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Note that some content may still need to be updated.
Burial receptacles are containers for deceased dwarves and their pets, that are used to store their corpses, and other remains. Somewhat confusingly, they have different names depending on the materials used to craft them, but, thankfully, they all function identically, and all are placed with the Burial Receptacle () option via the build menu. This article uses the term "coffin" to describe any burial receptacle, for reasons of brevity.
After a coffin is created by the appropriate crafter, it must be built (as furniture) to be used. This is done with the -- keys. In order for the coffin to be used for burials, it needs to be part of a tomb zone. The zone can then configured to determine if citizens (default) and/or pets are allowed to be buried there. It can alternately be designated for a specific citizen, either a now-deceased character who was once a citizen or a currently-living citizen for use once they die. A coffin has been assigned when the message, "This is the resting place of __________", is displayed; viewing the contents of the coffin by clicking on it will show if the assignee has been successfully interred.
Enabling one of the burial options for citizens/pets will cause the coffin to be automatically assigned to the next creature/pet in the burial queue. Creatures are added to the burial queue when the game notifies you that the creature is dead. (An announcement that they are missing is not sufficient. If the body is in an out-of-the-way place, station a squad in your military next to the corpse and wait for the announcement that the body has been found before expecting the corpse to be buried.) The burial queue is the only way to bury pets, caravan guards, and other visitors.
To bury a specific citizen in a particular coffin, assign the coffin's tomb to the citizen in question. Tombs can be retroactively assigned to dead citizens and residents, allowing the assignee to skip the auto-burial queue. Unfortunately, non-residents cannot be assigned tombs. To get a non-resident into a particular coffin, make sure that no other coffins are available for burial and that the selected creature is next in line for burial. If said creature has already been buried, simply deconstruct the old coffin and that creature will be first in line for a new one. (Deconstructing a coffin will not destroy the remains inside.)
Coffins do not prevent reanimation, though permanent burial may still be possible if the deceased was thoughtful enough to provide one or more non-reanimatable body parts (e.g. teeth).
Coffins aren't the only way to properly honor the memory of a deceased dwarf. The player may instead engrave slabs as memorials, and place them as furniture anywhere you like. This is enough to put troubled souls to rest, at which point you can treat the corpse like any other refuse as far as the late dwarf is concerned.
However, coffins have some advantages over memorial slabs. Friends and relatives of the deceased will receive unhappy thoughts if the corpses of their loved ones remain unburied, especially if they decay away or burn up in a fire or magma. Unburied corpses of sentient creatures are also sources of negative thoughts for all characters: sentient creatures don't like seeing unburied corpses of other sentient creatures, and rotting corpses and body parts generate unpleasant miasma if they're underground.
- Dwarves insist on assigning a coffin, even when there are no remains left to bury. This can prevent you from burying the recently deceased until all the long lost caravanners have empty coffins of their own.
- Dwarves fail to bury reanimated corpses.Bug:10396
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