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This article is about the current version of DF.
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A bandit camp with loot lying around.

Criminal is a profession for some inhabitants of generated sites, like towns. These petty criminals are distinct from criminal organization bosses, and much less dangerous. Some petty criminals show up as visitors in fortress mode, and agents sometimes try to pose as petty criminals. Petty criminals are shown in dark grey.

Types of criminal groups[edit]

There are two types of criminal groups within the worlds of Dwarf Fortress: criminal organizations and bandits.

Criminal organization[edit]

Most towns have criminal organizations, formed by a collection of outcasts. They are led by a boss, may have lieutenants, and may have a representative who is responsible for trade. Criminal organizations can reside in one of the subterranean structures or taverns. Their presence underground can be identified by abnormally-large hoards of items piled on the floor. Since the introduction of intrigue, criminal organizations will be part of a number of plots, often corrupting the town officials to embezzle for them, but also participating in theft and plotting assassinations.

They don't tend to harm anyone, even when encountering them in their base, but members will spit at you and pour out their hatred on you, if you are a hearthperson.

Criminal organizations are the targets of certain quests, and should not be confused with bandits. Intrigue-wise, members of criminal organizations have their fingers in many different pies, plotting assassinations, thefts and corrupting various officials for funds. Extra care needs to be taken when having altercations with members of these organizations, as they tend to be members of several different groups within a town. You as an adventurer might feel that you are delighting the lord by telling them you got rid of their local mafia, but all they will hear is you bragging about murdering valuable civilians, and will thus know you as a murderer.


A bandit leader.

Bandits are run by a boss and consist of various brigands and outlaws on the fringes of civilization. Their inhabitants are drawn from a parent civilization with the BANDITRY token. If the parent civilization also has the LOCAL_BANDITRY token, a bandit group's members can be found ambushing adventurers and raiding nearby towns, instead of just loitering around the home camp. They can also lay sieges of sorts to one's fortress.

Bandits have two subtypes: nomadic bandits, and fort bandits.

Nomadic bandits may wander the wilderness, live in camps, or inhabit abandoned sites, such as fortresses, forts, caves, and the like. Such camps, themselves, lack any buildings or signs of habitation, except for the occasional campfire and pile of loot.

Fort bandits are a little more organized, as evidenced by the fact they build forts. Because the game sees these folk as being the site government of their fort, these bandits will also create positions such as 'head chef' or 'master of beasts'.

Bandits very often have their values or ethics clash with members of civilized society. This means that if your adventurer is part of civilized society, they will be automatically attacked by bandits. You can avoid this by either creating an outsider adventurer, who has no ties to the existing entities, or by assuming a compatible identity. If the bandits don't automatically try to murder your character, and your reputation is formidable enough, you can even ask to join them, and ask for quests.

Killing bandits in adventure mode will give you a reputation as "protector of the weak".v0.42.01 Unlike criminal organizations, bandits are considered murderous scum, and thus most folk appreciate you getting rid of them.


  • If your reputation becomes exceptionally high ("Famous Hero", so above 75), bandits trying to ambush you will say "Ha-ha-halt!" instead of the normal announcement message, presumably stammering in front of such a fearsome figure. An exception is if they have [NOFEAR].
Bad to the Beard.
Art by Terry Colligan