|This article is about the current version of DF.|
|This page contains information only relevant to DF 0.44.01 and newer. Most or all of this information does not apply to previous versions. Older saves from previous versions in the DF2014 release cycle are still compatible with this version.|
Religions are the organized worship of deities. Only dwarves and humans worship deities; elves instead believe in a single force that permeates the forest, while goblin worship is monopolized by their ruler.
In Fortress mode
Each of your dwarven inhabitants has some, or several objects of worship: these include deities, but also megabeasts. In the case of deities, there are four different levels of worship, in decreasing order: "ardent", "faithful", "casual", "dubious". Regardless, any deity-worshipping dwarf will sometimes have a need to commune with their deity at a temple, and will do so when they have free time. Praying evokes a very strong and positive enraptured emotion, so the effects of temples on your citizens' well-being should not be underestimated. Dwarves that are unable to pray may feel distracted and receive unhappy thoughts. The exact inner workings are unclear, but the importance of such effects presumably depends on the strength of the need and the level of worship. There are many dwarven deities, and your dwarves' worshipping needs don't overlap that much, so you may need to designate several temples to satisfy your whole population.
Your fortress may also be home to human residents, whether they petitioned for citizenships or were rescued from another site by a squad sent on a mission. Humans have notably different deities and will not relate to your dwarves', so you will need to designate specific areas of worship for human deities.
In Adventure mode
Towns typically feature temples inhabited by a high priest of some kind. They will typically have an utterly bizarre title (such as "great orange") that comes from the sphere which their deity is aligned with. They will also greet you in the strangest way ("Life is, in a word, death."). In the current version, you may not be able to join a religion.
Temples are also the home for holy relics, a special kind of artifact. Holy relics are usually a piece of clothing or a body part of a late high priest. Holy relics can be stolen or plundered in world generation, in which case the entity will send questers to attempt to retrieve it. You may encounter one of those questers, or become one yourself. If you steal a holy relic yourself, and make it known by bragging about it, you will alienate the religion and its questers.
Vampires are also able to form minor cults focused on their peculiar 'immortality worship'. If you encounter a vampire in the middle of their cultists and confront them, the cultists will turn against you.