Home > Fantasy, Tutorial > DF Tutorial: Using dwarfs for medical experiments

DF Tutorial: Using dwarfs for medical experiments

May 18, 2010

I’ve written a book – Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress, available at O’Reilly and Amazon! It covers the current version and takes you from knowing nothing to being a confident Dwarf Fortress player!

So you’re busy enjoying the latest build of Dwarf Fortress, marvelling at the complex health system and the confusing military system when a thought strikes you, “I’ve just built all this great stuff for my Hospital, but how will I get my medical dwarfs some doctoring experience?”. Indeed, this is quite a conundrum! If you don’t train your medical staff perhaps they will screw up when some really important doctoring needs to be done.

But don’t fear, dear reader, we have a solution! Controlled dwarf torturing: it’s not really torture, it’s just dropping them a few levels on to rocks and then using them to practice medical techniques on. They love it really – it’s all for the good of the fortress, after all!…

First thing you need to do is set up a hospital with all the goodies; beds, containers traction benches, a nearby well, quarters for your medical staff and so on. Then, you need a shaft into which your “volunteers” will be shoved. I dug one three deep and on the top floor built a retracting bridge. You can see how I built mine in the picture below:

dwarf fortress medical tutorial

From there, find a couple of useless, friendless losers volunteers, conscript them into the military and station them on the bridge above the shaft:

dwarf fortress medical tutorial

Don’t they look comfortable?

dwarf fortress medical tutorial

Woops! Did someone pull the lever in the hospital? I guess so! Oh dear, the bridge has retracted and now it is time to plummet three floors!

Wee! This would be fun if there wasn’t solid rock at the bottom of this shaft!

dwarf fortress medical tutorial

Splat! Oh dear, one of the dwarfs didn’t survive the three-floor drop. Perhaps two floors would be better? Oh well, one of them is still around for the medical dwarfs to practice on!

dwarf fortress medical tutorial

Oh dear, it appears our crack suicide-squad member has two broken legs! Gosh, I sure hope our medical team can patch him up!

dwarf fortress medical tutorial

Well, he’s been dragged to the hospital, excellent!

dwarf fortress medical tutorial

And a few hours later his wounds have been diagnosed. Gosh, two broken legs and extreme pain? That sounds unpleasant!

And shortly after that a treatment plan is suggested! Excellent, now your dwarven medical staff can get to work and you can rest, happy in the knowledge that important training is being undertaken. Of course, you might want to keep this training up once your volunteer recovers. After all, what doesn’t kill them only makes them stronger!

Categories: Fantasy, Tutorial Tags:
  1. SFakhouri
    May 20, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Dwarf Doctor 1: Multiple fractures, head trauma and high levels of pain registered, what do you think Doctor?

    Dwarf Doctor 2: He should have kept his feet on the ground!

    *drum kit smash*

    • May 20, 2010 at 5:39 am

      That’s terrible!🙂

  2. King Cepheus
    May 20, 2010 at 6:00 am

    How are your graphics so good? Mine are text.

    • May 20, 2010 at 7:08 am

      Scroll back a few blog posts of mine and keep an eye out for “Mayday”. I’m using the Mayday Green tile set.

  3. JmzLost
    June 15, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    You might want to add a note about having some soap for cleaning. I’ve got a dwarven “volunteer” with both arms and both legs broken, and all 4 are infected because I didn’t have any soap. And she was such a gooood Fish Cleaner😉

    Also, I should’ve said thanks for the tutorial a long time ago. I followed the link from Penny Arcade, read your tutorials, and have been torturing dwarves playing ever since. Good job.


    • June 16, 2010 at 8:44 am

      That’s a good idea. Thanks for the positive comments too!

  4. JWill
    July 28, 2010 at 6:07 am

    I love everything you write about DF. Excellent, hilarious articles. I, too, got my start playing Dwarf Fortress from reading your tutorial.

    • July 28, 2010 at 8:14 am

      Thanks for the compliment! Glad you’ve had fun.

  5. September 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I am currently playing with the build you posted for following the tutorial with. Are there instructions for getting the Mayday tileset into the latest verstion of DF?


    • September 27, 2010 at 11:31 pm

      If you check my more recent blog entries there is one about a newby pack for DF – that one has everything in it, ready to go. I recommend grabbing it!

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