|This article is about the current version of DF.|
Bosses are the leaders of criminals, leading criminal organizations or gangs of bandits. They may also be called a ringleader, master, warlord, chieftain, etc.
Criminal bosses can often be located in a dungeon, while bandit leaders can be found in camps. When you encounter them, they will be flashing like other leaders in the game. They are effectively treated as lords of their respective place of residence, meaning talking to a boss (if they haven't been provoked yet) will allow you to join them as a lieutenant, lay claim to their territory, etc. Bosses are often part of the intrigue system in some capacity.
Criminal leaders and their subordinates can occasionally be weaponmasters, and are often the only ones that are generated during world generation. Certain criminal bosses in capital cities will also come equipped with a random assortment of masterwork-quality items.
These are not to be confused with "boss battles", which do not exist in Dwarf Fortress when it comes to traditional understanding of video game terminology, besides the occasional attacks of powerful creatures like megabeasts and semi-megabeasts.