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This article is about an older version of DF.

An exploit is a quirk of a game that allows players to gain what other players may consider an unfair advantage, usually by making use of a feature that is not working properly or which defies logic. 'Exploiting the game' is distinct from 'cheating' because exploits occur within the game as written and do not need any external utilities or modding. Whether a player chooses to make use of an exploit or not depends on their personal taste; given that Dwarf Fortress is a single-player game, the user alone can decide what liberties to take and what options to shun. Among DF players there is much discussion about what actually should be considered an exploit, going from making sweetpod syrup instead of sugar, growing crops in winter, or even underground, as the one extreme, to justifying 'water wheel batteries' as the other. This page takes a rather relaxed approach in that you considering it an exploit is basically enough to add it, if you don't get too much opposition.

Atom Smasher[edit]

Main article: Dwarven atom smasher

Lowering a raised drawbridge can be used to obliterate most creatures or items beneath it. The drawbridge will be destroyed if it is used to crush a creature of too large a size.

Manager Exercise Program[edit]

As a Manager, skill is gained as tasks are approved, not completed. Simply by queuing lots of jobs (j m q) (and providing a meager office), the manager will quickly level to legendary as an Organizer. The tasks can then be removed once approved.

Merchant Swindles[edit]

There are a variety of ways to steal cargo from merchants without seizing it; all amount to naked theft. Tearing down the trade depot while the merchants are there is the easiest way.

Also, marking items for dumping, using view creature mode (v), the stocks menu (z), items in room mode (t), or mass dump mode (d)-(b)-(d) then marking the entire depot, lets you relieve merchants of their goods. Just reclaim the items from your garbage dump zone later. You can even take clothing and equipment off merchant and guards this way.

You can make a wall around the merchants (and even the poor animals) and let them starve to death, letting you take what ever you want. Wait quite a while for them to starve. They will become very angry if you do, so never open the door once they are on the brink of death.

However, the merchants will consider any lost goods to be stolen goods regardless of the method used to take possession of or destroy them.[Verify] See the 40d page and This forum post. So unless you specifically want to take the clothing off the backs of the merchants or steal from your own civ, you might as well just seize the goods anyway.

Quantum stockpiles[edit]

A Quantum Stockpile (QSP) allows you to store an unlimited number of items in a single tile. QSPs can make for super efficient storage, allowing more compact fortresses, shorter hauling routes, more efficient manufacturing flows, stocktaking at a glance with look k and possibly higher FPS.

Note that, due to Bug:5994, deconstructing constructions near a quantum stockpile can potentially create many simultaneous hauling jobs. There is currently no easy way to prevent this. Undumps, due to their single-job nature, will not have this problem, and minecart stops will generate only a limited number of jobs due to their capacity.

Simple Quantum Stockpiles[edit]

The simplest QSP is created by designating a garbage dump activity zone, dumping the items you want to store and then reclaiming them when you are ready to use them. If you place this garbage dump on top of an existing stockpile, the dumped items will automatically be considered part of the stockpile, allowing the use of stockpile links to distribute the items to workshops or other stockpiles.

A similar effect may be achieved for stones by building a wall two tiles in front of a catapult and digging a channel between the wall and catapult. By firing the catapult at the wall, the stone falls into the trench. The stone will pile up in the channel, putting it out of sight and out of mind. Not only does this train siege operators, but it clears the stone that your miners leave everywhere.

Another way to quantum stockpile is to not have appropriate stockpiles to move items back to after you move them to the trading depot. The depot can hold an infinite number of items, and those items will not be removed if there is nowhere else to place them. This is also useful for anything you want to trade anyway.

The Minecart Stop[edit]

This method allows the type of items to be stored in the Quantum Stockpile to be completely controlled and to be as broad or specific as required. Collection of items is automatic with no user input required (just like a normal stockpile), and the number of haulers collecting for the stockpile is controlled by the size and number of receiving stockpiles. Distribution is also automatic, with dwarves coming to collect items as needed (just like from a normal stockpile).

This can be utilised as part of a minecart transport system, or standalone with no tracks or moving minecarts whatsoever. The steps below are to create a standalone Quantum Stockpile, but the same general principles apply if used in a minecart transport system.


 rrrr     r receiving stockpile
  S       S track stop, set to dump south
  d       d distribution stockpile
  1. Build a track stop b - C - S. Ensure you set the dumping direction d.
  2. Designate a 1x1 distribution stockpile p on the square where the stop will dump and define preferences q to make the settings s store only what you want, with no barrels E, bins C or wheelbarrows w. Make it take from links only a but don't make any links.
  3. Designate a receiving stockpile p (can be anywhere, but optimally right next to the constructed track stop) of any size. The larger it is, the more dwarves will simultaneously collect items. Define the preferences q of this stockpile to be the same as the distribution stockpile, with the possible exception of the number of wheelbarrows. If the QSP is for heavy items (e.g. loose stones), you may want to use wheelbarrows in the receiving stockpile to speed up collection. Wheelbarrows will place a limit of up to three dwarves simultaneously collecting, unless you make multiple receiving stockpiles, each with its own set of wheelbarrows.
  4. Construct a new hauling route h - r, assign a vehicle v (you'll need to make a minecart), and define a new stop s on your constructed track stop. Enter to define the stop, Enter again to set the desired items to the same as your stockpiles, x to remove all existing conditions, s to make a stockpile link and choose the receiving stockpile/s p.

It is a little fiddly to initially set up, and if you miss any step it won't work at all, but once in operation it's an extremely efficient storage system, and scales easily with the size of your fortress, number of haulers and number of items to store.

This method cannot store any items in bins or barrels at all, including bolts (which shouldn't be stored in a bin anyway Bug:2706), and all types of drinks (you will see your dwarves leave barrels and pots of alcohol all over the place). Food stored using this method tends to attract vermin, especially swarms of flies, since it can't be placed in barrels. This method works well for furniture, cast-off clothing, metal and stone. A quantum minecart stop can be combined with some sort of garbage disposal mechanism to easily handle refuse and invaders' corpses.

Note however that if your dwarves are under standing orders to ignore outdoor refuse (the default setting) they will also not load an outdoor refuse pile into the minecart.

The Undump[edit]

This technique was developed before minecarts were implemented. While still a valid method, it has been superseded by the Minecart Stop QSP which achieves the same result, is easier to set up and has fewer drawbacks.


        H Hatch cover
 =====  ^ pressure plate, citizens trigger, linked to hatch
 ^sHs=  = Wall
 =====  s Stockpile (same type)

The idea is that haulers try to place some item on the right stockpile, step on the pressure plate and make the hatch cover retract. This makes them cancel the hauling job because they can't reach the right stockpile. They then drop the item on the left stockpile, on top of as big of a pile as you want.

More information on this method can be found on the inventor's user page.

Drawbacks to this design:

  1. It's slow, because the one target stockpile generates only one job at a time. If you have more than one target stockpile they create lag because of pathing issues. You probably want to keep your normal stockpiles and use the undump to clean them up slowly. At which point you could consider just using the normal quantum stockpile dumping. Or you build more undumps.
  2. Job cancellation spam. You can turn that off.
  3. Oftentimes, dwarves drop the item on top of the pressure plate instead of on the stockpile. A feeder stockpile just outside the undump helps here.
  4. You obviously need some materials to build it.
  5. You need to create an open space tile where the hatch cover is (channelling only leaves a ramp), which means digging in the level below.
  6. You want to set the pressure plate to the lowest minimum weight (10000, which gets a zero cut off and displays as 1000). This can get tedious, so getting a macro is advised.
  7. If your stockpile management is exceptional already, the undump may not be of as much use to you.

However, there is a multitude of potential applications that get discussed in this thread.

Building destroyer door[edit]

Forbid something a dwarf is carrying as he goes through a door, and he'll drop it. The door won't close and won't stop any normal creature from going through, but building destroyers seem to stop in their tracks, waiting for it to close before moving on. Note: your civilians can pass the creature safely, but attacking it cancels your protection. [Verify]

HFS's back door[edit]

There's a convoluted way to dig down through semi-molten rock and evade the head-on encounter with hidden fun stuff. Doing this can enable you to, among other things, mine undiggable slade and duplicate rare minerals. See the page for semi-molten rock for details.

Forgotten beast zoo[edit]

Wall off all the passageways into your lowest level at the outermost square of the map - except one, which leads to a little vestibule surrounded by fortifications. Wave hello to the various ungainly "forgotten beasts" which accumulate inside.

Alternatively, by using a giant cave spider or web-spewing forgotten beast to place webs on cage traps you can capture and display non-web-spewing forgotten beasts, titans, and more.

Dwarven Water Reactor[edit]

A screw pump requires 10 power to move water; a water wheel supplies 100 power if it's got water moving it. Arrange the former to feed the latter, while the latter powers the former, and you can get perpetual motion going - with a surplus of power available.

Urist McAdventurer the Shield-wall[edit]

Adventurers are not limited in the number of items they can hold in their hands, allowing them to equip a virtually unlimited number of shields or bucklers with little effect to the adventurer's performance. This offers multiple chances to block attacks (vastly reducing the number that cause damage) and quickly trains up the shield user skill, further increasing the effectiveness of those shields. There is an indirect limit on how many shields you can equip based on how the total weight of your adventurer's items affects your speed, but the tradeoff between wearing a dozen (or more) shields is well worth the minor reduction in speed.

Infinite drink in adventure mode[edit]

Thirst can be quenched indefinitely in adventure mode by emptying a waterskin when you only have 1 unit of liquid left and refilling it from the pool that forms; giving you 3 units of drink. This is especially useful if you managed to find alcohol and fill your waterskin with some, as alcohol never freezes in cold weather.

Backpack of holding[edit]

In adventurer mode, if you try to pick something up while both your hands are already holding something, it'll go straight in your backpack, even if it would not have fit had you first picked it up and then tried to put it inside. That means you can stuff as much as you want into your backpack.

And we'll throw in the barrel/bag for free[edit]

On embark buying things which are stored in barrels gets the barrel for free, with at most 10 items per barrel, so, for example, the 15 units of randomly chosen meat which come with the default supplies will get you two free barrels, one completely filled with 10 units of meat and one half filled with 5 units of meat; you get another two free barrels from the 15 units of randomly chosen fish. You can get rid of all of that food, then for the same cost select one unit each of meat from 30 different kinds of animals, giving you 30 free barrels instead of only 4, since each different kind of animal meat is put in its own barrel. Note that different types of meat from the same kind of animal goes into a single barrel, so choosing 1 yak brain + 1 yak eye + 1 yak spleen will get you only one free barrel instead of three.

The same thing goes for things stored in bags. Each unit of sand comes in its own bag, and since each unit of sand costs only 1 embark point while bags cost a minimum of 10 embark points each, you can get bags for ten times cheaper by buying sand, then dumping out the sand after embark.

Infinite Adamantine / Metals[edit]

Because one bar of metal produces 25 bolts and a single bolt can be melted to 0.1 bars of metal, you can create unlimited adamantine wafers in your fortress using a clever setup with marksdwarves to separate the stacks of adamantine bolts into single bolts. See this forum thread for more details.

Coins may also be split at a trade depot and melted down individually for up to a 50x return. Smelt a stack of coins, then trade it to a caravan. You can then buy the stack back in pieces, and each individual smaller stack will melt and produce .1 bars. One bar produces 500 coins, but splitting it into stacks of 1 coin each would create 500 melt jobs, producing 50 bars in return. The process is discussed in greater detail, both with and without use of macros on this forum thread. While potentially time consuming, this new method both results in far more bars produced per stack (potentially a net profit of 49 bars instead of 1.5), and can duplicate any metal, not just military ones while simultaneously training your broker. Combined with a magma smelter and properly written macros, this method turns a smelter into a free metal generator. Those who are less patient may instead opt to simply melt the coin stacks immediately after they are minted - while this yields only a 10% gain, it is far less time consuming.

For multiplying weapons/armor-grade metals, forging and melting giant axe blades, large serrated discs, and leggings will yield a 50% gain per item; note that this does not work with adamantine, since adamantine goods require 3 times as many wafers, instead leading to a 70% loss per item. For adamantine only, minecarts return 180% of their material when melted.

See the Melt item article for the best yields when melting down items made of mundane metals for the current version.

Quick trade goods[edit]

Since spiked balls have an extremely high base item value of 126, they can be produced en masse from cheap wood or other materials and sold off to unsuspecting merchants. This makes for quick cash in any fortress that has a skilled carpenter and an excess of wood on hand.

In fact, any trap components make extremely high-value trade goods, especially since metal components require only 1 bar. (They also increase the value of noble's rooms, and are useful in defense.)

Prepared meals can also be quick and valuable trade goods. Purchase an abundance of raw food when the traders arrive, and set your kitchen to work cooking that food into lavish meals. Then haul the stacks of meals back to the depot and trade them for whatever supplies you really want. The caravan will buy back meals composed of their own ingredients at 25x to 100x their initial value.

Silk farm[edit]

Main article: Silk farming

A silk farm can serve as a safe and endless source of silk thread from giant cave spiders or other web-spewing beasts. Its essence is a room with a bait creature separated from a web-spewing creature by fortifications. The webber will attempt to attack the bait by shooting webs through the fortifications. Weavers can collect the webs as silk thread and create silk cloth.

Dwarven Road-Dar[edit]

Dwarven radar is a handy way of checking for caverns and other special features using the farm plots, paved roads, and activity zones. Know where the carverns are before you designate your carefully planned, fully symmetric living quarters!

For more details, see the forum thread.

Dwarven vacuum cleaner/quantum teleporter[edit]

Due to a bug in version 0.34, removing a construction teleports all free items in the surrounding map tile to the location of the removing dwarf. The teleported items can even travel through solid rock, providing a very safe, quick, and convenient means to empty traps and battlefields of corpses and spoils. Of particular note, drowning pools can be emptied without draining and refilling their water. After "vacuuming" everything into a safe area, your dwarves can sort through the loot at their leisure.

Danger Room[edit]

Main article: danger room

An upright spike trap full of training spears (not menacing spikes or metal spear, or even Elven wooden spears) is linked to a lever, which is pulled repeatedly. Dwarves are stationed on the trap. The dwarves quickly learn how to dodge, block and parry these "attacks", gaining combat skills much more quickly than through normal training. Unless they die.

Shaft of Enlightenment[edit]

Creatures with at least Dabbling in a weapon skill that fall onto an upright spear / spike with an appropriate weapon equipped can experience godly increases in certain combat skills, up to legendary +70.Bug:6397 A drop of 2-3 z-levels, low-quality wooden training spears, and wooden floors are recommended to maximize survivability. See this forum thread for details.


Main article: Planepacked

If a moody dwarf claims a workshop outside their assigned burrow, they'll just keep gathering materials from inside the burrow and adding them to the artifact. Since the workshop, and therefore the claimed materials, are no longer in their burrow, they won't "see" them as added to the artifact, and will keep going until you unassign their burrow or change it to include the workshop. Since they're not technically having trouble gathering the materials, they can do this indefinitely without going insane.