|This article is about the current version of DF.|
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. Once this is done, the player can access the coffin's building menu () to enable automatic burial (it defaults to No), configure it for itizens and/or ets (the default for the latter can be changed in d_init.txt), or make a tomb (room). A coffin has been assigned when the message, "This is the resting place of __________", is displayed; viewing the contents of the coffin using will show if the assignee has been successfully interred.
Enabling the "Use for Burial" option 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, the easiest option is to define the chosen coffin as a tomb and assign it 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).
It is not required to bury the dead; the player may instead engrave slabs and build memorials. One can even simply haul dwarven remains to a corpse stockpile, throw them into magma, or leave them to rot where they fell, though these things have several serious consequences. A dwarf viewing the unburied body of any sentient species will receive a horrified thought. Friends and relatives of the deceased will receive unhappy thoughts if their loved ones remain unburied, especially if they decay (or burn) away, and miasma will be generated if corpses rot inside the fortress. Particularly troubled souls may decide to come back for revenge.
- 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.
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