DF2014:Adventurer mode

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This article is about the current version of DF.
This is a detailed reference guide for Adventurer Mode. For a beginner tutorial, see the Adventure mode quick start.
See Adventure mode quick reference to quickly look up key commands.

In Adventurer mode (also called "Adventure mode" or simply "Adventure") you create a single adventurer, be they dwarf, human, elf, goblin, or one of the varieties of animal people, who start out somewhere in one of your generated worlds. You can learn about what ails the world, and go on quests to end those troubles (or get brutally murdered trying), and you can venture into the wilderness to find caves, shrines, lairs, abandoned towers, and other towns and settlements. You can even visit your previously abandoned/retired fortresses and take all the precious items you yourself once created. Unlike fortress mode, Adventurer mode is a sort of advanced open world RPG version of Rogue or Nethack taking place in the same procedurally-generated worlds used for fortress mode. Whereas in fortress mode, you are in charge of a large group of people in real-time, restricted to a small parcel of land, in adventurer mode, you control a single character (or the party leader in 47.01) in a turn-based manner, roaming the entire world freely.

World selection[edit]

You can play adventure mode in any world that has a civilization with the ADVENTURE_TIER token (which are elves, dwarves, humans, and goblins, as well as animal peoplev0.42.01). Humans inhabit cities, towns, and the occasional above-ground fortress. Elves inhabit forest retreats. Dwarves are spread between "deep sites" which sometimes do not contain a direct connection to the surface, fortresses which are built into the surface and almost always connect to the underground, and "hill dwarves" which inhabit a loose collection of mounds built into hillsides. Goblins typically live in dark fortresses. Lastly, animal people can live with any civilization, in virtually any location. Human cities and towns, and dwarven fortresses are currently the only sites with shops and other places to officially buy goods, not including taverns (which can also exist in elven sites, but only sell rooms and drinks). If you have previously built a fort in the world that you select, your adventurer will be able to go visit it. If you have selected to "retire" the fortress rather than abandon it, you will likely be able to encounter all the inhabitants from fortress mode - however, they will likely not have the same level of activity as they would in a bustling fortress-mode fort.

Character creation[edit]

Main article: Adventurer mode character creation

Race and civilization[edit]

In most standard games, playable races are dwarves, elves, and humans - all three races can complete the same quests.

  • Dwarves can start with steel weapons and enter a martial trance when fighting multiple foes at once. They wear "small"-sized clothing which means that they're unable to wear human clothes and armor.
  • Elves have higher natural speed and a notably better sense of smell, but start with very weak wooden weapons and have a more limited list of weapon skills during character creation. Like dwarves, they wear small-sized clothing.
  • Humans begin with bronze, copper, or iron weapons, and the widest variety of weapon skills. Humans are larger than the other main races, meaning armor from other civilizations is too small to be worn.
  • Intelligent Wilderness Creatures are playable wild animals. Most wilderness creatures are animal people. They will not start with armor, or be able to wear armor sized for the more common races. They come in various sizes, shapes and abilities, and as such, a short description cannot be given.
  • You can also play as an Outsider - they can begin at any site and are strangers to all. Only humans can currently be outsiders in vanilla by default. Playing as an outsider has many initial limitations - they possess no pre-existing relationships, or knowledge of various events and wildlife. When selecting skills for outsiders during creation, many more skills may be available than would otherwise be if they were part of a civilization.


Determines the number of starting skill, attribute points, and equipment points which do not change based on race:

  • Peasant: 15 attribute, 35 skill, 55 equipment
  • Hero: 35 attribute, 95 skill, 255 equipment
  • Demigod: 105 attribute, 161 skill, 1255 equipment

The number of skill points is less significant than the number of attribute points, because the time it takes to go from Peasant to Demigod in skill terms is much less than what it would take to go from Peasant to Demigod in attribute terms.

Starting attributes[edit]

See this page for more info about adventurer mode starting attributes, or this page for full info about attributes

A creature has numerous attributes which affect its performance at various tasks, split into physical factors associated with the body, and mental factors associated with the soul.


  • Strength: Improves melee attack damage, damage resistance and encumbrance limits. Increases leg strength to movement velocity, but increased muscle layer mass reduces speed.
  • Agility: Improves movement speed, attack velocity and potential attack rate. All combat skills, especially defensive ones, rely on it.
  • Toughness: Reduces physical damage inflicted on you. Also relates to defensive combat skills.
  • Endurance: Reduces the rate at which the adventurer becomes exhausted. Exhaustion progressively penalizes physical skills and rate of movement to the point of immobility and unconsciousness.
  • Recuperation: Increases the rate of wound healing.
  • Disease Resistance: Reduces risk of contracting syndromes (including infection) and the negative effects when active (including alcohol-induced.)


Some of these are demonstrably useful for adventure-mode-applicable skills, but the effects of the attributes aren't clearly understood. For ideas on how they may be applied, see a list of skills organized by attributes..

  • Analytical Ability: Useful for Tracker, Knapping and Student.
  • Focus: Affects Archer, Ambusher, Observer.
  • Willpower: Affects Fighter, Crutch Walker and Swimmer. Willpower helps resist the negative effects of status ailments such as Pain, Stunned, Unconscious, and all states of exhaustion and food/drink/sleep deprivation.
  • Creativity: This influences quality of poems, songs, and dances and crafts.
  • Intuition: Helps with Observer, which aids in spotting concealed enemies, ambushes, and identifying attacks from opponents.
  • Linguistic Ability: Affects any speaking and writing ability, improves the ability to communicate thoughts and feelings to listeners/readers.
  • Spatial Sense: Important. Affects combat skills, Ambusher, Crutch Walker, Swimmer, Observer, Knapping.
  • Musicality: Influences the adventurer's ability to perform music and song well.
  • Kinesthetic Sense: Affects most combat skills, walking with crutches, swimming and dancing.
  • Empathy: Affects social skills such as Persuader, Flatterer, Judge of Intent, and other Social skills that may not be applied in adventurer mode.
  • Social Awareness: Increases the number of followers you can have at a given fame level.

There are also Patience and Memory attributes that have no known effect in Adventurer Mode.

Starting skills[edit]

See this page for more info about adventurer mode starting skills, or this and this pages for full info about skills.

Not all races have the same sets of skills available at character creation time, but keep in mind that almost all starting skills, as well as ones not available at character creation, can be improved through use in-game (except for skills that require you to already have some experience to improve further, such as swimming or reading).

This section will specifically address starting skills as they relate to adventure mode. For a full description of combat skills, see Combat skill.


Includes Axeman, Bowman, Crossbowman, Hammerman, Knife user, Lasher, Maceman, Pikeman, Spearman and Swordsman.

Each skill enables the character to use the appropriate weapon more effectively.

Note that different races have different names for their weapon skills: Axegoblin, Axedwarf etc. These names are defined in the creature raws, as can be seen in the dwarf raws, but Crossbowman is an exception - dwarves call this skill Marksdwarf, although bow skill is referred to as Bowdwarf, as you'd expect. Elite Axe and Hammerdwarves are referred to as Lords.

Since version 0.47, weapons may be chosen on the embark screen before starting an adventure. Before that, the weapon you got on start was dependent on the skills you selected.

General combat[edit]

Includes Fighter and Archer.

These skills improve effectiveness of melee (Fighter) or ranged (Archer) combat, regardless of the weapon used. Fighter skill also improves unarmed combat, Archer also improves throwing.

Defence skills[edit]

Including Shield user, Armor user and Dodger, these skills improve character's ability to defend, using shield, armor or dodging. Starting out with good ability in one (especially Shield User or Armor User) if not all is strongly advised.

Unarmed combat and improvised weapons[edit]

Including Wrestler, Striker, Kicker, Biter, Thrower and Miscellaneous object user.

While some of them come in handy at times, they can generally be raised fairly easily in-game, especially Wrestler and Thrower.

Movement and awareness[edit]

Includes Observer, Swimmer, Ambusher, Climber, Tracker and Crutch-walker.

Observer is hard to train, and adding some points here is advisable. Swimmer is almost impossible to train without at least Novice level, and Adequate level is advised because Adequate swimmers do not drown while stunned.


Includes Knapper, Bone carver, Writer, Carpenter, Persuader, Judge of intent, Flatterer, Musician, Speaker, Poet, Singer, Dancer, Stringed instrumentalist, Wind Instrumentalist, Percussionist, Keyboardist, Reader, Butcher and Wordsmith.

A Novice level of Reading is required in order to become a Necromancer.


Main article: Adventurer mode gameplay

Common UI concepts[edit]

About key symbols

Most documents on the wiki use key symbols that look like t to indicate what keys are used for an operation. Note that these are case sensitive. In order to save space, Shift+t will be written as T. So t means "press the 't' key without the shift key" and T means "hold down shift and press the 't' key". Lowercase and uppercase keys will almost never perform the same function, so it is important to use the correct key. Sequences of keys will be written with dashes between them. So a-b-C means "press 'a', then press 'b', then hold shift and press 'c'".

Cursor movement, menu selection, and navigation

Esc Go back to the previous screen/menu
Change active menu option or move cursor
- + Alternate menu selection keys
Enter Select menu option

Sometimes you use the directional keys and Enter to make menu selections, but sometimes you will need to use the alternate selection keys (- and +) instead. Generally speaking, if the directional keys don't work in a menu, try -/+.

Esc will almost always take you back to the previous screen until you get to the top level of the UI, at which point it will display the options menu.

Moving around[edit]

You can move around using 8 2 4 6 7 9 1 3 or . Use Shift+< or Shift+5 (num lock off) to ascend up the stairs and Shift+> or Ctrl+5 (num lock off) to descend.

You can also fast travel. Press T to enter fast travel mode and d to exit it. Entering Fast Travel mode will allow you to move large distances in a single keypress. Of course, the same amount of time will go by and you can also be interrupted (ambushed) while moving in fast travel mode.

Status and information[edit]

l Look around
Space Advance/Clear Messages
a View Announcements
z Status

Looking around[edit]

If you're not sure what a tile is, the look command will tell you. In addition to being useful for identifying tiles and creatures, you can also view creatures' equipment and what items are sitting on the ground in a given tile. If in doubt, try the look command.

Move the cursor to the tile you want to look at using direction keys and Shift+direction. It's possible to look up and down z-levels (assuming you have line of sight) using the < and > keys. This, for example, allows you to find out if any flying creatures are above you. Hit Esc to exit look mode and go back to movement mode.


The game makes frequent use of messages on the screen to tell you what is going on. If there are a lot of these you may need to use Space to display the rest of the messages that won't fit on the screen. You can always go back and view old messages by pressing a.

Status screen[edit]

This screen shows your skills, attributes, wounded body parts, health (along with more detailed descriptions of your wounds), lets you view your description, and change your nickname if you want.

Saving the game[edit]

Hit the Esc key at any time and select Save Game to save your game. You can then come back to it later by using the Continue Playing option in the main menu.

Searching and manipulating[edit]

u Interact with building, furniture, or mechanism
L Search the nearby area very carefully

The u key can be used to do stuff like pull levers in an abandoned fort. It is also used to lower and raise the bucket when standing right next to a well, so you can get water to refill your waterskin with.

L will perform a thorough search of the area that you're standing in, possibly revealing some small creatures.

Managing equipment[edit]

i Show Inventory
d Drop an item
g Get (pickup) an item off the ground
p Put an item into a container
r Remove an item you are wearing or from a container
w Wear an item
I Interact with an object in an advanced way. (unstick a weapon, refill waterskin etc.)
q Sheath your weapons and shield. (Frees your hands for tasks such as climbing or grabbing)

Press i to display a list of what you are currently carrying. Press - + * / to scroll thru the list. This list will show you if items are being worn, held in hands, stuck on your body, or are inside a container. Detailed information about an object can be viewed by pressing the key associated with the item.

You can drop items out of your inventory, as well as get items on the ground on the same tile that you are standing on. If there is more than one item a menu will be listed. Press - + * / to scroll the list if the list is too long to fit on the screen. Note that getting something makes your adventurer pick something up with his or her hands. This often means that you have to use q to sheathe whatever you have in your hands before you pick something up. If you do not have a backpack or some other way of storing the object, your adventurer will not pick the item up.

Items can be placed into containers with p and removed with r.

Items can be worn using w and removed using r (the same command used for removing from containers).

There is no command for wielding items such as weapons in specific hands. Instead, they are automatically equipped when you either get them from the ground or remove them from your backpack - provided the hand that would wield them is free.

The q<