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This article is about an older version of DF.

Weapons are items that increase the damage dealt by creatures in combat. In fortress mode, after accessing the military screen with m, pressing w gives a list of which weapons you desire your dwarves to use. Dwarves only carry a weapon if their profession requires one: that is, if they are a miner, wood cutter, hunter, or soldier. Dwarves working in other trades will only collect a weapon upon being drafted, which may cause a long walk to collect equipment depending on weapon availability and settings.


Some types of weapons cannot be used by dwarves in Fortress mode, such as bows, and only 7 can be manufactured. Some can however be used if recovered from enemies or gained by trade, and all can be used in weapon traps just fine.

In Adventure mode, all weapons are usable; an adventurer can become a bowdwarf, or use a human great axe or longsword in one hand despite the fact that he is smaller than the minimum size required to use the axe at all, with both hands or one. It is not clear if there are any penalties associated with using over-sized weapons.


Dwarves with relevant skills can create weapons using an appropriate workshop and raw material. Wooden and bone crossbow bolts and Obsidian short swords can be created at the craftsdwarf's workshop. (Metal) bolts and melee weapons can be created at a metalsmith's forge (or the magma equivalent). Crossbows can be made at a bowyer's workshop. Dwarves can only create weapons they themselves can wield, with the occasional exception of artifacts.

Most weapons can be made of a single bar of silver, copper, bronze, iron, or steel (or several adamantine wafers). (Short swords can also be made from obsidian, with a wooden handle.) The rare exception is a strange mood, which can produce a weapon from almost anything.

The material of crossbows does not affect the damage of fired bolts, although it does affect the damage of the crossbow when it is used as a bludgeon (when striking the opponent with the weapon itself - bolts determine the damage when fired at range).

There are a few enormous weapons that no race can wield, these are only usable when mounted into weapon traps. These are the large, serrated disc, spiked ball, enormous corkscrew, and giant axe blade.

Use in Fortress mode[edit]

Upon being drafted, dwarves will get a "pick up equipment" job and go and pick up the assigned weapon and armor. However, there are three labors which, when enabled, allow the dwarf to be fully equipped (but not in the military). This can be very useful to quickly defend against an ambush or attack.

  • A wood cutter carries a battle axe even as a civilian. If a woodcutter is assigned to use an axe as a weapon he or she will only need get the assigned armor. The caveat is that woodcutters need to be cross-trained as axedwarfs (as wielding an axe requires the axe skill) and if you designate a section of trees for wood-cutting, all your dwarves will rush out to cut them down.
  • A miner carries a pick at all times. The drawback is that picks are mediocre weapons (see below) and a miner will still need to equip the desired armor. Because wielding the pick is based on the civilian "mining" skill, miners don't have to train as soldiers to be semi-effective fighters. Picks will only be used as weapons by miners who are holding picks and instructed to fight unarmed.
  • A hunter will equip the armor and weapon assigned to hunt with (Note: this needn't be a crossbow with leather armor). Military dwarves that are deactivated while fully equipped with a weapon and armor and have the hunting labor enabled will keep their weapon and armor equipped. This case is only practical when the surrounding region contains no animals and armor and weapons are plentiful.


Weapons vary in the amount and type of damage inflicted, according to raw/objects/item_weapon.txt. Blunt weapons like hammers and maces tend to deal large amounts of damage to external body parts, and never get stuck in targets. Slashing or cutting weapons such as axes or swords have a tendency to sever limbs on good hits, but sometimes get stuck in their victims. Piercing weapons such as spears or crossbow bolts have a high chance to deal damage to internal organs, possibly resulting in instant kills, but have the highest chance to get stuck in victims. Weapons that get stuck in their victims cannot be reused until pulled free, which can leave the attacker vulnerable. While stuck, the weapon can be twisted in the wound, possibly causing the victim to pass out from pain.

High "Crit. Boost" is a better chance of causing internal injuries, rather than simply wounding body parts. This is useful against big, hard-to-damage enemies -- piercing weapons like spears will tend to damage their organs, which is usually a faster way to take them out.

Weapon statistics[edit]

These have been taken from /raw/objects/item_weapon.txt:

Melee Weapons[edit]

Dwarf weapons[edit]

(Main article: Dwarf weapon)

In Fortress mode, these are the only weapons dwarves can manufacture themselves.

Name Damage Damage Type Skill Used Crit. Boost
Battle axe 110 Slash Axe None
Crossbow(melee only)† 70 Bludgeon Hammer None
Mace 120 Bludgeon Mace None
Pick 70 Pierce Mining 2
Short sword 100 Slash Sword 1
Spear 100 Pierce Spear 2
War hammer 120 Bludgeon Hammer None

Other weapons[edit]

(Main article: Other weapon)

(Note - dwarves can not use these in fortress mode unless marked with an *)

Name Damage Damage Type Skill Used Crit. Boost
Blowgun† (melee) 20 Bludgeon Sword None
Bow† (melee) 40 Bludgeon Sword None
Large dagger 70 Slash Dagger 1
Flail 130 Bludgeon Mace None
Greate axe 150 Slash Axe None
Halberd 140 Slash Axe None
Long sword* † 120 Slash Sword 1
Maul 160 Bludgeon Hammer None
Morningstar* 120 Bludgeon Mace None
Pike 120 Pierce Pike 2
Scimitar* 100 Slash Sword 1
Scourge 30 Gore Whip/Lasher None
Two-handed sword‡ 140 Slash Sword 1
Whip 20 Gore Whip/Lasher None

Dwarves wield weapon two-handed (set number of weapons to 2 in fort mode (v-p-s-m))
Dwarves cannot wield weapon (too large)
* Can be worn in fortress mode

Missile ammunition statistics[edit]

These have been taken from /raw/objects/item_ammo.txt:

Name Damage Damage Type Notes
Arrow 100 Pierce Invaders' weapon
Blowdart 10 Pierce Invaders' weapon
Bolt 100 Pierce Dwarf & Invaders' weapon

Trap weapon statistics[edit]

(See Trap Weapon for more information.)

Name Damage Damage type Number of hits Critical boost Wood?
Giant axe blade 220 Slash 1 None No
Enormous corkscrew 150 Pierce 1 2 Yes
Spiked ball 100 Pierce 3 1 Yes
Large, serrated disc 120 Slash 3 None No
(This data has been compiled from raw/objects/item_trapcomp.txt)

Damage calculation[edit]

Weapons and traps do one of four types of damage, the type of damage influences what type of critical hits it can inflict. Damage is reduced by the targets armor and toughness.

Type Criticals Weapons and Traps
Slash Sever Limbs axe, sword, dagger, giant axe blade, serrated disc
Pierce Organ damage pike, pick, spear, bolt, arrow, blowdart, enormous corkscrew, spiked ball
Bludgeon Break bones war hammer, mace, unloaded crossbow or bow or blowdart, maul, flail, morning star, fist, stone-fall trap
Gore Heavy Bleeding and Pain(?) whip, scourge
Burn Extreme Pain Special Creature Tokens(Attack)
Heat Ignition of target Special Creature Tokens(Attack)
Cold Freezing/Frostbite Special Creature Tokens(Attack)

Material damage modifiers[edit]

Dwarves can only make metal weapons out of silver, copper, bronze, iron, steel, or adamantine, the only so-called "weapons-grade" metals in the game. (Short swords can also be made from one obsidian plus one log for a wooden handle.) The only exceptions are from elves, who commonly wield wooden weapons.

Actual weapon damage depends partially on the material from which the weapon was forged, then multiplied by quality (see next section). For example, a copper battle axe does a base 73 damage (110 x 66%), while a steel axe does 146 damage (110 x 133%), etc.

Material Damage %
Adamantine 500
Steel and Obsidian 133
Iron and Chitin 100
Bronze 75
Copper 66
All other materials (wood, silver, etc.) 50
Theoretically - it's not possible to make weapons out of chitin

Item quality[edit]

Toady has stated that quality increases an item's damage (in the case of weapons, or protection in the case of armour), namely,

"Quality has a huge effect on damage and damage reduction... 'Exceptional' is almost double damage/damage block."
  • x1.0 damage: no-quality weapon
  • x1.2 damage: - Well Crafted weapon -
  • x1.4 damage: + Finely Crafted weapon +
  • x1.6 damage: * Superior Quality weapon *
  • x1.8 damage: ≡ Exceptional weapon ≡
  • x2.0 damage: ☼ Masterful weapon ☼

Quality/Material equivalence[edit]

This table shows the (rough) equivalent multiplier for a given material and quality combination. The exact values have been rounded to the nearest 1/10th to save space on the chart.

Material \ Multiplier .5 .6 .7 .8 .9 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7
Other1 Ø - + *
Copper Ø - + *
Bronze Ø - + *
Iron Ø - + *
Steel/Obsidian Ø - + *
1) includes bone, silver, wood, glass, and any other material not listed. The net effect of non-standard "other" materials on artifact weapons is not known.

So at a glance we can see that even a no-quality steel item is the equivalent to the best copper item possible, and that no copper item will ever be as good as a +fine iron+ one. (It is not known whether artifact quality items have additional modifiers above and beyond "masterpiece" level.)

Adamantine items start at a multiplier of 5.00 for no-quality items and skyrocket from there.

(Note that for crossbows and bows, the quality and material of the ammo affect ranged damage. As with any melee weapon, both quality and material combined affect melee combat and melee damage with these weapons.)

Damage Formula[edit]

Toady One revealed the actual damage formula for normal hits.

[prone]{standing} 2*( RND(DMG*QLT*MAT/10) + RND(STR) + {berserk} RND(4) + {charging} RND(5) -RND(DMBL*2) + {bigger} RND(DIFFSIZE) - {smaller} DIFFSIZE - RND(TOU*2) - [berserk] RND(4) )

  • RND(X) = random number from 0 to X
  • DMG = weapon damage
  • QLT = weapon quality modifier
  • MAT = material modifier
  • STR = strength level of attacker
  • DMBL = damblock of defender
  • DIFFSIZE = size difference between attack and defender
  • TOU = toughness level of defender
  • {xxx} = if attacker is xxx, then apply the following
  • [xxx] = if defender is xxx, then apply the following

Skill modifiers and armor values also apply into the formula. Criticals are not included in the formula.

See Also: