I'm quite new to dwarf fortress and trying to make my way thru it. I read most of the utterly newby guide and want to go. Now, I'm trying to make the preparations. In the item menu, it seems that i cannot take an Iron anvil with me. I know I have enough points but the anvil just won't appear in the menu. If i free 300 points, I can get a Steel Anvil tho. What's happening? alt text

  • Can you take a screen cap? Show that you don't have an iron anvil and make sure your remaining points are visible. Not that I don't believe you have enough points, it's just a screenshot will make it more clear what's going on.
    – Sadly Not
    Nov 19, 2010 at 17:14
  • lol, i dont have enough rep to do that... 10 needed If I get to 300P free, the anvil section appears with only steel anvil in it. Nov 19, 2010 at 17:24
  • I can't say I'm enough of a Dwarf Fortress expert to know why it wouldn't appear, it's always worked for me. The default embark used to set you up with an iron anvil. +1 in the meantime because I'm curious if someone can figure out what's going on.
    – Sadly Not
    Nov 19, 2010 at 17:35
  • Thx man, I added the requested screenshot Nov 19, 2010 at 18:38
  • 2
    @Alexandre I'd guess it's an interesting feature of your civ (no iron anvils). What version are you running?
    – C. Ross
    Nov 19, 2010 at 19:13

3 Answers 3


Finally, I surrendered. I just changed the embark location and it did the trick. I would think that because it was near a volcano and it had high cliffs, maybe my dwarves could not carry stuff as heavy as iron. (I could not bring iron bars either).

  • 3
    The types of wood available, at least, depend on your civilization. If you picked a different civilization the 2nd time, it's conceivable that the first had no access to iron, and the other didn't. (Because of the way reactions are handled, you can get steel even without iron) Nov 23, 2010 at 16:35
  • How do we exactly "pick" a civilisation? Do you mean the embark stuff? Nov 23, 2010 at 17:55
  • 1
    yeah, push tab a bunch and you should see a list of civs to choose from. Nov 24, 2010 at 2:12
  • in the embark screen, if you press Tab a few times, you will see a list of civilizations to choose from. Nov 24, 2010 at 2:13

I wonder if it's because your parent civilization didn't have an iron resource next to it. I wonder if an item won't be provided to your wagon from your parent civ if they themselves don't have access to the resource. Where you able to select ANY iron items?


Once in a while, a dwarven civilization won't have access to iron at all. If this happens to your "parent" civilization, you won't be able to take any iron items during embark, particularly including anvils. However, dwarven civilizations are guaranteed to have steel, always, even if they don't have iron. (No, this doesn't make sense, just get over it.) This affects equipment other than anvils, but anvils are the only thing anyone cares about, because there are so few things they can be made out of.

If you find yourself in this situation, the thing to do is change which civilization you're from, by pressing Tab several times until you see the list of dwarven civs. By default, it picks the one whose current capital is closest to your embark location, but you can always change it (although it's recommend that you pick one that's at least connected to you overland, or you won't get migrants after year 2). Changing your embark location has the same effect, if you pick somewhere near a different civilization. Embarking without an anvil is possible, but it makes your life harder: you have to hope the first dwarven caravan brings one (they usually do, but sometimes not), and make sure you can afford it.

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