motivating line of the section: The sword glows blue. There are orcs nearby!

Ok, you’re a Dwarf Fortress Pro, now, but if you’re game’s going like mine is, you haven’t been attacked by goblins; but you WILL. We’re going to provide some countermeasures to make sure our fortress is secure when those green bastards come knocking at our door.

The thing is, when goblins invade, dwarfs WILL die, so if you haven’t already built a graveyard (made with building coffins), do so now. IMPORTANT – when you build a coffin, first set it to be used as burial (“b”), but THEN make it so pets can’t be buried in it (“p”), because if they can, you have a graveyard full of dead cats, and there will be no room to put dwarfs in.


14.1 – Weapon/Armor Manufacturing


This is simple. You already know how to make copper weapons and armor, so now just make more of them. Now, to make a designated metalsmithing team…

  1. find 3 dwarfs
  2. remove all of each dwarf’s labor preferences
  3. add wood burning labor to the first one, furnace operating to the second one, and all metalsmithing/metalcrafting to the third one.

This will ensure that all these dwarfs will do is work at the metal stations, and a single one won’t hinder your progress. Once you build some weapons and armor, equip some soldiers with them.


14.2 – Sealing off your fortress


Sealing off your fortress completely will give you one of two options. It can keep goblins from getting in your fortress, making them wait outside until they eventually go away (you must make sure you have enough food and drink so your dwarfs can survive inside without needing to go outside). OR it can provide you with some time to plan out your attack on the goblins. Either way is very useful so let’s create a way to seal our fortress off when we want to.

The most common method of sealing a fortress is with a draw bridge, as it can be raised when danger comes. First, let’s dig a gap that the draw bridge will reach across. This is done with channeling, NOT digging. Channeling is like digging, but instead of digging out the earth on the level you’re looking at, it will dig out the earth on the level directly below yours. Channing is done with “d” for designation, then “h” for channel. Channel out the following area.

Notice how I left a 3×1 area left unchanneled so that the draw bridge has somewhere to rest on.

Once that is channeled, there will be slopes left, where goblins could just walk up and our bridge would be useless, so we have to remove those slopes. Remove them with “d”, and “z”.

Oh no! Our mining dwarfs are stuck! They aren’t all that bright, remember, so we have to get them out of this sticky situation. Dig a little ways south and dig an upwards staircase.

But this won’t work yet, because the ground above the upwards stairway is solid, so dig a downwards staircase on the level above the upwards staircase.

Now we need to seal off that staircase, because goblins could use it to get into our fortress. Build (“b”) a floor on the downwards staircase using “C” (CAPITAL) for wall/floor/stairs, and select floor. Just place the floor right on the downwards staircase and a dwarf should get to work building it.

Ok, now we can build our bridge. Press “b” for build, and “g” for bridge. You will get the umkh designation interface. Place a 3×5 bridge over the following area (but WAIT don’t hit “enter” yet!).

Before you place the bridge, (if you have, it can be removed by moving the “q” selector over it and pressing “x”), press “x” to set the bridge to raise to the south.

Building the bridge may take a while, but when it’s done, we need to create a method for raising the bridge. Raising bridges (and a great many other things) require levers. Levers are simply made with a mechanism. Let’s place a lever in our dining hall by pressing “b”, “T”, and selecting lever. A dwarf with the mechanics labor will then build the lever.

Once it’s built, we still need to tell the lever that when it’s pulled, it will raise the bridge. Doing so is simple, press “q”, move the cursor to the lever, press “a” to add new task, press “b” to link to a bridge, and finally select the bridge you just made. Now a mechanic will link the lever to the bridge.

NOW, you can add the task “Pull Lever”, (“P”) (CAPITAL), to the lever; a dwarf will pull it very quickly, and the bridge will raise, sealing your fortress off from any danger!


14.3 – Burrows


New to Dwarf Fortress is “Burrows”, or areas that you can assign dwarfs to. We’re going to make a specific burrow that all dwarfs will go to in the case of an emergency. We’re going to create a burrow in our dining hall so that when goblins come, we can tell everyone to retreat to the burrow, and leave the fighting to our militia.

Simply press “w” for Define Burrows, and press “a” for add new burrow. That will create the burrow, but not define it. Now, press enter to define the burrow, then selecting the entire dining hall area. Now name it (“n”) something like “RETREAT” or “RUN!!!”.

Now, when you want your dwarfs to retreat to the burrow (which you should only do on the rarest occasions), press “m” for milita (yes, this screen is used for more than managing your militia). Now press “a” for alerts, the same screen you used to activate your squad. Move over to your burrow and select it.

It’s as simple that! Every single one of your dwarfs will now retreat into the dining room for safety. For added security, press “q”, scroll to your dining room door, and press “l” to keep pets from going through the door, and “o” to forbid your dwarfs from going through no matter what.

Now what are you going to do when goblins come? Draw your bridge (DO THIS BEFORE RETREATING TO BURROW, because dwarfs in a burrow won’t do any work, including pulling a lever **EDIT – apparently they do work in a burrow now, so you don’t need to designate a lever-puller**), add the burrow alert, and the rest is up to you; whether you want to wait the goblins out, or figure out a plan of attack. Good luck!


14.4 – Other Little Odds ‘n Ends


  • Place doors at the entrance of the fortress, preferably made out of stone, but even better, copper!
  • It can NEVER hurt to have too many traps. Try all sorts of traps. If you’re tenacious enough with trap-making, a goblin invasion could be eradicated before it even gets to your doors.
  • Send your military out to kill wild animals. This will give them training in their weapon skills.

14.5 – More Soldiers!


Simple. Add some more soldiers to your squad, especially if you got migrants. If you have a full squad, make another one!

EXTRA CREDIT! – if you want, try making a crossbow squad. I’ll give you a hint, crossbows are made at the bowyer workshop or at a metalsmith’s forge. Don’t forget to make the bolts! Crossbow dwarfs are great, strategically, because you can place them anywhere you want and they’ll keep on attacking the enemy.

continue on to 15.0 – Happy Dwarfs and Nobles