Dwarf Fortress is the grandfather of the colony management simulator genre, more complex and stronger thanks to its 20 years of development. With the game recently getting a splash of youth with major graphics and quality-of-life changes, many players are hopping into the game and building their fortresses for the first time.
In time, you’ll have to defend your home from any goblins or elves that seek to do you harm, and traps will help you immensely. Here’s all the information you need to know about how traps work in Dwarf Fortress.
How to use traps in Dwarf Fortress
There are a few different types of traps that players can build once they have a Dwarf with the right skill and the materials needed to build it. Before you begin you should be aware that unconscious Dwarves will set off traps if they trigger them, but conscious Dwarves will not set off traps if they accidentally walk over one.
There are advanced wikis that go into further detail about what traps you should use and how to best use them. This guide is meant to simplify these wikis in a way that beginners can understand.
This trap is not overly complicated, it’s a stone that falls on your enemies from the air, crushing them. It’s noted that these traps are great early on, but they won’t kill any intruders or enemies, instead more likely to break a bone and make them weaker in other fights. Using heavier rocks like galena or cinnabar will cause more damage if you use them when reloading the trap.
To build one, you’ll need a rock mechanism made at a Mechanic’s Workshop and a regular large stone. Then you can place the trap using the build menu by clicking the hammer icons, and then the “Traps” section, then place the trap somewhere based on where you think your base could be attacked from. One Dwarf will build the trap before going back to get ammo to load it with.
This trap is a little more devastating, with the ability to load it with up to 10 different weapons. If you want to make sure that the enemy humanoid or creature can’t move past a certain point, then this trap is going to be your best bet. Like the stone-fall trap, you’ll need to build a mechanism and then place the Weapon trap using the same methods listed for the stone-fall trap.
Once you place it, you’ll be asked what weapons you want to put inside of it. These can include trap-specific weapons from the Metalsmith’s Forge, the Carpenter’s Workshop, or the Glass Furnace. You can also use poorly made weapons, goblin weapons, and even ranged weapons like crossbows, provided you also place ammo in the trap. The Weapon trap will shoot one shot of ammo every time the trap is triggered for as long as it has ammo.
While this won’t kill any invading creature or enemy, it’s a useful asset for when you want to take your enemies alive. Once captured, they’ll be stored in an animal stockpile, leaving the trap to have to be reset with a new empty cage. One of the better things about the Cage Trap is that it will alert you to an ambush if triggered by a hidden enemy. It’s also useful for catching wild animals for food or to domesticate and train.
To build a Cage trap, you’ll need a mechanism and a cage before following the same steps through the build menu and trap category. You can release an animal that’s tamed by clicking on the cage an unassigning it. If you release a wild animal or an enemy, make sure that you use a lever from a safe distance so you don’t immediately get attacked.
Upright Weapon/Spike trap
This trap also sounds how it looks, with a sharp weapon shooting up out of the ground and damaging anyone walking over it. Unlike the other traps, someone will have to manually activate this trap to send out and retract the spikes. You can place this trap in a pit without a mechanism if you just want them to work as spikes and not a trap.
To build this trap as a trap, you’ll need to add a mechanism to it and put up to 10 different sharp weapons inside of it. You’ll need a mechanic Dwarf with a lever or pressure plate to activate it manually, and better mechanisms will provide you with a more accurate trap. If you wish to recover any animals or bodies caught in this trap, it’s wise that you have a way to turn them off, such as the mechanic Dwarf.
The way that Dwarf Fortress is built, there are a wide variety of other traps that can be built using the game’s unique systems. With the game being out for the last 20 years, there is a dedicated online community focused on finding new ways to get rid of goblin and elven invaders. If you need inspiration, do a quick google search for mass killing traps like drowning chambers, which will make invasions kind of fun.
That’s all the information you need to know about how to build traps and how they work in Dwarf Fortress.