how to make iron dwarf fortress

How to Make an Iron Dwarf Fortress

If you’re a fan of strategy games or city-building sims, you might have come across Dwarf Fortress. This incredibly complex and challenging game tasks the player with building and managing a fortress inhabited by dwarves. And to make a steady supply of weapons, armor, and tools, among other things, you’ll need to learn how to produce iron. In this article, we’ll discuss how to make an iron dwarf fortress and answer some frequently asked questions about the process.

Step 1: Find the Right Biome

Not all biomes are created equal when it comes to iron production. Here’s a quick rundown of the biomes where you can find iron:

– Mountain: the most common biome for iron, with veins of hematite and magnetite easily accessible.
– Hill: a less common biome with a lower chance of finding iron, but still worth checking out.
– Volcano: a dangerous biome, but one of the quickest ways to get large amounts of volcanic iron.

In Dwarf Fortress, you can view the different biomes by pressing the ‘u’ key, then selecting the ‘biomes’ option. Look for the biomes mentioned above and start a fortress there.

Step 2: Dig Deep

Once you’ve selected the right biome, it’s time to start digging. In order to find iron, you’ll need to dig deep into the earth. If you’re lucky, you might stumble upon an iron vein close to the surface, but more often than not, you’ll need to dig down several layers to find iron.

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To dig, select a dwarf and use the ‘d’ key to designate an area for digging. You can also use the ‘i’ key to view which layers of soil and rock are below you. Look for layers that contain iron ore, which is usually marked as ‘hematite’ or ‘magnetite’.

Step 3: Smelt the Iron Ore

Once you’ve found a vein of iron ore, it’s time to turn it into usable metal. To do this, you’ll need a smelter. Smelters can be built from the ‘b’ menu and require fuel (usually coal or charcoal) and ore.

To start smelting, designate a stockpile for your ores and fuel next to your smelter. Then, designate a furnace operator from your dwarf population. Once you have all the materials and a dwarf to operate the smelter, you can start producing iron bars.

Note that smelting iron ore also produces slag, a waste product that needs to be disposed of. You can designate a garbage dump for your dwarves to throw away unwanted items, including slag.

Step 4: Work the Iron

Now that you have an initial supply of iron bars, it’s time to start using it. Iron can be worked at a variety of workshops, including:

– Forge: use a forge to create weapons, armor, and tools.
– Smelter: use a smelter to refine iron further into steel, which is stronger and more durable than iron.
– Blacksmith’s shop: use this workshop to create more complex items, such as crossbows and traps.

To start working iron, select a dwarf with the appropriate skills and designate the workstation you want them to use. They will pick up the necessary materials and start crafting.

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How much iron do I need to make a fortress?

The amount of iron you need depends on the size of your fortress and what you want to produce. A smaller fortress might only need a few hundred iron bars, while a larger one might require thousands. Start with a small amount and work your way up as you expand your fortress.

What if I can’t find iron?

If you can’t find iron in your current biome, you have a few options. First, you can try trading with other civilizations for iron bars or ore. Second, you can try digging deeper in the hopes of finding more veins of iron. Lastly, you can use magma to create iron. This involves building a magma smelter and melting down certain types of rocks to create iron.

How do I defend my fortress with iron?

Iron weapons and armor are much stronger than their copper or bronze counterparts, so they are essential for defending your fortress against invaders. However, you’ll also need to train your military dwarves and create traps and fortifications to protect your fortress.


Making an iron dwarf fortress requires patience, skill, and a bit of luck. By finding the right biome, digging deep, smelting iron ore, and working the iron, you can create a formidable fortress with a steady supply of weapons, armor, and tools. And with practice and perseverance, you can defend your fortress against all comers. Happy digging!

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