v50 Steam/Premium information for editors
  • v50 information can now be added to pages in the main namespace. v0.47 information can still be found in the DF2014 namespace. See here for more details on the new versioning policy.
  • Use this page to report any issues related to the migration.
This notice may be cached—the current version can be found here.

Thoughts and preferences

From Dwarf Fortress Wiki
(Redirected from Physical description)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

Thoughts and preferences of Kadôl Istbarmonom, a herbalist. (Click to enlarge)

The most detailed screen in the profile is the thoughts and preferences screen, accessible with u-v-Enter or v-z-Enter. It gives you a detailed breakdown of your dwarves' happiness and thoughts, familial status, civilization membership, age and date of birth, physical descriptors (and wounds), physical attributes, preferences, mental attributes, and personality traits, in that order. All dwarves have two pieces of their profiles in common: "He/she needs alcohol to get through the working day" (indicating that all dwarves are alcoholics), amongst their personality traits, and "A short sturdy creature fond of work and industry" at the end of the screen (this is actually the dwarf's tagline, and will appear at the beginning for all other creatures). Non-citizens have profiles too, although these are far less detailed, only giving physical characteristics, wounds, and their tagline.

The thoughts and preferences screen cannot be seen in the object testing arena.


Main article: Thoughts

This first section is in grey, with extremely recent thoughts in white. It may be preceded by either a white quote from the dwarf or a coloured note about their emotional status (eg. dark red for Enraged) or stress level. Stress level is invisible to the player until stress starts to bother the dwarf, at which point they start flashing the downward red arrow of unhappiness and may cancel jobs in order to space out. These temporary breaks from reality can turn into permanent insanity if the sources of the dwarf's unhappiness are not removed.

Emotional reactions are loosely colour-coded, with positive thoughts being in blue or green and strong negative thoughts being in red or yellow. Brown thoughts are mildly to moderately negative, and purple and grey ones are pretty much neutral. Positive thoughts lower stress level, and negative thoughts raise it. Pink thoughts represent memories, which trigger stress changes based on what is being recalled and may change personality facets and values over time.

Familial status[edit]

Family relationships are special in that they get special mention in the dwarves' thoughts and preferences, in light blue. This section will list spouses, children, and parents, in that order. It will also include any objects of worship.

Civilization membership[edit]

Main article: Civilization

This section will list first the civilizations that the dwarf has entered or left, and at the end will give their date of arrival at your fortress. This section is static, and most important when hunting for vampires, which will almost always have excessively long (10+) civilization memberships. Most dwarves have at most five items on this screen, which is in blue.

Age and date of birth[edit]

This section is in yellow, and is fairly self-explanatory. Age is mostly irrelevant, but will tell you how close babies are to becoming children, children to adults, and how long it is before elderly dwarves pass away from old age. Actual death from old age is fairly uncommon, even in a world old enough for dwarves to have grown old before they migrate to your fortress.

In short history worlds, you may encounter dwarves that were created along with the world. Since they were created as adults, they are technically younger than they look. Thus you will get the "has the appearance of one who is X years old" message when you check their age. They also tend to be highly experienced and hold high positions. As these are also common traits of vampires, it's possible that you might end up wasting a perfectly good dwarf. A "quarantine" room, with beds, food, and drink can help you determine which is the case. Wall them in, and check periodically. If the food, drink or beds are never used, you know you are dealing with an undead.

See here for more information.

Physical description[edit]

This section, in white, gives a physical description of the dwarf, and will be the only thing displayed for a non-dwarf. Physical properties are only important in dwarves for combat (more muscle and fat means more mass for fighting and an ability to wield mid-sized weapons one-handed), but are important variables in butchering returns as well as affecting how well other creatures fight. Fat dwarves live for longer when starved, as they have more fat reserves to draw upon. Physical characteristics are heavily influenced by dwarven genetics.

In addition, any external wounds will be noted in red (open), brown (bruise or scar), or gray (missing body parts). This is the best way to get an at-a-glance of a creature's wounds, giving a better description than the view window's wounds screen outside of internal wounds requiring surgery. Serious injuries will still need diagnosis before treatment, however.

Physical attributes[edit]

Physical attributes affect how well your dwarves are able to do something, and are trained by performing jobs that exercise that attribute. These are strength (used in combat, mining, and woodcutting), agility (used when running), toughness (used in combat), endurance (used when working while tired and pump operating), recuperation (used when healing wounds), and disease resistance (used when healing from syndromes). Above-average attributes will be in green, below-average in red. Average results will not be reported.


Main article: Preferences

Dwarves like certain materials, colors, animals, and brews of alcohol, and detest certain vermin. Being exposed to these likes or dislikes will give them a higher-than-normal chance of getting a higher-than-normal positive or negative thought, respectively. This comes in handy most when designating dwarves for duties, as dwarves love to work with materials and creatures of their preferences, and will produce higher quality goods as a result. Being able to outfit nobles' quarters with classy preferable items is a perk, too. This section is in green again.

Mental attributes[edit]

Mental attributes work in much the same way as physical attributes, are listed in the same way, and come in a much greater variety. Most affect how your dwarves are able to do their jobs, as certain mental abilities are important in certain trades.


The belief section is composed of two parts, the cultural and personal beliefs.

Cultural beliefs[edit]

Cultural beliefs are the beliefs that the creature holds that are considered "on par" with their culture.

Typically, cultural beliefs will look something like this:

"Like others in his culture, he holds craftsdwarfship to be of the highest ideals and celebrates talented artisans and their masterwork, has a great deal of respect for the law, values family greatly, sees friendship as one of the finer things in life, believes that honesty is a high ideal, greatly respects artists and their work, really respects those that take the time to master a skill, deeply respect those who work hard at their labors, respects fair-dealing and fair-play, values cooperation, finds merrymaking and partying worthwhile activities, values martial prowess, values leisure time, respects commerce and finds nature somewhat disturbing." Certain beliefs can conflict with personality facets.

Personal beliefs[edit]

Below the cultural beliefs are the individual beliefs, beliefs the creature holds that go against their "typical" culture.


Some creatures dream of accomplishing certain goals in their life, and these goals can presumably affect their behavior. If a creature has such dreams, they will be listed in the Thoughts and Preferences page. If said goal has actually been fulfilled, the description will include "and this dream was realized". They will also get a strong happy thought upon completing it.[Verify]


A dwarf's personality facets affect a lot of things. A nervous wreck of a wood cutter would be very quick to become unhappy if they are unlucky enough to be ambushed by a foe while felling a tree, even if they come out on top in the ensuing encounter. Some are truly meaningless ("she always takes a deep breath whenever she is surprised"), but many affect how the dwarf works and relates to others. Facets affect how and what social skills a dwarf trains.

While not a true personality facet, if the dwarf has become desensitized to tragedy, that will be mentioned at the end of this section of their profile, through the lines, "He/She is getting used to tragedy," "He/She is a hardened individual," or for full desensitization, "He/She doesn't really care about anything anymore."


Main article: Need

Needs are similar to thoughts, except they affect focus (which has to do with productivity and combat effectiveness) rather than with the risk of tantrums. Dwarves become unfocused if their needs are not met, and individual dwarves have different needs depending on their particular beliefs. Needs that are unmet for long enough become bad thoughts.