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Petitions are formal demands from foreign entities, be they single visitors or armies. They may range from relatively mundane to dramatic with far-ranging consequences to your fort. Petitions are distinct from diplomatic agreements with other civilizations, such as the tree-cutting quota with elves, or peace treaties.
Petitions may be delivered by a foreign petitioner meeting with your mayor at their office, or they may be more abstract. In both cases, a blinking 'P' will appear on the game screen, indicating that one is pending and awaiting review by the player. It is not possible to consult the petitions screen if none are pending.
There are currently five kinds of petitions:
- Petition for long-term residency by a passing visitor. They will state the purpose of their stay (entertainment, soldiering, study, or slaying monsters) and you are free to accept or not. If you do, they will reside at your tavern and will not do any other labors than those they were intent on doing.
- Petition for citizenship by a long-term resident, usually after living in the fort for two years or so (mercenaries and monster slayers do not ever request citizenship). Accepting the petition turns the resident into a full-fledged citizen of your fort, the same as your dwarves, and their labor preferences can be assigned.
- Petition for an artifact by a passing quester. If you accept, a job will be created to deliver the artifact to the visitor who will then leave. Otherwise, they may do one of the following: turn hostile, leave and sneak back in an attempt to steal it, or report back to the entity they represent, with possible adverse consequences for your fort in the form of a siege.
- Petition for parley by an invading army. This one is delivered abstractly (presumably at shouting distance). The army will camp at the edge of the map, waiting for your response (they will attack if ignored for too long). If you accept, a dwarf will be sent out for the parley, which will inevitably involve the surrender of an artifact you failed to give to a quester previously. The parley is fair: the army will not betray you and attack anyway if you give in to their demand, and even if you do not they will give your dwarf sufficient time to retreat back to your fortress before they attack.