v50 Steam/Premium information for editors
  • v50 information can now be added to pages in the main namespace. v0.47 information can still be found in the DF2014 namespace. See here for more details on the new versioning policy.
  • Use this page to report any issues related to the migration.
This notice may be cached—the current version can be found here.


From Dwarf Fortress Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is about an older version of DF.

The Arena is a fun place; you can test things, or just have some fun carnage. The arena is accessed through the main menu.

Spawning creatures[edit]

Creatures can be spawned while in the look menu. Press c to create a creature. Select the creature type, skills and equipment, and then press enter. Press Esc (or whatever you bound "leave screen" to) to cancel without creating the creature. You cannot delete creatures. You can, however, press w then l to create a stone wall, instantly killing anything on that tile.

Inventory and skills[edit]

While in the creature placement menu, it is possible to add skills to your creatures such as the fighter skill. It is also possible to add weapons, ammo, and armour to your creatures. Creatures unable to use the weapons given to them will drop them upon unpausing, but creatures such as dwarves will happily use the weapon as long as they at least have dabbling in the weapon skill. You can also set exactly how much of a certain item you want when you select it, by using the + or - keys, which is the only way to get a creature to hold more than one piece of ammo, as the arena lacks an option for spawning quivers or backpacks.


It is possible to 'Team' creatures up by pressing s and d in the Creation menu which is shown on the top left hand side. There are 99 teams, as well as "Independent", which is the default and acts as every creature for himself.

In this way you can create simulated battles against beasts or enemies.
You can test for example 20 sword-users versus 20 macemen and analyze the battle from the gamelog.txt.

Fighting in the Arena yourself[edit]

Look at any creature, and press a to play as them, and ctrl+a to exit back to the main mode.

  • The controls here are exactly the same as in Adventurer mode, if you are playing a previous version of Dwarf Fortress you may be unable to set combat preference (as it used to require the same key to stop controlling a unit)
  • Attempting to a a corpse results in the corpse being butchered.

Spawning liquids[edit]

From the look menu, press l to spawn a 7/7 unit of lava, or w to spawn 7/7 water on the currently selected tile. If you place water and then lava in the same tile, they will immediately form a 'Rough-hewn Rock Wall' (i.e. before you unpause, or immediately as you do), resulting in no spillage. However, placing lava and then water simply fills the tile with water, with the same effect as placing water without magma. You can place fluids in a tile that also has a wall in it; the result is a tile with both a wall and 7/7 units of the fluid you placed (water or lava). This combination behaves exactly the same normal water without the wall would, except the area is still considered inaccessible for water to move through.

Modifying the Arena layout[edit]

The layout of the arena zone is stored in <Dwarf Fortress dir>\data\init\arena.txt

This .txt doesnt change the arena space, just whats in it when you enter.

The arena is composed of 9 z-levels (including 0, from Z=-4 to Z=4) of 144 x 144 tiles; the contents of each tile are specified by a single character:

Character Description
# Empty tile1
. Block floor
P Block pillar/wall
R Block ramp
F Block fortification
+ Water source?1 2
W 7/7 water1
w 7/7 water + ramp
L 7/7 magma/lava1
l 7/7 magma/lava + ramp
  1. Tile will have no floor unless a pillar/wall is constructed on the z-level below.
  2. Only seems to work when placed on map edge; behaves identically to W otherwise.

There is no way of altering the temperature of the arena directly, and the arena temperature is considerably higher than what would be encountered in most areas of a world generated with the default temperatures. However, tiles that have formerly had lava or magma on them are considerably cooler.

Standard arena temperature: 10069 Urist

Temperature of magma-cooled tiles: 10037 Urist

For comparison, the temperature of a subterranean tile is 10015 Urist and the dwarven homeotherm is 10067 Urist.