Back after a 5+ year hiatus - last edit late May of '10. Just catching up to new version atm - we'll see. Albedo (talk) 16:50, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
Feb, 2010: I just added my name to the list for Asst. Admin for this site - see here.
 Beast Whips
- BeastWhips game diary moved to here.
 Basic Farming Article
There was a recent thread titled "seeds" that was hoping to get "world gen seeds" - but [s]it's now[/s] it was slipping toward page 3, before I accidentally bumped it. ::)
Anyway, these were the 2 responses...
I thought you meant strawberry seeds or something. Now I have nothing to contribute :(
Yeah, I was hoping to learn something new about seeds, but alas...
mmmm... "seeds"... indeed... well, deep on page 2 doesn't look like "world seeds" is taking off... ok, by request of 2 posters, some thoughts on plant seeds and related topics, targeted at a variety of game experience levels. Don't know how much "new" this will be, but I was struck by a strange mood...
First, let's talk about the planter, your Grower. Plant stack size is based on the Grower doing the planting, not the harvester. A better Grower means fewer seeds are needed to produce the same number of plants, and your farm plots can be smaller, saving irrigated space and keeping farmplots closer to your kitchens/stills/etc (which should all be in the same area, and near the Dining Hall - but we digress.)
With the exception of Quarry Bushes (which pad out prepared meals nicely, but usually a food industry is not up to that level in the first couple seasons), plants are mostly for booze, at least to start. [i](Later, flours and such - but not at first.)[/i] You can trade, hunt or breed for all the food you need, but the 1st caravan won't bring enough booze, and you shouldn't rely on them later. Booze is the lubricant of a Fortress, and without it will, quite literally, come to a grinding halt. Plants give you your booze, and Growers give you your plants.
If you count all the tasks, from planting to drinking, Grower is THE single most important skill in DF for multiplying its effect on the labour force. A Legendary grower saves something like 30 tasks for each stack of plants that are brewed. Yes, thirty per stack - it's just absurd. (See the wiki on grower for a detailed breakdown.)
By embarking with a proficient Grower and with only 3 of each UG* seed type, you will have more seeds than you need for planting later seasons - the multiplier is huge and the demand low. (If you collect them all and destroy none, 3 seeds -> ~8+ next season -> 20+ and you're set unless your plots are larger than that, which is a bit over-enthusiastic unless you only have 1 or 2 crops.)
(* UnderGround, vs. AG, above ground. You can only buy UG plants and seeds at embark. There are 4 UG booze plants (all are also edible, some can be processed into other food-stuffs), plus Quarry Bushes, plus the non-edible Dimple Cups.)
While I cannot emphasize how strongly I, personally, recommend starting with a Proficient Grower, it is also true that an unskilled Grower, if set to "Only Farmers Harvest" and with only 25 tiles or so of crops, will train to Proficient easily within a year. But a Proficient will be Legendary in just over a year, and then you're unstoppable. (They'll be Professional or so by the time your first migrants are expected to show, and a single unskilled apprentice back-up Grower (to help w/ harvests) won't crush the production during planting.)
On the flip side, if using unskilled growers, a 1:1 production of seed:plant seem to be the standard, and so replanting at the same scale requires that 100% of the plants are either eaten or brewed with no seeds eaten - no cooking, no eating seeds, no bad luck (harvests of "stack = 0"), or it's a losing proposition. (Smaller plots mean "bad luck" is easier to come across!)
Splitting the diff and putting only ~2-4 ranks into Grower at embark wouldn't be a dealbreaker by any means - ample to avoid "bad luck", and you'll get a few larger stacks for brewing/cooking. (Some micromanagement is necessary to save the larger stacks for processing and only let the smaller ones be eaten raw.)
For newer players, be aware - eating plants leaves seeds, brewing plants leaves seeds, but [u]cooking plants destroys seeds[/u]. This can be controlled in the z-kitchen menu. ((I'll also presume to draw your attention to the fact that cooking seeds also destroys seeds - as does eating seeds. This is usually only a dealbreaker for early fortresses, but it does happen. Forbid some if you want to be paranoid.)
(And while my rambling refers mainly to food-plants, dye-plants work similarly. They are separate from plot-size discussions, as they feed your cloth industry ([u]if[/u] you have one), not your dwarves.)
So, making seeds into more seeds is the job of a Grower, and now we all understand the trade-offs there.
One seed can produce a single stack size of anywhere from 0-5, with larger stacks being reliably produced only by higher skilled Growers. (Also larger if fertilized.)
So, you don't need to start w/ a lot of seeds if you have a Proficient grower. 1 seed will produce a stack of maybe 2-4, on average, so let's call it 2.5 to be on the safe side. At x5 for booze production, that stack will on average become 12.5 booze. That means that 3 seeds should become [i]at least[/i] 7 plants or 35+ booze, which is more than enough to for 8 thirsty dwarfs for a season. That times your 4 different UG plants [i](Pig Tail = ale, D'n Wheat = beer, Sweet Pods = rum, Plump Helmets = wine)[/i] is... well, more than enough. (4x35 = 140 booze/season, which would keep 35 dwarves/season lubricated, plus more from trading.) And that's only 3 seeds for each of 4 crops, with extremely conservative estimates for stack production.
So, starting with 3 seeds each for your 7 dwarfs is ample, even if you're going to let that grow as the fortress does. (If you can get your crops in before the end of the 1st Spring, you're in good shape; before end of 1st Summer can be a bit tight if you have a large migrant wave early.)
Some players do fine with a single 5x5 plot of Plump Helmets* [i](at least for up to 60-100 dwarves, depending on Grower, fertilization, other food sources and Trade)[/i], but dwarves like a variety of booze. Some combination of UG & AG plots that equal around 25-30 tiles (don't count non-food plants) is adequate unless they're going to be trade exports (or you lose your Proficient Grower). That means 2x2 of each is too big if you have a lot of AG crops; 1x3 seems about right w/ your favorites at 2x2, and [i]possibly[/i] some few larger (sun berries, PH's, quarry bushes?). A strip of adjacent plots, w/ some 1x3 sticking out and seed stockpiles placed in the indents for the 2x2 plots works well for me.
(* If you're going with only 1 or 2 crops, spend the 1 dwarfbuck at the start for 1 seed and a free bag for the other crops. But you still really don't need much more than 3 seeds each, as they'll multiply quickly enough, depending on your use of raw plants, and you should be bringing about 60 total booze to last until the 1st caravan, unless you have a personal plan that calls for another approach.)
So, 1x3 or 2x2 each seems a good size for most crops to start, unless you're going to use plant products as trade exports. (Same w/ UG size plots.) 25 tiles total of [u]food[/u]-plant production is "common wisdom". (Don't count plants that produce only dye/etc.)
Sample layout for 5 edible crops w/ 4 seed stockpiles (1 doubled up):
- 1 1 2 3 4 5 5
- 1 1 2 3 4 5 5
- s s 2 3 4 s s
- (At a total footprint of 3x7, this is only 17 tiles of food production, and so while adequate for your 1st 7 this needs either some expanding or some AG food crops to back it up before your fortress grows too big.)
Note that walking on seeds/farm plots/crops doesn't seem to hurt them, which is not true of wild plants or saplings. Food does not take "wear".
Alternately, a larger number of 1x2 plots lets you easily tweak the total output if one plant type is needed more or less, and easily add just a little more here or there if something is weak. While this may seem like a hassle at first, the flexibility is huge later in the game, rather than have to tear down a farmplot and/or build a new one, which may require new irrigation.
Seeds are stored in bags - 100/bag max (so getting 6 free bags at embark is a good move, but you won't get any more than that). And then the bags will be set into barrels. If your settings are on "mix food" (<o, m>), then 1 barrel can hold all you need - but you can easily customize your food stockpiles to have no barrels at all. I like to set 1-tile large stockpiles customized to accept only that one seed adjacent to the plots they will serve - makes planting (and visually checking your seed supply) too easy. (While the bags might get wear from being walked on, the seeds won't suffer - put them in hallways if you have to, and/or use <d, o> to set Restricted traffic on them.)
I like to send a quick, large wave of unskilled Plant Gathering out early in the game, 1st Spring or Summer (once everything is nearly underground but before real trouble shows up), to get a nice selection of AG plants, and then brew those up (or forbid all other foods and let them get eaten first) to get the seeds asap for a Summer planting.
Cooking with seeds is a great way to get rid of them in later game as they start to reach triple digits each, but turn off all "cook" orders early on (again, in the z-kitchen menu). This is critical with newly acquired plants/seeds (from Plant Gathering or Trade), as otherwise your Cook might decide a SunBerry Seed Roast is just the ticket. Oh noes.
There. I've probably mispoken somewhere, so I trust the veterans will come along and rub my nose in it and correct me. And/or suggest valid alternatives, and invited to do so - a complete discussion was my goal.
I also have made some strong personal recommendations that are just that - my personal opinion, no apologies. There are many ways to approach DF, and to have fun (in all its forms) - this is just one solid way to get there from here.
 Next Fort
Beastwhips (see section & link near top of this page) was many versions ago, and this next effort calls for a more refined approach. So, to that end...
 Starting Seven
Screened my original seven slightly, tossing out the first couple groups - no cat lovers, no real slackers, no serious over-indulgers or quitters. Very slightly diff than before, switching armor/weapon, and bumping the leather skill by 1.
The party now consists of the following:
- 1) Leader/Security/Outdoorsdwarf: Ambush +1, Axe +1, Armor User +5, Appraise +1, Judge of Intent +1, Architect +1
- 2) Miner +5/(Siege Engineer) +5
- 3) Mason +5/Stone Crafter +5
- 4) Weaponsmith +5/Leatherworker +5
- 5) Armorsmith +5/Cook +5
- 6) Mechanic +5/Brewer +5
- 7) Grower +5/(tbd) +5
- 1) Essentially a dedicated hauler to start, also our Trader and early fast-reaction force. He'll also train the dogs early, and cover most misc. skilled jobs like Woodcutting and Record Keeper.
- 2) No Hauling, 24/7 miner from the start. He gets some stat boosts by the time he makes Legendary, trains up some replacements, then gets transferred to the military. SE is tough to skill up, but that skill could as easily be any military skill(s).
- 3) Stonecraft mugs for the Caravan. Plus, a few nice ☼mugs☼ for the Tavern couldn't hurt. Important to keep Mason skill > Stonecraft in case of moods - the goal is an artifact coffin, statue or throne, not a jug or hive. This means little or no early hauling - if he's not making furniture or constructing buildings, he's making blocks for practice. Mug production starts sometime mid-Summer. Often has more than a few each of Mason's and Cratdwarf's workshops cluttered before the Caravan arrives, just because early on it's faster to build new ones (in the middle of a stone field) than to store everything.
- 4) Important to keep Weaponsmith > Leatherworker for moods, shouldn't be hard - a few sets of leather armour, a couple quivers, backpacks and water bags for early military actions... he's mostly done. Beds, cages etc. will be low-quality until a replacement migrates in. (Note: Woodworking might get prioritized if expecting few trees to practice on.)
- 5) Empty the food barrels into meals, then some suits of bronze armor for emergencies, then haul until migrants arrive. Steel armour once he's better skilled.
- 6) Brew early booze, then mechanisms and traps when he isn't hauling. A little more booze here and there from found/grown foodstuffs won't hurt.
- 7) This is partly a "wildcard" - he'll be THE Grower 24/7 until/unless a better replacement migrates in (and maybe even still then), so he shouldn't be given anything that will demand his time. He needs one moodable skill (and that depends entirely on preferences), but producing one (1) item will fill that need, so dealer's choice. Maybe something like Dodge (he will be outside), or any rarely-needed, low time-drain skill(s), something like Medical (until Migrants can do better), or possibly Soapmaker (purely as a time saver). Or, if he has a useful preference, take that skill @ 5 and plan to change careers once a decent Grower migrates in. Or just save the points and buy another war dog. Whatever works for you.
- (Any other personal preferences/likes are, well, pretty much dull and pointless. Squares. Trumpets. Siliceous ooze. Yay.)
- (These skill mixes were chosen with an eye to several factors, including future possible moods, time-demands of skills, and when the skill would be needed in the fortress (sooner vs. later). I'm not perfectly happy with the mason/stonecraft combo, but for me, for my priorities and gamestyle, I like this mix far better than other, more conventional choices.)
For the start, the Leader/Axedwarf will add in unskilled Woodcutter, Herbalist and Animal Trainer, and cover all the outdoor duties with a few wardogs in tow (until they're assigned elsewhere). The Miner will do nothing else but mine, all hauling turned off until they're legendary (before Summmer mining in soil), and will be some early reserve military with those attributes. Almost everyone else will be Furnace Operators, to cover than as it comes up, and almost everyone except the Cook will be a Butcher/Tanner, to cover those duties asap before anything rots (the cook will cook what's butchered, oddly enough). The Weaponsmith/Lthrwrkr will add Carpenter, and cover those duties as well for now - gotta make sure they maintain "Weaponsmith" as a profession, for any mood.
The Mason/Stonecrafter will have their hands full at first, and I know I'll sometimes wish they were two separate dwarfs (been there before with this mix), but, after a few caravans, stonecrafts will only take a few weeks out of the year, and at some point a mood will create a legendary one while this dwarf concentrates on keeping Mason > Stonecraft for any mood that strikes.
The 2nd half of the Grower/Gemsetter is a "fill in this blank" . Could easily have gone Dodge (since he'll be outside a lot), or some collection of Medical skills, or almost anything, but for me, Gemsetter is a long-term plan (for the sand/glass) - but ultimately dealer's choice. Even odds whether this Grower or some random migrant will have a better Grower score, so he's not completely tied to agriculture if he wants to change careers.
 In the wagon
NOTE: DON'T JUDGE, NOT DONE.
I intend to DIY my own axe for woodcutting and defense, out of bronze, plus a second pick. Bronze is about +33% better in combat than copper and actually takes less fuel (8 bars/1 fuel!). The rest if for moods, and because Bismuth Bronze costs the same # of embark points as regular Bronze (a bit more time and fuel), but is worth 20% more.
And I have no shame in exploiting the "1 free container for 1 unit" rule. ymmv.
Provisions chosen include:
- 1 anvil (@ 100/)
- 1 copper pick (@ 44/)
- 4 dogs (@ 16/) (not wardogs, just "dogs". 1 male, 3 females. Keep male safe, hope he's not a genetic loser)
- 2 cats (@ 11/) (to intentionally breed for leather, meat & bones)
- 3 sheep (@ 51/) (1 male; food & wool, milk & horn)
- 4 rabbits (@ 2/) (1 male. Yes, watch-bunnies and bait animals; altho' cavies would suffice. Be afraid.)
- 6 jet stones (@ 3/) (lightest fire-safe stone, for early workshops* etc. while digging in dirt)
- 4 petrified wood (@ 3/) (for immediate fire-safe workshops*, and (later) guaranteed magma-safe items; lightest of magma-safe stones.)
- 1 cinnabar (@ 3/) (heaviest common stone - just because. Nice "welcome" door prize.)
- (* Kitchen, Still, Carpenter, Butcher & Tanner, and Furnace, Smelter & Forge...
Anything else can be made of nearby stone once that becomes available.)
- (* Kitchen, Still, Carpenter, Butcher & Tanner, and Furnace, Smelter & Forge...
- 1 Suit of armour requires...
- 1 : Helm
- 3 : Breastplate
- 1 : Gauntlets
- 2 : Greaves
- 1 : High Boots
- 8 bars total/full suit
- 2(-3) suits should be good to start, with a couple/few more later...
- 1 Copper ore + 1 Cassiterite (tim) ore = 8 Bronze bars
- That's 1 suit, or 8 misc. items (picks, weapons, chains, whatever). (The axe comes first, obviously, for woodcutting and immediate defense. And a bronze pick too, in case miner needs to join in, and/or we need a 2nd miner.)
- 2 Tetrahedrite =
- 8 copper bars + ~1-2 silver bars.
- 8 copper bars + 4 Tin bars + 4 Bismuth bars = 16 Bismuth Bronze bars
- That's 2 more (fancier!) suits once Armorsmith gets skilled up a bit.
- Plus a silver hammer or two (rough equiv of steel for hammers)
- Good bronze axe
- 2 crossbows (of any metal - silver?)
- & bolts (bronze)
- 3 copper ore (@ 6/)
- ? 2 tetrahedrite (@ 9/) (copper & silver)
- 6 cassiterite (@ 6/) (above, +2 for moods/etc.)
- 3 bismuthinite (@ 3/) ( " )
- 2 garnierite (@ 6/) (Nickel, for moods/etc.)
- 2 sphalerite (@ 6/) (Zinc, for moods/etc.)
- 2 iron ore (@ 24/) (1 ore = 4 steel, for 2 axes & misc.)
- 8 (flux stone) (@ 3/)
- 20 bituminous coal (@ 3/)
- 1 lye (@ 2/) (for soap)
- 2 gypsum plaster powder (@ 3/) (for 2 casts)
- 30 sand (6 each @ 1/, x5?) (the sand itself is convenient, but any glass industry needs a lot of bags)
- 3 leather (@ 5/) (2 quivers, 3 waterskins; anything else can wait. I chose "dog" leather on my saved /embark list, because I have faith it will be there. Dog soldiers ftw.)
- ? 12 wood (@ 3/) (Depends on map & biome. 5 beds plus 2 early buckets, 1 ladder, cages, etc. Lighter = better. Less important if not featherwood I guess.)
- 19-24 alcohol (@ 2/)
- 1 wine (first alcohol that will be produced, for seeds)
- 6-11 of ale, beer &/or rum, w/ 11 only if preferred by > 1 dwarf
Total 17 seeds (@ 1/)
- 6 seeds for quarry bushes
- 3 seeds x3 cave wheat, pig tails & sweet pods
- 1 seed for plump helmets
- 1 seed for dimple cups (no rush, wait until Grower skill improves)
- 6 plump helmet (@ 4/) (brewing these will be among very first jobs done, = +30 wine)
- 1 each milk (@ 1/) (will become cheese, then meals)
- 1 each of every available brewable vegie that costs 2/ (for more and different booze)
- & then 1 each of every available fish/meat/vegie/egg that costs 2/ (or more if any left).
= the rest of it...
 to do
Weaponsmith priority - Wood Furnace, Smelter, Metalsmith Forge.
Working backwards, to brew Plump Helmets, need 6 barrels free. That requires 2 elaborate meals to be cooked ASAP. Kitchen + Still.
Dead animals -> Butcher, Tanner, (& Leatherworker) (Ashery & Soap)
Mason x#! (Stonecrafter x#!)
Cheese -> Farmer's Workshop. Quern.
Food inside, farm plots (UG & AG) and storage, + eventual dining room etc.
Quick meeting room.
Caravan entry, goblin "shortcuts" g ^^^ g
 Density Table
sandbox, work in progress