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This article is about an older version of DF.
This article is about training the dwarven military in fortress mode. For information on training animals, see Animal trainer. For information on training attributes, see Cross-training.


Training is how you improve the combat skills of your soldiers in fortress mode. Training takes many forms, from solo practice to direct instruction to sparring to actual (controlled) combats.


The weapons you wish your soldiers to use can be chosen through the military screen, and then the equip selection. When soldiers spar or perform weapon drills, they practice (and thereby gain experience) with whatever weapon (plus armor and shield in the case of sparring) they currently have equipped. Your soldiers will eventually pick up the equipment assigned in the military screen, though it is not uncommon to find them wandering around weaponless and half-armored when first drafted. Aside from a few specific circumstances, wooden training weapons are not necessary for training, and can actually be counterproductive.

Organized squad training[edit]

You cannot directly assign a soldier to train. Instead, you need to schedule his or her squad to train. This is accomplished by opening the military screen. Open the alerts panel, then assign the squad to Active/Training (or establish a more complex schedule of alerts). Now query a bed, weapon rack, and/or armor stand to designate a barracks. Highlight which squad you wish to train and press t. A T should appear on the right side of the screen beside that squad's name. Now your squad is set to be training, and has a place to train in. A squad set to the default Active/Training alert level (or a more complicated schedule using the advanced calendar system) will train in their assigned barracks. A squad with active orders delivered through the squad menu will carry out those orders, taking breaks to eat or sleep, but will not train.

  1. Define a squad with members (equip with whatever armor and weapons you like)
  2. Designate a barracks and have the squad set to train there
  3. Have an active training order for the squad

Sparring and demonstrations[edit]

Sparring is a form of non-lethal practice melee combat performed by two or more members of a squad. Sparring is a mostly safe way to get experienced soldiers. Specifically, sparring with weapons is always safe, but if you are training the wrestling skill, giving your soldiers a helm and body armor is advised (see Injury).

Demonstrations are teaching sessions, organized by one dwarf, led by another dwarf (teacher), and observed by one or more other dwarves (student). Demonstrations tend to confer skill increases much more slowly than sparring, particularly with low teacher, student and organizer skills.

It is currently believed that the best way to encourage sparring (rather than demonstrations) is to use 2 (or 3)-dwarf squads for training. Both dwarves should have the same weapon, to minimize useless cross-weapon teaching. However, sparring management is still a poorly understood science.

Building a barracks and designating a squad to train in it will allow squad members to train there individually instead of going idle, but they will never spar/demonstrate. In order to make them spar/demonstrate you need to activate the squad, either via the s menu and then hitting t, or by the m-a menu.

Individual Training[edit]

Your inactive soldiers will continue to do jobs outside the military if they don't have a place to train or an active schedule.

However, motivated[Verify] dwarves will also conduct individual training ("Individual Combat Drill"). This happens if:

  • the dwarf squad has no scheduled orders
  • the squad has a designated barracks to train at
  • the dwarf is not on break

Other Notes[edit]


Dwarves do no hurt each other directly while sparring with any type of weapon. They can however have accidents due to certain wrestling move(s), namely throwing. A thrown dwarf may skid along the ground and sustain injury. It can be lethal to a dwarf if his head skids on the ground, so have your wrestlers wear helmets.[Verify] Also make sure they have a safe environment to train in. Avoid having your barracks near high cliffs or open water, because dwarves have a habit of dodging off of cliffs and injuring themselves or dodging into water and becoming stunned, which leads to drowning. Also, dwarves can dodge up one level if they are next to a wall. Make sure they can walk back down or build a roof, because otherwise you risk a military dwarf trapping himself and starving to death.

Default Schedule[edit]

The default Active/Training alert tells the full squad to train. This can be changed from the Scheduling menu, if for some reason you only want part of a squad to train, or only to train during certain months, etc.

Happy Soldiers[edit]

Be kind to your soldiers. Civilians with no military experience will get bad thoughts from going on duty. Soldiers will get a bad thought when going off duty if they don't have any civilian skills (if their title becomes "peasant").

Live training on disarmed prisoners[edit]

A very effective way to train your dwarves is to equip them with training weapons and full armor and let them fight unarmed prisoners. This allows your dwarves to be "attacked" in real combat with relative safety, increasing their defensive skills rapidly. In other words: if you're interested in having your dwarves quickly train as Dodgers, Armor Users and Shield Users, it'll be worth the effort to set up some live training exercises.

See Remotely Opening Cages for information on how to arrange for the training.

See also[edit]