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DF2014:Adventurer mode

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This article is about the current version of DF.

This is a detailed reference guide for Adventurer Mode. For a tutorial see the Adventure Mode Quickstart Guide.
See Adventure Mode quick reference to quickly look up key commands.

In Adventurer Mode (also called "adventure mode") you create a single adventurer (dwarf, human, or elf) who starts out somewhere in one of your generated worlds. You can learn about what ails the world and go on quests to end those troubles (or get brutally murdered trying), venture into the wilderness to find caves, shrines, lairs, abandoned towers, and other towns and settlements. You can even visit your abandoned and retired fortresses and take all the precious items you yourself once created.

Unlike Fortress mode, Adventurer Mode is a sort of advanced open world version of rogue or nethack taking place in the same procedurally generated worlds used for Fortress Mode. Whereas in fortress mode you are in charge of a large group of people in real-time, in adventurer mode you control a single character in a turn-based manner.


World Selection[edit]

You can play Adventurer mode in any world that has a civilization with the ADVENTURE_TIER token (which are elf, dwarf, and human in unmodded raws). Humans inhabit cities, towns, and the occasional above-ground fortress. Elves inhabit forest retreats. Dwarves are spread between "deep sites" which sometimes do not contain a direct connection to the surface, and "hill dwarves" which inhabit a loose collection of mounds built into hillsides. Human cities and towns are currently the only sites with shops and other places to officially buy goods.

If you have previously built a fort in the world that you select, your adventurer will be able to go visit it. If you have selected to "retire" the fortress rather than abandon it, you will likely be able to encounter all of the inhabitants from fortress mode. However, they will likely not have the same level of activity as they would in a bustling fortress-mode fort.

Character Creation[edit]

Race and Civilization[edit]

Any race with the ADVENTURE_TIER token is playable in adventure mode. In an unmodded game, this means Dwarves, Elves, and Humans. All three races can complete the same quests.

  • Humans Always originate from one of the villages in the world. begin with bronze or iron weapons and can use any of the items sold by shopkeepers (who, for the time being, are only found in human towns and only sell human-sized clothing/armor). They also start with the widest variety of weapon skills.
  • Human Outsiders Human Outsiders are humans that aren't from that world or any of its villages. They simply appear in the wilderness, a stranger to all. You may always play as an outsider, even if the world is otherwise completely uninhabited. Outsiders can only start with Spear User and Knife User as weapon skills, and they cannot start with Armor User or Shield User. They also start out literally naked with no clothing, but can wear any human-sized armor that they trade for, steal, or loot. "Outsiders" of other races can be played if you add the INDIV_CONTROLLABLE token to the race's entity definition.
  • Dwarves have the advantage of being able to go into a martial trance when fighting multiple foes at once. This gives them many combat bonuses, which aids their survival greatly. They are the only race which can start with steel weapons, but they wear "small" sized clothing (like goblins and elves) which means that they're unable to wear human clothing and armour found in shops. Goblin armor fits them, making Dark Fortresses (if your computer can handle them) and bandits a viable source of armor; if you're up for it, you could also just rob some dwarves. They can start with almost all of the same weapon skills as civilized humans. Many larger weapons must be wielded two-handed by dwarves, due to their size.
  • Elves start with very weak wooden weapons and have a more limited list of weapon skills during character creation. They have the advantage that they have higher natural speed. Elves also have the AT_PEACE_WITH_NATURE tag. This makes all wildlife passive towards them. Like dwarves they wear small sized clothing and will have the same problem finding suitable armour.
  • Kobolds can be played only if there are no other civilizations and there are kobolds. They are very small and weak in combat and a huge challenge compared to the other races. They wear even smaller armour than the other races and armour will be impossible to find for them, unless you are absurdly lucky and run into armoured kobolds.

If no civilization for the given race exists in a world you can only play as an outsider.


Determines the number of starting skill and attribute points, which does not change based on race:

  • Peasant: 15 attribute, 35 skill
  • Hero: 35 attribute, 95 skill
  • Demigod: 105 attribute, 161 skill

The number of skill points is less significant than the number of attribute points because the time it takes to go from Peasant to Demigod in skill terms is much less than what it would take to go from Peasant to Demigod in attribute terms.

Starting Attributes[edit]

Attributes are divided into Body and Soul attributes. This section provides some guidance for allocating attributes as it relates to adventurer mode.


  • Strength: Alters the damage you inflict in melee regardless of weapon used. Increases muscle size. This increased muscular layer helps prevent damage, although this is a pretty minor effect. Increasing strength, at least in adventurers, increases movement speed (albeit not as much as agility) due to better carrying capacity.
  • Agility: This attribute is directly related to a character's Speed and is also used in combat skills. Agility is really, really important as being faster than the enemies allows you to get more hits in before they can fight back and lets you run away more easily.
  • Toughness: Reduces physical damage inflicted on you. Also relates to defensive combat skills.
  • Endurance: Reduces the rate at which the adventurer becomes exhausted. Becoming exhausted causes you to collapse, helpless and immobile and can cause you to pass out.
  • Recuperation: Increases the rate of wound healing. Not as important as Toughness. Recuperation isn't that useful in adventurer mode since you usually have as much time to rest as you need assuming you can escape a situation alive.
  • Disease Resistance: Seems to have some effect on vampirism infectivity; may have to do with infected wounds.


Some of these are useful for adventure-mode-applicable skills, but some are totally useless except as dump stats.

  • Analytical Ability: Useful only for Knapping; should be reduced to minimum.Verify
  • Focus: Affects Archer, Ambusher, Observer.
  • Willpower: Affects Fighter, Crutch Walker and Swimmer. Willpower is really important as it governs how easily you'll pass out from extreme pain. Low willpower is a death sentence if you are seriously wounded, as you'll pass out and have your head caved in. Broken bones currently cause enough pain that even very high willpower usually won't keep you conscious. For non bone injuries however willpower can keep you going long enough to kill enemies, or at least get away from them.
  • Creativity: Useless at the moment.
  • Intuition: Helps with Observer, which aids in spotting concealed enemies,ambushes and identifying attacks from opponents.
  • Patience: May have some effect on dealings with others as a result of the new conversation system.Verify
  • Memory: Memory aids greatly in mapping out areas as the higher your memory the longer you'll remember an area. As you explore you'll forget previously explored areas, causing them to appear blank, as if you had never been there. If you have low enough memory you'll forget areas of large locations like underground catacombs while you're still in them, making finding your way very confusing, as things like the exit wont be visible anymore until you find it again. Best to have at least average memory.
  • Linguistic Ability: May have some effect on dealings with others as a result of the new conversation system.Verify
  • Spatial Sense: Important. Affects combat skills, Ambusher, Crutch Walker, Swimmer, Observer, Knapping.
  • Musicality: Completely useless. Use this as a dump stat.
  • Kinaesthetic Sense: Affects most combat skills, walking with crutches and swimming.
  • Empathy: Might increase chance of persuading people to join you.Verify
  • Social Awareness: Increases the number of followers you can have at a given "fame" level. Normally you start with a limit of two. Increasing this stat by one level raises that to three. Your fame still plays a big part in whenever you can recruit followers or not.

Attribute Advancement Cap[edit]

Adventure mode attributes are capped at double the starting value or the starting value plus the racial average, whichever is greater. Humans, for example, have a racial average strength of 1,000. If a human adventurer starts with an above average strength of 1,100, then his strength will ultimately be capped at 2,200. Had this human started with a below average strength of 900, then his strength would be capped at 1,900 instead. For the purpose of maximizing final attributes, this makes it important to start with as many attributes in the superior range as possible (more attributes per point allocated), while avoiding taking any penalties to even remotely important attributes (big attribute deductions per point recovered). As a consequence of the attribute cap, demigod adventurers will always have a much higher potential for advancement than mere peasants and heroes.

Starting Skills[edit]

Not all races have the same sets of skills available at character creation time, but keep in mind that all starting skills, as well as ones not available at character creation, can be improved through use in game. Reader is an exception to this.

This section will specifically address starting skills as they relate to adventure mode. For a full description of combat skills see Combat skill. Other skills that you can't start with, but which can be increased in game (such as Butchery) are described elsewhere.


The weapon you start out with will be based on which of these, plus the unarmed combat skills, is the highest. In other words, even if Swordsman is your highest weapon skill, you won't start with a sword if your Wrestler or Striker skills are better. Usually the best choice anyway is to specialize in just one melee weapon skill. Regardless of weapon skills, a large copper dagger will always be included in the starting equipment, which is handy for throwing at enemies that are just a step away or finishing off a foe pinned down by a stuck weapon. If you don't select any offensive skills, you will also start with a spear, just as an outsider would.

Not all races/civilizations can start with all of these skills. Dwarves can't start with Bowman, Pikeman, or Lasher. Elves can only use Swordsman, Bowman, and Spearman. Of the playable races, only humans have access to Pikeman and Lasher. Strangely, only outsiders can start with Knife User.

Note that different races have different names for their weapon skills. Axegoblin, Axedwarf etc.

Crossbowman is an exception. Dwarves call this skill Marksdwarf, although bow skill is referred to as Bow Dwarf as you'd expect. Elite Axe and Hammer dwarves are referred to as Lords.

  • Axeman: allows characters to use axes, great axes, and halberds more effectively. Useful for cleaving off limbs.
  • Bowman: skill allows characters to use bows more effectively. Useful for taking down enemies at a distance.
  • Crossbowman: allows characters to use crossbows more effectively. Useful for taking down enemies at a distance.
  • Hammerman: allows characters to use crossbows in melee, mauls, and war hammers more effectively. Useful for breaking limbs.
  • Knife User - allows characters to use large daggers and knives more effectively. Useful for stabbing things.
  • Lasher - allows characters to use whips and scourges more effectively. Very deadly weapons.
  • Maceman - allows characters to use flails, maces, and morningstars more effectively. Similar to hammers.
  • Pikeman - allows characters to use pikes more effectively. Like spears, but much bigger.
  • Spearman - allows characters to use spears more effectively. Useful for stabbing things.
  • Swordsman - allows characters to use blowguns and bows in melee, long swords, scimitars, short swords, and two-handed swords more effectively. Useful for cutting, stabbing, and whacking, but less effective than more dedicated weapons.

General Combat[edit]

These two skills can be raised rather quickly in game and so you probably want to skip spending any points on them at the start.

  • Fighter - This increases with, and contributes to, melee combat whether armed or unarmed. It appears that the purpose of it is to allow melee experience to contribute to melee combat in general regardless of weapon. Repeatedly wrestling (grabbing and releasing) even a small creature will raise this skill.
  • Archer - This increases with, and contributes to, ranged combat including throwing. It works similarly to Fighter except for ranged attacks. It can be easily raised by repeatedly throwing rocks, making it advisable for archers to practice their marksmanship with rock throwing before using up the more finite and expensive forms of ammunition. Shooting at a wall with adjacent upward ramp one level below and picking back projectiles is also a good idea (such places often happen to be in keeps and fortresses). See the FAQ section on increasing your skills and attributes for information on raising bowman/marksman skills.


These skills are critical for survival. Starting out with good ability in one (especially Shield User or Armor User) if not all is strongly advised.

  • Shield User - Ability to block attacks with shields. Starting with even novice skill in this means that the adventurer will start with a shield. This is a no-brainer unless you're creating a two handed weapon user, and lack a broadness or height modifier on your character - necessary for one-handing any two-handed weapon, without penalty.
  • Armor User: A higher level of this skill reduces the encumbrance penalties of armour, allowing you to move faster when wearing it. It also affects how well armour protects you and this makes a huge difference. Unskilled armour users gain little protection. This is noticeable as you'll begin seeing far more combat reports about hits either striking you though armour, (you managed to use your armour to lessen the force of the blow) or being deflected by your armour (you used your amour to avoid the hit entirety) as your skill rises and you learn to actually use your armour to deflect hits. It is highly advised to train your armour skill before entering battle with it as the speed penalties of lower levels can be a serious handicap.
  • Dodger - Ability to dodge out of the way of attacks. Dodger is incredibly important and will allow you to avoid many, many hits that would have otherwise injured you. Especially important when you are fighting unarmoured and can't afford a battle axe in the chest. Boost this to talented or at least close to it.

Unarmed Combat and Improvised Weapons[edit]

While some of them come in handy at times, they can generally be raised fairly easily in game, especially Wrestler and Thrower.

  • Wrestler - Ability to grapple, restrain, take-down, throw opponents, etc. Higher skill means all of these moves succeed more often. See #Wrestling and Unarmed Attacks for details. Can be raised very easily in game.
  • Striker - Punching ability. Turns handy when weapons get stuck and there is no time to wrest them back.
  • Kicker - Kicking ability. Same as Striker. Kicks are slower but more deadly than punches; heavy kicks are particularly good at crushing and exploding heads.
  • Biter - Biting ability. Biting is surprisingly effective even with non animal races as after biting you can shake opponents around by your teeth, causing great damage and possibly ripping off body parts, although with sapient races this tends to lean more towards fingers or toes, perhaps the occasional hand or foot.
  • Thrower - Throwing any miscellaneous object including rocks, knives, axes, swords, heads, etc. Skill affects accuracy and damage caused.
  • Misc. Object User - Ability to beat things to death with anything that comes at hand, from bags to coins to their own severed body parts. Also somewhat more commonly used for shield bashing. This skill affects combat with any object, from a rock to a beehive. There are no separate skills for different items. Items actually intended to be weapons, like swords or axes, are unaffected by this skill.

Movement and Awareness[edit]

  • Observer - Helps one to notice things like ambushes, enemies who are "sneaking" (stealth movement), and traps. Detection range increases with skill, but up to a maximum of 3 tiles away. Higher levels give more information regarding opponents. Hard to train. Adding some points here is advisable.
  • Swimmer - Allows movement through water without drowning. A Novice swimmer can swim but will revert to being unable to swim if stunned, which happens when falling even 1 z-level into the water, or possibly after an unfriendly encounter with a creature in the water. An Adequate swimmer can swim normally (not drown) while stunned. For this reason, starting out as an Adequate swimmer is advisable. If you don't, at least start as Novice and go get some swimming practice right away.
  • Ambusher - The skill of Sneaking around unobserved. This can be raised fairly easily by sneaking around while traveling from place to place when speed is not important. Enemies will have "sight ranges" from where they can detect a sneaking adventurer. The red zone of sight is where they will see you immediately and begin chasing you; the yellow is where they might see you. Staying out of sight will allow you to silently assassinate your foes, as they rarely seem to notice a knife in their back in time.
  • Climber - The skill of climbing up walls, into trees, and around the edges of gorges. Higher levels reduce the chance of falling and increase the speed of a climbing character.
  • Tracker - The skill of tracking your quarry, whether it be animals or goblins. Higher levels will let you spot more tracks and help you distinguish different tracks.


These allow your character to create things. There is only one skill currently available in an unmodified game.

  • Knapper - The fine art of sharpening rocks by banging them together in a clever manner. The resulting rocks become sharp rocks which do more damage when thrown and can be used for things requiring a sharp edge like butchering. Easy to raise in game and doing so helps with Kinesthetic and Spatial Sense.


  • Reader - Allows you to read books, signs, and writing in Adventurer mode. Novice level is required in order to become a Necromancer. There is no way to increase this skill. Adding more points is a waste, as novice allows you to read anything.
  • Butcher - The art of turning corpses into piles of delicious prepared brains and meat for food. You cannot allocate points here during character creation, but that's OK since skill doesn't really affect anything anyway.


Common UI Concepts[edit]

About Key Symbols

This document and most documents on the wiki use key symbols that look like t to indicate what keys are used for an operation. Note that these are case sensitive. In order to save space, Shift+t will be written as T. So t means "press the 't' key without the shift key" and T means "hold down shift and press the 't' key". Lowercase and uppercase keys will almost never perform the same function, so it is important to use the correct key. Sequences of keys will be written with dashes between them. So a-b-C means "press 'a', then press 'b', then hold shift and press 'c'".

Cursor Movement, Menu Selection, and Navigation

Esc Go back to the previous screen/menu
Change active menu option or move cursor
- + Alternate menu selection keys
Enter Select menu option

Sometimes you use the directional keys and Enter to make menu selections, but sometimes you will need to use the alternate selection keys (- and +) to make menu selections. Generally speaking, when dealing with menus, if the directional keys don't work try -/+.

Esc will almost always take you back to the previous screen until you get to the top level of the UI, at which point it will display the options menu.

Moving Around[edit]

Local Movement[edit]

An image of normal travel mode. A list of the closest (but not necessarily close) sites is in the top-left corner. On the right side are minimaps of the next two levels down, relative to the player. Along the bottom is information about the player.
8 2 4 6 7 9 1 3 Move
Alt and a direction key Move carefully / Deliberately enter dangerous terrain
< or Shift+5 (num lock off) Ascend
> or Ctrl+5 (num lock off) Descend
. Wait for 10 instants
, Wait for 1 instant
s Stand or lie down
S Open Movement Speed/Sneak Menu

Unless your character is an outsider, you will start out in a human town or hamlet; in the standard tileset the @ sign is your character.

The directional keys allow movement. Diagonal movement is particularly important especially when chasing or running away from things.

Use Alt+direction to enter water, jump off of cliffs, or otherwise attempt to enter anything that you can't enter using normal movement commands. Note that when entering water it's best to enter the actual water and not the open space over the water as, in the later case, you will fall in causing you to become stunned which may lead to drowning.

If you hit j, you can jump. This is mostly useful for crossing gorges and crevices, where you have to get to the other side. Occasionally, you can manage to jump onto an opponent and tackle them, which typically causes them to go flying a short distance.

Hitting . allows you to stay in one place and wait for other things to move. , does the same but with a tenth of the time it takes for ..

Use s to sit/lie down. Moving while laying down (crawling) will let you move past NPCs which are standing in your way. Also note that you will frequently get knocked to the ground in combat, and if you don't hit s to stand back up then you will crawl slowly along the ground, giving your opponent a lot of opportunity to attack you.

Sneak will allow you to move around invisibly, limited by your Ambusher skill and the Observer skill of nearby creatures. Enemies will have sight cones indicating where they can detect a sneaking adventurer. The central zone of sight (red, violet, or cyan) is where they will see you immediately and begin chasing you; their peripheral vision (yellow) is where they might see you. Violet and cyan central zones indicate the enemy is on a different level than yours, while red means they are on the same level. Staying out of sight will allow you to silently assassinate your foes, as they rarely seem to notice a knife in their back in time.

If you hold onto a wall or tree, you can climb the wall or tree by using the movement keys. In towns and tamer parts of the countryside, this isn't particularly useful. However, in a combat situation, climbing a tree or wall can give you a height advantage, possibly allowing you to dive-tackle your opponents. Sometimes, mountains will be too steep to walk up the edge, or you will find a deep drop into a ravine. In these cases, you will have to climb up to reach the top, or perhaps jump or climb down one face, then climb up the other.

Fast Travel[edit]

Fast Travel screen. The player is in a hamlet, between the houses to the right and the mead hall in the top-left area of the map. The asterisk represents a group of creatures (in this case unfriendly goblins). The world map (in sepia) is on the far right.
T Fast Travel
d Exit fast travel mode
K Display detected tracks and odors
c Toggle display of clouds on region map
s Walk around in sneak mode. Exiting fast travel starts you in sneak mode.
m Cycle through maps and significant structures
Q View Quest Log
Z Bring up sleep menu
h Hide parts of the bottom bar
> and < Enter/exit tunnel

Entering Fast Travel mode will allow you to move large distances in a single keypress. Of course, the same amount of time will go by and you can also be interrupted (ambushed) while moving in fast travel mode.

Along the top of the map is a line showing the sky, and the position of the sun and/or moon from west to east. This primarily helps you determine how long you have before it gets dark, at which point you won't be able to see very far, will risk getting attacked by bogeymen, and will be more vulnerable to attack in general.

If you are not near any sites, the m key will toggle a world map, colored in sepia tone (matching the map you see in the quest log). If you are near a site, then m cycles between a list of significant structures where your player is, a regional map (matching what you travel on when away from any site), and the aforementioned world map.

The c key will only show clouds on the region map (the one you travel on outside of sites). Some clouds will be visible regardless of the state of this option.

The h key will cycle through various amounts of the bottom bar of content hidden. The effects of each press are:

  • 1 press: hide key reference. Allows you to see status effects on your character if obscured by the key list.
  • 2 presses: hide most local name, reducing the bar to one line of text.
  • 3 presses: hide less local name, eliminating the bar entirely.
  • 4 presses: shows all information

Status and Information[edit]

l Look around
Space Advance/Clear Messages
a View Announcements
z Status

Looking Around[edit]

If you're not sure what a tile is, the look command will tell you. In addition to being useful for identifying tiles and creatures, you can also view creatures' equipment and what items are sitting on the ground in a given tile. If in doubt, try the look command.

Move the cursor to the tile you want to look at using direction keys and Shift+direction. It's possible to look up and down z-levels (assuming you have line of sight) using the < and > keys. This, for example, allows you to find out if any flying creatures are above you. Hit Esc to exit look mode and go back to movement mode.


The game makes frequent use of messages on the screen to tell you what is going on. If there are a lot of these you may need to use Space to display the rest of the messages that won't fit on the screen. You can always go back and view old messages by pressing a.

Status Screen[edit]

This screen shows your skills, attributes, wounded body parts, health (along with more detailed descriptions of your wounds), lets you view your description, and change your nickname if you want.

Saving the Game[edit]

Hit the Esc key at any time and select Save Game to save your game. You can then come back to it later by using the Continue Playing option in the main menu.

Searching and Manipulating[edit]

u Interact with building, furniture, or mechanism
L Search the nearby area very carefully

The u key can be used to do stuff like pull levers in your abandoned forts. It is also used to lower and raise the bucket when standing right next to a well so you can get water to refill your waterskin with.

L will perform a thorough search of the area that you're standing in, possibly revealing some small creatures.

Managing Equipment[edit]

i Show Inventory
d Drop an item
g Get (pickup) an item off the ground
p Put an item into a container
r Remove an item you are wearing or from a container
w Wear an item
I Interact with an object in an advanced way. (unstick a weapon, refill waterskin etc.)
q Sheath your weapons and shield. (Frees your hands for tasks such as climbing or grabbing)


Press i to display a list of what you are currently carrying. Press - + * / to scroll the list. This list will show you if items are being worn, held in hands, stuck on your body, or are inside a container. Detailed information about an object can be viewed by pressing the key associated with the item.

Getting/Dropping Things[edit]

You can drop items in your inventory, as well as get items on the ground on the same tile that you are standing on. If there is more than one item a menu will be listed. Press - + * / to scroll the list if the list is too long to fit on the screen. Note that getting something makes your adventurer pick something up with his or her hands. This often means that you have to use q to sheathe whatever you have in your hands before you pick something up. If you do not (and you do not have a backpack or some other way of storing the object, your adventurer will not pick the item up.

g will also allow you to ignite foliage/any flammable objects adjacent to you. Fires aren't as devastating as one might imagine, but they will cause (most) enemies to path around them, making your crowd control slightly more effective when taking on multiple enemies. As an added bonus, it will also surely piss off the elves.


Items can be placed into containers with p and removed with r.


Items can be worn using w and removed using r (the same command used for removing from containers). If an item you want to wear does not show up as an option, then it means you are already wearing too many items in the location used by that item. Try removing items in that location and then wear them again in order of priority. You also must put on equipment in an order that makes sense,. for example a shirt first then the armor, not the other way around. Armour must also be put on in a sensible manner with flexible layers such as chainmail first then rigid plate armour second. After all, who, in real life, would wear chainmail over a hard plate?

Note that "large" or "small" clothing items are too big / small for your race (e.g. a large giant cave spider silk sock). If you have that problem, try getting clothing from a different source.

After acquiring armor from one source or another, you'll most likely want to equip it. To do this, first make sure it is in your possession--not on the ground. You can then wear it, granted you don't already have too much on that equipment slot already. You can remove or drop inferior equipment as necessary.

See Armor for more information on wearing things. One thing to note in particular, DF allows you to wear more than one item in the same location in many situations, for example a copper mail shirt and a copper breastplate. The thin, flexible chain can be worn under the breastplate, but not the other way around.


There is no command for wielding items such as weapons in specific hands. Instead, they are automatically equipped when you either get them from the ground or remove them from your backpack - provided the hand that would wield them is free. So in order to change weapons or shields you should drop items or place them into containers (such as your backpack) until your hands are free, then get items from the floor or remove them from containers which will place them in your hands. For example, put all items into backpack, remove sword from backpack, remove shield from backpack. The items will end up in the right and left hand. Simply remember the remove command and the put into container command.

While normally one would only be able to equip one item in each hand, removing items from your inventory results in them being wielded regardless of whether one's hands are full. This is especially useful with shields, as every shield will contribute a block chance to each incoming attack.

It should be noted that Dwarf Fortress does not enforce one particular hand as dominant for everyone, so do not be surprised if your character holds the weapon and shield in hands you yourself would not hold them in.

Advanced Interaction[edit]

The I key allows "complex interaction" with objects in your inventory.

This is used for removing arrows and weapons stuck in wounds which will appear in your inventory when they become stuck in you. Removing stuck arrows can cause bleeding so it is not always a good idea mid combat, but stuck objects will slow you down as you are encumbered by their weight. It s best to remove them as soon as possible when it is safe and you are not in danger of bleeding to death.

Advanced interaction can also be used to steal enemy equipment. Use wrestling to grab hold of a piece of enemy equipment, such as their weapon, or a helmet protecting their squishy brain and it will appear in the advanced interaction menu. Simply grab the item with a free hand and pull away. If successful, you will now be holding that item in your hands.

This command is particularly useful for getting water. When standing next to a well you press the u key to lower, then raise the bucket, yielding 10 units of water in the bucket. Then you can press the I key to fill your waterskin from the full bucket (alternatively you can press the e key to drink directly from the bucket).

Advanced interactions can be used next to a campfire to heat things, such as any frozen liquids you have in your inventory (or snow lying on the ground) and need to drink. You can refill waterskins from a nearby liquid source as well


The q key lets you strap your weapons to your back.

This is useful because you can't climb or wrestle with your hands unless your hands are free.

People will also be less likely to be scared of you on first sight if you don't appear to be ready to attack.

Time and Weather[edit]

D Date
P Temperature
W Weather/Time

The game has a day/night cycle with time passing as various actions take place.

When using quick travel mode, the top line of the screen will indicate the position of the sun in the sky with a yellow "☼"; further to the right of the screen is earlier in the day and further to the left is later in the day.

In local travel mode you'll have to use the W command to learn the position of the sun, when you're in a place where the sun is visible.

At night you won't be able to see nearly as well and you will be more vulnerable to ambush.

The game also has weather and temperature. The most common weather you'll experience is rain. Rain is shown as blue moving dots on the local travel screen and will unsurprisingly cause everything outside to become wet. Temperature is important because if it happens to drop below freezing while you're swimming through water, you'll instantly die from being encased in the ice.

Therefore you might want to keep an eye on the temperature while swimming, especially if it's getting cold.

Also, unlike fortress mode, rivers/other bodies of water can be liquid during the day, and freeze at night. The cycles of freezing can also be erratic from day to day.

Freezing weather can also freeze liquids in your inventory solid, making them undrinkable. If your water freezes and you are thirsty, make a campfire and Interact with your waterskin to heat it over the fire and melt the ice.


Z Sleep

Eventually your character will become Drowsy and this will get worse until you get sufficient sleep.

Sleep does not necessarily have to coincide with night, but if you're traveling alone when night comes you'll be in danger of being attacked by Bogeymen. To avoid this while traveling solo you need to make it to shelter before nightfall and sleep the night away inside a building or abandoned lair. Enter a building, use k to talk to a human, and ask for permission to stay the night. Next press Z to sleep, d to sleep until dawn, then Enter to confirm. (NOTE: If you stay the night in a castle, you have to sleep in the keep which houses the lord/lady of the castle. Sleeping inside the castle but outside the keep still leaves you vulnerable to attack.) Sleeping on an ocean beach also prevents bogeymen from attacking. (If you'd rather not deal with bogeymen, you can disable them by generating a world using advanced world generation and setting "Number of Night creatures" to 0)

Though sleeping inside can be safe, it's also limiting: any quest site you want to go to has to be within a daytime's round-trip time of a safe habitation, and you have to make your way to there by hopping from one habitation to the next, sleeping at each along the way. A way to avoid this is to travel with companions. If you have any companions with you then Bogeymen won't attack you. You'll still have to sleep at night, though, both to avoid sleep deprivation and because there's no visibility at night. You can still be ambushed at night by wildlife, but that's much less likely than being ambushed by Bogeymen when traveling alone. If you find yourself alone at night with nowhere safe to sleep, the safest bet is to keep traveling until dawn, even if that means running around in circles. You will eventually feel unwell from sleep deprivation, but this can take a considerable amount of time. You can make up for lost sleep once you've found your way to safety.

Note that sleeping in lairs, shrines, and labyrinths makes you safe from ambush, assuming that you or someone else has killed whatever was living there. If you have sufficient shrines/lairs/etc between you and your goal and they are either uninhabited or inhabited by things you are capable of killing then you can travel from lair to lair using each lair as a safe lodging. This is much safer than sleeping out in the open, day or night, even with companions.

If no other options are available, completely surrounding yourself with campfires will keep night marauders at bay as they cannot pass through the fires; the fires will go out after several hours and enable you to move on (you may also be able to jump over the fires). The bogeymen or other enemies may be outside your line of sight, which will prevent you from firing arrows or throwing things at them. In this case, you will have to stand up and lie down s repeatedly until the enemies wander into your range, the fires go out and the enemies can path to you, or dawn breaks.

Food and Drink[edit]

e Eat or drink something

To find water, you must find a river, stream, or well in a town and fill your waterskin from it, or drink from it directly. Water that may be covering you or your items will not be able to satisfy your thirst.

Note that drinking vampire blood will turn you into a vampire instantly.

Make sure to eat or drink regularly even if you're not hungry or thirsty, as you can only eat or drink thrice at a time: after that you'll need to rest, or wait until you can consume another meal. If you find yourself in need of both food and hydration, make sure to take care of the most urgent problem first, as if you are moderately hungry but severely dehydrated and eat three times, you may die before you have another chance to drink.

If the temperature is low enough you might have trouble finding liquid water. Snow and ice can be heated into water by first making a campfire with g and then performing an advanced interaction with I on the ice or snow in your inventory to heat it. Advanced interactions with your waterskin can also be used to gather water from water sources, or snow from the ground.


8 2 4 6 7 9 1 3 Attack adjacent hostile creature
Attack adjacent hostile creature
A Attack an adjacent creature.
f Fire a projectile
t Throw an item
C Open combat preferences interface

Combat is the fine art of using physical force to cause injury and death, and it is particularly fun in Dwarf Fortress.

Melee Attacks[edit]

Hostile creatures can be attacked using a non-aimed attack by simply advancing towards your enemy using the arrow keys. Doing a non-aimed attack will also have a chance of freeing up any stuck weapon, though you are more likely to accomplish this by moving away from the enemy, or complexly interacting with the weapon.

Any creature can be attacked by standing next to it and pressing A. Attacking a friendly or unconscious creature (which includes wild animals for elves) will further require a confirmation, given using alt+y.

After selecting (and maybe confirming) which creature you want to attack, a will allow you to make an aimed attack. You must first select the body part that you want to attack. Look at the difficulty rating for various possible attacks. Impossible attacks will be impossible to land and Easier attacks will be very easy to land. The difficulty rating for an attack does not change depending on your weapon skill. Based on player experiences, a Grand Master weapon user can almost always land a "Tricky" strike, while a Novice generally cannot. Attacks on various locations will also have limits on how "squarely" they can land (due to being out of reach, for example). Square and very square attacks will deal more damage.Verify Attacks which "can't land squarely" are generally still effective.

Attacks aimed at the head are the most effective; a single attack to the cranium with a weapon will usually put an end to the fight. Aimed attacks are especially useful for dismembering opponents. Opponents who are missing a foot will fall over, thereby greatly lowering their speed, and giving you an immediate edge in the fight. Cutting off both hands also highly recommended for obvious reasons. After all, a field full of armless, one-legged enemies can be a big experience booster for your companions.

Aimed attacks are also especially helpful when fighting giant beasts. Some enemies like giant desert scorpions have lots of redundant body parts, and random attacks waste valuable time on low priority areas while the scorpion is busy injecting venom into the whole party. Lastly, aimed attacks allow you to grab trophies that are not available via butchering. For example, a minotaur's horns can be cut off during a fight, but since its a humanoid, most adventurers will refuse to butcher its corpse after the fight.

There are several options below the hitting menu. Quick attacks are faster than regular attacks but weaker. Heavy attacks are slower but attack harder. Wild attacks are faster and hit harder but are inaccurate. Precise attacks are very slow but are much more likely to hit. Multi-attacks allow you to attack several times in a row at a great cost to the effectiveness of any one of the chosen attacks.

Ranged Attacks[edit]

To attack with a ranged weapon press the f key with a ranged weapon (bow, crossbow, etc.) equipped on one hand and select the square where you want to attack. Note that you need to have some sort of ammo, corresponding to the type of ranged weapon you are using (for example, bows use arrows, crossbows use bolts). Otherwise, a message stating "You have nothing left to fire." is displayed in brown. Similarly use the t key to throw any random object in the same manner. Random objects appear to make a random attack if they happen to have more than one possible type.Verify For example, if you throw a sword it may hit with a blunt impact, a stabbing impact, or a slicing impact. Throwing crossbow bolts with sufficient throwing skill and strength seems to have an effect similar to firing them, although less powerful. On the plus side, you will never lose ammo if you throw it.

It is not possible to aim for specific body parts with ranged or thrown attacks.

Throwing is generally a good skill to have for any adventurer, as it allows you to slow down fleeing foes, both on the ground and in the air without the need of equipping a (cross)bow. Just like looking, you can use throwing to view and hit enemies multiple Z levels away from you. If you're lucky, you can simply land a hit that causes the flying enemy to give in to pain, and then let gravity do the rest of the work. Even if the fall doesn't kill them, they will most likely be stunned long enough for you to run up and slaughter them.

Wrestling and Unarmed Attacks[edit]

Main article: Wrestling

Wrestling (grappling) can be performed by selecting an enemy via A followed by b to wrestle. You can wrestle any enemy. Wrestling works somewhat like a targeted attack. Once you grab a creature by some body part, you may be able to make another wrestling attempt that will allow you to perform a throw or takedown.

For a detailed list of moves such as takedowns, throws, choke holds, etc., see Wrestling.

It's also possible to punch, kick, and bite. These are not in the wrestling menu but are performed like normal targeted attacks with A.


Weapons are basically divided into axe, sword, spear, pike, mace, whip, bow and hammer, with various versions of these taking up the gray area.


If you get wounded during combat, there's not much that you can do except perhaps run before you get more wounded. Your wounds will heal over time, so just travel around or sleep in a safe place. Some wounds however may never heal, leaving you permanently crippled. Obtaining a crutch may help with this. Or if you are not already a vampire, then you can get bitten by a werebeast during full moon, which will heal all injuries once per month.

If you have some bolts or arrows stuck in your body, they can be removed by using the complex interaction menu I. Select the stuck bolt or arrow from the list and then pull it out with a You'll probably start bleeding after you pull it out, but the bleeding is rarely anything to worry about.

Combat Preferences[edit]

At any time during gameplay (Except fast travel mode), you can press C to open the Combat Preferences menu. There are three different preferences you can set: Attack, Dodge and Charge Defense. These have a few different preferences each:

  • attack
    • According to Opponent - The default setting. When set to this, charging happens more or less frequently, depending on the difference in size between you and the opponent. Bigger opponents get charged less, smaller more often. Can be very risky, since a random charge against a huge opponent is likely to get you knocked down and stunned. In the same vein, charging when close to obstacles or other environmental hazards is very dangerous, potentially fatal, if the enemy dodges you.
    • Strike - This setting ensures that you never charge an opponent, but rather just swing your weapon at them. This carries less risk than the above, but you're never going to knock anyone down without hitting their legs or spine. Very preferable against large opponents.
    • Charge - When set to this, you ALWAYS charge. When faced with numerous small enemies (Bogeymen in particular), this can be extremely useful, but remember to switch back when facing something bigger. Charging a large dragon is almost a certain death sentence.
    • Close Combat - With this setting, all your auto-attacks are grapples. Generally not very useful, since the random nature of it tends to prevent you from actually doing any damage with it, but if you continually auto-attack a harmless creature with it your wrestling-skill will be legendary in no time.
  • dodge
    • Move Around - This means you can jump away from attacks, physically moving in a random direction. While this lets you dodge attacks more often, it can also result in you jumping into a wall or down a lake. If you're fighting in really tight spaces, or areas with large pits, you might want to switch to the other option.
    • Stand Ground - As can be expected, you stand your ground. No jumping around, which is useful in the above situation, but risky in the open. If you have room for jumping around, go with Move Around, but otherwise this could be a good idea.
  • charge Defense
    • According to Opponent - Again, the default setting. You're more likely to stand still against small enemies charging, but will probably prefer moving away from larger ones. Somewhat risky, in that even a somewhat small enemy can stun you by charging.
    • Dodge Away - With this, you'll dodge away from charging enemies, if you can. It's not a sure bet, but it's very much worth it against enemies who like to charge. This is probably the most preferable mode, since you're not losing a whole lot by dodging a small foe charging, but dodging an angry night beast can save you from a world of pain.
    • Stand Ground - If you're certain of your physical superiority to the opponent, you can safely choose this. Standing your ground like a real man/woman might feel hardcore, but getting knocked down in a fight can be extremely dangerous. It probably has some use against bogeymen though, since they're quite small. If you really are much bigger than the enemy, you'll end up knocking THEM down. Most of the time though, charges heavily favor the attacker, so dodging away is probably preferable.

Using Combat Preferences properly can actually save your hide, so it's worth fiddling with. Just don't forget that you've fiddled with them, since a misplaced charge or dodge could end up killing you.


Talking to someone in Adventurer mode.
k Talk to somebody

Now that you know how to kill people, you may also want to know how to talk to and otherwise interact with them in a less violent manner. While this is less entertaining, it can sometimes be useful.

To begin a conversation, press k. Unless someone else has already started a conversation with you (see below if someone has), you will get a cyan X that can be positioned over people you want to talk to with the normal directional keys. Use - and + to select who you want to talk to. Aside from individuals, you can also Shout out to everybody, which will have you talking with everyone in earshot, or you can talk to your deity.

Whenever you want to advance the conversation, you have to press k again and choose the ongoing conversation you wish to continue. You will also see ongoing conversations from people who have started a conversation with you. If you want to talk to someone else during this time, simply Start a new conversation.

  • Greet listener — Has you offering a greeting to someone, when you're initiating the conversation.
  • Bypass greeting (new menu) — Skips the greeting, taking you straight to the normal conversation menus.
  • Reply to greeting — If you aren't the one who started the conversation, this option will let you reply to someone's greeting. They will then talk about some trouble.
  • Refuse conversation — Causes you to explicitly refuse to talk to someone who started a conversation with you. Unknown if this has a different effect from simply not doing anything.Verify
  • Reply to greeting (impersonation) — Like Reply to greeting, except you're impersonating a deity.
  • Nevermind — This has you back out of having a conversation.

When you start talking to someone, you are presented with a wide array of things to talk about. (If the person you are talking to started the conversation and told you about some trouble, you'll first get a menu related to that trouble. Just press --Enter to Change the subject (new menu) and get to this first menu.) Your choices are as follows:

Return to current topic (new menu) You'll see this option only if you chose to change the subject in another menu. This will, predictably, take you back to that subject.
Bring up specific incident or rumor (new menu) Allows you to spread rumors or summarize conflicts you've been a part of. The next step of the conversation will bring up a menu of choices that allow you to ask for directions to places or state your opinion on the incident/rumor.
Ask to become a hearthperson Only appears when talking to a leader who you aren't under the command of. Allows to become one the leader's guards.
Invite listener to become a hearthperson Only appears when you are a leader. Allows to become one the leader's guards.
Request duty or advice pertaining to service as a hearthperson Only appears when talking to a leader who are under the command of. You will receive some task to accomplish for the group, if there is anything that needs doing.
Bring up the journey together Only appears when talking to a companion. The next step of the conversation will allow you to cancel the agreement you made with that person, if you so choose.
Inquire about any troubles Asks the listener what things in the world are bothering them and their people.
Ask for directions (new menu) Allows you to ask for the location of a specific creature or site. People aren't guaranteed to know, and may instead direct you to someone who does.
Ask about the local ruler As you might imagine, this gets you some information on who controls this particular area.
Trade Allows you to trade with a merchant. Note that you have to be right next to them for this to work.
Exchange, give, or take personal items Like Trade, only that it works with non-merchants.
Ask favor, place request, make demand or issue order (new menu) Takes to a menu of various request you can make, including asking the listener to yield, stay put, or pay homage to your group. The options available depends on who you're talking to.
Ask listener to join you (new menu) This is how you get companions. You can either ask them to join you on an adventure, or to lead you to some location.
Claim this site for yourself (group naming menu) This option allows you to stake a claim on the site you are in.
Ask for permission to stay a day Allows you to sleep in the listener's building for the night.
Ask about the structure you are in Tells you about whatever structure you are standing in, if you are standing in one.
Ask about this site's neighbors and trade partners Lets you learn what sites this site is neighboring and/or trading with.
Ask about the surrounding area Choosing this will tell you about some location nearby, and why it's significant.
Comment on weather Small talk about the weather. Really.
Comment on natural surroundings Same as the weather, only about the nature around you.
Accuse listener of being a night creature If chosen against a night creature, such as a vampire, it will expose them. Normal individuals will just think you're losing it.
Inquire about listener's profession Learn what it is the listener does. Useful for lords and ladies and anyone else whose profession isn't listed next to them.
Ask about listener's family Discover what family the listener has, as expected.
Brag about your past violent acts Causes you to brag about whatever last violent act you did. Doesn't seem to have an effect, or at least severely less impactful than summarizing the conflict.Verify
Say goodbye Ends the conversation.

Note that you can press Esc to not choose anything. The conversation is still ongoing, you have to explicitly say goodbye to end it. Pressing Esc is useful if you need to double-check something before talking.


c View companion interface

Companions are the guys who follow you around after you've asked them to join you and they've accepted. Your character will have a limit on the maximum number of companions that is based on fame/reputation level and the Social Awareness attribute. With average social awareness and the maximum level of fame, the limit is 19 companions.

You can use the c key to open up a list showing your companions and their relative position to you. This can be useful if one of them runs off somewhere and you want to find them. You can select specific companions who are in visual range in order to view them. This is the same as viewing them with look.

You can give or take equipment with a companion by choosing to talk to them and selecting Exchange, give or take personal items. In addition to this screen, you can loot your companions' corpses when they die. (An evil but arguably inefficient way to get equipment is to intentionally get your companions killed and then take their stuff.)

However, if they survive long enough/are trained well enough they seem to be capable of leveling stats or skills in some way, and are susceptible to having title or job title changed as well.

Your companions will continue to follow you and fight hostile creatures around you until they die (if you asked them to join you on an adventure) or get you to the proper location (if you asked them to guide you some place). If you want to get rid of your companions at any time, the safe way is to talk to each one of them, ask them about their journey with you, and then cancel the agreement.

If your companions are too far away from you when you enter fast travel, they will become an asterisk on the map where you started fast travel from. This asterisk may try to join up with you during travel. If you keep losing your companions while traveling through rivers, try going to a spot where the river becomes a "minor river" (shown by a single dark blue line). Brooks are obviously also safe to cross.

Personal Finance[edit]

Trading (barter)[edit]

In human towns (not hamlets or castles), you can find shops,in Elven Trading trees you can find markets and at depots in dwarven fortresses you can encounter brokers. Once you're inside of a shop and right next to any of the NPCs, you can use k to Trade with them. Use Enter to select which items to trade, left/right arrow keys to switch between the list of shop items and your items, and up/down arrow keys to scroll through the lists. You can also either ask for or offer currency as part of the process. Once done, press t to trade. The shopkeeper won't get angry if you're not offering enough in trade, so you can start offering just a few items, keep trying again with a little more until the trade is accepted. Once the trade is accepted all of the items you offered will be on the floor underneath you.

After trading, you will find the stuff you gave on the floor at your feet, and the stuff you got in your inventory.


You may also pick up the item before buying it, but you should never walk out of a shop carrying an unbought item, as that is theft. It is punishable by death if you are caught, and excommunication if you are not. On any occasion when you have stolen goods from a store (indicated by dollar signs on either side of the item in your inventory), the game requires you to exit the site and move a considerable distance before allowing you to quick travel. This may make a getaway more difficult if your adventurer is not already faster than anyone else. This only applies to goods in stores; killing townsfolk and taking their personal things, including those of the shopkeep still only requires exiting the site. The moment you are out of sight, you will be able to warp out as usual. Theft and murder remain within entities; even depopulating one country and stealing all its things will not generate ill response in another country.

In some cases, the shop will be abandoned. This will be made clear by the presence of unbought items and the lack of any merchants in the area. You will not be considered a thief by the relevant entity for taking stuff from an abandoned shop.

If the item name is not surrounded by dollar signs, it is never considered stealing, even in situations where it would be in real life.

Managing coins[edit]

You will find that coins from one civilization are nearly worthless in other civilizations. This will typically result in adventurers carrying around lots of now useless coins. Coins can and will encumber your adventurer, eventually reducing your speed. To reduce that effect you can try to exchange your copper and silver coins for gold ones as well as sell all of your loot directly for gold coins. Remember, merchants will always try to pay you in higher denomination currency first but will resort to lower value coins if they run out of anything higher. First, check the merchant's chest to see how much of each type of coins they have.

Coin values are as follows:

  • Copper Coin = 1☼
  • Silver Coin = 5☼
  • Gold Coin = 15☼

To receive the maximum amount of gold coins from that merchant, make sure the amount "they owe you" during the trade is equal to (total amount of gold coins the shop has)*15☼ . If you are selling loot, simply make sure you only trade this worth of goods, and move on to other merchants for the rest. If you wish to exchange copper and silver coins for gold, buy random goods from the merchant until their price is around this value and then sell back all of the goods for their original value but in gold.

Alternatively, you can take your excess coinage and use it to purchase large gems at a trinket shop. Large gems make good investments because they are 1) light, 2) variably priced, and 3) equally valuable between different civilizations.

A few goods are strictly superior to all forms of coinage as a store of value, most notably giant cave spider silk items. A suitably sneaky (or powerful) adventurer can murder a few dwarves or goblins for such items for trade and sale for human goods. Giant cave spider silk is a non-renewable resource in a given world - please harvest responsibly.

Where to get items to sell[edit]

The best place to get items to sell is at bandit camps, after you've slaughtered all the bandits. You can loot the clothes and equipment off of the corpses of the bandits (and off your fallen companions, too), plus at the very center of camp there'll be a few scattered weapons and a few bags/chests containing various goods.

The next best way to get items to sell is to kill a creature, butcher their corpse (see below for how), and pick up the edible bits. Butchered bits from the corpses of people (dwarves, elves, humans, etc.) can sometimes be found in monster lairs and these seem to be just as desired by shopkeepers as the products you gain from your own butchering.

Another good early source of income can be bags left in houses and shops, which usually contain plants and food. No one will complain, and the plants inside can be sold at about 2☼ each plus the value of the bag.

At the bottom of the list comes Looking carefully and selling any small creatures you might find. However, shops will not accept live creatures unless they are in cages. Some rocks, piles of sand, and other things found on the ground nearly everywhere can also be sold for 1☼ each.

You can also try filling your backpack from river - it can hold up to 100 units of water which is worth 100☼ total. After your sell it, water will drop to the floor as a pool, and backpack can be refilled instantly and for free from there. In fact, you can infinitely fill any container from any pool/pile of any liquid/powder, so if you happen to find some precious substance like sunshine or dwarven sugar, money won't be a problem for you anymore. This is of course an exploit, liable to be fixed at any time. It may be useful in a pinch, but don't rely on it.

Another devious method is to go outside the shop, grab handfuls of mud and throw it into your backpack, then sell them for 1☼ each. The merchants will gladly buy your rare and valuable mud despite the unlimited free mud just outside their shop.

Quest Log[edit]

Q Open quest log
Esc Exit quest log
e p s r b Access various lists
m Switch between the world map and additional info
z Center cursor on location of selected list item, if known
c Center cursor on your location
l Toggle the visibility of the line between you and some other point on the map.
f Filter the list
+ - * / Navigate the list

The quest log contains everything you know about the world, such as various events going on, people you know, and various sites. The m key will alternate between a world map that you can navigate, and information on whatever item is highlighted in the list to the right.

There are various kinds of lists you can check on the quest log:

  • Events — A list of events that are happening or have happened. Formatting of the list is (type)/(description). You can center on the location of the event if you know this. This list is the closest you'll get to some formal quest system.
  • People — A list of people you know. At the start of the game, this list will contain people in your site.
  • Sites — A list of various sites around the world.
  • Groups — A list of groups you know of and your relation to them. Note that you have to press e when you're on the events list in order to reach this list, requiring you to press e at most twice.
  • Regions — A list of regions. The additional information will list the biomes a region possesses.
  • Bestiary — A list of creatures, their characteristics, and where you could find them.


x Perform action (butcher, create item...)

Adventurers can perform limited crafting, (also known as "reactions"). To access the crafting menu, press x.

  • Knapping allows an adventurer to sharpen a rock. Knapping only works on stones on the ground or in your hands. Choose the create option and then select "Make sharp stone". You will be prompted to choose a rock to sharpen ("tool stone"), and then the rock that is to be the hammerstone. The tool stone will be replaced in your hand by a sharp version.
  • Butchering acts similarly to Fortress Mode's Butchery by converting a corpse into edible products, bones, and skin. A corpse must be on the ground or in your hand. With a sharp object (such as a dagger or knapped stone or even a bolt/arrow) in your hand or on the same tile of the corpse, select the butcher option, and then you can select the corpse and the sharp tool to butcher with. The corpse will be replaced by its butchering returns.
  • Spitting gives you spit, which can be aimed at someone in much the same way as any projectile. To get this, choose natural ability and then spit in the reactions menu.

You may also gain acquired abilities when you become a creature of the night, such as a necromancer.


More information on each type of site can be found in the site's specific article.


Civilizations are organized groups of creatures (generally of the same race) which build sites such as towns.

Human Sites[edit]

Towns + * # [edit]

Humans live in towns comprised of buildings and often a paved road. Human towns are highly modular, and are usually near some source of water, either the coast or a river.

Towns appear on the fast travel map (when outside a site) as or symbols which are small collections of buildings. When you are near a human site, large yellow blocks indicate where various houses and shops are found (though not all houses and shops can be found in these blocks; sometimes you'll find a house or two out in a site's fields). You usually have to follow the roads in a yellow block on the fast travel map.

Towns usually have lots of interesting structures which are described fully in the town article.

Hamlets æ Æ = [edit]

Most of the time, the majority of a human civilization's population will live in small hamlets, which tend to be sprawled out along coastlines and through river valleys. Like other sites, they can be invaded, and you'll sometimes find them captured by other civilizations, necromancers, or criminal syndicates. Human adventurers usually spawn in hamlets.

Note that hamlets are similar in structure to towns, only they have mead halls instead of keeps, and don't have any defensive walls.

Dwarven Sites[edit]

Dwarf Fortresses Ω[edit]

These are the randomly generated equivalent of the sites you build in dwarf fortress mode. Fortresses are described in detail in the own article. Their main function for adventurers is that they have a central, spiraling ramp that connects the underground and above-ground worlds, particularly in that they connect the subterranean tunnel networks to the rest of the dwarf civilization. They are located at the edges of mountain ranges.

Player-made fortresses are considered dwarf fortresses by the game, in addition to the randomly-generated ones.

Mountain Halls Ω[edit]

Mountain halls are the sites of the "deep dwarves," located far beneath the mountains. They can be accessed via down-stairs found in underground tunnels, and are comprised of a couple of levels that contain bedrooms and large halls filled with smelters or forges.

Hillocks Ω[edit]

Hillocks are the dwarf equivalent to human hamlets. They consist of a few circular mounds filled with dwarf citizens. There doesn't seem to be any settlement pattern for them; they are equally likely to be found in any land biome.

Elven Sites[edit]

Forest Retreats î [edit]

Elves live in forest retreats located, unsurprisingly, in forest biomes. They are essentially clusters of huge trees with elves standing in and around them.

Goblin Sites[edit]

Dark Fortresses π π π[edit]

These are the main goblin sites. Some dark fortresses may contain a certain spoiler.

Dark Pits º[edit]

These are the goblin equivalent of hamlets and hillocks. Dark Pits are essentially canyons lined with wooden guard towers. They tend to be built in huge clusters around the dark fortresses, such that large chunks of the map may be covered with them.

Night Creature Sites[edit]

Necromancer's Towers I[edit]

Necromancer's Towers are built by necromancers who have at least 50 followers; younger necromancers may take over towns or camps instead. Usually you can find books written by the necromancer, some of which contain the secret to life and death. Towers require abundant human populations (low savagery, large tracts of neutral land) and a high number of secrets to be generated in world generation, as necromancers cannot be elf or goblin.


Lairs are the homes of night trolls. Lairs are mounds or holes in the ground with doors or hatch covers. Most night troll lairs are inhabited by a single creature, but sometimes you'll encounter entire families of five or even ten.


How do I find an entrance to the underworld?[edit]

Method 1: Most caves lead directly into the first cavern layer. Although it may be possible to learn of some trouble which originates from a caveVerify, your best bet is to ask people about the surroundings, and hope that they mention a cave at some point. If they don't, travel to another site a fair bit away from where you are and ask someone else.

Method 2: Dwarf fortresses are connected to the tunnel system, which usually connects to the caverns.

Method 3: You can start a dwarf fortress mode game, dig to the first cavern layer, retire or abandon the fortress, and then return with your adventurer.

The three cavern layers are connected to each other in various places, although they are rather spread out and extremely difficult to find with an adventurer.

Additionally, a certain spoiler can be found which leads to another spoiler, deep underground.

I keep getting maimed! How can I fight without getting seriously hurt?[edit]

The best defense is a good offense. If you let your enemies attack you, you're (unsurprisingly) likely to get hurt eventually.

  • Try to avoid fighting difficult enemies until you get some armor. Don't fight enemies at all unless you're sure you can beat them. If you're unsure, you're probably going to get hurt.
  • If you have good speed, try to fight enemies one-by-one — keep moving backwards and only attack when you're within range of just one enemy.
  • If you have a slashing weapon, try to chop body parts off of your enemy — it makes them stop fighting for a turn, allowing you to keep attacking them without being attacked in exchange. Chopping off limbs will also weaken your enemies - taking their arms can prevent them from using weapons, taking their legs can make them slow and knock them down. Chopping off their heads will instantly kill them, but it may take a few (or, with larger enemies such as trolls, it may take more than fifteen) slashes before the head is severed.
  • Remember that it's better to let your enemy come to you, than to go to your enemy. You have to either move or attack. If you move, you can't attack, so if you move within range to attack your enemy, you allow them to have the first strike (unless you're much faster than them). On the other hand, if you let them move within range of you, then you get to have the first strike. If your enemy is one space away from you, use that as an opportunity to throw a knife or a rock at them; worst case, they will get a bruise or a cut; best case, they will start the melee severely crippled. If you're fast enough, then you can simply step back after getting in that first hit, and they'll have to spend their turn approaching you again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Follow the advice under Combat Preferences.

How can I obtain armor as quickly as possible?[edit]

  • The best way would be to rummage through mead halls, keeps, and fortresses, or whatever other strongholds your race makes use of. Not all places will be stocked with equipment, but usually they have something.
    • There are also underground locations, such as the dungeons underneath keeps, or the catacombs under temples, that contain plenty of equipment. These underground places are liable to be populated with unfriendly creatures, so beware.
  • You can also take along companions and have them killed, or just plainly murder people and loot their corpses for stuff. Actively murdering people will have a negative effect on your reputation, however.

How do I increase my skills and attributes?[edit]

Here are some techniques for raising your skills; very rapidly in some cases.

Most of these skill-raising techniques involve repeatedly entering the same keystrokes. To assist with this you can use a macro to make entering the same sequence of keystrokes over and over again much easier.

Increasing skills increases associated attributes which may in turn benefit other skills. For example, sharpening rocks using x will increase Knapping which will increase a number of attributes that help with combat skills. See Skills and Associated Attributes for a mostly complete list.

  • Fighting and Wrestling — A good way to raise your Fighting and Wrestling skills and related attributes is to go find a small, relatively harmless animal and wrestle with it repeatedly. You can wrestle hitting b for the wrestling option after selecting the creature to fight. Continually grabbing and releasing a creature is sufficient to raise your skill, and you can do it indefinitely with the same animal as it won't be injured (unless you auto-wrestle it). Wrestling will increase Kinesthetic Sense, Spatial Sense, and to a lesser extent, Endurance. You may also somewhat increase Dodging and Shield User this way as the creature takes swipes at you.

    It's possible to change your Combat preferences for attacking and dodging to Close Combat and Stand Ground, respectively, allowing you to simply walk into the helpless critter to wrestle it. (Standing your ground prevents you from moving to dodge attacks, so your wrestling can continue almost uninterrupted.) You will, however, perform occasional throws and take-downs as long as the creature remains standing, which may result in their eventual bleeding to death. Strangulation is also a repeated concern, as it will render the victim unconscious, thus making you have to wait until it regains consciousness before you can continue auto-wrestling it (though you may still raise your Wrestler and Fighter skills by 10 points for every time you release a limb - though this must be done manually and must be repeatedly confirmed, once the creature is rendered unconscious). Another concern with auto-wrestling some animals is that you will perform joint locks, and break hips, knees, and ankles in the process, which can cause the creature to bleed to death. If you can wrangle a creature incapable of blood-loss and strangulation in a high-FPS area (such as a crab on a frozen beach), you can easily raise all associated skills and attributes to Legendary and Superhuman in the course of a few minutes.

  • Shield User, Armor User, and Dodging - In addition to wrestling the creature, you can also sit back and let it attack you to raise your defensive skills. If you have metal armor, then a small animal like a gopher can't do any real damage to you when it hits. Also, to place emphasis more heavily on shield blocking, you can change your attack Combat preference to Stand Ground. The wrestling-a-crab-on-a-frozen-beach method also works fantastically for this.
  • Weapon Skills and Fighting — Once your defensive skills are getting up there and your agility is high enough, you might want to try fighting bogeymen to increase your weapon skill. Just make sure to fight them one at a time while running away. If you don't know what a bogeyman is yet then you are probably not ready to try this. Also, doing difficult targeted shots will gain more experience and keep the training dummy alive longer.
  • Throwing and Archery — Throwing rocks with t will raise your Throwing and Archery skills. Throwing objects at creatures, while not terribly effective, can still be a quite handy skill. Although throwing is a way to raise Archery without wasting ammunition, there is a non-wasteful method that additionally increases bow/crossbow skills.

    The most efficient way to level via throwing is to forgo using a macro and separate training into two phases: getting and throwing. First, find a tile with an indefinite amount of throwable objects (e.g., snow, rocks, mud, etc.). Then, sequentially mash g and whatever key the rocks are assigned to until both your forearms explode. Rest. Then, sequentially mash t, followed by some consistent key assigned to your rocks, then Enter, until you've emptied your inventory. Rest. Rinse and repeat. (You may wish to empty your inventory beforehand such that the rocks are assigned to a key close to t, allowing you to keep one hand on Enter and another on t.)

  • Marksman, Bowman, and Archery — Raising the bow and crossbow weapon-specific skills is best done by shooting at a wall or cliff with no floor directly beneath it. If bolts or arrows hit a wall that has floor/ground on the same z-level, then the ammunition will be destroyed. However, ammunition that falls at least one z-level after hitting a wall will remain intact. So, simply find something like a hill inside a castle, stand on it, then shoot at a wall which is on the same z-level you are. The arrows will hit the wall and fall one z-level to the ground, remaining intact. You can then get the arrows and fire them at the wall again from the hill, ad infinitum. You can also stand next to a wall that's two or more z-levels high, aiming at the wall one z-level up by hitting < after hitting f. Whatever method you employ, the key is that the arrow needs to fall at least one z-level after hitting a wall to remain intact. Using a macro will speed this up greatly.
  • Ambushing and Swimming — An efficient way to raise Ambushing is to sneak over large stretches of land. Sneaking on the fast travel screen may work as well.Verify Ideally, this would be done in a biome containing sparse vegetation and few threatening creatures to blunder into and reduce FPS (e.g., a frozen beach).

    Although less efficient for raising only Ambushing, it's also possible to sneak and swim at the same time, thus combining their training. Just make sure you start with at least Novice in swimming, or you'll find swimming practically impossible to train. Swimming can very quickly improve your Strength, Agility, and Endurance. Additionally, if you can safely drown and then recover (e.g., by moving under a bridge and then back before suffocating), this will raise both Toughness and Endurance at a ridiculous pace— a single step spent drowning will raise both attributes by a fifth of a point apiece.

  • Observer — You can't really power-level this skill as it is slow and difficult to train, which is why you're advised to sink some points into it during character creation. However, one way to train it appears to be sleeping or walking around in the wilderness, allowing yourself to be repeatedly ambushed. This is, however, inherently dangerous. Running away from these encounters would probably be faster than slaying your assailants, if not generally safer for your character (but not for your companions, hoh boy).

    Successfully detecting traps found in tombs and catacombs (performed automatically) will also raise Observer. However, without decent skill to begin with, you'll be torn to pieces by the many traps you'll fail to see. Otherwise, once you've found one or more traps, it's possible to grind experience by sleeping/waiting an hour, thus resetting the traps. Rinse and repeat.

  • Spatial and Kinesthetic Sense - While sharpening rocks with x will improve your Knapping skill, it more importantly increases your Spatial Sense and Kinesthetic Sense attributes, which affect a number of other skills. Knapping can be combined with throwing via a macro to keep your inventory from filling up.
  • Other Stats - Other useful stats like Strength, Agility, and Toughness will increase significantly as the fighting and defense skills increase, so you don't need to do anything other than what you'd normally be doing to increase these.

I managed to escape but my limbs are chopped off. Now what?[edit]

'Tis but a scratch!

Unfortunately, there is only one way to get them back, and that is by being bitten by a werebeast and surviving until the next full moon. But as long as you have at least one leg and one arm left you can actually do pretty well. First, get a crutch from somewhere, such as a general store, and make sure it's in one of your hands. Once you do that you should be able to stand back up again. (However, if spinal nervous tissue damage is what has disabled your ability to stand, crutches will not help you in that regard.) You will notice that your speed is now much slower than before.

Now go find someplace reasonably safe and walk back and forth until your Crutch Walking skill gets up to Legendary or above. You will notice your speed increasing as your skill levels up until your speed is completely back to normal. As a bonus you'll probably see some stat increases as well. You can continue to dodge with a crutch just as well as before.

You can wield a sword, shield, and crutch all in one hand, so even if you are missing an arm then you're all set. If you are missing both arms but still have both legs then unfortunately you'll be limited to biting, dodging, and wrestling with legs. If you're missing both arms and one leg then your movement will be limited and you'll be limited to biting and wrestling with your one remaining leg. And if all limbs are missing then you'll be limited to rolling around on the ground biting things.

Though you might actually be able to do surprisingly well as a Legendary Biter, especially if you powerlevel your strength to the point where you can shake things around by the teeth ripping limbs off, if you lose both legs then your character is going to be severely limited just due to the poor movement rate, so at that point it's probably best to opt for retirement or a glorious death in battle.

What creatures of night can I become?[edit]

You basically have four different choices.

Firstly, you can become a necromancer.

  • That gives you some traits of an undead. Namely, you don't need to eat, sleep or drink, don't tire or age, zombies or mummies don't attack you and your physical stats are permanently fixed.
  • The last one means it's wise to train them beforehand.
  • You also can raise dead from the x menu. Depending on the flavor of your spell, zombies can be slow, very slow or not slow at all. They will be listed as companions.
  • To become a necromancer, find a necromancer tower and obtain a book or slab containing secrets of life and death from there, then read it. Note that most of the books are useless. In younger worlds necromancers may not have built their towers yet, in which case they'll be hanging at a zombie bandit camp, slab under the arm.

Secondly, you can become a vampire.

  • That gives you most traits of an undead. In addition to the listed above, you don't feel pain, don't breathe and immune to most syndromes.
  • Your strength, agility and toughness are doubled.
  • They're still fixed forever, so, again, be prepared.
  • Despite not needing to drink water, you have a hunger for warm blood. To satisfy it, beat someone or something unconscious and eat their blood.
  • To become a vampire, defeat one in combat and drink his blood.

Thirdly, you can become a werebeast.

  • This gives you the (uncontrolled) ability to transform into a powerful half-man, half-beast on a full moon.
  • There's a fixed list of animals on which the werebeast is based, including goat, llama, lizard, horse, monitor, buffalo, moose, tortoise, camel, kangaroo, ape, gecko, bear, hyena, warthog, iguana, skink, shrew, elk, skunk, pig, raccoon, panda, mole, badger, armadillo, mammoth and more.
  • Most importantly, upon transformation (both ways) all your wounds, including missing limbs, are instantly healed.
  • You don't show any abnormalcy outside of beast form. You are still mortal.
  • When in beast form, everything is hostile to you, you don't need to drink, eat, sleep or breathe, don't feel pain, don't tire and are immune to some syndromes.
  • One randomly chosen metal is ten times as deadly to you than usual. All other materials deal you half damage.
  • Werebeast's size is several times their base animal size, but no less than 80000. This means all armor will be too small for you while in beast form. But you can still use a shield.
  • Also, some werebeasts are truly gigantic — weremammoth has a size of 9000000, on par with demons.
  • To become a werebeast, make one bite you. It has to be in the beast form.
  • You cannot be a werebeast and a vampire at the same time.

And finally, you can become a mist zombie.

  • This makes you undead. In addition to vampire traits, you can see without eyes and can't die via blood loss or beheading. Note that you don't have health point limit raised zombies have.
  • You become permanently hostile to everyone except other undead.
  • Your strength and toughness are tripled and fixed. Train beforehand.
  • Depending on the flavor of zombie virus, your speed may or may not drop to 20% or 60% of its normal value.
  • To become a mist zombie, find a mist/fog cloud that zombifies creatures and run into it.
  • You cannot become a vampire or a werebeast if you are already a zombie. The other way, however, is fine.

See Also[edit]