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This article is about the current version of DF.

An ocean is an immense volume of salt water. Oceans are often bordered by sandy beaches, where driftwood can be found. Marshes and swamps also tend to form around oceanic coastlines, especially near rivers. The land surrounding oceans also tends to have a high water table, resulting in aquifers close to the surface.

It is not possible to found a fort solely in an oceanic biome—some land is needed.

Oceans are an excellent source of food for a new fortress, usually having tons of fish, and contain shell-bearing creatures like oysters and mussels. However, sometimes when you embark on a coast, you might receive announcements like "There is nothing to catch in <some area>". If this happens, you won't be able to fish in the ocean in this embark; you may wish to abandon the fort and start again elsewhere.

There are three varieties of oceans, based on temperature, which affects the sea life found there: Arctic, Temperate and Tropical. Oceans in a freezing climate (usually arctic oceans) will freeze, just like rivers and pools, acting like a glacier.

Ocean waves[edit]

Waves will periodically wash over the coast. The tiles will not get wet. However, if a wave washes over a staircase, the floors below it will be slowly flooded. Cave moss will not grow in the mud left by salt water. The waves move over all natural tiles, and seem to move independently of constructed tiles like walls and floors. Be mindful not to carve away natural walls and allow tide to enter your fort, and cause excess slowdown. Sea walls can be built to block waves and protect beach areas, but need to be completely closed off to be effective. Waves also have a tendency to move items left on the beach, so it is inadvisable to place stockpiles too close to the shore—also beware that this effect means that dwarves can be knocked unconscious if hit by driftwood washed in from waves.

Since ocean waves do not actually move the water in the tiles below them, they do not create flow. Thus, waves cannot power a water wheel, making tidal energy generation much more difficult.

In adventure mode, being pushed by ocean waves occasionally increases swimming skill without the risk of drowning.

Ocean floor geology[edit]

The ocean floor will be made up of entire layers of, or combinations of the following:

Most of these layers also support aquifers, which are saltwater like the surrounding ocean, making the extraction of these materials rather difficult in fortress mode. Limestone is a notable exception, making it ideal for excavation from below since it is also a flux material.


Almost all tiles next to oceans have aquifers, which require fairly complicated schemes to sidestep. In addition, oceans are salt water resources, requiring desalination with a screw pump into a cistern to use for drinking. On the other hand you have an inexhaustible source of water for fishing, drowning chambers, and so forth, as well as a spawning point for some very big and very meat-profitable creatures: sperm whales, orcas, and the like.


In arctic oceans with freezing climate, none of the aquatic vermin or creatures will be present when the water freezes over. This leaves only terrestrial and amphibious animals to appear because they are able to live on land.


Name Arctic ocean Temperate ocean Tropical ocean
a Albatross
s Angelshark
S Basking shark
s Blacktip reef shark
S Blue shark
α Bluefin tuna
α Bluefish
S Bull shark
α Cod
C Coelacanth
ò Common skate
~ Conger eel
c Crab
S Elephant seal
p Emperor penguin
s Frill shark
G Giant grouper
b Great barracuda
S Great white shark
α Halibut
S Hammerhead shark
H Harp seal
c Horseshoe crab
L Leopard seal
p Little penguin
S Longfin mako shark
Manta ray
α Marlin
α Milkfish
N Narwhal
S Nurse shark
α Ocean sunfish
o Octopus
α Opah
O Orca
o Osprey
p Penguin
p Puffin
~ Sea lamprey
o Sea otter
S Shortfin mako shark
W Sperm whale
s Spiny dogfish
s Sponge
S Spotted wobbegong
ò Stingray
α Sturgeon
S Tiger shark
α Swordfish
W Walrus
S Whale shark
s Whitetip reef shark

In savage oceans:

Name Arctic ocean Temperate ocean Tropical ocean
a Albatross man
c Crab man
c Cuttlefish man
S Elephant seal man
A Giant albatross
C Giant crab
C Giant cuttlefish
S Giant elephant seal
H Giant harp seal
C Giant horseshoe crab
L Giant leopard seal
S Giant moon snail
N Giant narwhal
N Giant nautilus
O Giant octopus
O Giant orca
O Giant osprey
P Giant penguin
P Giant puffin
W Giant sperm whale
S Giant sponge
W Giant walrus
S Gigantic squid
h Harp seal man
c Horseshoe crab man
L Leopard seal man
s Moon snail man
N Narwhal man
n Nautilus man
o Octopus man
O Orca man
o Osprey man
p Penguin man
p Puffin man
S Sea serpent
W Sperm whale man
s Sponge man
s Squid man
W Walrus man

In good oceans:

Name Arctic ocean Temperate ocean Tropical ocean
M Merperson

In evil oceans:

Name Arctic ocean Temperate ocean Tropical ocean
M Sea monster


Name Arctic ocean Temperate ocean Tropical ocean
α Anchovy
ò Bat ray
~ Brook lamprey
α Clownfish
α Flounder
α Glasseye
~ Hagfish
α Hake
α Herring
α Mackerel
Moon snail
m Mussel
o Oyster
α Salmon
Ω Sea nettle jellyfish
α Seahorse
α Shad
α Sole
α Spotted ratfish
α Steelhead trout
ò Thornback ray
α White-spotted puffer

In good oceans:

Name Arctic ocean Temperate ocean Tropical ocean
· Pixie
"Ocean" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: migrur
Elvish: romi
Goblin: strabo
Human: sota