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v0.34:Werebeast

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This article is about an older 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, including animals that do not exist in Dwarf Fortress, like iguanas.

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 can have the ability to sneak, meaning they are invisible and their appearance doesn't get announced until they are spotted by one of your dwarves. 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 than enemies.

[edit] Defending your fort against werebeasts

If you have not yet established a correct defensive perimeter and a steady, trained militia, it is quite likely that if a werebeast attacks, a dwarf will be attacked and bitten.

If a dwarf is attacked but not bitten, he will be just fine (if he survives the ordeal). If a dwarf has been bitten by a werebeast and survives, however, he has a high chance to change when the next full moon comes.

There is no cure. To protect your other dwarves you should either keep the infected dwarf into 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 age and do not need food and drink. 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 latter.

[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.
  • Nobody will die of old age... if your forts even go for this long
  • 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] Transformation Dates

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

  • 25th granite
  • 23rd slate
  • 21st felsite
  • 19th hematite
  • 17th malachite
  • 15th galena
  • 13th limestone
  • 11th sandstone
  • 8th timber
  • 6th moonstone
  • 4th opal
  • 2nd obsidian
  • 28th obsidian

[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] 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 Building Destroyers, so doors and vertical bars will not contain them, however bridges or walls will.

When transforming to Wereform and back, all health regenerates, including missing limbs, although effects induced by insanity are not reversed. All carried items will be dropped as soon as the beast enters a fight, making only the natural abilities of the creature available for combat. These abilities differ from creature to creature (Claws/Hooves/venomous Bite etc.)

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 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, potentially lost forever if traveling from a location that doesn't save.

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.

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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