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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

A drawbridge, when rapidly triggered on and off, can be used to obliterate some 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 them, or used to 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]

By designating a garbage pit zone instead of a stockpile, you may store an infinite number of objects in a single tile by dumping them, then reclaiming them when you want to use them.

A similar effect may be achieved 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 legendary miners leave.

Another way to quantum stockpile is to not have appropriate stockpiles to move items back you moved 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 Undump[edit]

If your stockpiles keep filling up (usually furniture, ammo, refuse and food), this forum post introduced an automatic quantum stockpile design, that promises to do to stockpile space management what danger rooms do to military training.


        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. Issues with 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 won't be of 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. 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.

Perpetual Motion[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. See Water wheel#Perpetual motion for more details.

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.

And we'll throw the barrel/bag in 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 seperate the stacks of adamantine bolts into single bolts. See http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=51423.0

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.

Silk farm[edit]

Main article: Giant cave spider

Silk farm can serve as a safe and an endless source of expensive web of a giant cave spider. Its essence is to ensure that it creates a room with goblin-soldier, separated from the giant cave spider with fortifications. The spider tends to kill the goblin, and now and then shoots his infinite web, which flies through the fortifications. Then the dwarves collecting cobwebs and selling it, or weaving from it expensive clothes and yarn.