v0.31:Stonegears/Living area

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NOTE: Will refer to announcements about veins and clusters when a world and site has been generated/selected

Continue the stairwell down X more levels beneath the carpentry workshop; you'll know you're there when you find ____ instead of sand and clay. Pause when you get there.

Mining through rock[edit]

You probably (though not necessarily) have one or two pieces of ____ lying on the stairs. When your dwarves mine through rock (or anything but soil) there's a chance instead of making what they dig through entirely disappear, it'll only mostly disappear, leaving behind a chunk which is small enough for your dwarves to easily walk around. Your miners are more likely to leave behind a chunk the more experienced at mining they are, and they become more experienced the more the mine. After a while your miners will be so experienced that they'll be leaving behind massive piles of rock. Unfortunately there's no way to turn this off. Fortunately there's lots of things to do with all the rock. Unfortunately, there'll still be a ton of rock left even after you use a lot of it.

Mason's workshop[edit]

When you have your first chunk of stone, go back up to the level with the carpenter's workshop and set up a mason's workshop (b-w-m), and make it out of rock. Then go to the jobs manager (u-m or j-m) and order (q) five rock tables and five rock thrones (chairs are called "thrones" when made from rock). You should set the workshop's profile to only let proficient mason's use it, since the same labor is used both for the masonry workshop and building walls, and you don't want unskilled wall builders to use the workshop.

Living area design[edit]

Back at the bottom of the stairs, designate for digging a three wide west-eat hallway, with a 7x7 dining hall to its north and a 7x7 food storage area to the south, with a 3x3 kitchen tacked onto the storage area (though keep them disconnected from the hallway so they won't be dug out yet):


To the west of the dining hall designate for digging ten bedrooms joined by a two tile wide north-south hallway, five bedrooms on either side. An easy way is to make a bunch of 1x3 bedrooms, which is basically just a series of 1x8 tunnels split in the middle by the hallway:


It might seemed cramped, but it's plenty enough for a dwarf. If you want to give them some more room, a series of 2x2 bedrooms with a 1x1 doorway can be used:


Once the bedrooms are dug out you can connect up the dining hall designation to the hallway to let the miners dig that out, and while they're doing that you can place beds into the bedrooms.

Placing and setting up beds[edit]

To place a bed, enter the building menu with b, then selected beds with b. Move the X cursor with the arrow keys to the back of one of the bedrooms and press Enter. (It doesn't matter if there's a chunk of rock there, your dwarves will move it aside when putting the bed there).


This menu is pretty much identical to the one for placing workshops. You can use x to list individual beds instead of grouping them by type of bed, in case you wanted to selected an individual bed (to select a particular quality of bed, or if you'd decorated one of them). But right now that doesn't really matter, so use Enter to select any of them. This will leave a highlighted bed where the cursor was, indicating an order for a bed to be placed, and will send you back to the building menu. You can use b again to place more beds in more bedrooms. If you try to place more beds than are available for placing, you'll be told Needs bed, since you can't order a piece of furniture to be placed before it's been created.

Once you've placed all the beds, use Esc to return to the main menu, unpause, let your dwarves move the beds into place, and pause again. If you try to look at the beds with k it will simply tell you Bed. This is because once a bed is installed the game treats it as a bed building made out of a bed item (the same goes for all other furniture, too). Since it's a building you need to use t if you want to examine the item.

Even though the beds have been installed, from the game's point of view there still aren't any bedrooms. Use q to interact with the beds, move the cursor to select a bed, and use r to Make Bedroom. This will give you a field of flashing Xs and Xs, which marks the area the bedroom will cover. Use - to reduce the size of the room until it doesn't spill out into the hallway, then press Enter. This will leave you in a menu which you can use to do things to the bedroom, but don't bother; once a bed has been turned into a bedroom, it will automatically be claimed by any dwarf that needs one. Move the cursor to the other beds and turn them into bedrooms as well.

A bed is all the bedrooms need for now. You can later add a door and cabinet to each room (plus two more pieces of furniture if you used the larger bedroom design).

About rooms[edit]

In Dwarf Fortress a room is an area defined from an installed piece of furniture. Most rooms can be assigned to a dwarf, who will end up owning all of the floor, walls and buildings (including furniture) inside the room. If a noble requires more furniture you can satisfy the requirement by placing the furniture inside any room assigned to that noble, since the noble will then wind up owning the furniture.

Some types of rooms have a quality level, which is simply an indication of the monetary value of all the floor, walls and furniture/buildings in the room. If the floor areas of different rooms overlaps it decreases the value of the rooms, which is why we shrunk the bedrooms until they didn't spill out into the hallway.

Dining hall[edit]

When your miners finish digging out the dining hall area, connect up the storage area and kitchen designation to the hall so they can dig that out. Use b to get the building menu, and t and c to place the tables and chairs/thrones, starting with the chair/throne pair at the north:

NOTE: The rocks strewn about the room are hidden from view to make the image clearer

Use q to interact with the table at the north end of the room, use r to turn it into a dining hall, then use + to expand it until it covers the entire 7x7 area (spilling out into the hallway is okay), and press Enter to finish. You don't need to do anything else to other tables or to the chairs/thrones, since all of the chairs/thrones and tables in the area you defined automatically count as part of the dining hall.

Food stockpile and item dumping[edit]

When the 7x7 area south of the hallway is dug out, place a food stockpile‡ in it, altering it to not accept seeds, plants or drink (the seeds and plants go in the stockpile next to the farm plots, and the drinks can stay at the wagon for now). You'll note that the some of the stockpile is covered by rocks left behind by the miners, and those parts of the stockpile won't be able to accept food. We can get rid of them via dumping. There are two way to do this. The first way is too go into look mode with k, move the cursor over each rock, and then use d to mark the rock for dumping, which will cause a D to appear on the rock's line. However, doing it this way is tedious.

The second way is via designations, specifically the Set Building/Item Properties designation. Use d-b to get to that menu, then d to select Dump Items. Like for all designations, press Enter at two different corners of a rectangle, and all items in the rectangle will be marked for dumping, indicated by them being highlighted in magenta. You should mark for dumping the rocks left in the kitchen space south of the storage room, as well.

Now all those rocks have been marked for dumping, but there's nowhere to dump them. We need to create a garbage dump activity zone to give the rocks somewhere to go. From the main menu use i to enter activity zone mode, move the cursor to the hallway north of the storage room, and hit Enter twice to define a 1x1 zone (zone areas are laid out in the same manner as designations and stockpiles). This will bring you immediately to the zone menu (since you both create/remove and interact with zones via the same mode, rather than creating via one mode and interacting via a different mode like with stockpiles). The numbers in parentheses indicate the number of tiles in the zone which are suitable for that purpose. Use g to make it a garbage dump, then Esc to exit zone mode. You'll notice that there's no visible indication of a zone. Zones are only visible during zone mode, unlike stockpiles, which are always visible.

Unpause the game and your dwarves will begin carrying the rocks off to the garbage dump zone. If you use k to look at the dumped rocks, you'll notice two things:

  1. They're missing the D that shows them as marked for dumping, since they have been dumped.
  2. Their names are bracketed by { }, indicated that they're forbidden, meaning that your dwarves won't use them for anything.

You actually do want your dwarves to use these rocks, so you want to unforbid (reclaim) them. While looking at them you could scroll through the list with - and + and press f for each one to reclaim it, but it's easier to do them all at once with designations. From the main menu, d-b will get you to the same menu you used for dumping, but Reclaim Items/Buildings will be selected by default, and the forbidden items will be highlighted in lime green. Move the cursor over the pile of rocks and press Enter twice to reclaim all of them at once. However, this will only reclaim those rocks already in the garbage dump, so you should wait for all of the rocks to be dumped before doing this.

When all of the rocks have been dumped, use i-x to enter "remove activity zone" mode, move the cursor over the garbage dump, and press Enter twice to remove the garbage dump.

Further digging[edit]

Designate for digging another set of ten bedrooms to the east of the dining hall, and then two more sets of ten to the west and east of the storage room:


This will give you bedrooms for up to 40 dwarves, and give you lots of pieces of rock to work with. Once you get more than 40 dwarves, instead of making more bedrooms on this z-level, go down one level and duplicate the same layout down there. This way the 41st through 80th bedrooms won't be any further away from the stairwell than the first 40.

Using hotkeys to move around your fortress[edit]

You can use hotkeys to quickly move around to different locations in your fortress. Use h to access the hotkeys list:


Gate is the name automatically given to the location of your wagon. Zoom indicates that a zoom location is bound to the F1 key.

Hit F2 to select the F2 hotkey for modificiation, use the movement keys to center on the middle of the living area, then z to make F2 zoom to the location; you can now return to the living area simply by pressing F2. Press n and enter a name like Living, then press Enter. Now a glance at the hotkeys screen will tell you which hotkey is used for which location.

Meeting area and drinking area[edit]

We's set up places for the dwarves to eat and to sleep, but not for them for drinking or for just hanging out when they're on break or have nothing to do. These aren't things that you need to explicitly set up, since dwarves drink straight out of the barrel wherever the booze barrels may be, and by default idle dwarves hang around the wagon. Still, there are advantages to manually setting them up.

First, go back to the surface with F1, then use b-j to set up a cage. Move the cursor to ___ tiles south of the middle of the staircase and hit Enter twice to place the wooden cage the carpenter made.


Once it's installed, use q to interact with it, then r-Enter to turn it into a zoo. Your dwarves will now hang around the cage, even though the "zoo" has no animals.

So, what purposes does this cage serve (besides being a place to hang out)? First, it's a place where you can stick tame animals for which you currently have no use, since each animal that's walking around free makes the game the tiniest bit slower. A single cage can hold an endless number of animals without overcrowding, and since animals don't need to urinate, defecate, drink or (for the most part) eat you can leave them unattended in a cage indefinitely. However, some animals, like your ______ and ______, are grazers which need to eat grass to survive and will starve to death if kept in cages.

The second purpose the cage serves is that a dwarf will get a happy thought if they see the type of animal they prefer in a cage. A happy thought which they won't get if they see the same animal running around free. Yeah, dwarves are pretty messed up.

Anyways, on to drinking. Since dwarves will frequently visit the area around the cage we want to put a lot of booze close by, to reduce the distance they have to walk to the booze when the get thirsty. As dwarves drink booze straight out of the barrel, this merely requires setting up a booze stockpile‡ (a food stockpile with only "Drinks" enabled). You can just place a 7x7 stockpile so that the cage is at the center, since your dwarves can walk past stockpiled barrels without being hindered:


Next tutorial article[edit]



  • Besides generating chunks of rock, we dug out the living area on this level rather than in the soil because the flux walls and floors make for more valuable rooms, and stone walls and floors (unlike soil) can be smoothed and engraved to increase the value further.
  • By dumping items onto a garbage dump you can store a limitless number of items on a single tile, while when using stockpiles‡ you can only store one item per tile (unless the items are consolidated into a container). Storing many items on a single tile this way is an exploit called quantum stockpiling.
  • By default items on the surface (outside) won't be dumped. To change that, you have to change the Dwarves Ignore Refuse Outside standing order (o-r-o).
  • You could set up your fortress to use a communal dormitory rather than individual bedrooms, which can be useful in situations where there's a shortage of wood to turn into beds. But when there's no wood shortage it's best to set up individual bedrooms, since dwarves get a happy thought from sleeping in their own bedroom, and also get more happy thoughts from owning their own furniture.
  • The walls separating the bedrooms from each other and from the dining/storage rooms aren't actually needed, since dwarves have no sense of privacy. However, most players pretend that they do have some sense of privacy and design bedrooms accordingly. Also, walls block room areas from expanding when defining a room, and so help to prevent rooms from overlapping each other (which would reduce the quality of the rooms).
  • Dwarves will eat anywhere that there's tables and chairs, even if there isn't a dining room defined for them. In the case of the communal dining hall you made, formally defining it as a dining room gives dwarves a happy thought when dining in it.
  • When a dwarf passes next to or through a tile with an installed piece of furniture, s/he might get a happy thought from admiring it.
  • If you have a furniture stockpile set up it's possible to get a No Bed warning when attempting to place a bed even though you do have some remaining uninstalled beds. This happens because once a dwarf decides to haul a bed from the workshop to the stockpile it becomes unavailable for other use until it finally reaches the stockpile. If you let the game run for a little longer the bed will arrive at the stockpile and you'll be able to place it.
  • The game can slow down if your miners leave behind thousands of unused chunks of rock. You can recover speed by destroying the rocks, either with an dwarven atom smasher, or by dumping non-magma safe rocks into magma.
  • The zoo is set on the surface to prevent your dwarves from developing cave adaptation.
  • If you have any zoos or sculpture gardens then your dwarves might organize parties, which means they won't get any work done for a while. You can stop parties and free the partiers up for work by freeing the room designated from the cage or statue (q-f).