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|This article was migrated from DF2014:Trading and may be inaccurate for the current version of DF (v50.07). See this page for more information.|
v50.07 · v0.47.05This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.
|This feature has one or more outstanding bugs. Please view the Bugs section for details.|
Trading in Dwarf Fortress allows your dwarves to trade with friendly civilizations. They can barter their excess goods for items they need, possibly even items they can't otherwise acquire for themselves. Trade can make up for the lack of industries you neglected or don't find interesting, provide resources that aren't available where your dwarves settled, replace key tools you lost or accidentally destroyed, and allow you more freedom in selecting starting gear and skills at embark. Trading generally begins in the first autumn after establishing your fortress, with the arrival of the dwarven caravan from your home civilization.
Trader is the generic term used at your trade depot to refer to your fortress representative (usually your broker, although it can be anyone else in a pinch) when dealing with merchants in a visiting caravan. As a profession, the term applies to visiting merchants and dwarves whose highest skill is Appraiser.
To trade at all, you will need a trade depot and peaceful relations with at least one civilization that can reach your site. Appointing a citizen as a broker is not strictly necessary but is very helpful. Newly-founded fortresses begin the game at peace with their home civilization and will generally have at least that one trading partner each year, unless the parent civilization is dead or dying, or simply can't reach your site due to intervening mountains or open water. A civil war in your home civilization will also stop trade with them. Trading with your home civilization is quite important, as being visited by their caravans is part of attracting immigrants after the first two waves.
|Suggested trading procedure|
|Arrive at fortress location|
|Create goods||Build Trade Depot|
|Check depot is accessible|
|Wait for caravan|
|Set goods to be traded||Wait for caravan to arrive at depot and merchants to finish unloading||Wait for the diplomat (if any) to reach your leader|
|Wait for goods to be hauled||Turn your leader's labors off so they don't get distracted|
|Conduct meetings with the diplomat|
|Request trader at depot|
|Turn your trader's labors off so they don't get distracted|
|Turn trader's and leader's labors back on|
|Retrieve bins from depot to reuse|
Building a trade depot is a prerequisite for trade with caravans that arrive at your fortress. If traders can't access your trade depot when they show up, their caravans will simply bypass your fortress that year. While it may be convenient to build a depot outside at first, it is usually a good idea to move it inside, or secure it with walls, bridges and other fortifications, to protect incoming caravans and your goods from thirsty animals, thieves, and goblins.
Everything that is on your map belongs to you, except:
- the items that are on merchants' animals and wagons
- the items that are in the trade depot (they belong to the caravan until they are moved out of it)
- items worn by creatures that are not citizens of your fortress (initially forbidden, but can be claimed via unforbidding and dumping them)
Before you can begin trading, you need to designate what goods to trade and have the fortress's representative trader located at the trade depot. Select the trade depot and then click either "Broker requested at depot" or "Anyone requested at depot" if you have no broker noble assigned. Be aware that without an assigned broker, it's likely a random, probably unskilled dwarf will volunteer to conduct the trade. Next click "Move goods to/from depot" to be presented with a list of all items in your fortress that belong to you. Mark the goods you want to sell --insert clever advice--, and your dwarves will begin moving them to the depot. Note that during this step, we are just moving the goods physically to the trade depot, and that containers like barrels and bins must be moved with all of their contents (although for bins you will have an opportunity to specify which contained items you wish to trade).
Once the trade goods are moved to the depot and your trader has arrived, select the depot again and finally click the "Trade" button to enter the trade menu. In the trade menu select the items to offer from the right and the desired items from the left. All caravans have a weight limit which cannot be exceeded, and the allowed additional weight is displayed in the lower left corner. If your broker (specifically, not necessarily your trader) has at least Novice or better Appraisal skill, the value of all items will be displayed. Once the proposal is ready, click the "Trade" button to propose the trade; merchants will not agree unless they make adequate profit. Clicking the "Offer as gift" button instead will make a gift of the selected items. The amount of acceptable profit is determined by the trader's skills and the merchant's mood, described below. Merchants may attempt to propose counteroffers if they do not accept the proposal, which can then be accepted, rejected, or further amended by the trader. If the Trader Profit is listed in green rather than yellow or red the trade will always be accepted.[Verify]
With more experienced traders and pleased merchants, even marginally profitable trades can be successful, and counterproposals can be rejected safely, offering the same trade again. Note however that a low profit margin for the traders may not be desirable - it has been suggested that both export and profit numbers influence the size of next year's caravan and, in the case of the dwarven caravan, immigration numbers.[Verify]
Note: Goods brought by caravans rarely have base quality higher than superior, and decorations on a good rarely exceed superior as well.
Note if you give or trade away an artifact, you will receive a special notification:
Items cue colors
|Brown||Items have been created (or modified) by your fortress. They can be traded away or offered as a gift.|
|Gray||Items were created by another source. They can be traded, but if one of these items has been selected, the entire selection cannot be offered as a gift.|
|Purple||Items are under a no-export mandate. If they are traded away it will result in disciplinary action (see justice) against the dwarf that brought the item to the depot.|
|Green||Items have just been gifted to the caravan and they will not trade it back.|
|Red||Items have been seized from another caravan and cannot be traded as is; you will need to decorate them or turn them into other items for them to become "valid" trading items.|
Note that containers (barrels, bins, etc.) will be displayed according to the origin of the container, not the contents. So a foreign barrel holding locally-produced beer will display as foreign (white). Once you view the container, the locally-made contents are displayed as local (brown).
Clicking "Seize" from the trade menu will seize the selected items of the merchant's. If you seize goods from a caravan, the merchant will respond "Take what you want. I can't stop you." and then leave immediately without the seized goods. Items cannot be seized from the dwarven caravan, and other races will not buy goods stolen from one of their caravans (then marked in red) unless they are tricked into asking for them via counteroffer, or the items are "laundered" by decoration or used to create other goods. Seizing goods will hurt diplomatic relations, but is not grounds for an automatic siege.
Pressing the seize button while no goods are selected will result in the merchant interpreting your seizure as a joke. This apparently does nothing to benefit or hinder your trading.
As a side note, if you deconstruct your trade depot with a caravan in it, all the caravan's items will drop to the ground, to be readily hauled away by your dwarves. This does not mark the items as stolen, and the caravan will leave. However, next year's caravan is partly based on the profits from the previous year - so if you are relying on that race's caravans for needed items, you're hurting yourself in the long run.
Trying to interrogate a merchant can also cause a wagon to fall apart.
Another way to steal without marking as stolen is to forbid the trade depot just before they leave, causing them to leave their goods at the depot.
If you're using the search plugin for DFHack (e.g. from the Lazy Newb Pack), be warned that s means "seize" and NOT "search", and there is no warning for it. Use q to search the merchant's goods and w to search yours.
Note that the civilization attached to a particular caravan will keep track of the value of items the caravan was carrying when they set out to trade, and they will compare this value with the value of items they return home with. Regardless of what method you use to confiscate items from a caravan, even if you came to possess the goods through no fault of your own (an ambush killed the traders and guards, for example) the parent civilization may decide that you stole from them and send a siege instead of a caravan the following year. It is prudent to take measures to protect caravans visiting your lands!
You can also give away items, as gifts to the leaders of the civilization you are trading with. This presumably helps relations between yourself and the other faction, though there is not yet a clear correlation between the value of the offerings and the improvement to relations. The exact effects of offerings on trading are unknown but it is believed due to the offerings' net trade value being counted towards the merchants' profit, possibly with a modifier (possibly a multiplier of more than 1 as a bonus or less than 1 to compensate for the improved relations)[Verify], which in turn increases the quantity and variety of trade goods brought by next year's caravan. Also the Monarch requires offerings to be made before their arrival. You cannot offer items that were not made at your fortress; the merchants do not want your spare Goblinite clothes.
The value of an offering for the purpose of becoming the capital is adjusted by your current export agreement.
Unless you are looking for fun, under no conditions should you offer or trade items which involve animal products, wood, or used wood in their creation (clear glass, for example) to elves, as they will refuse the trade, take offense, and leave, possibly damaging relations enough to provoke a war between you and the elven civilization you traded with. They will accept their own "grown wood" items in trade without insult, however. See bellow and the elves page for more detailed information.
Miscellaneous trading advice
- Thieves and thieving critters tend to follow caravans. Expect assaults and intruders.
- Create your trading depot inside your fort, preferably in the beginning. Place a 3-tile wide path—which must be free of obstructions such as stairways, traps, minecart tracks and boulders (not stones)—to the entrance of the fort and position war-trained animals along it (chains do not block wagons); this will help to protect the traders and keep the depot close to your supplies.
- Avoid having multiple wagon paths to your depot. Caravan wagons cannot move through each other, and if two wagons happen to meet at a fork they may become gridlocked against each other, resulting in the destruction of wagons and loss of trade opportunities.
- All caravans will bring extra food (meat and edible plants), wooden logs, and cloth/leather (for making clothes) if the supplies of your fortress are low enough, independent of whether or not you requested them. This does not apply in the case that the weight limit is exceeded by (other) items you requested. The supply situation, as observed by traders, is based solely on the number of unforbidden items in your fortress, stockpiled or not; thus, it is possible to trick caravans into thinking your supplies are low by forbidding all of your relevant stocks immediately prior to their arrival.
- In order to avoid this behavior, you should make sure that, for each dwarf in your fortress, you have the following unforbidden items:
- Define your trade depot as a burrow. When traders arrive, you can add your broker or another dwarf, perhaps one you want to train in trading, to the burrow. They will head to the depot immediately, and stay there until you remove them from the burrow.
- Each trade you make (regardless of value) will increase your trader's skills by 50, distributed among Comedian, Judge of Intent, Negotiator, and Persuader. Each skill seems to gain around 5-15 experience points, but the sum will always be 50. The skill gain occurs as soon as the "t" button is pressed - if the offer is rejected, the dwarf will still gain 50 points. If the same offer is subsequently accepted, no additional skill will be gained.
- Selecting "only broker may trade" ensures that you will start negotiations with a decently-skilled trader, but also requires a significant wait while your broker makes his way to the depot. Selecting "anyone can trade" will result in a poorly-trained trader arriving immediately. Once your fortress is producing enough goods to buy out the caravan, waiting for your broker is unnecessary; allowing your commoners to trade spreads out the trading skill gains and eliminates the micromanagement of trying to get your broker to the depot in a timely manner.
- If your trade depot has no values for the worth of items, then ensuring that a dwarf with the Appraiser skill is assigned as the trader will cause the values to appear.
Types of Merchant Caravans
By default, each friendly civilization (including your own) will send one merchant caravan per year. Each race always trades in a particular season: autumn for dwarves, spring for elves, and summer for humans. (No race trades in winter by default.) If you have friendly contact with multiple civilizations of the same race, you may even get multiple caravans in a single season. Each race brings different goods, and they sometimes have different trading preferences.
If your fortress was founded in spring, it is highly unlikely that you will receive an elven caravan that spring, and it is uncommon for a human caravan your first summer, so probably your first and only caravan your first year will be the dwarven one. Caravans will only show up if that race considers the fortress site accessible (as denoted on the embark screen) and "worth the effort" (as determined by the [PROGRESS_TRIGGER_*] tokens in the entity definition), with the exception of dwarves, who always arrive unless they are extinct.
- Greetings from the mountainhome. Your efforts are legend there. Let us trade!
- (Or, if your fort is the mountainhome...)
- Greetings from the outer lands. Your efforts are legend there. Let us trade!
Typically, the first caravan you receive is the dwarven one from your home civilization, giving you at least 22 weeks to prepare (assuming you started mid-spring, the default). This does require that you are on the same continent as they are, and you are not isolated by mountains or bodies of water.
The dwarven caravan:
- arrives in autumn.
- carries metal bars, leather, weapons and armor, food and booze, and more. Dwarves alone may bring steel and steel goods.
- usually carries a selection of books that your civilization has access to. This can include books written in previous forts of yours within the same civilization.
- is heavily guarded.
The dwarven caravan from your home civilization:
- sends a liaison who will speak with the Expedition leader, Mayor, Baron, Count, or Duke to negotiate an import-export agreement (unless the Monarch is present).
- influences the number of immigrants received (if the caravan leaves intact).
- will not cause sieges when repeatedly destroyed or lost.
- is the only caravan to arrive during a fortress' first year.
- always arrives, regardless of embark location, unless the dwarven civilization is extinct.
- cannot have its goods seized from the trade menu.
- may not arrive if your civilization lacks any notable figures.
- cannot be offered goods if the monarch is present.
Friendly elven civilizations will each send a caravan sometime in spring, giving you about a full year before the first caravan arrives when starting at the default time.
The elven caravan:
- arrives in the spring.
- carries cloth, ropes, various above-ground seeds, plants and their byproducts, logs, wooden goods & weapons, clothing and armor, and may carry tame exotic creatures.
- does not use wagons, only pack animals
- is unguarded.
- will become angry and immediately leave if offered "unethical" wooden or animal products; see below.
Elven caravans don't use wagons, instead bringing all of their goods on pack animals. This means that they don't need any special accommodation to get to the trade depot: any untrapped one-tile-wide path will suffice. However, this also means that elven caravans have a much lower weight limit, which means selling them heavy items like furniture or large stone goods can be problematic. Their caravans are also unguarded, and may need protection if your fortress is in a dangerous environment or under attack.
Elves will only ever have goods made from above-ground plants, goods made from their special "grown" wood, or various exotic creatures or vermin in grown wooden cages. The possibility of getting a breeding pair of giant tigers is nice, although they might just bring something useless like ravens or tree frogs instead. If you trade with elves for unusual plant crops, you may be able to brew or otherwise process those plants for seeds you can later grow in your own above-ground farms, if you live in a compatible biome. Elves also wear and sell the same-sized clothing as dwarves, if you haven't gotten your textile industry going yet. Otherwise, food, logs, cloth, or miscellaneous wooden goods like cages, barrels, and buckets can be useful.
Elves don't forge metal. All of their weapons and armor are made from wood, including item types that dwarves can't normally make from wood, like spears or different sword varieties. These are even less useful than most arms and armor sold by caravans, as wooden weapons and armor are basically useless in combat. Even metal-poor dwarves can cheaply make superior arms and armor from bone or leather. It's probably for the best that elves are so poorly armed, because offending them and damaging your diplomatic relationship with their civilization is very easy.
Elves view living trees as sacred and dislike the killing of non-hostile animals; they're the only unmodded civilization to do so. Offering them wood or animal-derived products, either as part of a trade or as a gift, will offend the merchant. The merchant will rebuke your broker and leave immediately. This offense reduces your civilization's diplomatic relationship with the elves' civilization, possibly leading to war after multiple infractions.
Examine your items carefully! Elf traders will reject containers holding a prohibited item, otherwise-acceptable items stored in a prohibited container, and all items «decorated» with a prohibited material. If you want to sell food or liquid to elves, it's best to use a large pot or one of their own grown wood barrels.
Note that elves only care about the items they are actually offered. It's perfectly allowable to use wooden bins to haul items to the trade depot, as long as you only offer the elves acceptable items from the bin and not the bins themselves.
Items made from wood
Elves do not want to be offered items you made from wood, nor do they want most items that require wood as part of their creation process.
- All items made of or decorated with wood. This includes wood from tree-like subterranean fungus, such as tower-caps. Elves make an exception for the "grown" wood items they make themselves, but items made by other races using "grown" wooden logs are still not acceptable.
- All items made of or decorated with wood derivatives. This includes ash, potash, pearlash, charcoal, and lye. Note the exception for ash-glazed earthenware below, however.
- Items made from or decorated with clear or crystal glass, as these items require pearlash in their creation. Again, note the exception for raw or cut glass gems below.
- Obsidian short swords. These require wood in their production, for the handle.
Elves also reject the majority of animal products. (This taboo extends to items made from intelligent creatures, despite the fact that you may see elf historical figures wearing items made from the hair or bones of their enemies.)
- Items and decorations made from body parts, such as hair, bone/skull, shell, horn/hoof/antler, and ivory/tooth. It also includes items dwarfs can't normally use for crafting, such as nails, chitin, and scales.
- Leather or parchment/vellum, and all items made from them. These are made from skins.
- Wool yarn and cloth, as well as all items made from them. It doesn't matter how well you treat your sheep, elves still associate animal products with death.
- Meat (including prepared organs), fish (both raw and prepared), fat, and tallow
- Eggs. Elves aren't keen on keeping chickens, either.
- Prepared meals made using any of the above products.
- Tallow soap
- Corpses and body parts themselves, although these are usually worthless anyway.
- Blood, even if you somehow manage to get it into an elf-friendly container.
A distinct retort awaits dwarves who are so tactless as to offer goods made from both wood products and animal products at the same time (such as tallow soap, or an item decorated with both wood and bone):
Any item that isn't specifically prohibited above is acceptable to elves. A non-exhaustive list of items they accept:
- The "Feather Tree Egg Yolk" that the elves litter your trade depot with, can be traded back to them. Useful free trade items if you're looking to level another broker.
- Items made from or decorated with stone, as well as raw clay or raw sand. This includes items made from petrified wood, lignite, or bituminous coal; elves aren't concerned with items that were plants or animals in a different geological age.
- Gizzard stones are acceptable. Elves can't tell them from any other object made of stone.
- Items made from or decorated with metal (including steel), green glass, or ceramic. Elves are content to assume your dwarves fuel their craft with coke and magma rather than charcoal.
- All rough gems and cut gems, as well as items and decorations made from gem materials. Note that clear glass and crystal glass are not gem materials and are generally not acceptable, even though they can be used for gem decorations and gem crafts.
- Due to a long-standing bugBug:919, elves do not examine the material rough gems or cut gems are made of. You can safely sell them raw clear or crystal glass, or cut gems made from clear or crystal glass, as long as you haven't used those gems for decorations. Be careful, because clear or crystal glass crafts from the "cut gems" job, including "large" gems, are still unacceptable.
- Plant and fungus products in general. Unless otherwise prohibited, all of these items are acceptable either as themselves or as the material for an item or decoration:
- Plant crops, fruit/pods, seeds/nuts, and leaves/bulbs/flowers. Anything that can be grown on a farm plot or harvested with herbalism is one of these four. This includes non-wooden produce from trees.
- Plant fiber thread and cloth, and all items made from them.
- Processed plant products. This includes (but isn't limited to) booze, dye, flour, dwarven sugar and dwarven syrup, oil, press cake, and paper. papyrus sheets seem to be a notable exception.
- Silk thread and cloth and items made from them. Elves don't care if you're exploiting spiders.
- Products of the beekeeping industry, including honey, royal jelly, mead, wax, and wax crafts.
- Cheese and milk
- Prepared meals made entirely with allowed ingredients.
- "Grown" wood items. These can generally only be obtained from elves, and were made in keeping with elven ethics. Note that these items can still become unacceptable if they contain unacceptable items or are later decorated with unacceptable materials.
- Items made from certain spoiler materials, if you're willing to give these up.
- Live creatures or vermin. Since these can only be traded when in a cage or animal trap, make sure the cage or trap is also made of acceptable materials.
- Soap made from oil. This may be a bugBug:8571, as even plant-based soap requires lye, which is made from ash.
- Otherwise-acceptable items are not disqualified by ash glaze, which may be a bugBug:4652.
Assuming you do have friendly contact with humans, their first caravan will arrive sometime in summer, giving you well over a full year before they arrive.
The human caravan:
- arrives in summer.
- Usually your first caravan opportunity
- carries metal bars, sand, leather, cloth, wood, food and booze, books, ropes, waterskins, quivers, backpacks, metal weapons and clothing and armor, cages and a few domestic animals.
- carries only large-sized clothing and armor, which is unusable by dwarves.
- is moderately guarded.
- sends a chief treasurer to negotiate import/export agreements
Choosing to seize goods from a human caravan without marking anything to be taken is treated as a joke, which will raise the visiting trader's mood. This can only be done once each year.
Goblins and Kobolds
|This page includes mods. The content is not part of normal DF as released. Changing game files can sometimes cause unexpected results, and should always be done with care and caution.|
A goblin caravan will only arrive if you mod the game, primarily because their entity lacks the entity tokens needed to make use of pack animals and wagons. That, and that the token
[BABYSNATCHER] makes them hostile to all non-goblin civilizations. The same caveats apply to kobolds (whose
[ITEM_THIEF] tags, similarly, make them hostile to every civilization).
The goblin caravan:
- will arrive every season, four times per year
- is unguarded
- brings mostly food and cloth
- does not send a liaison or a guild representative
- does not make import/export agreements
If your trader has Novice or better Judge of intent skill, there will be a line added below the merchant's dialogue describing the caravan's attitude. Their attitude rises with successful trades (especially if they get lots of profit) and falls when you propose deals they don't like. You can never make a deal that's at a loss for the merchant, even if they are at the highest possible mood.
- (trader) seems ecstatic with the trading.
- (trader) seems very happy about the trading.
- (trader) seems pleased with the trading.
- (trader) seems willing to trade.
- (trader) seems to be rapidly losing patience.
- (trader) is not going to take much more of this.
- (trader) is unwilling to trade.
The happier you make a merchant, the less profit margin they will demand in a trade. Dwarven merchants start off wanting about 100% profit, maybe a little more. If you repeatedly offer less than what they expect, that will "lower" their mood. If, on the other hand, you meet or exceed their expectation, that will, over several trades, improve their mood. If merchants reach the lowest level, no further trade will be possible, and they will immediately pack up and leave your depot. Since annoyed merchants are more likely to reject deals, you should be generous in initial negotiations. Skilled negotiators seem less likely to offend merchants with unsuccessful deals.
An easy way to capitalize on this mood system is to perform several partial trades. First trade for a few items, offering goods twice the value of the items you ask for (e.g. offer 2000☼ for 1000☼ of his stuff). This will likely make the merchant ecstatic about trading with you. Perform the next trades more aggressively, working them down to about a 30% profit. With the merchant in such a good mood, they are more likely to counteroffer than reject a trade outright. If you don't like the counter-offer, try to split the difference, or just back out of the trade and start again.
Trade Agreements and Liaisons
Outpost liaisons (from your own civilization) and foreign Merchant Nobles (if added with the TRADE responsibility) will arrive with the caravan to speak to your noble dwarves (and they will speak to those dwarves, even if they have to wait at their bedside in the hospital for months after the caravan has left), appearing on the map edge at the same time as the caravan (though in a different location). Meeting with them allows you to request specific items for the next caravan to bring (at a premium price) or take requests for production for the next caravan (for which the merchants will pay a premium).
Current trade agreements can be viewed through the Civilization menu (c). These trade agreements are cleared when a liaison of the corresponding civilization enters the screen, so they are generally not accessible after the caravan has arrived.
In the event that your leader is replaced, killed, or taken by a strange mood, the liaison may decide to leave your fortress "unhappy".Bug:576 Curiously, this will not occur if your leader is otherwise unable to perform the "conduct meeting" task. You can currently lock a liaison in a room and they will wait years to attend the meeting your noble is constantly conducting (and all subsequent diplomats appear to wait in line for the first to finish); this behavior is presumably a bug.Bug:8947
Whether having successfully met with your leader or given up, a liaison who has decided to leave but is prevented from reaching the map edge will eventually go insane.
- Merchants who are attacked by enemies or even wild animals will sometimes become disconnected from the trade depot and refuse to pack of their things to leave the map, and these items will remain 'stuck' in the depot. Deconstructing the trade depot usually forces them to leave, presumably with the downside of causing those goods to be considered seized by the player.
- Aggressive, untrainable creatures (captured goblins, for example) cannot be traded; when a dwarf attempts to move the caged animal to the Depot, the creature is set free.
- When merchants leave with an animal, the merchants seem to be dragging their beast of burden instead of leading it. If the animal is incapacitated but not dead, the merchant will continue to walk at the same speed, dragging the unconscious beast.
- If a merchant's chosen map edge exit is guarded by a hostile creature (including those on a restraint), the merchant will wander back and forth repeatedly and eventually go insane rather than path to an alternate exit.
- Animals bought from merchants don't always become available for use.Bug:10162
If you order your military to kill merchants from your own civilization, a bizarre result of the way loyalty is handled makes the members of your military who attacked the traders become enemies of your civilization, but remain members of your fort's government (dwarves of this faction are referred to as separatists). As enemies, they attack your other dwarves (citizens), but as members of the fort, they still follow orders. Allowing citizen militia dwarves to attack the separatists will give them opposite loyalties of the separatists, (i.e. loyal to civ, not to fort), or loyalists, who do not follow orders. And then, if a separatist or loyalist kill a citizen, they become enemies of the civ and fort, making them Renegades, who are essentially complete enemies of the citizens.
To prevent the cascade from spreading, order the original separatists away from the fortress and let them fight amongst themselves. If the results are renegades, it is okay to allow other dwarves to kill them (by stationing them nearby). If the results are separatists/loyalists, then you will need to separate them, somehow.
- Deconstructing the Depot will cause merchants to leave your fortress and abandon any goods in the Depot because items are not available until the building is fully deconstructed. However any animals they had caged will still belong to the merchants and only become friendly, you won't actually own them. According to Toady One, this is actually working as intended, and is not really an exploit or bug: "...the reckoning comes when they return with lesser value, and it has the same negative effect (it'll be listed as a disaster rather than an intentional seizing -- the depot could be destroyed, for instance -- but it counts for the same value if I remember). The overall wording could be changed and the interaction could be deepened to recognize this or that, but it's working as intended."
- If you wait until the merchants leave the map, you can "claim" caged animals by linking a lever to the cage and opening it, the animals will be released in a tamed state. Check the unit screen before releasing them; if the creatures still show as Merchant creatures, they will wander off the map when released; if they show as Tame creatures, they will stay once released.
- If you lock them in your fortress for a minute or two (real time), the merchants may drop items and leave behind pack animals (both of which are yours for the taking!) Note: Results are not consistent.
- If spooked or attacked the merchants' caravan could leave their stuff behind as they attempt to flee the map, leaving the items free for the taking.
World level Trade
During world generation, trade is established between sites. This probably determines growth.
|"Trading" in other Languages