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This article is about an older version of DF.
(If looking for information on chain armor, see armor piece).

Chains are created at the metalsmith's forge with one metal bar (or four adamantine wafers), using the metal craft skill (but are found listed under "Furniture" and not "other objects" in that menu).

Ropes are created at the clothier's shop with one cloth, using the clothier skill.

Both are used in building restraints and wells and are mostly interchangeable. Chains and ropes both have a base value of 10, modified by material, quality and any decorations. Both are stored in finished goods stockpiles. Both can be made into a restraint by placing them as building using the b + v keys.


A restraint is (technically) a 1-tile large building, a chain or rope which is used to restrain a dog, dwarf or other creature to a certain very limited area of movement. Unlike a cage, a restraint can only hold one creature, and the creature can move within a range of one tile from the location of the restraint itself, including up and down if stairs or slopes are in this area. This gives them, at most, a 3x3x3 cube of movement, limited as normal by walls, doors etc. Restraints do not block movement, including movement of wagons. While an animal is assigned to it the same as with a cage, using the q menu, dwarves can and will only be assigned from within the justice system.

Restraints can be used to keep a war dog or other animal near areas where you need constant vigilance and defense. Chained animals placed near the entrance to your fort will spot kobold thieves that can bypass traps and other passive defenses, pausing the game and announcing their presence. A pair of animals, placed opposite each other against the walls of a 3-wide corridor (so they cannot have more than 1 tile between them), are guaranteed to spot any thief that tries to enter, and (if combative) will similarly engage any hostile creature.

Unlike caged animals, restrained animals can breed, so restraints are often used for controlling domestic animals when you're running a meat industry.

Either chains or ropes can be designated for jailing dwarves for your justice system. However, it has been reported that ropes can be broken by tantruming dwar and rarely by animals. Chains can be broken by a tantruming dwarf but it is not clear if the same can be done by restrained animals, it is also unknown if the type of chain or strength of the dwarf is a factor. In the z-Justice screen, although the information in the upper right corner is listed as "Cages and Chains", both ropes and chains are counted.


When removing restraints, first un-assign any attached animal (via q + a and selecting "Nobody"). Then, once the animal has been released from the restraint (q to verify), you can remove the restraint as you would any constructed furniture ( q + x), and wait for a furniture hauler to respond). Once the desired item is free, you can then re-place the restraint and/or reassign the animal, respectively.

If you remove the restraint before unassigning the creature, the restraint itself (chain or rope) will remain as the animal's collar (inventory). If that happens, view its inventory and order to dump it. Make sure you have an accessible garbage zone and a dwarf with refuse hauling enabled. A chain or rope around an animal's neck cannot be re-built as a restraint until it is dumped and re-claimed. (Although the image of wardogs wandering around with useless, expensive metal chains around their necks is rather butch.)


Restraints can be linked to mechanisms in order to remotely deconstruct them. When the mechanism is activated (whether from a lever or pressure plate), the restraint is immediately unbuilt and the attached creature is released, leaving the restraint attached to its neck.

Restraints as decoration[edit]

If your fortress is above ground or you otherwise have inadequate natural rock walls to engrave, ropes or chains (or bags) decorated with images can be a way of recording your fortress' history instead of stone detailing. When built as restraints (or, for bags, as containers), dwarves can admire them, so they can function as makeshift tapestries.

See also:

Animal trapAnvilArmor standBedBinBucketCabinetCageCoffinContainerRestraintSeatStatueTableWeapon rack

DoorFloodgateBarsGrateFloor hatchBridgeRoadWindow
Machine & Trap parts
Other Buildings
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