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This article is about an older version of DF.

"The bigger they are, the harder they fall"

Gravity in Dwarf Fortress shares similarities to the real world but has some key differences. Items, creatures and fluids will descend under gravity, moving to a lower z-level in the right circumstances. While this mimics the real world, the biggest key differences are listed below:

  • In a cave-in, terrain collapses to the lowest point instantly, however items, creatures and buildings fall more slowly (over multiple ticks)
  • A support, fortification, or natural wall on the top level of the map will be effectively immune to gravity and capable of supporting a column of tiles directly below it. This effect, known as Sky Support, can be used to construct a Skyfort.
  • Buildings in a cave in will instantly deconstruct before they fall, and the resulting items will then fall separately
  • Items and creatures that are thrown, shot, cut off and sent flying, knocked back or generally expected to travel in a parabolic arc will tend to do so (within the limitations of the game tiles); one notable exception is for siege engines, which currently launch projectiles in a flat trajectory.
  • Creatures and items accelerate while falling. Water falls at a semi-random rate, taking between 5 and 20 ticks to fall a single z-level.
  • Creatures that fall into water decelerate, generally suffering less overall damage upon impact with the bottom. Drowning while stunned, however, is still a concern.
  • The density of the material in the landing zone can have a significant effect on the outcome of a fall. Light materials like featherwood reduce the risk of serious injury, while dense materials like platinum increase it.
  • Creatures that are dropped onto a standing creature's head will generally suffer little damage regardless of how many z-levels they fell. The unfortunate creature who broke their fall may suffer significant damage, however.

In general, falls of 1-2 z-levels are unlikely to cause significant damage to your dwarves, and goblins have been seen to fall more than four with only light bruising and stunning. Large falls (30+ z-levels) will tend to cause the hapless victim to explode upon impact. The minimum drop with 100% mortality appears to be around 25 z-levels.[1]

On the other hand, falling items and creatures can cause grave injury to any creature they fall upon, even when falling a single z-level.Bug:5945 A falling giant cave spider web can easily break the neck of your master weaver, while worn clothing is liable to maim or kill anyone below. Refuse dumping may therefore be weaponized.