40d:Stairs

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This article is about an older version of DF.

Stairs are a map feature that allows creatures to move vertically from one z-level to an adjacent one. Stairs provide access for dwarves and other single tile creatures, but are inaccessible to wagons. Stairs can be dug from stone or soil by a dwarf with the mining labor enabled, or constructed from stone with the masonry labor, wood with the carpentry labor, or metal bars with a metalsmith labor.


Contents

[edit] Types of stairs

Stairs come in three forms: an upward stairway, a downward stairway, and an up/down stairway, which is both of the others combined into one*. These have nothing to do with the direction of travel, but only where they connect to and from. (To understand how stairs work and don't work, first make sure you understand how z-layers work.)

In order for stairs to be usable, you must construct stairs on both of the levels that you wish to connect (an up-stair connecting to a down-stair) - stairs work in pairs on adjacent z-levels. An up-stair allows a creature to travel up to the barrier below the next level above (but does not pierce it), but does not give access until there is a downward stair (or an up/down stair*) on that upper level. A downward stair pierces the barrier down to the next z-level below, but does not give access until an upward stair (or an up/down stair*) is below it.

(* Any time in this article that a down- or up-stair is mentioned, an up-down stair does the same thing. An up/down stair is a downward stair with an up- attached, and an upward stair with a down- attached.)

A downward stair without an up-stair below it, or an up-stair without a down-stair above it, is only half the path and a dead-end.

A downward stair can be stood upon and provides walking access to the adjacent tiles, like the other two stair types. Dwarves can walk from one staircase directly to an adjacent one on the same level, even diagonally.

A downstair can have a stockpile placed upon it - this does not block access. A downstair blocks the movement of the caravan wagons. A downward stair allows water and magma to flow into the next level below, and miasma to cross in either direction; an upstair (alone) does not pierce into the next z-level.

Using up/down stairs (which go both up and down on the same tile) you can dig a vertical staircase of any length.

A Hatch cover build over a stairway acts as a vertical door for the stairway to the next level down (only). To block access to the next level up, you'd need a hatch on that level.

Stairs are distinct from ramps, which require additional tiles on each level for movement. Stairs work in a vertical direction only. See ramp for a full discussion.

[edit] Planning stairs

Click for more info

Stairs can be created in two different ways, or a combination of them:

  • You can use the designations menu (d) to carve them out of a wall of unmined material (see digging).
  • You can use the build menu (bC) to construct them in an open tile using material you have already gathered.

However, a down or up stair will give you sufficient access to the adjacent level to build connecting stairs. This means you can dig directly downwards or even directly upwards using stairs without needing any other forms of access to the area. [not true! You do not get access to the level above by building an up stair. Therefore, it is not possible to build directly upwards.]

It is currently impossible to construct down stairs over open space. To build a down stair over open space, a construction, usually an up stair, must be built on the Z-level beneath it.

You can't designate an up stair on a square that has already been dug out; you have to carve one out of an existing wall or build instead. You can then build the matching down stair on the level above. Furthermore, you can't designate a down or an up/down stair on the lowest level of the map. It is assumed that building an up or an up/down stair on the top level is equally difficult.


[edit] Creating down-stairs

This will carve a down stair into a floor, and mine out a wall too if designated there. If no floor is present a down-stair can be built using the build interface (bCd).

  1. Press d to open the designate menu.
  2. Press j to select "Downward Stairway".
  3. Move the cursor to a position on or near a wall and press Enter.
  4. The spot you marked blinks + indicating where the area you wish to start carving stairs.
  5. Move the cursor to any position across the area you wish to carve down stairs and then press Enter again. This area must be a non-built wall. Any area of floor or construction will not be selected. Usually, this is just a single tile.
  6. The wall tiles in the area you defined should blink similar to mining.
  7. Wait for a dwarf to do the job. You will need to designate/build an up stair or up/down stair for each downward stairway on the z-level below.


[edit] Creating up-stairs

This will carve an up stair into a wall. Unlike a downward stairway, this cannot be designated on a floor. If no wall is present it can be built using the build interface (bCu).

[edit] Carving upward stairs

  1. Press d to open the designate menu.
  2. Press u to select "Upward Stairway".
  3. Move the cursor to a position on or near a wall and press enter.
  4. The spot you marked blinks + indicating where the area you wish to start carving stairs.
  5. Move the cursor to any position across the area you wish to carve upward stairs and then press enter again. This area must be a non-built wall. Any area of floor or construction will not be selected. Usually, this is just a single tile.
  6. The wall tiles in the area you defined should blink similar to mining.
  7. Wait for a dwarf to do the job. For each upward stairway, you will need to designate/build a down stair or up/down stair on the z-level above.*
(* Note that if an upstair is dug directly below an already-existing upstair, the upper upstair will become an up/down stair, and the two will be connected.)

[edit] Building upward stairs

  1. Press b to open the building menu.
  2. Press C.
  3. Press u to select "Upward Stairway".
  4. Move the cursor to a position on a floor or accessible open space and press enter.
  5. Select a building material from the list (the higher up on the list, the closer the material is to the stairs) and press enter again.
  6. Wait for a mason to do the job. For each upward stairway, you will need to designate/build a down stair or up/down stair on the z-level above.


[edit] Creating up/down stairs

This will carve an up/down stair into a wall, which acts like both an upward stairway and a downward stairway on the same tile. Unlike a downward stairway, this cannot be designated on a floor. If no wall is present it can be built using the build interface (bCx).

[edit] Carving up/down stairs

  1. Press d to open the designate menu.
  2. Press i to select "Up/Down Stairway".
  3. Move the cursor to a position on or near a wall and hit Enter.
  4. The spot you marked blinks + indicating where the area you wish to start carving stairs.
  5. Move the cursor to any position across the area you wish to carve up/down stairs and then press Enter again. This area must be a non-built wall. Any area of floor or construction will not be selected. Usually, this is just a single tile.
  6. The wall tiles in the area you defined should blink similar to mining.
  7. Wait for a dwarf to do the job. You will need to designate/build a down stair on the z-level above and an up stair on the z-level below for each up/down stairway, or you can just use more up/down stairs.

[edit] Destroying stairs

Depending on the method used to create the stairs, they can be removed using one of two different ways:

  • If the stairs were created using the designations menu, the following information applies:

To destroy up stairs, use the "Remove Up Stairs/Ramps" command in the designations menu: dz.
To remove down stairs, dig a channel on them. Note that the stupid dwarf will want to do this from a tile on the level of the stairs if one is available - magma and deep water will prevent this.
To eliminate up/down stairs, remove the up stair first.

  • If the stairs were constructed using the build menu, the following information applies:

Stairs, as well as any type of construction built using bC can be removed using the "remove construction" designation dn. If a downward stairway is getting in your way for some reason and you want to remove it, your dwarf will have to remove it from underneath. This is often pointless as your dwarf will need a downward stairway to get back up, and you may not want any downward stairways leading to the room at all. Since ramps don't have a floor component you can build a ramp for your dwarf to get back up, then seal it by constructing a floor over it. You can then happily build whatever you want on the tile, as governed here.

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