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This article is about an older version of DF.

Magic does not exist in Dwarf Fortress. Magic is the stuff of legends, and is associated with fanciful creatures such as chimeras, centaurs, and griffons. These creatures are included in the game's raw object data and so they may appear on engravings, but the actual creatures will not appear in Dwarf Fortress.

As far as magic goes, underneath, it's all the same -- like a debugging option with some in-play queue that lets you change things for no reason. You don't need to worry so much about the implementation -- as much as we have one now, I don't really want a stock universe. The things we have now, like Blizzard Men, are mostly there to make sure that special properties are implemented. Then the random generation can begin. We don't want another cheap fantasy universe, we want a cheap fantasy universe generator. A lot of fiction sounds computer generated anyway. Toady, August 12, 2006

Toady One has shared a few of his thoughts concerning how magic can or might be implemented in the game, particularly with regard to artifacts, which in a previous (possibly unreleased) version of Dwarf Fortress were actually magical and could have a selection of powers. Primary concerns appear to be for game balance on one hand and preserving the special nature and rarity of magic on the other, to avoid a sort of "industrial magic" mentality where special items lose their glamor.


Dormant code still exists within Dwarf Fortress for handling magical enchantments on items, making their names appear with "◄" and "►" surrounding them. Under normal circumstances it is never used, but third-party utilities can add the following enchantments to items:

  • "The item sparkles with a supernatural brillance."
  • "The air around the object seems warped as if it were very hot, yet the item is cool to the touch."
  • "The object looks oddly square."
  • "The item constantly emits a nearly inaudible high-pitched whistle."
  • "The item is covered with small bumps."
  • "The item smells like wet earth."
  • "Tiny streaks of lightning streak quickly over the object's surface."
  • "Creatures that look at the item cannot think negative thoughts." at enchantment level 10+, otherwise "The item is covered with minute gray hairs."
  • "The item sounds like rustling leaves when moved."

The very last enchantment is unique in that it adds a special message "Many large thorns grow from the ◄(weapon)►!" whenever it gets stuck inside its target (e.g. with arrows).

None of the enchantments listed above appear to have any actual effect on gameplay - even the above "large thorns" message is entirely cosmetic.