In Dwarf Fortress I managed to do something annoying.

I dug away my only stair case leading out of my dungeon by mistake, and didn't build a new one.

My only miner died (of starvation I presume) down in the mines. All the dwarfs are now trapped on the surface. I tried making them into miners and make them dig. But they wouldn't dig, presuming because they didn't have any pickaxes.

I tried building a forge because I didn't have the correct materials. The only anvil is below the surface with my dead miner and his pick ax.

Is there any way to save my poor Dwarf settlement?

  • Couldn't you build a stair with wood or rock?
    – BackStaB
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 13:36
  • @BackStaB Heh, great minds think alike!
    – SaintWacko
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 13:37
  • wait it out and hope a miner migrates to your settlement
    – Paralytic
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 17:27

5 Answers 5


You can redeem this, provided you have access to wood or building materials, in a simple and elegant manner that shouldn't take too long.

The Concept

You can use construction materials (wood or stone or glass or soap or metal) to construct staircases (rather than dig them).

build, Constructions - specifically up, down, and up/down staircases as needed. Make sure you have a dwarf with the relevant labour enabled (carpentry for wood, smithing for metal, or masonry for anything else). Dwarves are able to stand on a downward staircase and construct an up or up/down staircase in the empty space below.

Once there's a route down to your dead dwarf, you'll be able to get to his pick, and a new dwarf can start mining. You may have to unforbid the pick, and his other belongings, as it may have been automatically forbidden upon death. If you're feeling really nice, you can entomb him.

Getting Material

If you need construction material, deconstruct workshops as needed. If you still have your starting wagon, deconstruct it for 3 logs. If you have an axe, you can have a woodcutter gather you some fresh tree.

I Have no Axe

First of all, never admit this. Secondly, we can fix this, as long as you have 1 log and 1 building material (which can be another log). If you've still got your wagon, it's got everything you need.

Build a carpentry workshop and make a wooden training axe from the log. It's not an impressive weapon, but a dwarf will still be able to fell a tree with it. There are trees nearby, right?


If you haven't got your pick back yet, I don't know how to help. Good luck!


Tell your dwarves to cut down some trees, then have them build stairs out of wood in order to regain access to the mine.


If you don't have an axe, but still have your wagon, you have a chance as well. You can break down your wagon into wood, build a carpenter's workshop, then build a training axe. Training axes can cut down trees, giving you access to more wood.


How about trading, if you have the right people? If not, wait for migrants. Also, there's a yearly trader. When he comes around, buy some picks. Other than that, cheat or restart.
I have the same problem and am currently waiting for the trader


Without cheating your way out of this your only hope is to create a wooden fort (you do have an axe still, right?) and hope to hold out until the first caravan. They usually have an anvil and metal bars with them, and often also pick axes so you don't have to build your own at first. If that's missing ... you can always try to order those things from the mountainhome liaison and hope you can survive another year.

If you don't have an axe available, you're done for. Abandon the fort or cheat.

In any case, the chances to survive the first year got significantly worse now.

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