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This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

Attack is a command that can be given to military dwarves, which instructs them to kill an individual.

Fortress Mode[edit]

(See the Military article for a full discussion of how to manipulate squads and options with your military, like arming or armouring them, among many other important concepts. This article is for an unarmed, immediate response only, the most basic concept.)

The military menus (plural) can be confusing at first. You should learn how they work. But if you haven't done that, and all you want/need to do is deal with a minor target right now, without any complex preparation, no armour or weapons, perhaps a thief, perhaps a creature, this is the easiest way to do it (short of relying on attack animals or complex traps)...

  • 1) Pause the game (by hitting spacebar).
  • 2) In the nobles menu, assign a "militia commander". Select a dwarf you don't plan to use for this skirmish.
  • 2.1) Exit and re-enter the nobles screen, and you'll notice a new position appears at the bottom, "militia captain". Assign one of the dwarves you want to use for this skirmish to "militia captain". Esc out of the nobles menu.
The following section of the article is or may be currently out of date. Please update it.

Outdated: Item 3 - version 50.10 does not uses m for military, but instead for mining.

  • 3) Open the military menu. Use the up/down arrows to highlight the "militia captain" and hit create squad.
When prompted, use the up/down arrows to highlight "no uniforms", and hit Enter. You should see the name of the squad and the captain you just assigned.
  • 3.1) Use the left/right/up/down arrows to highlight an "AVAILABLE" slot, and then choose the next dwarf you want in that squad. (You can Escape to check the map and ID your dwarves and then come back to this military screen to finish filling in the squad.)
  • 3.2) Once you have all the dwarves you want, hit u for "supplies". Use the -/+ keys to select "Do not carry water", and the // * keys to select "Do not carry food". Hit Esc to completely exit the military menu.
The following section of the article is or may be currently out of date. Please update it.

Outdated: Item 4 - version 50.10 does not uses s for squads, but instead for moving the camera to the south.

  • 4) Now hit s to open the squads sub-window (note that this is not in the military menu).
  • 4.1) Hit the letter key corresponding to your new squad (it should be a unless you have other squads set up previously). Typing the letter should just select the whole squad, highlighting the squad name in light blue - if it instead takes you to the individual recruit selection page, hit esc to go back to the squad page, then p once to reset to squad-level selection, and hit the squad's letter again.
  • 4.1.5) Skip to the next step if the squad is already in range of the target(s) (which is likely if you formed the squad from the nearest victims volunteers); if not, hit m, move the cursor near (within 10 to 20 steps) to your target, and hit enter to order them to move to that location. (Note, though, if the target is moving or a long way away, ordering short hops may be better than ordering one move). Unpause (you may press space to unpause without leaving the squad window) and let them go to the location. When close, pause again and...
The following section of the article is or may be currently out of date. Please update it.

Outdated: Item 4.2 - version 50.10 does not uses k for killing, but instead for stocks.

  • 4.2) Hit k to attack (kill!) a target. Now you have several ways to choose your target - or more than one target, depending on the method...
  • If you move the cursor over the target, you can hit Enter.
  • Hit list for a list of possible targets. The actual creatures/targets will flash on the main map with their identifying letter to aid you in differentiating.
  • If you have a number of targets, you can move the cursor and hit Enter to form the opposite corners of a (highly visible!) rectangle - all non-friendly creatures within that area will then be targeted.
The squad should now be listed as assigned to "Kill _____", flashing in red at the top of the sub-window. Once you see that, hit Esc...
  • 5) ...And un-pause the game.
(When the deed is done, simply go into the military screen, select that squad, and delete that squad. Since the dwarves have no equipment/weapons, they won't drop anything, and will simply find a new job and wander back to work.)

If the target escapes from the map or otherwise becomes inaccessible, then the order to kill may be cancelled without deleting the squad. Go to s squad, a select exclusively, o cancel Order. (Note that drowning does not count as "inaccessible" - a dwarf will cheerfully jump off an edge and fight a drowning rhesus macaque until he drowns 12 squares out in the open ocean)

Note that unarmed, untrained dwarves are not very impressive in their death-dealing abilities, not even against minor opponents - and one with a knife can prove to be quite dangerous. Sending four or more against a goblin/kobold thief will eventually kill the little bugger, but not before some injuries to the home team.

Note that the attack command will fail to activate on member dwarves and permanent residents of the fortress including foreign monster slayers or entertainers who've been given permanent resident status through a petition. In order to issue the attack command, you'll have to first expel them from the fortress. This can be done with a button in the upper right of their information screen.

For a truly safe response system, you need regular military - and to expand on this by reading and understanding the military and related articles.

Adventure mode[edit]

Generally, there are multiple ways to attack in adventurer mode:

  • Automatic - this the typical roguelike method of using the movement keys towards an adjacent enemy. When moving towards a friendly unit you will swap places with them, instead. Combat preferences affect which attack types are chosen.
  • Manual - with A you can attack any specific adjacent creature in a specific way; you will need to confirm the attack if the creature is not already in conflict with you. This menu also offers some defensive actions.
  • Ranged - using either f to fire a projectile with an equipped weapon such as a crossbow, or t to throw an object from your inventory.
  • Powers or abilities - Intelligent undead syndromes can grant powers that can be used from the x menu (such as Ice Bolt, for example). Most creatures can spit from this menu, but that does nothing except rarely escalate the level of conflict.
  • Jumping - using j and aiming for a creature usually results in them scrambling out of the way, but if you do hit them, it can send them flying which can cause injuries when they land. Unlike the other ways to attack this does not technically count as an attack, so it will not escalate their level of conflict.

An automatic or manual attack can be a weapon strike, shield bash, strike with a body part (such as punch, kick, scratch, bite, etc.), or wrestling move. A wrestling move starts with a grab, that can be followed by a takedown, throw, lock, break, choke, strangle, etc., depending on the grab.

"Attack" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: rashgur
Elvish: irithe
Goblin: umuz
Human: nashra
Military and defense
Managing soldiers
Design tips