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This article is about an older version of DF.

Burrows are part of the new organization of fortresses, user-defined areas in your fort where selected dwarves live and work. You can assign these areas like zones and assign one or more dwarves to them. You may assign the same dwarf to multiple burrows, if desired. Dwarves will only use workshops, dig walls, use rooms, etc. in burrows they are assigned to, though dwarves not assigned to any burrow will still use workshops etc. even if they are located in a burrow assigned to some other dwarves.

Military dwarves that are on duty will ignore burrows. Off duty military dwarves will respect their burrows. If a military dwarf's training area is outside of his burrow, that dwarf will not train when off duty.

Defining a new burrow[edit]

To enter the "define burrow" mode, press w.

You'll be presented with a list of all of your existing burrows. Change which burrow is selected with your secondary selection keys.

To add a new burrow to the list, press a. The new burrow created this way starts with no tiles and a default name.

To configure a burrow, select it and press enter. This is where you'll be able to set the burrow's name, define what tiles it encompasses, and add or remove individual dwarves. Defining the burrow's tiles can be done using rectangles much like other mass-selection or mass-designation situations elsewhere in the game, or you can paint with the mouse. Unlike other area selections, burrow selections can take place over multiple z-levels, meaning that you can select cubes, rather than rectangles; also unlike most other area selections, they may overlap. Press r to set whether you're adding or subtracting tiles from the burrow. You can also set the colors and symbols used for different burrows to help tell them apart. A burrow may span multiple Z levels, so long as a means of getting from one Z level to another is within the Burrow zone.

Unlike activity zones, burrows can also be extended through not-yet revealed tiles, thus allowing to designate "mining zones" for differently skilled miners. You can only see the parts of the burrow that have been revealed, but the burrow actually extends exactly as far as you defined it.

After defining the area of the burrow, you can add citizens, who will then attempt to move directly to the area and not leave it unless they are starving or dehydrated and there is no food and water in the burrow. Note, however, that citizens may walk from one point of the burrow to another point even if the path they walk on is not part of the burrow. If you define a burrow which is split into two areas, the citizens may walk between those two areas, outside of the burrow you defined.

Deleting Burrows[edit]

Deleting a burrow is easy, just enter "define burrow" mode by pressing w, select the burrow to delete, then press d. It's easy enough that many players have managed to do it by mistake, after setting up large and complicated systems. If you find yourself deleting your burrows by mistake too often, you can edit /data/init/interface.txt and find where it says


Then change that to something you won't hit by accident, such as alt+d, like this:


Uses for Burrows[edit]

Defending an Area[edit]

Full article: Scheduling

Burrows are one of the ways you can give passive orders to squads and civilians during alerts. Under the squad schedule menu (Press m s) you can add an order to any particular month for the chosen alert with o or edit their existing orders with e. On the Give Orders menu, use o to cycle through the orders given to squads. The order "Defend Burrows" cannot be given without first creating burrows to assign defenders to. Under a "Defend Burrows" order, dwarves in the squad are stationed in the specific area and will defend it proactively.

Civilian Alerts[edit]

Normally, you need to add citizens to a burrow manually when defining it to have them respect the boundaries. But there is another way. Burrows can be added to alerts in the military alerts screen. When you set the civilian alert level to an alert including a defined burrow, all non military dwarves will be restricted to that burrow for as long as the alert is in place.

Burrows as Dedicated Workshops[edit]

A nice little trick you can do with burrows is to create one encompassing a workshop, such as a Mason's Workshop, and a small pile of raw material to work with, then assign the Dwarf you want to that burrow and order the items you want made at that shop. Only the items and shops inside the burrow will be used for the tasks, so it can be used to produce items like furniture for individual Dwarves. Let's say a Dwarf likes a particular rock; you can create a small stockpile to only accept that stone near a shop, or move the desired stones by dumping them, then create a burrow around the two and assign a mason to it. Then produce various items of furniture. All of them will be of that one type of stone. This can also be used with a stockpile of furniture and another one of gems to only encrust the items you want with in-burrow gems. It is very useful to raise the happiness of individual Dwarves by sprucing up their rooms with items they like.

Trader to the Depot, STAT[edit]

You can define your trade depot as a burrow, then when the traders appear, add your broker to that burrow. He will stop what he is doing, go to the trade depot, and wait for the traders. If you include trade stockpiles in the burrow, he can even help move goods until they get there

I'm sorry, the Mayor is busy[edit]

This is an easy fix for the current bug that prevents elevation of your nobles while traders are present on the map. Create a burrow around your leader's rooms. Stockpile some food and drink inside. When the liaison shows up, add the leader to the burrow and he will scurry off to his rooms. Lock the door. Wait until the merchants have left the map entirely. Unlock the door. If he is also the bookkeeper or manager, so much the better. Set accuracy to 'highest' or queue up a lot of tiny jobs, and the leader will have something to do while locked in his rooms.

Good miners mine ore, bad miners mine rooms[edit]

If you'd like your legendary miners to continue mining ores while your rookie miners mine out rooms, you can create burrows encompassing your mining areas. Add your good miners to the burrows with the ores, add your unskilled miners to the burrow with the rooms.

Help! Goblins are chasing me in circles![edit]

One problem with outdoor work is the lack of safe areas, the presence of ambushers, and civilian dwarves who will, by default, run in the dumbest direction possible. You can create small bolt-holes in the wilderness outside your fort and give them a floor hatch as a door.. When ambushers appear, add your outdoor workers to the nearest bolt-hole burrow. After they run inside, lock the door. You don't even need to (and probably shouldn't) hook these bolt holes up to your main fort, they are for short term emergencies. But you could stock them with a little food and booze, just in case.

Alternate to Hot Keys[edit]

You can define small burrows to areas you would like to zoom to. Then by pressing "w", select the burrow, "z" to 'center on burrow' your view will be moved to that spot like a hot key. This is useful when you run out of hotkey slots.


Currently there are several bugs in the burrow implementation, the most notable being the burrow alternative to the Planepacked glitch: If you put a material-gathering moody dwarf into a burrow that does not contain the claimed workshop, the dwarf will "forget" that he already brought this type of item to his workshop and repeat this until there are no more items of this type in the burrow, or you let him out of the burrow. When the dwarf starts working on his artifact, he will use everything he brought to the burrow to make an artifact of arbitrarily high value.
On the other hand, the most common bug is the "Dwarf cancels Store Item: Item inaccessible" message spam that results from idle dwarves being in a burrow that contains a stockpile but not the item the stockpile wants to have.