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Old 10-01-2016, 11:37 AM
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Eddie Eddie is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Toronto, ON
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Time for a bit of insight into the main races! It`s time for...

...Better Know a Humanoid!

Size Comparison Chart by ZeeToo (from Something Awful forums:

During a standard game of Dwarf Fortress, you`ll encounter four different civilizations: dwarves (obviously), humans (as we`ve seen), goblins (generally enemies) and elves (which so far have not shown themselves in this LP). There`s also undead, which are technically a thing (not something we`ll likely see in this LP however as we`re not near a necromancer tower) but will generally have troops that are some mixture of the main four races.

The game currently only lets you play as dwarves, although other races can be chosen through the rogue-like adventure mode the game has. Each race has a few quirks, some of which follow Standard Fantasy Logic() but some characteristics were once hilarious bugs that have become canon.

(☺) DWARVES (☺)

This is, of course, us. Dwarves are hard-working, booze-swigging, earth-excavating creatures whom the game is named after. Pound for pound they are likely the strongest of all the races in combat, and are the only race capable of entering strange moods or trances. You will always be tied to a larger dwarven civilization, who will send a caravan each fall, even if you`re by yourself on an island in the middle of the ocean.

Dwarves will not butcher and eat intelligent creatures, and oppose torture. There is very little excuse for murdering a fellow dwarf, the sentence of which is usually death. They have little respect for nature, have no issues killing enemies or animals, and oppose slavery. They obtain adulthood at age 12 and can live to about 150-170 years old.

  • Durable combatants
  • Can make steel weapons and armour, and collect silk cloth
  • Can make artifacts through strange moods
  • Can enter martial trances that significantly beef up their combat skills temporarily

  • Slightly slower than other races
  • Cannot ride mounts
  • Cannot use or wear items designed for larger creatures, such as humans
  • Can suffer from cave adaption for being underground too long, making them sick aboveground


Humans are pretty much what you`d expect: well rounded, but not excelling in anything in particular. They tend to be friendly to dwarven civilizations as their ethics closely match dwarves. It`s common that some (generally through being kidnapped as a child) will end up working with goblins or other evil races however. If a friendly human civilization can reach you, they`ll send a caravan every summer. If you kill their diplomat or sack their caravans, you can certainly cause a war.

Humans will not butcher and eat intelligent creatures, but have few problems with torture, except against animals. Circumstances may justify killing someone. They have little respect for nature, and have no issues killing enemies or animals. They obtain adulthood at age 12 and can live for 120 years old.

  • Humans pick up and learn skills very quickly
  • Humans tend to have good diets, creating a wider variety of food and booze than dwarves

  • Humans wear "large" clothing and armour, meaning dwarf-sized stuff will not fit them

(e) ELVES (e)

If humans are pretty much what you`d expect, elves are not. Like some depictions, elves are short nature-loving hippies. Unlike most depictions, elves in dwarf fortress are cannibals, and will happily eat anything they kill. They are usually friendly with dwarven civilizations, but not always (we're actually at war with them in this LP). If a friendly elven civilization can reach you, they'll send a caravan every spring. However, their caravans will contain no metal items and they will not accept any item made from wood that they haven't personally traded to you. Elves dislike you cutting trees down, and if friendly will eventually demand you place a quota on the number of trees you fell each year.

Elves find it acceptable to eat any intelligent humanoid they kill and have few problems with torture, except against animals. Their worst punishment is not death, but exile. They have tremendous respect for nature, and detest the killing of animals. They obtain adulthood at age 12 and can live forever.

  • As elves don't die of old age, their civilizations can grow quite large.
  • Of all the main races, elves tend to be the quickest
  • By default, animals will consider them to be friendly

  • Elves won't wear or use anything other than wood. This can still make wooden arrows deadly if they hit an unprotected spot, but extremely weak otherwise
  • Elves can be difficult to trade with due to the "no wood" clause. A single wooden bin in the midst of a massive trade will infuriate them and cause them to leave

(g) GOBLINS (g)

Goblins are almost always your main source of antagonism in this game if you're close enough to them, save for the random forgotten beast that appears every so often. Goblin civs have little to no ethics, so they end up feuding with everyone. One on one, your average goblin is weaker than your average dwarf, but some individuals are quite strong. Goblins will kidnap children from other races, and work with other evil creatures such as trolls and beak dogs.

As above, goblins have few ethics, and will kill and eat just about anything, and punishment is rare. They obtain adulthood at age 12 and can live forever, which (in some worlds) means that given enough time they eventually they just overrun other civilizations with sheer immortal numbers. Like elves, except with better weapons and armour.

  • Willing to do and work with everyone and everything, if they'll let them
  • While not brilliant, goblins are intelligent and their sieges will try and exploit vulnerabilities

  • Goblin-made weapons and armour tends to be average at best
  • Goblins are natural cowards and will run if a battle turns against them

() Undead? ()

Along with goblin civilizations, necromancers can also set up shop in towers around the world. Unlike goblins however, necromancers will mostly be content to leave you alone... unless you're too close to them. If that happens, be prepared: the dead are likely to start rising again. The undead aren't considered a civilization, but you can see before you embark if you're close enough to one. We're not in this LP.

Undead creatures are basically what you expect: they're tough, strong, mindless, tireless and horrifying. They can include humanoids, but also creatures. And while slow, large mammals that become undead can be extremely deadly, shrugging off normally deadly attacks while biting with unholy strength. Worst of all, necromancers can raise pretty much any corpse, including your own dead warriors and corpses lazing round in a pile. If you can catch or kill the necromancer who owns a nearby tower, you can stop the sieges.

As mentioned in a previous post, some evil environments will actually raise undead. If you fortress is next to evil terrain, it can cause undead animals to occasionally wander in.
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