From Dwarf Fortress Wiki
(Redirected from Immigration)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is about the current version of DF.

Immigration can occur at any time, once per season. Smaller migrant waves of 2-10 arrive in the early seasons, followed by a large wave in the low double digits in the second spring, one year after embark (the maximum wave size reported to date is 77 archive). Each group of migrants will often include such things as children and domestic animals, including both pets and stray livestock. Be prepared with adequate food, drink, and beds, among other things.

Migrants will often have skills that match your fortress' needs — migrants with skills your fortress uses a lot or skills that your fortress doesn't have at all are more likely to show up at your gates. Important skills (mining, food production, and basic crafting, according to Toady) are weighed more heavily than other skills.Source  · MP3

Migration waves are generally a good thing — if you're prepared for them.

Labor preferences[edit]

Each migrant can arrive with a wide collection of often unrelated skills, far greater than possible with one of the starting 7 dwarves, and experience levels as high as Legendary. Any and all skills might be represented, including obscure military skills (like blowgunner), high levels of one or more social skills, crutch walker, concentration and others. It's even possible to have dwarves with skills that may not be obtainable in fortress mode like tracking.

Migrants may also arrive with equipment matching their skills. For example, a miner migrant may bring a pick with them. Migrants may arrive with all labors except hauling, cleaning, recovering wounded, and caring for wounded disabled, depending on the settings one has entered into d_init.txt.

Historical migrants[edit]

Some immigrants are historical figures. These immigrants come to your fortress with skills representing their history, and may come to your fortress with wounds they have suffered during world generation. Immigrants may even be vampires or werebeasts.

Currently, agents (spies) from your own civilization will retain their assumed identities when they migrate to your fortress.Bug:10490 This results in immigrants with odd professions like peddler, prophet, and poet that 'override' their automatically-assigned professions. These immigrants are still loyal to your civilization (at least for now) and should behave normally aside from a few minor bugs (like changing names while on a missionBug:10928).

Limiting/preventing immigration[edit]

In v0.40.05 and above, the d_init.txt POPULATION_CAP setting immediately prevents further immigration once the desired number is achieved. There is also a STRICT_POPULATION_CAP setting, which prevents both immigration and babies when reached (although both can be violated by a few special cases, such as the arrival of a monarch). Keep in mind that your population must be at least 80 to get a king and 100 to obtain the current game features.

The number of migrants depends on the created wealth of your fortress and so is affected by your dwarves' activities. Note that if your fortress should ever become a mountainhome, you will receive an additional migration wave with the promotion, regardless of your population cap. The number of migrants is affected by how far below the population cap your fortress is. If your fortress is one dwarf short of the cap, you will receive a single migrant (if any). Also note that population cap will not remove dwarves from an existing fortress but will prevent new ones from immigrating or being born.

It is worth noting that you need a certain minimum population size before any of your dwarves will experience strange moods. Additionally, POPULATION_CAP affects only migration, it has no effect on pregnancies. You will need to alter STRICT_POPULATION_CAP in order to limit births.

To reiterate, the population cap is a (mostly) hard limit on the number of dwarves in your fortress. If you want a fortress with 50 dwarves, simply set the POPULATION_CAP and STRICT_POPULATION_CAP to 50.

Immigration mechanics[edit]

The date on which immigrants appear in a season seems to be fixed at the start of that season, but the number of immigrants and their skills are determined when the migrant wave arrives.

There is never a migration in the first winter - literally not even a The fortress attracted no migrants this season message.

Migrant skill levels seem to depend on the size of the home civilization; a difference will be noticed if you picked a dwarven civilization that was not well established (few towns or none) compared to a well established one.

Migrant wave sizes[edit]

The first two migrant waves have a minimum size of 1, if a wave member has a relative in your group already, and a maximum size of 10. The size of these waves are unaffected by fortress wealth, danger, or even the extinction of their home civilization.[1]

The third migrant wave and on are influenced by the created wealth of the fortress, with more wealth attracting more immigrants (more research is needed to determine specifics). Specifically, they're influenced by the fortress wealth as reported by the last outgoing dwarven caravan. Wealth created after the caravan leaves has no influence until the next year's caravan leaves. If the caravan fails to make it out then the fortress' wealth is not reported. If the dwarven liason makes it out, but the caravan doesn't, the liaison does not report on fortress wealth.

Imported wealth, caravan sales figures, absolute caravan profit and caravan profit margin either have no effect on migration numbers, or only have an effect by applying a percent modification to the numbers driven by created wealth. If a fortress manages to trade (not offer) away 100% of its created wealth, then no immigrants will come the next season. More research is needed to determine if the aforementioned statistics have any influence on migration numbers.

One factor which is known to affect migrant wave size is the total size of your fortress's units list (all 4 categories), which consists of dwarves, invaders, merchants, and animals which either died or currently live at your fortress. As this number increases, the maximum size of migrant waves will be reduced: starting at a local population of 1000, migrant wave sizes are limited to 10, and at subsequent levels of 1300, 1600, 1800, 2000, 2200, 2400, 2600, 2800, and 2900, the limit is decreased by 1, and once you reach a local population of 3000 you will cease to get migrants at all.

Kurik Amudnil created a DFHack script to prevent the latter from happening, by clearing (and storing, so that it can be restored as wanted) the dead units list of uninteresting creatures. It is available here and is also included in the Lazy Newb Pack.

Adventure mode[edit]

In certain locations in adventure mode, you may come across a Migrating Group. One such location is near a recently abandoned fortress; choosing to travel to the group will allow you to talk to the members of your former fortress as they travel back to dwarven civilization.

Fortress Failure Migration[edit]

If a fortress is abandoned during unhappy, stark raving mad times the citizens can migrate to your new fortress still stark raving mad (berserk possibly, further looking into required). Likewise, if your fortress happened to have any husks when it was abandoned, some of them may migrate to your new fortress.

Deterring migrants[edit]

A different message for migrant arrivals will be triggered depending on your fortress' dangerousness. That number isn't actually a death count, but some sort of composite "fear" value determined by adding up a bunch of sources and dividing them by various amounts. It is not sure exactly what those sources are, but at least one of them is a death count. 0-9 is normal, 10+ is "danger" or "dangerous", and 50+ is "cursed death trap" or "tomb".


Also, some migrants will be incorrectly listed as babies or children, when they are not in the expected age range for those categories. This will automatically fix itself when they have their next birthday. Some baby migrants may have future birth dates. Bug:3945

If your fortress does not have a meeting hall, you might have a situation where a single migrant can't find the fort and just stands at the edge of the map, not moving at all. You may notice that, even if more migrants are part of the wave, they cannot enter the map (and do not show up on the units screen) until this migrant moves out of the square, as all migrants in a single wave must enter the map through this square.

The Migrant Tier List[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, 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.

Whenever a migration wave arrives, most players will stop what they are doing to check the migrants' jobs as soon as possible. This generally creates different reactions in players. Here, the migrants are sorted into tiers, roughly ordered by usefulness. Do note that even F-tier migrants can be useful if a player decides to make them so, and of course any migrant can be useful as a hauler or soldier.

Valued Migrants (S)[edit]

These migrants can improve a fort simply by showing up. Also known as "can I give these guys a mood please?".

  • Armorsmiths: As useful if not even more useful than weaponsmiths.
  • Soldiers: Who doesn't want extra meat shields dwarfpower? If you don't have any yet, you can form your militia, and if you have some they will be reservists, in case something Fun happens to the militia.
  • Miners: Always helpful, and a high mining skill can be useful in combat as well.
  • Growers: Always useful to improve farm efficiency exponentially. A few skilled Growers are probably better than a dozen unskilled ones, though.
  • Cooks: Will quickly boost your fortress's value and dwarves just adore fine meals.
  • Engravers: A good engraver can smooth and detail a large room in minutes, shooting its quality sky-high, while a novice might take hours. Novice engravers also take quite a while to train.

Good Migrants (A)[edit]

Put these dwarves to work, they have much to contribute. Also known as "stalwarts of the fort".

  • Carpenters: Like blacksmiths, but they use wood instead of metal. They're especially useful for making high-value beds.
  • Glassmakers, Potters, and Glazers: Glassmakers can produce many products in the game (including crafts and furniture) out of glass, and said crafts are often worth much more than their stone counterparts. Potters are less versatile but can also make valuable products for a decent enough price, and pots supersede barrels by weight. Note that Glassmakers require sand, and Potters clay, in large quantities to be truly effective, but these resources are basically infinite on embarks that contain them. Glazers complement Potters and are needed to make said pots airtight and waterproof, and a good glaze job adds a ton of value to a product.
  • Healthcare dwarves are always useful, for trying to save that one beloved soldier faster.
  • Mechanics: Always useful, and high quality mechanisms makes your machinery run smoother as well. They also make great trade goods.
  • Herbalists: A great way to kick-start an above-ground farm, or at least keep your food varied. Even dwarves get sick of drinking the same old mushroom booze.
  • Strand extractors: Skilled strand extractors are quick, as unskilled strand extraction is agonizingly slow. Only useful after raw adamantine has been discovered and mined, and the strands do not have quality levels.

Average Migrants (B)[edit]

These migrants can be useful, but generally add less value to the fort than the above categories. Also known as "it ain't much, but it's honest work".

  • Gem cutters and Gem setters: Eh. They just don't produce much value as you'd expect, unless said gem cutter is of a high enough skill level, and gems are only useful for moods and as a trade good. Training them is a pain as well. Encrusting can be finicky as well, since the item to be decorated cannot be specified, so your Gem setter will probably end up slapping your Masterwork diamonds on a barrel or something.
  • Hunters: They usually come with a good Marksdwarf skill, but they immediately go hunting when they appear, causing uncontrolled dwarves and possibly Fun. They can be useful if handled properly, and are definitely entertaining to watch.
  • Furnace operators and Millers: Neither of these labors have quality levels, but the increase in production speed can be highly profitable for the metal and flour industry, respectively.
  • Peasants: Not quite useless, they're more like blank slates. Peasants can be trained in a moodable skill to control the artifacts your fortress will produce. Also, they make good haulers.

Niche Migrants (C)[edit]

Only useful in very specific cases. Also known as "free military conscripts".

  • Beekeepers, Wax workers, and Pressers: Beekeeping is interesting, but it isn't possible on embarks that lack honey bees (bumblebees cannot bee kept). If you do get a beekeeping business going, Wax workers and Pressers become viable as well, since they use the products of beekeeping for their labors; otherwise, they're basically useless.
  • Siege engineers and Siege operators: Would be useful, but siege engines are currently bugged, dealing much less damage than you'd expect, and are often extremely dangerous to your own citizens when they do work as intended.
  • Butchers, Gelders, Animal trainers, and Tanners: While these labors can be pivotal to a fort's usage of animals, you really won't need more than one of these dwarves unless your animal or hunting industry is truly booming.
  • Bone carvers: Bone is neither valuable nor does it fill a particular niche, but it is a rather common alternative to wood.
  • Dyers: When was the last time you dyed some cloth? Skilled Dyers do add extra value to dyed cloth, as it does have a quality level, but come on.
  • Bowyers: Bowyers can make wooden and bone crossbows. That's all. Weaponsmiths can do everything bowyers can do, except better, because metal crossbows can be used as good hammering tools when things get rough.

Completely Useless Migrants (F)[edit]

Also known as "can I toss them in the volcano please?"

  • Trappers: These guys make animal traps, not cages, which can only be used to trap vermin, not creatures. They do tend to come with marksdwarf or animal trainer skill though.
  • Animal caretakers: Bugged at the moment and will become more useful when the bug is fixed.
  • Children: Cannot perform any labors whatsoever. At least you'll have a Peasant. In about 12 years.


  • Monarchs and Outpost liaisons: Inviting these members of dwarven society comes with its own requirements and caveats, and the player can choose to never pursue this if they wish.