Dwarven fortress: military


The military is one of the most important aspects of a successful fortress. Even with many traps, drawbridges and other defenses, your military will still need to fend off goblin sieges, megabeasts, titans, and fiendish underground beasties. Using a combination of squad orders and scheduling, you can set up an elaborate offensive, defensive, or balanced military structure for your well-equipped soldiers to follow. Turning your dwarves from useless migrants into bloodthirsty killing machines never hurts (unless you’re the enemy).

The military system is rather extensive and complex, and there is a lot of documentation. Here is a list of key documents categorized by expertise level:

Attack is a very simple “How to attack a target” guide. This is useful if you don’t know anything about the military and just want to order some (untrained) dwarves to (suicide) attack something now.
Military quickstart will teach you to set up and train your very first properly organized squad.

Squads helps you understand everything about squads.
Military interface contains mostly complete documentation on the military screen.
Scheduling describes the squad scheduling system in more detail.
Military F. A. Q. is a list of frequently asked questions.

Sparring will give you insights about combat training.
Military Design provides specific advice on how to get your soldiers prepared for any threat.
Security Design will give you specific suggestions on the physical defenses that will defend your military.
Defense Guide is a general overview of threats and considerations for fortress defense.
Trap Design contains information on complex traps that are not a minor/optional part of a larger defensive plan (but might be adapted or plugged into one).

The rest of this guide contains an overview of military features (with

links to associated sections of other documents).

Quick Reference

From the main menu:

The military screen is accessible through the m key.
The squads screen is accessible through the s key.
The points/routes/notes screen is accessible through the N key.
The burrows screen is accessible through the w key.

The military screen and all its tabs are mouse-compatible, and can be navigated through mouse clicks rather than strictly keys (when in windowed mode).

Creating a Military

While it may be confusing to a new player, the military system makes up for its initial impenetrability with its versatility. Using the military interface, squads can be assigned, reordered and restructured at will, dwarves can be set to equip a highly-specified uniform along with the rest of their squad or stand out and equip something unique, and you can give incredibly detailed commands and programming to your squads to follow out based on time of year, circumstance, location, and user convenience. That being said, there’s a lot to be learned.

This article is about the general aspects of what comprises a military. For more detailed information including specific key commands, see the associated article expanding on a subject. In particular you may want to check out the military interface article since the interface is one of the most confusing aspects.


Full article: Squads

Squads are the groups of soldiers that make up your military. Your military is now led by the appointed militia commander and has many other squads led by militia captains under him.

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Dwarven fortress: military