Dwarf Fortress – Tips for Dining Hall

How to Dining Hall

Especially early on, I prefer to have a dining hall also be a meeting area roughly or entirely covering the same area. You want at least part of it to be empty space to encourage dancing. And you should also designate the entire thing as a tavern.

I specify “early on,” because later in the game you might want to avoid things being so crowded and have specialized dining halls and residents-only taverns and things like this.

If you are going to provide long-term housing for residents who are not citizens, and assign those to the tavern, place them “behind” the tavern, simply meaning, the only access they have to leave their housing is by passing through it. This increases interaction.

You also want musical instruments. Building coffers and assigning them to the location will (probably) cause dwarves to store portable instruments in them. If you have a bunch of residents you see “simulating” a certain (procedurally generated) instrument, you should probably make some of them.

The other kinds of instruments are stationary and built as furniture. You should have a couple of these in any tavern much as you would find in a honky-tonk. If you personally design and implement one of the stationary instruments and make literally everything in it of the finest components, it will be absurdly valuable and vastly increase the value of the tavern.

As with any important location, smooth all stone. Engrave all stone. Make every item of furniture be of the highest quality, and have a diversity of building materials to satisfy the most preferences you can. If you’re really obsessive-compulsive about this, which you should be, look through every dwarf’s preferences and try to give every one of them something, somewhere they’re likely to be, that will make them happy. Encrust things with gems, too.

And select stuff with masterwork level or above quality any time you can. Sell off the junk that gets created in the process to traders.

I should have mentioned this earlier, but have a booze stockpile again, “behind” the tavern(s). Don’t allow booze to be stored elsewhere and it will inevitably end up in these stockpiles. All dwarves drink. Not all dwarves seem compelled to socialize, even when they’re complaining about not doing it. If they have to travel through a bunch of extroverts to get to their booze, though, they’re more likely to socialize and maybe even make friends (or get in fights which can be a problem if you have a super busy tavern full of necromancer experiments or even worse elves).

Similarly to the booze thing, although less important, also have at least a minor food stockpile in every dining hall, again “behind” it, so that to get to it, you have to walk through the hall. You can customize stockpiles, so you can give trash to the visitor tavern and require masterwork level stuff for the dining hall reserved to locals. So for instance the visitors can get forgotten beast roast number 18,465 while the locals get the masterwork meals.

One issue that is a little troubling is whether to have a tavern keeper. I usually actually don’t. They actually push booze on visitors and dwarves, and while getting a dwarf to die of alcohol poisoning is an amazing accomplishment, their activities more often lead to the deaths of visitors, and these things can have unfortunate consequences. I would reserve tavern keepers for facilities entirely patronized by dwarves.

As for entertainers, I only let them become permanent residents if at least one dwarf in the fort actually likes that band.

I know it sounds like I made this all about taverns, but almost all grand dining halls I make are also associated with a location.

There are other reasons where you might want a more Spartan dining hall. If I hit a vein of clown dust, I’ll often put the miners and strand extractors right next to it in a burrow (separated from the rest of the fort with a drawbridge), and the clown dust miners will have their own separate area, with their own dining halls, worship areas, bedrooms, whatever, in case things go terribly wrong, which they usually do.

ETA: I also forgot, and this is pretty new, but when you start getting seriously valuable legendary artifacts, the creeps who show up to steal them often hang out in your taverns. So also consider that risk. This is new enough I don’t know much about the actual mechanics. If you run a paranoid fort just don’t have taverns accessible to randos.

tl;dr if you’re building a dining hall, consider its purpose and clientele, pick an area of really appealing stone, smooth and engrave, and make everything in it of the highest quality. Consider also making it a tavern and a meeting area. And put some things all dwarves need “behind” (i.e. you have to pass through to get to it) a dining hall/tavern/etc.

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