v0.34:Live training

From Dwarf Fortress Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is about an older version of DF.

Live training is the process of how to attack creatures with military dwarves (and be attacked by these creatures as well) with minimal or inexistent wounds in order to train your military's skills, if you consider danger rooms as an exploit, or don't want to randomly lose children or pets, and find sparring and military training too slow.

There are many ways how to do this. What you must ensure first is your dwarf's safety.

Killing Wildlife[edit]

Just arm and armor your military and gratuitously hunt wild animals. Note that some wild animals are more than capable of killing your dabbling soldiers, so you may want to scale the creature's threat to your dwarves skill and equipment.

  • Pros:
    • gets you raw meat, bone, skin, and other body parts for your animal products industry
    • gets rid of unwanted animals in the biome
    • possibly will get you new, more interesting animals on the map to catch
    • very easy to set up, no special infrastructure needed
    • slaughtering wildlife is fun
    • trains all skills
    • very easy to set up with marksdwarves: just make your dwarves hunters
  • Cons:
    • not the fastest training method
    • possibly the most dangerous techniques for dwarves
    • can easily bring you too much meat and animal parts
    • easily gets repetitive
    • If training melee, dwarves spend a long time running after wildlife. Feel free to listen to this while it happens.
    • wildlife supply isn't infinite
    • may generate unwanted hauling jobs
    • requires oversight (repetitive kill orders)
    • trains offense much more than defense

BONUS : Improve on this design by breeding wild non-grazers in some room for your dwarves to slaughter periodically the offspring. It removes the limited wildlife problem, but has still most of the other drawbacks.

Beating on Enemy Prisoners (aka Away with thee, accursed Geneva Convention!)[edit]

Quite a bit more efficient than the previous one, this consists of catching intelligent enemies (mostly goblins or enemy humans, the other ones are not worth it) in traps, making sure they are unarmed but still armored, then sending them against your armor-clad dwarves equipped with training weapons. You can kill them or not : see the bonus.


  • decent training speed
  • beating on goblins is fun
  • infinite supply of enemies
  • quite safe if executed correctly.
  • trains all skills


  • goblins are trained as well (although this may be a good thing: see bonus) if you don't kill them
  • still requires enough oversight to be a bother, most especially if you don't want wounds
  • for more fun don't remove the goblins' weapons
  • goblins tend to die easily due to poor armor coverage, you must replace a new batch
  • if you use training weapons : dwarves may grow attached to them
  • generates hauling jobs
  • as offensive skills improve and goblin skill stays the same, dwarves tend to kill goblins far too easily, making this method less effective as your dwarves improve.

BONUS : Don't kill goblins. Train them as well, making them increase in skill and try not to kill them. Use different batches of different goblins for differently skilled military dwarves. Make an arena design with dropping bridges and cage traps to stop the fight if it is going badly for your dwarf. While this requires a lot of oversight (possibly too much for your taste) and hauling jobs, this is a generally effective, realistic, complete and relatively quick method of training your military.

Flesh Ball Beating[edit]

This is a quite efficient technique to train offensive training skills. Just cage trap and then enclose flesh balls in some room, arm your dwarves with BLUNT weapons only, armor your dwarves and send them beating flesh balls. Do NOT use this to train marksdwarves, as it is a massive waste of time.


  • good training speed on offensive skills
  • totally safe if you armored your dwarves correctly
  • requires little oversight, since flesh balls are immune to blunt


  • requires some flesh balls and a fair bit of building and preparation
  • edge weapon dwarves may attach themselves to a training weapon
  • dwarves tend to bite and scratch, therefore making flesh balls die of bleeding sometimes
  • flesh balls are in very finite supply
  • does not train defensive skills in any meaningful way

BONUS : use undead flesh balls. No more bleeding to death, no more losing flesh balls, no need to use blunt training weapons, and more defensive skill gain. It is also excellent to train marksdwarves. BONUS : You may use any near-invulnerable blob-shaped creature for this, sponges work as well if you want to train your dwarves for swimming at least.

Bronze Colossus Dummy[edit]

AKA : using a bronze colossus's toughness and high experience gains to get good skills easily and safely.

For marksdwarves : catch the colossus, put it in a room, fire on it. You may want to use wooden/bone bolts to not damage it further, or iron bolts if you WANT to damage it further for melee training. For melee : Remove it's arms and legs via falling and/or bolts, and then drop the colossus on a closed room, and send your melee dwarves on it. Remember, steel or better weapons will kill it, and that's not what you want.


  • very good training speed, due to colossus giving a lot of experience
  • generally not dangerous
  • infinite training
  • little oversight needed, since both sides doesn't do much damage
  • easy to set up for marksdwarves


  • endgame only, you don't get a colossus before 80 dwarves
  • must actually have a colossus in the world
  • dismembering a colossus without killing it isn't easy
  • may be dangerous to dwarves with a low dodging skill
  • limitation on quality material weapons => dwarf may tend to favor a poor weapon
  • trains mostly offense skills, although Dodger as well
  • melee may be seen as an exploit

Undead Battle Arena[edit]

Using one or several imprisoned necromancers to train your dwarves with a controlled, infinite stream of undead.

You must first catch one or several necromancers, or use a friendly necromancer, then dump him/them in a small space (if possible 1x1) surrounded by gem windows or fortifications (so he can animate what is around without being murdered by a dwarf), make an animation room. You can replace the necromancer by an animating evil biome or a demonic fortress, but necromancers raise undead faster and can be moved anywhere you like. As a bonus, add raising bridges or floodgates to block the necro's view and stop the reanimation on command.

Then drop whatever pile of body parts you don't need and want your necromancer to animate. Enjoy as undead are animated, dwarf kills it, undead are reanimated, dwarf kills it again, etc.


    • decent skill increases
    • only little hauling needed
    • use for necromancers
    • infinite training
    • Does not require low-quality weapons, allowing dwarves to become attached to better weapons then other methods
    • requires little oversight
    • trains every skill
    • controllable training aspects : difficulty level, depending on corpse (from dropping llama wool to dropping a cave dragon corpse) and number of corpses animated
  • Cons:
    • can be dangerous, actually danger is proportional to your oversight and difficulty level
    • requires more stonework than most other methods
    • requires to actually cage trap a necromancer
    • time between two reanimations is wasted time => more necromancers is better

Giant Cave Spider Armor Training Program[edit]

Using a giant cave spider's inability to bypass the armor of a webbed dwarf to train armor user.

First you must prepare the terrain to separate wild GCS and dwarf when the dwarf gets hungry/thirsty/drowsy/sufficient armor user skill.

Set the training on a non-lethal pit trap consisting of a 2x2 or 3x3 retracting bridge, or a series of grates, all linked to a lever and on top of a 1z-deep pit. Fill the ground under the bridge with cage traps.

Set a military dwarf fully armored in metal, without any weapons against a wild giant cave spider. Wild GCS webs the still-conscious dwarf, wild GCS attempts a bite to the head but fails to penetrate metal armor. Dwarf gains armor user skill. Repeat a hundred times. You may want to find a way of harvesting silk for your looms as well.

When you want to stop the training, pull the lever. Bridge or grates go down, dwarf and spider fall 1 z-level and get stunned, one or both get caged and separated.

You can also try a dwarf without full armor and only a metal helm, but in that case I no longer guarantee the safety of your dwarf.

  • Pros:
    • can double as a GCS silk farm
    • very good training rates
    • Useful skill which normally increases slowly in combat
    • No danger at all for both dwarf and GCS, provided you armored your dwarf well
    • Requires only oversight each month
  • Cons:
    • slightly exploity
    • trains only one skill
    • needs quite a bit of work to set up if you want to save the GCS and reuse it
    • can't train several dwarves at once unless you have several wild GCS and several training facilities

Provoking elven sieges for fun and profit[edit]

No one likes the elves. No one. Well, except when they bring exotic animals and the occasional sun berry.

So why not train your military on live elves? Obviously not with on caravans that come each year, but on their sieges!

You must first mod your game to allow the elven diplomat to come, or start in a world where you are at war with the elves. When he comes, greet him properly. Then, training partners will come around next year.

  • Pros:
    • killing elves is great fun
    • lots of enemies means more training opportunities
    • elves will bring many war animals with them, to tame or butcher as you desire
    • elves pose little threat to a serious military... as long as your dwarves have shields
    • more rope reed clothing than your fortress needs, although you may deem it not dwarven enough to wear
    • can be made more manageable by cage trapping all elf warriors and releasing them into your barracks
  • Cons:
    • no more elven caravan
    • training can be only done once a year
    • may generate large amounts of unwanted items (although all the wooden and cloth stuff can be used as trade "goods")
    • may be too fun to handle for your civilians and untrained military, bows being still overpowered
    • may be a danger to other caravans

Zerg Rush Defensive Program[edit]

So is one of your warriors hopelessly lacking in defensive skills ? Fear not ! With this, you will near-exclusively train defensive skills, and quickly !

The goal is to put one of your dwarves in a fighting situation when seriously outnumbered (between 5 or 10 for one dwarf should be good). The more aggressive and the less dangerous these enemies are, the better the training. You can technically do it with goblins, but it's pretty dangerous. Small undead may be best.

The dwarf will spend it's time defending and therefore will not attack, exclusively training Fighter and the defensive skills. You also want to design a solid enough separation device for when the dwarf becomes tired/hungry/drowsy.

It goes without saying that you must heavily armor your dwarf beforehand.

  • Pros
    • defensive skills are often low, and very useful
    • good training rate
    • good synergy with more offensive training methods
    • not too much oversight
  • Cons
    • requires quite a lot of preparation beforehand, as well as lots of armor
    • only trains defensive skills and Fighter
    • may be dangerous, depending on what you use