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As any dwarf engineer knows, all activable mechanisms must have some sort of a trigger - be it manual dwarf labor for lever pulling or creature/minecart/liquid presence for pressure plates. However, these dwarves probably don't know they are in the computer game containing various bugs, glitches and exploits, and sometimes player can directly affect in-game mechanics without any help from fellow dwarves. By "directly affect" I mean everything that does not include giving orders or placing designations and affects not only dwarves, but other creatures, terrain and environment. Two examples I know of: player can lock a door (for example, to force sieges without building destroyers to change their route) or cancel a suspended construction with some materials "in it" to force their immediate drop as items. Both these actions affect other creatures/environment without any dwarven assistance. So I hope there is such an action which can result in reliably triggering mechanisms akin to pulling levers and pressing pressure plates without dependency on creatures AI's and their pathfinding (aside from DFHack's lever utility).

Initially the idea was to designate constructed wall above a pressure plate, let a dwarf start building it and suspend the construction before it was done, thus creating an improvised stone trap ready to drop it's boulder on cancellation. Hovewer, turns out only liquids and creatures trigger pressure plates, not items. Then I thought to place a fragile non-grazing disposable creature on the plate so the boulder would smash it and thus halt the signal, but even heavy falling boulders do not give 100% guarantee of such "smashing" - thus, no reliability (also, the said creature must be replaced after each "activation", but it's not the main concern).

So... well, I'm stalling. Any advices (or even better, a solution) will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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To my knowledge it is not possible for a player to activate any sort of device directly. The q command is used to set building preferences which is why it can control door settings, but does not open or close a door (as a lever could).

Although it is possible that an unusual or unintended method of activating devices exists, I imagine this would be mentioned in the Trap Design or Security Design sections of the wiki. Similarly, the Computing article only lists levers and pressure plates as inputs. The Cancelled Construction Deadfall Trap, which is not a device, and you have described in your question, is in fact listed with the following line.

This trap has the distinction of being the only overseer-triggered trap--it doesn't require dwarves to pull levers, enemies to cross pressure plates, or any sort of timing delay.

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  • Probably would, but what if not (yet, at least)? That improvised stone trap mentioned in the question is effective even against creatures who normally avoid traps (although requiring "manual" activation) and as such one would expect it to be mentioned on Trap Design page, but it's not here either. – DeFazer Dec 23 '16 at 2:01
  • It is difficult to prove something doesn't exist. The mentioned trap is dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/… – Angzuril Dec 23 '16 at 2:05
  • Oh... Sorry, didn't notice. Still, will hope for the best. :) – DeFazer Dec 23 '16 at 2:20
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    As far as I know, you can't trigger pressure plates or levers directly using the vanilla dwarf fortress. There is, however, a "Lever" script/command in the DFhack mod that allows you to pull levers directly (i.e. without using dwarves). See [bay12forums.com/smf/?topic=91166.0]. – Mark Ripley Dec 30 '16 at 12:36
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    @MarkRipley The question already mentions DFHack lever, which is why I have not included it in my answer – Angzuril Dec 30 '16 at 20:00

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