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Periodically, individual dwarves are struck with an idea for a legendary artifact and enter a strange mood. Dwarves which enter a strange mood will stop whatever they are doing and pursue the construction of this artifact to the exclusion of all else. They will not stop to eat, drink, sleep, or even run away from dangerous creatures. If they do not manage to begin construction of the artifact within a handful of months, they will go insane and die soon afterward.
Note: All controllable civilizations are currently able to enter strange moods, though in earlier versions of DF the only civilization this applies to is dwarves.
- The conditions necessary for a strange mood to occur are not fully understood, although they may possess even dwarf children.
- The game will pause, center on a dwarf, and announce that the dwarf has entered one of five different types of strange moods. The types of moods are listed below. While in a mood, a dwarf will display a blinking exclamation point (see status icons).
- For the duration of the mood, the dwarf will claim a workshop related to the skill that the mood affects (not all skills are eligible), kick out any dwarf who was using it, and render it otherwise unusable until the mood has been resolved. If a moody dwarf does not claim a workshop, it is because the appropriate workshop does not exist. (See skills and workshops below to determine which workshop(s) might be required.) A moody dwarf will not be able to build a needed workshop; another dwarf with the appropriate labor designation must do so for them, if one is necessary. Furnaces are also counted as a workshop.
- After claiming a workshop, the dwarf will set about collecting the required materials for their artifact. If the dwarf remains idle inside the workshop, it's because they cannot find the right material. Reference the demands section to determine what may be required. Important Note: They will only collect these materials in the order that they require them. In other words, you have to determine where they are on the list of required materials and then provide the next one before they will continue collecting other materials.
- Once all materials have been gathered, the game will once again pause and center, and the moody dwarf will begin construction. Upon completion the dwarf will create a semi-random artifact related to the skill affected and gain legendary (or higher) status in that skill (unless the mood type is possessed). See the skills and workshops for information on which skills can be gained, or the artifacts created section for more details on the artifacts themselves.
 Types of moods
For each of the following types of moods, the first message is how the mood is announced; the second message appears in the dwarf's profile when he or she is viewed with the key. All moody dwarves will have "Strange Mood" listed as their active task and are "quite content", regardless of any recent thoughts they may have had.
- <dwarf> is taken by a fey mood!
- Has the aspect of one fey!
This is the most basic strange mood. Fey dwarves will clearly state their demands when the workshop they are in is examined.
- <dwarf> withdraws from society...
- Peculiarly secretive...
Secretive moods are the same as fey moods, except a secretive dwarf will sketch pictures of their required materials instead of clearly stating their demands if they cannot find what they need. Descriptions of all these secretive requirements can be seen only by viewing the workshop that the moody dwarf has claimed, with , and then only while the dwarf is waiting inside it. More than one "picture" is likely; these will cycle through the entire list automatically if any one is not available. (Since materials are gathered in order, it's quite possible that only one of a long list is needed to allow the moody dwarf to continue on their project. If the dwarf has gathered some of the materials (seen as "tasked" when looking at the workshop with ), then the next in the list is what they are looking for.)
- <dwarf> has been possessed!
- Possessed by unknown forces!
Possessed dwarves have cryptic material requests, and have the unfortunate distinction of not receiving any experience upon successful construction of an artifact. No controllable circumstances lead to a possessed mood instead of one of the more desirable fey or secretive moods. It is pure luck-based. Possessed dwarves will mutter the name of the artifact they are working on (which, under some circumstances, might end up being their own name) once they have all the materials they need.
A possession is the only mood that does not result in a jump in experience.
A possessed dwarf that "keeps muttering <name of the artifact>..." has already gathered everything it needs.
- <dwarf> looses a roaring laughter, fell and terrible!
- Has a horrible fell look!
A dwarf that goes into a fell mood will always take over a butcher's shop or a tanner's shop. If neither are available, any other workshop will be used instead. The dwarf will then murder the nearest dwarf (bonus if it's a noble), drag the corpse into the shop and make some sort of object out of dwarf leather or bone. Once the artifact is completed, the fell dwarf will become a legendary bone carver or leatherworker. Only unhappy dwarves may enter a fell mood.
Amusingly, it seems fell dwarves can murder ghosts as well.
Aside from the loss of a potentially important dwarf in the wrong place at the wrong time, there doesn't seem to be any downside to a fell mood. The end result is always an artifact and a legendary craftsdwarf. Since the only ingredient used (a dwarf) is available in abundance, a fell mood will only fail if the fell dwarf is completely isolated from other dwarves, or if the proper workshop does not exist.
If no one is around to witness the murder, whichever dwarf Urist McEmo decides to slaughter will be reported as missing some time after his death. If the murder is witnessed, the moody dwarf will be subject to dwarven justice.
- <dwarf> begins to stalk and brood...
- Brooding darkly...
Macabre moods are similar to fell moods, but the dwarf will not murder a fellow dwarf. A macabre dwarf may require bones, skullsVerify, or vermin remains; if you do not happen to have any, you will have to make some, e.g. by butchering an animal and/or allowing a cat to go hunting, or let the moody dwarf go insane. Like fell moods, only unhappy dwarves can enter macabre moods.
- Shells are perhaps the most difficult to obtain material for a strange mood, though they can be acquired more easily in DF2012 than in earlier versions. Previously, turtles, mussels, oysters, cave lobsters, and certain titans were the only source of shells. DF2012 adds several other creatures that produce shells. Some of these, such as armadillos and common snapping turtles, are butcherable. DF2012 also adds another vermin fish that can serve as sources of shells when cleaned at a fishery. Nevertheless, shells are rare and hard to acquire. Currently, the only way of trading for shells is to hope that the elven caravan brings some tamed shell-producing large creature. Traded cave lobsters and turtles are processed fish (with the shells already removed). Tamed vermin with shells cannot be butchered for their shells, since the only way to get a vermin's shell is to clean it. Since all shelled non-vermin animals are exotic, only elves will bring themVerify. If you should be fortunate enough to acquire some breeding shelled butcherable animals, it's probably worth keeping a breeding pair around in case of future need. Only dwarves with a preference for shells will demand shells in a strange mood.
- Should the claimed workshop be a magma forge and lose power due to insufficient magma beneath it, the mood will fail immediately and the dwarf will go insane. Should the forge be in danger of losing power, you should forbid it before it is claimed and wait until it is powered up reliably. Once magma forges are built, at least some dwarves will no longer be satisfied with a regular forge.
- The following can happen (v .31.12) "OVERWROTE JOB: Strange Mood BY Starting Fist Fight".
- The mood's primary material will only be mentioned once in the dwarf's requests, even if the dwarf wants more than one unit of it. 
- The item type of the artifact to be created is not decided until the instant the mood ends. Saving (even after a dwarf has begun to gather materials) will allow you to reload and the result may be a different artifact (unless the moody dwarf's preferences force a particular item type). If you want to get an artifact adamantine breastplate, make sure to have adamantine nearby and/or block access to any other materials. You can reload the artifact creating process, even after the dwarf has gathered most of components by forbidding the claimed items. If other items of that type are available, dwarf will immediately switch to them.
- Requests for bones are actually requests for any kind of bone stacks, not individual bones. Slaughter a puppy. 
- There are bugs reported related to moody dwarves. As has been the case in 40d, most turned out to be (understandable) failures of the player to grasp the mechanics of artifact creation and demands. Bug tracker: 
- Moody Dwarves don't respect burrows when grabbing a workshop, but DO when looking for items. If his claimed workshop is outside his assigned burrow, the dwarf will continue to grab materials until all materials of the needed type are exhausted within his assigned burrow, this is similar to the Planepacked glitch.
- If a dwarf dies because of failing to complete an artifact, a memorial made to the dwarf will read that the dwarf did create it, despite the failure, and will even list the name of the artifact that never came to be.
- When producing an item that is normally made in pairs (gloves, boots, etc.), only a single legendary item will be created.
Once a workshop is claimed, the dwarf will begin collecting materials. Each artifact will require between one and ten materials to complete. The dwarf may well need several items of one material! If the moody dwarf remains idle, then the necessary materials are not available. Forbidden items must be reclaimed ( - - ) before they may be used, but moody dwarves will ignore settings regarding economic stone. Press and highlight the workshop to receive a series of clues about what the dwarf needs. Hints that stay active for longer than 2 seconds mean that multiple pieces of that material will be required; each single demand will be displayed for 2 seconds, so if it says "gems... shining" for 6 seconds, 3 gems are demanded. However, occasionally a hint shown for only 2 seconds will require more than one item to fulfill it; this behavior seems to occur mainly (only?) with the primary material (the base material of the artifact, and the first item gathered).Verify Materials will always be fetched in order, so if at least one item has already been retrieved (the items will show up with "TSK" ("task") next to them when the workshop is viewed with the context menu), it will usually be possible to tell what item is required next.
If you want your dwarves to construct their artifacts out of valuable materials instead of whatever useless thing happens to be close at hand, you can selectively forbid types of material through the stocks screen so that only the material you want them to use is available; though this might interfere with the normal crafting operations of your fortress, the disruption is generally short-lived (as long as you remember to unforbid them again afterwards!). You can even forbid something a moody dwarf is carrying (which may be necessary sometimes, since while they are not waiting in the workshop they will not tell you what they need); the dwarf will finish hauling it to the workshop, but then immediately go searching for another. This trick can mean the difference between a bauxite statue decorated with moss agates and a native platinum statue encrusted with diamonds. Be aware that this may not always work - see below for more information.
Burrows allow even better control over moody dwarf's material usage. Simply by creating a burrow around claimed workshop and another part over desired material, moody dwarf can be controlled without forbidding every single stone in fortress. A moody dwarf will follow the burrow-definitions just like a regular worker, but be mindful that they will not leave the burrow to get materials that are outside of their assigned burrow. A problem can arise when bones from an outside refuse stockpile are needed by a moody dwarf that is assigned to a burrow.
The various demands are translated here:
Material Fey Secretive Possessed <dwarf> screams "I must have <demand>!" <dwarf> sketches pictures of <demand>. <dwarf> mutters "<artifact> needs <demand>..." Stone rock a quarry stone... rock Stone/metal blocks rock blocks square blocks blocks... bricks Wood wood logs a forest tree... life Metal bar metal bars shining bars of metal bars... metal Gems (cut) cut gems cut gems gems... shining Gems (raw) rough gems rough gems rough... color Green glass raw green glass glass raw... green Clear glass raw clear glassVerify glass and burning wood raw... clear Crystal glass raw crystal glassVerify rough gems and glass raw... crystal Bone stackVerify bones skeletons bones... yes ShellVerify shells shells a shell... Leather tanned hides stacked leather leather... skin Cloth (plant fiber) plant cloth stacked cloth cloth... thread Cloth (silk) silk cloth stacked cloth cloth... thread Cloth (yarn) yarn cloth stacked cloth cloth... thread SkullVerify body parts death a corpse
Dwarves in macabre moods will list their demands in the same fashion as those in fey moods (though with them brooding "Yes. I need <item>." instead of screaming "I must have <item>!"). They may also say "Leave me. I need... things... certain things", in which case they want special items such as skulls or vermin remains.
Related to the above behavior, moody dwarves demanding rock blocks will also accept blocks forged from metal bars.
- Moody metalworkers will demand their favorite type of metal as their artifact's primary material if you have smelted any bars of it - for secretive moods and possessions, take a look at the dwarf's material preferences to see which metal the dwarf wants to use. If you have any adamantine wafers available, then they will demand that instead.
- Moody clothiers and weavers who have a preference for any type of plant fiber cloth, silk, or yarn will demand that generic type (e.g. a dwarf that likes cave spider silk will require any type of silk). If you have any adamantine cloth available, then they will demand that instead.
- Moody glassmakers will demand their preferred type of glass, but only if you've actually produced some of it - if not, they will randomly select one type of glass you've produced. Acquiring raw glass from a caravan does not count as producing it.
- Moody bone carvers will demand shells if they like a type of shell; if not, they will demand bones.
- Moody gem cutters and gem setters have a chance of only gathering a single rough gem and nothing else, producing a perfect gem with a single decoration.
Once all materials have been gathered, viewing the workshop withwill display a special message depending on the type of mood:
- Fey - "<dwarf> works furiously!"
- Secretive - "<dwarf> works secretly..."
- Possessed - "<dwarf> keeps muttering <artifact>..."
- Macabre - "<dwarf> works, darkly brooding..."
- Fell - "<dwarf> works with menacing fury!"
 The mechanics of moods
When a fortress is started, an internal counter is set to 1000. Every 100 frames (12 times per day), this counter is decremented by 1, running down to zero in about 3 months. When the counter would ordinarily be decremented when it has already reached zero, there is a 1 in 500 chance that a strange mood will strike. This means that, once all conditions are met and the clock is ticking, while there is approximately a 2.4% chance of a strange mood per day, or very approximately a 50% chance of a strange mood per month, there is no guarantee when a mood will strike - might be sooner, might be (almost) never.
In order for a dwarf to be struck with a strange mood, three conditions must be met:
- There is no currently active strange mood,
- The maximum number of artifacts is not met,
- There are at least 20 eligible dwarves (see below), including dwarves who have already created artifacts.
If all three of these conditions are true, the game may trigger a strange mood according to the frequency.
 Maximum number of artifacts
The maximum number of artifacts in any one fortress is limited by the lower of:
- The number of items created divided by 100.1 Mined-out rock does count as an "item created", though it is not clear whether bolts or units of drink are counted individually.
- The number of revealed subterranean tiles divided by 2304 (this is an area equivalent to a 48x48 square). Once you discover and explore the caverns and magma sea, this limit becomes largely irrelevant, and using a "reveal" utility will eliminate it altogether.
- 1 - actually the sum of all items by type and by type+subtype+material, divided by 200. Furthermore, destroying items does not decrement these counters, so casting and mining obsidian will count toward this.
The deciding factor for eligibility is a dwarf's actual profession. (Note that "custom professions" have no effect on this!) Thus, dwarves may enter strange moods regardless of what skills they have or don't have, so long as they are of an acceptable profession. Dwarves who have already created an artifact are not eligible to create another, and since every mood ends in either an artifact or death, every dwarf may enter at most one mood. Dwarves who have obtained one or more legendary skills without creating artifacts may enter strange moods and will simply become even more legendary.
Dwarves with a military profession other than "Recruit" cannot enter moods. Incidental military skills make no difference - eligibility (and weighting) depends purely on the actual profession as listed at the time, so soldiers can enter moods if they are off duty and thus in Civilian mode. Babies may not enter moods.
Any other profession is eligible to enter a mood, but not all have the same chance to enter a mood...
- (Note - Specifically, and to avoid previous misunderstandings, Strand extractor, Clerk/Administrator/Trader, Doctor (and related), Architect, Recruit and Child are moodable professions.)
There are several additional factors which will prevent a dwarf from entering a mood:
- Being unable to pick up items ("cannot grasp")
- Being dragged by another unit (off to jail)
- Dragging another unit (leading livestock to a cage, chain, pasture, pit/pond zone, or to the butcher's shop)
When determining who will have a strange mood, each eligible dwarf is put into a weighted lottery. The odds are assigned a higher or lower weight based on the dwarf's profession. The default weight is 6, but some professions are more likely to enter a strange mood than others. (This is like most dwarves getting 6 tickets to the lottery, and others getting more.)
|21||Armorer, Blacksmith, Bone Carver, Clothier, Craftsdwarf, Jeweler, Gem Cutter, Gem Setter, Glassmaker, Leatherworker, Metalcrafter, Metalsmith, Stonecrafter, Weaponsmith, Weaver, Woodcrafter|
|11||Bowyer, Carpenter, Stoneworker, Mason, Woodworker|
|6||Engraver, Mechanic, Miner, Tanner, & all other professions (including Peasant).|
- Example: What this means is: if you had 21 dwarves, made up of 20 eligible farmers, furnace operators, miners, woodcutters etc. (with 6 chances each) plus one Armorer (with 21 chances), that one Armorer would have a 21 in 141 chance (20 dwarves x 6 chances each = 120 + 21 chances more = 141 total) of the mood striking them. That's about 1 in 7, while the other 20 have a 6 in 141 chance each, or about 1 in 24. The odds are still against the armorer, but much better than for any other single dwarf.
Note that not every profession is from a moodable skill. A Soaper, Architect, Furnace Operator or Strand Extractor can be taken by a mood, but that will not make those skills legendary, nor will they create an artifact bar of soap, building, bar of metal or wafer of adamantine.
 Skills and workshops
A dwarf will claim a workshop according to their highest applicable skill, and upon completion of the artifact, gain 20,000 experience in that skill (excepting possessed dwarves). This will give the dwarf a legendary-level skill (specifically, "legendary+1" or higher, depending on the dwarf's initial skill level). The table to the right describes all applicable skills and their potential workshop requirements - there are only 20 skills that determine the workshop and that can be affected by a mood (sometimes referred to as moodable skills.) If a dwarf does not possess at least one of the moodable skills listed to the right, they will take over a craftsdwarf's workshop and gain one of bone carver, stone crafter, or wood crafter skills, producing an artifact craft.
This fact can be utilized to maximize the possibility of getting a dwarf with the specific legendary skill you want: since non-moodable skills are ignored, whenever possible make sure that each dwarf's highest moodable skill is one of those you want*. Have all your peasants, farmers, non-professional military and other dwarves without any moodable skills do a tiny bit of work in the skill(s) you most want; if a "dabbling" skill is the highest moodable skill they have, that is the skill that will be used.
Weaponsmith, Armorsmith, Bowyer, Leatherworker, Clothier, and Mechanic are the only skills that provide a uniquely beneficial item other than an extremely valuable trinket or piece of furniture. Note that artifact furniture is useful for increasing room value.
 Artifacts created
The type of artifact created depends on the type of mood, the dwarf's highest moodable skill, and the base material. Masons and miners will always create some kind of stone furniture; bone carvers, a bone or shell object (including furniture); carpenters, a piece of wooden furniture; engravers and stone crafters, a stone craft; metalworkers, metal crafts, weapons, or armor (depending on the type of metalworker); weavers and clothiers, an article of clothing; tanners and leatherworkers, a leather armor or object. If a dwarf has no moodable skills, they will randomly select stone crafting, wood crafting, or bone carving as their mood skill and produce their artifact accordingly. The precise type of craft created is usually somewhat random, but if a dwarf has a personality preference for a particular thing, such as gauntlets or floodgates or crowns, and that thing is an available choice given the dwarf's profession, they are guaranteed to create an object of that type (if multiple preferences match, one will be randomly selected).
The first object grabbed by the dwarf will be the base material; all other materials will be used as decorations. If a dwarf grabs a piece of chalk and makes a statue, for instance, it will be a "chalk statue", but an artifact can potentially include bone, cloth, gems, leather, metal, shell, stone, and wood decorations all at once. In some cases, a moody dwarf will produce an item which normally cannot be made from that material, leading to such odd constructions as an obsidian bed, ruby floodgate, or turtle shell cage, but the actual item types available for each mood type are still very much restricted (e.g. only a glassmaker or jeweler can make a window, and a moody clothier cannot produce an article of clothing that could not normally be made from cloth).
|Mood / Skill||Artifact type|
|Armorsmith||Mail shirt, breastplate, leggings, greaves, gauntlet, low boot, high boot, cap, helm, mask, any shield|
|Bone carver (bone)||Leggings, greaves, gauntlet, helm, any shield, instrument, toy, door, bed, chair, table, statue, coffer, bin, armor stand, weapon rack, cabinet, coffin, floodgate, hatch cover, grate, chain, cage, animal trap, figurine, amulet, scepter, crown, ring, earring, bracelet, any weapon, any trap component†|
|Bone carver (shell)||Leggings, gauntlet, helm, figurine, amulet, crown, ring, earring, bracelet, chain, cage, animal trap, instrument, toy|
|Bowyer||Crossbow, bow, blowgun|
|Carpenter||Door, bed, chair, table, statue, chest, bin, armor stand, weapon rack, cabinet, coffin, floodgate, hatch cover, grate, cage, barrel, bucket, animal trap, splint, crutch|
|Clothier||Dress, shirt, tunic, toga, vest, robe, coat, cloak, cape, trousers, loincloth, thong, short skirt, skirt, long skirt, braies, glove, mitten, sock, sandal, shoe, chausses, cap, hood, mask, turban, head veil, face veil, headscarf, bag, rope|
|Engraver||Figurine, amulet, scepter, crown, ring, earring, bracelet, goblet, instrument, toy|
|Fell Mood||Dress, shirt, tunic, toga, vest, robe, coat, cloak, cape, armor, trousers, loincloth, thong, short skirt, skirt, long skirt, braies, leggings, glove, mitten, sock, sandal, shoe, chausses, low boot, high boot, cap, hood, mask, turban, head veil, face veil, headscarf, helm, any shield, bag, backpack, quiver, instrument|
|Gem cutter||Door, bed, chair, table, statue, box, armor stand, weapon rack, cabinet, coffin, floodgate, hatch cover, grate, figurine, amulet, scepter, crown, ring, earring, bracelet, chain, flask, goblet, cage, barrel, bucket, animal trap, window, instrument, toy|
|Macabre Mood (vermin remains)||Amulet, bracelet, earring|
|Mason||Door, bed, chair, table, statue, quern, millstone, coffer, armor stand, weapon rack, cabinet, coffin, floodgate, hatch cover, grate|
|Metal crafter||Figurine, amulet, scepter, crown, ring, earring, bracelet, chain, flask, goblet, instrument, toy|
|Metalsmith||Door, bed, chair, table, statue, coffer, armor stand, weapon rack, cabinet, anvil, coffin, floodgate, hatch cover, grate, cage, barrel, bucket, animal trap, pipe section†, splint, crutch|
|Stone crafter||Figurine, amulet, scepter, crown, ring, earring, bracelet, goblet, instrument, toy|
|Weaponsmith||Any weapon, any trap component†|
|Wood crafter||Figurine, amulet, scepter, crown, ring, earring, bracelet, goblet, instrument, toy|
- † chance of selection for this entry is reduced by 90%
If your dwarf does not have a preference for any possible items, the game will randomly select one from the list. Entries with "any" are treated as collective entries with a single chance, and only include items your civilization is capable of making. This explains why bowyers and clothiers will regularly produce foreign artifacts, while weaponsmiths will not.
Once created, most artifacts will be available for use just like a normal item of its type. Artifact armor and weapons gain extra bonuses in combat, while artifact clothing is immune to wear. Artifact furniture is useful for raising the value of a noble's room. Artifact mechanisms, trap components, or weapons in weapon traps can also boost a room's value considerably. Other artifacts that can be used in construction (such as barrels, buckets, and anvils) may be used similarly. Artifact doors and hatches are immune to building destroyers. Artifact crafts are currently useless.
Successfully creating an artifact grants a very strong happy thought, enough to make the creator totally ecstatic for several months, as well as granting the creator partial immunity to insanity - even if your fortress enters a tantrum spiral, any dwarf who has created an artifact is exempt from going insane due to prolonged unhappiness.
If you can't provide the desired workshop and all the required component materials within a couple of months, the dwarf will go insane, which cancels the mood and the artifact. As if that's not bad enough, any dwarf who goes insane will soon die, one way or another.
A dwarf who is stark raving mad or melancholy is harmless to others (until they die and start a tantrum spiral), but a berserk dwarf will attack other dwarves and possibly pull levers at random. You may want to station a squad nearby or assign a few war dogs to the dwarf on the chance that they will lash out. If you build your workshops inside enclosed rooms with doors you can also lock the moody dwarf in the room until he or she starves. In extreme cases, building a wall around an open workshop is the best precaution.