motivating line of the section: You have no limits! Yeah!

With all the resources, dwarfs, and goods in the world, your fortress is nothing without an element of defense. When the goblins come, we want to be ready, and LAUGH IN THEIR FACES hahahaha!

I emphasized the points of defense earlier in this tutorial, but most of you probably didn’t read a word of it, so I’ll put it here again.

  • keeping the majority of dwarfs deeper in our fortress to give them more time to prepare for an attack.
  • using natural barriers, or creating unnatural barriers
  • removing slopes
  • making effective use of traps


Well, we have our dining hall and bedrooms deep in the fortress, so the first point is done.

11.2 – Barriers

Natural barriers mostly include rivers and cliffs. We do have a river, but it’s way at the other side of the map, so that’s not much use to us. We can create dwarf-made barriers, though.

Walls are very useful to narrow the passage that a goblin invasion can enter through. Walls are built by pressing “b” for build, then either pressing “C” (CAPITAL C), or scrolling down to “Wall/Floor/Stairs”, and then pressing “w” or selecting “wall”. This will bring you to the interface where you adjust the height and width of the wall using “u” “m” “k” and “h”. We’re going to build a wall outside of our fortress that forces creatures to enter our fortress through a specific area. Use the following picture to build your wall. MAKE SURE to leave 3 tiles open so that caravans can enter our trade depot.

Carpenters or masons (depending on which material you used to build the wall) will then go and build it.

You can always get creative with walls, building mazes full of traps, or forcing enemies into a certain area.

11.3 – Removing Slopes

Right now, our walls aren’t doing a thing, because anything can just walk up and down the slopes that are lining the mountain-side. We can remove these slopes using “d” for designate and “z” for remove stairs/ramps. Select the area to remove the slopes, in this case, anywhere near our fortress. 

Miners should get to work on that right away. Now the only way to access our fortress is through the gap in the walls.

11.4 – Traps!

Traps are fun. Traps can drop boulders on goblins and then slice their legs off and finally trap them in a cage for further punishment. Let’s build some traps!

We’re going to start with some stone-falling traps, which drop stones on enemies. First, however, the thing every trap needs is a mechanism, which is built at a mechanic’s workshop. Build a mechanic’s workshop (“t”) in our workshop hallway. Again, we need to give a dwarf the mechanics labor preference, under the engineering category.  When the workshop is built, make some rock mechanisms with it. Actually, make LOTS of rock mechanisms.

Once you have some mechanisms, press “b” for build, “T” (CAPITAL T) for Traps/Levers, and choose Stone-fall trap. We’re going to place these in between our walls that we built so enemies will be sure to trigger them (Don’t worry, traps only affect enemies).

**NOTE** If you’re using DF 34, trade caravan wagons will be BLOCKED if you place the traps shown below. Find new places to put them, and press “D” to make sure the caravan can access the depot. If not, place them somewhere else!

Now that you have that, go ahead and build some more stone-fall traps around our entrance, where you might expect a goblin to walk on.

We’re going to build one more kind of trap that I find particularly useful, a cage trap. Creatures like goblins are attracted to these, will go inside, and get trapped in the cage indefinitely, allowing you to do to them what you will.

To start, we need to build some cages, so add cages to be build at the carpenter’s workshop. Once you’re done, simply do what you did for the stone-fall trap; press “b” for build, “T” for Traps/lever and select the cage-trap. Place it around our entrance, and build a few more in places you think a cage-trap might be useful.

11.5 – Militia

Well, a militia is pretty much the most important part of defense. However, creating a militia, and knowing how to use it is very complicated (and got even more complicated in a recent update). So we’re going to give Militia’s their own section.

continue on to 12.0 – Militia