In optimal conditions, best material, best workmanship, highest skill of the required type for the wielding dwarf.

Best weapon is fastest kill. This is only about offensive ability!

I'm talking about most enemies encountered. The more squishy, fleshy type. Not one that are made of bone or metal. Of course, even squishy enemies wear armor, take that into consideration.

Example of enemies that fit into that category:

  • Kobold
  • Elf
  • [enter animal here]-man
  • Vampire
  • Ogre
  • Minotaur
  • Necromancer (apparently not a good example, disregard.)
  • Yeti
  • Reacher
  • Against what enemy? Jun 5, 2015 at 19:46
  • @Studoku I didn't known it differed between enemies.. Now that I think about it, a hollow, hard, bronze colossal may not take the same damage from an axe like a fleshy, squishy, leather-clad cobold. I'll add that to the question.
    – Datner
    Jun 5, 2015 at 19:49
  • I'm not sure there is an answer to this question. Depending on your Dwarf's skills, a great weapon might be terrible... That is an Axe-Dwarf might be crap with a bow and vice-versa. A great weapon made of materials the dwarf hates might trigger bad thoughts, making the dwarf not train as hard, or behave badly... And of course not every biome will every material available.
    – aslum
    Jun 5, 2015 at 20:16
  • The "best" weapons often aren't forgeable in Fortress mode. Because of the way the physics is modelled, super-dense materials (such as platinum) make fantastic warhammers
    – Landric
    Jun 5, 2015 at 20:34
  • @aslum I said optimal conditions, and even specified about the skill..
    – Datner
    Jun 5, 2015 at 20:37

2 Answers 2


I will mention other concerns in parentheses, as they may be useful later.

The wiki article on weapons has something to say about this. For unarmored squishy types bladed weapons are best, and for armored squishy types piercing weapons are best because slashing weapons have significantly reduced effectiveness.

What it doesn't mention is that piercing weapons are still quite effective against unarmored foes. So when I don't know if an enemy will be armored I would go with spears (well I usually go with crossbows, but that's for defensive reasons). Spears are better weapons than picks (Though your dwarves who use picks are often more skilled with them.), and all other piercing weapons are foreign (I suppose that is not a consideration with fastest kill, but I don't have much experience with them).

However, my own experiments in the Object testing arena show that even in heavily armored fights battle axes beat spears nearly every time. Testing of swords vs. battle axes also gave battle axes the victory.

Do note that if you are fighting Necromancers, as your newest list indicates, slashing weapons are a very bad thing, because you will also be fighting zombies, and a zombie with an arm cut off is much like two zombies. All your other entries are lightly armored, and thus slashing is most effective against them.

That's about as much as I can say about organic enemies in general. If you want to test against a specific enemy setup you can use the object testing arena.

  • But most organic creatures I met were about as susceptible to beheading regardless of armor worn, as it doesn't protect the neck. I have never used piercing weapons, I do not know if they have anything aquivilant to beheading..
    – Datner
    Jun 5, 2015 at 20:40
  • Well, puncturing of the brain is much like beheading. It is entirely possible that I am wrong. Especially as the balance of these things has shifted over versions. My test using heavily armored dwarves in the testing arena had the spear dwarves win, but I cannot claim it was exhaustive. I will run some more tests and see what I come up with.
    – Nick
    Jun 6, 2015 at 0:03
  • Some testing done. Revised answer posted.
    – Nick
    Jun 6, 2015 at 0:16

Assuming you aren't specifically interested in training up dwarves as warriors, the best weapon isn't a weapon, it's a trap. Magma traps are the best. Flood traps and deep pit traps with retractable bridges in your main entrance are pretty good. All of these require extensive setup, though, so you are probably going to want a weapon trap, about 3 to 5 spiked balls, axe blades or circular blades per trap. Spiked wooden balls would be the quickest to set up at first. You can place them along the sides of a wide main entrance tunnel, then make a pit trap and retractable bridge in the middle to give wagons a place to travel when the bridge is extended. Spinning glass blades can cause near instant death for most lightly armored enemies without damaging equipment, and spinning metal blades are good against armor.

  • This is not the answer to the question I asked, but it was the answer for the question in my heart ♥
    – Datner
    Jun 6, 2015 at 20:46
  • I guess I should point out, though, that traps won't be effective against kobolds or goblin master thieves, so you'll need a backup plan, like a pastured jaguar or bear near the exit. Buy one from an elf caravan. Jun 6, 2015 at 21:01

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