DF2014:Adventurer mode character creation

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This article is about the current version of DF.

Main menu: Adventure mode; Gameplay; FAQ

Race and civilization[edit]

Race selection menu
Civilization selection menu

Any race from an [ALL_MAIN_POPS_CONTROLLABLE] civilization is playable in adventure mode. In most standard games, this includes dwarves, elves, and humans - all three races can complete the same quests. If an [ALL_MAIN_POPS_CONTROLLABLE] civilization never existed in the world, however, adventure mode cannot be played.

  • Dwarves have the advantage of being able to go into a martial trance when fighting multiple foes at once. This gives them many combat bonuses, which aids their survival greatly. They are the only race that can start with steel weapons, but they wear "small"-sized clothing which means that they're unable to wear human clothes and armor. Goblin armor fits them, making dark fortresses (if your computer can handle them) and dark pits a viable source of armor; if you're up for it, you could also just rob some dwarves or a dwarven fortress. They can start with almost the same weapon skills as civilized humans. Many larger weapons must be wielded two-handed by dwarves, due to their size.
  • Elves start with very weak wooden weapons, and have a more limited list of weapon skills during character creation. They have the advantage that they have higher natural speed. Elves are [AT_PEACE_WITH_WILDLIFE], which makes all wildlife passive towards them. They also have a notably better sense of smell compared to the other races with a [SMELL_TRIGGER] of 10 instead of 90, which means they can sense smells over much larger distances. 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. Human-sized clothes and armor are commonly found in hamlets and towns.
  • Goblins are only playable when a goblin population is present in an [ALL_MAIN_POPS_CONTROLLABLE] civilization. They possess the same body size as dwarves and elves, and can wear whatever weapons and armor the civilization which adopted/conquered them allows. They require no food or water to live.
  • Kobolds are playable in newer versions but not in older versions. They are very weak in combat, and a huge challenge compared to other races. They are even smaller than the other main races, and it is next-to-impossible to find properly-fitting armor for them, unless you are absurdly lucky and run into armored kobolds.Verify
  • Intelligent Wilderness Creaturesv0.42.01 are playable wild animals - any creature with [LOCAL_POPS_CONTROLLABLE] fits into this category. A wilderness creature can be played as long as one of their populations exists in an [ALL_MAIN_POPS_CONTROLLABLE] civilization. Most wilderness creatures are animal people - they come in various sizes, shapes and abilities, and as such, a short description cannot be given. Before 47.01 they started without any armor; in 47.01 you can choose items you start with, including armor, but animal people still have the problem of finding appropriate armor during gameplay, making Dodger and Shield User more important as defensive skills. Some useful features will be copied from the species to you, such as the ability to fly, a poisonous bite, extravision, a large size, various immunities (e.g. pain, stunning, exertion, traps, fear, dizziness, fevers, fire, poison, or drowning), special abilities (e.g. shooting webs, hurling fireballs), intrinsic starting skills, or the absence of vulnerable internal organs. Some features can also be uselessly amusing (e.g. snakemen talk with a [LISP]) or more crippling: plump helmet men can't talk, and characters from a [MEANDERER] species stroll very slowly in lieu of normal movement. Here you can read more.


Outsiders are adventurers that aren't from a civilization - they can begin at any site and are strangers to all. Only humans can currently be outsiders in vanilla by default. Other races can be played as outsiders if [OUTSIDER_CONTROLLABLE] is added to the creature's raws. At least one [ALL_MAIN_POPS_CONTROLLABLE] civilization must have existed in the world in order to play as an outsider, though the civilization does not need to be alive. A human (or in this case, dwarven) civilization is not strictly required.

Outsiders will always try to begin in a populated site. Caves, and even lairs with megabeasts will be chosen, when there are no occupied civ sites. When starting from a lair, be sure to escape from the site immediately, as soon as the game starts, to avoid an instant death.

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 available if they were part of a civilization. Because they lack a cultural identity, outsiders cannot worship deities and are unable to perform dance, music, or poetry due to having no held art forms.


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.


Home, occupation and beliefs choosing menu

You can choose the town you start at, your occupation (affects skills) and religious beliefs, if any.


This decides where you start the game at, and what local government you initially belong to. Generally this is not very important, as you can always make your way to "better" sites later, but there are advantages and disadvatages to certain site types. For example, mountain halls and fortresses can prove difficult to get out of, so they are not recommended to the new player.

The available site types depend on civilization type (e.g. dwarven, human or elven), but, all in all, there are: hamlet, town, castle, fort, hillock, fortress, mountain halls, forest retreat, camp.

This also affects your "childhood friends", what people your adventurers already know by the start of the game. If you start in an important (well-populated) site, your friends may very well encompass royalty or semi-important priests.

Note: As you have already selected a civilization in the previous screen, all sites you will be able to choose will be of that civilization and that civilization only. If you want other sites to choose from, you have to go back.


The occupation selection might seem glamorous and all, but truly, most of the occupations are presently only there for flavor - they do grant skills, but most of these are not currently usable in adventurer mode.

The available occupations are dependent on civilization, with elven civilizations having only a few of the occupations available to humans and dwarves. Outsiders can't choose any occupation at all.

Notable occupations are hearthperson, fortress guard and soldier which grant you a position as the vassal of a local noble (lord/lady, captain of the guard or mercenary/bandit leader) instead of any skills. The Hunter occupation also has several skills usable in adventurer mode.

The level of skill granted is dependent on your adventurer status (peasant, hero, or demigod), with the greater getting more skill levels. For this reason, the list below doesn't include any set skill levels, instead using the terms "Low-level", "Mid-level" and "High-level". To see what those correspond to, see the table below.

Status Low-level Mid-level High-level
Peasant Novice Competent Talented
Hero Adequate Proficient Professional
Demigod Competent Adept Master

Occupations and skills:


This decides what deity or religion you put your faith in. You may also be atheist/have no faith, and sometimes this is the only option given to you. With wq you control how ardent your faith is.

Starting attributes[edit]

Attributes and skills choosing menu

Attributes are divided into Body and Soul attributes. This section provides some guidance for allocating attributes as it relates to adventurer mode.


  • Strength: Contributes to melee attack momentum, adding velocity and force, and leg strength to movement velocity. Strength determines encumbrance limits, and higher capacity reduces the speed penalty of carrying burdens. Increases to muscle layer mass proportionately improves damage resistance but also reduces speed; proportionately larger characters benefit more from the extra layer thickness and suffer more from the speed penalty.
  • Agility: This attribute is directly related to a character's Speed. All combat skills, especially defensive ones, rely on it. Increases attack velocity and potential attack rate.
  • 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. Analytical Ability seems to have an influence on the quality of written creations, such as poems, as well as ability to speak about ideals.v0.42.01
  • 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. It may also influence "make believe", now able to be performed by children.v0.42.01
  • Intuition: Helps with Observer, which aids in spotting concealed enemies, ambushes, and identifying attacks from opponents.
  • Patience: May have some effect on dealings with others as a result of the new conversation system.Verify
  • Memory: Memory is applied to the Student and Reading skills. Higher Student skill improves the ability to learn from demonstrations in fortress mode, but it isn't certain whether it has any application in adventurer mode. It's also unknown what benefits come from of higher Reading capability.
  • Linguistic Ability: Affects any speaking and writing ability, improves the ability to communicate thoughts and feelings to listeners/readers. Verbal ability can form a positive impression depending on how the listener values eloquence, and responses to stories and poetry relies on delivery.
  • Spatial Sense: Important. Affects combat skills, Ambusher, Crutch Walker, Swimmer, Observer, Knapping. Also, prevents/reduces the chance of stumbling during a dance.v0.42.01
  • Musicality: Influences the adventurer's ability to perform music and song well. This, so far, works for all instruments; one can play a flute, guitar, or any other instrument equally well, given that the adventurer has equal skills in all instrument fields.v0.42.01
  • 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. Normally, you start with a limit of two. Increasing this stat by one level raises that to three, etc. Your fame still plays a big part in whether you can recruit followers or not. This attribute also helps with Persuader and Judge of Intent.

Attribute advancement cap[edit]

Adventure mode attributes are capped at double starting value, or starting value plus the racial average, whichever is greater. Humans, for example, have a racial average strength of 1,000. If a human adventurer started with an above average strength of 1,100, then their strength would ultimately be capped at 2,200. Had this human started with a below average strength of 900, then their strength would be capped at 1,900 instead. For the purpose of maximizing final attributes, this makes it important to start with as many attributes in the superior range as possible (more attributes per point allocated), while avoiding taking any penalties to even remotely-important attributes (big attribute deductions per point recovered). As a consequence of the attribute cap, demigod adventurers will always have a much higher potential for advancement than mere peasants and heroes (unless you become a night creature, that is).

Starting skills[edit]

Not all races have the same sets of skills available at character creation time, but keep in mind that all starting skills, as well as ones not available at character creation, can be improved through use in-game.

This section will specifically address starting skills as they relate to adventure mode. For a full description of combat skills see Combat skill. Other skills that you can't start with, but which can be increased in-game (such as Butchery) are described elsewhere.


Since version 0.47, weapons may be chosen on the embark screen before starting an adventure. The weapons available to a given adventure are decided in their civilization's entity raws: humans will be able to start with a whip, while the same will not be available to a dwarf, and so on. Outsiders will have a wide array of weapons to choose from, some of which may be made of non-weapon grade material.

Not all races/civilizations can start with all of these skills - Dwarves can't start with Bowman, Pikeman, or Lasher. Elves can only use Swordsman, Bowman, and Spearman. Of the playable races, only humans have access to Pikeman and Lasher. Strangely, only outsiders can start with Knife User.

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.

  • Axeman: allows characters to use axes, great axes, and halberds more effectively. Useful for cleaving off limbs.
  • Bowman: skill allows characters to use bows more effectively. Useful for taking down enemies at a distance.
  • Crossbowman: allows characters to use crossbows more effectively. Useful for taking down enemies at a distance.
  • Hammerman: allows characters to use crossbows in melee, mauls, and war hammers more effectively. Useful for breaking limbs.
  • Knife user: allows characters to use large daggers and knives more effectively. Useful for stabbing things.
  • Lasher: allows characters to use whips and scourges more effectively. Very deadly weapons.
  • Maceman: allows characters to use flails, maces, and morningstars more effectively. Similar to hammers.
  • Pikeman: allows characters to use pikes more effectively - like spears, but much bigger.
  • Spearman: allows characters to use spears more effectively. Useful for stabbing things.
  • Swordsman: allows characters to use blowguns and bows in melee, long swords, scimitars, short swords, and two-handed swords more effectively. Useful for cutting, stabbing, and whacking, but less effective than more dedicated weapons.

General combat[edit]

These skills form the basis for combat effectiveness. There is no maximum value to their utility, so if you begin with a rank equal or higher to your chosen weapon you'll become better able to benefit from other weapons when necessity or strategic advantage requires. Starting versatility can pay off early; you may choose your starting weapon, but the best available weapon is beyond your control or prediction.

  • Fighter: This increases with, and contributes to, melee combat, whether armed or unarmed. It appears that the purpose of it is to allow melee experience to contribute to melee combat in general regardless of weapon type. Repeatedly wrestling (grabbing and releasing) even a small creature will raise this skill.
  • Archer: This increases with, and contributes to, ranged combat including throwing. It works similarly to Fighter except for ranged attacks. It can be easily raised by repeatedly throwing rocks, making it advisable for archers to practice their marksmanship with rock throwing before using up the more finite and expensive forms of ammunition. Shooting at a wall with adjacent upward ramp one level below and picking back projectiles is also a good idea (such places often happen to be in keeps and fortresses). See the FAQ section on increasing your skills and attributes for information on raising bowman/marksman skills.


These skills are critical for survival. Starting out with good ability in one (especially Shield User or Armor User) if not all is strongly advised.

  • Shield user: Ability to block attacks with shields. Starting with even novice skill in this means that the adventurer will start with a shield. This is a no-brainer unless you're creating a two handed weapon user, and lack a broadness or height modifier on your character - necessary for one-handing any two-handed weapon, without penalty.
  • Armor user: A higher level of this skill reduces the encumbrance penalties of armor, allowing you to move faster when wearing it. It also affects how well armor protects you, and this makes a huge difference. Unskilled armor users gain little protection. This is noticeable, as you'll begin seeing far more combat reports about hits either striking you though armor, (you managed to use your armor to lessen the force of the blow) or being deflected by your armor (you used your armor to avoid the hit entirely) as your skill rises, and you learn to actually use your armor to deflect hits. It is highly advised to train your armor skill before entering battle with it, as the speed penalties of lower levels can be a serious handicap.
  • Dodger: Ability to dodge out of the way of attacks. Dodger is incredibly important and will allow you to avoid many, many hits that would have otherwise injured you. Especially important when you are fighting unarmored and can't afford a battle axe in the chest. Boost this to talented, or at least close to it.

Unarmed combat and improvised weapons[edit]

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

  • Wrestler: Ability to grapple, restrain, take-down, throw opponents, etc. Higher skill means all of these moves succeed more often - see #Wrestling and Unarmed Attacks for details.
  • Striker: Punching ability. Comes in handy when weapons get stuck, and there is no time to wrest them back.
  • Kicker: Kicking ability. Same as Striker. Kicks are slower but more deadly than punches; heavy kicks are particularly good at crushing and exploding heads.
  • Biter: Biting ability. Biting is surprisingly effective even with non-animal races, as after biting, you can shake opponents around by your teeth, causing great damage and possibly ripping off body parts, although with sapient races, this tends to lean more towards fingers or toes, perhaps the occasional hand or foot.
  • Thrower: Throwing any miscellaneous object - rocks, knives, axes, swords, heads, etc. Skill affects accuracy and damage caused.
  • Miscellaneous object user: Ability to beat things to death with anything that comes to hand, from bags to coins to their own severed body parts. Also somewhat more commonly used for shield bashing. This skill affects combat with any object, from a rock to a beehive. There are no separate skills for different items - items actually intended to be weapons, like swords or axes, are unaffected by this skill.

Movement and awareness[edit]

  • Observer: Helps one to notice things like ambushes, enemies who are "sneaking" (stealth movement), and traps. Detection range increases with skill, up to a maximum of 3 tiles away. Higher levels give more information regarding opponents. Hard to train. Adding some points here is advisable.
  • Swimmer: Allows movement through water without drowning. A Novice swimmer can swim but will revert to being unable to swim if stunned, which happens when falling even 1 z-level into the water, or possibly after an unfriendly encounter with a creature in the water. An Adequate swimmer can swim normally (not drown) while stunned. For this reason, starting out as an Adequate swimmer is advisable. If you don't, at least start as Novice and go get some swimming practice right away.
  • Ambusher: The skill of Sneaking around unobserved. This can be raised fairly easily by sneaking around while travelling from place to place when speed is not important. Enemies will have "sight ranges" from where they can detect a sneaking adventurer. The red zone of sight is where they will see you immediately and begin chasing you; the yellow is where they might see you. Staying out of sight will allow you to silently assassinate your foes, as they rarely seem to notice a knife in the back in time.
  • Climber: The skill of climbing up walls, into trees, and around the edges of gorges. Higher levels reduce the chance of falling and increase the speed of a climbing character.
  • Tracker: The skill of tracking your quarry, whether it be animals or goblins. Higher levels will let you spot more tracks and help you distinguish different tracks.
  • Crutch-walker: The skill of standing and walking with a crutch for support. This skill only becomes available when attempting to move with a crutch in inventory, and can be developed with or without legs. At Legendary levels, a crutch walker walks with no speed reduction, and simply keeping it in hand will continue to increase attributes.


These allow your character to create things:

  • Knapper: The fine art of sharpening rocks by banging them together in a clever manner. The resulting rocks become sharp rocks which do more damage when thrown and can be used for things requiring a sharp edge like butchering. Easy to make in-game, and doing so helps with Kinesthetic/Spatial Sense.
  • Bone carver: The art of making knick-knacks and other items by carving bones. A skilled bone carver adventurer can make items of the same quality as fortress mode dwarves, including "☼Masterpiece☼". Bone carving adventurers can also make bone figurines, and customize their appearance.
  • Writer: Your adventurer's ability to craft/write upon books and scrolls, you can choose the topic as well. It is hard to acquire the materials, however. Checking in libraries and old dwarven fortresses may prove profitable.
  • Carpenter: Your adventurer's ability to craft wooden objects and create wooden buildings and displays.


Almost all of these are only used in arguments.

  • Persuader: Increases your ability to convince people of your view.
  • Judge of intent: Allows you to tell how the opponent is arguing, unknown if higher levels change anything.
  • Flatterer: Increases your ability to flatter your way out of the argument.

General performance skills[edit]

These are your general performance skills, similar to fighter skill, in that they enhance rolls for many different skills and can be leveled easily.

  • Musician: Increases quality of all instrument-based performances, this is your all-around instrument skill, very similar to speaker and fighter, except with instruments.
  • Speaker: Your all-around speaking skill increases quality of all performances that involve speaking out loud, includes reading poetry, singing etc. Very similar to "Fighter" skill, except it's with performance rolls, not fighting rolls. May also effect argumentsVerify.

Performance skills[edit]

Appearance choosing menu
Personality overview menu

Skills that affect your character's ability to pull off performances. These skills can be used to play as a bard.

  • Poet: Increases the quality of poems you create and read out loud.
  • Singer: Increases quality of all songs your character sings.
  • Dancer: Increases quality of dances you choreograph and perform.
  • Stringed Instrumentalist: Increases quality of all performances using stringed instruments.
  • Wind Instrumentalist: Increases quality of all performances using wind-based instruments.
  • Percussionist: Increases quality of all performances using percussion instruments.
  • Keyboardist: Increases quality of all performances using keyboard instruments. (NB, shows up far less often in character generation than any of the others)

Note: if your civilization does not have access to a type of instrument, you will not be able to choose that skill at character generation time.

There are also procedural skills for every different kind of instrument, dance and poetic form, these will vary from world to world and by civilization, and cannot be chosen at character generation, but can be leveled in play.


  • Reader: Allows you to read books, signs, and writing in Adventurer mode. Novice level is required in order to become a Necromancer. Can be trained slowly by reading books (if you can read). Adding more points is a waste, as novice allows you to read anything.
  • Butcher: The art of turning corpses into piles of delicious prepared meat for food. Butchering also makes corpses and body parts less useful to enemy necromancers (assuming the character has the zombie-making faculty to begin with). You can allocate points here during character creation, but doing so is a waste because the skill doesn't really affect anything, anyway - except the taste, of course.
  • Wordsmith: It is unknown exactly what this skill affects, but likely it affects the quality of books, poems, and other written materials.

Character appearance and preferences[edit]

You are able to customise your adventurer's appearance, needs and preferences. Just like with any citizen in fortress mode, their needs will have to be fulfilled, or else the character suffers from distraction. Appearance does not seem to affect anythingVerify

As needs are fulfilled, your character's total level of focus goes up, gaining you bonuses to accuracy and other skill rolls. Your current level of focus will be displayed while playing, as one of the following: Focused Focused!

In the current version, some of these are unable to be fulfilled in adventurer mode.

Inventory and pets[edit]

Inventory menu

You can choose the weapons, (if any, given wrestling skill) armor and pets you start with. The menu is similar to fortress mode, but the amount of starting points depends on your status:

  • Peasant - 55
  • Hero - 255
  • Demigod - 1255

Items and pets share the same pool of points.