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Author Topic: On mining organics.  (Read 10695 times)


  • Bay Watcher
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On mining organics.
« on: August 13, 2011, 06:04:23 am »


In this paper I present my findings regarding mining goblinite with military consisting of veteran miners. While danger rooms are a viable way of training a military, many overseers refuse to use them. Military trains slowly on its own, and requires good squad management, while miners quickly learn how to use their picks, so investigating their militarization is sound.


A military consisting solely of veteran miners was tested at defending a fortress that run for 7 years. Results and conclusions regarding training and equipping miner squads are presented below. My results are perhaps most useful to Novice to Proficient fortress overseers.


* I assigned any migrants with military skills to mining, and put them into squads once they hit legendary +5. This worked in the long run, but created a few problems, such as too many miners.

* Miners train rather slowly in rock. I recommend strip mining entire Z-levels of soil for tree farms to train miners quickly. A flat embark with deep soil is best for this. Miners will also produce much less excess stone that way.

* I also recommend mining in sections rather than designating large areas, or many separate areas. That way even with DF's inefficient mining jobs assignment Dwarfs won't waste much time on walking. Plus after they finish a section of training, you can order them to mine out something important. If You designate entire Z-level to be strip mined, and need something dug in right lower corner you will wait for a long time, unless You use a burrow.

* Due to how the game allocates Dwarfs to jobs you can have too many miners. 5 is reasonable, anything above 10 is inefficient and more than 15 is just too many. The more miners you have the more they get in each others way. This slows down their training considerably.

* Some ore or otherwise precious resources will be wasted by constant flow of non-legendary miners. This amount doesn't seem to be much, because better miners mine and move faster, and it seems to work alright in the end.

* You Will get much more stone than needed. On the site atom smashers should solve this problem.

* With a significant portion of your population with high skill in mining, moods will ten to be craftsdwarf and mason shop related. Furniture still beats crafts in usefulness tough.

* Long narrow corridors far from main hub, such as exploratory shafts and ore veins designated with digvein kill mining and training speeds with many miners. 2-wide corridors are the worst, as newly revealed mineable tiles will summon additional miners, who will then leave. This process repeats many times and distracts miners far away.

* It is better to disable hauling on diggers to maximize their digging time. Temporary booze and prepared meals stockpiles and dining rooms as well as inactive squads with waterskins may be a good idea too.

* IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO SET ANY MILITARY SQUAD TO ACTIVE/TRAINING AFTER FORMING IT. Squads are inactive by default, and stick to civilian jobs instead of training.

* 3 Dwarf squads seem to train military skills the fastest, while more than 5 usually end up spending their time "waiting for combat demonstration".

* Mining skill trains much faster when mining (especially soil), than when sparring. Therefore I recommend waiting till miners are Legendary +5 before conscripting them. Still, even a basic legendary will hit legendary +5 after a lot of sparring, and high quality weapons add to hit chance anyway.

* Legendary miners are very deadly when fighting. A single miner can quickly kill a goblin ambush and leave some severed parts in the process. Problem is, they are also sensitive to damage, and less expendable than random migrants, so Your next priority should be to give them adequate defenses. Full steel armor, supplemented with leather cloaks and hoods plus some sparring should take care of that. I gave my miners two picks and two shields and they leveled shield user and fighter quickly. If they have any relevant skills, specialized miner squads with additional metal (uses weaponsmithing) crossbows and copper ammunition can potentially be even more deadly. They can soften melee enemies at range, and won't be as vulnerable to engaging the enemy as pure crossbow Dwarfs.

* A single miner of mine successfully mined: badgers, some stacked goblin ambushes and an Ettin without injuries. He later died to my own dodging trap while charging a squad of bow goblins.

* With so much effort You might as well give your miners the best possible weapons. Bronze picks can be made on embark by taking 3 granite, equal amounts of copper ore and cassiterite and +50% bituminous coal. After that masterwork / exceptional steel is the best. Funobtanium picks are rumored to be not as good as steel ones.

* I took a Dwarf with 5 teacher 5 dodge and assertive as my militia commander. He leveled more slowly than my 5 miner, and was just one of many Dwarfs leading demonstrations later. He taught other Dwarfs some dodge and after 7 years has 8 in that skill, but it didn't go as well as I planned. It is probably a good idea to give your starting miners some defensive skills if they are going to be mining organics, tough. I recommend miner 5, dodge 5 because shield user levels quickly anyway, and you'll probably be using good quality shields.

* There seems to be a problem with "Terminator armor" (maxed out amount of protection) plus dual-wielding many weapons and shields. Dwarfs with such uniforms don't wear caps, helmets, mails and plates. I haven't been able to work it out. Decreasing the amount of cloaks and hoods seems to help, tough.

* Some of my miners still died to sieges when heavily outnumbered, but their deadliness was in-par with control group from another fort, that trained in danger rooms.

* Constantly switching trained miners to squads, assigning new miners and designating areas to strip mine is additional micromanagement compared to just forming 3-5 Dwarf squads from migrants and replacing losses.


- You'll get few soldiers that way no matter what you do. In 7 years I was able to get just above 20 legendary + 5 miners. Still, they may be used as elite force and supplemented with migrant recruits, war animals and crossbow Dwarfs.

- You'll get much more mined out areas and stone than reasonably needed.

- It still takes a long time to train miners. Perhaps putting them in inactive squads that can be thrown at sieges in emergency is a good idea during training.

- Some precious ores will be wasted.

- This is a way to get good soldiers with no danger rooms, and only adequate understanding of military training. Getting soldiers to spar is still necessary for defensive skills.

- You will get some legendary miners no matter what, so You might as well use them for military.

Submitting for peer review to Dwarfish Academy of !SCIENCE!.
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On mining Organics
Military guide for FoE mod.
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  • Bay Watcher
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Re: On mining organics.
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2011, 07:42:42 am »

A good, well carried out investigation on a topic which will be helpful to many, congregulations
Wow, that's actually really friggin' awesome looking.
That is brilliant.
That is hilarious, Ashton. I love it.
OMG yes!!!  Thank you!!!

Totally not a narcissist.


  • Bay Watcher
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Re: On mining organics.
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2011, 07:43:04 am »

A little trick for training miners from my 40d days, that'll probably still work in 31.x. If you take a standard 10x10 area and first assign the miner to dig it out as upstairs. He/she will get the experience for that 100 tiles of digging, and if you go through next and have him remove the upstairs, thats another 100 tiles worth of xp. Now go through and downstairs the room. You'll have cleared out the same room 3 times like this for 300 tiles worth of xp, and also generate only 1 rooms worth of stone instead of 3. This works really well with a 10x10 obsidian generator room.

And furthermore. If you upstairs the room below the first one you dug next, and then go and channel the downstairs of the room above it. You can get xp for digging the room 4 times. I know this works in 40d, but I haven't really had any need to train the miners faster than usual since then. But thought I'd let you know in case you wanted to try it out.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2011, 07:45:04 am by Patchy »


  • Bay Watcher
  • Playing DF since 18.08.2010
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Re: On mining organics.
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2011, 08:26:15 am »

I just checked what Patchy wrote, and indeed it works. You can designate a square for upward stairway, remove them, then make downward stairway, and then even channel it out. Every one of those tasks will give an increase in mining skill. A great way for leveling without a massive amount of stone!
Build a grid of floor grates above the entire city. Draft a squadron of masons and bomb the crap out of the city with falling constructed walls.
The Geneva Convention would like to have a word with you.
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  • Bay Watcher
  • King of the HFS & only man to win v0.31.25
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Re: On mining organics.
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2011, 09:43:57 am »

Your findings lack sufficient magma usage for Dwarven !!Science!!

Still a very well planned-out and detailed experiment though.

Urist Da Vinci

  • Bay Watcher
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Re: On mining organics.
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2011, 10:30:31 am »

Your findings lack sufficient magma usage for Dwarven !!Science!!

Still a very well planned-out and detailed experiment though.

My take on dwarven science is that it doesn't need magma, just:
a) Proper scientific testing and results
b) Hilarious cruelty and suffering
Both elements must be present.

i.e. I tested both ballistae and noob diagnosers/surgeons by setting up a ballista at the end of a crowded meeting hall. The wounds generated were more interesting than dropping a dwarf a few z-levels to injure them.


  • Bay Watcher
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Re: On mining organics.
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2011, 10:50:04 am »

i.e. I tested both ballistae and noob diagnosers/surgeons by setting up a ballista at the end of a crowded meeting hall. The wounds generated were more interesting than dropping a dwarf a few z-levels to injure them.
You Monster. It's so sad that ballistae are basically useless without this kind of concentration of targets.
They're nearly as bad as badgers. Build a couple of anti-buzzard SAM sites marksdwarf towers and your fortress will look like Baghdad in 2003 from all the aerial bolt spam. You waste a lot of ammo and everything is covered in unslightly exploded buzzard bits and broken bolts.