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Urist likes dwarves for their beards.
Df dwarf portrait.png

Any location


· Learns · Humanoid

Cannot be tamed 
Birth: 3,000 cm3
Mid: 15,000 cm3
Max: 60,000 cm3

Child at: 1
Adult at: 18
Max age: 150-170
Cannot be butchered

Wikipedia article

This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

A short, sturdy creature fond of drink and industry.
This is a masterfully-designed engraving of a Dwarf and a battle axe.

Dwarves (singular, Dwarf) are "intelligent", alcohol-dependent, humanoid creatures that are the featured race of fortress mode, as well as being playable in adventurer mode. They are well known for their stout physique and prominent beards (on the males), which begin to grow from birth; dwarves are stronger, shorter, stockier, and hairier than the average human, have a heightened sense of their surroundings and possess perfect darkvision. Dwarves live both in elaborate underground fortresses carved from the mountainside and above-ground hillocks, are naturally gifted miners, metalsmiths, and stone crafters, and value the acquisition of wealth and rare metals above all else.

Dwarven civilizations typically form (mostly) peaceful, trade-based relationships with humans and elves, but are bitter enemies with goblins, and consider kobolds a petty annoyance. Dwarven babies become children one year after birth, grow up to become adults at their eighteenth birthday, and live to be around 150-170 years of age.

Well-trained dwarves are a menace in combat; they are the only race that can enter a martial trance when beset by multiple foes, granting them a major combat bonus, and their emphasis on mining and metalworking ensures access to the best arms and armor. They are incapable, however, of riding mounts, and will always fight on foot. Note, however, that this is only applicable to player controlled dwarves in fortress mode, as they have access to mounts if they're the invading force of a siege.

Dwarves speak the dwarven language.

Some non-dwarves like dwarves for their beards.

Fortress mode[edit]

Dwarves are the current default race in fortress mode, as in, the only one that can be played without modding. As a trading race, dwarves will send a caravan every year in Autumn. These merchants will bring back tales of a fortress's wealth and goods, which will attract immigrants, and the outpost liaison will bring news about the goings on of the world centered mainly on the player's civilization, including results of mayoral elections, flight of various refugee groups from their forts and hillocks during wars, and replacement of monarchs if the previous incumbent dies with or without an heir.

Dwarves may occasionally be inspired to create a legendary artifact, an item of masterful crafting and great value. A dwarf who is successful in this quest will in most cases become a legendary worker in that profession; however, if the appropriate materials are not available, the dwarf will instead go insane. Dwarves with the dream of creating a great work of art long for a strange mood to strike them.

Being underground creatures, dwarves are not fond of the sun, and when exposed to it after spending long enough in the dark, they will experience negative thoughts and vomiting, which will be worse and last for longer the longer they have spent underground (or would if it weren't currently buggedBug:11901).

Dwarves react to stress depending on their personality traits; some react with fear or violence unless they've become sufficiently disciplined (or numbed) to such things, while others will not feel anything unless the stress is particularly personal. When pushed to unhappiness by unfortunate events, dwarves will go into emotional breakdowns depending on their personalities, ranging from depression to aggressive tantrums – it is not uncommon to find tantruming dwarves overturning furniture, injuring others, and generally being rowdy. Nevertheless, they also have a strong sense of justice, and those who damage property or other dwarves may find themselves incarcerated, or – in extreme cases – on the receiving end of the hammerer's corporal punishment, though unintentionally fatal beatings from the fortress guard are not unusual. While older versions of the game were famed for their "tantrum spirals", where dwarves would enrage each other in a domino effect and destroy the fortress in the process, these are not as common in the current day, though a stressed dwarf is nonetheless a plentiful source of fun.

Adventurer mode[edit]

Dwarven fortresses exist in adventurer mode, both in their world-generated and player-made forms. They can be a good source of dwarf-sized armor (as human armor is too large for dwarves).

Most human weapons must be wielded two-handed by dwarves, due to their size, except, of course, the weapons that dwarves can also make.


This is a crayon drawing. All craftsdwarfship is of the highest quality. On the item is an image of dwarves in crayon. The dwarves are laughing. The dwarves are dancing. On the item are signatures of Zach and Tarn Adams in crayon.

Morally speaking, dwarven ethics most closely resembles human and elven ethics, agrees somewhat with kobold and animal people ethics, and disagrees strongly with goblin ethics. Unlike elves, dwarves find the devouring of dead enemies unthinkable, and will not butcher or consume intelligent beings (goblins see this as a personal matter). They are entirely opposed to torture of any sort for any reason, unlike elves, humans, kobolds and animal people (who find certain forms of torture acceptable) and especially goblins, who find all torture acceptable. Dwarves tolerate animal trophies but shun those who keep trophies of sapient beings, and find those who keep trophies of other dwarves appalling. Dwarves find the killing of animals, enemies and plants completely acceptable, unlike elves, kobolds and animal people. An exception to this is the killing of neutral beings, which is sanctioned as long as the killing had been officially ordered. A dwarf found to have participated in assault, theft, trespassing or vandalism will be seriously punished; some crimes such as killing other dwarves, breaking oaths, slavery and treason are punishable by death. On the other hand, lying is considered a personal matter.

Dwarves highly value craftsmanship, and deeply respect law, loyalty, family, friendship, truth, artwork, skill and hard work. They place a certain degree of value on martial prowess, cooperation, fairness, independence, stoicism, commerce, merriment, leisure time and perseverance. They have no respect for nature.

Community outlook[edit]

Dwarves have accumulated a reputation among players for being slow-witted, although to be fair, this is more a function of the game itself (and certain consequences thereof) than it is the fault of the dwarves. The instances of dwarven stupidity are numerous; examples include dodging into thin air (off of cliffs and into rivers), never accounting for water flow (and being swept off of waterfalls to a watery grave several z-levels below), always taking the easy paths (even through a pond poisoned with toxic forgotten beast blood), climbing across tree branches and falling into the lakes or ponds the branches hang over, building constructions from the wrong side (trapping themselves within), channeling the floor one is was standing on, wandering off to do dangerous things (collecting webs when a giant cave spider is visibly lurking), and generally disregarding dangerous circumstances (carrying back friendly corpses even when the goblins that have rendered them horizontal are a mere two feet away).

Dwarves also have the reputation of being incredibly irritable, becoming stressed at the slightest provocation. The problem was compounded by dwarven touchiness in previous versions of the game; they easily became depressed, throwing tantrums that spiraled out of control for what seemed like minor reasons (e.g. a temporary lack of unworn socks). This inevitably led to players' emphasis of the "dwarfy": failsafe designs, machinery in place of dwarfpower, fun with magma, seizing control of the environment, killing all the cute fuzzy animals, strip-mining the whole place hollow, etc. It is a great insult to be called an elf, implying that the player is apt to sit around and gaze at trees, living in the world rather than bending it to their will.

In accounts of exploits or fun, the generic name Urist is often used in place of any specific dwarf name, often because the default dwarf names are complex, random, and hard to remember. Several other nicknames for dwarves also exist; some are less polite than others.


In real-life mythology, dwarves are much like humans, but generally prefer to live underground and/or in mountainous areas. In their fortresses they have accumulated treasures of gold, silver, and precious stones, and pass their time fabricating costly weapons and armor. They are famed miners and smiths, although, like humans, they can specialize in any number of trades. Generally shorter than humans, they are on average stockier and hairier, and usually sport full beards. Though slow runners and poor riders, dwarves are excellent warriors and defenders of their strongholds. Dwarves have the ability to forge magical items, which shows off their culture's and species' natural craftsmanship. For instance, dwarven smiths created some of the greatest and most powerful items of mythology, which inspired the in-game strange moods and legendary artifacts.

Myths concerning dwarves[edit]

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.

Dwarves, much like the Biblical hero Samson, actually gain their strength from their beards. (Think back to Gimli, of Jackson's LOTR; "NOT THE BEARD"). There is some speculation among philosophers and biologists of other species whether there is a connection between alcohol and the near godlike properties dwarves exhibit, to which most dwarves respond with a roaring cascade of laughter, before bashing the offending creature's head in and chuckling, "is there a connection?", while suddenly deciding to create an artifact due to the unexpected boost in happiness.

This brings us to the question of why dwarves become sad when they see a fellow dwarf killing a creature. In this, most species are only partially correct in the assumption that the dwarf regrets the loss of life. The real reason dwarves become upset, occasionally becoming melancholic and often throwing fits, is due to the regret that they were not the cause of said loss of life. This is especially true when the creature slain belongs to one of the following categories, in ascending order of amount regretted:

     A) "LnT"    Large and Threatening
     B) "SCnI"   Small, Cute and Innocent
     C) "FB"     Forgotten Beast (titans, forgotten beasts and other large "fun" included here)
     D) "g"      Goblins
     E) "k"      Kobolds
     Z) "ë"      Elves