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This article is about an older version of DF.
Skill: Wrestler
Profession Military
Job Title Wrestler
Labor Wrestler
  • Fighting creatures with wrestling moves


An ancient drawing of sumo wrestling.

The wrestler combat skill pertains to incapacitating enemies by grabbing hold of limbs and other body parts, which is distinct from striker, kicker, and biter; separate skills that pertain to punching/scratching, kicking, and biting attacks, respectively. Note that the thrower skill is used for throwing miscellaneous objects at creatures, not throwing the opponents themselves. A wrestler who has gained Legendary level of skill is called an elite wrestler.

While striking and kicking are basic one-shot attacks like weapon attacks, biting can be used in conjunction with wrestling, even though it uses a different skill to determine if the bite "hits" (see Biting and Ripping Off Body Parts below).

Wrestling maneuvers include:

  • Grabbing is the basic wrestling move—a grabbed body part cannot be used to attack you, and the opponent will be unable to dodge to a different square, or move, until it breaks all your grabs (though you will also be unable to move without releasing it). Grabbing is required to use the more advanced maneuvers.
  • Take-down maneuvers that render an opponent prone
  • Throws (as in throwing a creature, not an object) which render an opponent prone and stunned
  • Choke Holds and Strangling which can render an opponent unconscious and eventually kill
  • Joint Locks and Breaking Bones which can break limbs
  • Shaking around by the teeth, after latching on from biting, which can do extra damage or sever body parts
  • Gouging (eyes, for example) and Pinching which can damage, destroy, or even sever body parts
  • Disarming maneuvers which can remove weapons, shields, clothing, or armor from an opponent.

When wrestling, the advantage always goes to the creature with greater mass. A stronger wrestler's moves will fail against larger opponents, and they will be unable to break holds. Blood loss will cause a proportionate reduction in a creature's mass, so a sufficiently injured minotaur can become vulnerable to a dwarven wrestler. Wrestling skill also improves defense against wrestling moves, so even a relatively light creature can benefit from developing it.

See combat skill for more information on other combat skills.

Fortress Mode[edit]

While the same wrestling "moves" described here can be used by dwarves in fortress mode, it isn't possible to force particular wrestling maneuvers to be used. About all you can do is take away a dwarf's weapons to encourage wrestling, and hope that they pick effective wrestling tactics in combat.

In fortress mode, wrestlers are generally unable to kill very effectively, but they may make killing easier for their armed comrades. Unfortunately, the AI is rather unlikely to do some of the more elaborate moves, even if they are possible.

Adventurer Mode[edit]

Wrestling in adventurer mode can be performed by standing next to an enemy and pressing A, selecting (and perhaps confirming) the enemy you wish to fight, and then b to select a wrestling move. You can wrestle any enemy, but the effectiveness of your wrestling attempts will be limited by relative size and strength differences (for example, a dwarf is unlikely to be able to throw or choke-hold an elephant or dragon). Unconsciousness renders a creature vulnerable to wrestling regardless of size differences.

Wrestling works somewhat like a targeted attack. Once you grab a creature by some body part, you may be able to make another wrestling attempt that will allow you to perform a more elaborate and useful move. You may have to press , once or twice before you can do a second wrestling maneuver.

Below are instructions on how to perform various wrestling moves in adventure mode:

(In many of the moves that require two steps, auto-attacking after the first step will default to the secondary action. For example, after biting someone and "latching on firmly," moving into your opponent(auto-attacking) will cause you to shake the part with your teeth. This can be useful to quickly remove your lodged weapon or choke your opponent without manually performing each attack.)

See status icon for a legend of icons used when creatures are prone, thrown, stunned, etc.


This knocks an opponent to the ground, similar to how they fall to the ground when charged, though without stunning them. Once on the ground, they'll have to take time to stand back up, or their movement rate will be limited as they try to crawl. This move can only be performed if the opponent is standing up.

To perform a takedown:

  1. Select Grab with right upper arm or with some other body part
  2. Select Grab upper body with right upper arm or some other part of the body. If the grab is successful you will see:
    • You grab the <creature> by the upper body with your right upper arm! and you and your opponent's icons will change to indicate that you are wrestling.
  3. Select the enemy for wrestling again.
  4. Select Wrestle using right upper arm
  5. Select Take-down by upper body with right upper arm
  6. You will then see one of:
    • You take the <creature> down by the upper body with Your right upper arm!
      Success! The creature's status icon will change to indicate prone.
    • You adjust the grip of Your right upper arm on The <creature>'s upper body.
      Failure. You have not lost your grip but you will have to try the takedown again.
    • The <creature> breaks the grip of Your right upper arm from The <creature>'s upper body!
      Total failure. You have completely lost your grip on your opponent and will have to start over from the beginning.


You perform a throw the same way as a take-down, using the same procedure as above, except that you select Throw by x with y when the opponent is not on the ground. A throw will cause an opponent to become stunned and prone, with the possibility of throwing them back a certain distance (depending on your strength and relative size). However, it is more difficult to successfully throw a creature than it is to perform a take-down on one.

Chokeholds and strangling[edit]

Chokeholds can be extremely effective, if you can pull them off. A chokehold will cause an opponent to become unconscious, making it extremely easy to kill them with a followup shot.

To perform a chokehold:

  1. Select Grab with right upper arm or some other body part
  2. Select Grab throat with right upper arm. Choking requires grabbing the throat, not the neck.
  3. Choose the enemy for wrestling again.
  4. Select Wrestle with right upper arm
  5. Select Choke throat with right upper arm
  6. You will then see:
    • You place a chokehold on The <creature>'s throat with Your right upper arm!
      Success, so far anyway.
    • You adjust the grip of Your right upper arm on The <creature>'s throat.
      Failure. You have not lost your grip but you will have to try the chokehold again.
  7. Choose the enemy for wrestling yet again.
  8. Select Wrestle with right upper arm
  9. Select Strangle throat with right upper arm
  10. If successful you will see:
    • You strangle <creature>'s throat!
    • The <creature> passes out. (not necessarily on the first try)
  11. If the creature passes out (some are immune to strangling) the next attack will hit very easily, so follow up with a targeted headshot or, if you want to be more gruesome, a bite to the throat. (See below.) You can also simply continue to strangle them until they suffocate, though this will take multiple turns.

Joint locks and breaking limbs[edit]

With some body parts, it's possible to put them into joint locks and break them. This works almost exactly like strangling:

  1. Select Grab with right upper arm
  2. Select Grab right upper arm with right upper arm
  3. Choose to wrestle the enemy again.
  4. Select Wrestle with right upper arm
  5. Select Lock right shoulder with right upper arm. If successful, you will see:
    • You lock The <creature>'s right shoulder with Your right upper arm!
  6. Choose to wrestle the enemy yet again.
  7. Select Wrestle with right upper arm
  8. Select Break right shoulder with right upper arm If successful, you will see:
    • You bend The <creature>'s right upper arm with Your right upper arm, shattering the right shoulder's bone!

Biting and ripping off body parts[edit]

When biting a creature, you will usually get a message saying You latch on firmly!. If you have latched on with a bite, you can enter the wrestling menu and shake the creature around with your teeth - this can be extremely effective.

To bite down on and attempt to rip off a body part with your teeth:

  1. After selecting an enemy, choose to strike (not to wrestle!).
  2. Select a body part, preferably one you can actually hit
  3. Select "bite" as the attack type
  4. If the attack hits, you should do some damage and see You latch on firmly!
  5. Choose your enemy, this time opting to wrestle.
  6. You will now see an option like Wrestle with upper front tooth. Select that option.
  7. Select Shake <part> with upper front tooth
  8. This should do some amount of damage, ranging from tissue layer damage, to ripping the body part completely off. If you bit down on the throat, for example, and were very successful, you will see:
    • You shake The <creature> around by the throat, tearing apart the throat!
    • A major artery in the throat has been opened by the attack!

Pinching and gouging[edit]

To pinch or gouge, you have to have at least one hand free, meaning that it can't be holding something like a weapon or shield.

  1. Select Grab with left hand
  2. Select Grab head with left hand
  3. If this succeeds, choose to wrestle the enemy again.
  4. Select Wrestle with left hand
  5. Select Gouge left eye with left hand or Pinch <part> with left hand, or whatever seems good. If successful you will see something like:
    • You gouge The <creature>'s left eye with Your left hand, tearing it apart!

Pinching can do anything from tissue damage to severing the body part.


If you know how a creature is attacking, you can try interrupting the attack with a grab. Incoming attacks are shown in the Aim attack menu, and the main attribute that determines how well you can see incoming attacks is the Observer skill. To interrupt an attack, you must have a hand free (Use q to strap any weapons you're holding to your upper body, if necessary).

  1. Press A and check if there is an incoming attack like Attacking you with right hand punch
  2. Press b to Wrestle then select Grab with left hand
  3. Scroll to and select Grab right hand with left hand
  4. Press , to advance time and if successful the game will display You catch the goblin's right hand with your left hand! or You grab the goblin by the right hand with your left hand! The goblin's attack is interrupted!

If the opponent is attacking with a weapon, you can grab either the weapon or the hand holding it. If you successfully grab the weapon, you can try to disarm the opponent, as in the next section.


Unlike interrupting an attack, you can attempt to disarm a creature at any time. As with interrupting, you must have a hand free (Use q to strap any weapons you're holding to your upper body, if necessary). Note that some powerful creatures may actually be more dangerous if you take away their weapon.

  1. Select Grab with left hand
  2. Now, scroll down toward the bottom of the list of body parts and you will see items that you can grab a hold of. Select Grab <item> with left hand
  3. Assuming you hit, press I (advanced interaction) and scroll through your inventory until you see the item in your left hand listed in red. Select it.
  4. Select Gain possession
  5. If successful, you will now have sole possession of the item in your left hand. You may now do whatever you want with it. You can remove weapons, shields, armor, clothing, or anything that shows up in the list of things to grab.

See adventurer mode combat for more information on combat in adventure mode.


  • Currently, most creatures (everything except humans, goblins, kobolds, elves, dwarves, and some creatures like birds who use parts of the humanoid body plan) do not have joints, which means they are immune to joint locks and breaking limbs through wrestling.
  • Bug:6715 If you attack a creature, and your blade lodges firmly in the wound, you can use wrestling to put a weapon in both hands. Attack a creature, and have the weapon you wish to duplicate lodge in the wound. Then enter wrestling and grab that weapon with your free hand, and move away. You will now appear to have two distinct weapons in your inventory, and you will get a list of attack choices for the weapon twice. However, you do not actually get two distinct weapons, you are merely holding one weapon in two hands, it's just that the game doesn't properly handle this.
Fishery worker