v0.34:Reclaim fortress mode

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This article is about an older version of DF.

Sometimes, a favorite fort in a remarkably wonderful location is extinguished for one reason or another. Sometimes, you just have to go back and try again. Thankfully, this mechanic has been built into the game in the form of Reclaim Fortress Mode.

How to reclaim a fortress[edit]

In order to reclaim a fortress, you must first have lost a fortress site somehow, whether by starvation, abandonment or violence. At the embark screen, press R in order to bring up a list of potential reclaim locations. From there, reclaiming a fortress is little different than a normal embark. The prepare for journey screen is identical to a normal embark, with the same number of points for item selection.

What you will find[edit]

On arrival at your old fortress location, the player's initial impression will be one of untidiness.

  • All items that existed at the lost fortress will be forbidden and randomly strewn across the map and all accessible levels
  • Dwarves that were present during the fall of the last fortress will be scattered across the map along with the rotten carcasses of whatever livestock was left behind
  • If you have reclaimed the same fortress more than once, there may also be ghosts of citizens from attempts prior to the most recently lost fortress. These tortured souls will have no corresponding bodies - these poor spirits of repeated failed attempts must be memorialised
  • Food ingredients in barrels rot away for the reclaim and all alcohol barrels will be empty, however any prepared meals are still dwarf-edible and will be scattered everywhere (and initially forbidden as above)
  • Enemies that existed during abandonment will still be there if you reclaim the fortress immediately afterwards and may be lurking in ambush
  • Enemy invasion forces like goblin ambush parties may have changed to be peaceful, for some reason. Warning: if another siege turns up of the same race then those already present may revert to enemy again!
  • If your fortress fell to a tantrum spiral, there may be berserk dwarves lurking in ambush for your embark party. Be prepared to deal with whatever destroyed your fortress before.
  • Constructed buildings will have remained standing, including small buildings like cages and beds. Buildings, like items, must be reclaimed before they can be used
  • Stockpiles will no longer exist, and anything held within them will have been scattered and forbidden along with everything else
  • Any workshops that had profiles will continue to have those profiles, even when there is no manager assigned. If you assign a manager, you can edit those profiles, potentially allowing the workshops to be used again.

Reclaiming buildings[edit]

In order to reclaim a building for your dwarves to use, say a smelter, you will need to reclaim all of the items that make up that workshop. You can do this two ways. First, you can hit t and move the cursor over the building, which will show all of the items within the building. This includes the materials used to build it. Hit f on each one to reclaim those items.

It is also possible to designate multiple items and workshops by using d-b-c.

If you have limited who can use the workshop prior to reclaiming, the workshop will remain locked until you change the settings.


Each time a fortress is reclaimed, the year is incremented and moved to the first day of Spring.


  • The mud normally found in cave systems is gone on reclaim. Bug:133 This may interfere with your farming and/or wood cutting plans (depending if you rely on the underground forests for wood).
  • If for whatever reason you walled off a section of your fort (to wall a very unhappy dwarf in their bedroom, for example) the walled off section will be invisible on reclaim. On removal of the wall, the section will still be blacked out, and can be designated for mining. Miners will attempt to dig, fail, and walk away only to try again a few seconds later. To get around this, mine a tile adjacent to the invisible room and it will be revealed, allowing you to continue as normal. Bug:1871
  • When a dwarf changes jobs and tried to store an item it will constantly say: "Item is misplaced and can't be stored" forever.
  • Scattered items seem to only be placed on walkable paths from the edge of the map. Walls and raising drawbridges (in the up position) block the scattering of objects. This can be exploited to concentrate reclaimed items in a small area.
  • Floors designated but not placed in previous embark are bugged. In the reclaimed embark they block construction of new items as if they were built. To fix, remove the floor as if it was there: d-n. If possible, don't abandon a fortress with anything designated to be built to prevent this from being an issue.
  • Items strewn outside of the fortress may not be forbidden.
  • Reclaimed bins and barrels will not be used to store items. They also cannot be traded, the only option is to destroy them. (see: waste disposal)
  • Occasionally, the incomplete message "(dwarf) has" appears in the purple-pink reserved for death messages. Zooming to the location of the message yields a (probably) random location; no corpse can be seen on the zoomed-to tile, and no correspondence between the dwarf named and the location viewed is yet known.
  • If a fortress has been reclaimed several times, military alert states that call civilians to burrows may not function correctly.
  • Previously built slabs cannot be engraved.