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Stockpiles are where dwarves will store items of various types. Dwarves with the corresponding "hauling" job on will seek out items that aren't already on a stockpile that accepts them and carry them to the appropriate stockpile. It's important to place your stockpiles carefully to minimize the amount of time spent carrying items to and from them. Items in a stockpile may be stored in bags, barrels or bins (see Using bins and barrels).
To allocate an area as a stockpile, use the p menu. The right-hand menu pane will list all the stockpile categories, and the appropriate key to press to begin allocating that type. Allocating an area works exactly the same as designating an area. Press Enter to specify the first corner of the stockpile, use the primary movement keys to move the cursor to the opposite corner, and press Enter again. This will create a stockpile of the chosen type that occupies the area between the two corners specified. If the chosen area has parts that cannot be made into a stockpile, like a wall, a workshop, or an already existing stockpile, a stockpile will be created but they will not be part of it.
Removing a stockpile works exactly the same, but choose x: Remove Designation. This will unallocate the area specified. It is possible to create a single stockpile with a shape other than a rectangle by using the Remove Designation tool to remove only part of the stockpile.
Once a stockpile has been allocated, dwarves will automatically move items to the stockpile when they are available, and as long as the stockpile has available space. Note that the dwarves will place the item into the empty spot that is nearest to the item, not counting any obstructions[Verify]. Additional behaviour also includes the fact that dwarves will stockpile the newest item first, which may not necessarily be the nearest item to the stockpile.
When dwarves need an item for a particular task, they will head to the nearest (again, not counting any obstructions that may lie in the way) item of the correct type, regardless of whether it is in a stockpile or not. Apart from some exceptions, items do not have to be stockpiled at all. Players are generally advised to avoid stone stockpiles, because stone hauling jobs take an extreme amount of time for unskilled dwarves, due to the weight hauled.
One method to ensure a workshop has raw material on hand is to place a small stockpile next to the workshop. This will speed up production as the crafter in question only has to take a few steps to obtain the material. It also has a useful side-effect, in that as soon as the crafter picks up the piece of material, the stockpile will issue a new task to fetch another piece of that material. Because that crafter is busy, that hauling job will be taken by another dwarf. This speeds up a queue of jobs, as other dwarves perform the time-consuming distant haul whilst the crafter actually makes the items.
It's not necessary to place stockpiles for all types of objects. If no storage is available for a certain item type, dwarves will seek out items wherever they might lie as mentioned earlier. This can be advantageous -- if you don't have a stockpile for gems, your jeweler will go pick up fresh gems without waiting for them to be carried to a pile first. However, this also means your jeweler has to spend a lot of time fetching the gems. If you have enough haulers available, it's generally more advantageous to designate stockpiles than not. Also remember that your workshops will get cluttered and suffer production slowdowns if you let items pile up in them, so it's important to regularly clear out workshops when they get cluttered. This can be done either by having a stockpile available so that haulers will remove the items or by removing and rebuilding the workshop, which will empty its contents onto the ground.
Take from a stockpile
Another feature of stockpiles, currently in a limited form, allows you to tell dwarves to fill one stockpile not only with unstockpiled items, but also those located on another stockpile that accepts those items. To specify such a flow, use the q menu, and highlight the destination stockpile. Press t, and, using the cursor, highlight another stockpile and press [Enter]. Your chosen stockpile will now list the stockpile it will take from. This will cause items in the second stockpile to be hauled to the first stockpile. To stop first stockpile taking items from second use q menu on first, highlight the unneeded stockpile in the list using + and - and press delete Selected
Each stockpile can take from any number of other stockpiles, but can only have one stockpile taking from it in turn. This limit applies even if the two stockpiles you want it to feed into don't share a single material that can be stored in both of them. Additionally, you can't make two stockpiles feed into each other, although larger loops (e.g. 3 stockpiles that feed into each other in a circle) are allowed.
However, despite these limitations, enough micromanagement will allow for effective and (relatively) streamlined supply chains. For example, you can speed up lumber harvesting, carpentry, and ash and charcoal production by putting several wood stockpiles near the various tree-felling areas, then one large "primary" stockpile near the carpenter's workshop that takes from those small ones, and then finally, a small stockpile near the wood furnace that takes from the primary one.
Animals stored in cages that are not affixed to a location will be stored in these stockpiles. Traps used for capturing wild animals and empty cages are also stored here.
As one would assume based on the name, food is stored here. Unexpectedly, lye, giant desert scorpion venom, bags of dye, and liquid fire are as well. Raw fish is brought here before being processed by fishery and turned into edible meat. Drinks are always stored in barrels. Seeds can be stored in bags (at 100 per bag), whereas other food items can be stored in barrels (up to 10 items per barrel, but note that the stack +Cow meat roast + would count as eight items.)
Note that prepared meals in stacks larger than ten (☼Dwarven Beer Roast ☼ is possible) will not fit in a barrel, but will not rot once placed in a food stockpile, and still only take up one space. To free up barrels, you may decide to have separate prepared food stockpiles that do not accept barrels. If you cook larger meals, this shouldn't be a problem.
Food stockpiles should in most cases be specified as things like seed stockpiles or meat stockpiles or unprepared fish stockpiles; there are simply too many things that go in them.
Completed items from the carpenter's workshop, mason's workshop, and mechanic's workshop will be stored here, along with furniture created from other shops, until placed or used in another building. Bags filled with sand can also be stored in furniture stockpiles. Ballista bolts are also stored here.
Since this is a very broad category, it may be useful to create stockpiles for a specific type of item (like barrels, bags, bins, mechanisms) via the stockpile settings.
Dead dwarves and pets that have no burial location will be placed here. If placed indoors, decaying bodies will generate miasma, but bones will not removed at the end of the season. Rotting pets or friends gives dwarves unhappy thoughts unless they are given a proper burial in a tomb.
Bones in an outdoor graveyard will randomly vanish over time.
In practice, you should use a Graveyard stockpile as a morgue, only for temporary storage in case you run out of coffins.
Since dwarves hate rot because of the miasma it spreads when in an enclosed place like a cave, any garbage item that can rot will be stored in a refuse stockpile. Many players prefer to place this stockpile outside their cavern, usually a small distance from the entrance. If placed indoors, decaying items will generate miasma, which will spread through your fortress and generate a small unhappy thought in any dwarf passing through it. For this reason it is sensible to build doors to all of your indoor refuse stockpiles - the miasma won't spread through a closed door so only dwarves with business in the room will be bothered by the rot. An alternative to this is to dig channels down from the surface, creating an outside area inside your fortress. You can place your refuse stockpile here and whilst it will be in your fort it will technically be outside and won't generate miasma.
Bones, skulls, and shells are also stored here, whether they be from defeated enemies or raw food processing. If left outdoors, these will randomly disappear, but will remain indefinitely if stored indoors, so you may wish to make an indoor refuse stockpile that takes bones from the outdoor stockpile.
Note that a refuse stockpile is not the same as a garbage dump. A garbage dump is only for things manually marked to be dumped. Additionally, refuse types specifically marked as Dwarves Dump refuse type in o-r will be hauled to the garbage dump instead of the refuse stockpile.
Rough stone will be stored here, as well as ore. Given the extreme abundance of stone, it is very likely for this stockpile to fill up quickly, making stone stockpiles largely ineffective for dealing with excess stone. Probably the best use of stone stockpiles is to make sure that workshops and smelters, catapults, and impending construction projects have their materials close at hand. Be aware that these things can use up a lot of stone very quickly, leading to your dwarves scurrying around the fortress trying to keep up. To avoid stone hauling when you don't want it, you can slow down or stop the nearby usage, allowing the stockpile to fill back up (and thus no longer need more stone), or you can set the dwarves to ignore minerals in orders and options.
Chopped trees are brought to the wood stockpile before being used by the carpenter's, woodburner's or siege workshop. Because wood takes a long time to haul and tends to travel a long way, the stockpile should be rather close to a fortress entrance (which does not necessarily mean on the upper z-levels - moving down one z-level is only one tile), unless you have an underground tree farm. It is a good idea to position this stockpile close to your carpenter's workshop (or the other way round) since he is likely to be the main "customer".
This stockpile stores gems and raw glass, both cut and uncut, before being used in a construction. It can use bins to consolidate up to 10 gems.
Bars of smelted metal and blocks of cut stone and glass are kept here after being processed by the smelter, mason's workshops, and glass furnaces, before being used for other purposes. Weirdly, ashes, potash, soap, charcoal, and coke from the wood furnace, ashery, alchemist's laboratory and smelter will also be stored here. Like with all stockpiles, this can be changed to allow for specific blocks and bars to be stored with custom settings. Bins can be used to consolidate up to 10 bars and blocks.
Woven cloth and thread from the loom is stored here. Bins can be used to consolidate up to 10 items.
Leather, which is produced at a Tanner's shop, will be kept here. Like most stockpiles, it can use bins to consolidate up to 10 items.
This stockpile contains ammo for all forms of ammunition-requiring weaponry (except siege engines). It can use bins to consolidate up to 100 units of ammo.
Minted coins are kept here. Bins can be used to consolidate up to 3,125 coins, or just over six new stacks.
Finished goods created by the craftsdwarf's workshop, as well as the clothier's shop and the leather works, are placed here before being used in trade or other uses. This type of stockpile can use bins to consolidate a variety of items - chains and backpacks and quivers take 10 space, most crafts (figurines, scepters, crowns, skull totems, flasks, goblets, instruments, and toys) take 5, large gems take 3, amulets and bracelets take 2, and rings and earrings take 1.
Weapons of all types are stored here by default, including trap components and the types weapons that dwarves cannot use. Bins can be used to consolidate up to 10 weapons of any type.
Armor of all types is stored here. This kind of stockpile can use bins to consolidate items - with a total of 100 space, suits of armor take 15 space, shields take 10, pants take 6, helms take 5, shoes take 3, and gloves take 2.
With custom stockpiles you can change which types of materials, goods, etc., can be stored in that pile. Any types of things can be mixed, so you could have a stockpile that will hold raw turtle, mechanisms and all stone types apart from onyx if you wanted, or only high-quality steel crossbow bolts (Ammo), all quivers (a Finished Good), and metal Crossbows (a Weapon) - the combinations are endless, and can be finely tuned. Highlighting a stockpile with q, then pressing s will allow you to adjust the stockpile settings or in the p menu you can press t to adjust a custom stockpiles settings before placing it with c. Note that many sub-menus consist of several pages ( the 'other' menu of stone e.g. consists of several pages while 'metal ores' and 'economic' consist of only one).
Custom stockpiles also have an "Additional Options" section with options to "Allow Plant/Animal" and "Allow Non-Plant/Animal". Unlike all the other categories, the Additional Options settings apply to all other active categories - for example, enabling only "Allow Plant/Animal" will cause a fuel stockpile to only store charcoal, enabling only "Allow Non-Plant/Animal" will restrict it to coke, and leaving both disabled will prevent the stockpile from storing anything at all. Disabling "Additional Options" is a common cause of stockpile problems, and these options generally aren't useful anyway unless you want to consolidate trade goods which are safe to trade to Elven caravans (though, as of 0.28.181.39a, Elves only care about wood-derived trade goods and are fine with animal byproducts).
Note that using q also allows you to adjust the number of bins or barrels that a stockpile will use. By default, if the item can be stored, it will try to fill the entire stockpile with that type of container. This can be troublesome, especially early in the game when you don't have nearly enough to go around. When modifying existing stockpiles, make sure their Barrel/Bin counts are appropriate - the game will not stop you from creating a Finished Goods stockpile that does not accept bins or a Wood stockpile that does accept barrels, but it won't do you any good either.
The Stockpile Settings screen is weird to use. In the first column are the major categories. In the second column there may or may not be subcategories. In the third you will see the individual items. The second and third columns are only visible when a category is enabled and selected.
You navigate this screen with + and -, and left and right on the arrow keys. e and d are used to enable and disable the categories. a and b are used to allow or disallow all the subcategories. p and f will permit of forbid individual subcategories. These six keys work no matter which column you have selected, though the last 4 will not always be available.
Enter will toggle individual item types.
Some categories will have a special extra type of item(s) that can be toggled with u and sometimes j.
|Animals||Empty cages and Empty animal traps|
|Weapons||usable and unusable|
|Armor||usable and unusable|
If you disable an item or items that are already sitting in a stockpile then they become loose items and your dwarves will move them to a more suitable stockpile should one exist.
Uses for Custom Stockpiles
A custom stockpile is most useful for food, furniture, and bar/block stockpiles, to prevent your lye and venom sitting next to the kitchens, your floodgates and mechanisms near the rooms that need statues and doors, your stone blocks next to the forges, and your metal bars by the farms.
One use for this is to have an outdoor stockpile next to your gate that will accept all refuse except bones, shells, skins and skulls, and then an indoor pile near your craftsdwarf's workshop that will only accept these things. If you have set the option for dwarves to gather refuse from outside, the bones will be brought in once all the meat has rotted off of any carcasses outside. This means added risk to your dwarves if they try to gather refuse that is far from your gate, and additional hauling.
Another effective use of custom stockpiles is Elven trading. Make a stockpile just for elf-safe trade goods: most categories where it's relevant have a 'materials' option.
A highly efficient method is to have wood burning furnaces feeding into a 'charcoal only' bar/blocks stockpile, which in turn is near the smelting furnaces and forges. Bonus points if you also place a small wood stockpile near the wood furnaces.
Other good uses:
- Planter's stock: seeds and potash. (If your ashery is nearby, include ashes and lye.
- Smelter stock: ores and flux.
- Sandpile: sand bags.
- Clothes Plus: a cloth stockpile that also includes dyes. (Dyes normally count as food.)
- Food Plus: a food stockpile that includes barrels. This spares your dwarves from carrying empty barrels to and from the furniture stores.
- Skins: a refuse stockpile limited to skins, a bit like the bone & shell stockpile above. Place near the tannery.
- Brewer's stock: brewable plants.
- Refreshment stand: Since dwarves drink twice as often as they eat, having several small food stockpiles that only accept drinks scattered strategically through your fort can minimise smoko breaks. The usefulness of this kind of stockpile is often disputed as dwarves go to the fullest barrel first, so if you can't keep your stockpile constantly filled with new full barrels of alcohol your masons might decide to run all the way over to the alcohol stockpile you have setup for your brewers or your metalsmiths. If you can keep each stockpile constantly being filled with fresh supplies of full barrels of alcohol then this can increase productivity greatly. A simple way of doing this is by keeping a brewery near each separate alcohol stockpile, or locking dwarves in so that local stockpile is the only one they can path to.
- Artifact materials: The massive value and effectiveness of artifacts means the materials used in them can have drastic effects, sometimes even into the millions. Having special stockpiles for high-value metals, stones, gems, and other such materials will make it that much easier to insure that you will get the most out of each strange mood. (However, even with materials-specific stockpiles, it can take a fair amount of micromanagement to get a moody dwarf to use a specific material.)
- Ingredients: Store things that are cookable but not edible, like milk and quarry bush leaves, near kitchens. For that matter, store both fat and tallow near kitchens for efficient rendering.
- Mason's Stone: Since a mason's workshop doesn't let you pick what type of stone to use, use customized stone stockpiles to provide some of that control. On maps with mass flux stone, a small stockpile for flux stone near masons' workshops can boost the values of stone furniture in general.