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This article is about an older version of DF.
Part of this article was originally taken from the DF forums thread "Goal-Based Dwarf Fortress".

The general goal of Fortress Mode is to survive, acquire wealth, defend your stronghold, and become the capital of your civilization. However, many players find that fighting off repeated sieges, keeping their people alive, and expanding just aren't enough anymore. They begin to experiment with different sets of starting builds, arbitrary requirements and restrictions, and even feats of construction to appease Armok, in search of more difficulty and fun. These are some goals to attempt or use as inspiration.


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.

Minimalist/Survivalist build[edit]

  • 1 anvil
  • 2 copper ore

Nothing else. From that alone, forge your pick and axe. (Figure it out yourself, or see the Do it Yourself article for a step-by-step "how to".)


  • Spend 0 Points on embark

This challenge is moderately to very difficult, depending on the wildlife and outdoor food sources. Note that the three logs from the wagon are just enough to build a trade depot.

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.


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).

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

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.
  • BONUS: Easy Play: Embark on top of a Human Town.
  • 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.


Shun technology and contraptions. Who can really trust them, with those gremlins 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!

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?

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)

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!

This challenge may be easier to perform after Burrows are implemented.


  • Find a place that has at least magma, preferably with and underground river and/or chasm too; everything a fully self-sufficient underground city need.
  • 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.


  • 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


  • Spend points ONLY on ONE Pick

A well known and popular challenge. Kill off 6 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.

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).

"Let Loose the Dogs of War"[edit]

  • No military Dwarves are permitted, including 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.

28 Days Later[edit]

  • Embark at a terrifying biome(Scary Biome), make sure there are zombie somethings. Set up a five thick wall around your camp. Never leave the perimeters. All migrants would be wandering survivors, let them in or don't, as they might be infected.
  • Bonus: If you have "reason" to believe the migrants are infected, sacrifice them to the Blood God. Remember he loves Magma.
  • Bonus: Only Marksdwarves for defence, You shouldn't get near the zombies, as they bite.If they are wounded, they must be quarantined, and shall therefore die.
  • AdvancedPlay: Add zombie to the creatures list and set them as [EVIL].
    • Bonus: Send one heroic guy to save the migrants from the zombies, like in 28 days later.

Remember Elves can not be trusted and should be treated as infectees, and should be Dwarven atom smashed(Magma and Chasms work equally well).(Note this is also true for normal Dwarf Fortress).

    • Elf skin clothing anyone?
  • Keep a diary from one of the characters 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.

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

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

Stop, Hey, What's that Sound[edit]

  • (Optionally) Generate a world with abundant cave systems
  • Establish a fort near a very large cave
  • Imitate the role of "Angband", leading small parties inside on military excursions
  • No more than 3 dwarves can enter at a time
  • Siege equipment and other weapons (or dangerous contraptions) that a dwarf can't carry on him is forbidden when cave-exploring


  • Only solo adventurers are allowed to enter the dungeon
  • Only use 'Thieves' to steal loot and create traps inside the dungeon

The Mad Butcher[edit]

  • One dedicated Butcher+Tanner
  • Minimal supplies and skills, so you can bring...
  • As many puppies and kittens 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.

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.


  • Embark in a desert, so only hunting and (aquifier) fishing.
    • Extra Points: Don't fish in the aquifier. 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).

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.


  • 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, 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 dealt with immediately

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.

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

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.

Hero Squad[edit]

  • Only one militia squad is allowed at any given time
  • No dwarf can be equipped with the same type of weapon
  • Trade with (or murder) other races for non-dwarfy weapons like daggers, bows, scimitars and whips to increase your squad size

Choose the best warriors among your dwarves to master the art of each individual weapon. Begin with the five native dwarf weapons (short sword, battle axe, war hammer, mace, and crossbow). Your squad size can only increase when you gather exotic weapons from other races and master them. Expect high turnover - in the Hero Squad, only the strong survive!

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.

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.
  • 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).

Note that the above suggestions are modeled on the popular movie 300, an adaption of the visual novel 300, both of which historically inaccurate. For a more "realistic dwarven Sparta", try reading the Wikipedia article on Spartan society.

Mesoamerican Dwarves[edit]

  • All food must be grown above ground, on small plots, surrounded by canals (chinampas[1])
    • 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 (except for iron anvils).
  • 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[2]" and "Eagle[3]" warrior societies and outfit them with leather armor made from their respective animals.
  • Demand that all non-dwarf caravans surrender their goods as tribute.
  • Build a giant, multistory building for holding skulls.


Instead of deliberately inhibiting yourself, create a wonder of the dwarven world that would make the Mountainhomes proud. Be sure to upload it to the Dwarf Fortress Map Archive when it's finished. More projects can be found where stupid dwarves try crazy tricks. Incredible feats of construction are usually very fun so you'll see many different (and probably similar) constructions across the Wiki. Use whatever ideas you think are ingenious.


For some reason, a noble was harmlessly pulling a lever when suddenly, magma flooded the river and exploded the booze! The king requires your band of seven to build a great aqueduct to bring water to the capital. Start with supports, and build up your aqueduct until it is 10 z-levels high!

BONUS: Start over a human town, build a wall around it, pump water through the aqueduct and into it!


All material, seeds, food, tools, and dwarves must be in the fortress within one year. Then, seal up the entrance. Any new immigrants... well, they might be in trouble. Survive for as long as possible!

No chasms/underground rivers/magma vents allowed.


Who needs to construct giant statues?! We need ours made from natural walls, however, we want it above ground level as well. For casting your goal is to create some giant structure out of natural obsidian walls through the use of an extremely elaborate scaffold of lava and water pools and screw pumps. When you are finished, just deconstruct the scaffolding and smooth/engrave the statue as you go. Just imagine the bridge over that chasm, now complete with two giant dwarf statues on either side to strike fear into all who enter and to show them the power of your fortress.

BONUS: Make the statues spit lava.


Build a castle, greater than anything built by human, elf or dwarf. This is highly time consuming if you want it to be a good castle. There must be floor indoors, and no underground constructions except for mining operations and cellars. For an even greater challenge, build a gigantic tower in the middle, where the nobles stay.

Ceremonial Sacrifices[edit]

Build an amazingly complex or spectacular killing device. A shaft that extends across the entire Z-plane is a good start. A constantly shifting maze of atomsmasher drawbridges is another. For the minimalist, a very confined space where you will drop a dwarf wrestler along with the gobbos once in a while. Perhaps a waterslide that carries your prisoner all the way down into a chasm? Whatever your idea, build it and dedicate your fort to the construction, maintenance and improvement of your device.

Do not kill any of your invaders. Capture them using cage traps, and them set them off in your device. Keep a record of the number of victims you drop into it.

BONUS: Create a statue garden to memorialize your victims, with one statue per victim. Structure your fortress such that sacrificial victims have to pass through the garden on the way to their demise.


Can your dwarves build the Antikythera mechanism? Can you program the fortress to play tic-tac-toe? More details at computing.


Build a pit, around it on steps lots of Thrones, make the whole thing a meeting area, train Gladiators, capture goblins, leave them their weapons and let them fight against your gladiators. If they win, let them go.

Crematory Fortress[edit]

Build a temple structure above a magma pipe and engrave every available surface. The temple should be as opulent as possible. In the temple, build a retracting bridge over a hole in the floor, and designate a coffin stockpile on it. Whenever a dwarf dies, build a bauxite or other magma-proof coffin for him, place it on the bridge, and retract it, committing his body to the fiery blood of the mountain.

Note: Since coffins are unassigned and emptied when deconstructed and cannot be constructed on top of a bridge, this will not actually work. An alternative would be to place the coffins in individual chambers which can then be flooded with magma afterwards.
You could expose the magma pipe, build a one-tile wide floor span across it, and then above that build a support that holds up your temple floor on the z-level above. The temple floor would be separated from the walls of the temple and would be connected for walking access diagonally. The support holds it up. You would have to construct the coffins in the temple, then when someone gets buried you pull the lever attached to the support. You then rebuild the narrow span below, the temple floor, and the support, then link the lever to the new support.
You can do this without scaffolding if you build the temple floor access straight in, and then the span below and the support, then once the support is in place you destroy the straight temple access leaving only a diagonal temple access.

Doomsday Clock[edit]

Build a water or mechanical clock whose final state triggers the support which holds your fortress up or a megabeast out. See how much wealth you can achieve before the clock runs out.

  • Bonus: Create something that resets itself, as well as purging the map, so that you can reuse the same fortress over and over.
  • Super-Bonus: Create something that involves pressure plates and a small kitten, when the pressure plates are hit in the right order, your map ends. Toss the kitten in and hope for the best. Alternatively, make the sequence quite unlikely, but add 2 kittens; breeding introduces a probability of doomsday that is a function of time (depending on the mechanisms involved)
  • Super-Bonus: Create the super-bonus above, but place the kitten on the lowest Z-level and never return to either look at it or see how many of the conditions for the doomsday device have been met. This way, the kitty mimicks Schrödinger's cat: we cannot observe the state of the kitty, but we can infer it from the state of the world (spin-pairs effectively).

Dwarf like an Egyptian[edit]

  • Build a pyramid of epic proportion.

Build a legendary dwarven pyramid, with a corridor running to a central tomb for your favourite noble. Then construct lots of different traps in it to avoid grave robbery. Perhaps build it entirely out of glass? Or try to make the top twist in a bit of a swirl. Alternatively, make your entire fortress inside a pyramid, which stretches below the ground.

  • Build rows of Obelisks

Build a double row of Obelisks before the Pyramid, and engrave the sides. Build ramps on the tops.

  • Build the whole thing upside down.
    • And then another one on the upside-down one.
  • When the time has come, or when your fortress is about to be destroyed by a siege etc. perform the ceremony to translate the mortal form of the noble to the underworld. Give him a ritual death, and make sure you kill his servants as well. If the tomb is built for your king make every dwarf die but one, who inters everyone into their resting place. His final act will be to pull a lever that seals the tomb as well as kills him. Then enjoy going back and reclaiming your fortress to observe your efforts.

Graveyard Master[edit]

Every dwarf deserves a decent resting place:

  • Build a tomb for every dwarf that dies, the more dwarves you manage to bury the better.
  • Tombs must be rooms with exactly 5x5 of size and 1 of height, with only one entrance tile that must be closed by a door.
  • Tombs must have all its surfaces engraved.
  • Tomb must contain at least 4 statues.
  • Once complete, the door must be locked and the tomb must not be ever entered again.

How high can you go?[edit]

Construction, construction, construction! Just how big a tower can you build? Out of glass maybe, clear glass? Steel? Pump water to the top? Make your tower a pinnacle of achievement and stun humans, elves and goblins alike - for they know nothing of construction and engineering like dwarves do!

Land battleship[edit]

Turn your mountain into a huge battle-station, complete with crew quarters, decks, command centre, cantina, and a large collection of deadly weapons : Batteries of marksdwarves, ballista cannons, catapults, boarding bridges and -teams, but also lava projector or remote explosive devices (i.e. cave-ins in a part of the map triggered by a lever). Make sure it ends up looking like a real battleship, with nothing but plains surrounding it (you could build it on an actual plain, or destroy a mountain, choice is yours). The battleship has to be autonomous, and dwarves shouldn't wander outside it.

  • Bonus: The weaponry covers every tile of the map (i.e., everything that enters the map can be shot)
  • Bonus: Build several other ships, maybe dedicated to a specific product (food, ammo etc.)
    • Bonus: Find a way to let them fight each other in a naval battle
  • Bonus: Each crew member has a civil and military formation, and when the enemy arrives, stop every economic activity. All hands, man your stations for anti-goblin action!
  • Bonus: Rebuild Noah's Ark: Completely out of wood, with every animal twice, as well as one dwarven family with three sons and their wives on board. Flood everything around it AND LET EVERYTHING NOT ON THE ARK DIE!!! MUHAHAHA!!! FEAR THE WRATH OF ARMOK!!!!!
  • Mega Bonus: After building your Ship(s), flood the surrounding countryside.


Build a huge hall (the Second Hall) - at least 3 z-levels high. Leave few pillars symmetrically placed in the hall (don't build them, carve them out). Smooth and possibly engrave everything (not only the lowest z-level!). Then build thin bridge (not the bridge building, just a thin piece of rock to walk on) above magma - support it with bauxite supports connected to a lever (bauxite mechanisms needed in support). Destroy stone holding it at the both ends and replace it with floor hatches (so when you pull the lever it all goes down). After that build a bridge above the chasm. When it's all done seal your dwarves deep inside in safe place and get invaded by goblins. At the same time dig out HFS. Lead the HFS across the both bridges and then collapse the second one when one of the champions clashes with it (it doesn't matter that the champion has killed the HFS with one hit).

  • Bonus: build it across a narrow mountain range, with an entrance on each side.
    • Mega Bonus: Make a full-scale replica of the original (the Second Hall alone is 12 leagues long by 5 leagues wide, so don't skimp on map size). The Endless Stairway must go to the top of a mountain.
      • Mega Dwarf Bonus: if there's no suitable terrain to precisely place the gates and the stairway, or there are no chasms at the appropriate positions, create them yourself - even if it requires relocating entire mountains.

Mountain audit/core sample[edit]

Start in a mountainous area and strip mine everything down, down, down to ground level. Stockpile everything, and calculate the mountain's composition. For kicks, try not excavating one tile on each z-level. You'll be left with one enormous core sample.

Project Mayhem[edit]

  • You do not talk about project Mayhem
  • Build a series of towers, at least 10 z-levels high, of different size and shape. They must be supported by a series of supports linked to a lever.
  • Store all your riches in the towers : crafts, precious metal bars, gems, artifacts, everything. You may also want to house your nobles on top of the towers.
  • Pull the lever and watch the collapse of financial history.

Bonus : make the towers' walls out of glass!

Bonus : Make soap! And remember, elven fat is ideal...

Extra Bonus: Make one large tower, and make it collapse onto a smaller tower, filled with all your artifacts/engravings. (Essentially, you only get the extra bonus if you've read the book)

Santa Claus[edit]

Get ten thousand toys built and offered to caravans yearly. Optionally, build ten thousand toys, fetch them in adventure mode and deliver them to every single city of the world.

Skulls for the Skull Throne![edit]

What proves the might of a civilization better than a hall full of skulls?

  • Try to collect as many skulls as you can during your fortress life, and put then in a special skulls-only storage. The more skulls the better.

BONUS: Cover all the skulls in blood, and make the stockpile also a throne room. SUPERBONUS: Also fill the throne room with kittens.

Space Ship[edit]

Create a giant space ship fit for space travel. It should be able to hold about 100 dwarves for at least 2 years.

  • BONUS: Use exploding booze as ignitable fuel.
  • BONUS: Make a removable ramp for boarding.
  • BONUS: Make the water for the 2 years be on the ship using removable pumps.
  • BONUS+: Make it totally self-sufficient. (Make an internal system which pumps the water supply through a room every few years to muddy the floor. Plant seeds in the mud that's now on the floor. Manage your consumption to maintain self-sufficiency.)
  • Modding BONUS: Mod the game so that merchants can fly their new wagonships into your docking bays. (If possible)
  • BONUS+: Make it all out of steel.
  • FUN: Let it be held by a single support, ignite the booze, remove the support an let it "fly".
  • EVEN BETTER: Drop it down a chasm.
  • More FUN: Set up a mining operation on the surface and dig into the HFS. Watch the alien creatures take over your ship and hunt down your dwarves. Form a squad of heroes to overload the booze reactor to prevent the aliens from reaching earth. (See Dead Space and/or the Alien series)

Swiss Precision[edit]

Build a working clock. The clock should accurately track DF days, months, and years.

Bonus Points:

  • If the clock has a mechanical effect in the fortress proper to announce new days
  • If the clock creates seasonally appropriate effects at the change of months and/or seasons.
  • If the clock is used to aid in the operation of the fortress in addition to its role as a clock (automatically controls farmland irrigation at particular times, automatically opens the blast doors floodgates Magma Channels in time for merchants, etc...).
  • If the clock governs the schedule of a working rail station (which is always on time). (Definitions of 'working' and 'rail station' are subject to player imagination).
  • If the clock takes measures to protect itself. "I can't let you do that, Urist."

But don't worry about the bonus points, a precision time device should be hard enough.


Designing a temple to Armok. Aesthetics count - the god will be very angry if there are no stained-glass windows and domed ceilings carved with frescoes. To gain more favor, make regular sacrifices and keep the fountains and rivers red with blood.

The cube[edit]

Play a fort as usual, but emphasize catching goblins in cages to support and fill this construction: Construct a series of rooms in a symmetrical fashion, all connected to each other with appropriate doors. Of course, enough rooms to make a maze-like structure, and if you feel like it, an exit that is hard to reach. Fill a bunch of the rooms with traps and pressureplates. Then fill one room with 4-6 goblins (preferably in cages, opened by an outside lever), release them and watch them randomly walk around the rooms dying to traps and whatnots.

  • Bonus: Do multiple story maze (3d-maze)
  • Bonus: Use pressureplates to open/close the exit randomly; otherwise, all the goblins will just follow the shortest route to the exit.

The great brewery[edit]

Disaster has struck the kingdom. A strangely glowing ‼peasant‼ visited the greatest brewery of the empire, and as a result the whole thing exploded. No time for weeping — create its successor, a fort dedicated to alcohol production, and get the alcohol supplies flowing! Try to make the widest variety possible, and give or trade it to the dwarven caravan each year.

The Great Wall of Urist[edit]

Build a dwarven great wall of china that splits the map in half. Must be at least 10 tiles thick and reach the highest z-level.

  • BONUS: Make it block the Mongols goblins out of your half of the map.
  • BONUS: Make it out of obsidian.
    • BONUS+: Embark on a map without obsidian.
  • BONUS: Find a way to make it touch the boundaries.
  • BONUS: Build one gate
  • BONUS: Arm it with ballistas.

The Monolith[edit]

As the inevitability of a fortress-wide mental breakdown looms over every single fortress why not have something that alludes to that precipice of insanity. Like the book and feature film, 2001: A Space Odyssey you must have a Monolith. This has to be made from obsidian and have a completely smooth surface (You cannot build it from blocks) You can have it be any size as long as it is outside, at least 2 tiles thick to ensure there are no pillar tiles, and has about the same ratio of width to height as it does in the movie (1:4:9) to make it as close to the real thing as possible. It would be preferable to make it large so that it seems to be dominating the landscape and your dwarves' psyche. The bigger the better.

  • If the rock obsidian strata isn't deep enough in parts to make a monolith feasible consider casting a monolith with a large rectangular block in exactly the same dimensional criteria as above.

Statue of greatness[edit]

Build a giant statue, spanning 10-20 z-levels and make it in the shape of say, a dwarf you like or an animal you like.

  • Bonus: make it in the shape of a teapot that has a working boiling system and a spout that water can come out of.

Underwater fortress[edit]

Encase your entire fortress in water! Your fortress should be watersealed: surrounded by water against all walls and the top of the fortress.

  • Bonus: Build all water-touching walls/roof in clear glass!
  • Bonus: Use magma instead of water (warning: will almost certainly lead to fun)!
  • Bonus: Build it in the ocean or a non-freezing lake
  • Bonus: Build large glass domes that encase the fortress. A dome 20 tiles wide should be 10 z-levels tall (creating a hemi-sphere). Which may be hard to cover in water.
  • Bonus: Have a mechanism for dropping your enemies into the water to drown! Or fill the water with carp.
  • Mod: Make your dwarves amphibious and include airlocks between the wet fortress and the dry.
  • Remake: Make Rapture city from Bioshock


The kingdom's coffers need lining, so hop to! Found a fort and start accumulating wealth as fast as possible. Attain as high a fortress value as possible, and make most of your wealth into coins for the vault. Try to beat your record for one year, two years, or five years.

World Domination[edit]

Pretend you are an evil mastermind. Now come up with some device or machine to render the world (or at least your portion of the map) totally unlivable, aside from, of course, your hidden lair.

You will receive bonus points for making a more realistic World Domination setup. Some suggestions:

  • Make one dwarf the evil mastermind. The evil mastermind will have no empathy whatsoever, and they will hate all other races, and put no value on the lives of his minions. Protect him at all cost. If he should die, switch his position to his oldest child (who will avenge his father, because insanity is hereditary.) or the most insane, diabolical dwarf in your fort.
  • Impractical, overkill solutions to everyday problems ("Sir, the dungeon master wants a better room" "Well then turn his room into a tomb and flood it with magma, and do not bother me with such trivial matters again or I will have you shot.")
  • Give the evil mastermind a pet to obsess over. Give it a name like Mr. Bigglesworth or Snuggles.
  • Have a science lab. Use living creatures and people as test subjects.

Doomsday device suggestions:

  • Flood the map with water/magma (may require building walls around the edge of the map)
    • BONUS: the water has carp in it.
      • BONUSMOD: Carp with laser beams attached to their heads.
  • Build an "Earthquake Machine" (the entire map is supported by a single support, which is connected to a lever)
  • Build an extensive holding cell network for "scientific purposes". Fill it with megabeasts and elephants unicorns, skeletal carp in secret. Have a lever that lets everything free to feed on the general population.
  • Embark in an evil area, and capture and tame all those undead animals if possible to create your own undead army
  • Bonus: Eliminate the dwarves who constructed your device before you set it off. They must not be allowed to warn the rest of the citizens.
  • Build an orbital weapons platform in space (which should be 12-15 stories above the ground, use your imagination), then arm it with magma bombs (droppable tank of magma) to glass the planet, rendering it uninhabitable for a few years.

The Grand Treasury[edit]

At first, have the king come to you. Then excavate a laaarge room and fill it with i.e.: Lots of coins, shiny gems, artifacts, golden statues, silver mugs, etc. pp. But the king is still not satisfied with his possessions, so he wants more and more shiny and sparky things. Of course sooner or later (probably sooner) those filthy kobolds and goblins will come and try to steal this enormous hoard. We must never tolerate this! Turn your treasury into a strongroom like the world has never seen before! Secret doors, traps in abundance, guards at every door, ballistae, guard dogs, the whole program. If anything gets lost, you have proven your incompetence, and the king will have your fortress abandoned and founded another to guard his treasures.

  • Bonus: Build up the treasury and raid it successfully in Adventure Mode


Build a dwarven version of heaven. Every dwarf must want to come to you! Important pieces:

  1. Streets paved with gold.
  2. The mindless hordes are held back by pearly gates -- or at least a close equivalent. Marble doors with diamond encrustations.
  3. No dwarves die (except for criminals). Heaven is everlasting.
  4. All criminals must be cast into the fires of Hell. Ideally, this would either be HFS or the bottom of a magma pipe.
  5. Nothing is ever stolen. St. Peter doesn't screw up.
  6. After the King has arrived, any male children he has must be sent out to fight sieges alone.

BONUS: No dwarves are ever unhappy -- no tantrums and no insanity.
BONUS: When migrants arrive at the pearly gates, view their thoughts and preferences and only allow those with a similar/same Deity as your population.
BONUS: Make Heaven 10 stories above the ground
Mod: Make Angel dwarves and a godly being. (suggestions: Cacame, Morul, Ironblood.)
ULTRABONUS: Make Heaven in the air, an earthly society on the ground (a wooden town perhaps?), and carve the HFS place into Hell, complete with a lake of Magma/fire.Look up the character of every dwarf and send him to the appropriate place.
MEGABONUS-(Re)Make: The Seven Seals have been broken and the Apocalypse arrives.

  1. The Sky darkens (an obsidian ceiling spanning over the map).
  2. Meteors (opened lava tanks and cave-ins) devastate the earth.
  3. All bodies of water turn bloody.
  4. Dig into the HFS and have a battle between Heaven and Hell.

City of Ember[edit]

Show those filthy humans that when dwarves build a secret underground refuge, they build to last! In other words, recreate Ember from the film "City of Ember" (yes, everyone is aware there is a book), but do it right - none of these leaking pipes and crumbling buildings stuff, after only two and a half centuries underground!

  1. Mine out a massive cavern multiple z-layers high, and build a human-style city underneath it instead of carving out various chambers.
  2. You must seal it off. How long you wait to do this is up to you, but once it is sealed, you cannot unseal it for at least 200 years (if you decide to play that long). Ideally, use a utility to embark with a full set of dwarves (to represent the immigrating population) and seal the city off within one year of embarking.
  3. Build individual houses with their own dining rooms and bedrooms. Multiple dwarves can live in one house, but usually only a single family will live in one house.
  4. Build streets connecting all of the buildings, in the way that in the film, Ember didn't really have any space that wasn't either paved or built on until you got to the outskirts of the city.
  5. Have a "greenhouse" out on the outskirts for farming.
  6. You MUST have an underground river and use it for power.
  7. You MUST have magma and use it for power.
  8. Build City Hall, where the mayor has his office, with a nice fountain out front that actually works (probably involving water pressure, and as a testament to the fact that dwarves do it better, and their underground refuge isn't running desperately short of food, water, or power).
  9. No military, because there is simply no need for one, but have a fortress guard (to function as police, basically).
  10. After 200 or more years, unseal the city and colonize the surface.

BONUS: Instead of building your houses/other structures out of blocks or rocks, plan it all out beforehand and simply don't dig out the tiles that you want to be the walls of buildings, and smooth it all down so it looks the same, but your buildings are actually made out of solid natural rock.
BONUS: Actually cause some kind of catastrophe on the surface (flood it with magma or something) that makes it uninhabitable, to FORCE yourself to stay underground, but when you unseal the city after 200 years, the surface should have healed and be habitable again. So, don't do something permanent.

BONUS: Release the entirety of hell to the surface after you seal, and wait all 200 years before you come out so they scatter. Then hunt them out and destroy them all! This will require creativity for the few that are without organs...


-Mod the game so positive thoughts never occur or have no effect. Your dwarves CAN'T get happier for any reason except artifacts (Morbid ones!).

BONUS POINTS: wear black. Hate the world and paint it black. Engrave black letters on black walls. Only keep black cats. Forbid breeding of any kind. Ask toady what colors the crops are, and grow only black ones and only in gloomy caves. Make your only export black dye. And make sure none of your dwarves has any fun because you're HOARDING THE FUN FOR YOURSELF. To share with them all soon when they spiral...