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v0.34:Trade depot

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Trade depot


Job Requirement
Materials Jobs

Trade goods with merchants.

This article is about an older version of DF.

A Trade Depot allows you to trade with caravans that arrive at your fortress. Trade depots can be created from almost any building material, and construction requires the Architecture skill along with the appropriate craft labor (Carpentry, Masonry, or Metalsmithing). Three materials must be used to build the Trade Depot, with the oldest material chosen serving as the main material.[1] There must be at least 10 spaces between the Depot and the edge of the map. They can be built on top of constructed floors and walls, allowing you to make a trade depot which is elevated above the surrounding land.

Depot accessibility[edit]

Hitting D will tell you if the depot is accessible via a wagon, which requires a three tile wide path from the depot to the edge of the map. Warning: If the map has an extremely large amount of trees (Heavily Forested) there may not be any way for the caravan to get to your depot, unless you chop down a path for the wagons.

Also note that traps will block wagon access (although not merchants with pack animals), so you cannot easily use them to defend your depot.

Boulders (the natural kind) and tracks also block wagons. Boulders can be removed by smoothing (d-s) or constructing and removing a wall. Bridges can serve as an alternative for tracks.

Depot building options[edit]

Press b-D to build a depot. It is a 5x5 structure. Once built, hit q to bring up the building interaction mode, and then move your cursor over the Trade Depot to gain access to the following options:

Move Goods to/from Depot[edit]

g: This command becomes active when a caravan arrives on your map. This screen menu is similar to the stocks menu (z - Stocks). This is where you select what items you want to trade with the caravan. If you have particular items you want to sell to the caravan, you can search for it. This is convenient if you want to export all your prepared meals or finished goods. Also shown is the culling on mandate option. The move to depot screen will not show things that violate an export mandate. By pressing m, it will change to Ignoring mandates, and you can select banned items for export. For example, if your mayor has a mandate banning the export of iron, this screen will hide bins that contain iron items. By changing this option, all iron items will be shown.

After selecting items and exiting the screen, jobs will be queued to move the items to the depot. All dwarves, regardless of labor settings, can move goods to the depot. Items that have not been moved will show [PENDING], while those that have been brought to the depot and are ready for trade and will be marked as [TRADING].

Items selected for trading will remain at the depot until the caravan leaves. Alternatively you can select the item again. Once no longer required at the depot, items will be available for use or hauling to stockpiles as normal. If you don't want all the items to be returned to their stockpiles, you can optionally forbid them by looking at the items in the depot.

No trader needed at depot or Trader requested at depot[edit]

r: This requests a dwarf to come to the depot. To conduct trades with caravans, a trader must be present at the Trade Depot. Once requested, a job will be created for a dwarf to make their way to the depot and remain there until released with this setting, or the job is interrupted, such as by the dwarf deciding to drink, sleep, or eat. The Trade at Depot job is fairly low-priority, so labors may have to be disabled in order to get the broker to begin the job, or the broker can be temporarily added to a burrow which covers only the depot.

Only broker may trade or Anyone may trade[edit]

b: This setting determines who will perform the trade. If Only broker may trade is active, then only the Broker noble will respond to the trader request. This can become a problem when the broker is sleeping or otherwise occupied, but dwarves with low Broker skills will receive poorer deals when trading. If anyone may trade is selected, and someone other than the broker becomes a better appraiser than the broker, the broker's appraisal skill is still used.


t: This option becomes available once the caravan and your trader are both at the depot. It begins trading. If more than one set of merchants is using the trade depot, you will be given the option of who you want to trade with.


  • Setting a meeting area over a depot, then removing it, will cause dwarves to act as though it were still a meeting area. This is irreversible.
  • Merchants in a trade depot who are accosted by hostile creatures may then refuse to trade. If any merchant is unable to make it to the depot, all the other merchants will similarly refuse to trade.
  • Dumping items belonging to the merchants will result in the depot thinking merchants are gone but the merchants hanging around
  • Forbidding a depot, or slating it for removal immediately after causing the caravan trader to be unwilling to do business with your dwarves (e.g. trading wood to the elves) will cause the caravan to leave all their items and embark on their journey, leaving you to claim the items for yourself. Be warned that this will almost definitely strain relations with the trading civilization...
  • The game behaves poorly when multiple trade depots are available. Merchants with wagons may path to one depot, while those with pack animals path to the other; then both groups will insist on waiting for the rest of their party to arrive.
  • Large gems, once selected to be traded, will remain at the Depot forever. This bug occurs because no stockpile accepts large gems, and is not specific to the Depot.
  • If you slate a depot for removal while merchants are in the process of leaving, the wagons will never leave and eventually the animals and remaining traders will go mad.

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