|This article is about the current version of DF.|
- (This page will cover the mechanics of combat - once they're figured out. For now, you may want to refer to Combat skills, Armor or Weapons). The effects of many Material properties on combat are somewhat understood (see the Material science page).
Combat in Dwarf Fortress is unlike that in most strategy and role playing games. Rather than having hit points, units have a collection of body parts, such as limbs, head(s) and a torso. These have sub parts: limbs have skin, fat, muscle, tendons, bones, nerves and arteries; heads have brains, eyes, noses, mouths, teeth and tongues; and torsos have internal organs. Damage to these parts and sub parts causes various negative effects, such as fainting, vomiting, loss of mobility due to bone fractures or nerve damage, and eventually leading to death from organ failure or blood loss. The combat system tries to present a fairly realistic depiction of combat, with several important consequences.
Although creatures and players may direct and focus their attacks, combat is random in nature. A glancing blow can get lucky and damage a vital organ, or open an artery to cause massive blood loss. Weapons cause damage specific to their class, be they axes or swords or backpacks. You will often see creatures attacked with impaling weapons such as spears or crossbow bolts die of asphyxiation when their lungs are pierced, while slashing weapons are more likely to open an artery or lop off a limb, and blunt weapons will cause fractures. Some weapons may become stuck in the enemy: if the weapon wielder can maintain control he can continue to do damage and immobilize the enemy, but if the enemy gains control of the stuck weapon, the weapon's wielder will be disarmed.
Reading the combat bogeymen, forgotten beasts and titans may lack these vulnerabilities entirely. Killing a shambling pile of refuse may prove to be a very, very long process due to the fact that it has no vital parts, and metallic creatures may prove to be nearly invulnerable. When all else fails, a cave-in or obsidian casting means certain death for anything caught in it.eports will give you a gruesome blow-by-blow of the fighting, telling you exactly what each strike did. It is important to note that while most natural creatures have the same sorts of vulnerabilities due to their similar collection of body parts, procedurally generated creatures such as
As in real life, combat in Dwarf Fortress is chaotic, deadly, and gruesome. Numbers seem to matter, as defending against multiple opponents can be difficult even for a decent fighter. Your warriors will not suffer loss of generic hit points, and cannot simply rest to regain them. Injuries must be dealt with in an appropriate fashion for healing to occur: broken bones must be set, wounds must be cleaned and stitched up, and for some things such as concussions, you can only wait and hope the victim eventually regains consciousness.
 General observations
- Blunt weapons use "contact area" and weapon mass to scale damage
- Edge weapons seem to use the progression Silver->Copper->Iron->Bronze->Steel->Adamantine for material strength
- Edge weapons use "contact area" and "penetration size" to determine if an attack is slashing or stabbing in nature
- Lower contact area results in better ability to pierce armor, higher contact area increases the amount of tissue affected by an attack.
Based on information in the RAWs and in-game, Toady seems to use real-world material properties and almost-real physics for in-game behaviour. Using this as a starting point, we can roughly estimate some of the combat damage mechanics for both blunt and edged weapons.
 General terms
- Stress - Force per area = F/A
- Strain - Deformation of a solid due to stress = Stress/Young's Modulus
- Yield Strength is the amount of stress required to permanently deform (bend) a material (plastic deformation)
- Fracture Strength is the amount of stress required to permanently break (rupture) a material
- Strain at yield is the amount of deformation (bending) that occurs at the yield point
- Implications to Dwarf Fortress Combat
 Armor properties
- Material Properties
- Blunt Protection
- Impact yield
- Impact fracture
- Impact strain at yield
- Edge Protection
- Shear yield
- Shear fracture
- Shear strain at yield
- Item Properties
- Armor Level: Layer number in which armor is worn. Lower numbers will be equipped first, and later numbers equipped if space is available.
- 'Coverage: Some armor covers more of the body than others.
 Weapon properties
- Material Properties
- Contact Area: Determines the surface area hit by the weapon. Likely in mm2.
- Velocity Multiplier: Effectively increases the velocity of the weapon swing.
- Blunt Weapons
- Blunt weapons are all about weapon mass, contact area, and velocity. Apply a large force to a small area for bone crushing goodness.
- Mass is likely material Density times weapon Size
- Momentum is Mass times Velocity
- Velocity is based on the Mass of the weapon, the Strength of the wielder, and the Velocity Multiplier of the weapon
- Any impact must have a conservation of momentum, and thusly, impart the weapon's momentum to the target
- Stress is the Force of the strike divided by the Contact Area
- Material Impact Yield determines the Stress required to dent the armor (likely not used)
- Edged Weapons
- Edged weapons rely on a combination of size, mass, contact area, penetration depth, and velocity
 Attack speed
| This article or section may need to be updated due to recent changes.|
Attack speed has been overhauled for DF2014. Research is impending.
 Other combat factors
- Both adventurer mode and fortress mode keeps track of which way a creature is facing, based on its last actions. Attacks from behind will have increased accuracy, especially if the target hasn't spotted the attacker yet.
- Movement speed plays an important role in melee combat, as it determines both dodging efficency and opponent's accuracy. Creatures that are either prone or naturally slow (such as giant snails) will have hard time dodging attacks, so breaking one of the opponent's legs is worth the effort.
- Creature size, especially relative to other combatants, has a considerable effect on combat. In addition to individual strength stats, larger targets hit with greater force, though whether this is absolute or relative to the target's size is uncertain. Charging and wrestling also favor the larger combatant.
- As of update 0.43.04 shakes and strong attacks will translate to other bodyparts. For example if you hit an enemy in the head with a blunt weapon, the force from that attack may also hurt the neck of the enemy. Even if the attack is blocked by armor, the force of the blow can still damage other bodyparts.
 Arena test results
- See Material
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