Dwarf Fortress

From 1d4chan
You know you want to.

Slaves to Armok: God of Blood - Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress (ow my colon) (AKA Dwarf Fortress, Dorf Fortress, Dwarf Ortress, Dorf Ortress, Dor Fortress, Dwar Fortress, Door Fortress, Dwar Ortress, Dor Ortress, Dorf Fort, Dwarf Fort, Dorf Ort, Dwarf Ort, Dor Fort, Dorf Ort, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!!!! or suicidal tendencies) is the best game in the world. It was created in the dawn of time by Toady One, and will continue to be updated by his cybernetically preserved consciousness until the Heat Death of The Universe. The ostensible objective of the game is to manage a dwarven fortress, but the usual result of playing the game is hilarious failure.

The game is named after God of Blood, Armok: the one constant across the Dwarven multiverese, who destroys and creates worlds for fun. He is a god of war and conflict, who revels in confrontation and misery. When the world becomes too peaceful, civilised, homogenous and, therefore, boring, Armok brings it to ruin and creates new one, so that blood may flow forevermore.

Unlike most sane games, Dwarf Fortress does not actually have a winning condition. Every fortress, no matter how successful, is doomed to a hideous death at some point - in fact, in older versions of the game, the simple act of mining a certain extremely deep and rare ore would start a hidden timer condemning your fortress to certain destruction at the hands of a balrog standin, with the game sadly informing you that your dwarves dug too deep, but keeping your fort going long enough to strike that ore was an achievement in and of itself.

This inevitability has lead to the fan base's rallying cry: "Losing is Fun!" In fact, in discussions on the topic, the word 'Fun' (especially with capital 'F') is entirely synonymous with 'Hideous Demise' and the things that are likely to cause it, in particular the 'Hidden Fun Stuff' described below. And with remembering the abovementioned description of the blood god, this is also the point of a horrible realisation for some: that the player IS Armok.

The gameplay has an exceptional and frankly obsessive depth of detail that no other video game has yet to attempt. Despite being (by default) ASCII-based and extremely obtuse, like the old roguelikes from which it draws inspiration, huge amounts of information are tracked and considered for just about every aspect of the game - down to minute details such as the exact location and severity of injuries (first joint on left little finger slightly bruised, for example). Combat is complex and messy - a typical dwarven battlefield will be full of bloody stains, severed limbs, discarded weapons and crossbow bolts, and the vomit of the unfortunate recipients of abdominal injuries. After-action combat reports give detailed and often hilarious or epic blow-by-blow accounts of the fights that take place, and the player even has the option of entering adventurer mode to explore their world and get in fights themselves, as well as a "legends mode" where they can just read about the history of their world and all the mayhem that happens in it. The game world and its denizens are also procedurally generated, creating the potential for a nearly infinite number of different possible worlds whose attributes can be painstakingly tweaked right down to the average rainfall and biome frequency.


Dwarf Fortress is still in alpha and under development (version 0.47 or so as of September 2020; the developers figure it's going to be at least another decade before it can be called "finished"), but will soon be released on Steam and itch.io for purchase. The official classic game's ASCII-based display of inscrutable letters and symbols confuses the shit out of fucking casuals, but unofficial tile graphics versions are available here, among other places. However, it does have a few minor quirks since that version does not yet fully support tile graphics. The consumer version will feature its own unique tileset, so casuals don't have to deal with ASCII.

Just a note for people who intend on downloading ether version (as far as we know right now, as the Steam release could fix a lot of issues). This is actually one of the most hardware intensive games in history. Even the most powerful Intel or AMD processor will Choke and Die the moment someone forgets to sterilize their pets, to the point that DF world generation is sometimes used as a CPU benchmark.

Posting a Dwarf Fortress thread on /tg/ is a great way to effortlessly troll a few people, confuse others, and cause multiple, simultaneous and devastating orgasms in neckbeards.

Creatures of Dwarf Fortress[edit]


Dorfs (singular: Dorf) are awesome short beardy alcoholic manic-depressive guys that like to dig.


Nobles are the bane of the land. They require ridiculously luxurious apartments and develop the weirdest fetishes possible, then require you to make items out of materials neither you nor merchants can provide, such as demanding glass in the middle of a freezing tundra. And they jail the most skilled workers for not fulfilling their every desire.

Killing nobles in the most spectacular way possible is one of the most well-known and lulziest entertainments in Dwarf Fortress.


Dwarves get so-called "Strange Moods" once in a while. When in this state, they will claim a workshop for the job they are most proficient in, get some (often obscure) materials and start working on them. Artifacts can be quite literally any craftable item type in the game (including several that normally can't even be crafted by dwarves); examples include millstones, gates, boots, backpacks, and of course weapons and armor. Once completed, you can 'view' your artifact; If you choose to do so, a page describing the attributes of the artifact and its name will appear. For example:

"Trailmachines the Fellowship of Right"

This is a adamantine plate mail. All craftsdwarfship is of the highest quality. On the item is an image of Landslantern the fire imp and Kib Clinchworks the dwarf in Adamantine. Kib Clinchworks is striking down Landslantern. The artwork relates to the killing of the fire imp Landslantern by the dwarf Kib Clinchworks in Headshoots in the early autumn of 107. On the item is an image of a dwarf in Adamantine. The dwarf is cheering.

The name of the artifact's creator and the date it was created will also appear.

If a dwarf does not get the materials he needs in time, he goes mad. Sometimes he will kill another dwarf and make the artifact out of the resulting corpse. If he does, he will create some hilariously described items.

Fire Cults[edit]

Dwarves have strong affection to fire, magma and generally anything that burns. The hotter it is, the better.

The only rational reason behind it can be some suicide fire worshiping sect.


Elves (singular: elf) are cannibal treehuggers whose only use is elven bone bolts. Their only role in life is offering to trade with you before their diplomats inevitably bitch about how many trees you've been cutting down. You must open your magma death trap and kill them all, or you will be EAT BY ELFS. Elves insist on using only wooden weapons with only rare exceptions, the latter usually due to being raised outside of elven society.

The only proper dorfy elf to ever exist is Cacame Awemedinade, an elf soldier serving in a dwarf-owned city who became king through a hilarious clerical error, then proved his worth killing things with a warhammer.


Cats are the bane of your existence. You must slaughter all of them before they outbreed you and Either cause your dorfs to suffocate since all the air is filled with cats (catsphyxiation?), Or your computer to destroy itself due to the sheer amount of cats it has to render. Even the most powerful Xeon processors chokes and dies the minute someone forgets to sterilize their cats.

Forgotten Beasts[edit]

Forgotten Beasts are badass motherfuckers. Some of them would make a Tarrasque look like a crying little girl. Their main prey is Dwarves. If any dwarf draws near a cavern, they are immediately at risk of being consumed by the horror. If you see Forgotten Beasts, WALL OFF ALL OF THEM IMMEDIATELY OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES.


Honorary Forgotten Beasts for killing many a Fisherdwarf. Stay away from the river. They are now much more benign.


Elephants used to be demonic creatures of the plains. They mercilessly killed your Dwarves and then killed the Dwarves that rush out of the fortress to loot the body of their fallen comrade. Elephants never forget, and never forgive, and they never sleep. They spend every moment of every day plotting the downfall of your fortress.

Eventually elephants were turned into much more peaceful beings in the newer versions of the game, so now you can settle near savanna and have your revenge. The vacant place of dwarf-murderer was taken by the vicious Forgotten Beasts.

In a strange turn of events thanks to the latest update, Elephants have fallen from the noble title of "bane of dwarves" to a creature that literally starves to death while eating 24/7, thanks to some coding...flaws. Ironically, despite the game making them more peaceful, real-life Elephants are most like the original "train of pachyderm death" portrayal (particularly the African elephants, which are bigger, more aggressive and have longer tusks than the Indian ones).

Giant Sponges[edit]

A recent addition to Dwarf Fortress, the giant sponge has become more feared than even the carp. A giant sponge can easily wipe out an entire army of dwarves with a single charge, which is rather peculiar as they are completely immobile. And they're virtually invincible, as their lack of any organs or blood allows them to harmlessly absorb blows that would kill anything else several times over. How they are able to kill anything with their soft, squishy bodies is a mystery nobody is willing to risk trying to solve. Unfortunately, the most recent update led to the slaying of a giant sponge via crushing it with a maul.

While common Giant Sponges can "drown" out of water, undead Giant Sponges are fucking immortal. Setting it on fire will just create a giant torch of undead death. If you see one, say your last farewells to your crazy stupid brave dorfs.

The good news is now giant sponges are now hilariously vulnerable to getting flattened by mundane attacks. They're still just as lethal, so they're glass cannons now. And since undead are now vulnerable only to getting pulped instead of randomly dying after enough hits, undead giant sponges are basically normal sponges, only amphibious.

Hidden Fun Stuff[edit]

If you dig below the lava oceans around the bottom layer, you may discover the Hidden Fun Stuff. Down here is the circus, where you can find clowns and their much sought-after candy. Dig deep and see what awaits you!

But if you REALLY want to know...

Spoiler.gifThis article contains spoilers! You have been warned.

In reality, what awaits you at the bottom is the Underworld and its myriad Demons. Break through either by somehow getting through the semi-molten rock or just mining too much Adamantine, and those fiends will instantly realize a way out of Hell has presented itself and Zerg rush to get out and destroy your fortress. Nine times out of ten there will be no survivors, but if you're well prepared (or know a few tricks) they can be defeated.

If the initial tidal wave of demons is killed, congrats, you can now carve out your own little corner of Hell. Be warned though, Demons wander about and are without number here.

Occasionally during worldgen, a deity can allow a unique named Demon to escape the Underworld and form a Goblin civilization, at the cost of having to write their true name on a slab as to be bound to the surface world. Usually you'll never encounter these demon kings unless you raid the civilization's capital or go into Adventure mode and seek them out yourself. You can also target the vault holding the slab, but a second breed of Hidden Fun Stuff, the Angels (who are of the Biblical variety) of the deity that raised the demon in the first place, will be found guarding the place. Beating them and taking the slab allows you to banish the Demon on the slab or bind them to your service in Adventure mode. Or in Dwarf Fortress mode it's one hell of a prize.

The Cat Paws and Liquor Bug[edit]

Given how detailed the game is, some very weird bugs can show up. To give you an example:

The dwarfs can have cats, to keep the rodent population down and for companionship. After one update, cats were suddenly dying randomly, sometimes after vomiting. The developer realized the cause of this bug, which goes as follows:

  1. Cats have paws, which can have substances on them.
  2. The AI for Cats is programmed to occasionally lick their paws to keep them clean, as is the case in the real world.
  3. Dwarfs, if they're drinking when ordered to do something, drop their beer on the floor and immediately go do it.
  4. This spilled beer was being absorbed by the paws of cats when they walked over the spilled beer.
  5. The game was accidentally treating this as if the cat had drunk their body weight in alcohol, rather then the small amount they would in a proper simulation.
  6. Cats were progressing immediately to lethal alcohol poisoning upon licking their paws, with some of them making a brief stopover in "nauseated vomiting".

Notably, only the quantity of alcohol being ingested by cats upon licking their paws was considered a "bug". The bug was fixed by changing the contamination system to take into account liquid volumes. Cats can still get mildly buzzed after walking through spilled beer.

That's how insanely detailed Dwarf Fortress is.

The Rip-offs[edit]

The chief problem with Dwarf Fortress, from the perspective of marketing, is that the interface is so goddamn hard to understand. Thus, a few developers have got it in their head to make "Dwarf Fortress, but playable by mere mortals". Here are a few identified so far:

  • Gnomoria. While many long-time Dwarf Fortress player despise Gnomoria for stealing a dragon's-hoard-worth of features from Dwarf Fortress and subsequently departing from the Roguelike genre, it does have redeeming qualities. Namely as a Dwarf Fortress lite. It has a point-and-click interface (more so than DF), an isometric view, full-color GUI, a (relatively) simpler economy and production system, in-game explanations for several gameplay elements, and less options in general. However, there is a project ongoing to give dwarf fortress isometric graphics. (It costs about 8 bucks on Steam currently, so it isn't free, but that's the price you have to pay for being a namby-pamby prissy little princess who needs training wheels on their Dwarven experience the first few go-arounds.)
  • Rimworld, a game which is basically DORF FORTRESS IN SPESS, almost as detailed, though it features no dwarves (or considering it's in space, no squats). Available on Steam, and has a thriving modding community which does everything from basic changes to incredibly handy utilities to overhauls. There's a WH40k mod on Steam; so instead of your usual colonists dying horrible deaths, you can have your usual guardsmen dying horrible deaths.

See Also[edit]

External Links[edit]


You can find instructions on using it in the recent releases on the Discussion page of this article.