|This article is about the current version of DF.|
A civilization is an organized society formed by a group of distinct, intelligent creatures. Civilizations are characterized by recognizable symbols, arts, and language, communities possessing common ethics and values, the development of advanced sites and structures, the use of defined resources, governing systems with individuals or groups exercising authority, interactions with the environment, and the creation of complex relationships between other entities, which can result in global networks of trade, the sharing of knowledge, and conflicts due to disagreements, which may break out into war.
When you start a game in fortress mode, there are typically one or more dwarven civilizations which you can choose to be the parent civilization of your fortress. You can select your civilization at the site selection screen. Different civilizations will have different items available when you embark.
Only dwarven civilizations are playable by default, and to play as other civilizations requires modding.
 Types of civilizations
The mountain civilization is established by the dwarves
☺. Mountain civilizations centralize in industry, alcohol, mining deep, producing ☼masterful crafts☼, and creating pretty epic stories. Mountain civilizations build great fortresses on the edge of mountain ranges, smaller hillocks in the hill-lands, and mountain halls deep in the mountain. Fortresses and mountain halls are connected by roads and underground tunnels.
The plains civilization is established by the humans
U. Humans are the most variable out of all the civilizations. Plains civilizations build vast towns and rural hamlets in low plains near bodies of water. Broad roads connect nearby towns together.
The forest civilization is established by the
e. Forest civilizations are firmly devoted to the protection and well-being of nature, including trees. Especially trees. Harming of plants (most importantly trees) is considered an unspeakable act of crime. Forest civilizations build forest retreats made of large, outdoor structures of living trees in wooded areas.
The evil civilization is established by the goblins
g. Evil civilizations are keen on going to war and
rescuing kidnapping innocent children. They are undoubtedly the most cruel of all the civilizations. Evil civilizations construct sinister dark fortresses and blot the land with dark pits.
The skulking civilization is established by the kobolds
k. Skulking civilizations steal items from nearby civilizations and stay distant from other affairs. Skulking civilizations populate natural caves. Cave residents do not show as neighbors on the embark screen, and in default world-gen settings, the caves themselves are hidden from the map.
 Subterranean animal peoples
Unnamed tribes spawn in deep caverns underground and are populated by various humanoids resembling animals, forming small, crude camps. Unlike other civilizations, they do not appear in the civilizations screen. Creatures that form underground civilizations are as follows:
fCave fish man
sCave swallow man
 Dead and struggling civilizations
When a civilization is destroyed by war or other calamities, it becomes a dead civilization. A civilization that is quite close to being dead is said to be struggling or dying.
In Fortress mode, a player may embark while part of a struggling civilization – sometimes even as part of a dead civilization. If you are embarking as a dead or struggling civilization you are warned about that at embark. It can be tricky to determine if your civilization is struggling or dead, but here are some indicators:
- Dwarven caravan may appear, but may also be absent for one or several years at a time.
- The outpost liaison may also appear with the caravan, but could also be absent (even if the caravan comes) for several years.
- Migrants should arrive as normal.
- Your (struggling) civilization will show on the Civilization screen right after embark, though it may be said to have no important leaders.
- A monarch might be appointed: most likely triggered by some unknown event, at which one of your dwarves become monarch after a polite discussion with its peers, but at the latest at the turn of the second year of your fortress (and frequently it's the expedition leader). Note that a monarch can be elected in your fortress even when the civilization was healthy at embark, in which case the election was triggered by the death of the previous monarch and nobody was elected at the other sites.
- All dwarven civilizations in existence are dead. If at least one is not, the dead ones will not be available for embark.
- Only two migrant waves, no more.
- No dwarven caravans, ever.
- No monarch in the fortress or out in the world, ever.
- Right after embark, the Civilization screen is completely empty. Your (dead) dwarven civilization will show up once you make contact with any other civilization, including kobolds.
W to the right of the civilization screen indicates the current relationships between the selected civilization with other civilizations on the list.
P indicates peace (note for goblins, you will still get sieges even if you are at "peace" with them) and
W indicates war. As an example, if you select the dwarven civilization, and next to a goblin civilization is
W (which is not uncommon) it means that—congratulations—your civilization is at war with the goblins.
Be aware that "neighbors" on the screen are not necessarily close neighbors, they are merely civilizations that have been contacted with yours. Your civilization may have connections with another civilization that are found on the far side of the world.
|General|| World Generation (Basic / Advanced / Rejections) |
Climate - Surroundings - Map legend - Civilization - Calendar - World activities
|Biomes|| Chasm - Desert - Forest - Glacier - Grassland - Lake - Mountain |
Murky pool - Ocean - River - Savanna - Shrubland - Tundra - Wetland
|Underground||Cavern - Magma sea - Underworld|
|Features|| Aquifer - Brook - Deep pit - Island - Magma pool |
Passage - Road - Tunnel - Volcano - Waterfall
|Sites|| Camp - Cave - Dark fortress - Dark pit - Forest retreat - Fortress - Hamlet - Hillock |
Labyrinth - Lair - Mountain halls - Ruins - Shrine - Tomb - Tower - Town - Vault
|Structures|| Catacombs - Dungeon - Keep - Library - Market - Mead hall |
Sewer - Tavern - Temple - Tomb - Underworld spire