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40d Talk:How to safely start fortress mode

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[edit] Correctness

There is no "correct" way to start fortress mode except from not picking Adventure Mode or Legends or Create New World on the main menu screen. It's entirely proper to embark with no skills and absolutely no supplies and watch your seven dwarves go crazy and die in the terrifying glacier. --Rkyeun 12:03, 18 November 2008 (EST)

If you'd like to change the name, leave a request with the sysop or something. This conversation has been done 10 times over already and it never ends in anything useful. --ThunderClaw 12:07, 18 November 2008 (EST)
I dunno, he might be on to something there. This could be a guide on how to start the game, step by step, without pressing the wrong buttons or accidentally defenestrating either your computer or yourself! --Navian 13:22, 18 November 2008 (EST)
Admins, please rename this page to "Dwarf management strategies" or something similar. It makes more sense than an assertion of "correctness". JubalHarshaw 03:11, 4 January 2009 (EST)
I'd like to add my vote for this. One of the keystones to DF play is that there isn't a correct way to do anything.--Mithra 20:01, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I strongly vote for 'savely' instead of correctly --Birthright 23:59, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

[edit] Farm Size

Farm size: 10x10 of plump helmets without fertilizing will feed 500 dwarves. A 5x5 field WITH fertilizing will feed about 500 dwarves. Do the math. (Rough estimates. Untested.) -Yanlin

Is this with or without boozecooking? Random832 23:12, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

[edit] Reformatting this page

This page breaks from the style used on the rest of the wiki -- it's a dump of opinions and suggestions instead of a collaborative, well-organized article. The problem with this is evident in how people are just arguing with each other on the page (that's what talk pages are for) instead of putting their heads together to offer readers streamlined, practical advice.

Can we do some discussion here of what its general advice and structure should be, then rewrite it?--Maximus 21:38, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

Having a bunch of different viewpoints in the page is fine to me as long as it doesn't look like a big argument :P --Xonara 01:48, 30 October 2008 (EDT)

I was thinking about this too, but the unfortunate hurdle is that there's no good way to put in a 'generally agreed upon' sort of structure, and there's a lot of strong feelings that run both ways with many things. Perhaps the better way to do this would merely be to take the names out of it. Just put a heading and a couple of equally-bulleted points with the various views, possibly with the dates these views were last updated. A large part of my issue is that most of the advice on the page is clearly from many moons ago (the cats comments being the most noticable). The anvil discussion, for example, could then just be broken down into three bullets, one which suggests crafts, a second which suggests mechanisms, and a third which suggests meals.
A reformat does need to happen, though. This wiki is really shortwinded on useful, coherant gameplay advice (MANY of the Beginners FAQ pages need total rewrites that I'll probably get to sooner rather than later) and I'd really like to see that change. --ThunderClaw 02:09, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
Removing the signatures is definitely the starting point -- it will allow us to treat what's on the page as "our words" instead of "my words".
I don't think "general agreement" is out of reach -- for any subject, there will be obviously bad advice, obviously good advice, and stuff that will largely depend on how you like to play the game. Our current dispute over trade goods is like that: crafts, mechanisms, meals, and clothes can all be effective trade goods; we can list their respective advantages and disadvantages and leave it for the player to decide what approach he or she wants to take. We just need to avoid the "One True Approach" mentality, except where everyone agrees that a given idea is Very Good or Very Bad.
While we're at it, the page title needs to be changed -- though we can do that after it becomes clear what direction the rewrite is taking it in.--Maximus 03:38, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
I'll give the page a once-over tomorrow and give my initial thoughts on what should be changed then.--Maximus 03:42, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
It shouldn't take too long. Click Edit, hit Ctrl-A, and type {{Del}}. Profit. --Juckto 04:40, 30 October 2008 (EDT)

Reformat is done. Someone else can deal with the nomenclature. --ThunderClaw 13:14, 30 October 2008 (EDT)

You did an excellent job with the rewrite. I made various changes and expansions, and there's other stuff I want to add over the next several days.--Maximus 04:04, 31 October 2008 (EDT)

I really think that a better name for this page would be "General Advice," since that's all it really is, and "Correctly" starting a fortress is mostly a matter of opinion and we're trying to make the page look less opinionated. The page could be very helpful and I think that once it's worked on a bit it could go on the main page. --Xonara 21:00, 30 October 2008 (EDT)

Well, "general advice" is a little too general. At this point, I want to see what kind of changes we make to other related pages, such as your first fortress. Once we define the role of each better, it should be clear what this page should be named.--Maximus 04:04, 31 October 2008 (EDT)

[edit] Lies

Don't bring any beasts of burden. You will start with a breeding pair of them for free

That's a lie. You can have different animals at start

And they're all breeding pairs and they're all beasts of burden (Musk oxen, camels, horses, donkeys, et al). The only way to not have a breeding pair is if you get mules to start out with, which has happened a grand total of 0 times in the 32 fortresses I've made. --ThunderClaw 11:28, 12 December 2008 (EST)
I think the commenter's point was that your two wagon animals will often not be the same species. I've only received two of the same wagon animals 2 times in 30-40 fortresses, and only when it was Muskoxen. Otherwise its two different species and therefore not a breeding pair.
Further, if you buy single animals I've seen it where the wagon animal and the bought animal of the same species are the same sex - ie, unlike purchased animals, where buying two guarantees you one of each gender, the wagon animals are generated separately and don't check purchased animals gender before determining gender.
If you want to guarantee a breeding pair, you have to buy 2 animals of the same type. Other methods have no guarantees.
--Squirrelloid 14:27, 12 December 2008 (EST)
Well, if you want to put in 'often' then, you can be my guest, but I've seen no such thing. Every last time of the 40 fortresses or so I've played, I've gotten a breeding pair of beasts of burden for free when starting. The community I play DF with has had similar experiences - none of us have EVER had a breeding pair of beasts of burden as wagon animals, mules excepted for one playthrough on one person I speak with regularly. Overall I'd say my sample size is well over a hundred games, so I still feel this is entirely correct. --ThunderClaw 17:43, 2 January 2009 (EST)
I edited the paragraph. I've played a large number of fortresses and never seen a mated pair from my starting two animals. --Mithra 19:59, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Turning off restrictions on economic stone will allow you to make a metal ANYTHING from that ore stone

Lies again. It's not metal, it's made of ore. Not Iron statue, but Limonite statue, etc. (You still gain in wealth though)

This works for '(material) nuggets'. Platinum, aluminum, gold, copper, etc. While the nomenclature is definitely wrong for ores, the ended cost of the statue is exactly the same based on quality. I don't know if this is a bug or not. --ThunderClaw 11:28, 12 December 2008 (EST)
His objection was its not metal, its still made of stone. That stone is just 'Platinum Nuggets', which is not a *metal*. --Squirrelloid 14:27, 12 December 2008 (EST)
It's indistinguishable. It's named the same, it impresses the same, it places the same, it is the same. I suppose if you want to call the swimming, feathered, quacking bird something other than a duck, go ahead, but it doesn't change the function of the game. --ThunderClaw 17:43, 2 January 2009 (EST)
Siege engines the only safe way to deal with the biggest threats you will face, like megabeasts and goblins riding beak dogs as cavalry.

Oh, yeah? ONLY?

Archers run out of ammo very quickly in pitched battles (they can only carry about 40 arrows in their quiver, and marksdwarves can run through that in no time at all. Trolls, Beak Dogs, and armored goblins will commonly take 5-7 arrows or more to bring down) and many people consider huge amounts of cage traps an exploit. If you've got another way of doing so, feel free to add it. I notice you didn't, nor did you sign your comments here. --ThunderClaw 11:28, 12 December 2008 (EST)
How about melee dwarves? Admittedly, I haven't seen beak dogs yet (my goblin civs apparently never have access), but i've seen a single legendary swordsdwarf deal with 10 armored goblins *by himself*. As melee dwarves are faster to train than marksdwarves...
And megabeasts are a joke - even avoiding cage traps I trivially dealt with a zombie Titan via melee dwarves. Dragons and Hydrae are known pushovers, which makes the only significant megabeast threat a Colossus, and I'd be willing to bet sufficiently many legendary melee dwarves can take one. I mean, my last game featured 20 champion melee dwarves (legendary wrestlers/shield users/armor users/+1 or more weapons) who were all multi-legendary before I produced my first champion marksdwarf. They never even got injured during sieges/megabeasts/etc... And this is using training weapons (silver). Didn't see a Colossus, and by the time they do they'll probably be glad in shining adamantine, so...
Really, the big problem with siege weapons is they don't have IFF technology, so your dwarven combatants are also at risk while you use them, meaning unlike marksdwarves you can't delay the enemy advance by sending melee dwarves into the fray to buy more firing time.
As to solving small quiver size - stockpile your bolts right where you plan on firing from. Instant reload. Its not like you're going to attack from anything but a prepared position with them anyway.
--Squirrelloid 14:27, 12 December 2008 (EST)
Two quick notes; beak dogs have a pretty annoying habit of shredding armor. The couple times I've had them get a hold of my champions, oftentimes the armor they are wearing is ruined and unusable. In other words, I don't think they'd have too many problems with melee dwarves in the grand scheme of things.
Secondly, archers are currently too dumb to reload bolts while still in combat mode. If they run out of ammo, they will abandon their post to charge the enemy and use the butt of their crossbow. The Hunter displays the same behavior when running out of bolts while hunting. --ThunderClaw 09:49, 15 December 2008 (EST)
If you're microing enough to effectively use siege weapons, you can have your archers stand down when they run out of bolts so they can reload, then put them back on duty.
And I seriously doubt that if your champions are legendary wrestlers/shield users that beak dogs will get that many hits in. The megabeasts I've fought certainly haven't hit at all, and I would expect them to be better in combat than a beak dog. Even if the champion's armor gets shredded, he'll still have his dodging and blocking to keep him safe, and its not like he's just wearing one suit anyway - armor stacking (chain/plate) is good for you.
--Squirrelloid 15:48, 15 December 2008 (EST)
For the half-dozenth time, and this is to everyone: if you'd like to change it, go right ahead, if you have something to add. I don't agree with you, Squirreloid, since I've seen a few beak dogs get nuts on my ironclad champion wrestlers more than once, but as you might figure from the fact that I take about 2 weeks to reply to this stuff, I honestly don't have much of an attachment to this page. I'm tired of seeing this space update with more random bullcrap with nothing happening on the actual page. I ignored it the last couple times it happened, but now it's time for it to stop. Put up or shut up. I don't know why folks keep coming back to this page anyway, almost all the notes are points of the tiniest nitpicks ('platinum' statues) or things that, honestly, go against most of the stories here and on the bay12 forums (beak dogs being 'jokes'), or even totally invented things (the note that this page 'needs revision', when there had been no such rumbling anywhere on this page and everyone shamelessly sucked me off when I finally reorganized it) and it's in defense of someone who couldn't even be arsed to sign his post or come back here to defend his own wild accusations. --ThunderClaw 17:43, 2 January 2009 (EST)
There has to be a better place for this discussion, but marksdwarves do in fact reload during combat now. At least they do when there is no easily available path to charge the enemy. Build towers, keep ammo in the tower, watch your dwarves go down stairs, reload quiver, and go back upstairs to continue firing. --Squirrelloid 03:26, 2 January 2009 (EST)


Ask for pearlash and rock crystal to make crystal glass.

crystal glass requires RAW rock crystal, that can't be imported

Can't it? I admit I've only tried this once, but I pulled it in from the dwarven caravan just fine one time. --ThunderClaw 11:28, 12 December 2008 (EST)
In conclusion, lies my ass. If you want to edit it, fine, but this is by and large good advice so you can kindly eat me if you're going to call me a liar. --ThunderClaw 11:28, 12 December 2008 (EST)
Go ahead and edit the page as you like... There does appear to be a consensus that it needs improvement! --Navian 12:25, 21 November 2008 (EST)
It's an error to say siege engines are the only safe way to deal with threats. Water traps, magma traps, hatch traps, weapon traps, and cage traps can all be arranged to be safer (and more hassle free) defense methods. VengefulDonut 11:54, 12 December 2008 (EST)
That's fine, honestly it is. Feel free to add such a note, or a link to the various trap demonstrations. I'm pretty sure I meant to type 'one of the only' there anyway (it's hazy this long after the writing). I welcome editing and I welcome additions to the article. I don't welcome being called a liar by some idiot who doesn't even sign his posts. It was Dorten, incidentally. I have no idea who he is and I certainly don't have anything against him but he can eat my ass if he wants to call me a liar. --ThunderClaw 12:07, 12 December 2008 (EST)

[edit] Thoughts on Revising this Page

Currently this and similar pages seem deadset on giving very specific advice, which is problematic when people don't agree on the nature of that advice. Why don't we do a basic analysis of the different considerations involved in putting together a successful fortress and maximizing your dwarves, and leave specific build advice as a postscript and proof of concept/example instead of the mainthrust of the article?

Ie, make the first paragraph something like this:
When establishing a new fortress there are certain difficulties that must be overcome. All fortresses will need to feed their dwarves, handle the influx of migrants, build a secure space to live and work, keep their dwarves happy, and generate trade goods for the merchant caravans. Beyond satisfying these basic needs, dwarves will want to be leveled in experience, both in terms of physical abilities and at particular tasks, and may gain free experience from successfully completing strange mood requests. What follows is a guide to building a fortress that not only survives, but thrives.

Follow this up with paragraphs on options for accomplishing the above basic goals, and a paragraph on the relative value of various skills and how easy it is to level them respectively. Only then should we start busting out examples. Advice should also tend to be less absolute than it currently is (I've started plenty of successful fortresses without dogs, for example).

--Squirrelloid 05:05, 22 November 2008 (EST)

Yeah, I agree with that approach. Your post over at talk:starting builds got me thinking along those lines. Although it's harder than just saying "do this" ;-) .
In truth, as long as you have a means to feed your dwarves and a handful of things to keep them happy, any fortress will work. (Sooner or later you usually need some defensive measures as well.) That's that's one of the first things we should point out.
But for me, and I think a lot of other players, much of the fun is in figuring out how to get your dwarves to do lots of stuff very effectively. We actually give pretty good advice on that -- we just make too many assumptions about what the specific stuff will be. This is not surprising given the page's origin ("How to correctly start fortress mode"? Ugh.), though it was improved dramatically by ThunderClaw and others. But it could be improved further, as could all of our "basic advice" pages.
Right now I'm thinking through a rewrite of starting builds in response to your post there a few days ago. You made some assumptions as well, but also you challenged me to think beyond the assumptions I had been making. Bit by bit I think we can pull everything together better.--Maximus 19:12, 22 November 2008 (EST)


The Your First Fortress guide covers the more general aspects of this; the purpose of this page, to my understanding, was to get into a bit more detail. When I rewrote this guide from its previous format, it was nothing but headings with a lot of people making various, very specific comments on very specific things. I tried to keep it like that during the overhaul, but I consolidated and updated a bunch of the advice and lumped it together in hierarchal headings that were a lot more readable.
I don't pretend for an instant that this guide is perfect, but a general advice sort of thing seems to be contrary to the spirit of the article as I remember it. We had Your First Fortress for that. --ThunderClaw 11:36, 12 December 2008 (EST)

[edit] An All-Inclusive Guide

"Fortress mode: So, you've got a crew together, united in a sense of adventure, duty, social outrage, simple greed or bloody-mindedness, perhaps even all of the above. You've come down (or up) out of the mountain halls, home trees, dark fortress, death pits, mother hive or backwater village, and regardless of race, species, motivation or temperment, two questions are likely on your mind: What do you need to accomplish your goals, and what's going to allow you to live to enjoy it? Look no further, the answer(s) lie within!

The first step in your journey is the most important: Choosing a destination. With the wide, wide world laid out before you, expansive and great but not overweight and actually quite good-looking, you know, given her age, this task can be so intimidating that many might be driven to simply bury their heads in the sand or whatever else serves as a soil type within the heartlands of their home civilization. While certainly a valid option, and a safe one, a truly brave, ambitious, and/or foolhardy band of explorers should set their sights much higher.

Is there evil to cleanse? A volcano to harness? Savage wilds to tame? Perhaps you really like snowcones, think it'd be cool to be able to fry eggs right on your doorstep, or always wanted to feel the soothing mist of a waterfall as your mortal enemies plummetting to their deaths are washed away into the raging rapids. All these and more are possible--just choose the right fortress site! See starting builds for some hints when deciding what to take with you. (Sorry--no kitchen sinks allowed.)

Know your limits and remember your priorities. Most people can't live without water, and few want to live without beer. Food is important, but unless your race is carnivorous, so long as you bring or gather a few seeds and have a small patch of soil you can protect, it won't be a problem. Meat-eaters should seek deeper wildnerness areas with better hunting and fishing grounds, and bring plenty of livestock if possible. Temperature and warm areas tend to have the most wildlife.

If there's no soil for farming, wet rocks will do! By pumping water over the ground, digging a channel to briefly divert a river or stream into (make sure to install a floodgate and a [[|mechanic|lever]] first!) or digging a pond to soak with a few bucketfuls, you can ensure that you'll have plenty of crops for the years to come. Remember that outdoor plants need sun and indoor plants need a lack of sun, and that sunlight only ever falls straight down from the sky, straight through anything until it hits the ground.

On the subject of water, watch out. Rivers often menace with spikes of carp, and when the oceans were created, someone was having way too much fun with the salt shaker. It's completely undrinkable. You can fix it up so you can drink it down by pumping it into a fully [construction|constructed]] reservoir, but making one of those isn't easy, especially if the ground is so [[|aquifer|soggy]] you can't dig out any stone without getting pickled lungs and a dead brain. Bring plenty of booze if you really, really want that beachfront property; even the water in the ground, rivers, and ponds will be salty for miles around.

A last word on water in regard to temperature. In 'hot' climates, water can boil away in the summer, in 'temperate' or 'cold' it will freeze in the winter. Frozen water can be fun to play with, but drinking it is another story. Water that's flown away into the sky can be pretty to look at, especially when it's shaped like a bunny or a dragon, but it's even harder to drink than the frozen kind. In 'scorching' or 'freezing' climates, water is often in its more useless states year-round! Both problems can be solved by getting the water under the ground, or finding some already there in an aquifer layer, but keep in mind that trying to build a reservoir in a glacier is not only futile, but also very dumb.

Got your food or water? Good! This next section might help you from bleeding your foody water all over the ground. When people talk about 'basic needs', they tend to include clothing and shelter with the other two. Well, let's face it: They're optional so long as you're not in the burning sun or freezing cold, or in danger of getting mauled by lions and tigermen and skeletal giant eagles, oh my. Don't be fooled by the terrible threats that are out there, though, even a raccoon can be lethal if you don't take precautions. Choosing a more peaceful biome can help, but don't fall into the trap of thinking the opposite of evil is cuddliness.

The best way to protect your community is to put as much stuff as possible between the environment and your environment, by digging down, by building up, or just by picking a nigh-inaccessible site to live from the outset. More than likely, you'll still need to venture out to gather resources. This is where weapons and armies come in, not to mention traps for your access points and the various other zany and funtastic aspects of fortress defense.

Still alive? Phew. Lucky! If you're done securing yourself from the 'ations, and you've been working on protecting yourself from nature, you've got a head start on preparing for (semi-)intelligent ((semi-)mega-)invaders. If you stay lucky, you'll have time to make cool stuff for trade, happiness, or je ne sais quoi.That's all there is to it!

...Or is it?"

do that. --Navian 19:40, 22 November 2008 (EST)

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