40d:Exploit

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This article is about an older version of DF.

An exploit is a quirk of a game that allows players to gain what other players may consider an unfair advantage, usually by making use of a feature that is not working properly or which defies logic. 'Exploiting the game' is distinct from 'cheating' because exploits occur within the game as written and do not need any external utilities or modding. Whether a player chooses to make use of an exploit or not depends on their personal taste; given that Dwarf Fortress is a single-player game, the user alone can decide what liberties to take and what options to shun. Among DF players there is much discussion what actually should be considered an exploit, going from making sweetpod syrup instead of sugar, growing crops in winter, or even underground, as the one extreme, to justifying 'water wheel batteries' as the other. This page takes a rather relaxed approach in that you considering it an exploit is basically enough to add it, if you don't get too much opposition.


Some exploits are listed below.

Atom Smasher[edit]

A drawbridge, when rapidly triggered on and off, can be used to obliterate any creature or item beneath it. Only large creatures (with a SIZE greater than 10) are capable of withstanding a drawbridge crush.

Bling Bolts[edit]

Adding a decoration to a stack of bolts causes a huge value increase. The value of the decoration is multiplied by the number of bolts in the stack. This is considered a bug.

Bookkeeper Exercise Program[edit]

Changing your bookkeeper's settings to maximum accuracy causes him to work furiously in his office, training quickly up to legendary. Even if this is a bug it is not really an exploit, since a) you actually want highest precision anyway b) he attains highest precision rather fast (depending, for example, on how many stones you have mined) and thus one can not train an unlimited number of, if even several, dwarves that way.

Castle of Ice in a Lake of Fire[edit]

Constructions are indestructible, regardless of material, and walls of wood and ice easily stand up to magma. Entire fortresses can be built of ice in temperate climates equally impervious to catapults, the summer sun, or a thousand tons of boiling lava.

On a similar note, all buildings and furniture are equally strong - indestructible to most creatures, tissue paper to others. Witness a single troll bashing through a multilayered set of adamantine and steel doors, while an army of Elite Hammergoblins are stymied by a single glass portal.

Cooking alcohol[edit]

Alcohol can be cooked without requiring any other solid ingredients, producing food that is eaten and not imbibed. Doing so is a highly efficient means of producing food, as each plant produces five units of alcohol. The food however does no longer satisfy a dwarf's need for alcohol. In fact, the various beverages are allowed by default for cooking and it is generally a wise idea to disable this in the beginning, unless you want to find your alcohol stocks depleted real quick.

It will eventually be plugged with Req129:

Req129, IMPROVE COOKING, (Future): More food. Food should require a substrate, rather than just being seeds etc. Seeds, syrups, drinks and other such objects can contribute to the likes/dislike checks as they do now, but they shouldn't add to the number created. A good roll could lead to the recipe being given a name and saved to the entity definition, where it can then be encountered in other cities in subsequent games.

Dwarven Kick In The Pants[edit]

When a dwarf is "On Break", it is possible to draft this civilian into the military and then immediately undraft in order to cancel the break. This does give an unhappy thought (but only if the dwarf has no military and/or civilian skills), so it is not a significant exploit and some may consider it a perfectly acceptable gameplay method. Of course, if you allow every dwarf to spar a little when you draft them so that they are at least Novice Wrestlers, you'll get the double advantage of being able to cancel dwarfs' breaks at will and then send them back to work with no unhappy thoughts, as well as having dwarves who fare a little better against unexpected attacks.

Extremely Intricate Artifacts[edit]

When a moody dwarf sets out to fetch some material he's craving, forbid all the other items he has gathered so far. The dwarf will set out to find a replacement for the forbidden item(s). When he returns, forbid the new one, and so on. After a while you should have a large stockpile of stuff on the moody dwarfs workshop. After you unforbid an item, the dwarf will retask it if the number of items of that type that were gathered before that one is not enough for the artifact. With careful forbidding and unforbidding, you can create ridiculously large artifacts.

Extremely Intricate Artifacts II[edit]

Put all workshops outside, then set set your standing orders to "Soldiers Can Go Outdoors" or "Dwarves Stay Indoors" once you get a strange mood. Your dwarf will start collecting his first requested material over and over, never proceeding to subsequent objects. Set orders back to "Dwarves Can Go Outdoors" to make him finish gathering the rest of his materials and produce an artifact using all of the materials gathered. It is suspected that this method is what resulted in the creation of Planepacked.

Frère Jacques[edit]

Need a sleeping dwarf to do some work? Kick him out of bed by deconstructing it. This does not cause an unhappy thought.

Indestructible Cages[edit]

Cages made out of glass or wood are just as capable as steel ones. Fire-breathing dragons, ettins and other megabeasts can be held in such cages, even though their fire/strength should allow them an easy escape.

Infinite Quivers[edit]

By setting archery ranges where nobody can use them, and ammo stockpiles without any space for more ammo, you can force your marksdwarves to fill their quivers with an impossibly large number of arrows. They will pick up bolts to go practice, decide they can't because there's no room, decide not to put the bolts back because there's no room in the stockpile, and keep the bolts in their quiver, along with the other 200 or so they have. The bolts still weigh as much as they should, so dwarves will still be slowed by their humongous quivers.

Manager Exercise Program[edit]

As a Manager, skill is gained as tasks are approved, not completed. Simply by queueing lots of jobs (j m q), the manager will quickly level to legendary. The tasks can then be removed once approved.

Melting chests[edit]

It is impossible to melt chests. The job will be done and fuel is used, but the chest will not disappear and will remain designated for melting. Your furnace operator will continue trying to melt the chest repeatedly, gaining experience each time. Combined with a magma forge, this results in free Furnace Operator skill.

original discussion thread
bug report thread

Merchant Swindles[edit]

There are a variety of ways to cheat merchants out of their cargo without seizing it. Tearing down the trade depot while the merchants are there is the easiest way.

Also, marking items for dumping, using view creature mode (v), the stocks menu (z), items in room mode (t), or mass dump mode (d)-(b)-(d) then marking the entire depot, lets you relieve merchants of their goods. Just reclaim the items from your garbage dump zone later. You can even take clothing and equipment off merchant and guards this way.

The merchants will still leave disappointed if they have less value in goods when they leave the map than when they entered Verify.

Miasma can't move diagonally[edit]

Miasma can only move horizontally and vertically. This means that if your refuse stockpile is only accessible on a diagonal, there is no way for the miasma to escape. This is more effective than the use of doors or even pairs of doors in an "airlock" setup, as doors can be stuck open if a creature or material is occupying their square. The same method can be used to create enclosures to prevent the spread of miasma from kitchens, tanneries, and butcher shops.

Nudist Fortress[edit]

Dwarves get a bad thought from having clothing wear outVerify, but nothing happens if they can't find replacement clothes. As long as you don't make new clothes, they will happily go naked. This also avoids the problem of messy dwarves leaving clothing strewn around the fortress.

Optimized-Value Artifacts/"Custom" materials[edit]

When a dwarf enters a strange mood, examine the item types he wants to use, then use the Stocks menu to forbid all except those you want him to fetch. With no other choices available, he will use your valuable materials instead of the common junk that may be closer. By doing this, you can create artifacts with "optimized" wealth or make sure your armorsmith's artifact is actually made of steel rather than zinc. Be warned, though, that moody metalsmiths may insist on a specific type of metal if they have a preference for it, brooding in their workshop instead of fetching your desired materials. Also note that forbidding a type of stones also forbids the workshops made from that stone, preventing all your dwarves (except the moody one) from using them. The non-exploit variant of this is to build custom stockpiles near (or right under) your relevant workshops that only take highest value items, a typical choice being native platinum and steel bars.

Parents are back, party over![edit]

A party can be stopped right away by freeing (removing) the room the party is taking place in. The room can be recreated the same instance. Similarly, in times of high activity (e.g. mass dumping, trading; hauling) removing all rooms in which parties can take place will prevent them from being held. Since parties also have benefits this is not necessarily an exploit.

Quantum stockpiles[edit]

By designating a garbage pit zone instead of a stockpile, you may store an infinite number of objects in a single tile by dumping them, then reclaiming them when you want to use them.

A similar effect may be achieved by building a wall two tiles in front of a catapult and digging a channel between the wall and catapult. By firing the catapult at the wall, the stone falls into the trench. The stone will pile up in the channel, putting it out of sight and out of mind. Not only does this train siege operators, but it clears the stone that your legendary miners leave.

Another way to quantum stockpile is to not have appropriate stockpiles to move items back you moved to the trading depot. The depot can hold an infinite number of items, and those items will not be removed if there is nowhere else to place them. This is also useful for anything you want to trade anyway.

Recycling Archery Range[edit]

In an archery range, bolts that hit the target are always destroyed, but bolts that miss can be saved. Dig a channel between the archery target and the back wall of the range, and stairs to get into it. Amazingly, the bolts will no longer shatter on impact with the wall, but fall intact into the channel. Reclaim the bolts, and your dwarves will re-use them for target practice. This exploit has the unfortunate side effect of splitting up stacks of bolts, so your dwarves will make a separate trip for each individual bolt.

This trick will work for a ballistas as well. Be careful for friendly fire.

Self-powered pumps[edit]

It is possible to produce a perpetual motion water pump where the act of pumping actually powers itself! See screw pump and water wheel for details.

Trap fields[edit]

Laying a field of traps with a sufficient depth can protect your fortress from all invaders with no need to maintain a military. Traps are somehow intelligent enough to distinguish between pets and allies while being dangerous to enemies and wild animals.