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This article is about an older version of DF.

Dwarves have relationships amongst each other. These can be seen in detail by going to the dwarf's profile, and pressing r to take you to their relationships screen. Relationships are usually formed by spending time with another dwarf. Often, the strongest relationships are between dwarves from the same migrant wave, despite time spent with dwarves from other waves. Relationships are important because their presence or absence has an important effect on the dwarf in question. Note that when it comes to familial relationships, the dwarves in question do not have to be in your fortress.

Making and talking to friends gives happy thoughts, while the death of a pet, friend, parent, child or spouse gives unhappy ones. Dwarves in a network of friends and family are happier than otherwise, but are more likely to make children, and will be much harder-hit when a familiar dwarf dies in an ambush or whatnot. Getting haunted by a familiar dwarf produces a strong negative thought as well.

(Note that the relationships screen is mouse-enabled.)


The following is a list of known relationships, listed in the order they appear on the screen (and thus, their importance):

  • Kin relationships
    • Spouse - Married dwarves are spouses of one another, and will share a bed. Heterosexual couples will produce children (the happier the couple, the more often?).
    • Lover - Lovers are basically dwarven pairs; unmarried, but getting there. Dwarves may have multiple lovers. Dwarves who are lovers and marriage-compatible (as per their [ORIENTATION] token) and that spend enough time chatting may marry, at which point they will begin using the same bed and start producing children if belonging to opposite genders.
    • Child - Any children that the dwarven parents have are the objects of their attention - this includes grown adults, minors, and babies. Children are described by their sex and birth order. The relationship is described as eldest son, second eldest son, eldest daughter, and so on. The child might not necessarily be in the fortress. Even if born as twins, one will be older and one will be younger.
    • Parent - If the dwarf has known parents, they will appear here.
    • Grandparent - Like known parents. They're separated into "paternal" and "maternal". (In listing order, may be mixed with siblings)
    • Sibling - If the dwarf in question has siblings, they will appear here. Like children, they do not necessarily have to be in the fortress. The relationships are described as older brother, younger brother, older sister, and younger sister (creatures with one or more genderless castes, such as Ant man, also may have older/younger sibling). If dwarves share only one parent (new in .47), they are described as above, but with half- (half-brother, half-sister etc). Even if born as twins, one will count as older than another.
    • Aunt/Uncle - If the dwarf has known aunts or uncles, they will appear here. Often these don't live in the same fortress.
    • Niece/Nephew - If the dwarf has known nieces or nephews, they will appear here. Again, nieces and nephews often don't live in the same fortress.
    • Cousin - If the dwarf has known cousins, they will appear here. Cousins, much like some of the above categories, often don't live in the fortress.
  • Spiritual relationships
    • Deity - Ye olde dwarven gods are the most important non-familial relationships for a dwarf. A dwarf can worship multiple gods, and on rare occasions will not worship any (atheism). Dwarves can have different levels of worship ("ardent", "faithful", "casual", and "dubious"). Note that cursed creatures are always dubious worshippers of their deities, making this relationship an important sign of a vampire. A temple may be designated as a location from a meeting area. Worshiping at a temple reduces stress by a large amount, but not being able to worship causes further stress to develop.v0.42.01
    • Object of Worship - Dwarves tend to worship megabeasts that have attacked a settlement, most likely out of fear. This relationship is, for now, only aesthetic, and does not change the behavior of the dwarf or the megabeast if the worshipper meets the worshipped.
    • Force - An elf may worship a force of nature, which works the same as worship of a deity.
  • Professional relationships
    • Apprentice - Scholars, performers, and necromancers can take apprentices, who they will teach what they know. Apprentices sometimes don't live in the fortress. One master can have many apprentices.
    • Master - Master to an apprentice. Sometimes migrants and visitors have a master that doesn't live in the fortress.
    • Former Master - A creature can have more than one former master.
    • Former Apprentice - A creature that once learned from this one.
  • Animal relationships
    • Pet - The dwarf's animal companion, who they have adopted (or in the case of cats, the dwarf was adopted by them). If the pet is a grazer, the owner will periodically feed them, allowing them to roam free without the need of a pasture. Dwarves can have multiple pets. In Legends mode pets have link to their owner, but if use special utilities, relationship list of pet will have no link to owner ("Thoughts and preferences" will still have name of the owner).
    • Bonded animal - Animal trainers typically form bond with the animals they work with over time. The death of a bonded animal causes a bad thought to the trainer.
  • Non-kin personal relationships
    • Kindred spirit - A step above close friend, a step below lover.
    • Companion - may be found on adventurers, if you retired them in your retired fortress and then unretire that fortress.
    • Close friend - A close friend, yet neither a kindred spirit nor a lover.
    • Friend - Dwarves that idle near other dwarves and/or have high social skills tend to develop friends. Making a friend takes some effort on the part of the dwarf, and happens most often within individual waves. Personalities play a part as well. Making friends causes a happy thought, as can be expected, and the death of friends causes unhappy ones. Lovers develop from a dwarf's pool of friends.
    • Grudge - Grudges are the opposite of friendships, and tend to develop between dwarves of conflicting personality traits. Sometimes, it is possible to have your starting dwarves form grudges even before they arrive at the new fortress location. Making a grudge causes an unhappy thought, but ironically, the death of a grudgee actually causes a bad thought as well.
    • Friendly Terms - More than an acquaintance, less than a friend.[Verify]
    • Long-term Acquaintance - Long-term acquaintances are dwarves that have had at least 30 conversations with each other, but aren't friends. At embark, the seven starting dwarves will each be either long-term acquaintances or friends with each other.[Verify]
    • Passing Acquaintance - Passing acquaintances are dwarves that are familiar with one another, but just barely. As long term acquaintances do not produce a bad thought, passing ones do not either. If an acquaintance does not make contact with the dwarf over a time, they will be forgotten, absent from the relationships screen.

Other familial relationships[edit]

Dwarves can have Uncles, Aunts, Nieces, Nephews and Cousins listed as relationships. They do not appear to take special interest in the wellbeing of such relations. Migrants with long lists of such "extended family" are typically well-connected historical personalities, but expansive relative lists of this type also commonly appear when children in a fort manage to grow up to adulthood, marry and have children of their own. As historical personages of special importance, monarchs frequently immigrate with a large number of distant relatives listed.

Types of friendships[edit]

In world generation, characters make friendships due to worldgen events, and those friendships may carry over to fortress mode when some of them migrate. Those are:

  • Childhood friendships
  • Bonding over scholarly interests
  • Bonding over art at performances
  • Friends from athletic competitions
  • War buddies

Types of grudges[edit]

Like friendships, grudges can also happen during worldgen, and usually pave the way to more general corruption from villains. These can spawn from:

  • Business rivalries
  • Sport competitions
  • Abusive rulers
  • Religious grievances...Sometimes very specific grudges can happen, such as a mummy forming one against a tomb thief.

Relationship variables[edit]

On top of the existing relationships, there are variables that govern the attitude between two characters. This usually comes up during corruption attempts by villains in worldgen (e.g. intimidation is more successful if the target fears the villain already, and flattery works better if the target trusts them) and is especially relevant during interrogations in both fortress and adventure mode. Those variables are:

  • Loyalty
  • Trust/distrust
  • Fear
  • Love/hate
  • Respect

Night troll relationships[edit]

After abducting someone, a night troll makes its victim into a prisoner and becomes an imprisoner; that relationship may be seen in legends mode, and (if using dfhack) in the thoughts and preferences screen. Then the prisoner and imprisoner become just ordinary spouses.[Verify]

Growing relationships[edit]

Over time, dwarves who spend time idling near each other will begin to form friendships and grudges. This happens through 'chats' and the 'socialize' activity.

Two dwarves who are standing on the same tile, or adjacent tiles, may decide to chat if they are idle. Dwarves who are busy eating, drinking, or doing any job, will not chat with one another. This has the amusingly realistic effect that two dwarves who work side by side for years may barely know each other, or even not at all.

As two dwarves accumulate these chats, they will form opinions of each other, based on a 'compatibility' score. Dwarves who like similar things (such as elephants), have the same skills (such as two miners), or who have similar personalities will form friendships. These begin as passing acquaintances, who will then become long-term acquaintances (if the two aren't too compatible, but not too incompatible) or friends (if the two dwarves are compatible enough). Dwarves who are too incompatible may instead form grudges. Currently, only vastly different personalities (such as a confident, selfless dwarf vs. a nervous but arrogant one) cause this, as differences in likes or skills don't hurt a dwarf's opinion of another. Changes in a dwarf's skill set can thus cause their opinions of another dwarf to change, potentially removing old grudges. Dwarves who don't chat enough may lose acquaintances over time.

Dwarves who are compatible enough, and chat enough, can become lovers. In order to be eligible for this, a dwarf has to be an adult, not have a too-large age difference (which is currently max(10,min(age_1,age_2)/2), be orientation-compatible, and not be too closely related to their new friend. Lovers who continue to have enough opportunities to chat and are willing to commit as per their orientation preferences will eventually get married.

Social skills such as conversationalist, intimidator, pacifier, comedian, negotiator, flatterer, consoler, persuader, or judge of intent play no roles in relationships.

It is possible for two dwarves to have different opinions about each other. For example, Urist can treat Bomrek as a long-term acquainted buddy, while Bomrek counts Urist as a barely recognised person.


  1. Relations are formed the first time a unit is idle or socializing next to another unit*
  2. When a relationship rank hits 15, a friendship or grudge is formed, depending on compatibility.
  3. When the rank is around 40, if the units are friends and are romantically inclined, they become lovers. A range of 31-42 has been observed, probably influenced by one or more personality facets.
  4. When the rank hits 50, and the units are lovers, they can get married.
  5. Talking to grudges can really spike a unit's stress level (700+ per day), depending on personality.
  6. Socializing units can increase rank with busy adjacent units if they don't move (tested with pumpstacks, libraries, and temples).

 * - It doesn't look like units begin socializing with same tile or diagonally adjacent units. Only N,S,E,W adjacent units can start socialization, but, once started, socializing dwarves will include same-tile and diagonal neighbors.