Dwarf Fortress – Features Guide

This is designed for veteran players who might be missing some of their familiar features, only to discover later that they were simply implemented differently or tucked away in a different spot than before. As a brand new player, such things have been a bit easier for me to find thanks to not having two decades of muscle memory from the classic version restricting the onboarding process.

Guide to Features

Military Tab

Bottom right, the sword icon. (Evidently if you can’t see it, you need to adjust your UI scaling until you can.) Seems to do all the same stuff the last one did, except…

Ammo Management

This seems to no longer be necessary. Just plop a chest in your marksdwarves’ barracks to be filled with ammo, and they’ll grab it when they need it.

Update: This has been screwy for a few, including me, and this fix worked: Fire all your marksdwarves and reconscript them. For some reason, if they had a job prior to becoming marskdwarves, they won’t look for ammo. This fix worked for me.


If you want your squads to train (marksdwarves of course can train at an archery range), you’ll need to designate their barracks for training. You can also designate the barracks for bunking (bed icon), individually-assigned equipment storage (weapons, armor, etc; wardrobe icon), and/or squad-level gear like ammunition (chest icon).


When you have a job ready to go (eg. you’ve clicked the Pickaxe icon to start designating mining jobs), click the yellow arrow near the paintbrush icon to expand advanced options. This will allow you to prioritize that task.


Up-stairs and down-stairs are no longer necessary. Stairs now automatically connect to eachother as necessary. If you want a stairwell four layers deep, click where you’d normally dig a down-stair, drop down four layers, and click again. The top stair will be a down-stair, the bottom stair will be an up-stair, and the stuff in between will go both ways. If you want your down-stair to start going upward, you can dig or build (as necessary) stairs upward from that location. Click on the EXISTING down-stair, go up however far you want, click again.

Crucially, up, down, and bi-directional stairs each take up a single “cube”. There is no longer a need to build an up-stair in a “wall slot” and a down stair in a “floor slot” directly beneath it. Where necessary, the two merge into a two-way stair which takes up the same “wall slot” an up stair would have in the previous game.

Civilian Alerts

A bit different now. They dropped a step (the actual alert). Now, you create a burrow, assign your civilians to it, and suspend it. When you want the civilians to get in, unsuspend it and in they’ll go!

Forbid Animals Through Doors

No longer necessary, just assign the animal to a pen/pasture zone and they’ll stay put. The reason this was changed is because this mechanic was killing FPS (cutting it by a factor of 15-20, IE, 100 FPS -> 5 FPS) because the animals couldn’t pathfind through the door but kept trying to do so, resulting in infinite pathing queries.

Specialists Only

Open up the labor menu (Y key) and create a new detail, ticking whatever it is you want done. Then tick “Only Selected Does This”, and voila! Any type of work you want, done only by specialists of your choosing.


Seems you have to assign doctors to a hospital zone to get them to work there. (Thanks to Knightnave for this one.)

Work Orders and Searching

If you want to search for something, you don’t need to type the whole thing. For instance, if you want a wooden bin, just type “bi” and it should come up fine. With work orders, no need to use the arrow keys to go from 10 to 100! Just click the “#” icon and type in the amount you want.

Assigning Dwarves to Workshops

This has changed. You can now assign only a single master to a given workshop, and can no longer assign by a skill range. According to Tarn in 2021, this was primarily to pave the way for the guilds mechanic (whereby apprentices can be assigned to a shop with a master).

Communal Catacombs

If you want to bury a bunch of dwarves in one place, there are two ways to do it now:

  1. Build separate doored rooms for each coffin, memorial, etc., then drag out your zone with the Tomb designator, while the “Multi” option is active.
  2. Build one big room, but draw out a separate tomb zone for each coffin, memorial, etc. within that room. So designate a Tomb, click “Accept”, designate a tomb, click “Accept”, and repeat as desired.

Cancel Multiple Build Projects

Cancel these the same way you deconstruct buildings: Mining tool -> stair icon with circle and line through it.

Jan Bonkoski
About Jan Bonkoski 962 Articles
Jan Bakowski aka Lazy Dice, was always interested in gaming and writing. His love of gaming began with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64) back in 1998. He’s been making game guides since 2012. Sharing his gaming experience with other players has become not only his hobby but also his job. In his free time, he plays on Steam Deck.

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