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Missions are commands in Fortress mode that send one or more of your squads to visit sites outside of your fortress. They are created in the Civilization/World Info screen (accessed by pressing c in the main fortress view). There are multiple types of missions, such as raids, explorations, artifact recovery, and citizen recovery.

Raids and explorations[edit]

A raid is a general mission to an occupied, foreign site, usually in the name of pillaging artifacts and death-dealing (although artifact looting seems to be the primary focus of most raids). An exploration is a general mission to unoccupied sites, including those previously inhabited by your civilization, and these missions focus almost entirely upon finding artifacts that might be held at these locations.

Raids and explorations are created by selecting a site on the Civilization/World Info map. If the site you're viewing holds or is rumored to hold artifacts or prisoners, these will be listed. At the bottom of the screen, a prompt gives you information about the type of mission you're creating (i.e. 'r: Raid/Explore this site'). If a site is unable to be visited, the prompt will appear grayed out, and the text will explain why you cannot create the mission. Missions cannot be sent to occupied sites that are members of your civilization, but can be sent to unoccupied/abandoned sites, as stated above. They also cannot be sent to locations that are impossible for your squads to reach (i.e. across oceans/glaciers). If all is well, you can then press r to create the mission and move into squad selection.

Raids come in multiple flavors, these being the standard "raid", "pillage" and "raze", "demand tribute", "conquer", and "demand surrender". In a raid, your dwarves will sneak in and attempt to steal items from the site, especially if it's an artifact. It will usually train your ambusher skill, so it may be useful if you want to raise that particular skill quickly. On a pillaging mission, your dwarves will openly attack the site, and if successful will result in your dwarves stealing livestock and loot if you have those options selected in the [d]etails menu. When razing a site, your dwarves will both openly attack and attempt to destroy the site, resulting in a more prolonged attack. If you are sure that your army will win against the opposing one, and you want that site gone, a razing mission is probably what you want to perform. Your dwarves will still bring home loot and livestock if you have these options selected. Demanding tribute (one-time or ongoing) may result in the site providing goods to your fortress (if successful). Conquering a site relies on military force, while demanding surrender relies on negotiation under the threat of military force. If successful, occupying a site will make it one of your fortress's holdings (your forces will remain on-site as administrators and occupiers).

The pillaging and razing options both use the military tactics skill of each army's highest-leveled tactician, giving the side with a better one major advantages in the battle. Standard sneaky raids, however, will use the ambusher skill.

Note: Raiding a site of a civilization you are at Peace with, for any reason, could cause them to declare war on your civilization. Act with care when choosing sites to pillage.

Artifact/Citizen recovery[edit]

An artifact recovery mission sets a specific artifact as the objective of a mission. This usually involves traveling to the last known or rumored location of said artifact. If your squad manages to encounter a bit of fun on any form of mission, members of those parties can be captured as prisoners by the inhabitants of the site you attempted to raid. When this happens, you can create a citizen recovery mission, whereupon the assigned squads will attempt to rescue the prisoner from whatever site they are held at. Captive citizens can join civilizations that captured them, so your next raid to the same site can be met with your own armor-clad legendary warriors as defenders, leading to unexpected fun.

You can also instruct your squad to free members of other civilizations you find at your destination. These other prisoners you rescue will come back with your squad and seek sanctuary at your fortress. Sometimes, even uninhabited tombs can contain "prisoners" that you can rescue. If you accept their request, these prisoners will become partial citizens. These units will have all basic labors enabled (such as hauling, construction, and the like), and will have any labors they are skilled in set to active with no way to deactivate them. Consider setting your workshop profiles a little more aggressively than normal if you don't want them filling orders reserved for more capable hands.

Artifact recovery and citizen recovery missions are created by selecting the desired recoverable from either the missing citizens menu (accessible with p) or the artifact menu (accessible with a). Once you've selected something, press r to create a new mission, and move into squad selection. Although you can technically select recoverables that belong to sites of your civilization, squads on these missions will almost instantaneously return, and will deliver no report data.

Squad selection[edit]

Squad selection, as the name implies, simply involves selecting a squad (or multiple squads) to be sent out on the mission. Even if you do not select any squads by exiting the selection, the created mission will remain extant and active, albeit with no squads assigned to it.

Once an active mission has one or more squads assigned to it, the dwarves in those squads will automatically prepare themselves and leave the map's edge.

Variation of Loot[edit]

Depending on the civilization you are raiding/razing, the loot may change. For example, when you are raiding elves, you won't get metal items; you will mostly get grown wood items instead. This also applies to livestock. Raiding elves will result in the looting of many different types of animals (all tame). When raiding goblins, you will, interestingly, be able to obtain tame beak dogs, which are only trainable by dwarves, never tamable.

Other notes[edit]

  • Pressing m on the Civilization/World Info screen will show a list of active missions. You can reassign squads and delete missions on this screen.
  • When a squad returns from a mission, an announcement to the effect of "<squad name> has returned" will be generated, and a mission report will be visible in the report menu. In the report, the path the squad took is traced on the map, and the events that took place along the way are revealed.
  • Pets and other animals on missions can be killed or injured.
  • The mission will NOT start until all dwarves assigned to the mission exit the fortress. This includes military dwarves that are imprisoned, hospitalized, or otherwise unfit for duty. This can be fixed by removing the problem dwarves from the assigned squads. The mission will also NOT start if any assigned war animals have not left the fortress. Ensure no assigned animals are caged, chained, or roosting if your squad is gone for a long time.
  • Sending a token dwarf to demand the surrender of a site can initiate contact with a distant civilization, providing an additional yearly trade caravan.
  • Receiving tribute from a site can establish peace with that civilization, at least temporarily.
  • Nobles on missions still expect their existing mandates to be fulfilled, but are unable to issue any new requests.
  • Missions to a site will still be carried out if the site has changed ownership. This can lead to fun when you end up accidentally raiding your ally.
  • Missions against your parent civilization or your current holdings cannot be created, but any existing missions against those sites can be modified and dispatched. Raiding your parent civilization may start a civil war.
  • Sieges against your fortress take from a hostile site's population, which will leave that site woefully undefended should you decide to retaliate.

Mission reports[edit]

Mission reports have an animated map on the left side of the screen. A path is traced out from your fortress to the destination and events are "revealed" on the right side of the screen.

Mission report example.png

Mission events[edit]

This list is incomplete and might contain errors, please feel free to contribute
  • Found nothing
  • Slipped into (settlement) undetected
  • Searched (settlement)
  • Stole (artifact)
  • Asked about (artifact)
  • Caroused in (site)
  • Looted treasure from (site)
  • Seized livestock from (site)
  • Freed the (species and name of prisoner)
  • Confronted the (species and name of opponent)
  • The (species and name of combatant) fought with...
  • (Name)'s (body part) was torn out/ripped off/crushed
  • (Name) was struck down
  • (Item/Artifact) was looted from (former person holding it)
  • (Name) spotted (your forces) slipping out of (site)
  • (Your forces) attacked (site government) at (site)
  • (Squad), led by (leader), clashed with (forces)
  • (Your forces) rampaged throughout (site)
  • (Your forces) defeated (site government) and took over (site)


  • Missions may cause military equipment list corruption, frequently leading to crashes. Bug:11014
  • Dwarves sent on artifact retrieval missions sometimes don't return. Bug:10545 Bug:10426
  • Dead civilizations' missions never complete. Bug:10891