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This article is about the current version of DF.

Urist McBitten, Cheesemaker has transformed into a werelizard!

Werewolf preview.png

Werebeasts Ñ are night creatures that are procedurally created during worldgen. Deities may curse sapient creatures (humans, dwarves, elves, goblins or animal people) to transform into an animal form on the night of a full moon. Sapient creatures bitten by werebeasts are cursed to become werebeasts themselves.[1]

Werebeasts may take the form of mammals or reptiles, ranging from the classic werewolf, to more exotic things like weregiraffes, werelizards, weresloths or weregila monsters. Also included are some creatures not normally present in the game (werelorises, weremammoths).

The behaviour of vanilla werebeasts in worldgen (i.e. fleeing town upon being cursed, and conducting raids from their new lair) appears to be caused by the cursed individual's beast form having the [NIGHT_CREATURE_HUNTER] tag; removal of this tag from a generated werebeast extracted from a world.dat file and jimmied into the standard raws caused those cursed to behave no differently from any other unnaturally-immortal individual.


"My Captain of the guard, just released from the hospital, transformed into a weregoat while sparring with his soldiers just to instantly get an arm cut off and the head smashed in."
Art by Devilingo
This is a digital drawing of the weregoat Urist McGuardscaptain and three dwarves by Devilingo. All the craftsdwarfship is of the highest quality. the weregoat is armed. The dwarves are armed. The weregoat is wounded. The dwarves are posing menacingly. This artwork relates to the striking down of the weregoat captain of the guard Urist McGuardscaptain.

A number of different types of werebeast curses are procedurally generated at every world creation. Their numbers are normally dependent on world size, but can be directly controlled with advanced world generation - if you prefer not having werebeasts (and therefore not having fun), generating a world with "Number of Werebeast Curse Types" set to 0 in advanced world generation will ensure that no werebeasts exist in your world.

There are more kinds of mammal curses (64 possible, though it might leave off some amphibious/bat ones), so it reduces the chances of each specific one to avoid a mammal flood. The generic lizard is given more weight since it's more vague and presumably encompasses more things.

While procedurally generated, all werebeasts possess certain characteristics in common. They are all fanciful, evil-aligned humanoids taking the shape of an animal who is crazed for blood and flesh, with glowing eyes and a brief description of their skin ("Its charcoal scales are blocky and close-set."), who are associated with the spheres of animals, chaos, moon and night. While intelligent, werebeasts are locked in a berserk state and will behave accordingly, attacking anything in view. In previous versions of Dwarf Fortress, a berserk werebeast would not attack another werebeast of the same species as themselves, however this behavior currently seems to be broken in fortress mode and transformed werebeasts are truly berserk.

Werebeast transformations, whether from dwarf-to-beast or beast-to-dwarf, will fully restore the unit in question to complete health. Hunger and thirst will both be removed, and injuries (including missing limbs) will be fully healed. Effects induced by insanity are not reversed, however, so berserking soldiers that transform will still not follow orders.

The size of the werebeast is dependent on the nature of its curse, but all are significantly larger than a dwarf, with things like wererhinos and weremammoths being particularly massive. Depending on their starting status and the beast form in question, transformed individuals may receive augmented (or reduced!) strength, agility, recuperation and disease resistance while in monster form, though they often possess slightly lower-than-average toughness and endurance. All werebeasts possess at least Talented skill in wrestling, biting, fighting, striking, kicking, dodging and observing, as well as Legendary skill in ambusher. Additionally, they can breathe underwater, feel no exertion, cannot be stunned and are immune to pain, nausea, dizziness and fevers. Werebeasts need no food, water or sleep to survive, nor do they need to breathe, meaning they cannot be drowned or strangled. Werebeasts are Level 2 building destroyers and are almost completely immune to traps while transformed, safely bypassing any sort of trap set in their way. They may become caged when they revert, however.

If the werebeast cannot use weapons in wereform (i.e. no hands), only the natural abilities of the creature are available for combat, which differ from creature to creature (claws/hooves/venomous bite etc.), but only their bites cause the werebeast curse to be transmitted. Werebeasts have been confirmed to have the ability to arrive at your fortress both armed and stealthed. Some werebeasts possess venom as well, applying "night sickness" to those who are bitten along with the werebeast curse.

All werebeasts possess a built-in damage resistance against most weapon-grade metals which halves the damage taken during combat, save for one randomly chosen metal which the werebeast will instead be 10 times weaker against. Unlike in the werewolf myth, this weakness isn't restricted to silver, though a werebeast race may indeed be weak to it. There are no means in fortress mode to learn which metal a given werebeast is weak against during gameplay. In adventurer mode this information is included in the quest rumor, but an afflicted adventurer can only learn their own weakness the fun way.

Dwarves will never have preferences for werebeasts, as they possess no [PREFSTRING]. They possess an unused pet value of 2,000.

Killed werebeasts are always listed in a unit's or weapon's kill log as a member of their original race, even if the werebeast was dispatched while in animal form.

Werebeast types:[edit]

Here follows a conclusive list of all possible shapes given to a cursed individual. Note that descriptors/colors are randomized upon the curses' generation, so you may encounter "different" werebeasts of the same species in the same world. These descriptors, however, are purely for flavour, and have no gameplay implications.

Reptile werebeasts:

werechameleon weregecko weregilamonster
wereiguana werelizard weremonitor
wereskink weretortoise** wereturtle

Mammal werebeasts:

wereanteater* wereantelope** wereape**
werearmadillo wereass** werebadger
werebear** werebeaver werebison*
werebuffalo werebull werecamel**
werecapybara werecat werecavy
werechinchilla werecivet* werecoati
werecoyote weredeer wereelephant
wereelk werefox weregiraffe
weregoat weregopher* werehare
werehedgehog werehorse werehyena
werejackal werekangaroo werekoala
werelemur* werellama wereloris*
weremammoth* weremarmot weremole*
weremongoose weremonkey** weremoose
weremouse* wereopossum werepanda
werepangolin werepanther** werepig
wereporcupine wererabbit wereraccoon
wererat wererhinoceros weresheep
wereshrew* wereskunk weresloth
weresquirrel weretapir werewarthog
wereweasel werewolf werewombat
*The animal this corresponds to does not actually appear as a normal animal in Dwarf Fortress.
**This werebeast doesn't correspond clearly to any specific in-game species of animal.

Werebeasts in fortresses[edit]

In some regions, the full moon will herald the attack of werebeasts upon your fortress and the unwilling transformation of your own citizens into their bestial forms.

If the region has at least one type of werebeast, a werebeast may choose to ambush your fortress from the surface, revealing itself only once seen. Unlike most other invaders, werebeasts are only announced on their discovery (triggering a message similar to that of a megabeast), allowing them to get much closer to your fortress than most other threats. Local werebeasts will be announced at the moment of their transformation, but unlike invaders will not pause the game and can therefore slip under the radar if the transformation was unexpected or there was numerous other announcements at the time.

Transformed werebeasts are building destroyers, pathing to and toppling workshops and furniture that may be accessible to them. They will attack anything they can find for the duration of the full moon - including wildlife, livestock, and the dwarves of your fortress, prioritizing creatures over buildings in their efforts to spread the affliction.

In previous versions, werebeasts of the same beast-species would not be hostile to each other while transformed. This is not currently the case, however, and in the current version it is every beast for themselves. It is therefore generally recommended that individual werebeasts are isolated from the fort (and each other) before their transformation.

Because werebeasts are ambushers (only announcing themselves when found) and are only active for a few days of the month, it's possible for their 'visits' to go completely undetected by members of your fort (though the local wildlife may certainly have noticed). If a werebeast is only spotted after the full moon has ended and it has reverted back to it's normal form, the game will still announce it's discovery, but instead in it's current form (leading to amusing/terrifying messages such as "The Human (name) has come! A medium-sized creature prone to great ambition.").

Occasionally, a werebeast can infiltrate your fortress, as they've visited as part of a passing caravan. They'll only turn upon the changing of the moon phase, and you will not get the warning given when they'd normally appear on the map.

Defending your fort against werebeasts[edit]

If you have not established an early-detection defensive perimeter (see defense guide and note, werebeasts are trapavoid), it is quite likely that if a werebeast attacks, a dwarf will be bitten. The best defense against this is to keep civilians off the surface (unless they are inside high walls), and rely on warning systems to tell you when to trigger a civilian alert and close your drawbridges. A werebeast retains its infectious form for only a few days during the full moon. After that, it reverts to an ordinary humanoid form, and will typically flee.

Warning systems may include pastured or restrained animals, or outdoor statues. If you get notices of toppled statues with no visible cause, it's probable there is a werebeast nearby. Baby werecreatures are neutral, and while you can order your military to kill them, the order will not be followed.


A Weregiraffe infecting dwarves. Note that getting infected doesn't protect the dwarf in question from further attacks.
Art by Zach Adams
This is a pencil and crayon drawing of a weregiraffe and a dwarf and two dwarves and a bird in pencil and crayon by Zach Adams. All the craftsdwarfship is of the highest quality. The weregiraffe is biting the dwarf. The weregiraffe is holding the dwarf up. The dwarves are fleeing. The bird is flying. The bird is watching the weregiraffe.

Werebeasts are dangerous opponents, perfectly capable of killing an unarmed dwarf with impunity, but as notification-worthy invaders go they aren't especially terrifying; a few dwarves with modest military training and gear should be able to handle them with few casualties, as will a single elite dwarf in quality steel gear. The real threat they pose, however, is in their bite. If a sentient creature is bitten by a werebeast, and the bite tears fat, skin, or muscle, the said creature becomes infected. Infected creatures will become werebeasts at the next full moon (see below for schedule). Scratches, bites that merely bruise or dent, and subsequent shaking attacks after a bite will not transmit the curse, and thus are merely as dangerous as any other such assault. Any learning creature who has blood and isn't undead or supernatural can potentially be infected, meaning you could theoretically have things such as troglodyte or troll werebeasts, while animals, vampires, and mummies are immune to it.

There is no cure. To protect your other dwarves, you should either keep all infected dwarves isolated so they cannot infect your whole fortress, or if you do not want to take care of them, expel them from the fortress or just kill them.

Infected dwarves will not die of old ageVerify and do not need food and drink. Note that werebeasts can still drink, and the only reason they won't die from dehydration is because they change before they can die, healing wounds and removing thirst. They may go mad, however, so if you want to make them work (or use them for a stupid dwarf trick) you should try to keep them happy. This can be difficult because werebeasts will not sleep or eat, though they will drink if alcohol is available.

Or maybe you want something exceedingly more Fun instead? Try the following.

Infecting your entire fort[edit]

Yes, it is possible. Having only infected dwarves does not end your game.


  • Super-effective hospital service, your dwarves are fully healed once per month. No need for crutches or anything.
  • No need for food or drink, though you can keep alcohol around for happy thoughts and to avoid alcohol withdrawal
  • No need for beds or bedrooms, other than those for nobles
  • When transformed, civilian dwarves are less vulnerable
  • Dwarves will happily discard their old tattered clothing and pick up fresh clothes every month.
  • Unhappy thoughts are less severe as the process of being bitten and biting others tends to make your dwarves very resilient to tragedy.
  • Go for were-elephants or were-badgers for extra dwarven points
  • Fun


  • Exceedingly difficult to set up, quite long as well
  • May kill your most important dwarves
  • When transformed, fortress activity grinds to a halt, and for a few days afterwards as civilians run around finding new clothing
  • Werebeasts are building destroyers, so you'll constantly need to remake workshops and most furniture
  • Trading is especially difficult
  • Will cause issues with military when transformed: transformation removes all armor, though they will hold onto their weapons, shields, and even quivers/bolts during transformation.
  • May be exceedingly fun for dwarven sanity... but then again you were looking for fun in the first place

There are several ways to attempt to infect your whole fort, some with higher success rates than others. The trick is to have your uncursed dwarves be bitten but not die, and also to have your cursed dwarves survive any retribution. Delaying the release of the werebeast until near the end of the full moon will reduce the chances of the situation spiralling out of control (though it will also reduce the rate of infection).

One method is to equip a squad of dwarves with training weapons and send them to an isolated area with one or two of your werebeasts. Ideally the dwarves who get injured will back away while the others hold back the werebeast. In reality it can be hard to balance the battle, which leads to either the werebeast killing off the injured dwarves or being pummeled into submission without spreading his curse. The main problem is when an attack by either the werebeast or a dwarf happens at the moment of transformation, it is considered a dwarf-on-dwarf attack, which leads to a minor loyalty cascade.

Another method is to simply lock a werebeast in a room with a civilian(s) and hope that the civilian survives long enough for the werebeast to turn back. This reduces (but does not eliminate) the chance of a loyalty cascade, because only the werebeast is attacking. The main problem is that werebeasts become legendary fighters/wrestlers very quickly and are more than capable of killing/fatally wounding half a dozen dwarves in a single transformation.

The most successful method discovered is to lock a werebeast in a room with civilians, but be sure the room is completely covered in cage traps. Many injuries inflicted by werebeasts can knock a dwarf unconscious due to pain or strangulation, and an unconscious dwarf will be trapped by a cage trap. In the cage, dwarves are free to recover from their wounds, safe from any further attacks. In addition, a dwarf who is released from a cage gets an enormous happiness boost that will help him cope with the loss of family and friends who were not so lucky. Further improvements to this technique, such as assigning the uncursed to squads with no uniform (or just a helmet) that replaces clothing in order to allow every bite to break the skin, have pushed successful conversion rates to near 50%. It is also recommended to release dwarves from their cages immediately (via constructing the cages and attaching them to a lever) to prevent insanity due to unhappiness.

Werebeast military[edit]

A somewhat less drastic (though potentially even more fun) option is to start a werebeast super-soldier breeding program. Some werebeasts can hold and use weapons in wereform, and whatever combat skills they have as dwarves also apply while transformed. Being infected gives dwarves a large increase to their physical attributes (which can still be increased further, unlike vampires), and they need not worry about being wounded in combat as long as they survive until their next transformation. Add to this the wereform's large size of 80000 and inability to feel pain, which partially makes up for its lack of armor, and you end up with a potentially devastating military force, if you can manage to keep them from murdering each other and the rest of your fortress.

Were-soldiers are mostly useful when their wereform is of a variety that can use weapons and preferably also shields, which obviously requires hands of some sort. Weregophers, for example, can use either a shield or a one-handed weapon, but not both, and may even equip crossbows as well as quivers and bolts. It is unknown if dwarves in wereform can wield weapons that are normally too large for them, such as pikes. If they cannot use weapons they may still be useful as soldiers if their wereform is of the dangerous sort, for example in the case of werelions and tigers and bears.

Transformed military dwarves respect their stations, alerts and uniforms (when applicable) and ignore the civilian alert, but will still attack anything they regard as an enemy, such as their fellow dwarves or any destroyable buildings. They must therefore be kept away from the rest of the fortress with walls and bridges, as they will destroy any non-artifact doors.

Bonus points if you also install a dump chute in the room to give them new weapons and booze. Designate a stockpile under the chute, set it to take from links only, disable bins and set it to allow booze, empty barrels, weapons, shields and possibly ammo. Supplying the were-soldiers with booze both keeps them happy and prevents them from wandering into your fortress to look for it. Be aware that they can and will jump out of a hole directly above them, so either make the chute at least 2 z-levels high and smooth the walls, or keep it firmly locked with a hatch cover.

Once their containment room has been built, add a piece of furniture, designate a large barracks from it and set them to train there. The were-soldiers will destroy the barracks while transformed unless it is an artifact, so wall it in after the room has been defined. Remember to use 2-tile thick walls because of the sparring bug above.

An important thing to remember is the following: If two or more transformed dwarves have any sort of active military order (either from an alert or direct orders), and can see each other at the moment they change back from wereform, then they will instantly begin fighting to the death, causing a loyalty cascade. To avoid this, either train your were-soldiers alone in separate rooms (slower due to lack of sparring), or make sure to set their alert to Inactive and cancel all their orders before they change back to dwarves. Once they've changed back, they can be set to train or given orders again. If they do start fighting each other, canceling all their orders and setting them to Inactive will make them stop.

The soldiers will not train while transformed, but if they were sparring during the transformation they will continue to spar in wereform, which can be entertaining to watch. The combat log for sparring dwarves in wereform will be gray instead of the normal cyan.

Transformation dates[edit]

There are exactly thirteen full moons in a dwarven year, so werebeasts transform on exactly the same dates every year:

  • 25th Granite (XX-01-25)
  • 23rd Slate (XX-02-23)
  • 21st Felsite (XX-03-21)
  • 19th Hematite (XX-04-19)
  • 17th Malachite (XX-05-17)
  • 15th Galena (XX-06-15)
  • 13th Limestone (XX-07-13)
  • 11th Sandstone (XX-08-11)
  • 8th Timber (XX-09-08)
  • 6th Moonstone (XX-10-06)
  • 4th Opal (XX-11-04)
  • 2nd Obsidian (XX-12-02)
  • 28th Obsidian (XX-12-28)

Werebeasts in adventure mode[edit]

In adventurer mode, werebeasts are usually found living in small lairs on the edges of civilization. Young adventurers will often be called upon to slay them, with instructions along the line of 'he assumes a bestial form' along with a description of what type of metal they are vulnerable to. However, as long as they are not visited on the night of their transformation, they are just common peasants, and can be dispatched easily. It would behoove these individuals to hide themselves among townsfolk, but what can ya do?

Becoming a werebeast[edit]

To become a werebeast, you must either happen upon a werebeast in its beastly form or seek one out on the night of their transformation. The most safe and certain way to permit an infectious werebite is to remove all upper body armor, and only torso armor. The torso is the easiest target and it can sustain more damage than limbs. Getting an appendage bitten or shaken off has a lower probability of penetrating the bloodstream than a bite to the chest area.

Note if you select a form for its advantages: the werebeast form doesn't guarantee the stat ranges their animal type may imply; those are generated completely independently. The beast form only confers a proportionate size/mass increase, the tissue layer materials, and all their attack types.

It is additionally possible to become a werebeast by toppling statues of your god(s) in a temple or sanctuary. Walk up to the statue and topple it with u then a. Toppling a statue in this way will lead you to be cursed: the curse will be either werebeast or vampirism. As of v0.47.01, toppling statues unrelated to your religion no longer has any effect. A simpler way to obtain a werebeast curse is to roll divination dice to the point of angering the gods. Once you get a message urging you not to tempt fate, another roll of the dice will bestow upon you a curse. Which curse you get appears to be randomly decided at the time you topple the statue or roll the dice. Reloading the game and repeating the process often gives the alternate curse.

If you become a werebeast and transform in adventure mode, you can pick up your weapon and shield that were dropped in the transformation, but, seeing as almost all werebeasts seem to have a minimum body size of about 80000, armor will become too small for you to fit into. Hauled items will also be dropped on Fast Travel.

Implications of being an adventuring werebeast[edit]


  • Every full moon all injuries are instantly healed, then again when the phase ends.
  • For 30 game hours you are inexhaustible; the perfect time to power-train your combat skills. You can sustain max movement rate, multi-attack with everything you have, block and dodge without exhaustion limits. Though your physical attributes won't increase, the skill gains will make your natural form much stronger than it was.
  • Potential increase to all physical stats, likely increase to all physical stat maximums (your mileage may vary; sometimes base and maximum stats are lower than your normal form.)
  • Increase in mass that scales up with animal's base size (eg a smaller creature adds a marginal amount, a larger creature may gain mass in the 100ks.)
  • Acquire all the animal's traits including swim/climb/crawl rates, innate swimming, physical attacks such as hoof or horn, tissue layer properties such as scales or thick hide.
  • Acquiring the curse directly from a god additionally grants agelessness, which similar to necromancers' agelessness makes you neutral to undead.


  • Attacked if you visit any towns during your transformation. Automatically hostile with everyone except werebeasts of your own species.
  • Having to re-equip yourself every transformation unless transformed size is similar enough to your race's size. Non-leather clothing will be destroyed on any transformation regardless of size difference.
  • If enemies are wielding weapons of a material your new form is weak against, damage taken can be devastating.
  • Werebeast form often starts relatively weaker, and its maximum potential may be less than normal form.


  • Ordering your military to kill an infected dwarf may trigger a loyalty cascade, potentially making every single dwarf of the fortress hostile to all others Bug:0003259. To prevent this, it's safer to dispose of the infected by other means, like quarantining them via forbidden doors on hospitals fitted with… hygienic measures.
  • On first transformation an afflicted character's birth year and time can be set back hundreds to thousands of years Bug:0005835. This can occur from infection by bite or direct deity curse.
  • Infected invaders don't attack the rest of the invasion force when they turn.Bug:10014
  • Regardless of whether or not their original race is known, a unit's kill list will always show a defeated werebeast as a member of their starting race, even if transformed.

D4Dwarf.png This article or section has been rated D for Dwarf. It may include witty humour, not-so-witty humour, bad humour, in-jokes, pop culture references, and references to the Bay12 forums. Don't believe everything you read, and if you miss some of the references, don't worry. It was inevitable.

Sometimes a werebeast arrives in humanoid form, and the game then announces the arrival of a normal, intelligent creature as if it was some terrible beast. The naked, confused creature usually runs away, probably scared by your dwarves' laughter.

Unlike other werebeasts, werehedgehogs have shown the ability to unnaturally stretch their limbs out for extra mobility, and often attempt to steal rings from your stockpiles.

"Werebeast" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: senelfer
Elvish: riviìle
Goblin: bemkåbu
Human: hixursuku