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This article is about an older version of DF.

Justice is available in the game once a Sheriff or Captain of the Guard has been appointed through the nobles screen, and is used to deal with dwarves violating mandates, breaking furniture, starting fights, etc. The dwarven justice screen shows details of crimes and punishments, and is available through the z-status screen.


  • Violation of Production Order - failing to produce items mandated by a noble.
  • Violation of Export Prohibition - selling items to a caravan which a noble forbade exporting.
  • Violation of Job Order - failing to complete guild jobs mandated by the mayor (currently does not happen).
  • Conspiracy to Slow Labor - unknown
  • Murder - killing a fellow dwarf or a tame animal.
  • Disorderly Conduct - attacking another dwarf while throwing a tantrum.
  • Building destruction - destroying a building during a tantrum.
  • Vandalism - toppling furniture or doors during a tantrum.

The most common crime in a well-managed fortress is "violating an export ban", which happens when the dwarf carelessly carried a banned item to the trade depot and a merchant left the map with it. It often happens when a noble decides to ban an export after you've traded away a relevant item.

Less well-managed fortresses might see dwarves throwing tantrums. Then you'll see the harsher crimes, as they let off steam by throwing items around, breaking furniture, toppling doors, and punching fellow dwarves who are just trying to clean up the mess. Often instead of punches, they'll use the weapons they're carrying.


Dwarves who misbehave can receive punishments if a sheriff has been assigned. In increasing order of severity:

  1. Beating by a fortress guard.
  2. Imprisonment for a period of time.
  3. Hammering by the Hammerer. (Does not exist in version 0.31 without modifying the raws)

The punishment for a crime, or series of crimes, will be issued by the Sheriff or by a member of the Fortress Guard. If the crime calls for imprisonment, then the guard will try to put the prisoner in jail; if no jails are available, the guard will downgrade the punishment to a beating (giving the criminal a happy thought and the injured party an unhappy thought). All punishments will give the criminal an unhappy thought (and the guard a happy thought).

Note that it is usually not a good idea to train your guards to physical perfection if you want your dwarves to survive beatings; furthermore, due to a bug, guards will use their weapons when delivering beatings, so equipping them with steel blades is strongly discouraged. Wooden crossbows (especially those made of feather wood) make an easily accessible and excellent weapon choice, as this will not reduce the effectiveness of the Fortress Guard in actual combat - the Guard will fire bolts at enemies, but will use the crossbows as clubs for Justice beatings. An adamantine crossbow could potentially be even better, though it is far more difficult to make.

Due to a bug, justice beatings have a high chance of resulting in death by fracturing the skull, so it is wise to ensure that any criminals scheduled for beating are fitted with a metal helm as quickly as possible.

Punishments are performed sequentially; a criminal who has been sentenced to jail time and a beating will not be beaten until the jail term has been served.

Cages and Chains[edit]

Metal cages, metal chains, and ropes can be built and designated as jails (query -> make a room -> use for justice), where dwarves can be imprisoned for a time as part of their punishment. If the dwarf is particularly unhappy and decides to throw a tantrum, it may end up destroying the restraint (even if it is made of metal) and escaping, leading to further punishment (for building destruction). It is recommended that there be food and booze stockpiles next to the chain. Decorating your jail with numerous valuable decorations is recommended to combat the negative thoughts of imprisonment. Ensure there is a bed and a table next to a chair all within a square of the chain itself.