DF2014:Werebeast

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This article is about the current version of DF.

Werebeasts Ñ are night creatures that are procedurally created during worldgen. Deities may curse sentient creatures (including any animal man) to transform into an animal form on the night of a full moon. Sentient creatures bitten by werebeasts are cursed to become werebeasts themselves.[1]

Werebeasts may take the form of mammals or reptiles, ranging from the classic werewolf to more exotic things like weregiraffes, werelizards or weregila monsters.

The behaviour of vanilla werebeasts in worldgen (i.e. fleeing town upon being cursed and conducting raids from their new lair) appears to be caused by the cursed individual's beast form having the [NIGHT_CREATURE_HUNTER] tag; removal of this tag from a generated werebeast extracted from a world.dat file and jimmied into the standard raws caused those cursed to behave no differently from any other unnaturally-immortal individual.

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[edit] Werebeasts in Fortresses

In some regions, the full moon will herald the attack of werebeasts upon your fortress (triggering a message similar to the one that is shown when a Megabeast attacks), or instead the unwilling transformation of your own citizens into their bestial forms. The cursed will attack anyone they can find for the duration of the full moon, spreading their affliction even further. Werebeasts of the same species will cooperate with each other and not normally fight, but those of different species will treat each other no differently from enemies.

[edit] Defending your fort against werebeasts

If you have not established an early-detection defensive perimeter (see defense guide and note, werebeasts are trapavoid), it is quite likely that if a werebeast attacks, a dwarf will be attacked and bitten. The best defense against this is to keep civilians off the surface (unless they are inside high walls), and rely on warning systems to tell you when to trigger a civilian alert and close your drawbridges. A werebeast retains its infectious form for only a few days, during the full moon. After that, it reverts to an ordinary humanoid form, and will typically flee.

Warning systems may include pastured or restrained animals, or outdoor statues. If you get notices of toppled statues with no visible cause, it's probable there is a werebeast nearby.

[edit] Infection

Werebeasts are dangerous opponents, perfectly capable of killing an unarmed dwarf with impunity, but as notification-worthy invaders go they aren't especially terrifying; a few dwarves with modest military training and gear should be able to handle them with few casualties, as will a single elite dwarf in quality steel gear. The real threat they pose, however, is in their bite. If a humanoid is bitten by a werebeast, and the bite tears fat, skin, or muscle, there is a risk that the said humanoid becomes infected. If infected, the humanoid will become a werebeast at the next full moon (see below for schedule). Scratches, bites that merely bruise or dent, and subsequent shaking attacks after a bite will not transmit the curse, and thus are merely as dangerous as any other such assault. Also, animals cannot become werebeasts.

There is no cure. To protect your other dwarves you should either keep the infected dwarf in an inaccessible pit so he does not infect your whole fortress, or if you do not want to take care of him, just kill him.

Infected dwarves will not die of old ageVerify and do not need food and drink. Note that werebeasts can still drink, and the only reason they won't die from dehydration is because they change before they can die, healing wounds and removing thirst. They may go mad, however, so if you want to make him work (or use him for a stupid dwarf trick) you should try to keep him happy. This can be difficult because werebeasts will not sleep or eat, though they will drink if alcohol is available.

Or maybe you want something exceedingly more Fun instead? Try the following.

[edit] Infecting your entire fort

Yes, it is possible. Having only infected dwarves does not end your game.

Pros:

  • Super-effective hospital service, your dwarves are fully healed once per month. No need for crutches or something.
  • No need for food or drink, though you can keep alcohol around for happy thoughts and to avoid alcohol withdrawal
  • No need for beds or bedrooms other than those for nobles
  • When transformed, civilian dwarves are less vulnerable
  • Dwarves will happily discard their old tattered clothing and pick up fresh clothes every month.
  • Unhappy thoughts are less severe as the process of being bitten and biting others tends to make your dwarves very resilient to tragedy.
  • Go for were-elephants or were-badgers for extra dwarven points
  • Fun

Cons:

  • Exceedingly difficult to set up, quite long as well
  • May kill your most important dwarves
  • When transformed, fortress activity grinds to a halt, and for a few days afterwards as civilians run around finding new clothing
  • Werebeasts are building destroyers, so you'll constantly need to remake workshops and most furniture
  • Trading is especially difficult
  • May WILL cause issues with military when transformed : dwarf armor is too small for werebeasts, though they will hold onto their weapons and shields, and even quivers/bolts during transformation.
  • May be exceedingly fun for dwarven sanity... but then again you were looking for fun in the first place


There are several ways to attempt to infect your whole fort, some with higher success rates than others. The trick is to have your uncursed dwarves be bitten but not die, and also to have your cursed dwarves survive any retribution.

One method is to equip a squad of dwarves with training weapons and send them to an isolated area with one or two of your werebeasts. Ideally the dwarves who get injured will back away while the others hold back the werebeast. In reality it can be hard to balance the battle, which leads to either the werebeast killing off the injured dwarves or being pummeled into submission without spreading his curse. The main problem is when an attack by either the werebeast or a dwarf happens at the moment of transformation, it is considered a dwarf on dwarf attack, which leads to a minor loyalty cascade.

Another method is to simply lock a werebeast in a room with a civilian(s) and hope that the civilian survives long enough for the werebeast to turn back. This reduces (but does not eliminate) the chance of a loyalty cascade, because only the werebeast is attacking. The main problem is that werebeasts become legendary fighters/wrestlers very quickly and are more than capable of killing/fatally wounding half a dozen dwarves in a single transformation.

The most successful method discovered is to lock a werebeast in a room with civilians, but be sure the room is completely covered in cage traps. Many injuries inflicted by werebeasts can knock a dwarf unconscious due to pain or strangulation, and an unconscious dwarf will be trapped by a cage trap. In the cage, dwarves are free to recover from their wounds, safe from any further attacks. In addition, a dwarf who is released from a cage gets an enormous happiness boost that will help him cope with the loss of family and friends who were not so lucky. Further improvements to this technique, such as assigning the uncursed to squads with no uniform (or just a helmet) that replaces clothing in order to allow every bite to break the skin, have pushed successful conversion rates to near 50%. It is also recommended to release dwarves from their cages immediately (via constructing the cages and attaching them to a lever) to prevent insanity due to unhappiness.

[edit] Werebeast Military

A somewhat less drastic (though potentially even more fun) option is to start a Werebeast super-soldier breeding program. Some Werebeasts can hold and use weapons in Wereform, and whatever combat skills they have as dwarves also apply while transformed. Being infected gives dwarves a large increase to their physical attributes (which can still be increased further, unlike vampires), and they need not worry about being wounded in combat as long as they survive until their next transformation. Add to this the Wereform's large size of 80000 and inability to feel pain, which partially makes up for its lack of armor, and you end up with a potentially devastating military force, if you can manage to keep them from murdering each other and the rest of your fortress.

Were-soldiers are mostly useful when their Wereform is of the variety that can use weapons and preferrably also shields, which obviously requires hands of some sort. Weregophers for example can use either a shield or a one-handed weapon, but not both, and may even equip crossbows as well as quivers and bolts. It is unknown if dwarves in Wereform can wield weapons that are normally too large for them, such as pikes. If they cannot use weapons they may still be useful as soldiers if their Wereform is of the dangerous sort, for example in the case of werelions and tigers and bears.

Transformed military dwarves respect their stations, alerts and uniforms (when applicable) and ignore the civilian alert, but will still attack anything they regard as an enemy, such as their fellow dwarves or any destroyable buildings. They must therefore be kept away from the rest of the fortress with walls and bridges, as they will destroy any non-artifact doors. Note that as of 40.24 there is a nasty bug which lets sparring dwarves teleport through 1-tile walls, so make sure the walls to their prison are at least 2 tiles thick, and install two 1-tile bridges connected to one lever as a door. Bonus points if you also install a dump chute in the room to give them new weapons and booze. Designate a stockpile under the chute, set it to take from links only, disable bins and set it to allow booze, empty barrels, weapons, shields and possibly ammo. Supplying the were-soldiers with booze both keeps them happy and prevents them from wandering into your fortress to look for it. Be aware that they can and will jump out of a hole directly above them, so either make the chute at least 2 z-levels high and smooth the walls, or keep it firmly locked with a hatch cover.

Once their containment room has been built, add a piece of furniture, designate a large barracks from it and set them to train there. The were-soldiers will destroy the barracks while transformed unless it is an artifact, so wall it in after the room has been defined. Remember to use 2-tile thick walls because of the sparring bug above.

An important thing to remember is the following: If two or more transformed dwarves have any sort of active military order (either from an alert or direct orders), and can see each other at the moment they change back from Wereform, then they will instantly begin fighting to the death, causing a loyalty cascade. To avoid this, either train your were-soldiers alone in separate rooms (slower due to lack of sparring), or make sure to set their alert to Inactive and cancel all their orders before they change back to dwarves. Once they've changed back, they can be set to train or given orders again. If they do start fighting each other, canceling all their orders and setting them to Inactive will make them stop.

The soldiers will not train while transformed, but if they were sparring during the transformation they will continue to spar in wereform, which can be entertaining to watch. The combat log for sparring dwarves in wereform will be gray instead of the normal cyan.

[edit] Transformation Dates

There are exactly thirteen full moons in a Dwarven year, so werebeasts transform on exactly the same dates every year:

  • 25th granite (XX-01-25)
  • 23rd slate (XX-02-23)
  • 21st felsite (XX-03-21)
  • 19th hematite (XX-04-19)
  • 17th malachite (XX-05-17)
  • 15th galena (XX-06-15)
  • 13th limestone (XX-07-13)
  • 11th sandstone (XX-08-11)
  • 8th timber (XX-09-08)
  • 6th moonstone (XX-10-06)
  • 4th opal (XX-11-04)
  • 2nd obsidian (XX-12-02)
  • 28th obsidian (XX-12-28)

[edit] Werebeasts in Adventure Mode

In adventurer mode, werebeasts are usually found living in small lairs on the edges of civilization. Young adventurers will often be called upon to slay them, with instructions along the line of 'he assumes a bestial form' along with a description of what type of metal they are vulnerable to. However, as long as they are not visited on the night of their transformation, they are just common peasants, and can be dispatched easily. It would behoove these individuals to hide themselves among townsfolk, but what can ya do?

[edit] Becoming a Werebeast

To become a werebeast, you must either happen upon a werebeast in its beastly form or seek one out on the night of their transformation. It is recommended to wear no armor except for your head as only bites that break the skin will infect you with the were-virus. Once bitten, you will not transform immediately.

As of v42 : it is now additionally possible to become a werebeast by toppling statues in a temple or sanctuary. Walk up to the statue and topple it with u then a. Toppling a statue in this way will lead you to being cursed: the curse will be either Werebeast or Vampirism. Which curse you get appears to be randomly decided at the time you topple the statue (reloading the game and toppling it again has been confirmed to give the alternate curse.)

[edit] Implications of being an adventuring Werebeast

Pros:

  • Every full moon all injuries are instantly healed.
  • Big strength and agility boost.

Cons:

  • Attacked if you visit any towns during your transformation.
  • Having to re-equip yourself every transformation unless transformed size is similar enough to your race's size.
  • If enemies are wielding weapons of a material your new form is weak against, damage taken can be devastating.

[edit] Werebeast Characteristics

All werebeasts are described as having glowing eyes of some random color, and are "crazed for blood and flesh" meaning they attack everything that is not their own race, including undead.

The transformation to a Werebeast seems to only affect physical attributes, mental attributes are not changed though the descriptions will be relative to the Wereform's average. A Werebeast never gets hungry, thirsty or drowsy, and will not drown when in Wereform. Werebeasts in Wereform are type 2 Building Destroyers, so doors and vertical bars will not contain them, however bridges or walls will.

When transforming to Wereform, all health regenerates, including missing limbs, and thirsty dwarves will have their thirst replaced with bloodthirst removed. The same happens when transforming back. Effects induced by insanity are not reversed, so berserking soldiers that transform will still not follow orders.

Infected dwarves are removed from any burrows when they transform, and cannot be burrowed while in Wereform. They will however still remember the civilian alert burrow, so issuing a civilian alert while a dwarf is transformed will send that dwarf straight to your slaughterhouse emergency room if they can path their way there.

If the Werebeast cannot use weapons in Wereform (i.e. no hands), only the natural abilities of the creature are available for combat. These abilities differ from creature to creature (Claws/Hooves/venomous Bite etc.), but only their bites cause the Werebeast curse to be transmitted. Werebeasts have been confirmed to have the ability to arrive at your fortress both armed and stealthed.

Dwarves that die in Wereform will not be available for burial and will not come back as ghosts, but you can engrave slabs for them. However, this seems to be fixed as of 0.43 and possibly before.

If you become a werebeast and transform in adventure mode, you can pick up your weapon and shield that were dropped in the transformation, but, seeing as almost all werebeasts seem to have minimum body size of about 80000, armor will become too small for you to fit in. Hauled items will also be dropped on Fast Travel.

Werebeasts also tend to change back into humanoid form at the worst moment, like when they are charging a group of axedwarves. Sometimes a werebeast's humanoid form is more dangerous than the werebeast form, most obviously for snake man werebeasts.

Even if the werebeast is dispatched while in animal form, werebeast kills are listed as being of the original race.

Baby werecreatures are neutral, and while you can order your military to kill them the order will not be followed.

D4Dwarf.png This article or section has been rated D for Dwarf. It may include witty humour, not-so-witty humour, bad humour, in-jokes, and references to the Bay12 forums. Don't believe everything you read, and if you miss some of the references, don't worry. It was inevitable.


Sometimes a werebeast arrives in humanoid form, and the game then announces the arrival of a normal, intelligent creature as if it was some terrible beast. The naked, confused creature usually runs away, probably scared by your dwarves' laughter.

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