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Author Topic: Rethinking embark skills  (Read 8961 times)

gchristopher

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2016, 10:28:03 pm »

Others have pointed out that this has been extensively discussed.

Embark is a chance (and for many games, the only chance) to load up on skills that are difficult to train later. (Caveat, I play with rust off, because micromanaging everyone's rust levels is way too time-consuming.)

5 of 7 dwarves will start with +5 skill in architect, because it's extremely difficult to level, but used frequently. Those architect points could be all you see for the rest of the game. I think this point is under-emphasized in most embark plans.

A large number of skills are easy to train (or avoid needing) and can be ignored at embark, including mining, woodcutting, and military skills. (Reasoning there: for any truly nasty embark, one or two low-skill militia aren't going to make the difference, and for any easier embark, you don't need a decent military so soon as to spend embark points on it.)

The other major concern is that each dwarf has (or plans to have) a moodable skill that you want for them. That's the real race, to get as big a percentage of your dwarves with a desirable highest moodable skill so you start to rack up useful artifacts and legendary skills. Since your embark form 7 of the 20 that will be eligible for moods first, that's worth considering.

Especially useful are miner, mason, and carpenter artifacts, for the chance at indestructable doors and hatches that create good options for dealing with building destroyers.

Here's a possible buildout:
4 Negotiator, 3 Judge of Intent, 1 Appraise, 1 Consoler, 1 Pacifier (Needs to be a dwarf with personality matching the skills. No moodable skill, this dwarf can mine. The social skills are probably not needed.)
5 Architect, 5 glassmaker (If sand is available and you want to buy out the first caravan.)
5 Mechanic, 2 Diagnostician, 1 Surgeon, 1 Suturer, 1 Bone Doctor (The medical skills other than diagnoser are really optional.)
5 architect, 3 weaponsmith, 1 grower, 1 cook (mood on weapons, practice farming immediately)
5 architect, 3 armorsmith, 1 grower, 1 brewer (mood on armor, practice farming immediately)
5 architect, 5 carpenter (can be a woodcutter early)
5 architect, 5 mason (can be a woodcutter early)

A lot of the chosen skills are luxury choices (glassmaker, mechanic, cook, brewer, carpenter, mason) that are easily trained, but are what that dwarf will be trained in eventually, so they may as well start with some skill. Each is one less dwarf that needs trained into a desired moodable skill.

feelotraveller mentioned herbalist as an early pick. That could be good. The plus side is more reliable immediate plant gathering. The downside is that once you have even one or two surface seeds, your farmers can rapidly multiply them, so herbalist doesn't have much use after the very early game. For a really nasty embark where you need to turtle up fast, that could be the difference that gets you something critical like rope reed or hemp right away.
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Findulidas

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2016, 02:45:07 am »

Architect is a terribly annoying skill to level, however I find it almost useless. I usually build at most one bridge per fort and perhaps one or two screwpumps. Paved roads dont seem to make dwarves happy regardless of quality level. That leaves furnaces which alone dont do much to the fort at all. Architect dont speed up the building speed either. So really its fairly useless. Having architect on all or even one of your starting dwarves is a complete loss imo. So many other skills that make things better or faster.

I would also disagree on the fact that growing isnt useful. Having a leveled grower means much more food from each grown plant and less losses. The dwarf will also plant a lot quicker which means one higher leveled grower does the work of seven or so lower leveled ones in the end. It also actually saves a lot of work overall in your fort due to it already being a huge stack. Really the article on grower in df wiki explains in greater detail. Not to mention if you only have a few fiber for clothes and a sudden need a grower with high skills can be a huge help.

I prefer to have a carpenter, a mason and a stonecrafter. These skills used to be really good since masterwork items made a huge diffrence in the happiness of dwarves, so having you fort filled to the brim with masterwork items were really nice. Now its not as significant although still useful. Not to mention speed is a factor, the quicker they are the less dwarves you need to work in the field.

Carpenter Im still going to keep though since making wooden spiked balls and selling them to the merchant is just too easy. You can easily take everything he has from twenty or so masterworked spiked balls. And then having masterwork beds, bins and cages makes dwarves happy.

I also enjoying having two good miners since I usually have an elaborate plan to get down to the magma and cut channels which I build magma furnaces and such on. This needs to be worked on asap because it takes time to adequately find out where the edges of the surface sticks out while still having mined out materials, rooms, legendary dining rooms etc.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2016, 02:50:48 am by Findulidas »
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Zuglarkun

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2016, 07:31:23 am »

Here's my default starting seven:

5 Teacher, 5 Armor user (Future military commander melee squad, enable woodcutting and carpenter on embark)
5 Teacher, 5 Dodger (Future militia captain ranged squad, manager)
5 Armorsmith, 5 Animal trainer (hauler, enable wood burning on embark)
5 Weaponsmith, 5 Brewer (hauler, enable furnace operating on embark)
5 Mechanics, 5 Building designer (bookkeeper)
5 Diagnostician, 5 Mason (CMD, broker, enable mining on embark)
5 Herbalist, 5 Grower (farmhand)

For me, this setup fills in all the key noble appointments right from the start, bonus to this setup is that if you get a mood early on, 4/7 times its likely to be something useful.

I need a mechanic and masonry early on so that I have the option to bunker down and focus on building right from the get go. Mechanics is also handy in the event I wish to shoot for the caverns and magma sea early on to get cavern water or get started on a metalworks. The 2 teachers are put into a single squad to cross train each other, later on they lead their own squads and make great military instructors. Diagnostician, building designer, animal trainer, dodger and armor user are all difficult to train early on so they are here to give myself a headstart on training these skills. Herbalist is a useful backup in case you run out of food or drink.

I really only consider grower and herbalist as essential with mechanics coming in a close third. The first two contribute greatly to your survival, and mechanics ensures I don't get swamped by !!FUN!! I'm not prepared to face, as long as the embark is not hostile from the get go.

Mostali

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2016, 11:12:40 am »

I embark with bare bones skills -
1 planter, usually proficient
1 diagnoser, usually only adequate
1 leader, adequate judge of intent, organize, appraise, bookkeeping.

I've even gone with less, but that usually means bad things.  For example, if no one has appraise then you're trading blindly.  And no skill farmers deplete your seed stock until they get skill up.

Everything else can be learned on the job.
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Findulidas

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2016, 12:48:06 pm »

Everything else can be learned on the job.

Basically yeah, but I think this is more about optimizing the points you have than going with as little as you could.

I mean you could easily go with only one pick and one axe and go from there. Ive done so several times in the past and it has worked, even on evil glacial embarks (fun). Its a diffrent way of playing.
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Niddhoger

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2016, 05:20:25 pm »

Eh? Why do people bother bringing a cook on embark? Quality of meals is meaningless outside of trading, and most foods are edible raw.  I usually don't bother with a cook until the second year when I have nothing else to assign a dwarf, and would like to stretch existing food supplies (seed cooking) to meet the needs of a burgeoning population.  You don't even want to buy out the first caravan, anyway.  Most of it is junk and you typically don't have the population to quickly sort through the haul without suspending the rest of your operations.  Then when massively overproducing wealth, you get earlier attacks before your military is firmly established.  And naturally, you get swarmed with more migrants that you then have to scramble to accommodate. 

I usually take a single miner, as I hate making dirt forts and don't want to delay carving out my stone halls.  I also don't like leaving huge empty spaces carved out of the dirt.  Sometimes s/he is also my mason.  When new migrants come I'll shift either mining or masonry to another dorf.  I don't like keeping the bottleneck of having the two together.

I then take a social dwarf with appraiser that I want to be my administrator/mayor, mostly because pissant cheesemongers coming in later waves becoming mayor pisses me off.

A pair of smiths.  Weapon/armorsmithing both require much work to level and are very important to the fort.

Sometimes I take a doctor instead of an armorsmith.  Armorsmiths have much more work to do than weaponsmiths, and thus level up quicker without grinding.

Grower or herbalist.  Unless the area is evil/low on vegetation, I'll tend to take the herbalist..  In an area with high vegetation, an herbalist will massively outperform a grower early on- and then there are the fruit trees on top of that...  I'll either get a farmer in a future wave, or just pick someone to level up farming later. 

Then, a mason/architect/mechanic

Finally, a carpenter/woodcutter.

P.S. how are cave crocs even remotely a threat? Just don't enter the caverns without some traps in the entrance, then set up a "croc catching station" where you place a smashable item (junk wooden door?) behind a wall of traps somewhere else.  Crocs/trolls will make a beeline for it and get snared.
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Mostali

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2016, 07:17:38 pm »

Everything else can be learned on the job.
Basically yeah, but I think this is more about optimizing the points you have than going with as little as you could.

I still spend all my points, I just prefer to bring more supplies.
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Bradders

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2016, 03:28:33 pm »

TL;DR; another skill rant, mining/masonry/growing/armorsmithing are of utmost embark importance.

The skills that consume valuable resources, produce goods with quality modifiers, skills that are difficult to train, or skills that save large quantities of time are the msot valuable to embark with points spent in.  Moodable skills are another fair consideration to make. 

Everything else, though, can go un-invested.  Milling, threshing, pressing,  brewing, cooking, cheesing, woodcutting, furnace operatin', wood burning, potash/lye/soap,  anything animal related, all fishing, spinning, bee industry, paper industry, gem cutting (but not setting!) all can be completely and utterly ignored.  Likely that Stone/Bone/Woodcrafting can also be ignored, as some dorf will inevitably end up with one of these mooded by happenstance, unless you savescum. 

Mining is excruciatingly slow to train at level 0 mining stone, the difference in mining speed is staggering, but it's the only non-quality-producing skill that is in constant use, and not having enough miningpower can drastically slow down your fort's progress and safety.

Building Design/Architecture is a necessity to have enabled, for sure, but it's a skill that doesn't need to be skilled up until you actually want to make opulent structures for meeting areas and the like, and then, only a single dwarf needs to bother.  It can be trained, in a somewhat cheaty fashion, by locking an apprentice architect in a room full of boulders/blocks and having him repeatedly design rows and rows of archery targets, and then tearing them down after design and before construction stage.  Just make sure he isn't allowed to be a mason whilst doing this.  It is still a bit tedious so I start with it maxed on a single dwarf, and usually enable archi on a number of others, just to get the fort moving, but once it's time to !!DECORATE!!, it's this dwarf's time to shine.

Carpentry seems to level exceedingly quickly, probably because logs are so light that each job takes a small amount of time, and can be left to level naturally from 0.  A mason who gets to work with Jet stone might level at a similar pace, but this is unreliable.  Glassmaking and Pottery can be trained completely for free in ideal conditions, and produce the same goods as other crafts and can be ignored.  The clothing industry can produce goods of incredible value, but it's also spread out over 3 quality based crafts, Weaving + Dyeing + Clothsmaking, and clothing dwarves is not a concern in the early couple years of a fort, and can be ignored at the start.  Leatherworking produces only a single item whose quality matters, leather armor, everything else can be made by a tailor, and once you've gotten the caravan to bring you a bin or two of every available kind of leather, you'll be swimming in mats to level it with;  it can be ignored.  Stone detailing is irrelevant early.  Bowyer would be important, if you couldn't make crossbows with weaponsmithing, but yeah.  Ignore.

All of that leaves a few core skills: masonry, planting/herbing, weapon/armorsmithing, and mining as top-tier importance skills.  Gem setting, weaving/tailoring/dyeing, and blacksmithing/metalcrafting are a set of similarly difficult skills to train, but have much lower importance than the top-tier.  Also required are 1 point each in Appraisal, Judge of Intent, and Diagnoser.

I even say that weaponsmithing can be ignored, save for a sole point on the planter for mooding purposes; I am going to churn out metal bolts and metal spiked balls and trap components by the minecartfull at some point.  All of my other starting dwarves have something moodable;  mining/mining/carpentry/masonry/armorsmithing/planterweaponsmith/whatever the hunter gets, maybe bowyer, maybe leatherworking, hopefully not woodcrafting.
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Tacomagic

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2016, 06:24:23 pm »

Part of the outlook on what I would put in a starting set is based on two things:

1) Are you doing an evil embark
2) Are you going to exploit infinite smelt loops?

If you answered no to the first one, then starting skills are largely unimportant.  Having level 5 mining on a dorf or two and maybe a herbalist can be handy to get things going a little faster, but, ultimately, if you're not doing an evil embark, you can do perfectly fine without any skills whatsoever.  I do this quite often, honestly, and it's only a difference of maybe a season while waiting for my unskilled miners to get trained up.  That being the case, you're actually better off planning for material shortfalls by bringing ore, food, or equipment.  Military skills can help a little if you're going to rush a cavern 3 breach, but, ultimately, a miner with a steel pick and some armor is often enough to keep incidental cave nasties at bay.

Evil embarks mix this up a bit.  While +5 military units are unlikely to allow you to live on the surface to any great degree, they can make it more likely that you survive long enough to get everyone underground.  This is more true now that the undead are not nearly as indestructible as they used to be.  For evil embarks I'd highly recommend earmarking 3 or 4 of your dwarves as military units off the bat that can be demobilized once everyone is underground.  A few levels of dodging on each dwarf can save the odd one of them, but you're probably better off using those points for early equipment or materials to help get some industry and training programs going.

On the second point, if you're not going to abuse endless smelt cycles, then starting with at least one of each of the metalworking skills at +5 can save you a not inconsequential amount of materials, which can be pretty key if you're doing an embark at a site that's either mineral poor, or missing something (For some reason I only see Iron in about one out of every ten embarks; probably related to my love of staring in areas with aquifers).

I generally don't abuse the smelting glitch, so my non-evil, non-challenge embark will usually look like this:
1 Blacksmith
1 MetalCrafter
1 Armorsmith
1 Weaponsmith

The rest spent on ore, animals, or booze.  Generally two of those four become miners and the other two generalist crafters, though usually one mason/mechanic and the other a carpenter or such. The three unskilled join the military.  I usually don't worry about food/booze production until the first migration and hauling usually waits until at least the second, though usually I wait until all the mooks show up in the spring.

Evil biomes look like this:
2 Axedwarf
2 Macedwarf
1 Armorsmith \ Miner
1 Weaponsmith \ Miner

All the military dwarves also have some points in dodge and armor.  Upon embark I mobilize all four of the military dwarves and, if nothing is immediately threatening, I send them after anything they're likely to be able to kill as practice.  That generally is enough to make sure the miners get a safe-area set up and everything moved inside.  Once everything is secure, the military is demobilized and jobs assigned as needed.
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Corona688

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2016, 06:46:17 pm »

I'm now quite impressed by the results of giving everyone 'adequate' dodging at bare minimum.  The caverns had to be breached for water and wood, resulting in a giant toad, a cave crocodile, and a gaggle of extremely lost goats.  Kobolds also have been bold.  Nobody's had worse than bruises, they just keep jumping until the axedwarves arrive and clean up.  Usually they'd be dead before I could summon help.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 06:51:28 pm by Corona688 »
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Linkxsc

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2016, 09:47:50 pm »

Personally i prefer spending my embark points on supplies rather than skills. As bringing along enough ore to make some steel weapons and bronze armor (with resulting silver from tetrahedrite going to hammers) tends to get me a lot farther than 5 woodcutting. Know what i mean?

For embark skills though. I take the least moody person, and give them manager, social, and trading related skills, they also end up the bookkeeper.
If anyone has a weapon metal preferance, they start with a fewbpoints in weapon and armor smithing.
and someone starts on 5 farming, so they can quickly build up the seed stock. This isnt "important" per se. But Ive found it useful.

Past that i might have 1 or 2 soldiers. But everything like mining, woodcut, mason, carpenter, assorted craftings... early on, they really dont need the quality bonuses that much. Instead i bring along a lot of starting milk, birds, and sand.
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Bradders

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2016, 11:41:05 pm »

Personally i prefer spending my embark points on supplies rather than skills. As bringing along enough ore to make some steel weapons and bronze armor (with resulting silver from tetrahedrite going to hammers) tends to get me a lot farther than 5 woodcutting. Know what i mean?

For embark skills though. I take the least moody person, and give them manager, social, and trading related skills, they also end up the bookkeeper.

That's what I'm saying - ain't nobody need ANY social skill whatsoever, except for a single point each in Appraisal and Judge of Intent for your broker, so you can see what you're trading.  Woodcutting is likewise worthless.  Carpentry levels fast enough to ignore.  All those points can go into 4 Malachite + 4 Cassiterite, and bam there's 3-4 dwarves worth of armor and weapons right out of the gate.  A single Limonite and two Chalk (both the lightest of their respecive material) starts your steel production, if you aren't squeamish about arcane metal alchemy loops.  Save extra embark points with a training axe instead of copper, and by bringing raw plump helmets rather than booze and plump helmet seeds.

How many is 'a lot of birds'?  I bring 6 turkey hens and 2 gobblers, and the ~72 eggs from them per season is more than enough to keep the initial dwarves fed basically forever.
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Corona688

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2016, 02:38:55 am »

Save extra embark points with a training axe instead of copper
Please note that this can be a problem in a crocodile infested jungle.  :D
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Findulidas

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2016, 03:11:33 am »

Everything else can be learned on the job.
Basically yeah, but I think this is more about optimizing the points you have than going with as little as you could.

I still spend all my points, I just prefer to bring more supplies.

Yeah, but the points spent on skills easily makes the dwarves outproduce anything you can bring with those points. Specially since steel and such are so very expensive. Im not saying that embarking without skilled dwarves isnt fun (or fun) and its more satisfactory when you build everything including skills yourself. Its not optimal though. Examples:

Good miners mine so much faster than without skills (including ore, gems, rooms, down to the magma you name it) that it will significantly stall you fort without them. Unlike most other skills mining also seem to get faster to level the higher the skill they have (excluding 5+ and so). So that if you start with good miners they will be legendary much quicker than unskilled.

The carpenter alone can produce enough products to trade the merchants for everything they got. So you can just ask for whatever you need including steel items (just let him make about every fifth item a trap weapon). If they arent of the type you need, dont worry just smelt them and let your armorsmith create something nice out of them. Also a good way of getting meat, fish, berries, seeds to mix the food up. Its much quicker to trade it from a merchant than to collect it yourself. All those masterwork items he produces will also give happy thoughts, sometimes much needed in the beginning.

If you are planning to do something big with your fort (or letting each dwarf have decent rooms plus a legendary dining room) then a good mason is invaluable. Specially if you are building a castle or something along those lines because blocks are so much lighter than stones. Until he has a decent level the mason is sooo slow as well. Making doors everywhere will take forever and you will be missing a lot of happy thoughts from not having masterworked items for some time.

A good armorsmith saves a lot in both time (both spending before hes trained and all items that must be hauled before he is) and resources to train the armorsmith up, if you dont have access to magma yet cos you didnt have good miners then its even more so. Same with weaponsmith obviously. Of course masterwork items are far superior to the ones you get from goblins/at embark (that 3x hit/deflect is huge) and having a leveled armorsmith/weaponsmith increases the chance greatly.

Always lacking pots/barrels? Embark with a stonecrafter. He will make barrels out of rocks, which you should have lots of. He can double as a jewelcrafter a skill sometimes not used much, but when it comes to trading with elves its always neat to have higher value cut gems or just some extra value in a pinch. If you want to level him on rock you get so much low value clutter.

Do you want traps built quickly and weapontraps that work? You need a good mechanic. Good mechanisms decrease the risk of weapontraps getting stuck (which makes your idiot dwarves try to go out and unstuck them). It also increases the speed between each activation and the activation speed of traps, levers, pressure plates you name it. In addition if you are going for a fort with maximum value (some say the dwarviest of forts) then masterwork mechanisms are very valuable. A personal experience is also that masterwork mechanisms seem to produce a lot of happy thoughts, no idea why. Perhaps its the endless row of traps in my entrances.

A clothier might seem like a fairly useless skill, but infact masterwork clothes are worth quite a lot. If you want to trade with elves or dont have anything else to trade with merchants then having few piles of masterwork lightweight clothes can actually pretty easily trade for much of what they have. Not to mention the obvious fact that sooner or later you need to have a constant production of clothes and bags, a skilled clothier helps with this.

And so on....
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SirFinbar

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Re: Rethinking embark skills
« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2016, 01:18:05 pm »

You have pointed out to me the complexities in DF embark profiles. God bless this glorious game!
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