How to Make Soldiers in Dwarf Fortress
No fortress should go undefended. Find out how to make soldiers in Dwarf Fortress and protect your citizens against those dastardly goblin hordes!
There are almost no fortresses in Dwarf Fortress that can survive for long without soldiers. Unfortunately, recruiting soldiers is also a complicated and annoying process… like everything else in the game.
Typically you should wait until you have 20 or more dwarves before you start building up a military, as goblins won’t be a problem for a little while. Once you’ve decided you need soldiers, you’ll need several things:
- A Barracks, created by assigning a room to a Weapons Rack or Armor Stand by highlighting them and pressing V
- Weapons, usually created at a Metalsmith’s Forge (though your dwarves can become wrestlers if you have no metal)
- Armor, created at a Metalsmith’s Forge, a Leather Works or a Craftsdwarf Workshop
- A few dwarves you don’t mind potentially sacrificing to nasty creatures
Once you have some of the requirements (you don’t actually need any of the above, but it helps) you can create soldiers. Below is the process of just making soldiers who can fight and train, even if they have no weapons or armor:
- Hit m on the main screen.
- This brings up the military menu, though there won’t be any squads or dwarves assigned to duties yet. Go left one tab from the squads, then again to assign a military commander to lead your first squad. Once that’s done, go through the list below and add more dwarves until you have the amount you want. Your screen should look something like this:
You can now assign uniforms and equipment via the options below, though that’s not necessary for simple soldiers. Hit ESC to leave this screen.
- You have a squad, but they don’t look like soldiers. Why? Because they’re currently inactive. Now you need to activate them and give them orders. Do this by hitting s on the main menu.
- You’ll now get this menu:
This squad is still inactive. Activate them by hitting a. Once that’s done, many more menu options will open up, including scheduling. Hit t to change their status to Active/Training. Your dwarves will now regularly spar with one another and wander around the fortress, assaulting any nasties they see.
Remember, though! A soldier with no gear and little training isn’t much better than a normal dwarf. They might even be considered worse, as they won’t run away from fights they can’t win. Get your Metal Smithing shops up and running as quick as possible to get your dwarves properly armed.
One last thing for simple soldiers: they won’t train unless their squad is at ‘capacity’, and that capacity is 10 dwarves. If you want your troops to improve, always set their numbers to 10 per squad.