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This article is about an older version of DF.

Every fortress has one dwarf that is informally known as the leader. The leader is not chosen by the player (but the player can sometimes influence the selection). As the population of the fortress grows, the title and responsibilities of the leader change, and the dwarf who is leader may change also, but there is always just one, or will be again if the last one dies.

The leader is what is called an "appointed noble" position, meaning they come from the dwarves within the existing population of your fortress, as opposed to immigrant nobles like a philosopher, hammerer or king who arrive from off-map. Your leader will perform any jobs you assign them as well as any other dwarf (unlike immigrant nobles).

At the start of a new game, the duties of Outpost Manager, Treasurer, and Outpost Broker are automatically assigned to the Expedition leader. However, in the nobles screen, any of these can be replaced as the player wishes. With a small fortress, these positions often consume very little time, so it is common to leave some or all to the leader, at least to start, but they are separate and not to be confused with the position and duties of "your leader".

Duties in common[edit]

Both the Expedition leader and Mayor have only one real duty, and that is meeting with other dwarves. The other dwarf will attempt to schedule a meeting with the Leader. An "Attend Meeting" job will be started for the other dwarf, and a "Conduct Meeting" job will be started for the Leader, if they are not doing anything else. If a dwarf is following your leader around and around, chances are they want to meet with them but the leader is too busy with other jobs to do it. (The dwarf who wants the meeting will have the "Attend Meeting" job showing, even if the leader has not yet joined in the process.)

Note - If the leader is interrupted out of their Conduct Meeting, the "Attend Meeting" dwarf has been known to get stuck. Assigning that dwarf to the military, and then unassigning them, usually fixes this, if with an unhappy thought if they are not a soldier.

Dwarves want to meet for important reasons (to them, at least), and ignoring them is not a good plan. This can possibly cause the dwarf to become depressed or go berserk if they are ignored long enough. Be warned that if your Expedition Leader is set to perform any other tasks, he may be too busy to conduct a meeting, or not soon enough to suit the other party. If this is occurring, it is strongly recommended that all jobs be turned off for the leader until all meetings are over. In extreme situations, if the leader is asleep, deconstructing the bed will wake them (and give them an unhappy thought). If they are in a party, undefining/deconstructing the furniture that defines the meeting area will break up that party.

The leader meets with other dwarves for one of two reasons:

1) Meet with Liaison[edit]

A dwarven mayor conducting a "meeting" with some goblin "liasons".

Leaders meet with a liaison to discuss trade arrangements or other political issues. (Human liaisons will only meet with the designated broker to discuss trade issues - they have no refined sense of etiquette.)

In the process, the Leader uses the following skills:

Once the fortress has certain immigrant nobles, liaisons will meet with them instead (see below).

Happy or unhappy thoughts are generated from meeting with liaisons, depending on the setting.

2) Counsellor[edit]

Leaders meet with seriously unhappy dwarves to listen to their complaints, and (hopefully) make them feel better. You can think of a leader as something like your fortress psychiatrist in this manner.

In doing this duty, the leader uses the skills:
When a dwarf has experienced a personal loss, or is just fed up with the general conditions, a good leader can talk them down from the ledge, and get them back to work.

Complaining will give the complainer a happy thought, while giving the leader an unhappy one (and most probably save much worse in the complainer).

Immigrant/Promoted nobles[edit]

Countesses and Counts, Duchesses and Dukes, Baronesses and Barons, and Queens and Kings may immigrate to your fortress, or be promoted from lesser titles. The dwarven liaison and any diplomats will meet with them rather than your Mayor, but the Mayor will still remain the "leader" of your fortress, and still bear the duties of meeting with unhappy dwarves.

Adventure Mode - Human mayors[edit]

In Adventure mode, Human towns each have their own Mayor, and almost every one of them is a master of a weapon skill. The Mayors give quests out to adventurers, and no matter how much you might plead they never join adventurers on their travels.