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How to Equip Weapons in Dwarf Fortress

Just pick up the damn thing!
dwarf fortress feature image
Image via Bay 12 Games

Dwarf Fortress is the legendary RTS management game that has taken the leap into modernization. A story-telling game, you will take charge of a small grouping of dwarves and construct a mighty fortress, or a mighty tavern or temple or library – whatever you want. But as you do what you want, your own dwarves will take their own liberties, and it can be frustrating to control them fully. Here is how to make your dwarves equip items in Dwarf Fortress.

Why won’t your dwarves pick up items in Dwarf Fortress?

In Dwarf Fortress, you may grow confused and frustrated when you attempt to force certain dwarves to pick up certain things. The short answer to this conundrum is that you can’t, because ultimately your dwarves will do as they damn well please.

The long answer is that Dwarf Fortress is a game where you must relinquish a little control. Although you dish out the orders, it is your dwarves who still do what they want. That’s why your orders are not very precise, as your dwarves will have a lot of choice in their actions. Try to think of your dwarves as real life forms, and know that you cannot micromanage every little aspect of their existence.

So, you cannot order them to pick up specific items because they have some sort of mind of their own and may not want to pick up that item.

Related: Dwarf Fortress – What to Do If Your Dwarf Becomes Possessed

How to get them to equip items anyway

The only situation in which you can specifically order dwarves items is through assigning a squad a uniform. If a squad has a uniform, then when they are on duty they will equip those items. However, you can only order them to ‘equip steel swords’, and not ‘equip *that* steel sword’, so there still isn’t exact control.

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