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This article is about an older version of DF.

A tantrum describes the actions of a dwarf who momentarily goes out of control, throwing things, breaking things, punching nearby dwaves, and generally causing trouble. In unlucky cases, this can cause the loss of valued items, or the injury or death of bystanders. Justice will often fall upon a dwarf who has caused damage to body or property.

Dwarves will tantrum once they become sufficiently unhappy. This can be due to a long series of substandard food, drink, shelter, and general living conditions, or a sudden and acute change brought on by the death of a friend, family member, or favourite pet, the loss of a masterpiece (especially if the dwarf has only made a few), or other extreme, negative experience. Viewing a dwarf's profile (v, p, z, Enter), their thoughts will usually spell out their grievances in the form of good/bad thoughts.

A leader can often talk a dwarf down with a meeting. If an unhappy dwarf is seeking a meeting (which is always with the leader), it's recommended to temporarily turn off all labor designations on the leader until the meeting is concluded.


Tantrums only occur when a dwarf is "Miserable", the lowest possible state of happiness, though the dwarf's happiness will be instantly boosted to 25 (Very Unhappy) for the duration of the tantrum. In this state, a dwarf has a 1/1000 chance each frame (about 70% chance per in-game day) of throwing a tantrum (unless it is already in the middle of a tantrum). Each time a dwarf throws a tantrum, each previous tantrum provides a 1% chance of instead driving the dwarf insane. Once a dwarf becomes happy again (at least to be no longer Miserable), it has a 1/1000 chance each frame of forgetting one of its previous tantrums, making it less likely to go insane should it become unhappy again.

Tantrums are also influenced by the dwarf's personality traits in the following ways:

  • A dwarf who "is confident under pressure" (or better) will never suffer any ill effects from being unhappy. Otherwise, a VULNERABILITY value below 63 reduces the chance of suffering from unhappiness.
  • A dwarf who "is slow to anger" (or better) will never throw actual tantrums but will still go insane if unhappy for too long. Otherwise, an ANGER value below 70 reduces the chance of actually throwing a tantrum.

Note that dwarves who have completed a strange mood and created an artifact will never go insane from throwing tantrums - evidently, their amazing accomplishment keeps them sufficiently grounded in reality and gives them a reason to continue living.

Tantrum Spiral[edit]

A tantrum from one dwarf can often trigger tantrums in others -- this is known as a tantrum chain, or, especially if it grows out of control and threatens the fortress as a whole, a tantrum spiral. If any dwarf throws a tantrum that cannot be explained by a personal loss, it should be taken as a warning. When this happens, it often signifies that the other dwarves are unhappy -- and if they aren't already, they probably/possibly will be soon.

In more mature fortresses, tantrums have been known to have particularly nasty results. In extreme cases, a chain of tantrums can bring a fortress to its metaphorical knees. Chains don't occur particularly often, but when they do, they are extraordinarily hard to stop.

They generally play out something like this:

Asob throws a tantrum, and punches Bëmbul.
Asob recovers happily, but Bëmbul throws a tantrum and smashes the butcher's workshop to bits.
The butcher, Cilob, tantrums and destroys the table of the closest noble, Dodók.
Dodók tantrums, starting fights with three other dwarves--Asob, Cilob, and Edëm.
All of them tantrum, and Cilob is taken into custody.
Edëm gets busy and smacks Bëmbul. Meanwhile, Cilob is arrested and executed by the hammerer.
Cilob's friends, Fikod, Geshud, Ilral, Kikrost, Litast, and Mörul, all tantrum and do other nasty things.
Everybody eventually tantrums and the fortress production grinds to a halt.
Everybody starves, throws themselves into a volcano, or otherwise dies.

Beware that it is very much possible for a tantruming dwarf to destroy the bridge he is standing on, potentially causing him to drown, burn up, or fall into a chasm. Loss of close friends can, naturally, lead to more tantrums in any who knew them.