How to build a well in Dwarf Fortress
Well well well…
Keeping your dwarves fed and hydrated is one of the most important parts of Dwarf Fortress. How else are they supposed to have the energy to work? If you run out of ale, they’ll need something else to drink, and providing them with a well is a great plan B. Here’s how to set that up.
Related: How to assign labor tasks in Dwarf Fortress
Building a well in Dwarf Fortress
You’ll find the well under the Machines/Fluids tab of the build menu. Every construction in Dwarf Fortress requires refined resources, so you won’t just be able to click and make one. Wells require one bucket, one chain or rope, one block, and one mechanism. The easiest way to check these off the list is to make the bucket and block at a carpenter’s workshop, then make a chain at the metalsmith’s forge if you don’t already have rope to spare.
There are multiple “mechanisms” that qualify for the last component. Choose any of the metal tabs at the top of the task list at the metalsmith’s forge, and you’ll find the mechanism order at the bottom of the list (as shown above). Alternatively, you can make a stone mechanism at a mechanic’s workshop. With all four pieces in stock, you’ll be ready to assemble your well.
Placing a well in Dwarf Fortress
The next step is actually placing the well, which can be a bit tricky. Wells can only be placed in open spaces. You can shape these yourself with downward slopes or holes, but they do sometimes naturally occur on the map, like in the dry river bed in the screenshot above. That’s the other key factor in placing a well — it must be in an open space above water, at any elevation. Once you meet those qualifications, you can place the well and have a backup in case your dwarves run out of the good stuff.
Take care to place your well above running water whenever possible. Stagnant water can cause illness in your dwarves, and even if the well is meant as a backup, it’s still best to avoid any possible road bumps.