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Dwarf Fortress Guide

A quick adventure mode guide.

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Dwarf Fortress is It Rocks!
It Rocks!
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In order to follow this guide you will need to download Dwarf Fortress. Please click the green button below.

Dwarf Fortress is an incredibly complex game, and it's not helped by the fact that there are multiple game modes that are both feature-ridden enough to make its own game. Even worse, the controls are ridiculously laid out, with even the most hardcore and most experienced gamers will have issues with them. Take a look at this guide to get your toes wet in Dwarf Fortress's adventure mode!

1. Get acquainted with the controls

This is critical to your enjoyment of Dwarf Fortress. It's crucial to have the keys necessary for gameplay trained down to muscle memory. For instance, there's the very simple and straightforward Esc to go back or open the menu, arrow keys to move the cursor, and enter to select the correct option. However, there are also plus and minus signs to alternate menu key selection, k to talk to people, t to throw an item, capital T to open the fast travel menu, and everything in between. It'll take a while, but you have to get used to these controls so you aren't interrupting your own flow every couple seconds looking at a controls reference.

2. Starting off

No matter where you start off in, you'll want to talk to nearby people and Inquire about any troubles to start embarking on some quests. There are a couple of different types of quests, but the best quest type for an adventurer who's just starting off is the vermin missions, as they're weak in combat. If you need directions and the person who you're talking to knows where to go, then you should Ask for directions while you're there.

Traveling slowly around the world will take far too long, so get used to pressing T for the fast travel screen. Pressing m will zoom out the map to help you navigate throughout the world even better.

In the start, you'll want to find some companions to watch your back, as you're not exactly a hardened fighter yet. Go look for some at a fortress, tavern, or a mead hall. Make sure to Ask listener to join you, not lead you around the world. In the beginning, you'll only be able to command two followers, but that's more than enough.

3. Hunger, thirst, and exhaustion

You'll get hungry and thirsty after some time, which is very straightforward. To eat people, you just press e and select some food. There are a ton of ways to find food - MeatFruitsCertain plants, and simply exploring human and dwarf sites. To find something to drink, drink fresh water directly from rivers, wells from cities and villages, snow, or even drink blood.

Your character also gets tired. Once you're tired, you need to go into a settlement of some sort, go into a building, and press Z to bring up the sleep menu. If it's a private house, you'll need to ask for permission. If someone's blocking you from entering, then you can press s to crawl under his legs, and then s again to stand back up.

4. Fighting

Once you're ready, pressing Q will give you a list of the events, where you can press z to zoom in on the current target. When you actually get in the first, you should wait by pressing . or , to wait for the opponent to approach you so you can get first strike. If you're getting shot at, then put a tree or a hill between you and them.

For your first fight, you're frankly pretty useless. You should let your companions approach them. If they die, you can press g and take his stuff, then find another follower later. If you don't think you can take the fight anymore, then you should retreat and come back later.

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