|This article is about the current version of DF.|
|This page contains information only relevant to DF 0.44.01 and newer. Most or all of this information does not apply to previous versions. Older saves from previous versions in the DF2014 release cycle are still compatible with this version.|
This visitor has come to slay beasts.
Beast hunters are visitors that will visit and petition to stay in order to slay creatures in your above-ground surroundings. They may arrive in your fortress at any time, regardless of whether the fort has any locations.
Their subterranean counterparts are the monster slayers.
Beast hunters arrive with their own weapons and armor, as well as some degree of basic combat skill. If you accept their service, they will live among your dwarves like regular citizens, although they will spend all of their time either loitering around meeting halls or prowling the surface, looking for animals to kill. Beast hunters cannot be assigned any labors, will not haul anything, and cannot be given orders or be controlled by burrows or other means.
Beast hunters are equivalent to a fortress' own hunters in behavior, though unlike them, they won't immediately flee combat due to running out of crossbow bolts if they're wielding melee weapons. Allowing these visitors to regularly rampage through your surface will occasionally produce free meat, bone, and hides, however, because you can't direct them to kill particular units, they may decide to pick a fight with something useless like a flock of buzzards or rush headlong into battle with a giant elephant who can stomp them flat in a second. They are also often poorly suited to life in combat; some may arrive who hate all things military and panic at the first sign of violence, while others have ineffectual skills which will inevitably end with them being killed by the animals they're supposed to be hunting. Consider exiling beast hunters who seem like they're destined for tantrums, or arrange "accidents" for them if they happen to be carrying interesting equipment. Steel is steel, after all.
The efficiency of beast hunters is tied to where your fortress is settled; a calm environment where the most common animals are barn owls and kiwis is unlikely to bring you a great deal of results, but more dangerous areas inhabited by either larger or fanciful creatures may bring better results. Of course, if your surroundings are inhabited by, for example, undead giant tigers, then the hunters will only really serve as a distraction at best. Having them around allows you to hunt the surface without much micromanaging, but for dealing with actual dangerous beasts, a proper dwarven military squad is preferred.