How To

I Play Dwarf Fortress – (And You Can Too!)


motivating line of the section: Great efforts reap great rewards! Don’t give up!

You may not get traders for a while, but it’s important to know what to do when you do get them (you don’t have to remember this, just remember where it is).

10.1 – Trading

You’ll get a notice that a caravan has arrived, and they’ll soon dock at your trade depot.

By default, no trader will be requested at the depot, and only a broker may trade.

  • Press “q”, scroll over the trade depot
  • press “r” for “trader requested”. Then a trader will be requested, but only a broker may trade. We don’t have a broker, so that’s no use, so…
  • press “b” to make it so anyone may trade. Finally we will get someone to trade, but we haven’t said what we want to trade, so…
  • press “g” to select what goods you want to bring over. I would recommend bringing over your rock crafts, and that’s really all you’ll want to trade, because everything else we have at this point is pretty useful.

When everything is ready to trade, it should look like this.

When the goods are brought to the depot, press “t” to trade. This will bring you to a trading menu with a list of everything the merchants have on the left, and everything you have on the right. You don’t pay with money, you pay by “trading” where you give them something of equal or greater value than what you want. Simply select what you want from the merchants on the left, and select what you want to give them for it/them on the right.

SUPER DUPER POOPER IMPORTANT! – do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT sell wooden items to Elven merchants, as they are tree-hugging hippies, and will leave immediately without giving you any business. This includes selling items IN wooden containers, so instead of selecting the container to sell everything inside of it, you must select everything inside of the container individually. I thought about letting you figure this out yourselves, but, that would be mean, I guess.

That’s all for trading! You’re dwarfs will bring what you bought and store it/them in your stockpiles.

10.2 – Stockpile Floor!

We may have some stockpiles right now, but we are quickly getting too many goods to fit there, so we’re going to go big and make a stockpile floor. This is the storing method I always use because it is easy to make, easy to see all of your goods at once, and easy for the dwarfs to access.

We’re going to build our stockpile not the floor directly below the entrance floor, but the one below that, z-level 120. Start by digging it out. Designate something like the following to be dug (remember to provide supports, ESPECIALLY in such a big room). By the way, “shift+arrow key” skips over about 10 tiles, and that’s how I easily made the supports so evenly.


Well number one, explore what kinds of items you can make with what different workshops. You should DEFINITELY build a brewery, because you will soon run out of alcohol, and your dwarfs will be forced to drink from the river OH NO. The workshop name is “still”, by the way. You can build a kitchen, and prepare all those plump helmets in order to make your dwarfs happier. Try pressing “q”, moving it to an item, and seeing what kind of building you can make (no I didn’t mean move to a building and see what kind of items you can make). For instance, if you do this with a statue, you can set a room to be a statue garden, and dwarfs will visit it on their breaks, making them happier. Now press, “b”, “w” and see what kinds of workshops you can make. Build anything you want. If you want more information on a workshop or items, consult the magma wiki.


MIGRANTS! During my stockpile digging, I got the notification that some migrants arrived. Migrants typically arrive once or twice a year, depending on how your fortress is thriving. If a bunch of dwarfs recently died, migrants are unlikely to come in large numbers.


As you can see, we got a stockpile floor with about half of a clay floor, and the other half covered in rocks. As stated before, stockpiles cannot be put on top of rocks, so this isn’t the best situation, but it isn’t the end of the world.

For now, we’re going to put our stockpiles on the clay part of the floor, and leave the other part. The rocks will eventually be used for various things like crafts and furniture and buildings, and when they’re gone, we can build stockpiles on that part of the floor.

We’re going to make a stockpile for every type of object in the game all over this floor. Use the below image to help you out.

After you get that done, there should be a MASSIVE collaboration to put items in the stockpiles. And now we have enough storage for many years to come.

continue on to 11.0 – DEFENSE!

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