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A shelter is a completely enclosed area, which can be a house, tunnels or a combination of both, which has a totem somewhere inside it dwarfs will only sleep[1] on beds, if they're within a suitable shelter[2].

Game description[]

Tutorial Granpa.png Your Shelter is not complete until it has backwalls and side walls, plus a door or a hatch.
~ The old man on Campaign Tutorial
Diary.png Complete the shelter by putting up a totem in its center. This will scare off monsters and evil spirits. The shelter must be protected by walls on all sides, while the entrances should be covered with doors or hatches.
~ Task Complete the Shelter on Diary

What classifies as a shelter[]

The totem's area of effect can vary between 10 and 20 squares. The numbers in each cell indicate its range from the central Totem.

A shelter has several conditions that must be met before dwarfs will prioritize sleep there:

  • You must place a totem to mark the area which is intended to become a shelter.
A totem has a range of 10 to 20 squares, depending linearly upon the shelter's comfort level. It should ideally be placed near the stockpile in order to protect it from ghosts.
The range of the totem can be restricted/reduced by enclosing it with foreground tiles (wall, floor, roof, doors or hatches)
  • Every background tile within the totem's radius must be a wall or a window, or part of the underground backdrop.


  • A trail of small orange-yellow stars traces the perimeter of the shelter.
  • Hatches must be placed one square above the hole in the floor or ceiling, not in the hole. If the hatch is placed in the hole, then the shelter will only be secure when the hatch is shut, and opening the hatch will break the shelter.
  • If there is a hole in the perimeter around the totem then the nearest hole will be pointed out with a large orange star (unless the hole is caused by an open improperly placed hatch).
  • To use a second totem to expand the size of the shelter, place the second totem at an edge of the first totem's maximum range.

Comfort level[]

The comfort level of a shelter influences the dwarfs recovery time while they sleep. A higher degree of comfort will reduce the time dwarfs need to sleep to regain health.

How to increase comfort[]

  • Each bed in the house, beyond the first, drastically lowers comfort; as overall comfort is divided by how many beds are in the shelter.
If dwarves don't fight very often, keep only one bed and reassign it after use until comfort is maxed out. Then add a bed and repeat once more comfortable items become available.
Replace all beds as soon as a better version becomes available as they have an effect on overall comfort.
  • The material used for the external walls makes a big difference. The following list sorts them from the best to the worst:
Wall Type Durability
Steel Wall 17
Brick Wall 12
Stone Wall 9
Stone 8
Wooden Wall 5
Earth 4
  • Simple background material like earth and stone makes no difference, but crafted wall sets do[3]:
Wall set Comfort
Ice Wall 1
Wooden Wall 2
Venetian Stucco 2
Venetian Stucco (chinese) 3
Stone Wall 1
Steel Wall 2
Stone Wall Set 2
Wooden Wall Set 2
Brick Wall 2
Luxurious Wall Set 4[4]
  • Doors and hatches type have an impact on the comfort level, the stronger the door, the better is the comfort provided. The following list sorts them from the best to the worst:
Entryway Type Durability
Steel Door 40
Iron Door/Iron Hatch 20
Wooden Door/Wooden Hatch 5
  • Roofs provide less comfort than walls, so is better to use roof tiles only for deco on top of a line of wall tiles.
  • Shelter size per dwarf now increases comfort.
  • Overall lighting affects the comfort level. The bigger the shelter, the more lighting needed until the effect is capped. The type of lighting doesn't appear to have an effect.
  • The comfort provided by furniture/deco items do affect the overall comfort level.



A useful design of wall for dealing with large swarms of enemies is the sand wall.

See also[]


  1. Since patch 1.4.010, "dwarfs can sleep without beds, but their health is restored much more slowly".
  2. To be more precise, if there is no shelter (no totem have been placed) or if the shelter's borders have been violated, a dwarf sent to sleep or a dwarf going to sleep spontaneously (with very low health) will complain, but he/she will sleep on a bed if there is any bed available for him/her. However, it will be like if he/she was sleeping on the floor, because there will be no regenaration rate bonus, no matter the bed he/she's sleeping on. All this only applies for versions 1.4.010 and above. On earlier versions, in this situation, dwarfs could not find their beds and could not sleep on the floor.
  3. Since update 1.4.010, background wall sets add some comfort to the shelter. This has been verified in the inventory screen, when opening the item's details. The values can also be checked at the file /main/data/craft_resources.xml.