23a:Reclaim fortress mode

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This article is about an older version of DF.

In Reclaim Fortress mode, you can take a party of dwarves to an abandoned or conquered fortress, trying to rebuild and get it running again. It is played like Dwarf Fortress Mode, although the condition of the fortress when you first arrive will be similar to an abandoned fortress visited in Adventure Mode:

  • The fortress will have a number of monsters lurking about, as well as a number of ambushes by various monsters as you try and reclaim it.
  • All stockpiles are removed. Buildings such as bedrooms and dining rooms are dereferenced.
  • Barrels and bins are emptied and its contents are set aside them.
  • Alcohol stocks are wiped.Verify
  • The entire animal population of the fortress (presumably excluding pets) will lie around, dead.

Abandon fortress[edit]

If you are done with this effort at a fortress, you can abandon the fortress entirely. To do this, hit esc, then scroll down to Abandon the Fortress, and hit Enter. There will be a confirmation screen, as this decision cannot be undone - if you are sure, hit yes. (But it might not hurt to make a copy of the game file first, just in case.)

When you abandon a fortress, its embark location is no longer available, but any other area in that game world now becomes open for a new Fortress. Or, if you wish, you can reclaim that previous location, which is significantly different than starting a new fortress (see below). You can also now visit that abandoned fortress in Adventurer mode.

Starting Reclaim Mode[edit]

Choosing "Reclaim Fortress" and selecting the site of a previous fortress will take you to a screen that will present a number of squads of 7 dwarves, presumably based on how well the fortress was doing before and what size it was. You can customize these dwarves by assigning each dwarf a military role and a civilian role rather than individual skills. They will have equipment based upon the military role you assign them. This means that miners will not bring picks: you will need to either bring them as additional items, forge new ones, or pick up any that might remain from your dead miners.

Changing menus (tab) allows you to select food and items to bring with your party, in the same way you can prepare when you originally start fortress mode.

Playing Reclaim Mode[edit]

All items and buildings you find in the fortress will be forbidden (having {brace symbols} around them), and must be reclaimed before you can use them again. To do this, designate an area for reclamation (d-c) and all items and buildings in the selected area will be reclaimed.

It's usually not a good idea to reclaim objects until you are sure the area is safe. It is advised that you explore the entire fortress and clear out all monsters in the fortress, reclaiming it section by section, before turning your military back into civilians and resuming normal fortress operations again.

Keep in mind that a fortress brought to an end by "digging too deep" cannot be reclaimed; you can only explore such fortresses in Adventurer mode. You can, however, reclaim a fortress that will too-deep if you abandon it before it does. Unfortunately, the "too deep" timer starts again one season after you arrive on the map, so you won't be able to keep it very long.


  • Any item which was tasked for a job will still be considered as unavailable for jobs even after it has been reclaimed. The only way to solve this is to force the object to move, generally using a cave-in. This bug has persisted in later versions, including and even 0.31.12.