Dwarf Fortress BEST Starting Locations

Learn everything you can about the Dwarf Fortress world's various parameters so that you may choose the best starting location.

Having plenty of resources in nearby areas to thrive and survive the harsh world should be the number one priority in finding the best starting location in Dwarf Fortress. These factors come into play when you start working your way for bigger plans, and their impact is not obvious at the start of the game.

Key Highlights

  • Creating the proper world is the first step to ensuring that your world has sufficient locations for you to thrive in.
  • It is ideal to start out without an Aquifer, since dealing with it is not so simple.
  • A warm temperature is the best for your dwarves to thrive since extreme weather conditions are hard to handle.
  • The surrounding of an area dictates the type of wildlife and plants that you can find there.
  • It is better to have a starting location with resources such as a river, minerals, and metals.
  • You can use the Site Finder to help you search your world for a site according to your needs.

Best Starting Locations In Dwarf Fortress 

dwarf fortress best starting location
Generating the world that you created. [Image Captured by us]

After making sure that your world would be the best for you according to your requirements, the next step is to choose a starting location. When the world is finished generating, you will be given a choice to pick a starting location.  This will be the location where you establish your fortress in the game.

You will notice that each spot on the map shows different properties of that location. These properties could be anything, ranging from the type of forestation to the neighbors that inhabit the surrounding areas. All of these attributes affect your fortress in different aspects, and we will go over them now in detail. 

Pay attention to each category that we discuss. Keep in mind that it is okay if one or two things are wrong with a starting location, but you can still make that work. Ideally speaking, you will be able to find a starting location that fulfills all of your requirements. This will ensure that you get the ideal spot to embark on. 


Light aquifer. [Image source: eXputer]
  • Ideal Scenario: No aquifers in your starting location.

The aquifers in the game are bodies of water that exist underground. When the aquifers are exposed, it can lead to a disastrous situation if you don’t properly handle it. Lack of management can cause it to flood and damage all of your surroundings. To avoid this hassle, it is better that you look for a place without any aquifers at all.

Keep in mind that there are two types of aquifers; heavy and light. Both types are classified according to the amount of water they produce, and that is also directly proportional to how hard it is to manage them. Any type of aquifer is bad for your starting location so steer clear of these locations.


dwarf fortress best starting location
Heavily Forested Area. [Image Captured by eXputer]
  • Ideal Scenario: Loads of forestation and trees in your starting location.

Trees are a very important resource in the game. You can obtain lumber through these trees, which have a multitude of uses. The lumber can be used to build a plethora of items, such as furniture. In addition to that, it can also be used as firewood. 

For these reasons, it is important that you pick a starting location that has a lot of forestation. In ideal situations, the starting location that you pick will be forested or heavily forested. In the case that you cannot secure such a site, then make sure that the location you pick is at least sparsely forested. This will ensure that you have the bare minimum amount of lumber to support your fortress. 


dwarf fortress best starting location
The temperate temperature in the location. [Image Captured by us]
  • Ideal Scenario: Warm temperature in your starting location. Avoid areas with extreme weather conditions. 

As the name suggests, the temperature in a location will determine how hot or cold it is. The temperature is a very important factor when it comes to which biome you settle in. The temperature is measured in various units, such as Celsius and Kelvin. Additionally, another made-up unit in the game is used to denote how hot or cold a region or an object is. Although there is no official name for this unit, the community refers to it as Urist. 

The temperatures in the game affect the objects and beings just like they would in real life. For example, the lowest survivable temperature in the game is 9900 U, the highest survivable temperature is 10078 U, and water boils at 10180 U. These values will give you a rough estimate of how temperature works in the game. 

The ideal temperature for your starting location is warm. This suits the dwarves the best, and it will make it so that a lot of different types of crops can be grown all year round. It is the best of both worlds, and living in such a region is relatively easier than living in an area with extreme weather conditions. 


dwarf fortress best starting location
Wilderness in the surroundings. [Image Captured by eXputer]
  • Ideal Scenario: Good or Neutral surroundings around your starting location. Avoid Evil surroundings at all costs.

The surroundings determine the type of plants and creatures that appear in your starting location. There are various types of surroundings, and they are recognizable by different names. The three main types of surroundings in the game are:

  • Good.
  • Neutral.
  • Evil.

These names will reflect the type of surrounding it is, as a good location may be named “The Serene Forest”, whereas an evil area may be named “Sinister Forest”. There are also some names that are neutral, and these areas don’t have a specific alignment.

You can use the skills of deduction to decide whether or not the area and its surrounding are good from its name. Here is a general scheme that is followed for naming areas in the game:

  • Serene: Good and Benign.
  • Mirthful: Good and Neutral.
  • Joyous Wilds: Good and Savage.
  • Calm: Neutral and Benign.
  • Wilderness: Neutral.
  • Untamed Wilds: Neutral and Savage.
  • Sinister: Evil and Benign.
  • Haunted: Evil and Neutral.
  • Terrifying: Evil and Savage.

Good Surroundings

Good surroundings. [Image Captured by us]

As the name suggests, Good biomes are the ideal starting locations for your fortress. These regions have relatively weaker wildlife, and they are also the safest out of the three categories. Animals like the Satyr and Unicorn can be found in these places. Moreover, you can also come across Fairies and Pixies over here. 

When it comes to the plantation that can be found here, Bubble Bulb, Downy Grass, and Sun Berry are a few of the highly coveted plants in Dwarf Fortress. 

Neutral Surroundings

dwarf fortress best starting location
Neutral surroundings. [Image Captured by eXputer]

In Neutral biomes, things work mostly like they do in real life. This means that you will come across normal animals and plants, such as Eagles and Elephants. The plant life that grows in these regions is more normal as well, such as Strawberries and Prickle Berries. Do keep in mind that there’s a difference between Benign, Savage, and True Neutral surroundings, but for the sake of this guide, we will not be covering them.

Evil Surroundings

dwarf fortress best starting location
Evil surroundings. [Image Captured by us]

And last but not least, we have Evil Surroundings. These surroundings are pretty self-explanatory as well, as they contain stronger wildlife and harsher conditions that make it extremely hard to survive here. Creatures such as Ogres and Beak Dogs will make your life a living hell if you pick these surroundings as your starting location in Dwarf Fortress. 

Moreover, these regions have Evil Weather associated with them as well that can inflict various syndromes on you. It is generally advised that you steer clear of these surroundings unless you are looking for an impossible challenge. 


dwarf fortress best starting location
Soil. [Image Captured by us]
  • Ideal Scenario: Presence of Soil or Clay at your starting location.

The Soil or Clay in the game refers to the type of ground in a region. Specifically speaking, it is the type of ground on which you can plant some of the best seeds in Dwarf Fortress. This can be done without irrigating the land with water. There are various types of soil that you can come across in the game. But for now, it is only important that you pick a starting location that has some kind of Soil.

Shallow Metals

dwarf fortress best starting location
Shallow metals. [Image Captured by us]
  • Ideal Scenario: Existence of shallow metals in your starting location.

As the name suggests, your starting location should have Shallow Metals. Keep in mind that this means there should be more than one metal that you can find in the surrounding. Shallow Metals simply refer to those metals that you can discover within the first or the second layer of stone in the game. 

For Sand Deserts and Shallow Oceans, this rule is a bit different. In those regions, Shallow Metals are those that can be discovered within the first five layers of stone. Having various types of Metals that you can get to easily will boost the rate at which you progress in the game. 


dwarf fortress best starting location
Rivers. [Image Captured by us]
  • Ideal Scenario: Your starting location should be near a river to ensure water and food supply. 

Ideally, the best starting location in Dwarf Fortress will have a River nearby. The rivers are a source of unlimited water, and unlike the Aquifers, they do not have a risk of causing problems for you. You can also fish at the river, which makes it an excellent source of food as well. Historically speaking as well, major civilizations have also settled down near rivers due to the countless advantages that it gives you. 

Be sure not to embark near Oceans. It is not easy to process salt water at the early stages of the game, especially if you are new to the game. That is why your best bet is to stay away from saltwater bodies and find a river to fulfill your water needs.

Deep Metals

dwarf fortress best starting location
Deep metals. [Image Captured by us]
  • Ideal Scenario: Existence of deep metals in your starting location.

Just like Shallow Metals, Deep Metals tell you if the location has any deep metals or not. These metals are classified by the depth they can be discovered at. For example, if you have to go deeper than 2 layers of stone, it is a Deep Metal. These metals tend to be more precious, and it is better if your starting location has them.

Flux Stone

Faux stone layer in this location. [Image Captured by eXputer]
  • Ideal Scenario: Existence of flux stones in your starting location.

Lastly, we have the highly optional Flux Stone. These are nowhere near as important as some of the other parameters that we have mentioned in this guide. Even still, they are a nice resource to have and aid you in creating Pig Iron and Steel. Flux Stone also has a higher value than regular stone, which makes it preferable to use in all items that use stone.

If you cannot find a starting location with Flux Stone, there is no need to worry. You can trade it later on in the game, and it is not as impactful on your progress in the game. 

How To Find The Best Starting Location

dwarf fortress best starting location
The Site Finder in the game. [Image Captured by us]

As you may be thinking right now, these are a lot of factors to filter through manually. Finding the best starting location in Dwarf Fortress through this method could easily take hours. Luckily, there is a built-in tool in the game that can assist you with finding the best starting locations. Follow these directions:

  • Press F on your keyboard to bring up the Site Finder.
  • You can navigate this menu using the Arrow Keys.
  • Adjust the parameters that you want and press Enter to initiate the search.
  • The Site Finder will look through the entire world and mark all the sites that match your requirements. This process will take anywhere around a minute or two.
  • You can press Esc in order to browse all the different locations that the Site Finder returns.
  • In case you do not find a site that fits your parameters, the Site Finder will find the closest possible Candidate sites and list them instead.
  • The location that you choose for starting may very well have more than one biome. In order to check this, press F1, F2, and F3, on your keyboard, which will display all the biomes in that location in order. It is important to check overlapping biomes since one biome may have a Good surroundings while the other one might be Evil. To avoid this, it is better that you verify this information before you embark.
dwarf fortress best starting location
Find Tool in the game. [Image Captured by eXputer]

The various parameters in the Site Finder are as follows. You can tweak these according to your liking, but it is preferred that you pick the options that we have discussed in this guide so that you may find the perfect site to embark on.

  • X Dimension.
  • Y Dimension.
  • Savagery.
  • Evil.
  • Elevation.
  • Temperature.
  • Rain.
  • Drainage.
  • Flux Stone.
  • Aquifer.
  • River.
  • Shallow Metal.
  • Deep Metal.
  • Soil.
  • Clay.

Factors To Consider While Creating The World

dwarf fortress best starting location
Options for starting your world. [Image Captured by us]

Before you can pick the best starting location, it is important that you select the best world generation settings in Dwarf Fortress that has the optimal parameters for you to thrive. There are a lot of factors that decide how your world turns out, and each can impact your world in different ways. We will now briefly go over these parameters so that you can create the perfect world that suits your needs.

The size of the world is mostly not relevant for players who are starting out. This means that you should stick to a small-sized world since it will be more manageable for you. It is also easier to find the best starting location if you have to look through a smaller world. Moreover, you should also limit the history of the world to 100 years at most. This will make it so that other civilizations do not spread out as much and take over the best starting locations before you can get to them.

dwarf fortress best starting location
A list of options in Detailed Mode. [Image Captured by eXputer]

While staying on the same note, set the number of civilizations to a lower parameter as well. Keeping the same reason in mind, you do not want others to take over the best starting location before you even embark. If the number of civilizations is high, there is more chance that another civilization has made a settlement over a location that was the best potential spot for you to start out on. 

Additionally, you can set the mineral occurrence to the everywhere option. As the name suggests, this will make it so that minerals occur at all locations throughout the world that you create. This will make it so that there is a higher chance for you to come across the optimal starting location in Dwarf Fortress. 


Dwarf Fortress is a popular simulation game with a devoted fan base thanks to its complicated and elaborate world-building features. Choosing the correct starting site for your dwarf stronghold is a crucial component of the game. Selecting the right location will let you progress much more smoothly through the game. It will streamline your process of advancing in the world without you having to look for certain important resources. 

The optimum starting point will be determined by your unique playstyle and the sort of fortress you choose to construct. However, there are a few important variables to consider when deciding where to begin. We’ve explored all of these factors so you can choose the best starting location in Dwarf Fortress. These factors include things like the temperature as well as the resources that can be found at the location. 

Following this guide will ensure that you get the best possible starting location in Dwarf Fortress. And this concludes our guide. Let us know what you think about it in the comments below.


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Muhammad Haris Umer

Haris has been gaming for as long as he can remember but he is a huge Fromsoftware enthusiast and loves talking about Elden Ring. When he's not writing about games, you'll find him either playing Souls games or studying Medicine.

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