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This article is about an older version of DF.

Justice is dealt by your Sheriff (later Captain of the guard) or the Hammerer.

Only restraints and metal cages can be set to be used for justice, as jails. Your police force (be it the Sheriff or the Captain and his staff) will use them to contain criminals.

The current number of cages/restraints suggested is indicated on the z Status menu, under the Justice tab. That number is one-tenth (10%) the current population, rounded down. Not meeting this number is supposed to give unhappy thoughts to the Sheriff (or Captain of the Guard), but due to a bug it does not.


  • Violation of Mining Order - failing to mine to the yellow line when ordered by the King. Punishment is 4 months in prison or 100 hammerstrikes, applied to 10 miners.
  • Violation of Production Order - failing to produce items mandated by a noble. Punishment is variable, applied to appropriate professions.
  • Violation of Export Prohibition - selling items to a caravan which a noble forbade exporting. Punishment is variable, applied to the dwarves who brought the items to the depot.
  • Violation of Job Order - failing to complete guild jobs mandated by the mayor. Punishment is variable, applied to the manager, though no punishment will actually take place due to the manager being a noble.
  • Conspiracy to Slow Labor - organizing a strike within a guild. Punishment is 1 month in prison or a beating, only applied to the guild leader that started the slowdown (which results in no punishment due to the guild leaders all being nobles).
  • Murder - killing a fellow dwarf or a tame animal. Punishment is 8 months in prison or 50 hammerstrikes.
  • Disorderly Conduct - attacking another dwarf while throwing a tantrum. Punishment is 1 month in prison or a beating.
  • Building destruction - destroying a building during a tantrum. Punishment is 2-4 months in prison or 2 hammerstrikes.
  • Vandalism - toppling furniture during a tantrum. Punishment is 1 month in prison or a beating.


  • Beating - the sheriff or fortress guard punches the dwarf (unarmed) 10 times.
  • X days imprisonment - the sheriff or fortress guard haul the criminal off to a jail to serve his sentence. If you have no jails, the punishment is downgraded to a Beating.
  • X Hammerstrikes - the Hammerer chains up the criminal and beats him with a war hammer, resulting in serious injury or death. If you have no justice chains (cages will not work), the punishment is downgraded to a Beating.

Downgraded punishments give the criminal a happy thought ("glad to have punishment reduced recently") and the injured party an unhappy thought ("upset that a criminal could not be properly punished").

Unlike in later versions, punishments will not be delayed if the criminal is wounded - indeed, the Sheriff will happily attempt to drag a crippled dwarf to jail, only for another dwarf to "Recover Wounded" and carry the criminal back to bed, resulting in an endless tug-of-war until the jail itself is dismantled and the punishment is downgraded to a Beating.


Crime and justice affects dwarven psychology by generating Thoughts.

  • A dwarf who smashes property during a tantrum will receive a happy thought. This is a major factor in how a dwarf becomes happy enough to stop tantrumming.
  • A dwarf who commits a crime, particularly violates a work order, will receive a happy thought if there are not enough jail items to imprison him.
  • A noble who makes a mandate will get a happy thought if it is completed, or an unhappy thought if the worker goes free due to insufficient jail items.
  • A dwarf receives an incredibly happy thought upon being released from prison ("is happy to be free"), usually enough to make them ecstatic no matter how many negative thoughts they have accumulated.