|This article is about the current version of DF.|
Surroundings affect the types of plant life, wild animals and creatures which will appear in play within a given biome. It is possible to start a fortress that overlaps multiple alignment types (for example a terrifying forest and a calm shrubland). Some players consider this desirable, as it provides diversity in your little corner of the world, but it also has its dangers in the form of more ferocious wildlife.
Some plants and animals are unique to a certain type of surroundings and will only be found if those surroundings are present on the map. Note that most creatures also require a specific climate to spawn in. Again, it's important to check the specific biomes making up your site. Once a creature spawns on the map, it is under no compulsion to stay in its own biome and can roam as it pleases. Because of this, the specifics of what means what can be difficult to pin down sometimes.
Caverns are not affected by alignments, despite some subterranean creatures classed as one. Good creatures like the gorlak, evil creatures like the troll and savage creatures like the giant cave spider can be found in any cavern, regardless if the fortress is settled in good/evil/savage surroundings or not.
 Combinations of surroundings
- Including Calm, Wilderness and Untamed Wilds
Neutral regions are the easiest to understand. They generally mimic the real world, with recognizable wildlife. They can be quite dangerous depending on the region, holding anything from benign and weak weasels, to the generally non-aggressive but physically powerful elephants, to the very aggressive and very dangerous giant eagles. As one might expect, Benign Neutral zones are really very safe, while Savage Neutral areas can pose some major difficulties, depending on the dominating climate, landforms, or wildlife. You'll find most of the standard aboveground plants in these alignments, such as prickle berries, rope reed, strawberries and the like.
- Including Serene, Mirthful and Joyous Wilds
Good biomes tend to have less aggressive (often
[BENIGN]) and weaker creatures, except for the unicorn. They also tend to have more fanciful creatures than neutral biomes. Good regions also support the wild sun berry, which makes the best alcohol in the game. There are generally slight changes between Benign Good and Savage Good.
 Distinctive flora & fauna
- Animals: merperson, mountain gnome, satyr, unicorn
- Plants: bubble bulb, downy grass, sun berry
- Trees: feather tree
- Vermin: fairy, fluffy wambler, pixie
- Including Sinister, Haunted and Terrifying
Evil regions are much more dangerous than their Neutral and Good counterparts across the board. First, in addition to the ordinary wildlife native to the biome, various other creatures that are nasty, dangerous, and spiteful such as beak dogs, harpies, and ogres can be found in evil regions.
Most evil regions have associated evil weather. Evil clouds can inflict various syndromes on par with those of forgotten beasts, or instantly transform creatures into freakishly powerful thralls. Evil rains may also inflict random evil syndromes, albeit less severe ones, and always cause unhappy thoughts and a desire to wash (evil!). Evil rain won't refill pools, but a single evil biome may have both evil and regular rain, even at the same time.
About half of all evil regions are "reanimating", meaning that all wildlife will be undead, and any creature that dies will, after a short time, be reanimated as undead. Undead are hostile to all living creatures, and feel no fear or pain. Undead can only be killed in combat by beheading, bisection, or pulping damage, or otherwise by butchering, cave-ins, particle physics, or good old fashioned magma. Beheading, bisection and butchering may leave remains that can be reanimated; any partial corpse or body part that is not "mangled" and contains at least one hand or head can reanimate. This includes skin and even hair left over from butchering.
Creatures that can destroy buildings, avoid traps or steal items will retain these abilities in undeath. Undead do not need to breathe, so they will not be stopped by rivers or moats, and aquatic undead can and will come ashore.
If your embark site spans multiple biomes then only the evil part will have the reanimating effect, and only wildlife appearing from that side will be undead. The reanimating effect extends all the way underground. The trees at embark may all be dead, and though they can be cut down for logs, will not regrow. Undead shrubs are useless for gathering, too.
When embarking in a reanimating evil region, it is advised to move everything underground as soon as possible, and immediately set up plenty of traps and/or a military armed with blunt weapons. Be very careful with refuse stockpiles and butcher's shops. Keep livestock to a minimum, as they are a liability. Needless to say, hunting is a very bad idea.
Because of the inhospitablity of evil regions, even Benign Evil is very difficult for beginning players to earn a niche to work in, so it should be reserved for
great fun a challenge only.
 Distinctive flora & fauna
- Animals: beak dog, blizzard man, dark gnome, foul blendec, grimeling, harpy, ice wolf, nightwing, ogre, sea monster, strangler
- Plants: sliver barb, staring eyeball, wormy tendril
- Trees: glumprong
- Vermin: blood gnat, demon rat, knuckle worm, phantom spider
- Including Untamed Wilds, Joyous Wilds and Terrifying
Savage surroundings are the only surroundings which have giant and humanoid versions of some animals. It is also possible that two groups of animals happen outside on a savage biome, instead of one. They are also far more varied in wildlife than the other biomes.
Most of the creatures in savage biomes will leave you alone, especially the animal men who are harmless (with a few exceptions), and most of the giant creatures will not be hostile, but then again a savage biome may just surprise you with giant keas or giant badgers, and some of the creatures found in savage biomes are dangerous indeed. If you don't know what to expect, just look it up. A "Savage Good" region is called Joyous Wilds, a "Savage Neutral" region is called Untamed Wilds, and a "Savage Evil" region is called
excessively fun Terrifying.
Civilizations typically do not settle in high-savagery regions, except for elves who are naturally at peace with animals.
 Distinctive flora & fauna
- Animals: above-ground animal people, giant animals, giant desert scorpion (pre-0.42.04), sasquatch, sea serpent, yeti
- Plants: whip vine
- Trees: highwood
- Vermin: acorn fly, fox squirrel, moghopper, two-legged rhino lizard
|General|| World Generation (Basic / Advanced / Rejections) - Map legend|
Climate - Surroundings - Civilization - Holdings - 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