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This article is about the current version of DF.
Dwarves quenching thirst.

Dwarves, given time, will eventually get thirsty, as indicated by a blue down arrow blinking over the thirsty dwarf. If a dwarf fails to drink in time, the thirst will proceed to dehydration and eventually death. A dwarf needs to drink about once in three weeks.

A thirsty dwarf prefers to drink booze. If none is available, they will go to the nearest water source and drink. This is usually a well inside your fortress, but they will drink from a river or brook if there are no wells nearby, and have been observed to drink from murky pools if there are no other sources of water. A dwarf can live on water indefinitely if there is no booze to be had, but their speed and thus efficiency at work and in combat will suffer - dwarves are highly dependent on alcohol.

Dwarves seem to be capable of subsisting on vomit and slime in particularly dire times, though this is traumatizing and will quickly result in mental breakdowns and insanity. This will usually only happen in cases of dwarves walling themselves in and being forgotten and in challenging embark locations.

A resting dwarf will not do anything on their own until they have recovered from recent injuries (preferably inside a hospital), and will depend on others to provide them with food and drink. They will not be given booze but receive water carried in buckets.

Any baby being carried by its mother will effectively leech drink from her, causing her to become thirsty at double the usual rate. This does not, however, count as alcohol - when a baby is close to 1 year old, it will have severe withdrawal.

Detailed mechanics[edit]

Thirst increments by 1 during each game tick (i.e. 1200 per day, 33,600 per month, 403,200 per year), possibly more if the dwarf is a mother carrying her child. When it reaches certain thresholds, the following things happen.

  • 20000 - dwarf starts considering getting something to drink (1/120 chance per tick) if idle
  • 22000 - dwarf decides to go get something to drink if idle
  • 25000 - dwarf starts flashing Thirsty
  • 35000 - dwarf gets an unhappy thought about being Thirsty, cancels current job to get something to drink
  • 50000 - dwarf starts flashing Dehydrated
  • 60000 - dwarf gets an unhappy thought about being Dehydrated
  • 75000 - dwarf dies of thirst
"Thirst" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: rëcus
Elvish: pacata
Goblin: strabtom
Human: ethgath

Completing a drink job decreases the relevant counter by 50,000 (to a minimum of zero), though they may also decrement it additional times during the job's progress.

Being dehydrated for even a single tick will cause a miscarriage among pregnant dwarves.

Prior to version 0.31.07 (and going all the way back to the 2D versions), the unhappy thoughts resulting from hunger/thirst/drowsiness occurred at the exact same time that the dwarf started flashing, but all of the other numbers were otherwise the same. Additionally, in earlier versions (most notably 40d and earlier) dwarves cancelled jobs for food/drink/sleep much more readily.