v50 Steam/Premium information for editors
  • v50 information can now be added to pages in the main namespace. v0.47 information can still be found in the DF2014 namespace. See here for more details on the new versioning policy.
  • Use this page to report any issues related to the migration.
This notice may be cached—the current version can be found here.

Playstyle challenge

From Dwarf Fortress Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

The following is a list of challenges relating to playstyle.

Pre-Embark Build Ideas[edit]

Before you embark, you can optimize or sabotage your fortress from the very start, depending on how you distribute your points. After a few years, a well-developing fortress may or may not stabilize (depending on your idea of fun), leaving you to other challenges.


  • Six dwarves with only social skills
  • One skilled dwarf

Six courtiers of the king's court made some ill-advised remarks within earshot of the king, and as a result have been ordered to go found an outpost. They've hired you to make sure they survive. The six nobles only have social skills and refuse to do any work that is beneath them.

  • Expansion: The game is over when you die.
  • BONUS: Turn off all labors for all immigrant dwarves. The worker dwarf is the only one who does anything at all!

Minimalist/Survivalist build[edit]

  • 1 anvil
  • 1 copper ore

Nothing else. From that alone, forge your axe and pick. Real dwarves won't need to peek...

You can set the embark points as 309 (the minimum for a steel anvil and a piece of Tetrahedrite) in the advanced world generation settings to mandate this challenge. (Ironically, bringing a copper axe and pick costs less points than bringing an anvil, but that's perhaps against the spirit of this challenge.)

As an additional challenge, don't spend any points on skills.

You can make things worse for yourself by swapping the ore for a fire-safe block. Raze other civilizations, and hope that you get metals.


  • Spend zero points on embark

This challenge is moderately difficult to impossible, depending on the wildlife and outdoor food and water sources. Note that the three logs from the wagon are just enough to build a trade depot. You don't need a trade depot if something happens to a caravan that carries a pick or axe or if you are lucky with immigrants.

Deserts and glaciers are excessively dwarfy - with no plants and no water, there's no way to survive until caravans arrive (none of the starting dwarves can drink blood)... unless you retire-scum to move your "start" time to near autumn.

If you want to make things worse for yourself, you can choose not to even make a trade depot. Get your pick or axe from raiding. You can level up your ambush skills from hunting.

For either this or the above challenge, you can choose to instead use your points on useless crap. Note that most finished goods can be traded, which might go against the spirit of this challenge. It is, however, possible to embark after removing all supplies and skills, thereby having spent no points at all.

Stranded Scout Squad[edit]

  • Military skills
  • Weapons, ammunition, armor, war dogs
  • Picks are not weapons

Your civilian 'friends' promised a caravan in the fall as they left, laughing. Hopefully, you can survive until then with your forward scouts.

Sea Ice Challenge[edit]

A challenge for the ultimate survivalist. The map contains only a thick layer of ice and a deep body of salty oceanic water underneath it, blocking your way deeper. Your only resources will be ice, wildlife drops, (possibly) fish, the resources you embark with, and the ones you manage to buy from the dwarven caravan, as nobody else will bother to come here.

You'll need to use DFHack to bypass the embark restrictions (you can uninstall it afterwards) and have cave-ins disabled in d_init.txt all the time, to prevent the ice sheet from collapsing into the water underneath.

Note that you can play on an arctic ocean biome with cave-ins enabled, but that will just turn the site into something close to a standard glacier, which is perhaps against the spirit of this challenge.


Pretend to be another race! You can mod the game or just pretend that Elves have hair. It doesn't matter what you look like, just what you build, with what materials, and what's for lunch after we build it.

Elves - The Ultimate Hippy Challenge[edit]

Peace, man.

  • Don't gather plants except those you plant yourself.
  • Don't gather wood nor trade for it with humans or dwarves.
  • Trade for plants and wood only with the elves; they understand your environmental code.
  • Don't burn any coal. Do you know what that does to the environment, man?
    • Magma-smelting is an option, but steel can't be had.
  • Don't cause any creature's death, except in self-defense.
    • No military, induced submerging, or lethal implementation of corkscrews.
  • Only use cage traps, and either tame the creatures you catch, or release them back into the wild.
  • Hippies prefer sunlight and wooded areas, with minimal use of rock (digging and building).

Bonus: Declare war on human and dwarven caravans that try to trade you wooden items.

HippieBonus: Mod in cannabis

For an extra challenge try this in an area with a cave.

Alternatively, mod the game and actually play as elves. Swapping the species tags is the easy way. Moving the civ_controllable tag is the hard way. Enjoy not being able to make anything, unless you add training axes as well.


Forget about deep-delving adventures and armoursmithing. You're playing hobbits.

  • You're not in a dwarf fortress. You're in a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
    • Hobbit-holes are all on one level - store-rooms, wine-cellars, bedrooms and all.
    • One family per hobbit-hole, though that may include the help. No underground connections between holes, either.
    • Walls are to be lined with blocks of good polished wood, or clay bricks. Floors can be surfaced in stone or wood.
    • Don't forget your glass skylights and brick chimneys over the kitchen! While you're at it, how about a greenhouse for those exotic plants?
  • Your primary industries are farming and distilling. Trade primarily in these. Purchase all metals and avoid industrial mining.
  • Hobbits are uninterested in machines more complicated than the odd water-mill - no traps of any sort, though a drawbridge, dogs and militia as a concession to safety may be acceptable. And, of course, a mill.
  • Elves are your friends - always give them your preference as a trading partner. Go to the effort of storing your trade goods in large pots, so you can sell them your finest liquors for their valuable woodcrafts.

Humans - Living Large and Standing Tall[edit]

Pretend you're a filthy above-ground dwelling human.

  • Build a town wall.
    • Only hovels and farms outside the town walls.
  • House your dwarves in small town homes
    • 5-10 dwarves per house (they had pretty big families back in the day)
    • Upstairs bedrooms, small dining room, maybe a single level basement.
  • House your workshops according to profession, not convenience.
  • Build warehouses for stockpiles, and set guards outside them.
  • Create a keep, with its own wall, barracks, treasury, etc.
    • House your nobles within the keep.
  • Create a market square.
  • Create a main street from the town wall to the market square and/or keep. Well-paved blocks, statues and decorative shubbery are a must.
  • No underground connections between different areas.
  • For obtaining stone, metal, etc. a mine may be built, but must have separate entrance from other buildings. It can be outside the fortress, but must not connect to the interior, or vice versa.
    • If you create a side hill mine, only carve large (at least 2 tiles) tunnels, and create shaft to the surface to allow air circulation.
    • Or better than that, create an open pit mine / quarry, with ramps to access lower floors.
  • BONUS: Miniproject: Build a large, multiple-z-level fountain complete with decorations.
  • BONUS: Miniproject: Human Inn, containing your only booze stockpile and should be party-oriented.
  • BONUS: Miniproject: Farm simulation, complete with crops and free-range livestock, etc.
  • BOUNS: Miniproject: Have a series of canals for transport.
  • BONUS: Easy Play: Embark on top of a Human Town.
  • BONUS: Don't use any dwarven physics: Eg.atom smashers, perpetual motion devices.
  • BONUS: Advanced Play: Modify the raws and actually use humans to make the fort.
  • MEGABONUS: Build your entire fortress as one huge arcology.
  • MEGADWARFBONUS: Build your City in a giant, artificial cave. (or the caverns, if you can't manage that)


Make your dwarves pretend to be an ordinary, albeit short human village, to disguise the secret diggings below. Prepare to launch an invasion on the unsuspecting Big Folk.

  • Embark as close to the human towns as possible.
  • Construct a "manor house" to house your mayor and broker, with a stone-walled ground level containing office, dining room and kitchens, wood-block walls and windows above for the mayor's bedroom, and a large cellar with a discreetly concealed entrance to the Secret Fortress.
  • Construct a walled village including a token number of shacks, barns and workshops, a mill and a blacksmiths' for that authentic touch.
  • Surround the village with large fields, growing typical human crops.
  • While all this is going on, excavate an extensive fortress underground, with a focus on a well-trained militia. If the map permits, build a secret training area for your army, perhaps hidden in the top of a large hill.
  • Trade only raw crops to the human and elven caravans, in exchange for the minor needs of a human village.
  • Lure the goblins underground before meeting them in battle - best to hide the evidence, you understand.


Shun technology and contraptions. Who can really trust them, with all those gremlins running around? This may be challenging, as it forbids easy isolation/defense from attacks, all traps and wells. Irrigation is reduced to solid elbow grease and maybe a bucket or two. This challenge may be even harder combined with another challenge.


Live constantly tunneling. Churn up the soil as you go and visit the surface only rarely to collect the stuff you need..

  • Create one long tunnel. Dig forward at one end whilst sealing off (collapsing, building walls across) the other end.
  • Workshops should be built directly behind the row of miners. When they reach the point where they would be destroyed, take them apart and rebuild back by the miners again.
  • To make it easier, you can come up to the surface now and then.
  • Try to keep the tunnel as short as possible, like this: ||||||||==========> (| is walled off end section, = is tunnel and > is the miners.
  • BONUS: Leave those pesky nobles walled in as you tunnel away from them!
  • BONUS: Leave stockpiles of armour and weapons for any future diggers to find!
  • MEGABONUS: Surprise a goblin siege by tunneling up underneath them!
  • MEGABONUS: Leave a group of dwarves behind in a cavern farming. Carry no food, and return to the cavern to restock the dwarves.

Kill demons[edit]

Try to kill as many demons as possible. Use siege-engines and fortifications. Remember that collapsing caves (use supports) kills everything.

  • RipandTearBonus: Mod in Doomguy and/or a BFG.

Frozen North[edit]

Live like the Inuit! Only try if you are an expert.

  • Embark somewhere with tundra or glacial biome.
  • Lot of fishermen, hunters and only a few diggers.
  • Every dwarf is at least novice mason
  • Build everything out of ice.
  • Only spears and crossbows allowed in the military
  • BONUS: Axes? what axes?
  • BONUS: Only BONE crossbows, bolts and spears. Metal is for losers.
  • BONUS: Embark near an ocean and create a floating ice fortress.

Amazon dwarves[edit]

  • Kill or lock away all male dwarves, kids are allowed until they grow up.
  • BONUS: military use only bows and spears.
  • MRA Bonus: Do the same but with women instead

Alternative: Instead of killing the males, use them as slaves and make them work for the female dwarves. Put all the females in the military, no male nobles allowed.

Prolife fortress[edit]

  • Do not geld any animals. Even cats.
  • If any gelder arrive to your fortress, kill them.
    • Bonus: legendary gelders must be killed with legendary violence!
  • Bonus: Kill asexual dwarves too.

Dwemer City-State[edit]

In loving memory of the famous extincted race from Tamriel.

  • Optional: History should be Very Short. You are the true builders of the world!
  • Every dwarf should have skill in Mechanic, Smith, Engraver or Mason.
  • Hide under earth as soon as possible. "The Upland" is a dangerous place full of dumb races. Go outside only due to extreme necessity.
    • Bonus: Embark in dangerous region, so your "big-cruel-outside" lifestyle would make sense.
  • Smooth and engrave everywhere you dig.
  • Bonus: Awesome bridges between high underground towers.
  • Everything you produce should be made of rock and metal, and maybe leather and cloth. Wood is only allowed for making coal. True dwemers sleep on nicely engraved cave floor.
    • Optional: Use only copper, bronze and gold.
  • No stone fall traps allowed. They're archaic.
  • Everything that can be automated should be automated. Your dwarves deserve some comfort.
  • Slowly redress all your dwarves in robes, cloaks etc.
  • Optional: Catch some iron men or bronze colossuses and unleash them on everything that is not the dwarven caravan. Or on actually everything - that's easier.
    • Modding bonus: Add craftable allied automatons.
  • Every migrant who is not a mechanic, stoneworker, craftsman, smith, administrator/trader or medic should be marked as "Falmer". Falmers must live separately from your dwarves, you need no care of them, the only food they deserve is plump helmets, the only drink is water. Shortly, they are your slaves now. Falmers must do all the "dirty" work, like mining, operating, farming, hauling or anything you don't want your real dwarves to do. Falmers' children are Falmers too, indeed.
    • Bonus: Make them live in caverns.
      • Bonus: Blind them all.
        • Bonus: Torture them in specially designed rooms. Torture elves there too.
  • RPGbonus: Make your fortress a single-directed "corridor" dungeon with traps and caged bronze colossuses (with pressure plates connected to cages), so the future adventurers could enjoy it. The last room should be filled up with treasures.
    • SuperRPGbonus: Secret passage to your treasure room right near the main entrance. It's only possible to open it from the inside.
  • Optional: Put an end to your fortress by trying to use demons as an energy source.

The Oregon Trail[edit]

Settle like those who traveled the (in)famous Oregon Trail.

  • Optional: Wait to stop world gen until the year 1840.
  • Embark in an area that has mostly grassland biome.
  • Bring 10 food and 15 booze per dwarf.
  • All dwarves must embark as peasants.
  • Bring a few rabbits along for skins.
  • Bring a few chickens along for eggs, meat and skins.
  • Bring 10 copper bars and three random rocks, but only one axe and pick.
  • If points allow, bring some leather along.
  • If points allow, bring some cloth along.
  • Hint: You may want to find an area with clay.


  • Set one miner, one woodhacker, one main farmer, one weaver/clothier, one potter/glazer, one metalsmith and one glassmaker/gem cutter if you have or found sand.
  • All dwarves must plant their own crops, process their own plants, spin their own cloth and cook their own meals.
  • Chop down enough of one tree to make one 4x5 inner-tile log cabin.
  • Repeat the above step for the rest of the 6 dwarves you came with.
  • Hint: Use a rock you brought with to make a kiln. Set a clay collection zone and set Collect Clay on repeat. Use the clay to make houses, instead.
  • Dig your dwarves a 5x5 root cellar and place food stockpiles in them.
  • Place a 10x10 farm plot by each dwarf's cabin.
  • Dig a side hill mine for stone and ore, and make it go down 5 to 6 levels.
  • BONUS: Make a huge 40x40 quarry and decrease size by 2 tiles for each level going down.
  • Settler BONUS: Place 1x10 farm plots that all grow the same crop 1 tile from each other, channel between them, tap into a surface river, and voila. Western-style irrigation.
  • See how long you can survive like this.
  • Modding BONUS: Mod the raws and actually embark as humans.
  • Naming BONUS: Name the fort 'Tombstone'.
  • Modding BONUS: Mod the raws to make sentients butcherable, cause a food shortage and attempt to recreate the Donner Party.
  • Modding BONUS: Add dysentery.
  • Mega Modding BONUS: Add guns and bullets of some sort.

As you can see, this challenge is similar to the City-States challenge below. Try 'em both and see which one you like better!

Aliens vs Predator[edit]

Raise a civilization just to hunt demons.

  • Nothing to specify about preparation and early game.
  • Your goal is to build a fortress that can produce 3 adamantine armor sets and some adamantine weapons of your choice.
  • When everything is ready, find the most military skilled dwarves, give them adamantine equipment and training on your choice. They are The Hunters now.
  • Dig into Hell, if you haven't done it yet. Let the hunt begin!
    • Bonus: Fortress should have several small corridors, so demons can troop round the hunters.
      • DoubleBonus: When the hunt starts, open the main enterance to your fortress. Also make some kind of fortress-destruction mechanism connected to a lever. The last alive Hunter should pull it, so demons wouldn't reach the surface.
        • Or would they?..
  • Optional: If the Hunter(s) survive for a period (season, year etc.), close Hell with bridge and give the Hunters some kind of award. Also they're now supposed to be True Men.

Utter Dwarfiness[edit]

Need new ways to behave or new techniques to dip your toes into? Give any or all of your starting 7 some quirks to live up to. Want to try making your Boss a hell-bent, paranoid despot? Or establish a routine mass murder of small animals to provide your fort with raw meat by a vaguely intimidating, estranged butcher?


  • settle into a large mountain range.
  • have your dwarves separated into different 'castes'. Each dwarf must do no more than is required of his caste, and no less. The peasants must be called 'casteless' and must have no labours activated.
  • each caste is one main labour, for example: masonry is a caste, but engraving isn't and is instead included in the masonry caste. There is a farmer caste, but no cook caste. That is included in farming. Mining is a caste in itself.
  • young dwarves adopt their parent's caste. Girls adopt their mother's caste, males adopt their father's caste.
  • build your fortress into different districts: diamond quarter for the nobles, the commons for all the workers, and dust town for the 'casteless' dwarves.
  • ORZAMMAR BONUS: build a 'proving ground' for fighting, complete with seats for all the dwarves in the city.
  • build a deep road over the caverns, then break it and face the eternal wrath of the caverns.
    • MEGADWARFBONUS: build the road over hell instead, and face the eternal wrath of the underworld.
      • MEGAMODDERBONUS: mod in an anvil of the void, which can turn dwarves int huge golems which don't need to eat or sleep. Use them to fight off the eternal forces of demons/crundles.
  • Have all dwarves who do something amazing become 'paragons' and get turned from their old caste into a member of the noble caste.
  • have huge lavafalls to light up the city.
  • Become the mountainhome at some point
  • build a huge hall of heroes at the front gate full of statues of paragons, kings and queens.

Bandit Camp[edit]

  • Three or more Marksdwarves (perhaps with ambushing)
  • Embark site featuring places to hide

Attack and loot every enemy sentient creature you can find, such as goblins & kobolds. Develop sneaky and even horrific methods of trapping and 'processing' friendly sentients (merchants, diplomats, and even migrants). Take no prisoners and leave no evidence of foul play.


  • All dwarves embark as peasants
  • 7 or multiple of 7 of everything you bring (especially picks and axes)
  • BONUS: Make one state for only nobles and force the other states to sustain it

At the start your dwarves split everything equally and move to 7 different locales that are not interconnected. They have to mine their own rooms, plant their own crops, use their own craft piles. This will probably require a bit of cross-fertilization until you get doors and can lock everyone in, but after that it is every dwarf for him/herself!

Burrows are very useful for this.


  • Embark only with dwarves that have max skills, with no more than one miner; but bring extra copper picks.
  • Separate the fortress into 2 parts: a vibrant city above, and a depressed slum below.
    • BONUS: Reverse the order; elite dwarves get to live underground, while the poor have to scratch a living off the surface.
  • Throw all low-skill immigrants into the pits, where they will spend the rest of their lives (unless called up for the draft).
  • DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES let said immigrants socialize whatsoever with the Elite; so nobody (who matters) will be upset when they die.
    • BONUS: Make it impossible for anybody to escape by using trapdoors to drop them in and bridge-a-paults for sending goods out (preferably with a carp-based sterilization system).
      • MEGADWARFBONUS: Set it all up so that none of the 'elite' have to do any work; all their needs are met by the laborers. Watch what happens and laugh as the laborers die out and high society breaks down.
        • MEGAUBERLITERARYBONUS: build the community from "The Giver", all dwarves keep all jobs they come with, 3-time troublemakers get "released" (spoiler alert) use magma instead of lethal injection, and remember, no death or pain! (mod the game for ultra control over marriage and jobs!)


  • No embark requirements
  • Construct a successful fortress
  • All dwarves are given equal attention regarding quarters, dining, armament and burial
  • One dwarf elected to be "The Leader" commands a lever system capable of killing a single dwarf of your choice in their room, however you wish
  • Allow the Leader (your id) free reign on his power, enforcing impossible and unannounced criteria on your other dwarves with death being the only punishment
  • BONUS: Construct a large sickle-hammer at the fortress entrance to show the regime.


  • Spend points ONLY on ONE pick.

A well known and popular challenge. Kill off or expel 6 of the starting dwarves and any immigrants as they arrive, and try to make a living for the last dwarf. Turn away merchants. If they don't leave, kill them.

Variants To moderate difficulty, feel free to allow these exceptions:

  • Keep one male and one female dwarf as the Dwarven Adam and Eve.
  • Keep your starting seven, but no immigrants.
  • Selectively admit dwarves based on name, profession, etc.
  • Embark with an anvil as well.
  • Become a lone fisherman. The old man and the sea.

Hunting Party[edit]

  • One Marksman+Ambusher
  • One Cook+Farmer
  • One Brewer+Farmer
  • Four exclusively social dwarves
  • Embark with no anvil, many hunting dogs, into a challenging biome (terrifying areas may have no supply of wood)

Immigration and customs enforcement[edit]

  • One miner/mason/architect
  • One woodcutter/carpenter/architect
  • Five military dwarves
  • Embark into a canyon or on a road
  • Don't embark with an anvil

Spend the first year building fortifications to interdict traffic. Immigrants can build a town around you, but your original seven dwarves remain dedicated to their mission (purely military in purpose).

  • BONUS: Make the two areas self-sufficient of each other, no resource-sharing.
  • BONUS: Make the main construction capable of dispatching any interlopers into the main building through drowning.

"Let Slip the Dogs of War"[edit]

  • No military dwarves are permitted, including the Fortress guard.
  • No weapons or armor may be forged, and any obtained from looting must be melted down.
  • War dogs must be your only form of attack and defense.
    • Bonus: No traps or defense mechanisms of any kind may be utilized, only dogs.
  • Don't forget to cry "Havoc!".

28 Drinks Later[edit]

  • Embark in an evil biome. Set up a wall around your camp. Never leave the perimeters. All migrants are survivors from the Zombie plagued cities, decide carefully whether to let them into your walls.
  • Bonus: If you have "reason" to believe the migrants are infected, sacrifice them to Armok. Remember, he loves Magma!
  • Bonus: Only Marksdwarves for defense, You shouldn't get near the zombies, they tend to bite. If they are wounded, they must be quarantined, and shall therefore die.
  • AdvancedPlay: Embark in an evil biome near a necromancer, so you will occasionally be besieged by hordes of zombies.
    • Bonus: Send one heroic guy to save the migrants from the zombies, like in 28 days later.
      • Bonus: Keep a diary from one of the character's perspectives, to be read when the world is repopulated.

Master Of One[edit]


  • All starting dwarves must have only one skill


  • No changes are allowed on any dwarf's labor screen, except to disable hauling labors (enabling hauling is forbidden)
  • All immigrants must stay with the profession(s) they arrive with
  • All peasants must be activated into the military


  • Only allow one dwarf for each skill to remain in your fort (1 mason, 1 miner, 1 farmer, etc.). Slaughter or draft all other dwarves.

Urist of All Trades, Master Of None[edit]

Opposite of "Master Of One" above.


  • You may distribute points to as many skills as you want on each dwarf, but no more than 1 point on any skill (no dwarves above Novice).


  • Enable all labors on all dwarves, at all times.
  • Since only one of Mining, Woodcutting, or Hunting can be enabled at once, try to have an equal number of dwarves in each job. At least once every year, change them around, try to assign them to whichever they have the lowest skill in. Of course, you can leave out Woodcutters if there are no trees (but enable some if you reach a cavern with underground trees), and leave out Hunters if there are no huntable critters.
  • Make/buy enough Picks, Axes, and Crossbows so any dwarf who wants to try Mining, Woodcutting, or Hunting can at any time.
  • Shuffle around your Administrators yearly, or whenever you notice them getting too skilled in their jobs. You can check the personalities of your replacements to make sure they're at least capable of learning appropriate social skills for the job.
  • Draft any (or better yet, every) dwarf into the military. Use the default uniforms. You can only add Individual Choice Melee/Weapon/Ranged, do not assign specific weapons. Keep a variety of weapons in your stockpiles (including any exotic weapons from other races) so your soldiers have plenty to choose from. Periodically switch out your Militia Commander/Captains and squad leaders, so everyone gets a chance to lead. Unless there is a siege, only 1 squad can be active/training at any time.
  • Always have some areas designated for Digging/Channeling, tree Cutting, Smoothing/Detailing, and Plant gathering, so dwarves can practice Mining, Woodcutting, Stone Detailing, or Herbalism whenever they want.
  • No workshop restrictions via profiles or burrows. Let anyone work anywhere they want, regardless of skill level.
  • Try to build at least 2 of every type of workshop, so if a moody dwarf claims one, other dwarves can still have a chance to try that kind of work.
  • BONUS: If any dwarf manages to become Legendary, disable the labor(s) associated with that skill. If one reaches Legendary in a weapon or other combat skill, discharge them from the military. You may re-enable the labor(s) (or re-enlist) ONLY if the skill rusts all the way back down to Novice.
  • SUPERBONUS: Set that skill threshold lower, (e.g. Master, Expert) depending on your own masochism.

Monarch with a grudge[edit]

  • Forbid any and all use of stone and metal
  • No exposed tile may be labeled "Underground"
  • Artifacts containing stone and metal are to be destroyed utterly (magma or the DAS)

"Nay, no ponderous stone doors or shining silver arcades, not while I live!" The new king has decided rocks and metals can no longer be used in construction. He'll be overthrown shortly, but in the meantime construct your fortress without them.


  • Embark with no construction materials, into an area devoid of trees.
  • Construct a fortress made entirely out of glass. Try not using magma, or limit yourself only to clear and crystal glass.
  • Build with soap bars. Show those elven traders just how much you despise their philosophies by building with stuff derived from dead trees and dead animals. Cats are an excellent source of tallow.
  • Choose one type of rock, one type of metal, one type of gem, one type of wood, and optionally one type of glass. All constructions can only use those types in their construction. An easy way to enforce this with stone is to mark all but your choice "Economical".
  • Bonus points: Stone is forbidden along with digging

Noblesse requiro[edit]

  • Construct a fortress only to please nobles (who, for the sake of this challenge, are all criminally psychotic)
  • Criminals who deserve justice should be incarcerated, tortured, and executed for any offense. Use your imagination for every step of the process. Remember, there is no right to a fair and speedy trial in Armok's eyes.
  • All Nobles must be treated to the highest quality living conditions
  • All others must be treated to the bare minimum needed to physically keep them alive
  • Elected nobles are to be treated as regular dwarves, but mandates hold equal sway regarding justice

Urist McHoHoHo[edit]

  • Embark in a glacier biome
  • Take at least 3 craftsdwarves to serve as Santa's Elves.
  • Export as many toys as possible. These are your only permitted trade good.
  • Bonus: Use this Christmas-themed tileset: User:Sphr/gfx set#Christmas_Special_2007
  • Bonus: Cycle nobles frequently, use their mandates as people's wish lists.
  • Bonus: Capture a male and female reindeer and begin a breeding program. Create a pen/pasture with your eight current "chosen" ones.
  • Mega Bonus: Use Olivine, Serpentine, Bauxite, Kaolinite, Cinnabar, Petrified wood, Realgar, (red and green) to build your fortress.
  • Dwarven Spirit Bonus: Edit the raws to embark with elves. Utilize elf labor to craft your toys.
  • Mega Dwarf Bonus: Embark with a group of elves, choose the fattest elf to be Santa. Clothe him in reindeer wool clothing, dyed red, with accents of un-dyed wool. Feed him ☼Longland Flour Cookies☼ and reindeer milk. Build a brick fireplace and burn coal for a warm cozy fire. Train Santa to be a legendary pump operator to make him flash red.

Sitting on trees[edit]

  • Construct a wooden "tree" or several, spanning many (a dozen or so) z-levels
  • Establish a successful fortress not inside, but around, these constructed trees

The Mad Butcher[edit]

  • One dedicated Butcher+Tanner
  • Minimal supplies and skills, so you can bring...
  • As many puppies and kittens as you can afford
  • All food-gathering skills (except your Butcher+Tanner and Brewing) are forbidden

Caging your animals will increase performance to prepare a suitable butchery. Construct a wide, deep shaft to be zoned as an animal pit. At the bottom, outfit an isolation chamber complete with food and alcohol stockpiles, a bed, a butchery and a tanner's workshop. An active well will prevent mishaps. You should include during the construction either an airlock chamber (to enable the butcher to pass on food) or a second pit where the butcher dumps his created food. After construction, seal your butcher+tanner inside and live only off of his work. BONUS: Embark in an evil region.

The Night's Watch[edit]

Make a replica of The Wall from the novel series "A Song of Ice and Fire"

  • Embark on area with north half of terrifying glacier area and south half of some non-evil taiga. IMPORTANT: Build a HUGE ice wall to cut the north half away.
  • BONUS: assign each dwarf to one group: rangers, stewards, builders where rangers go regularly ranging to the other side of The Wall, builders build it (duh) and stewards do everything else
  • MEGA BONUS: All of your dwarves have to have basic 1-year battle training after which are they assigned to some group and start to be somewhat useful
  • GAMEOFTHRONUS: Rebuild Castle Black and have everything within the castle.

The World is Flat[edit]

  • No pre-embark requirements
  • You'll probably want a region with lots of hills/mountains.
  • You may only work/build/live on the original Z level where your wagon was
  • No moats allowed, as this requires a channel, which goes below your z-level

Hunter and Gatherer[edit]

Pre-Embark (World-Gen)

  • Try creating a world in year 1 (optional)


  • Everything allowed except Farming and Cattle Breeding.


  • BONUS: Embark in a desert, so only hunting and (aquifer) fishing.
    • Extra Points: Don't fish in the aquifer. How could the turtles get there anyway?
    • Create a huge pyramid and sacrifice living beings or valuables to Armok for rain by dropping it in the hollow inaccessible pyramid from the top.
      • Extended version: Fill the pyramid with magma!
    • Create lines like the Nazca to honour Armok, so he will send some rain (maybe).
  • BONUS: No Mechanics and only limited (i.e. only copper) or no metalworking.
  • BONUS: Live underground in the caverns. Create their little huts out of rock and mushroom wood.

Cave Men[edit]

Pre-Embark An Overworld accessible cave

Post-Embark Go into the cave with all your dwarves, and try to survive the harsh environments of the new cave systems. You can't use items from ground zero, all wood must be harvested in the caves, along with food.

  • Bonus: no trading, who wants to enter that creepy cave anyways?
  • MEGA BONUS: No dogs and no warrior dwarves.

Fort wars![edit]

  • The initial 7 create 2 forts on opposite sides of a map.
  • After the initial 7, 1/2 of all immigrants get assigned to a burrow that encompasses one of the forts. New children get assigned to their parents' fort. Each fort is self-sustaining and produces their own goods. Then it turns into a competition to see which fort can produce the most wealth.
  • Nobles are given free reign and will be quartered in the winning fort.
  • Make a giant wall separating the forts above ground. On one side of the wall is an artificial lake made of water and on the other, one made of magma. Call forts Reliable.Excavation.Demolition and Builders.League.United.
    • Bonus points if you make residents of both sides wear only team colors.

Deep dwarves[edit]

Following the embark, lock yourself up under the ground. Don't let any of your dwarves go outside. Let invaders into your underground maze of doom!

  • BONUS: Dig deeper and deeper, abandoning the upper levels and rebuilding your fortress as you get more deep.
  • MEGA BONUS: create a caste of deep dwarves (nobles?), who will only live on the bottommost levels.

Earth Mover[edit]

  • Do what you need to get a huge guild of miners
  • Dig every square in the map.
    • Hint: you might want to turn cave-in on
    • Another hint: Do you really want to put your castle up there, when your dwarves are digging down there?


The opposite of Earth Mover

  • Only dig a stone you need
  • There should be no unused stones on the map
  • BONUS: No spare items or furniture also
  • MEGA-BONUS: No wars, as war leaves corpses and other useless crap

Oh, The Humanity![edit]

  • Live like humans do.
  • Make about half of your buildings out of wood- structures that serve no defensive purpose, such as workshops, meeting halls, dining halls, the homes of the serfs and peasants etc. should be wooden. You can also divide a large building up as sensible- you might make the main structure of a castle or wall out of stone for strength, then make the interior detailing, shacks, and other "addon" buildings out of wood. The important thing to keep in mind is that for humans, drafty, damp stone buildings are sometimes a functional necessity, not something they prefer.
  • Build an aboveground outer wall of wood to start- you can replace it with stone once you reach fifty individuals.
  • Underground areas are ONLY for mining shafts, root cellars, plumbing/mechanics, and perhaps a secret passage for your nobles to take in emergencies. No workshops, living spaces, or large-scale storage allowed.
  • Most of your mining for ore and minerals should be done quarry-style, as humans are not well-suited to long-term underground life. A quarry should be a big, wide-open pit, shaped like an inverted pyramid, with a ramp leading out, so you don't feel boxed in and claustrophobic. Don't worry about the ecological impact of your surface strip mining.
  • An exception to the mining rule is excavation for purposes of putting up outdoor buildings- so you can carve away a cliff wall to make room for a building, but you can't actually build *into* the wall like a dwarf would, so channel that natural dirt/stone roof out!
  • All farming must be done with surface plants. No underground plants.
  • Humans need several pubs so they can go bar-hopping in their free time- they get bored with just one. Make sure you have a separate pub for every 15 individuals.
  • Unlike dwarves, few humans have enough beard to hide their naughty bits when they run around naked. Make sure your humans have enough clothing to wear at all times.
  • Finally, you need an aboveground castle. Early on, a small building will suffice, but by the time royalty arrives, you'll need to have at least begun constructing a castle worthy of their station.
  • BONUS: Humans enjoy bathing. If there is no pond inside your walls, build a channel to carry fresh water to an artificial pond so your people have a place to cleanse themselves. Build a 1-level waterfall in it so they can shower, and stock soap nearby.
  • BONUS: Every family has its own house. Each house has a "sink" (well), garage (shack) filled with owned tools, a driveway leading to the main thoroughfare, etc. Multiple-floor apartment buildings for the poor/immigrant dwarves. Once they become useful, they become "wealthy" and are moved to better housing. If they get married, they are moved to better housing for a year - if they're not "wealthy" by then, their house is foreclosed. If they arrive married/with kids, they get cheap housing anyway.
  • BONUS: Humans, as opposed to the elves' reverence for nature and the dwarves' utter disregard for it, actually believe it is their duty to pollute and destroy nature.
    • Designate large refuse stockpiles and garbage dumps in the wilderness, and fill them.
    • Chop down enough trees to piss off the elves every once in a while.
    • Fill the map with paved roads. Pavement rules!
  • MEGABONUS: The ultimate in human engineering. Build a 5-level above-ground mega-mall displaying all your salable wares. Build various stores for your goods, back room storage, a wishing pool for the main atrium, a food court with several "restaurants" specializing in specific foods and meals, a hair salon, a bank, and a security office staffed with rent-a-cops. Come up with more if you feel like it.
    • UBER-ULTRA-BONUS: Give all the mall's stores security doors that can be controlled from the security office, for instant lockdown in case of a shoplifter. Can't have too much security!

Orbital Defense Network[edit]

Build a 40z-level high magma rain-dropper. Build reservoirs connected to a volcano with retractable bridges at the bottom to drop magma on invaders! In a 50 tile wide hexagonal system, a 4x4x4 is all that is needed per reservoir.

Dwarven Prison[edit]

Faced with rising criminal rates, the king has decided to go for a zero-tolerance policy. He sent out seven dwarves to build and manage a prison to hold the worst of the worst criminals of dwarvenkind.

  • Only your initial 7 dwarves may do any work
  • All immigrants are treated as inmates sentenced to lifelong prison sentences. Yes, even the children. Don't ask, you are just doing your job and who are you to criticize the glorious dwarven justice system?
  • Every inmate is locked up in solitary confinement within his/her own bedroom cell with only a bed and a forbidden metal door. Metal bars instead of walls are optional.
  • Inmates have to be kept alive in their cells, but don't pamper them: Make them live on a diet of water and raw plump helmets. Feed them by dumping the plump helmets through holes in the cell ceilings or using an airlock system. Water can be provided through a water hole in the floor leading to a sewer system.
  • Should an inmate start to rebel the sheriff chief warden should restore discipline with an iron hand.
  • It won't take long until a few inmates start to go insane from sensory deprivation. Too bad for them.
  • BONUS: build a lever for mad dwarves to commit suicide by cave-in
  • SUPERBONUS: Have one of your dwarves escape the prison through a tunnel hidden by an engraving
  • SUPERMEGABONUS: Make the escaped dwarf a legendary Bookkeeper and Stonecrafter.

Cavernous Dwarves[edit]

A version of ‘Deep Dwarves’ and ‘Cave Men’, this challenge takes advantage of the large, underground caverns you find when you dig deep enough.

  • Dig out a few rooms near the surface to hold all your starting goods and move them all underground as quickly as possible. (Don’t forget to disassemble your wagon.)
  • Designate a meeting area underground so that none of your dwarves will be on the surface and then remove the stairs/ramps leading up.
  • Start digging. Dig until you find the underground caverns (around lvl 10 - 15 depending on your map).
  • Treating the caverns as ‘outside’, build your rooms and halls with windows looking into the caverns/underground lakes.
  • Try as much as possible to not disturb the natural formations of the caverns. Building around a pillar is fine, carving out a pillar and building inside of it is fine, but avoid removing pillars. Use the cavern floor as your main hallway.
  • Starting with at least one combat-ready dwarf is advisable (you may want more than one) as there are creatures lurking around every corner.
  • BONUS POINTS: Construct a castle in a large cavern to house your nobles and make sure that all their rooms/offices overlook the working peasants.
  • Extra Room Challenge: If you are looking to expand the caverns, you may drain lakes into magma seas. (WARNING: This is a frame-rate killer!!! If you try this, make sure to disable the auto-pause/re-centering for collapsing cavern messages, and expect it to take a long time to complete.) Once you have one or more lake drained, you will likely have doubled the size of available caverns to build in.
  • Optional: you can have 1 year above surface

Roman Empire[edit]

This challenge tries to emulate Europe during the Roman Era.

  • All new male non-noble dwarves must be conscripted into the military for a period of no less than a year. Your initial seven are exempt, as they may be thought of as having fulfilled their military duty earlier in life.
  • Steel, Aluminum, and Pig Iron are banned.
  • All full-time military dwarves must have a matching set of iron platemail (lorica segmentata) and iron short swords.
    • All conscripted dwarves must have a full set of leather armor (material doesn't matter) and wooden crossbow.
      • BONUS: All conscripted dwarves must have bows and arrows instead of crossbows and bolts. Trade with the filthy Gauls for them.
  • BONUS Peloponnesian War: All full-time military units may only wear bronze armor and use spears.
  • BONUS Aztec Empire: All military may only use jaguar leather armor, obsidian short swords, bows, and copper war hammers.
  • BONUS Dwarven Aztecs: Dwarves can only wear cat leather products (Yes, even armor) and the military can only use weapons up to steel metal.
    • MEGA BONUS Pre-Historical: All metal production is banned.

Incompetent Advisors[edit]

After wrongly advising the king about which stones were safe from magma's fiery heat, he sent you off with a party of six others, most of which never made it out of dwarf high.

  • Using the wiki and asking questions on the forums are forbidden! The king only laughs when your inquiries arrive. You only know what you knew from the start, anything else has to be tested with experiments
    • BONUS: only embark with peasants and only accept immigrants with adequate or lower skills.
      • MEGABONUS: when the king comes (to apologize) decide he isn't sincere and dump him into the magma with his advisors (anyone who comes with him)

Steve Jackson's Dwarfanoia[edit]

  • Make colored layers for the dwarves to live in: Black (infrared), red, yellow, orange, green, blue. EVERYTHING in each layer must be that color. A purple computer is at the "best" layer
    • If you see a dwarf leave his color to go to a nicer one kill them.
      • Bonus: make it impossible to function without crossing the color boundary once in a while. (bedroom must cross a blue hallway or something)
        • hey wait, didn't the blue dwarves make the purple computer? and its room?
    • decide with random goals or by random when dwarves may go to the next color
    • Bonus: everybody in the black level should be miserable -- the red should be merely unhappy, the yellow and orange mildly happy, and green and blue ecstatic.
  • computer is in charge of random death traps
  • encourage grudges between dwarves
    • put dwarves with grudges in the same military unit
  • Sheriff is the most deadly dwarf (and everybody other than soldiers go in civvies)
  • Bonus make a weapons testing area which may kill the dwarves or give them awesome weapons via untested modding.
    • Extra bonus -- the weapons are all either effective or deadly.
  • Mega bonus -- have the computer give a sign to check happiness. Press "v" if the first dwarf it finds is unhappy or had an unhappy thought kill them.

Notes: I think you have to mod [mostly from scratch) for orange, so instead you may make cheap stone layer, flux stone etc., or just skip orange.


  • Decide which dwarves are paladins and which are support -- paladins refuse to work and support may not fight
  • Embark to an evil (preferably terrifying) locale
  • Nothing evil may live
    • How to define evil: standard -- use the wiki -- if it says that it lives specifically in an evil climate, it is.
    • Bonus - include trees
    • Bonus - all non-good
    • Bonus - all non-dwarf
    • Bonus - all non-controlled dwarf
    • ULTRA-bonus - all non-related to the 7 first dwarves
  • No profit may be made from anything evil -- that includes trees and plants.
  • If all paladins die, end your game -- the other dwarves have no purpose there and will leave/ commit suicide
  • How long will you survive?

Survivor Dwarves[edit]

Dwarves try to survive, stranded on an uninhabited island.

  • Find an island in your generated world (or keep making worlds until at least one island appears).
  • Try to ensure that there are no neighbors on the island (except other dwarves, of course).
    • Bonus: try to find an island that only has hostile neighbors (i.e. goblins, kobolds, evil).
  • Take only the bare essentials along with you (see Minimalist/Survivalist build above).
    • Bonus: only peasants managed to survive the incident which landed your dwarves on the island (see Peasantry above).
  • NO TRADING! Ignore the dwarven traders that come (or kill them).
  • Immigrants are now other survivors; limit the number of survivors your island can have (either by changing the population cap or just killing off new immigrants).
    • Bonus: play 'Survivor' with your dwarves and have them vote a dwarf 'off the island' once a month (or some other frequency).
      • Bonusx2: tribal colony sacrifices any dwarf that is 'voted off'.
    • Bonus: new survivors (immigrants) are a rival survivor band (or tribal dwarves) that are trying to steal your supplies/kill you. Kill them or sacrifice them to Armok!
  • Bonus: try to build large outdoor fires to signal rescue craft.
  • Bonus: if a new mayor is elected, sacrifice the old mayor for 'failure to ensure the rescue of the survivors.' (Obviously you will need a large enough population to be able to have mayors).


Build a perfect replica of Venice.

  • Building next to a river-side, carve out canals and make a picture-perfect replica of Venice, down to its basilicas and plazas.
  • Make sure to have an expansive glass industry.
  • Bonus: make models of other famous historical-era cities.

Dwarf Hoarder Challenge[edit]

(edit and improve this please)

Step 1: Embark with 7 proficient miners and 7 picks.

Step 2: Once you reach the outpost location, strip the outside world of all valuable minerals. (valuable = metal ores, gems and anything else that you can make a decent profit from)

  • BONUS : Ravage the land! Take everything! Cut down every tree, gather all the plants! Leave NOTHING outside!

Step 3: Mine deep underground and make a very large room to store all of your wealth in.

Step 4: Kill and loot the bodies of all migrants and caravans that come to your fortress and take it down into the stockpile

  • BONUS: Put all nobles that arrive in cage traps in your stockpile.

Step 5: Do what you did in step two, but underground!

Step 6: Install over-complicated, dwarfy defenses to your underground stockpile.

Step 7: Continue until the King or Queen arrives.

Step 8: Cage them and store them in the stockpile.

  • BONUS: Cast them in obsidian and have the obsidian mined and carved into masterwork statues.
    • MEGABONUS: Make them statues of the nobles you have captured thus far. (Including the king or queen.)

Step 9: Continue until your fortress crumbles in a spectacular and hilarious way.

Step 10: Brave your defenses in adventure mode and gain access to your great fortune!

  • BONUS: Make sure one of the founding dwarves survives, after possibly killing every other founder, so you must fight the berserk HoardLord to get the fortune!
  • BONUS: Make a system so the nobles stay alive.
    • MEGABONUS: Make a system so the nobles can be set free.
      • MEGADWARVENBONUS: Make that system be part of the defenses so when you get to the stockpile the nobles are released and tear you apart.

NOTE: Modding may be required so the nobles stay there and so that you may release them.

You Can't Teach an Old Dwarf New Tricks[edit]

  • Never enable new labors.
  • You may disable labors, but never re-enable them. Disabled labors on your Broker/Expedition Leader to stop distractions from them meeting the Caravan/Trade Liaison? Now, diplomacy is all they're good for.
  • Only dwarves who already have combat skills when they immigrate/embark may join the militia. Assign whatever armor you want, but only assign them weapons they are already skilled with, NOT "Individual Choice". They're skilled in some foreign weapon, like blowgun? Better try your darndest to get them a blowgun if you want them to be useful!
  • "I have tenure" - The Nobles/Administrators you appoint keep their positions for life, even if somebody with better skills/personality shows up. You can only appoint new dwarves when the position opens up due to the previous Noble's death/madness. Intentionally forcing the position open is against the rules of this challenge.

EASYMODE variations:

  • Enable whatever labors you want on your starting seven, regardless of the skills you've given them, to make sure all your initial bases are covered. You can only do this right at the start of the game though, as soon as you unpause you're stuck with your choices.
  • When immigrants show up with multiple skills, often only the labors associated with the highest-ranked skills will be enabled. Go ahead and enable all the labors in which the dwarf has at least Novice skill. However, you can only do this right when the immigrant first arrives (while there is a flashing X over the character).
  • Unskilled Peasant immigrants and dwarven children who grow up may be assigned ONE labor. You can only do this right when they show/grow up, so check the population on your status screen to see what jobs your fortress is lacking, and choose carefully. If you play without this variation, your Peasants are destined to be nothing more than haulers/cleaners (and harvesters if you have the "all dwarves harvest" standing order enabled), or deadbeat welfare bums if you disabled their labors for some reason.
    • SUPEREASYMODE variation of the above: new Peasants may be assigned 1 labor Category, ex. press shift+enter on the Stoneworking category to enable Masonry and Stone Detailing.

Live Artillery[edit]

  • Build a fortress
  • Retire or abandon it, with plenty of pits left open/cage traps left lying around/ other traps
  • Go into adventure mode, find a creature with a ranged attack, chop at its limbs without killing it.
  • Before or after this, drag or lure it into the fortress pit/trap.
  • Reclaim the fortress. Use the new live artillery piece to great effect.
  • Repeat.
    • Bonus: only megabeasts will do as artillery pieces.

Wood-free challenge[edit]

Simple: your dwarves cannot harvest or use wood, or any wooden items. Non-artifact beds are out, which will significantly reduce the happiness of your dwarves. Without charcoal, your furnaces will need to depend upon coal or magma--don't forget to bring a bar of coke to jumpstart your industry if you're using coal. You'll need to brew your alcohol on site using stone pots (to avoid buying wooden barrels on embark). Without windmills and waterwheels (and axles), powered machinery is not possible. A fair number of strange moods will prove impossible to complete without wood; you'll need to be ready to deal with the consequences. Nobles will be particularly problematic since their demands for a bedroom will have to be ignored.

Evil Fortress[edit]

Create an evil fort that everyone will wonder what it's all about

  • make everything underground, nothing can be built in plain view of the surface
  • only export can be weapons
  • half the populus must be trained in the military
  • dwarves start off with picks, weapons, food and one type of seed
  • dwarves must be trained in a weapon skill on embark
  • create deathchambers and have a strict prison policy
  • make sure to sacrifice dwarves to the god Armok

Fort Uriststrad[edit]

Styled off of the many fortresses that dot the landscape of Skyrim.

  • Embark on a cold or freezing biome
  • The fort must be styled like a medieval castle, aboveground and near a river with roads going from one side of the map to another
  • There must also be a gate and towers on the perimeter of the fort.
  • Train up your dwarves, or assign military skills at embark. The dwarf with the best skills will be your "chief"
  • Should a dwarf gain better military skills than the chief, he will be appointed the chief and your current chief can either do a battle to the death or step down.
  • Have a trade outpost, but kill all non-dwarvish factions. Same with any non-dwarvish sentients that come within your fort's reach. Migrants and Caravans are to be considered as other bandit tribes wishing to join/trade with your bandit empire.
  • Most dwarves should either be proficient bowmen or one-handed weapons with a shield.
  • All non-combat dwarves are considered prisoners and work in a lower part of the dungeon
  • BONUS: Initiate a human siege
    • MEGABONUS: If the fort falls to a siege, come back in adventure mode and kill all the occupants + steal their stuff.

Rage against the Heavens [MAJOR Spoilers][edit]

Those pesky gods keep bring demons into the world to lead those stupid goblins. It is time to show them who's really boss.

  • In fortress mode, successfully colonize Hell. Retire the fortress.
  • In adventurer mode, clear a vault. Bring all divine metal items and the artifact slab found in the vault back to your fortress. Retire the adventurer.
  • Un-retire the fortress. Melt down all the divine metal, and construct a monument in Hell out of it.
  • Place the artifact slab in the center of the monument.
  • Drop the entire monument into an eerie pit.
  • Profit.

Arbitrary Law[edit]

Rule your fortress with a Soapen Fist! Or see how far you get until a (voluntary) significant flaw sends you into an inevitable sadness spiral. Whatever it is, be sure to stick by it or you'll be meeting the Hammerer.

Work with what you have[edit]

  • Build for one year as you normally would. Be as efficient as you like.
  • At the end of the year, no more mining, constructing, or anything else.
  • Wood may be gathered
  • Walls may be constructed, but can only be used in already-existing constructions, like dividing a room into multiple separate rooms
  • No new aboveground/belowground space-creation. You may only use the space you mined out in the first year

This challenge forces you to utilize space you haven't before. A large 5x hallway may be converted into a 1x with bedrooms on either side. Whatever you have to do to fit your current population. Be sure to build without any thought into the future of the fortress when you can no longer build. Instead, make it as hard as possible. Variations:

  • you may build aboveground to a maximum of two stories above ground. Make big slums/refugee camps/bazaars. Anything that involves mass-small-one-story-buildings
  • you may increase/decrease the time before you can no longer dig or build new space
  • (decreased difficulty) you may plan ahead


  • Animals are forbidden from the fortress
  • Animals following immigrants cannot enter the fortress
  • Lethal traps forbidden, caged non-sentients must be immediately released
  • Butchery is forbidden, but leatherworking is allowed

Rather than forbidding immigrant pets from entering, you can choose to deal with the owner of that pet instead for a more sadistic challenge.


  • After embarking, enable all labors on all dwarves (including immigrants).
  • Beds can only be designated as barracks or a dormitory, and no dwarf can be assigned to a bed (even nobles).
  • Coins are forbidden.
  • Be aware that nobles are to be considered part of the "bourgeoisie" and are to be dealt with immediately.
  • Establish a communal military plan and force everybody to be a part of the military at some time or another. Share all weapons and armor, anybody that tries to make an artifact weapon, either share the weapon, or somehow destroy it, and then execute the individual who made it.
  • Force everybody to take turns and act as the executive dwarf for the month/season/year. If that person makes decisions that go against the good of the commune, execute them.

Couples only[edit]

  • As soon as a married couple exists in your fortress:
    • Kill all single dwarves (or put them in a meeting area for a year to find a lover. Kill the rest)
    • Kill all incoming single dwarves
    • Try to save children, until they are adult and single

Dieting Dwarves[edit]

  • Exclusively dine on a food type of your choice (meat, fish, plants, alcohol)
  • Optionally, forbid alcohol consumption to limit carbohydrate intake
    • Note: forbidding alcohol permanently is as good as accepting a slow but continuous fortress death

Dwarf Liberation Movement[edit]

  • Nobles are worthless scum, we give them nothing!
  • As soon as possible, cage your expedition leader.
  • Never appoint any dwarf into becoming a noble.
  • Cage any dwarf that appears on the nobles and administrators screen.
  • When your population elects a new mayor, release your old one and cage the new one.
    • Bonus : Cage the king and all of his escorts!
    • Extra Bonus : Once you have caged all nobles, administrators, the king and his advisor; you must unleash the Dwarf Atom-Smasher upon them.


  • All dwarves must earn citizenship. To do so they must prove themselves by reaching legendary mining skill. Because REAL dwarves know how to dig. Until then they are forbidden to do any work.
    • Bonus : Hauling is forbidden too.
    • Extra Bonus : Non-citizens are prohibited from entering into a fortress, and they must remain outside. Above-ground constructed buildings count as part of the fortress.

Fight for your name[edit]

  • Before embarking, randomly generate a fortress name and be sure to know its English translation
  • Do the same with your group name
  • Creatively designate a serious goal for your fortress, based on these names
  • Fanatically reach your goal

Fort Geneva[edit]

  • Lethal traps are forbidden
  • Caged sentient creatures are to be considered prisoners of war and treated humanely

Suggested provisions for prisoners: a bed, a personal cell, a commons area, aboveground exercise yard, and the clothes the creature was wearing when captured. For more inspiration, go to: Geneva Conventions

Glacier Challenge[edit]

  • Embark on glacier
  • No trading allowed
  • Plundering death merchants forbidden, basically just ignore them
    • BONUS: Bring no wood

Play as an expedition team that landed on a glacier after a horrible accident and is completely cut off from the rest of the world. They must find water for food and underground trees for basic needs. Suggested embark equipment: some wood, lots of food & drink, multiple mining dwarves to reach the caves fast.

Government in Exile[edit]

  • Only Military and Social skills can be purchased and enabled in your entire fortress

All dwarves are either nobles or in the military. The only useful dwarves you'll have will be your broker, manager, mayor, bookkeeper, and dungeon master. If you can survive until the sheriff arrives, transfer your entire military into the fortress guard. With a little luck, and a lot of exported roasts, you too can rule without proletarian interference.

Hardcore Altruism[edit]

  • Do not allow the death of any Dwarf

Though not viscerally entertaining, an incredible challenge. All strange moods must be given what they crave. All medical attention must be done ASAP. Mining, fishing and hunting must be done with much care. Sadness must be met with excellent social skills and quality furniture.

Industrial Plant[edit]

  • Choose one industry that produces commercial goods
  • No other industries permitted, only imported


  • Find a starting location with a lot of gabbro, containing Kimberlite
  • Mine and cut all the diamonds on the map
  • Only gems can be traded.
    • BONUS: Your leader denies the existence of infections. Soap is neither manufactured nor traded for. Even if you know a dwarf has an infection, do not quarantine it or treat it any differently.
    • BONUS: Use the Burrows tool to establish "gated communities" for select dwarves, such as legendaries and nobles. Keep the fortress guard confined to these gated communities. If a dwarf throws a tantrum outside these designated areas, let him or her rage.

Preposterous Realistic Dwarves?[edit]

  • No magma smelters- magma doesn't have the heat to smelt ores
  • No use of perpetual motion machines
  • All doors must be locked by the use of levers- no auto-locking doors for you!
  • No use of the Dwarven Atom Smasher
  • Load only one weapon per weapontrap
  • No use of Adamantine

Sexist Segregation[edit]

  • Establish two functioning and stable fortresses
  • One must be entirely male, the other entirely female
  • Married couples are to be processed


  • Change your population cap to 300.
  • At least half of your fortress population must be active in the military.
  • Crossbows and traps are forbidden.
  • Only spears, swords, wrestling, helmets (helms) and shields may be equipped by military and used to fight.
    • BONUS: All weapons and armour must be made from bronze.
  • Civilian dwarves have all labors enabled.
    • If ever activated, cannot use quality weapons or armor.
  • Maimed dwarves (perceived to be) incapable of being fully healed must be killed. (This includes incurable spinal injuries in military dwarves!)
  • Devise methods of dropping Liaisons down pits during meetings. Yell, "THIS IS SPAARRTAAAAA..." at your monitor.(Preferably the Elven diplomat, when he tries to set your tree limit.)
  • Demand goods be turned over from all caravans.
  • Recreation is forbidden, as well as any 'improving' action, such as smoothing/engraving, or constructing things out of metals what can be done with rock and wood (besides spears, swords and shields). Parties following combat are acceptable.
  • Building city walls is considered weak and cowardly.
  • Under no circumstances is a male dwarf ever to wear a shirt. Togas are acceptable during leave.

Note that the above suggestions are modeled on the popular movie 300, an adaption of the graphic novel 300, both of which are historically inaccurate. For a more "realistic dwarven Sparta", try reading the Wikipedia article on Spartan society, and see Bret Devereaux's series This. Isn't. Sparta.


Difficulty increases with each bullet point:

  • Kill all non dwarves...
  • ...and dwarf traders (or are they race traitors?)
  • ...and all immigrants (or are they spies?)
  • Make sure you kill all animals and especially find those collosi, dragons etc.,

Extra-gore version - make sure to make elves, goblins, humans etc., butcherable and wear only sentient hide clothing.

  • BONUS: You realize this is how most experienced players run their forts anyway.

Mesoamerican dwarves[edit]

  • All food must be grown above ground, on small plots, surrounded by canals (chinampas)
    • BONUS: Flood the farms annually.
  • All buildings must be above ground.
  • Capture as many of your enemies as possible.
  • Build a massive step pyramid at the center of your fortress. Appoint one dwarf high priest and have him kill the prisoners at the top.
    • BONUS: Build it upside-down.
      • MEGABONUS: Build the entire city on top of the upside-down pyramid, with another pyramid-temple in the middle.
  • Surround your fortress with an artificial lake.
    • BONUS: Build it in the middle of a natural lake.
  • Use only copper or bronze metal for weapons. Gold may be also be smelted.
  • BONUS: The filthy steel-wearing conquistadors have come to plunder your city! sacrifice them to the blood god!
  • Soldiers can only use obsidian short swords. Axes are only for wood cutting.
  • No armor except leather and only let champions use it. All others must fight unarmored.
    • BONUS: Divide your soldiers into "Jaguar[1]" and "Eagle[2]" warrior societies and outfit them with leather armor made from their respective animals.
  • BONUS: Demand that all non-dwarf caravans surrender their goods as tribute.

French Revolution[edit]

  • Keep your nobles happy and your proles subjugated until you have a king issue a particularly stupid mandate.
  • Build some manner of guillotine.
  • Kill the king, everyone he is acquainted with, and everyone within the same room.
  • Kill other important nobles as soon as your guillotine frees up.
  • Unimportant Nobles are to be executed upon first mandate, or exiled at a random point in time.
  • Any dwarf that has any relation to any noble must be executed.
  • Kill any other dwarf if he has any whiff of aristocracy about him. Use your discretion.

Specialized economy[edit]

  • The goal is to reach maximum efficiency. To do this, you must assign all your workshop dwarves to an individual burrow.
  • Each dwarf must have his own dining room, bedroom just next to his workshop.
  • You have to assign a stockpile for food and booze next to each of your workshop dwarves so they can feed. Specialized haulers will have to bring them their foods.
  • You have to assign a raw material stockpile next to your workshop so your dwarf can work. Specialized haulers will have to bring them these raw materials.
  • No workshop dwarf should leave their respective burrow. Ever.
  • Good luck keeping all these stockpiles supplied all the time without getting lost!

Becoming the abomination you sought to kill[edit]

The seven founders are trying to hide a terrible secret that can doom all dwarfkind, so each took on an arbitrary law that must be followed until the related dwarf is dead. Their ultimate goal is to kill everyone in the fortress but none of them actually KNOWS the others are pursuing the same goal undetected!

Here is a typical set of laws:

-No hunting

-No trading

-Only one batch of alcohol is to be produced per year (that's 1 drink per dwarf, tops).

-Constant war with all elves

-No military training

-No magical materials (nothing above steel)

-Fortress should be over a magma-based doomsday trap, with 20 levers able to trigger it at any time (aka the "glorious death defeating the dragon by any means necessary" plan). Did I mention the alcohol restrictions turns dwarf insane?

You shall attempt to make as many of the original dwarves as possible die from old age rather than any other cause. So pray for strategic deaths early(no cheating)! This way even your UNCONSCIOUS is untrustworthy...

Overall, any of the seven laws shouldn't be TOO deadly, but certain death should be a result of following them all permanently.

Success is achieved by one criteria only: at the death of the fortress you must have learned your unconscious planned Dwarf deaths you didn't plan consciously... that's the only way to "win".

Dwarves need magma[edit]

  • Every workshop needs to be a "magma"workshop -- Magma carpentry, for example.
  • Magma workshops must have one tile touching a magma tile (preferably 3 and for bonus be nearly surrounded by magma tiles)
  • Every trap must be magma powered -- including cage traps
  • Dining rooms and bedrooms need magma lights to keep dwarves happy.
  • Extra Bonus - forbid all non-magma safe materials
    • Super Bonus - include clothes
    • Utterly Dwarfy bonus - Mod the game so that the dwarves can all wear obsidian clothes.

Insane Asylum within a Labor Camp[edit]

Build up a large area that contains small rooms with nothing in them. Have the area heavily guarded. When any dwarves are idle for too long or do something you don't like, place them in one room. Outside each room, place racks of high-quality weapons and armor. When the imprisoned dwarves go insane and there are enough to badly damage your fortress, let them all loose. Watch the Fun.

Bonus: Rig up traps so when other dwarves rush into combat, the area becomes filled with deadly creatures and traps.

The Hive[edit]

  • All dwarves have all labors on.
    • Dwarf Therapist helps with this.
    • Hunting and fishing are optional.
  • The endgoal is to make a fully functioning "beehive" -like fortress, All rooms inside the hive must be the same size.
  • The hive must be suspended in the sky like below (scale is your choice)
    • BONUS: Suspend it over a volcano.
      • MEGABONUS: Have a lever to drop the whole thing down into the volcano.

= is a Up/down stairway O is the hive parts

  OOOO   =
  OOOO   =

Urist's Legion[edit]

  • Women are allowed no jobs, and must be held as breeding stock.
  • Most of the men are military, and the rest are workers.
  • All military armor must be leather. All weapons must be iron swords and spears.
  • Only appoint named dwarves to noble position.
  • The expedition leader must be kept safe, and will do nothing.
  • He must also have a royal bedroom, dining room, and tomb.
  • BONUS: Build an artificial lake. Make a replica of Hoover Dam. Build walls to make sure the goblins only appear west of the dam. Guard it against the GolbiNCR!

MEGABONUS: Build a camp with walls out of aluminum bars. make the entire thing a barracks.

Alcoholic Dwarves Anonymous[edit]

  • Make your fort a rehab center for dwarves trying to stay sober.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not allowed. Water only.
  • Any booze brought by migrants must be confiscated and destroyed.
  • BONUS: Keep the booze and have the expedition leader/mayor secretly be an alcoholic. Make a stockpile that holds only booze behind a secret door in his quarters. Ensure he is the only one that can access it.
    • MEGABONUS: Have him removed from his position and/or imprisoned if a dwarf sees him access this stash.

The Bunker[edit]

  • No Embark Requirement
  • Set up a fort as you usually would, build, mine, construct and so forth.
  • Dig out a self-sufficient bunker, containing farming facilities, A massive area for water storage (at least 20x20x5) with a purifying mechanism (pumps can purify stagnant water), Plenty of wood (at least 100), Seeds for whatever crops you will plant (at least 75), a large storage of food (at least 300), have fully operational medical facilities, worker facilities, as well as recreational facilities
  • When you get a siege, gather up a fourth of your dwarves, regardless of who they are, and put them in the bunker. Seal up the bunker permanently, no one gets in or out. That also includes the water supply. That's right, once you run out of water, you are screwed.
  • You may dig out mines for the bunker, but if you open a cavern then you must immediately wall it off, with the miner trapped outside, sentenced to death.
  • All crimes are punished with death once inside the bunker.
  • What the leader says is law.
    • BONUS: Dedicate your bunker to a specific goal, such as producing enough booze for 100 years, or some arbitrary and pointless lay
      • MEGABONUS: Cause an accident that will kill off a majority of the bunker, except for a handful of dwarves (such as cracking open the water tank to flood the residential areas of the bunker)
  • Variant: Send a quarter of your dwarves into the bunker while it's being constructed with only the farm functional as well as a small amount of food, seed, water, and wood.


Basically, each and every dwarf in your fortress must aim to be the pinnacle of dwarvenkind. Both a great talker and possible leader of men, an exceptional craftsdwarf in multiple disciplines, and a deadly warrior whose body is a terrific weapon. See Friedrich Nietzsche's work for more info.

  • All dwarves are to be conscripted into the military. Dwarves must kill personally the animals they wear the skin/bone of.
    • BONUS : no weapons better than iron, unless you are faced with an enemy made from a better metal
      • MEGABONUS : no weapons other than base quality
    • BONUS : all dwarves must be at least at least Proficient in military skills
      • MEGABONUS : all dwarves must be Legendary in MS
        • ULTRABONUS : all dwarves must have slain a whole siege all by themselves
          • SADISTICDWARFBONUS : Assault HFS with your bunch of überdwarves. Win. No traps allowed.
  • All dwarves have to have and train at least one truly dwarven skill, like leatherworking, metalworking (any), stoneworking, bone carving, or brewing.
    • BONUS : one of these to legendary.
  • All dwarves have to train mining. Not allowed for fighting, excepted for creatures that cannot be harmed by weaponless combat. (iron FB's, steel titans, demons, etc.)
  • All dwarves must have very high willpower.
    • BONUS : All dwarves must have MAXIMUM willpower
  • Dwarves may eat only animal based products. You need lots of protein for these überdwarves. Plant-based drinks are alright.
    • BONUS : All dwarves must have generally superior physical attributes
      • MEGABONUS : No attributes in the red
        • ULTRABONUS : All attributes at maximum. We're talking about überdwarves after all.
  • No dedicated haulers. No large amount of idlers.
    • BONUS : Keep a minimum amount of idlers, excluding breaks
  • No hospital. If the dwarf doesn't heals by himself and becomes useless, kill him.
    • BONUS : No tombs, dump the corpses in lava
      • MEGABONUS : No drinking water, or for that matter anything besides than alcohol. Water is not dwarven.
        • ULTRABONUS : Infect your whole fort with a werebeast curse. (A sufficiently dwarven animal is required, like badgers). No more need for hospital.
  • All dwarves must have at least Adept in most social skills.
    • BONUS : Legendary in most social skills.
  • As soon as your babies turn into children, put them into a hellish training regimen that will train him and make him into a true dwarf. Death is of course, synonym of weakness.
    • BONUS : Make them fight wild creatures into an arena.
      • MEGABONUS : 40 children VS 1 megabeast. WHO WILL SURVIVE ?
        • ULTRABONUS : Get all the children at Legendary Fighter skill by the time of their adulthood. If they aren't, kill them.
          • SADISTICDWARFBONUS : Each young dwarf must pass a test of adulthood : killing enough creatures in fair combat and earning a title. If they don't, kill them.
  • All dwarves must be hardened of spirit. You must give all of your dwarves "doesn't care about anything anymore" trait.
    • BONUS : Trait must be earned by killing, NOT seeing death.
  • Each dwarf must kill at least one beast and one sentient enemy.
    • BONUS : Each dwarf must have earned a title by slaying enemies, which MUST be suitably appropriate and badass.
      • MEGABONUS : Each dwarf must have killed at least 10 sentient enemies. Each dwarf must also have some Butcher skill, for added terror.
        • ULTRABONUS : Each dwarf must have killed at least 100 sentient enemies
  • Each dwarf must have a pet that will help him in combat.
    • BONUS : each dwarf must have a fearsome predator as pet
      • MEGABONUS : each dwarf must have a semimegabeast as pet
        • ULTRABONUS : each dwarf must have a megabeast as pet
  • No vampires allowed, vampires gain things far too easily.
    • BONUS : Mod difficult creatures that blood gives stat bonuses to your dwarves.
  • Fortress must end in a loyalty cascade and a fight to the death, to see which dwarf/which faction are the REAL überdwarves. Then abandon fort and follow your überdwarves in legends mode.
  • BONUS: Create an underclass of dwarves who do not fulfil these criteria. Make them dedicated haulers who serve the überdwarves.
    • MEGABONUS : Call those "Last Men"

Dwarf Vampire Fortress[edit]

Do you ever get tired of having to endure the annoying, slow, and difficult process of finding that murderous vampire that is wandering around in your fortress? We have the solution! Think: If everybody is a vampire, then you'll never need to check for any. You can use this principle to turn every single dwarf in your fortress into a vampire, meaning that you will never have to worry about finding vampires again! On top of this, your new vamps will never need to eat, drink or sleep, and will never die of old age! Here's how:

  1. Build an upright spear trap, fill the tile with water, and have an existing vampire walk over it (or otherwise dropping the vampire in the trap).
  2. Pull the lever over 9000 times a few times to make the vampire bleed to death in the water.
  3. Forbid the booze supply or otherwise make it unusable.
  4. Make all of your non-vampiric dwarves drink from the bloodied water, and boom! You have a fortress full of vampires!
  • BONUS : Should your fortress fall, go to your fortress in Adventure Mode and drink from the bloodied water.
    • MEGABONUS : Do the above and follow one of the vampires to another settlement.

(We are not responsible for any damages caused to your fortress due to the disadvantages of this challenge. Disadvantages include, but are not limited to, severe unhappiness of your dwarves due to being unable to get happy thoughts from quality food and drink, getting unhappy thoughts from alcohol withdrawal they can't satisfy, and/or the death of dwarves because lazy slackers dwarves nearly always choose to sleep before drinking and thus getting fed on by your newly cursed lieges. The same fate can befall new migrants, beware.)

We are Anonymous[edit]

We are Anonymous, unseen and undetected, you were expelled from the mountain home with few supplies, you must leave no evidence of your continued existence.

  • Do not harvest any trees or plants
  • Your entrance must be sealed off immediately after getting all your supplies inside
    • BONUS : Use cave-ins to seal the entrance
      • MEGABONUS : Do it without losing a dwarf
        • MAGMABONUS : Flood the world with magma to hide your entrance
  • All Farming and tree cutting must go on inside
  • Do not use a river, only use aquifer water
  • Seal off all entrances to the caverns

Cargo Cult[edit]

  • Don't build any workshops or farms (with a possible exception for still).
    • Bonus: Disable all labours and live solely on imported goods.
  • Build your whole fortress around a trade depot. Train your building designer to build a really good trade depot eventually.
  • "Summon" caravans at the beginning of each season by performing rituals around trade depot: order your dwarves to drag pack animals back and forth and militia to parade along them.
  • Build shrines in the names of outpost liaison and foreign diplomats.

Yirkish fort[edit]

  • Real elartians hate nature. Burn forests, kill animals and drain fish ponds.
    • BONUS: Real elartians hate other species. No pets, no caravans!
      • MEGABONUS: Real elartians are squeamish about making wooden things. Drop the logs in magma. As a last resort, make some charcoal.
  • Real elartians not wear clothes, but only wear pouch. Take all the clothes off your dwarves, you can only wear a quiver, flask and backpack.
    • Reduced difficulty: Doorfs aren't exactly elartics, they don't have natural shells. So you can wear armour but not leather, only bone and metal.
  • The children of elarthk don't live off the adults, they're fighting a war to survive for the right to grow up. Lock the kids in a miasma dumpster. Dump them in water and plump helmet. Only those who have fallen into the tantrum and killed a few, or those who have fallen into a strange mood, should be released.
    • BONUS: Add traps in there for even more race cleaning.
      • MEGABONUS: Through DFhack, make the corpses of the dwarves edible. And feed the adult fortress with the corpses of unlucky children.
        • ULTRABONUS: Feed the adults ONLY the corpses of children.
  • Real elartians eat corpses, so no graveyards or tombs.
  • All you can farm is a plump helmet to feed your kids. Adults should only eat meat. Other underground plants are for alcohol only.
  • Real elartians don't make beds, they sleep on chests and boxes. Make a dormitory right in the warehouse.
  • Real elartians hate the gods and dream of killing them. Don't build temples. Intentionally dig into HFS. Run raids on angels.
  • ULTRABONUS: If the fortress survives, send a mechanic with one crossbow and a quiver of bolts to raid on humans. The Dwarves need their own Yirk. Or you could start as adventurer Yirk.

The Combine[edit]

  • During embark choose biggest embark location size you can get. Remember that you can use U, M, K, and H to resize the embark location.
  • Build the fortress on surface in anyway or shape you like.
  • When you have decent size fortress population (50 to 100) stop any dwarf reproduction, divide male dwarves into two groups - workers and military. All females by default in worker groups.

Workers have all jobs enabled.

  • Strip and throw away anything your dwarves don't need in their line of work and survival. That means valuables, personal belongings etc.
    • BONUS: After that any worker dwarf that has valuables or belongings is executed on spot. Valuables or belongings of military dwarves just thrown away. Only Expedition Leader can have limited amount of personal belongings and valuables.
  • Recreation is prohibited. Expedition Leader has limited access to recreation.
  • From this point forward your goal is to secure everything that is useful to your survival and throw away everything that is not. But first you have to expand your fortress on surface, build walls around your fortress, have guard posts around edges.
    • BONUS: Anything you secure you have to use immediately - no stockpiling. Unless it's weapons, ammo, armor, tools, medicine and food.
  • Any crime is dealt with by capital punishment.
    • BONUS: Divide your workers into several burrows and have them moved from one burrow to another at regular intervals.
      • MEGABONUS: Dwarf reproduction is a crime. Any result form that is destroyed along with parents and their relatives.
        • ULTRABONUS: Feed your workers with simple meals while military dwarfs with decent or excellent meals.
          • MEGABONUS: Dead soldier = their family execution
            • MAGMABONUS: Build huge citadel in the center of your fortress where all military and expedition leader will live and be dispatched.
  • Do not trade with anyone but dwarves. Caravan from any other race is to be destroyed on spot.
    • GENERAL BONUS: Turn anything outside of your fortress walls into barren wasteland
      • GENERAL MEGABONUS: Have 10 layers 4x4 closed off pit inside your citadel - strip corpses of anything useful and throw them there. Only specific set of dwarves can be tasked with corpse disposal.