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Urist McGhost, Ghostly Cheesemaker has risen and is haunting the fortress!

Ghost v50 preview.png

Ghosts Ñ are a type of night creature and the spiritual essence of an intelligent creature. After the death of an intelligent creature (or a dwarf) who is a member of your civilization, its soul may come back as a ghost, who will proceed to haunt the place of its death. In a dwarven fortress, dead dwarves have a chance of returning as ghosts if they are not properly buried or memorialized after their death. Ghosts often take to haunting their relatives and friends, following them around on the same tile, as well as lingering wistfully near areas they frequented in life or the spot they died. Some even continue to perform their jobs.Bug:6354 However, not all ghosts bear their anguish calmly. When a spirit has finally been calmed, the following message appears:
Urist McGhost, Ghostly Cheesemaker has been put to rest.

Ghost announcement icon.png

Ghosts are able to pass through walls, doors, floors, and other impassable tiles. They can open hatches (even when mechanically-linkedBug:8458) and unlock any locked doors that they happen to pass throughBug:4773. Ghosts may block building constructionBug:6417 and immigrant arrival.Bug:5568

Ghosts are generally immune to harm (except for a few bugs). They can be targeted in the Squad kill screen (s,k) even though they won't actually be attacked. Ghosts can be dismissed by burying the remains or by constructing, engraving and building slabs in memory of the deceased. Ghosts of visitors will eventually choose to "leave" the site once their "visit" timer expires.

Graphically, ghost sprites will appear as transparent individuals with green skin if they are one of the main races. However, any hair they have will remain completely opaque.

Paranormal Activity[edit]

Ghostly elf phasing in and out of view.
Portrait of a ghostly dwarf.

Ghosts haunting the fortress will occasionally perform some of the following actions, based on their temperament:

  • <ghost> sucks the wind out of <dwarf>
  • <ghost> raises a high fever in <dwarf>
  • <ghost> makes <dwarf> convulse and retch
  • <ghost> inflicts excruciating pain upon <dwarf>
  • <ghost> causes a spell of dizziness in <dwarf>
  • <ghost> paralyzes <dwarf>
  • <ghost> stuns <dwarf>
  • <ghost> batters <dwarf>
  • <dwarf> is throwing a tantrum, possessed by <ghost>
  • <ghost> is following <dwarf>
  • <item> has been misplaced. No doubt <ghost> is to blame!
  • <ghost> is throwing objects around the fortress!
  • <ghost> can be heard howling throughout the fortress!

The ghost's activities may be determined by the nature of its death and its personality traits using the following table, in order:

Type Cause Effect
Murderous Ghost Had a fell mood, had low ALTRUISM, or slab/grave was deconstructed Murders dwarves.
Sadistic Ghost Had a macabre mood, or had low ALTRUISM Batters, scares and paralyses dwarves. Capable of scaring a dwarf to death.
Violent Ghost Was berserk, or had high ANGER_PROPENSITY Batters dwarves, often but not always removing limbs.
Moaning Spirit Was melancholic, or had high DEPRESSION_PROPENSITY Troubles one unfortunate dwarf at a time.
Howling Spirit Was stark raving mad, or had high STRESS_VULNERABILITY Makes sleeping difficult.
Angry Ghost Was possessed Will possess dwarves, causing them to throw tantrums. May still be capable of battering dwarves.
Energetic Poltergeist Was in a fey mood, or had high ACTIVITY_LEVEL Topples furniture, such as chairs.
Secretive Poltergeist Was in a secretive mood, or had high BASHFUL Misplaces items.
Troublesome Poltergeist Had high IMMODERATION Misplaces items, may topple furniture and pull levers.[Verify]
Restless Haunt Had GREGARIOUSNESS at least as high as DUTIFULNESS, or never completed any jobs Drifts around place of death and frequented locations. Also haunts dwarves, causing unhappy thoughts.
Forlorn Haunt Did not satisfy any of the above checks Drifts around place of death and frequented locations.

A "high" trait check will succeed 20% of the time for value of 76-90, 50% of the time for 91-99, and is guaranteed for 100. Similarly, a "low" trait check will succeed 20% of the time for 10-24, 50% of the time for 1-9, and always for 0. Because the Murderous Ghost check has higher priority, having zero ALTRUISM will always result in a Murderous Ghost, never a Sadistic Ghost.

If a ghost is put to rest and subsequently re-raised (by deconstructing its coffin or slab), it will eventually return as a Murderous Ghost.

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.

Dwarven ghosts would likely be classified as Wraiths by modern ghost hunters, as they can travel through walls and they are not known to leave fingerprints, reduce the ambient temperature around them, or write disturbing messages in nearby books.

Adventurer mode[edit]

If you revisit your fortress during adventurer mode, the ghosts found previously will still remain. Take care! The ghosts may attempt to 'scare you to death' almost instantly. Note that creatures with NOFEAR are immune to this attack.

"Ghostly" Dwarves[edit]

When a dwarf dies and becomes a ghost, its Legends mode entry lists it as a "ghostly" dwarf. All actions taken by the dwarf during both life and death will then be attributed to the ghostly dwarf. This will generate messages like "the ghostly dwarf Urist McHauntypants arrived in Cagesyrups" even when the dwarf was obviously not a ghost yet when it immigratedBug:5276.

Science on Ghosts[edit]

A ghost phasing through the ground.
  • Cave-ins do not kill ghosts, perhaps because they can walk through walls already.
  • Ghosts can suffer bruises and even organ rupture if struck by a minecart.
  • Ghosts are put to rest when any part of their body is put in a burial receptacle.[Verify] For example, should a dwarf lose a toe in a fight before dying in such a way that the rest of them is unrecoverable, the toe can be recovered to put its ghost to rest.
  • Ghosts can open doors, even forbidden ones (leaving them unlocked).
  • Ghosts can and will grow up (if they came back as a child) and die of old age.
  • Ghosts can be frozen in water.
  • Ghosts can be murdered by dwarves taken by fell moods - the ghost's body is used to create the artifact. This is also amusing because when you look at a ghost's wounds with v, all body parts are listed grey, meaning that they are gone. The affected dwarf will then kill another dwarf, because they didn't get the materials they needed for the construction.Bug:4681
  • It is possible for a ghost to become the outpost liaison of a civilization.
  • Ghostly fisherdwarves will keep fishing in the afterlife, and ghostly animal trainers will gladly train your captured animals for you.
  • When a ghost rises, their entry in the Dead/Missing list will change accordingly. So, should a dead cook return as a ghost, their profession in the Dead/Missing list will turn into "Ghostly Cook".
  • If a dwarf goes missing, is not memorialized, and returns as a ghost, the entry for the dwarf in the Dead/Missing list will become "Deceased".
  • Ghosts may disappear suddenly, and if they do, their entry in the Dead/Missing list will disappear as well. When they are put to rest in this state, their entry will reappear.
  • Ghosts will occasionally claim built burial receptacles as tombs for themselves. These tombs must be unassigned before anything can be placed within them.
  • Male ghosts are considered gelded.
  • Ghosts can go insane.
  • It is possible for a civilised intelligent undead to turn into a ghost. In order to be ghostified, the creature needs to leave the map. Assigning the undead to a squad and sending it on raids seems to do the trick, as eventually, the intelligent undead's ghost will rise. The risen ghost will not be interactable, but will still be part of the military. This behaviour can be exploited further to resurrect the undead back into its original creature form. Here's how to do it: keep the undead's ghost in a squad, and send this squad on another mission. While the squad is off-map, engrave a memorial slab to the ghost and place it down - when the squad comes back, your undead should now be alive, and its skills will have persisted.
  • It is possible for ghosts to be captured in a (lead?) cage.

Playing as a ghost[edit]

Using external utilities like DFHack's ghostly command, it is possible to turn your adventurer into a ghost. When playing as a ghost, you will be able to pass through walls, but only if you have no items in inventory. Other creatures will ignore you, as they can't harm you and you will be unable to attack them, either. However, you will be capable of harming others if your character can perform a suitable interaction, like poison gas, fire breath, or a directly applied syndrome. Flying as a ghost seems to have some issues, because your ghostly adventurer will become stuck in mid-air forever, unless they are a creature that can normally fly. Other aspects of the game seem to work as usual.

"Ghost" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: ngotol
Elvish: oreme
Goblin: engror
Human: tacnu