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Where To Embark In Dwarf Fortress

Where To Embark In Dwarf Fortress

In Dwarf Fortress, you might have noticed that locations play a very important role. The site that you select is permanent for the rest of the game. So, you must make the right choice. In this guide, we’ll give you all the information you need about choosing where to Embark in Dwarf Fortress.

A good Embark site in Dwarf Fortress should have mountains, rivers, moderate climate, some forests, and preferably calm neighbors

If you’re new to the game then it can be quite difficult selecting the best initial embark. It’s even more confusing when trying to weave through these various characteristics and recognizing which is the most important. Keep reading to find out why these characteristics are important to your Fortress.

Related: Do You Need Water In Dwarf Fortress?

Where to Embark in Dwarf Fortress?

Embark Selection screen: Dwarf Fortress
Embark Selection screen: Dwarf Fortress

When you first boot up Dwarf Fortress the game doesn’t just drop you off into a random zone. Rather the game allows you, the player, to provide an initial setup. And choose where you want to begin your journey in constructing your Fortress.

If we were to breakdown the most fundamental aspects of this initial experience it would be the following:

  • Selecting a location for your Fortress.
  • Allocation of Professional Skills among your dwarves
  • Identifying and specifying your baseline resources and supplies
  • Starting your journey towards a new civilization and culture.

As you go through each of these steps you will require more in-depth knowledge about various game mechanics. Embarking in particular plays a vital role in boosting the Fortress that you’re trying to create. And how difficult or easy it is for you to deal with the challenges.

The best embark setup that you can get in Dwarf Fortress will be based on a combination of your location, resources, and your dwarf’s professions.

Important Characteristics When Embarking

Within Dwarf Fortress the location where you begin the game makes a massive difference. The best thing about it, however, is that you get to select this location yourself. This site is permanent and cannot be changed. So making the right decision is important.

What’s important to know is that your embarking can be across a variety of different biomes. Each of these biomes provides a cluster of different resources, advantages, and similar disadvantages. Also, you usually have different biomes coexisting in the same area.

A good embark site will have the following characteristics:


Water Body Details in Dwarf Fortress
Water Body Details in Dwarf Fortress

Rivers are a great biome to embark near in Dwarf Fortress. This is because your Fortress will need a good source of food, such as fresh fish to survive. Also, water is an incredibly important resource. You do not want to run out of a good, consistent, water supply.

Rivers aren’t just good for survival, they can also be used to transport things, dwarves, and materials to nearby islands or locations. Being near a river is highly suggested. Besides, there are several advantages of staying warm, or cold, when near a river during certain seasons. So the choice is incredibly wise.

Related: How To Attract Migrants In Dwarf Fortress


Hills and Mountain Details: Dwarf Fortress
Hills and Mountain Details: Dwarf Fortress

The next biome I’d suggest is to be close to the Mountains. In Dwarf Fortress mountains are an immensely advantageous location because they contain metals and other materials. Even if you take the example of the real world, many cultures survived by mining from the mountains and trading them.

However, you need to note that you cannot embark on top of mountains. The game simply doesn’t allow for this. So it is often a good idea to embark near mountains as a nearly endless supply of minerals.

Moderate Climate

Another thing to consider when you’re establishing your embark is to decide what conditions you want your Fortress to be in. That is to say, you do not want an extremely conditioned area, where there are no signs of plant life and the temperature is too hot.

If the location is too hot, such as a desert or other similar locations. Then it’ll be difficult for you to develop your Fortress without the resources provided by plants. And if it’s too cold then you might have to deal with a variety of other challenges as well. Be mindful of the Climate and you should be good to embark.


Forest Biome Details: Dwarf Fortress

Something that you will need early on in your Dwarf Fortress game is wood. And there is no better supply of wood than Forests. So naturally, you will want to embark somewhere close to forested areas. This is because wood just provides a variety of different build options you don’t want to miss out on.

However, it is important to ensure that you’re not surrounded by Forests. It can make it difficult for your dwarves to find their Fortress if trees and forests grow irregularly. And you might not be able to get more valuable material due to the Forested area blocking your path. I’d suggest being mindful of this.

Related: Where To Find Iron In Dwarf Fortress

Calm Neighbors

Neighbors Details: Dwarf Fortress
Neighbors Details: Dwarf Fortress

Perhaps the most critical of all our neighbors in Dwarf Fortress. The type of neighbors you have will decide whether you’ll have an easy or difficult time. Some neighbors are hostile to you, and you will need to build accordingly to protect yourself. Others will be peaceful and might even provide boons.

I recommend embarking near either Elves or humans if you want to ensure the smoothest gameplay experience. And humans especially if you are a new player.

That’s all you need to know about where to embark in Dwarf Fortress. We’ve tried to make this guide as detailed as possible to give you all the information you need to make the best choice. Ultimately, each fortress will be different from any others. And where you embark will have an impact on that.

But even more so, your choices and decisions will be the greatest difference between a good and a bad fortress. We wish you luck always!