DF2014:Adventurer mode

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Dwarf head pixel2.png This article or section may need to be updated due to recent changes.
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.

Status[edit]

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.

Body[edit]

  • 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.)

Soul[edit]

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.

Weapon[edit]

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.

Other[edit]

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.

Gameplay[edit]

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.

Messages[edit]

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 key lets you strap your weapons to your back. This is useful because you can't climb or wrestle with your hands while holding weapons or other objects.

Time and weather[edit]

You can see current date (D), temperature (P) and time and weather (W). At night you won't be able to see nearly as well, and you will be more vulnerable to ambush, so it is better to find a shelter before night.

Sleep[edit]

Z Sleep

Eventually, your character will become drowsy, and this will get worse until you get sufficient sleep.

As of 0.47.01, bogeymen are restricted to certain evil regions, but you can still be ambushed by wildlife if you are not sleeping in a safe location (castle, building, abandoned lair).

Eat and drink[edit]

e Eat or drink something

To find water, you must find a river, stream, or well in a town and fill your waterskin (or any container) from it, or drink from it directly.

Combat[edit]

8 2 4 6 7 9 1 3 Attack adjacent hostile creature
Attack adjacent hostile creature
A Attack an adjacent creature.
f Fire a projectile
t Throw an item
C Open combat preferences interface

Hostile creatures can be attacked using a non-aimed attack by simply advancing towards your enemy using the arrow keys. Any creature can be attacked by standing next to it and pressing A. Attacking a friendly or unconscious creature (which includes wild animals for elves) will require a further confirmation, given using alt+y.

After selecting (and maybe confirming) which creature you want to attack, a will allow you to make an aimed attack. You must first select the body part that you want to attack. Look at the difficulty rating for various possible attacks. Impossible attacks will be nearly impossible to land and Easier attacks will be very easy to land. The difficulty rating for an attack does not change depending on your weapon skill. Based on player experiences, a Grand Master weapon user can almost always land a "Tricky" strike, while a Novice generally cannot. Attacks on various locations will also have limits on how "squarely" they can land (due to being out of reach, for example). Square and very square attacks will deal more damage.Verify Attacks which "can't land squarely" are generally still effective.

To attack with a ranged weapon, press the fkey with a ranged weapon (bow, crossbow, etc.) equipped in one hand, and select the square where you want to attack. Similarly, use the t key to throw any random object in the same manner. Just like looking, you can use throwing to view and hit enemies multiple Z-levels away from you. It is not possible to aim for specific body parts with ranged or thrown attacks.

If you get wounded during combat, there's not much that you can do, except perhaps run before you get more wounded. Be aware that movement speed while stunned, nauseous or winded is reduced, and might leave you open to fatal blows.

At any time during gameplay (except in fast travel mode), you can press C to open the Combat Preferences menu. There are three different preferences you can set: Attack, Dodge and Charge Defense.

Talking[edit]

You can talk with people. To begin a conversation or performance, press k. Unless someone else has already started a conversation with you (see below if someone has), you will get a cyan X that can be positioned over people you want to talk to with the normal directional keys. Use - and + to select who you want to talk to. Aside from individuals, you can also Shout out to everybody, which will have you talking with everyone in earshot, or you can talk to your deity, or you can even Begin Performance which includes such things as reciting poetry, telling stories or dancing, and is very important if you want to be a bard.

After starting conversation you can trade, take quests, ask for the location of someone or something, ask the listener to join you, etc.

Note that you can press Esc to not choose anything. The conversation is still ongoing, you have to explicitly say goodbye to end it. Pressing Esc is useful if you need to double-check something before talking.

Companions[edit]

c View companion interface

Companions are the guys who follow you around after you've asked them to join you and they've accepted. Your character will have a limit on the maximum number of companions, that is based on your reputation level and the Social Awareness attribute. Note that people with no military skills are unlikely to agree to join you, and people with military skills higher than yours will also be unlikely to join you. However, average soldiers will gladly join you "if you lead [them] to glory and death".

You can use the c key to open up a list showing your companions and their relative position to you. This can be useful if one of them runs off somewhere and you want to find them. You can select specific companions who are in visual range in order to view them. This is the same as viewing them with look.

You can give or take equipment with a companion by choosing to talk to them and selecting Exchange, give or take personal items. It is important to note that they prefer to store exchanged items in a personal container rather than to equip said items. You must convince your companions to trade away any containers (pouches, quivers, backpacks, etc.) as well as the equipment that you are attempting to replace. Once you have given your companions almost no choice in the matter, they will equip the new items and a message like The Swordsman reorganizes his possessions. will be displayed.

Your companions will continue to follow you and fight hostile creatures around you until they die (if you asked them to join you on an adventure) or get you to the proper location (if you asked them to guide you some place). If you want to get rid of your companions at any time, the safe way is to talk to each one of them, ask them about their journey with you, and then cancel the agreement.

If your companions are too far away from you when you enter fast travel, they will become an asterisk on the map where you started fast travel from. This asterisk may try to join up with you during travel.

In v0.42, you can have companions join you as performers after you convince them of your skills. This can be used to recruit people you normally couldn't recruit, such as civilians and stronger soldiers.

Personal finance[edit]

In human towns (not hamlets or castles), you can find shops; in elven Trading-trees you can find markets; and at depots in dwarven fortresses you can encounter brokers. Once you're inside of a shop and right next to any of the NPCs, you can use k to Trade with them. Use Enter to select which items to trade, left/right arrow keys to switch between the list of shop items and your items, and up/down arrow keys to scroll through the lists. Once done, press t to trade. After trading, you will find the stuff you gave on the floor at your feet, and the stuff you got in your inventory.

You may also pick up the item before buying it, but you should never walk out of a shop carrying an unbought item, as that is theft. It is punishable by death if you are caught, and exile if you are not. On any occasion when you have stolen goods from a store (indicated by dollar signs on either side of the item in your inventory), the game requires you to exit the site and move a considerable distance before allowing you to quick travel. If the item name is not surrounded by dollar signs, it is never considered stealing, even in situations where it would be in real life.

Coins can and will encumber your adventurer, eventually reducing your speed. To reduce that effect, you can try to exchange your copper and silver coins for gold ones, as well as sell all of your loot directly for gold coins.

Coins from one civilization are nearly worthless in other civilizations. You can take your excess coinage and use it to purchase large gems at a trinket shop. Large gems make good investments because they are 1) light, 2) variably priced, and 3) equally valuable between different civilizations.

Quest log[edit]

Q Open quest log
Esc Exit quest log
e p a s r b Access various lists
m Switch between the world map and additional info
z Center cursor on location of selected list item, if known
c Center cursor on your location
l Toggle the visibility of the line between you and some other point on the map.
f Filter the list
+ - * / Navigate the list

The quest log contains everything you know about the world, such as various events going on, people you know, and various sites. The m key will alternate between a world map that you can navigate, and information on whatever item is highlighted in the list to the right.

There are various kinds of lists you can check on the quest log:

  • Events — A list of events that are happening or have happened. Formatting of the list is (type)/(description). You can center on the location of the event if you know this. This list is the closest you'll get to some formal quest system.
  • People — A list of people you know. At the start of the game, this list will contain people in your site.
  • Sites — A list of various sites around the world.
  • Groups — A list of groups you know of and your relation to them. Note that you have to press e when you're on the events list in order to reach this list, requiring you to press e at most twice.
  • Agreements - Your various agreements; this includes tasks given to you by your lord, and why people are traveling with you and the history of your agreements.
  • Regions — A list of regions. The additional information will list the biomes a region possesses.
  • Bestiary — A list of creatures, their characteristics, and where you could find them.

Create[edit]

x Perform action (butcher, create item...)

Adventurers can perform limited crafting, (also known as "reactions"). To access the crafting menu, press x. You can sharpen rocks, assemble stone axes, carve bones, make wooden furniture, buther, compose songs or dances or write books and scrolls.

Natural abilities (spitting, breathing fire, etc.) and acquired powers (such as raising undead) are also used via this menu.

Site management[edit]

b Found a site and build

Adventurers can chop down trees for resources, and build their own personal sites to claim as their own - neither of these actions can currently be performed on existing sites like towns. Building currently needs wooden logs, acquired by chopping down trees. With a non-wooden axe in hand, hitting g while next to a tree allows you to chop it down.

See also[edit]

A glimpse into the Future[edit]

D4Dwarf.png This article or section has been rated D for Dwarf. It may include witty humour, not-so-witty humour, bad humour, in-jokes, pop culture references, and references to the Bay12 forums. Don't believe everything you read, and if you miss some of the references, don't worry. It was inevitable.


  • Passage from "Shooting for the sky", the giant toad bone bound book by Nefil Blackbone the human necromancer :

... While seemingly absurd, the practice of one's abilities with a ranged weapon can be furthered by directing said weapon towards the sky. After all, during day time the sky has one giant target that might even seem so large that it's impossible to miss, and the night sky has many smaller ones. It has been well documented that hitting the target may not be necessary to achieve improvement in ones skill with said arms, thus it is reasonable to expect every subsequent shot after the first will hit a tad closer to it's intended target, this has further lead me to believe in the possibility of sky exploration, for with this logic at some point the projectile will actually hit it's target and could subsequently be replaced with a test dummy to further resolve survival issues and empty ones guest accommodations in one go. Finally with said preparations accomplished it would be possible to explore whatever is beyond that great blue/black border above. However some skeptical dwarven scholars suggest this to be impossible and rather place their bets on the tried and tested dwarven launch system, while notable human scholars propose using bigger armaments to accomplish the goal.

This is how the great space race between the Elves, Dwarves and Humans began, which would later on lead to massive intergalactic conflicts, space goblin invasions, immortal human emperors, elven space gates, interplanetary clown-storms all under the name of the humble dwarven hammer of war ...