable) tasks, hauler. Essentially a dedicated hauler to start, also our Trader and early fast-reaction force. He'll also train the dogs early, and cover most misc. skilled jobs like Woodcutting, Furnace operator and Record Keeper. This is my 1-dwarf "starting military"; activate Woodcutting to keep his axe in his hand. Hopefully on a dwarf with high social inclinations and no preferences for any "item". Early on, task him to forge another pick for the fortress, and so get Weaponsmith as his moodable skill.
(Note: Go Axe 3/Discipline 2 if expecting undead)
2) Dirty: Non-Hauler. This is partly a "wildcard" - he'll be THE Grower 24/7 until/unless a better replacement migrates in (and maybe even still then), so he shouldn't be given anything that will demand his time early on. Grower 5 will take 2 starting seeds of each and turn them into more than I need by the end of the 1st year.
Dealer's choice on the 2nd skill. He could take "nothing" and save the embark points He could take Wrestler (3-5), enough to keep him alive if he gets ambushed while outdoor farming, possibly coupled with enough Discipline not to fall apart at the sight of dead bodies. I chose a moodable skill that he can change to once a capable Grower migrates in to replace him. However, this should be something that can, indeed, wait until that time, and not something that will take time away from growing early on.
(Any or all of the four "(or ???)" skills could be any rarely-needed, low time-drain skill(s), something until Migrants can do better. Or, if that dwarf has a useful Preference, take that skill @ 5 and plan to change careers once any decent Grower migrates in (and hope to get that new skill dominant for Moods). Or plan for more starting military - Crossbow 5 or Armor User 5 (or Weapon 1/Armor 4 - "mace" is probably the best all-around weapon, esp vs. undead). Or just save the points and buy another war dog. Whatever works for you.
For me, Wrestler is for unpleasant surprises when farming outside, and in extremis as backup starting military. The miner will shift to military once he has his replacement.)
3) Stoney: Semi-hauler, to-start only. Stonecraft mugs for the Caravan. Plus, a few nice ☼mugs☼ for the Tavern couldn't hurt. Important to keep Mason skill > Stonecraft in case of moods - the goal is an artifact coffin, statue or throne, not a jug or hive. This means little or no early hauling - if he's not making furniture or constructing buildings, he's making blocks for practice and fortress expansion. Mug production starts sometime mid-Summer (or start of Summer if no skill). Often has more than a few each of Mason's and Cratdwarf's workshops cluttered before the Caravan arrives, just because early on it's faster to build new ones (in the middle of a stone field) than to haul/store everything.
4 & 5) Cutter & Hardpan: (Initial Haulers, both.) One moodable skill w/ one non-moodable that we don't have to worry about. There are 2 reasons for starting with a high skill - quality or speed. Both Brewer/Cook 5 means they can spend less time away from what's important, and high-quality meals can be used for their trade values (and eventually keep dwarves happier). Brewer 3 is almost as good on speed and saves 17 embark points - 5 more bituminous coal, pls, tysvm.
6) Cagey: (Initial Hauler.) Necessary wooden products (beds, buckets, etc.) will mostly be meh-quality until a better replacement migrates in, but something adequate to start.
7) Striker: No Hauling, the fortress needs a 24/7 miner from the start. I like ballistae, but they're not for everyone, admittedly. And while you could start with no Miner and train one up to 4-5 in about 1 season (especially in soil), starting with a 5 means he strikes the earth with alacrity and purpose, going through soil like magma through an elf - which is critical early on to create quick space underground. He gets some stat boosts by the time he makes Legendary, trains up some replacements, then gets transferred to the military once a couple/few migrants can take his place. SE is tough to skill up - or, that skill could as easily be any Military skill(s) for military dwarf #2 (Mace 1, Armor 4?).
(Any other personal preferences/likes are, well, pretty much dull and pointless. Squares. Trumpets. Siliceous ooze. Yay.)
(These skill mixes were chosen with an eye to several factors, including future possible moods, time-demands of skills, and when the skill would be needed in the fortress (sooner vs. later). For me, for my priorities and gamestyle, I like this mix far better than other, more conventional choices.)

For the start, the Leader/Axedwarf will add in unskilled Woodcutter, Herbalist and Animal Trainer, and cover all the outdoor duties with a few wardogs in tow (until they're assigned elsewhere). The Miner will do nothing else but mine, all hauling turned off until they're legendary (which will be fast enough), and will be some early reserve military with those increased attributes. Almost everyone else will be Furnace Operators, to cover that as it comes up, and almost everyone except the Cook will be a Butcher/Tanner, to cover those duties asap before anything rots (the cook will cook what's butchered, not unspurprisingly). The Weaponsmith/Lthrwrkr will add Carpenter, and cover those duties as well for now - gotta make sure they maintain "Weaponsmith" as a profession, for any mood.

The Mason/Stonecrafter will have their hands full at first, and I know I'll sometimes wish they were two separate dwarfs (been there before with this mix), but, after a few caravans, stonecrafts will only take a few weeks out of the year, and at some point a mood will create a legendary one while this dwarf concentrates on keeping Mason > Stonecraft in case a mood strikes.

The 2nd half of the Grower/X* is a "fill in this blank" . Armor User is harder to train than Wrestler or Dodge, and any collection of Medical skills is a joke - but ultimately dealer's choice. Even odds whether this Grower or some random migrant will have a better Grower score, so a "production" skill means he's not completely tied to agriculture if he wants to change careers and someone (almost) as good/better comes along.

(* In a previous incarnation of this embark profile, this was a Grower/Gemsetter. For me, Gemsetter was a long-term plan once the glass industry was up and running.)

In the wagon[edit]

I intend to DIY my own axe for woodcutting and defense, out of bronze, plus a second pick. Bronze is about +33% better in combat than copper and actually takes less fuel (8 bars/1 fuel!). The rest is for moods, and because Bismuth Bronze costs the same # of embark points as regular Bronze (a bit more time and fuel), but is worth 20% more.

And I have no shame in exploiting the "1 free container for 1 unit" rule. ymmv.

Provisions chosen include:

  • 1 anvil (@ 100/)
  • 1 copper pick (@ 44/)

= 144

  • 4 dogs (@ 16/) (not wardogs, just "dogs". 1 male, 3 females. Keep male safe, hope he's not a genetic loser)
  • 2 cats (@ 11/) (to intentionally breed for leather, meat & bones)
  • 3 sheep (@ 51/) (rejected as too expensive. Hope can trade for same later)
  • 4 rabbits (@ 2/) (1 male. Yes, watch-bunnies and bait animals; altho' cavies would suffice. Be afraid.)

= 94

  • 5 jet stones (@ 3/) (lightest fire-safe stone, for early workshops* etc. while digging in dirt. When made into 20 blocks, this will cover all early shops/etc.)
  • 4 petrified wood (@ 3/) (for immediate fire-safe workshops*, and (later) guaranteed magma-safe mechanisms/etc.; lightest of magma-safe stones. Also bright red.)
  • 2 cinnabar (@ 3/) (heaviest common stone - just because. Nice early "welcome" door prize.)

= 33

(* Kitchen, Still, Carpenter, Butcher & Tanner, and Furnace, Smelter & Forge...
Anything else can be made of nearby stone once that becomes available.)


1 Suit of metal* armour requires...
1 : Helm
3 : Breastplate (or 2 for chain mail)
1 : Gauntlets
2 : Greaves (not needed if use chain!)
1 : High Boots
8 bars total/full suit
(* Leather for armor is more expensive than ore for bronze. Only consider if expect to need immediate armor.)
2(-3) suits should be good to start, with a couple/few more later...
1 Copper ore + 1 Cassiterite (tin) ore = 8 Bronze bars
That's 1 suit, or 8 misc. items (picks, weapons, chains, whatever). (The axe comes first, obviously, for woodcutting and immediate defense. And a bronze pick too, in case miner needs to join in, and/or we need a 2nd miner. And a crossbow and bolts. And... )
2 Tetrahedrite =
8 copper bars + ~1-2 silver bars.
8 copper bars + 4 Tin bars + 4 Bismuth bars = 16 Bismuth Bronze bars
That's 2 more (fancier!) suits once Armorsmith gets skilled up a bit.
Plus a silver hammer* or two (rough equiv of steel for hammers)
(* Maces are better vs. undead)
Good bronze axe (2? or wait for steel?)
2 crossbows (of any metal - silver is better to beat on stuff with?)
& bolts (bronze)
  • 4 copper ore (@ 6/) (= easy 32 bronze bars)
  • 2(?) tetrahedrite (@ 9/) (copper + silver %)
  • 7 cassiterite (@ 6/) (above, +1-2 for moods/etc.)
  • 3 bismuthinite (@ 3/) ( " )
  • 3 garnierite (@ 6/) (Nickel, for moods/etc.)
  • 3 sphalerite (@ 6/) (Zinc, for moods/etc.)
  • 2 iron ore (@ 24/) (1 ore = 4 steel, for 2 axes & 1st suit (steel) armor)
  • 8 (flux stone) (@ 3/) (use 4 w/ above 2 iron; hope to find more for 2nd suit)
  • 20++ bituminous coal (@ 3/)

= 201+?

  • 3 lye (@ 2/) (for soap)
  • 3 gypsum plaster powder (@ 3/) (for 3 casts)
  • 30 sand (6 each @ 1/, x5?) (the sand itself is convenient, but the bags are the 1/ target)
  • 3-6 leather (@ 5/) (2-4 quivers, 3-6 waterskins; anything else can wait. I chose "dog" leather on my saved /embark list, because I have faith it will be there. Dog soldiers ftw.)
  • ? 12 lightweight wood (@ 3/) (For training room walls/floors/etc. Depends on map & biome. Featherwood 100 (good), Papaya 130 (tropical), Candlenut 140 (tropical forest), Kapok 260 (Tropical Moist Broadleaf Forest), then...Willow 390, etc.)

= ~96

Total 9 seeds (@ 1/)

  • 2 seeds for quarry bushes
  • 2 seeds each of cave wheat, pig tails & sweet pods
  • 1 seed for dimple cups (no rush, wait until Grower skill improves)

= 17

  • 5x Plump Helmets (for fast wine. Get seeds = brew!)
  • 2x each seeds Cave Wheat, Sweet Pod, Pig Tail, Quarry bush
  • 1x seed for Dimple Cup (dye)
  • 6x Dwarven Wine (more brewed asap)
  • +38x total Dwarven Ale, D'n Beer, & D'n Rum
(16, 11, 11, based on favorite preference for the starting 7)
  • 1 each milk (@ 1/) (will become cheese, then meals)
  • 1 each of every available brewable vegie that costs 2/ (for more and different booze)
  • & then 1 each of every available fish/meat/vegie/egg that costs 2/ (or more if any left).

= the rest of it...

to do[edit]

Weaponsmith priority - Wood Furnace, Smelter, Metalsmith Forge.

Working backwards, to brew Plump Helmets, need 6 barrels free. That requires 2 elaborate meals to be cooked ASAP. Kitchen + Still.

Dead animals -> Butcher, Tanner, (& Leatherworker) (Ashery & Soap)

Mason x#! (Stonecrafter x#!)

Cheese -> Farmer's Workshop. Quern.

Mechanic's x#

Food inside, farm plots (UG & AG) and storage, + eventual dining room etc.

Quick meeting room.

Caravan entry, goblin "shortcuts" g ^^^ g

Density Table[edit]

sandbox, work in progress