v0.31:Sample Starting Builds

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This article is about an older version of DF.

The following are sample starting builds provided by users. They may be as specific as full skill and item specifications with a file that you can copy and paste to use yourself, or as general as suggestions on how you might set up your starting build.


  • Military: 5 armor use, 5 dodge. Possibly a mix of dodge and shield use instead of max dodge, but that's up in the air. Set to start training the moment goods are hauled inside the fort's entrance. Also does woodcutting as needed.
  • Doctor/Leader: 1 appraise, 2 diagnose, 2 bone doctor, 2 surgeon, 2 wound dresser, 1 suture. Also serves as one of my primary miners and, once replacement miners come, the fort's first bookkeeper as well.
  • Farmer/Cook: 4 farming, 5 cooking, 1 armorsmith. Does most of the early hauling grunt work, but eventually is restricted only to food related activities. No mining is done in order to keep armorsmithing as the highest moodable skill.
  • Farmer/Brewer: 4 farming, 5 brewing, 1 armorsmith. Same as the cook.
  • Weapon/Armorsmith: 5 armorsmith, 5 weaponsmith. Does a sizable amount of the early mining, but is removed from duty before the mining skill gets too high.
  • Mason: 5 mason, 5 building design. Can help out with mining if necessary, but is usually busy constructing buildings or helping the farmers haul goods.
  • Carpenter/Mechanic: 5 carpentry, 5 mechanic. An odd mix, but mechanisms are my primary export.


  • (every skill has five points put into it)
  • 2 miners/engravers (when they are not mining they are engraving)
  • 1 mason/carpenter (deals with all that stuff)
  • 1 mechanic/stonecrafter (when he is not making mechanisms he is making crafts)
  • 1 woodcutter/architect (when not cutting wood he is designing buildings)
  • 1 grower/brewer (deals with all my needs this early in the game)
  • 1 adequate armorsmith, weaponsmith, and metalcrafter. novice furnace operator, and wood burner (remove wood burner if you have magma)

Ancient Enemy[edit]

  • Leader with all his points distributed through negotiation/bookkeeper/appraiser/etc.
  • 3 dwarves with proficient mining
  • 1 proficient grower
  • 1 proficient brewer
  • 1 proficient cook


  • Leader/Miner: 6-7 points into things important to become leader and broker (appraisal, negotiation, judge of intent, organizing and others, all at least with 1 pt), rest into mining
  • Doc/Recordkeeper +at least another productive job: 1-2pts into diagnostics, 1pt in each other medical skill, 1pt in recordkeeping, rest into 1-2 jobs
  • Cook: 4-5pts in cooking, 2-4pts in brewing, rest in fish cleaning and butchery
  • Farmer: around 3-4pts in Growing, at least 1pt in milling, plant processing and brewing
  • Crafter: Usually 5pts in stone crafting, rest in other crafting jobs (although that might change, as now bone carving has become next to worthless)
  • Clothier: 2-4pts in leatherworking and clothier, rest into weaving and tanning
  • Builder: Most of his points into Masonry, Engraving and Mechanics, as well as a few points into Carpenter (if no other dwarf already has pts in this job)


  • Miners/Mechanics: 2 dwarves with max points in mining and mechanics; get the fort, then those traps, up quickly.
  • Woodcutter/Carpenter: points in woodcutting and carpentry; chop during initial dig then start pumping out beds and barrels
  • Farmer/Brewer: points in farming and brewing; get the wheat and helmets in and brew during the off-season. Can also serve as butcher in a pinch.
  • Crafter: points dispersed into stonecrafting, bonecarving, weaving, and leatherworking.
  • Mason/Architect: points into masonry and building design. Allows a focus on walls, doors, and bridges.
  • Leader/Trader: spread points among appraisal, negotiator, conversationalist, consoler, and comedian.

Jake Grey[edit]

  • The Hunter: Ambusher, Marksdwarf, Hammerdwarf, Shield/Armour User, Dodger. Number two source of protein and useful military backup.
  • The Catering Team: One Grower/Butcher/Fish Cleaner/Tanner and one Grower/Cook/Brewer/Plant Gatherer/Thresher. Usually get the Record Keeper and Appraiser points as well, since they have probably the safest jobs, and some points in mining to get things dug faster.
  • The Artisans: One Carpenter/Woodcutter/Bone Carver, one Miner/Mason/Stone Crafter/Architect and one Miner/Metalsmith/Weaponsmith/Armoursmith/Furnace Operator. The blacksmith usually gets the Organiser points, as I don't embark with an anvil.
  • "Dr Fisher": Adequate Diagnostician, Wound Dresser, Suturer, Bone Doctor, Surgeon, Novice Fisherdwarf. The world's happiest on-call GP, feeds the fortress almost single-handed while waiting for someone to get injured.

The Stoners[edit]

The Dwarves:

  • Miner/Stonecrafter (mines and makes pots and crafts when needed)
  • Miner/Mechanic (mines and makes levers or traps when needed)
  • Mason/Building Designer (makes all the furniture and buildings)
  • Carpenter/Woodcutter (cuts wood, makes beds, bins, barrels, and cages if needed)
  • Weaponsmith/Armorsmith (will provide good quality gear for your militia)
  • Grower/Brewer (farms, makes booze, and does most of the hauling early)
  • Grower/Cook (farms, cooks food, and does most of the hauling early)


  • 2 Picks
  • 1 Battleaxe
  • 1 Anvil
  • 60 Booze
  • 30 Meat/Fish/Eggs
  • 5-10 of each seed
  • Spend the rest of the points on anything else you want like plump helmets, animals, wood, and ores. Taking copper ores (malachite/copper nuggets) and tin ores (cassiterite) are a good choice since using them to make bronze is very cheap at 6 points per ore.


  • After hauling your wagon supplies indoors, have your smith work nonstop making fuel, smelting ores, and making weapons/armor. By the time your first migrants arrive you should have a full set of armor and a weapon for each. If not have the migrants help the smith out with smelting. Then draft them. By starting training early and having good gear your militia should do well.
  • Trading early on will mostly consist of stone crafts and any extra goods you have lying around like plump helmet roasts for example.


The Dwarves:

  • Miner/Stonecrafter (mines and makes pots and crafts when needed)
  • Miner/Gem Cutter (mines and cuts gems)
  • Miner/Gem Setter (mines and encrusts gems into crafts and furniture)
  • Mason/Building Designer (makes all furniture and buildings)
  • Carpenter/Mechanic (makes beds, bins, barrels, cages, levers, and traps)
  • Weaponsmith/Armorsmith (will provide good quality gear for your militia)
  • Farmer/Brewer (hauls early on until you hit the caverns, then will farm and brew)


  • 3 Picks
  • 1 Anvil
  • 60 Booze
  • 30 meat/fish/eggs
  • 15 plump helmets
  • 5 of each seed
  • 50 or so logs
  • spend the rest on whatever else you want like animals and ores.


  • This is basically a variation of "The Stoners" build above, except modified to be used on a glacier type embark. The woodcutter is useless on glaciers so tons of wood is brought instead. The 2nd farmer is replaced with a 3rd miner in order to help find the caverns before your food runs out.
  • Once you hit the caverns you can start farming on the mud. Be sure you draft your first few migrants and supply them with good gear using your smith; in order to defend yourself from anything that may be down there.
  • Trading early on will mostly consist of stone crafts/mugs encrusted with any gems you find.

The Military Elite[edit]

The Dwarves:

  • 1 Dodger (To be trained up as a dedicated miner)
  • 1 Armorsmith/Furnace Operator
  • 1 Weaponsmith/Herbalist
  • 2 Proficient Axe dwarves
  • 2 Proficient Spear dwarves

Note: The military dwarves have no secondary skill to save points for supplies. If embarking to an area without sand/soil/clay, you will want to give the miner some mining skill.

The Supplies:

  • 1 Anvil
  • 20 Iron Ore, 20 Flux Stone (For making steel weapons, helmets and other armor-pieces of choice)
  • 4 Copper Bars (for 2 picks and 2 wood-cutting axes)
  • 5 stones (for first workshops)
  • 15 Logs
  • 15 Leather (You can get by with as little as 2, for waterskins, if you need more points elsewhere)
  • 1 Lye, 3 Gypsum Plaster, 3 Thread, 3 Cloth (hospital supplies - optional).
  • 1 Male Dog and 1 Female Dog.
  • 2 points leftover to spend on whatever you like.
  • This assumes a woodland embark. If embarking to an impoverished site without trees, you will need to bring 3 logs or 1.5 bituminous coal for every iron ore. If no copper is available, bring extra iron ore to make iron axes and picks - it's still cheaper than embarking with them.


  • The spear dwarves make charcoal, and once 2 copper axes have been forged (no wussy wooden axes for these guys), the axe dwarves chop wood. The other three dwarves take care of producing a minimal booze and food supply (cook the seeds, or slaughter the pack animals), and fulfill their roles in producing weapons and armor (including wooden shields, and leather waterskins). As soon as a suitable supply of logs and charcoal has been produced to finish all initial smelting and forging, set the military dwarves to training in 2 squads of 2. The Herbalist/Weaponsmith should train the dogs as wardogs so he has some protection while gathering plants. The starting seven form the heart of the military. It will be up to immigrants to take up more civilian roles.
  • This is optimized to produce a grossly effective military

The Six Masters[edit]

The Dwarves:

  • 1 Proficient Herbalist
  • 6 Proficient Weapon Users

The Supplies:

  • 1 Anvil
  • 27 Iron Ore
  • 24 Flux Stone
  • 2 Leather
  • 10 Logs
  • 5 Stones
  • 1 Lye, 3 Gypsum Plaster, 3 Thread, 3 Cloth
  • 2 Dogs


  • Everyone needs to help at the beginning. Produce 2 Iron Axes and 1 Iron Pick asap. The military dwarves should mainly focus on woodcutting/burning and smelting/smithing, while the Herbalist takes care of everything else. As soon as all the gear is forged, set the 6 to training in 3 squads of 2.
  • This will require being extremely efficient with the Herbalist's time, to help him out, have the military stockpile a couple of dozen logs before they start training.
  • There is a point to Herbalism, in that a more skilled Herbalist produces much larger stacks of plants. This means more booze per precious barrel, more seeds for cooking, more time to do other tasks.
  • This is generally a lot less tight on points if you go with some bronze-making supplies, reserving steel only for the weapons and perhaps helmets. By mixing in some bronze you can fully armor everyone. On an iron-ore-less civilization it will be necessary to go with bronze everything. If there is no iron ore, nor bronze making supplies, replace the 27 iron ore and fluxstone with 20 bronze bars.

The Mining Guild[edit]

The Dwarves:

  • 7 Proficient Miners


  • 7 Copper Picks
  • 100 Booze (25 of each type)
  • 100 Meat/Fish/Eggs
  • 25 Plump Helmets
  • 7 Logs


  • Seven miners to dig out your entire fort straight from the start with enough food/booze to last you a year or two. Let migrants fill the other roles your fortress will require.
  • Don't bother hauling all these supplies. Just build a wall around your wagon site and make it accessible via a staircase underground.
  • Use the 7 logs + the 3 from the wagon to make a cheap dormitory until a good carpenter migrates to you. Also make a small dining room so dwarves stop complaining.
  • Plump Helmets are to be used for emergency booze only, not eaten. Keep them forbidden until enough barrels become empty.
  • Now dig, dig EVERYTHING. Two hundred bedrooms, noble quarters, grand dining room, massive workshop floors, massive stockpile floors, magma smelting floors, massive tree farms, barracks, hospitals, wells, crypts, trap corridors, etc etc.

BillyBob and the Rock Nuts[edit]

Profession Skills
FarmerBrewer Grower-5, Brewer-5
MinerMason Mining-5, Masonry-2, Engraving-3
MinerJeweller Mining-5, Masonry-1, GemCutting-4
LumberjackHerbalist Woodcutting-4,Herbalism-3, Axedwarf, Armor, Carpentry
CookDoctor Cook-3, Threshing-2, Diagnose, DressWounds, Suture, SetBones, Surgery
CarpenterLeader Carpentry-4, Leadership-3, Negotiate, Appraisal, Record Keeper
CrafterArchitect Stonecraft-5, Building Designer-4, Mechanic

The lumberjack is the only one that _has_ to go outside, and all the rest can work indoors. Two main sources of income are farming (Sweet Pods->Dwarven Syrup) and Rock Crafting (to buy elven wood/barrels).

	[TITLE:BillyBob and the Rock Nuts]

Tatter's Ragtime Band[edit]

Designed to pair important time-consuming skills with important but quickly completed skills, moodable skills with non-moodable skills, and generally embark only with skills that can't be trained from "unskilled" quickly (for example, no mining skills). Tailored to minimize bugs in versions 31.12.

  • Boss: 5 points in Armor User, 1 point in Appraiser, Negotiator, Judge of Intent, Record Keeper, and Organizer. Will be your chief miner, militia commander, and all-around noble early on, and almost certainly will become expedition leader as well. As other dwarves arrive with mining and/or noble skills (even if they aren't as high-level as the Boss's), replace the Boss with them as soon as possible, to relieve his workload. Keep the Boss as your militia commander and broker, mining mostly to train his skill with a pick, until a dwarf with better skills for these tasks arrives. If you embark with dogs, give the Boss the Animal Trainer labor as well and have him train them into War Dogs for extra protection. Note: As of 31.12, training seems to finally be working as intended, making axe/sword/hammer/spear dwarves feasable. Swap the Armor User with any other weapon skills if you like, but Armor User seems to be the slowest skill to develop, and I personally prefer to stick with it for the Boss. Plus, picks being pretty crummy weapons will help if you decide to make a Sherriff or Captain of the Guard with poor weapon skills so punishing "crime" won't result in undue maiming. (Moodable skill: Mining)
  • Doc: 5 points in Carpentry, 1 point in Diagnostician, Bone Doctor, Surgeon, Suturer, and Wound Dresser. A doctor that can make his own beds, splints, and crutches (and tables and cabinets, if you have an excess of wood). Make him Chief Medical Dwarf right away, but replace him as soon as a better Diagnostician comes along. Make him a Plant Gatherer and Wood Cutter as well (until immigrants with better skills arrive), to give him something to do when he has nothing to build and nobody to heal. (Moodable skill: Carpentry)
  • Rock Farmer: 5 points in Grower, 5 points in Gem Cutting. Farming is more difficult to set up than it used to be, but no less time consuming. Gem Cutting takes little time and provides the fortress with the highest-value, lowest-weight trade items you're likely to find early on. You can also make him a Plant Processor and/or Miller if you need the materials for emergency mood satisfaction and/or cooking, but these skills should be provided at higher levels by immigrants fairly quickly, and cloth isn't critical for an early fortress (hunt and butcher wildlife with your militia instead, and make bags/clothes out of leather). Give him the Mining labor at least, though, as all dwarves who aren't Wood Cutting or Hunting should be available as backup miners and emergency militia. (Moodable skill: Gem Cutting)
  • Embalmer: 5 points in Brewing, 5 points in Leatherworking. Makes leather bags and armor early in the game, alcohol later. Assign him the Tanner and Butcher labors as well, until immigrants with better skills arrive, and the Miner labor, for the reasons stated above. (Moodable skill: Leatherworker)
  • Iron Chef: 5 points in Cooking, 5 points in Weaponsmithing. Makes the steel when he isn't making a meal. Assign him the Furnace Operator and Wood Burner labors, until immigrants with better skills arrive, so he can make the raw materials of his craft, and the Miner labor on general principles. If you're unlucky with immigrants, or determined to make additional forges or metal armor right away, you can give him the Armorer and Blacksmith labors as well. (Moodable skill: Weaponsmith)
  • Architect: 5 points in Mason, 5 points in Building Designer. Unlocks all buildings from the start, and will build nice stone ones that improve dwarven moods. The sheer amount of construction needed to build a secure and functional initial fort quickly may make it a good idea to turn OFF all labors for the Architect except Mason and Building Designer, at least until everyone and everything is safely underground. If you ever do finish building everthing you need, give him back any labors you turned off, and add Engraver (train him by smoothing stone first) and Miner labors as well. (Moodable skill: Mason)
  • Mech Pilot: 5 points in Mechanic, 5 points in any skill you want. I used to think Ballistae were awesome, but sadly they only work well on paper, unless built (and crewed) in large numbers. If you still want to use them, putting his 5 points in Siege Engineer is better than Siege Operator, for high quality machines straight away. Build some extra catapults and sling rocks around for training when your dwarves have some free time, if you still want to use siege engines. Otherwise, you can give him a quick crafting skill, possibly one of the job skills the other dwarves would be training up from Dabbling (Armorer or Blacksmith would probably be the best). Don't attach a seriously time-consuming skill like Wood Burner or Furnace Operator, though, because this dwarf should mostly be making mechanisms for your cage traps. (Moodable skill: Mechanic)

Crafting and Gem Setter skills should be available through immigrants, but the Stonecraft skill can be trained up easily and cheaply from nothing by any dwarf that spends much time idle, if you absolutely must have something quickly. Fishing and Hunting can likewise usually wait until immigrants arrive with these skills. Chasing wolves around with your militia can be frustrating, but eventually one of them will make the mistake of trying to stand and fight, and even simple clothes can deflect most animals' teeth, claws, and horns (just don't go after bears without metal armor!).

Recommended embark items:

  • 1+ copper picks (use any leftover embark points to buy up to 5 spares)
  • 1 iron anvil, to guarantee you can make more picks quickly.
  • 1 wooden training axe, or battle axe if the "training axes can chop down trees" exploit is ever fixed. This will keep you from being left without fuel for the forge if you run out of wood, but can be skipped if you're embarking to an area where there are no trees (or if you're going to DIY it).
  • 1+ of each type of seed, mostly for the bags, as you will probably be surface farming with gathered plants until the caravans arrive anyhow. Note that quarry bush seeds are edible, and dwarves will often consume your whole initial stockpile before you can plant them.
  • 35-40 units of meat/fish, one from each different animal or fish that is available to your culture for 2 embark points per unit. This will give you enough meat to keep your dwarves fed until the first caravan arrives, and the maximum number of free barrels as well. Meat is generally preferred by dwarves over organs that aren't prepared in a kitchen first (meaning the barrels will be empty and available for other uses faster). Note that some animals may not have meat available (vermin like cave spiders, for example), in which case organs are preferable to nothing at all. Note that dwarven nutritional needs seem to have increased since the 31.12 patch; the original recommendation of 25-30 food probably won't even last you through summer, and getting this minimum might not even last through autumn without farming or hunting some extra.
  • 31 each of dwarven ale, dwarven beer, and dwarven rum. Dwarven wine will be produced in large quantities on site once subterranean farming is ready to grow Plump Helmets, and this should be enough alcohol to keep your dwarves happy until a caravan arrives with more if you need it. Dwarven alcohol needs have increased a bit too, it seems.
  • Anything else that you may need more of than the site can provide right away:
    • Wood, if the biomes are devoid of trees (glacier, mountain, desert, etc.).
    • Metal ore, if you have plenty of trees but may need more/better metal than you are likely to find immediately (savage/evil biomes).
    • Metal bars, if you need metal but trees are scarce.
    • Weapons and armor, if you are mad enough to take on a Terrifying biome.
    • Flux stone, if you want to make steel quickly but the embark site lacks chalk, limestone, or dolomite (marble and calcite are normally only found far too deep to be of much early use).
    • Dogs, if you want a decent "militia" fairly quickly. Build a kennel and have the Boss train them into War Dogs. One male and the rest females will produce more dogs as quickly as possible.
    • Plaster bags, for the hospital. You can usually find some plaster-making stones on site, but turning them into bags of plaster powder for setting bones is a difficult, time consuming, and fuel burning process, until you can build magma kilns. On the other hand, if you aren't expecting serious combat before the caravans arrive, you can usually buy more than you will ever use from them fairly cheap.
    • Plump Helmets, as an emergency food/alcohol supply if you anticipate problems making a subterranean farm. Buy in quantities ending in 1, for the maximum number of free barrels. They're quite a bit more expensive than seeds, or other foodstuffs, but their utility makes up for that.

The It-Do-Yourself Steel Option weApon Pair Strategy or TIDYSOAPS[edit]

Embark Costs of Pre-made Implements
Material Battle Axes Picks Total Points
steel 2 2040p
steel 2 1320p
steel 1 1 1680p
bronze 2 340p
bronze 2 220p
bronze 1 1 280p
copper 2 136p
copper 2 88p
copper 1 1 112p

This is a power-gaming strategy that can be integrated as a component of a starting build, in lieu of a pair of steel weapons. In the current build, a steel pick costs 660p (embark points), and a steel battle axe costs 1020p. All told, we can get two steel implements at better quality for 312p, more or less. (See the table at right for a comparison of embark costs.) The steel implements, able to double as weapons, can give your squishy Excavators and Lumberjacks an advantage in battle.

You get two steel implements for a minimum total cost of 172p. (312p with the skills, and those too will last you a lifetime.) It's steel for the price of bronze! What a... steal. *uncomfortable cough* This gives you a savings of up to 1868p, which means you roughly double-and-a-half your embark points. It just takes a bit of time and dwarf labor.

Prepare for the journey carefully:

At the Embark screen, choose the following items:

You want more than two implements?

For each successive weapon pair: (72p)

The same scheme can be used to make more weapon pairs. For four implements, just double all of the raw materials and add an extra Bituminous coal to make up for the lack of wood from the wagon. Simply add more of the raw materials to provide for more pairs. The rough cost is 72p per successive pair. Your only constraint is more time and dwarfpower.

Substitutes for above grocery lists:

Due to extenuating circumstances, such as the variability of the goods your parent civilization has available, some substitutes may be used:

  • Substitutes
    • Fuel:
      • 3p x 3 logs of any type of wood from the Wood category instead of the Wagon wood
        • Don't deconstruct wagon
      • 3p x 5 logs of any type of wood from the Wood category instead of 3 Bituminous coal
        • Make 8 charcoal
      • 10p x 1 units of charcoal or coke and 1 Bituminous coal instead of wagon wood
        • Don't build wood furnace
      • 10p x 8 units of charcoal or coke instead of wood + coal
        • Skip wood furnace and coke making
    • Single option sub. to save time:
      • 50p x 1 iron bar + 50p x 1 pig iron bar instead of 2 iron ores + 1 flux stone + 1 Bituminous coal + 1 log of wood
      • 150p x 2 steel bars instead of 2 iron ore + 2 flux stone + 2 Bituminous coal + 1 log of wood

Strike the earth!

  • Build a Smelter using the fire-safe stone from the deconstructed furnace
    • Smelt 3 bituminous coal (powered with 3 charcoal) --> into 9 units of coke
    • Smelt 2 iron ores (powered with 2 coke) --> two iron bars
    • Smelt ONE iron bar + 1 flux stone + 1 coke (powered with 1 coke) --> 1 pig iron bar
    • Smelt 1 iron bar + 1 pig iron bar + 1 flux stone + 1 coke (powered with 1 coke) --> 2 steel bars
    • Deconstruct the smelter
  • Build a Metalsmith's forge using the fire-safe stone from the deconstructed smelter + iron anvil
    • Using 2 steel (powered with 1 coke) forge 2 weapons
    • Deconstruct the forge
  • At the end of which, all you will have left relevant to the strategy are:
    • A unit of fire-safe rock
    • Two steel weapons
    • An iron anvil
    • Possibly an extra coke

You could then, for instance, embark with several copper picks since pick material doesn't really help actual mining much[Verify], then forge axes. Lots of them. Only 72p per pair. Wowza. Why buy picks? If you're running this setup it's cheaper to get steel.

ELLIOTTCABLE's Tweaking Band[edit]

This is my tweaked alternative to Tatter's build.

ELLIOTTCABLE's Twerking Band™
Primary skill(s) Secondary skill(s) Tertiary skill(s) Relevant attributes*
Commander / Broker:
This will primarily be your mining dwarf, for the first few months of the game. Train up that pickaxe skill! Once your first traders arrive, this dwarf will act as your broker. Later on, they'll be your first military-oriented dwarf, leading your army to Greatness™!
  • Although they don't start with any mining skill, they'll level that up extremely quickly after your embarkation.
  • At the moment, we don't really know what social skills affect your broker's effectiveness to what extent. Given that the only skills we know affect his performance are Appraiser and Judge of intent, I've chosen to focus on those two, instead of shot-gunning all the social skills.
Miner: 0 Appraiser: 3
Judge of Intent: 2
Armor user: 5 Endurance ‘slow to tire’, ‘indefatigable’
Kinesthetic ‘sense of the position of own body’
Spatial ‘feel for the surrounding space’
Analytical ‘a sharp intellect’
Intuition, Memory
Strength, Toughness, Willpower
Carpenter / Brewer:
Getting everybody properly smashed, and then providing the beds for them to sleep on. What a considerate dwarf-gal.
  • Keeping your dwarves in drink, and building all of the furniture, are rather important (and time-intensive!) tasks. Try and keep this dwarf focused on his tasks; if you can afford the dwarf-time, get others to do the hauling for the Carpenter.
Carpenter: 5 Brewer: 5 Endurance ‘slow to tire’, ‘indefatigable’
Kinesthetic ‘sense of the position of own body’
Spatial ‘feel for the surrounding space’
Agility, Strength
Primary skill(s) Secondary skill(s) Tertiary skill(s) Relevant attributes*
Farmer / Jeweler:
Generating riches for your dwarves' happiness (and for trading with the outside world) is generally a low-priority task that can be done in batches. That's a good thing, because farming is absolutely crucial; and one slip-up can cost you a harvest.
  • Make sure this dwarf, as well, stays on-task. Disable their hauling labors (except perhaps for ‘food’), and make sure they get to the fields on-time when the seasons hit.
  • I chose Gem Setting over the Gem Cutting from Tatter's build, because the skill-level in Cutting has no effect on value; whereas high skill-levels in Setting add value to the final product.
Grower: 5 Gem setter: 5 Kinesthetic ‘sense of the position of own body’
Spatial ‘feel for the surrounding space’
Creativity, Focus
Agility, Strength
This is going to be one of your more idle dwarves at first (at least, we hope!) This one's a good candidate for all the hauling / wood-cutting labors that you've probably disabled on your other dwarves at first. (Poor Doc, kept running around doing the menial labour for everybody else!)
  • Your record-keeping doctor will need an office to do their best work. Why not tack one on your hospital? :P
Diagnostician: 5 Bone doctor: 1
Surgeon: 1
Suturer: 1
Wound dresser: 1
Record keeper: 1 Analytical ‘a sharp intellect’
Empathy ‘an ability to read emotions’
Endurance ‘slow to tire’, ‘indefatigable’
Kinesthetic ‘sense of the position of own body’
Spatial ‘feel for the surrounding space’
Intuition, Memory
Agility, Strength, Toughness, Willpower
Primary skill(s) Secondary skill(s) Tertiary skill(s) Relevant attributes*
Armorsmith / Cook:
Until your food-economy really gets up steam, and your miners manage to strike metals, this dwarf might be a little bored. They're another good candidate for temporary hauling duty.
  • Once you do have access to metals, make sure to disable this one's hauling! This is too valuable a dwarf to waste on that, and should be either pumping out metal goods, or occasionally cooking lavish meals, at all times.
Armorsmith: 5 Cook: 5 Analytical ‘a sharp intellect’
Endurance ‘slow to tire’, ‘indefatigable’
Kinesthetic ‘sense of the position of own body’
Spatial ‘feel for the surrounding space’
Agility, Strength
Mason / Architect:
In general, this dwarf will need to be kept free to immediately respond to any building requests you may have. Especially with an early fortress, your Architect will be doing basically nothing but running around, constructing buildings.
  • This dwarf, specifically, will need the stone hauling labor enabled; that way, it can both plan and construct many buildings all by its lonesome.
Mason: 5 Building designer: 5 Analytical ‘a sharp intellect’
Endurance ‘slow to tire’, ‘indefatigable’
Kinesthetic ‘sense of the position of own body’
Spatial ‘feel for the surrounding space’
Agility, Strength
Weaponsmith / Mechanic:
As mechanisms are crucial to any functioning fortress, you should have this dwarf pumping them out at the earliest opportunity. Once you have enough of them stockpiled, and until you strike metal, you can have the Mechanic contribute to your general hauling / maintenance tasks.
Weaponsmith: 5 Mechanic: 5 Analytical ‘a sharp intellect’
Endurance ‘slow to tire’, ‘indefatigable’
Kinesthetic ‘sense of the position of own body’
Spatial ‘feel for the surrounding space’
Agility, Strength
Intensive skills: Skills which can easily consume most of a dwarf's available time
Moodable skills: Skills which can generate a strange mood

Post-embark preparation:[edit]

As soon as your dwarves reach the site, you can follow these steps to optimally configure your (currently) few dwarven resources.

  1. Turn on the mining labor for your Commander (u, select dwarf, c, p-l, select labor, return).
  2. Choose at least one (temporary) secondary miner; probably either the Doctor or Carpenter. Enable Mining for them as well.
  3. Immediately disable the various Hauling labors for your most important dwarves, that have better things to be doing (definitely the Architect, and probably the Farmer).
  4. Set the Commander as your militia commander and broker in the nobles screen. (They'll probably already be your expedition leader, but you can't control that.) Set the Doctor as your chief medical dwarf.
  5. Choose a couple of the more tough and/or strong dwarves, and add them to a squad with your Commander. If you get attacked before anything is really prepared, you can follow these ‘simple’ instructions.
  6. The exact order of initial tasks you undertake can vary on circumstances; but you have the skills in this set to do all of the following important tasks:
    • Plant some underground farms with the seeds you brought (right?).
    • Start cooking lavish meals from any food you brought.
    • Get a Carpenter's workshop or Mason's workshop built, whichever material is more abundant for you; start churning out high-quality furniture for the basics of your fortress (chairs, tables, beds.)
    • If you chose to DIY your embarkation (i.e. didn't bring any pre-built weapons or picks or axes with you), get your Wood furnace, Smelter, and Metalsmith's forge built to start pumping out those items. You may temporarily enable the Wood burning and Furnace operating labors on one of your dwarves (Doctor, or one of the Armorsmith / Weaponsmith, are good choices for this).
    • Get your Mechanic's workshop up, and start churning out the dozens of Mechanisms you'll need to construct all the trap-related items one needs for a functioning, safe fortress.
  7. As soon as you can (i.e. after you receive otherwise-useless immigrants), disable all of the hauling labors for most of the rest of these dwarves, as they should be forming the backbone of your economy.
  8. Ditto military duties: all of the above, save the Commander, are industry-oriented. Remove them from your military squad(s) as soon as more suitable fighters arrive or can be trained.


  • (*) I've cross-referenced the relevant attributes here only as a reference. Don't stress too much over matching each dwarf's attributes to the attributes listed here in minute detail ... just try and avoid making an ‘abysmally clumsy’ dwarf your Carpenter :P
  • () Mining is so easy to train that it's not worth spending at-embark levels on; nonetheless, it is both an intensive task, and the primary (intensive) labor of the Commander.
  • As with the original build, I try to optimized such that each starting dwarf has A) only one moodable skill, and B) basically only one ‘time-intensive’ labor. (Only the Mechanic has two moodable labors. I couldn't figure out a way around this.)
  • This makes no provision for immediate defense, other, perhaps, than the Commander. If you're embarking to a dangerous location, this may not be the best build. :P
  • As with Tatter's build, the caveat about Armor User applies: we're simply spending our extra points on our Commander, trying to make them a better combatant. If you prefer to give them a specific weapon skill, go ahead. (The advantage of Armor User is being able to later promote them to Sheriff, without them being über-deadly to your criminals.) Similarly, it's debatable whether Armor User (which basically makes them faster in that full suit of steel armor that you're embarking with (right?)) or Shield User (which makes their blocks more successful) is a better choice.
  • Leatherworking, Bowyer, or Clothier may be almost as desirable as Armorsmith or Weaponsmith, in some circumstances. If it applies to you (map with few metals, but may trees, for instance), you may consider those as replacements.
  • Similarly, Engraver is an extremely valuable skill for engendering happiness in your dwarves; I decided on Mason over it, simply because it's less wasteful to train Engraver up (have them follow your miners around, engraving all your exploratory-mining tunnels, before they go and engrave your living quarters) after embark. However, it's still worth considering switching them out.
  • Dwarf Builder for OS X hasn't been updated to v0.40 yet, so I haven't tested this there. I'm not sure if enough has changed to make any of this advice irrelevant; but I don't believe so.

~~ Thanks for reading! If you liked my build, or have suggestions, let me know! <3