I have built my fortress in Dwarf fortress with the entrance on the side of a mountain. About 8-10 levels up is the peak of the mountain, upon which I have built an archer tower. My question is how effective this is going to be for picking off invaders outside my fortress... are archers able to shoot that far, and with reasonable accuracy?

Here's a quick little side-view sketch of what my scenario is:

     |____|_     <- tower
    /       \_
    |         \__
   /             \
   |  fortress  __\_
  /   here  _____________________
 /                               \_
/                                  \_______

1 Answer 1


In general, a normal crossbow dwarf can shoot things +/- 3 z-levels, and about 20 tiles away, with decent accuracy. As they get more skilled their range goes up (I know I have seen shots upwards of 50 tiles away that are lethal from master crossbow wielders). Also note that shots from above are significantly more effective than shots from below, so I think you'll be ok there.

As far as what they'll try to shoot at, that depends on how you assign them. If you set them on patrol, they will wait until they see something close by, and I doubt your tower is going to qualify. But if you specifically order them to attack a target, but they can't get any closer, they will start firing at it. If you've trained them up high enough, they could be reasonably effective.

  • One thing to be aware of is that shooting down many Z levels actually hampers accuracy since DF considers that a longer distance. This contrasts with real life where being higher up allows longer ranged fire since gravity is assisting the arrows to reach far (but much lower) targets. So for optimal DF archer towers, add a Z level or two up from where your targets will be to prevent enemies from being able to move adjacent to your tower's fortifications and shoot arrows back through them at your archers, but don't build the tower too high. Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 5:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .