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This article is about an older version of DF.

An ambush is a sudden event in fortress mode when a small force of enemy humanoids, typically goblins, attempts to attack your fortress. While smaller in scope than a full siege, ambushes are not related to the number of dwarves in your fortress, and so can be triggered by relatively small populations.

An ambush is not announced immediately, but instead is announced when your fortress becomes aware of the attackers, such as when they set off a cage trap or come close to your dwarves or pets. Not all traps trigger an alert; specifically, stone fall traps and weapon traps do not, while cage traps do. You can still detect invaders by checking your traps "visually" - if the trap killed an invader the corpse and gear will be there. Once detected, an ambush is announced with the message: "An ambush! Curse them!" or "A human has sprung from ambush!" generally activated if a captured human leads the squad or "An ambush! Curse all friends of nature!" if you´re being attacked by elves.

Ambushes tend to arrive with caravans but can happen any time. Note that goblins will usually ambush with more than one squad (2 to 4), each of which will trigger a separate message and also has to be detected separately.

If ambushers are caught in cage traps, they will be marked as Caged Prisoner in the unit screen. These prisoners can be dragged around between cages (or tossed over tall towers) without risk of a jailbreak, unlike goblin thieves.

If you Abandon your fortress while an ambush is active, you will receive the message "Your strength has been broken."

Military and defense
Managing soldiers
Design tips