v0.34:Flesh ball

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Flesh ball


Urist likes flesh balls for their warmth.

  • Underground Depth: 3

· Genderless · No Stun

Cannot be tamed 
Max: 70,000 cm3

Adult at: Birth
Max age: 100-200
Butchering returns

Food items

Meat 2

Raw materials

This article is about an older version of DF.
A large ball of skin found moving around the debris near underground ponds. It is there that it absorbs dead matter for food.

The flesh ball is an amphibious creature, made entirely out of muscle and blood, that is quite slow on the ground. In fortress mode, they appear in clusters of 2–5 in the third layer of the caverns. Given its size (and the density of its flesh), the ball's diameter is about half a metre. When butchered, it produces no organs and only meat, but is edible. Some dwarves may enjoy flesh balls for their calming roundness or warmth.

Flesh balls are featureless. As simple balls of muscle, they do not need to breathe or sleep, have no thought, cannot vomit, become dizzy, or be stunned, but are still easily killable via slashing weapons. A novice swordsdwarf with a steel short sword takes about twelve minutes in fortress mode or ten seconds in adventure mode to kill a single flesh ball, and kills it by repeatedly tearing and slashing the ball's body until it bleeds to death, while the dwarf remains completely unharmed.

Confronted with a blunt force attacker, a flesh ball laughs by slowly undulating in a rhythmic manner. In an arena test, a novice hammerdwarf with a silver war hammer, no other skills and no armor, attacked a ball for one day, at which point he was a legendary hammerdwarf, wrestler, fighter, and striker. The flesh ball sustained bruises but was still alive and attacking the hammerdwarf in vain. After about two days of pelting, the hammerdwarf got a lucky hit and tore the skin of the ball, which caused it to bleed out and die.

Even though they are simple, flesh balls can live up to age 200, much older than even dwarves.

Flesh balls are not available in the object testing arena by default, since they possess the [ARENA_RESTRICTED] token.

Live training[edit]

Main article: Live training

Flesh balls, due to their extreme resistance to blunt weapons, are excellent training dummies. You would do better to catch the flesh balls in cage traps first — it simplifies things. Catch several if possible.

Put your flesh balls in a closed room and add cage traps to the exit so they won't escape and interrupt your civilian dwarves. Arm your edge damage dwarves with training weapons (and do not use elven wooden swords and spears, as they are cutting weapons, and will kill flesh balls), arm your blunt damage dwarves with their normal weapons, outfit them in metal armor (because flesh balls are able to wound your dwarves, as harmless as they may seem), and send them to attack a flesh ball. You may want to retire your dwarves every two weeks to prevent overexertion and allow drinking, eating and sleeping. Or, schedule your dwarves so only one goes to the flesh ball training room at a time. An advantage of one dwarf vs. one flesh ball is that the flesh ball will attack as well, which should help give the dwarf a few levels in armor user. Three or four weeks of flesh ball bashing should be sufficient to raise a dwarf's primary weapon skill to legendary.

While flesh balls are invulnerable to blunt weaponry, dwarves will quite frequently bite or scratch, and this makes the flesh balls bleed. You may want to check the flesh ball's state quite often so they do not die (flesh balls do not reproduce, and you will probably not get more than 15–20 flesh balls in a fortress, so you may want to keep them alive longer). Either babysit the flesh balls and deactivate your military so they don't bleed to death, which is a bother, or find a way to remove the blood.

You can train all military weapon skills except for marksdwarf (use bronze colossuses or giant sponges for these) on a flesh ball, including the unarmed attack skills and, of course, fighter. Armor user and shield user may earn a few levels, but dodger will generally not, so you will need to complete your dwarves' training program with more dangerous fights.