So you may or may not have cleared out the cave located directly beneath our fortress. Either way, that’s what we’re going to do today! Caves are double-edged swords; they provided extremely valuable resources such as ore and minerals, but they serve as a vulnerability to your fortress’s security. We’re going to both protect ourselves from the dangers of the cave and take advantage of its resources.

17.1 – Sealing the Cave

When we break into the cave (if you haven’t already), we’re going to have a stack of ladders that goes directly up to our fortress, where any creature, big or small, can infiltrate us. We want to take care of that by placing hatches on a few places on the up/down staircases. This will not completely stop any and all threats, but it will stop the smaller creatures, and definitely slow down the bigger ones, giving us time to plan defense.

Start off by making a few (6 should do it) rock hatch covers “H” at the masonry. Once you’re done, place the floor hatches on our stairways (“H”).

Now this blocks off the main part of our fortress from baddies, but we still haven’t blocked off our stockpile room, so do this, placing the hatches on the staircases in the stockpile room. Finally, for re reassurement, you may want to place two hatch covers right at the entrance to the cave, level 111, so do that. Now you have a pretty well secured fortress, that is safe from the smaller threats that a cave may yield, but is not safe from the threat of beasts and cave monsters and such.

17.2 – Stationing Troops – Station Point

If you’ve been keeping up so far (which you’ve better have!), you have a respectable military/militia. Right now they’re training like obedient soldiers, but they’re really not ready to face an attack unless you directly tell them to. We’re going to station our soldiers with patrol points, positions, alerts and schedules. Sounds ultra fun hm?

So first, we’re going to create some patrol points, which can be created with “N”.

A cursor the place the point will show up. As you may have guessed, you will place this to create a…point. A point can be used for anything, and can be very useful in things like labeling levers, devices, making notes, etc, but in this case, we are creating points to station troops.

Now, where are we going to want to station our troops? Obviously, we want to station some troops in between the caves and our fortress, so let’s choose level 119, which is great, because it’s right under the hatches we created, so the monsters won’t slip by our stationed troops. Now don’t place it yet, we need to name “n” it something that makes sense like “station 119”, or “stockpile room station” or “chicken pancakes”. If you want, add some notes “t”, and finally place it “p” right next to the stairs.

Now that we have that, let’s mess with stationing our troops, by giving them schedules.

17.3 – Stationing Troops – Schedules

The deal with schedules is, they make it so your military can rotate training and patrolling, and defending without you having to manage them at all, so it makes your life pretty easy and convenient. The other deal with them is…THEY’RE SUPER HARD TO SET UP. The management of the military system in DF has evolved over the years and is a lot more complicated than when I first started, so even I had some trouble getting this set up. But enough of that, I believe you can accomplish this!

We’re going to go to our military screen “m” and press “s” for schedule.

Here we see all this complicated crap. I tried to explain this as best as I could, but the easiest way to understand all this is to try it, but first I’ll give a brief explanation of the screen.

So basically, we have all twelve months on this screen (months are represented as stones in this world), and all of our squads. Each squad has an activity to do for each month; a schedule is ALWAYS in effect. By default, each month, each squad is set to “Train”, which they have been doing. We can edit this, and make it so maybe only every OTHER month, “squad A” we’ll call them for now, will train, and on the other months, they will patrol a point. On the months “squad A” is training, we can make it so “squad B” stations at that point so that point is always covered and all the squads are getting some training in.

So we’re going to do just this, have a squad train every other month, and have them cover the point we created on the other months. The other squad will cover that point when they are training. We’re going to make the first squad (in my case “Scenarios of Copper”, it could be different for you) patrol our point on level 119 on the months Granite, Felsite, Malachite, etc.

Select the first squad on the month “Granite” (it’s in a square in the picture above) and press “e” to edit the current “train” order.

Here we come to the screen where we select what activity to do for that month. Press “o” until you get to “Station”. That will show a list of the points you have created, which might only be one, the one we just created. Press enter to select that point as the point to patrol. Also, we only need 4 soldiers to patrol that point, and the rest can go on training, so use alt select to decrease the minimum number of soldiers to 4.

That’s that, now you can press “Shift+Enter” to save the changes.

Now you see under “name grid cell”, our order to “Station at Station 119” is set instead of “train”, so it worked! Now, on the month granite, 4 soldiers minimum will station at this point. Now, you should change the name of that cell from “Train” to something to let you know there’s another order, like “119 Station” or something by pressing “n” and changing the name.

Now that you’ve done that, you don’t actually have to manually do the same thing for months Felsite, Malachite, etc, but you can copy those orders, and the name of the cell, and paste it into whatever months and squads you want. So now, copy “c” that cell and paste it “p” into the following cells.

Now you’re done! You’re squad will now station at the point (hopefully), and be prepared to defend against invaders from the depths of the cave!

Also I just saw the “The Stray Lamb (Tame)” has starved to death :(. I apologize for the gruesome nature of this content.

17.4 – Homework!

Now that you can station soldiers, you may want to make some other station points, especially at the entrance of your fortress. Try to incorporate some squads with archers in your stationing outside. While you’re at it, get up to speed on your production! Here it is:

  • Check on your food/drink
  • Make more weapons (especially bows and bolts)
  • Make wooden barrels/bins
  • Make some traps
  • If you have extra workers, recruit them in the army!

Good luck!

R.I.P. The Stray Lamb (Tame)

You will be remembered

continue on to 18.0 – What’s Next?