I have read a few Q&A on building a chute/shaft in the context of moving ore faster to smelters etc. I would like to build a 1x1 chute for captured enemies which sit in some cages. They would fall all the way down to the caves, somewhat unharmed. The goal would be to populate some cave levels and have the beasts/animals/enemies fight it out, which I find entertaining1.

So I wouldn't want to have to operate a series of traps with levers to make them fall "in stages" or what not. Is it possible to conceive such a forgiving chute? And if so, how?

1 A long time ago I watched this video where I saw two forgotten beasts edge it out in some pool of water, so this is where I get the inspiration for cave random encounters... as long as it doesn't involve my dwarves!

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    It might be.... fall damage depends mostly on the floor's material, so if you had a featherwood floor where your enemies were falling, they would leave relatively unscathed. May 21, 2014 at 0:21
  • @DoktoroReichard I had not considered that, thanks! I'd rather not do any kind of work in the cave itself beside building the shaft down to a ceiling and adding a trap either there or at the surface. So maybe two stages: land on soft material, then get pushed in the cave from a low ceiling for instance...
    – user76919
    May 21, 2014 at 0:39
  • Are you just wanting them to be in the caverns? Is there a reason you aren't simply building the cage down there and connecting it to a lever? (Or should I post that as an answer?) May 21, 2014 at 0:44
  • @RavenDreamer I'm not a very good player, I don't get exactly what you mean. The scenario is either at my gate I have some drawbridges with cages to trap incoming enemies. I want to dispose of those enemies so they fall in the caves - yes falling is part of the fun lol - without me accessing the caves per se. The second scenario would be enemies falling under the drawbridge. Although I wonder how I could force them into a 1x1 shaft if it were there and they would be contained there but not caged...
    – user76919
    May 21, 2014 at 1:15
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    I've built a straight chute yesterday but since I was unlucky, the caves are very deep and the chute is almost 100 z levels. I connected a water line from the sea by digging a channel, thinking maybe "mixing" an animal with water would pad the fall. Guess not. Turns into a blood waterfall in the cave loll.
    – user76919
    May 21, 2014 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


You can create a non-lethal multi z-level chute by adding retracting bridges every n z-levels (where n = 1 for perfect safety or n <= 5 for slight injuries to goblin-sized creatures). To automate the retracting of bridges in the correct order, you can use a parallel 2x1 chute with pressure plates set to activate when liquid level is above 0 and retracting bridges. Connect the pressure plate to the retracting bridges of both chutes on the same z-level. When you want to move creatures down the chute, simply drop some water into the parallel chute, and it will activate pressure plates, causing bridges to retract and both water and creatures to fall down a level - the process will repeat until the water and creatures reach the bottom of the chute.

Note that you'll need to either build a pump-stack to recycle the water or dispose of the old water and add new water when you want to use the system again.

Here's a side view for N = 3

WbWbpW    Legend
W W  W    W = wall
W W  W    b = bridge
WbWpbW    p = pressure plate
W W  W
W W  W

Alternatively, you can create a 3x1 shaft with dwarf-activated pressure plates in the middle tile and up or down staircases (not up/down staircases) alternating between side tiles. Connect the pressure plates to retracting bridges in the main chute and put a lever at the bottom of the secondary shaft, then designate it to be pulled once - a dwarf will run down to pull it, triggering the bridges in the correct order.

Here's a side view for N = 3

WbW<p>W    Legend
W W> <W   W = wall
W W< >W   b = bridge
WbW>p<W   p = pressure plate
W W< >W   < = up staircase
W W> <W   > = down staircase
  • An interesting system thanks! I would need to build 20 of those assemblies in context (100 z levels). It's a lot of work!
    – user76919
    May 21, 2014 at 18:58
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    As an alternative to a cumbersome pumpstack, you could set a series of citizen-pressable floor plates in a series, with a lever at the bottom (connected to something useless). Set the level to be pulled once, and a dwarf will run down your stairs, triggering the pressure plate on each level. Avoids issues with evaporation, too! May 23, 2014 at 3:38
  • @RavenDreamer genius! I'll add that in.
    – kotekzot
    May 23, 2014 at 3:45
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    @illuminÉ check it.
    – kotekzot
    May 24, 2014 at 2:58
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    Ooh, ooh. You could make it super random/interesting if the pressure plates that trigger each level of the bridge were scattered around your fortress. One in the dining room, one near the forges, a few in or around the central staircase, etc. Each bridge should only be open while a dwarf is on the pressure plate, so you're unlikely to have a large number of the bridges open at once, but it would allow the creatures to get to the bottom at unexpected intervals. :) May 31, 2014 at 12:56

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