I'm playing on Terrifying biome, and I have a problem where all my dwarves like to rush outside and stand by the wagon.

I have food, water, and tasks that need to be completed in my mountain fortress. I have assigned most of the dwarves to haul stone, but half just ignores it and would stand outside until they fall unconscious.

Now, besides that, the main problem is how do I tell the dwarves to NOT go outside at all? All the threads I've read about this said to create a burrow, and then put the dwarves on alert, and then they'll run to the burrow. But all this in the context of being under attack.

I just dont' want my dwarves to go outside if they can help it since Terrifying biome causes my dwarves to frequently fall unconscious outside. And also, when on alert, the dwarves wont' do any tasks. They just rush to the burrow point (a 2x1 block) and stand there until I turn off the alert. Then once the alert is off, a bunch of them will rush outside and stand by the wagon or to collect some random thing on the ground.

How can I have my dwarves remain inside without walling off the outside?

2 Answers 2


The dwarves gravitate to the wagon because it is a fall back meeting area. If you make any other meeting areas then they will congregate at those instead of the wagon. They will still split themselves among the available meeting areas other than the wagon. If you deconstruct the wagon then they will wander all over the map unless there is another active meeting area.

There are several ways to make a meeting area. One is using Zones. You create a zone somewhere inside your fortress and enable it as a meeting area. Your dwarves will then congregate there when they have nothing better to do.

Certain rooms defined from furniture also function as meeting halls. The most common such room is the Dining hall.

If you use meeting areas you should be sure to avoid generating jobs that need to be done outside, such as fetch water (if you have no interior water source), hunt, fish, or gather items among others. Also note that any animal with the grazer property will starve to death indoors unless you have cave fungus.

As for burrows, it sounds like you have the alert portion figured out quite well. However burrows are not points but volumes. You need a much larger burrow if you want to accomplish anything. Your dwarves only stand around in those few spaces because that is the entire area of the burrow. For it to work properly the burrow must include every square that the dwarves might have a task in, including un-mined tiles that you want to dig out.

You do not need an alert to restrict a dwarf to a burrow. You can add dwarves to a burrow and that will restrict them to that burrow.

Note that burrows only stop tasks from occurring outside the designated area or using resources from outside the area. Wandering dwarves and animals, specifically baby and child dwarves, will still leave them on occasion. Civilian alerts will provide more restriction of dwarven activities, but I have still had very young dwarves wander out of my burrows during an alert.

The meeting area information should be enough to keep your dwarves inside most of the time, but still allow them to go outside when something comes up.

Hope this helps.

  • 1
    Just to be clear, burrows are usually cubes: If you set the corners at different z-levels, the burrow will include all the levels in between.
    – Navin
    May 27, 2015 at 9:41

Setup a burrow, you don't have to be under attack to use a burrow, you can use them for all sorts of things (segregating certain dwarfs.....).

Just setup the burrow and put it on alert (the civ alert, don't change the military alert) and your dwarfs will stay inside all the time :) You need to make the burrow big enough to cover your whole fortress, and they'll go about their jobs inside.

Also, turn off anything for collecting items from outside in the options menu with O

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