|This article is about the current version of DF.|
|This article or section contains minor spoilers. You may want to avoid reading it.|
In the deep, there are beasts so fell and terrible, that only they know what they are, for none who have met them have lived to tell of it... they are the Forgotten Beasts, born of the chaos from before the world's birth... they have waited, brooding in the dark places of the world... and now... by digging too deep... we have awakened them.
Forgotten beasts are large, monstrous, procedurally generated megabeasts that spawn in the caverns beneath your fortress, pathing through to your fort and seeding destruction amongst your dwarves. They are the subterranean equivalent of titans.
Forgotten beasts are attracted by wealth and population size. They start coming from breached caverns once the population reaches 20. Additionally, one may randomly appear when you reclaim a fortress. When a forgotten beast becomes visible onscreen, the game automatically pauses and displays a message.
Forgotten beasts are procedurally randomized, and may be of any form, and be made of any sort of material. Multiple forgotten beasts may come to attack your fortress, each coming at different times. Most take the form of an animal, some not found in vanilla DF, with extra features (e.g. extra eyes, feathers) or removed body parts (e.g. skinless cobras) and unusual colours. However, a forgotten beast can also take more generic forms, such as shelled blobs, quadrupeds, and humanoid golems. Materials range from flesh and blood, to flimsy things like ash and steam, to truly scary monsters of pure rock, gem, or metal. They may get a special attack, ranging from anything between venomous stings, poisoned blood, explosive dust clouds, to flame breath.
If a forgotten beast has a venomous attack of some sort, it is randomly generated as are the resulting symptoms. The beast's breath attack is also randomly generated, if it has one. Venom attacks come in a variety of forms, from boiling ichor to trailing dust, and the effects can range from mild pain to complete and instantaneous necrosis or paralysis. Some forms of venom can spread from spatters and contact with your dwarves, eventually infecting your entire fort. Decontaminating your soldiers in shallow running water is one way to deal with this problem. Some beasts breathe fire or shoot web in lieu of any syndrome-bearing attacks. Web-shooters are immune to the effects of webs they, or any other creature, create and will shoot web even at targets they lack a proper path to. Forgotten beasts based on spiders may be capable of shooting webs in addition to any other special abilities.
The number of forgotten beasts cannot be controlled directly, but is influenced by the size of the world and is directly proportional to the number of cavern layers, as exactly one beast is spawned per each underground region. All are building destroyers, and are almost entirely immune to traps (they are trapavoid and nostun but non-webspinners will trigger a trap that has been webbed). Bridges are also less useful, as they cannot be raised or lowered as long as the beast is standing on (or under) them, preventing the traditional magma pit / dwarven atom smasher designs from working. This is probably one of Toady One's ways of making the encounters even more fun.
 Death and application
If you need to kill a forgotten beast, order your military to attack. Some beasts, however, are content not to path to your fortress and will stay dormant underground. Most "fleshy" forgotten beasts can be butchered; some are quite massive and may leave you with hundreds of meat and bone units and dozens of prepared organ units. Forgotten beast shells may prove valuable during a strange mood, particularly on a map without other sources of shells. Unfortunately, all forgotten beasts have a value multiplier of 1.
Some forgotten beasts whose bodies are made of liquid, gas, fire, or powder will die or lose limbs on the first hit. Other forgotten beasts are extremely difficult to kill due to being made of very hard materials or having an amorphous shape. When confronted with such near-invulnerable creatures the only option is usually to use your brain and try to lock it away (the beast; dwarven brains are locked away by default) somehow. Walls and raised draw bridges stop them. Since they are building destroyers, you can use installed furniture to lure them to a particular location. If you can put it in a pit, a clever trapmaker can feed it invaders. If a near-indestructible beast isn't in a position to threaten your dwarves, it can be used to train marksdwarves.
One method of defeating nearly combat-invulnerable forgotten beasts (those whose bodies are made of rock, for instance) is to cause a Cave-in on top of them. They'll be killed by dropping either natural or constructed walls or floors on them. It is also possible to capture some forgotten beasts in cage traps by using giant cave spider webs (or similar).
 Forgotten Beast Threat Analysis
If you do not want your fun spoiled, do not look below!
Of course, general threat must be appraised after all categories. A giant blob made of smoke with webs is still pretty harmless and very fragile, despite it having webs, and a no-frills humanoid made of steel with no special attack will cause dangerously large amounts of fun, being essentially a far more resilient bronze colossus.
- Water, Grime, Filth, Salt, Steam, Smoke, Snow: Liquids, gasses, and powders are incredibly fragile, and most of them don't do any damage either. In fact, they usually die to kittens playfully scratching them or babies punching them. Unless paired with a dangerous attack method, these should not be a threat at all.
- Fire: While very fragile, fire is incredibly !!fun!!. This type of forgotten beast will usually stay at the edge of the map and may burn large parts of the cavern when it first enters. Engagement should be avoided if it does not path to your fortress (and into a trap) as it could cause casualties with fire spread, contact, and fireballs (passive ability). Dropping an unarmed goblin or two (or a ceiling) on top of it should kill it as it will die as easily as any other gas beast. Upon death, beasts made of fire tend to explode in a large fireball which will kill all units within range, so keep your melee fighters away!
- Flesh: Most forgotten beasts are fleshy. It's about the standard level of threat for a forgotten beast. Invertebrates are generally more fragile than vertebrates, due to lack of bones.
- Rock or Mineral: Quite difficult, but not unbeatable. Can be damaged with metallic weapons. Beasts may be made of native copper or silver ore; see below for those.
- Glass or Gem: They are generally pretty tough, though not quite as much as being made of diamond might imply. If you have poorly equipped dwarves, military action is not advised.
- Non-weapon grade metal: Similar to rock forgotten beasts. Most weapons-grade metal can damage it.
- Copper/Silver: If you've got a good military and weapons as good as bronze, it should at least be beatable. Don't expect an easy fight by any means, however.
- Bronze: If you have encountered a bronze colossus before, this beast should be comparable in how dangerous it is. Whether it is more or less dangerous will depend on various features such as size, body type, whether it can fly, material emissions and whatever syndromes it may possess.
- Iron: Are you having fun yet? Do not send anything against it that has less than steel weapons; it will be pointless. Magma also does nothing against these.
- Steel: While exceedingly rare, these are fortress-ending threats on the level of HFS. These can be beaten only with cave-in traps, falling traps, obsidian/ice traps or adamantine weapons. Be sure to post
how your fortress ended horriblythe epic story of your struggle with it on the Bay12 forums !
- Blob: Depends on material - fleshy blobs having only a single body part. All attacks will target it, causing it to accumulate damage rapidly until it explodes into gore.Verify Has only a blunt push attack, which at a FB's size is deadly. However, inorganic blobs are a whole other story, and metal blobs are a sign that the game hates your guts.
- Worm, Slug, Nematode: Quite slow, and have one huge body part with internal organs (including brain) easily reachable. Unless paired with some dangerous special attack, these should be easy.
- Quadruped, Humanoid: about the average for FBs. Try and use cutting weapons to cripple them. Or spears.
- Insect, Spider: Obnoxious because of the large number of redundant limbs. The large majority of spiders (not "tarantulas", apparently) will be guaranteed to have a webbing attack and should thus be treated with extreme care.
- Walking: Normal movement. All FBs are also amphibious.
- Flying: More dangerous than walking, for obvious mobility reasons. Be sure you only have one entry for your caverns.
- None: Consider yourself lucky—most forgotten beasts have some kind of Syndrome-based effect. However, certain kinds of beasts have inherent abilities, like fire balls for a beast composed of fire, or webs for a spider-based beast.
- Noxious Secretions: Every single part of the creature's body is covered in extract. If it's in liquid or solid form and any of your dwarves touch this extract, they will receive the syndrome effects. Usually not a threat since dwarves are often well clothed, your military even more so. If the secretions are in gas form, treat the FB as if it has a toxic breath attack. Note that, unlike other attacks, gaseous noxious secretions are effective even if the beast is caged.
- Hunger for warm blood: When the creature stabs the opponent, some blood will be drawn. Additionally, its ability to detect any creature with blood will let it "see" dwarves through walls and other solid objects.
- Poisonous bite or sting: Not dangerous by FB standards.
- Spitting glob: Generally not dangerous, unless you forgot shields and shield use on your military for some reason.
- Fire breath: By itself not threatening if you have shields and decent shield skill. However, Fun is always where fire is—a burst of flame is quite likely to start a cavern wildfire. Amusingly, fire-breathing organic FBs are not immune to fire and may even burn themselves to death, though this usually takes some time.
- Toxic blood, vapor, or gas: Threat depends of the syndrome's effects. Can be harmless or kill your entire military. You may want to sacrifice something for seeing what the FB's extract does.
- Webs: Webs are incredibly deadly in melee, but do not help much in range. It will slaughter your whole melee squad with incredible ease, but not your ranged squad as long as the ranged squad is out of reach. Engage it with marksdwarves or kill it with a cunning trap.
- Deadly dust: Possibly the most fun attack a FB can come with. Deadly dust acts like cave-in dust with syndromes. Dust coming from all directions (as opposed to a breath attack) is even more fun. If the material of the FB is weak (like flesh), or if it has articulations or organs to be damaged, it will harm itself with its own deadly dust. However if it is made of stronger material, it will be immune to this effect. Deadly dust is generally a very effective defense against melee and marksdwarves, but is a liability if the FB is fleshy and not a blob.
Forgotten beasts are hard to catch, being both [TRAPAVOID] and [NOSTUN]; however trapping them is not impossible. All webbed creatures become vulnerable to traps, except for the ones that have a webbing attack of their own: having a giant cave spider shoot web on your cage traps will render them into perfect FB-proof nets. Your new prizes can be put to various uses; the most obvious ones consist in dropping them onto various invaders - forgotten beasts are hostile toward each other and will attack any wildlife or civilized creature they may encounter - but with careful micromanagement, the opportunities are limitless.
 Silk farm
Web-shooting forgotten beasts are notoriously hard to catch and you'll only get your hands on one of these through very careful micromanagement, such as building a 'trap room' with retractable bridges and some random animal at the center to attract the beast. The set-up is otherwise the same as that of a silk farm, except that forgotten beast silk is only as valuable as mere cave spider silk. Note that some beasts have special attacks in addition to their web-shooting ability (in the case of beasts based on spider-like anatomy resembling that of the giant cave spider), which may make them more difficult to capture and use (as they may kill their targets rather than simply covering them with webs).
 Weapon coating
Syndrome-bearing poison can and will affect any creature it can spread to and infect. While there is no formal job or workshop related to poison coating in vanilla DF (although it does exist in some mods), poisoning your weapons is still possible thanks to the impossibly infinite metabolism of your caged guests. Pit them in a similar set-up to that of a silk farm (you may want to set up a pit from above the farm so you can regularly replace the bait used for the silk farm, or just use a syndrome-immune creature, e.g. a zombie) and put your weapons (and ammo) stockpiles in the farm so your beast will shoot syndrome-inducing dust/spittle on them. Make sure your military dwarves wear gloves when they equip your newly poisoned weapons, unless you actually want them to vomit or rot themselves in the middle of the battlefield. You also want them to wear cloaks so they don't contaminate each other while sparring. Some poisons can be extremely fun; dwarves equipped with poisoned weapons can one-shot most creatures - well, most creatures with functioning organs, at least - through the infliction of superficial wounds. If you can prevent your dwarves from infecting themselves, that is.
 Getting rid of cavern creatures
Forgotten beasts will actively seek and attack any other creatures, including cavern wildlife. Sealing the FB in a cavern will make it continuously kill wild inhabitants of the cavern, as these keep coming until their local populations are extinct. You can later obtain a decent supply of bones from the skeletons of the creatures the FB killed, when the beast accidentally dies or after you manage to deal with it.
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In the time before time, when Armok himself was not part of the great machine beast framework, the idea itself of ALL-dom, dwarf dom, elf dom, tools and valueless, remained in the greater unknowable realm of hard possibility called <HARDDISKSPACE>; all was concept data idiosyncratic.
Thence came the being of the <flesh machine> and the <machine beast framework> and thence Armok was, is, and ever will be.
Armok hands moved, and invoked the commands of the ur-<plane/realm?>, and raised the possibility of all worlds that can be, of the-blessed-who-can-know-Armok.
Thence Armok exhaled his vaporous breath and said "CREATE NEW WORLD" and the <machine beast framework> began his dire task.
Legions of empires, battalions of timelines, and civilizations of worlds were born, lost, and discarded, as the will of Armok angered in wait.
Finally World Acceptance was allowed.
Yet, the <Flesh Machine Beast Framework> has failed Armok. For Armok knows of the world behind the worlds, of the Intent of his dimension, of the destination of the unmoving stone.
He knows that the beasts of <null result un-parseable>, those ideas from the time before the rules, exist not.
The Pen-Factor of Armok, the Toady One, foresaw this failure. He knew that the Armok transcended the very power of the universe vessel, the <Machine Beast Framework>, and to please our god, to let him revel in the glory that is the knowing of himself, he forced the existence of the beasts...
- If a beast has a dust attack, the dust will behave like it was from a cave-in, flinging dwarves away (causing further damage if they hit a wall) and knocking them out. Bug:3133
- forgotten beasts will hide in trees in an attempt to ambush dwarves and woodcutters without ever coming down.