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This article is about an older version of DF.

An ocean is an immense volume of saltwater. They are often bordered by sandy beaches where driftwood can be found. Marshes and swamps also tend to form around oceanic coastlines, especially near rivers. The land surrounding oceans also tends to have a high water table, resulting in aquifers close to the surface.

It is not possible to found a fort solely in an oceanic biome; some land is needed.

There are three varieties of oceans, based on temperature, which affects the sea life found there: Arctic, Temperate and Tropical. Oceans in a freezing climate (usually Arctic oceans) will freeze, just like rivers and pools, acting like a glacier.

Ocean Waves[edit]

Waves will periodically wash over the coast. The tiles will not get wet. However, if a wave washes over a staircase, the floors below it will be slowly flooded. This may be a good way to irrigate tiles. The waves move over all natural tiles, and seem to move independently of constructed tiles like walls and floors. Be mindful not to carve away natural walls and allow tide to enter your fort, and cause excess slowdown. Sea walls can be built to block waves and protect beach areas, but need to be completely closed off to be effective. Waves also have a tendency to move items left on the beach, so it is inadvisable to place stockpiles too close to the shore -- also beware that this effect means that dwarves can be knocked unconscious if hit by driftwood washed in from waves.

Since ocean waves do not actually move the water in the tiles below them, they do not create flow. Thus, waves cannot power a water wheel, making tidal energy generation much more difficult.

Ocean floor geology[edit]

The ocean floor will be made up of entire layers, or combinations of the following:

Most of these layers also support aquifers, which are usually saltwater like the surrounding ocean, making the extraction of these materials rather difficult in fortress mode. Limestone is a notable exception, making it ideal for excavation from below since it is also a flux material.


Almost all tiles next to oceans have aquifers, which require fairly complicated schemes to sidestep. In addition oceans are salt water resources, requiring desalination with a screw pump into a cistern to use for drinking. On the other hand you have an inexhaustible source of water for fishing, drowning chambers, and so forth, as well as a spawning point for some very big and very meat-profitable creatures: whales, orcas, and the like.


Oceans are an excellent source of food for a new fortress, usually having tons of fish, and containing shell-bearing creatures like oysters and mussels. But sometimes when you embark on a coast you might have messages of 'there is nothing to catch in blah blah blah' this can happen, if it does you will never be able to fish in the ocean in that area so it is suggested you embark on a different area or create a new map so you can fish.

In evil oceans sea monsters can be found. Likewise, in good oceans merpersons can be observed.

Arctic Ocean[edit]

Note that, in an Arctic Ocean with a completely freezing climate, none of the Vermin or the underwater Creatures will be present. This pretty much leaves walruses, the three varieties of penguins, and the three types of seals since they are able to move about on land.



Temperate Ocean[edit]



Tropical Ocean[edit]




Chasm · Desert · Forest · Glacier · Grassland · Lake · Mountain · Murky pool · Ocean · River · Savanna · Shrubland · Tundra · Wetland