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This article is about an older version of DF.

Diplomats are emissaries from different civilizations that visit your fortress. They typically arrive shortly before or after the caravan would normally show up.


Human diplomats come when your fortress becomes important enough to rate a baron or better noble. This individual will only speak to your baron (or better), and generally says something inane such as "It's such a pleasant place you've carved out for yourselves." As the noble the diplomat wants to speak with never does anything anyway, you need do nothing to ensure the meeting occurs. If you're in a state of war with the human civilization, the diplomat may come proposing a peace treaty.


The Elves will eventually send a diplomat who meets with your head noble (such as the Duke) to talk about the "tree situation" at your fort. The Elven diplomat's first arrival will accompany the Elven caravan (subsequent diplomats will arrive separately with their own announcement) and will consist either of a stern warning (if you have cut down any trees) or a congratulation for not disrespecting the forest. Subsequent visits will be announced as usual and he will demand that you limit the number of trees you cut down before the elves return the next year. This count will be visible in your civilization list (view the Elven civilization and press Tab several times) and will decrement for each "Fell Tree" job your wood cutters complete, including tower-caps. If you stay within the quota, diplomatic bonds with the Elves will be strengthened depending on how few trees you cut, while exceeding the quota will strain relations depending on how far beyond it you went.

The actual size of the quota is based on your own noble's "level of influence", so you can maximize your logging allowance by keeping your top-ranking noble happy - should your top-ranking (based on eligibility) noble be dead, then diplomats will instead meet with your Governor (even if another lower-ranking noble is available), resulting in a significant penalty to your level of influence and a subsequent reduction of your logging quota.

Level of influence is defined as "meeting room value + noble rank + noble happiness", with the following details:

  • Meeting in an Office grants 100% of the room value
  • Meeting in a Dining Room grants half of the room value
  • Meeting in a Bedroom grants a quarter of the room value
  • The noble's happiness bonus is calculated by taking its recent thoughts, subtracting 50, then multiplying by 10
  • The noble's rank is determined as follows
    • King: 1000
    • Duke: 600
    • Count: 400
    • Baron: 300
    • Governor: 150
      • If the Governor takes the meeting, the Room bonus is quartered and the Happiness bonus is halved

The level of influence affects tree cutting quotas in a somewhat curious manner:

  • Base: 100 trees
  • N > 1: up to MIN(N,10) - 1 additional trees (max 9)
  • N > 10: up to (MIN(N,100) / 5) + 1 additional trees (max 21)
  • N > 100: up to (MIN(N,1000) / 50) + 1 additional trees (max 21)
  • N > 1000: up to (MIN(N,10000) / 500) + 1 additional trees (max 21)
  • N > 10000: up to (MIN(N,20000) / 1000) + 1 additional trees (max 21)

All of this is random, however, so while an ecstatic King meeting in a Royal Throne Room could potentially talk the Elven diplomat into parting with 193 trees in a single year, it's also possible he could completely fail to raise the quota above 100.


In the world of Dwarf Fortress, diplomacy is ultimately based on math. Between any two civilizations, there will be a Trade Desire number and an Attack Desire number, each starting at zero and going up or down based on recent interactions between the civilizations in question.

Trade Desire determines whether a civilization will send you a Caravan, and for Dwarves and Humans (but not Elves) it determines how large that caravan will be:

  • Below -30, the civilization will not send a caravan
  • At 0 or below, caravans will only bring 2 mules and/or wagons, each carrying a modest amount of trade goods
  • At 1-5, they have a chance to bring 2-3 of each
  • At 6-10, this increases to 3-5 of each
  • At 11, this increases further to 3-6 of each
  • At 12-15, they will bring 4-7 of each
  • At 16 or higher, you can expect 4-8 mules and/or wagons, all packed with trade goods

With Human caravans, Trade Desire also determines which merchant noble will accompany the caravan:

Attack Desire determines whether a civilization will send you a Siege, and with the Elves it determines how large those sieges will be:

  • At 10 or higher, you will be attacked instead of receiving a caravan
  • At 9 or lower, they will send their Diplomat to visit your fortress and potentially negotiate a peace treaty

Depending on how you interact with your neighbors, their Trade and Attack Desire numbers will increase and decrease as follows:

  • First contact failed (Elves only): -5 trade, +20 attack
  • Diplomat killed: -5 trade, +20 attack
  • Voided agreements upon diplomat death: -10 trade, +10 attack
  • Merchant visit (partially broken - see below)
    • Smooth trading: +5 trade, -2 attack
    • Caravan destroyed with no survivors: -25 trade, +12 attack
    • Merchants injured but caravan survived: -10 trade, +5 attack
    • Trade goods seized or otherwise lost: -15 trade, +7 attack
    • Merchants offended (Elves only): -10 trade, +5 attack
  • Elven lumber quota refused: -1 trade, +3 attack
  • Elven lumber quota agreed upon: +1 trade, -1 attack
  • Elven lumber quota concluded
    • Cut less than 50% of quota: +5 trade, -5 attack
    • Cut 50-74% of quota: +3 trade, -3 attack
    • Cut 75-100% of quota: +1 trade, -1 attack
    • Cut 101-125% of quota: -1 trade, +1 attack
    • Cut 126-150% of quota: -3 trade, +3 attack
    • Cut more than 150% of quota: -5 trade, +5 attack
  • Peace treaty accepted: +10 trade, -20 attack
  • Peace treaty rejected: -5 trade, +10 attack
  • Recent offerings made to caravan: -1 to -6 attack
    • 1☼ - 999☼: -1
    • 1000☼ - 2499☼: -2
    • 2500☼ - 4999☼: -3
    • 5000☼ - 9999☼: -4
    • 10000☼ - 19999☼: -5
    • 20000☼ or more: -6

Trade and Attack Desire modifiers are only effective for 10 years, and once they are more than 2 years old their magnitudes will be reduced by 1/8 per additional year.


Hardships experienced by caravans are not properly recorded in the world's history. The following patch for version fixes this: