How do I collect rocks etc that are laying about in tunnels I've dug in Dwarf Fortress?

  • C. Ross makes a good point: are you collecting them for useful purposes or just trying to make your fortress neat and tidy?
    – JavadocMD
    Jul 9, 2010 at 22:09
  • 3
    could you make the title in the form of a question?
    – juan
    Jul 9, 2010 at 22:38
  • 3
    @Juan the title field is generally accepted to be a phrase. There's a field called 'question' for the actual question. regardless, done; it earns more votes. Jul 31, 2010 at 12:23

6 Answers 6


Turn them into rock blocks (since a lot of blocks will go into a single bin in a storage room and that's much neater). Clearing every stone takes a long time, but you can clear certain areas using burrows:

  1. Designating a burrow over the area you want to clear.
  2. Select a lowly mason who will be your exclusive stone block maker and assign him to the burrow.
  3. Build a mason's workshop inside the burrow.
  4. Use the profiles screen on the workshop to restrict the dwarves that can work there to your chosen mason. (You'll need to have a manager for this.)
  5. Set make rock blocks to repeat!

Your lowly mason will dutifully go about their business selecting only stone from the burrow and will automatically take breaks to sleep and eat, so this is a pretty low-maintenance method.

  • Can a rock block be used for anything a rock ore can? plus, that's a lot of work as opposed to just a quantum stockpile.
    – RCIX
    Jul 9, 2010 at 23:52
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    while not as effcient as a quantum stockpile, it is a non-trick/bug/cheat way. Jul 10, 2010 at 0:16
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    Rock blocks can not be used as ore. They do, however, make for much nicer constructions when used to make walls, stairs, workshops, roads, bridges, etc.
    – Shadur
    May 29, 2011 at 11:53

another method is using the quantum storage trick/bug/cheat

first, create a 1x1 refuse zone(i, move to were you want it, Enter, Enter) and designate it as garbage zone.
Now, you can select the area (any size) to dump in that zone (d, b, d) All items selected in the area will be hauled into that zone.

now, if you want to reclaim all the items in this zone, you can do it by using d, b, c, Enter, Enter right on that zone

  • @Javadoc: after you made the zone, did you use I to hover over it and designate it a garbage dump with g? otherwise it won't work.
    – RCIX
    Jul 9, 2010 at 23:55
  • My mistake: this apparently does work in v0.31.08. Must've done something wrong when I tried it before.
    – JavadocMD
    Jul 10, 2010 at 0:41
  • Works well for me in 31.10 as well
    – Meff
    Jul 15, 2010 at 17:38
  • this doesn't work for me. d->b->i does nothing; i isn't a menu option. Aug 16, 2010 at 21:55
  • i->size->r doesn't work either; r isn't a menu option. Aug 16, 2010 at 21:57

Yet another option is to just hide the stones via d -> b-> h. This only doesn't display the stones anymore, but they're still there! Best used if you want your fortress to look nice quickly, without generating any jobs.

  • ..interesting.. Aug 17, 2010 at 15:07
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    Jobs are good! Gotta keep the economy running! ... Well, once Toady gets around to reimplementing the economy, that is.
    – Shadur
    Jun 16, 2011 at 18:35
  • @Shadur In the meantime, it keeps them from throwing parties, I think. But then, I never bother with defining meeting rooms; thus preventing the whole problem in the first place.
    – yatima2975
    Jun 17, 2011 at 1:30

Designate a stone stockpile (p,s). Your dwarves will automatically move any available stone to those.

  • Which isn't too handy if you use a legendary miner to dig out the room where you're going to put your stone stockpile! :) The other options are sandy rooms or outside, but outside is a source of Fun.
    – JavadocMD
    Jul 9, 2010 at 22:06
  • I agree, it doesn't handle all your rocks, but it's the basic method for collecting rocks.
    – C. Ross
    Jul 9, 2010 at 22:08
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    I like to make a stone stockpile outside when I'm working on my outer walls. Let the haulers fill it up first, then build with the stones and let it be refilled in the meantime.
    – yatima2975
    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:34
  • Though this is old: I think this is The Right Answer: dwarves will apparently hop to it (clearing stones) if there is a very nearby stockpile, even if they've been ignoring the stones for a while already.
    – Ryan Reich
    Jul 21, 2014 at 20:17

Usually I use the quantum storage method, with an atom smasher to clean up the mess, but there are some other tricks:

  • To clean out a storage room, build a catapult and have it hurl rocks at the wall. That way you're also training your siege operator. They can be a bit silly about where they get the rocks, but usually they'll take the closest one.

  • Build floors where your rocks are, out of the same kind of rocks. Unfortunately this needs a little bit of micromanagement, as dwarves will suspend a job as blocked if the spot has a stone on top of it which is earmarked for a different floor square. But they'll still do most of them, and you can go back and clean up the suspended jobs later.

  • If you're willing to waste some Z-space, build your rooms or tunnels by channeling, then build floors, The rocks will fall to the level below, and you'll have a nice clean area. (You've now got a space below with 2 rocks in it, but it's out of the way.)

Remember that if you have stones marked for dumping, they won't be moved by dwarves trying to construct on the site.

  • 2
    "They can be a bit silly" should be the unofficial motto of DF, come to think of it. "They can be a bit silly" about running into a goblin siege to retrieve refuse... "They can be a bit silly" about carrying babies into combat... "They can be a bit silly" about running to the booze stockpile while !!on fire!!...
    – Scott
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:53

Similar to the quantum stock pile, I placed a refuse zone over a pond and it seams the items dumped there fall to the bottom.

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