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If I was to build a turret defence along my fortress perimeter, how high could I make it before my stationed dwarves armed with ranged weapons couldn't engage a target on the ground?

Corollary: does the range at which they can shoot from, in both x/y and z-levels, increase with their skill in archery, marksdwarfship and bowmanship?

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I think they can only shoot 45 degrees down when standing next to a fortification, so there would be a safe zone for enemies around the tower as wide as the fortifications are high. Beyond that I do not know, but they seem to engage from about 20-30 tiles away. – kotekzot Apr 22 '12 at 18:14
I have now realised that some entities in the world can actually climb a 1-high wall! So remember to dig your moats deep and build your walls high. – Lewis Norton May 29 '15 at 14:27
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The range of dwarfs does increase with skill, which means that the max tower height is dependent on your dwarfs skills. I feel that the range varies from around 20-50 horizontally. Can't really cite this, just going on my experience. Maximum range would be roughly 50 tiles vertically and 50 horizontally. I seem to remember reading that range is based on horizontal distance. That is, shooting 50 tiles forward is no different from shooting 50 forward and 50 vertically.

If you have Legendary+5 marksdwarves, a 40+tower might work... but only hit things 40+ tiles from your tower. The most efficient fortification is only 1-2 Z-levels tall.

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