v50 Steam/Premium information for editors
  • v50 information can now be added to pages in the main namespace. v0.47 information can still be found in the DF2014 namespace. See here for more details on the new versioning policy.
  • Use this page to report any issues related to the migration.
This notice may be cached—the current version can be found here.

Reclaim fortress mode

From Dwarf Fortress Wiki
(Redirected from Abandon)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

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.

If, for whatever reason, you wish to end your fortress game prematurely (i.e. without every citizen dying), you can choose to either retire your fort, which will make it an active settlement in the world, or you can abandon it to ruin, which will cause the dwarves to gradually emigrate and leave the fortress uninhabited. Retired forts can be unretired, while abandoned forts become ruins that can be reclaimed.

How to reclaim or unretire a fortress[edit]

During world generation, sites can become ruins which you are able to reclaim in Fortress Mode. At the embark screen, press R in order to bring up a list of potential reclaim locations. There will be a list of locations you are able to scroll through. Pressing tab will select a site and give you a history of when the site was created, and how the fortress fell. If you previously retired or abandoned a fortress, those will also be available to unretire or reclaim respectively. 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. Unretiring a fortress has no prepare-for-journey screen and immediately brings you to the fortress.

What you will find[edit]


On arrival at your old, ruined 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 lost 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, 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
  • Forgotten beasts that existed when your fortress fell will change their status from "Uninvited Guest" to "Current Resident."
  • Enemy invasion forces, like goblin ambush parties, may have changed to be peaceful, for some reason. Warning: if another siege of the same race turns up, then those already present may revert to enemy status 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.


  • All the drinks are spilled to the floor, along with everything else that is supposed to be in containers, such as flour and oil. Start brewing immediately.
  • Cabinets and chests remain constructed. However, the items that were stored are dumped on the floor on the same tile with the container.
  • Many stockpiles don't work, including food, block/bar, and leather. Assume that any stockpile that stores in bins or barrels needs to be erased and re-established.
  • Item positions, assigned dwarf labors, and farm plot and stockpile settings are conserved
    • Items in buildings preserve their integrity. Items intentionally cluttered into workshops to avoid stockpiling will still be there.
    • Stockpile links are preserved.
    • Contents of bins and barrels are dumped out.
    • Artifacts (including certain building components), are scattered all across the map.
  • Pasture settings are cleared, however, the pastures themselves still exist.
  • Room assignments exist, but are potentially bugged (dwarf profiles show no owned objects even if the furniture says that the dwarf is assigned there). They can be reassigned and rooms will keep their sizes for the most part.
  • Pending constructions are removed.
  • Designations and orders are not conserved.
  • Dwarf positions are not conserved and can be randomly scattered throughout the entire fortress, though they are often in bedrooms or the tavern.
    • Animals are always scattered.
    • Any items they were carrying will still be carried by them. This can result in fun if it was, say, a minecart full of magma, as the magma will be dumped on the spot.
      • All magma minecarts that weren't carried are strangely emptied of liquids.
  • Caverns and the magma sea will be un-revealed if you built constructions that blocked their being revealed; this results in constructed walls being right next to unrevealed terrain and can potentially remove the lag caused by revealed (but walled-off) HFS. Existing HFS may be scattered around the fort though, resulting in an instant dose of vitamin F (fun).[Verify]
  • Random items are decorated with low quality.
  • No caged creatures remain so; if they were caged when retired, they respawn, uncaged, at the same spot.
    • Uninvited guests and named creatures will still be there; they are set free if they were caged in the heart of your fortress.
      • All other caged creatures and chained wildlife, including entities that are not uninvited guests (i.e. caged invaders and necromancers) are gone, presumably having been released or escaped.
  • Bugged invisible merchants and wagons, and their items, are reset; this is one workaround to getting caravans from those civs again.
  • It's possible to unretire with a different dwarven civ, resulting in a different civ on the civ screen than that of the current fort.
  • The deceased list is reset and non-historical figures are culled.
  • If you were bordering an evil biome, the reanimation areas may also be reset; the corpse quantum stockpile near the border might be crawling with undead (not immediately).
  • Visitors' petition timers are potentially reset, as are local wildlife populations. Visitors keep their resident status if they emigrated and then came back to visit again.
  • Other creatures will have their citizenship or hostility readjusted depending on whether they are part of the civilization or not. Named animals that became notable before being tamed will become untame.
  • Murky pools are refilled, even if the said tiles have been floored over/drained and have since been an integral part of your fort. This can lead to potential fun.
  • Imprisoned criminals are released, and their sentences are considered served.
  • Any interrogations you may have done are deleted.
  • Cooking/brewing preferences are lost.
  • Named pets will remain on the animals list. even though their owners have left the fortress.
  • Webs are scattered across the map. Giant cave spider webs in caverns may tangle up passers-by.
  • If an embark includes surface water that freezes and thaws, dwarves may fall in and drown during retirement.
  • Magma levels may rise, akin to a volcanic eruption.Bug:8183 This is a known cause of ‼Fun‼.
  • Work orders are deleted.
  • Any Nobles you didn't assign may be randomly assigned.

Pre-existing Ruins[edit]

The forts most commonly brought to ruin during world generation (amongst dwarven civilizations) are cavern fortresses, which consist of a large, often empty building on the surface connected to multiple settlements in (or just below) the different cavern layers by a mineshaft. There may be roads leading out of the settlement on the surface or in the caverns. The settlements themselves will usually consist of unfurnished 2x2 bedrooms, relatively large meeting/dining halls, and many, many smelters and metalsmiths' forges, all of which will be smoothed and decorated by statues. Discovering the extent of the central mineshaft and pacifying/sealing off any dangerous underground areas might be a good idea upon arrival at such a location.

Note that when goblins successfully take over a site during world generation, it remains an active settlement under their civ's control and thus unreclaimable. However, there seems to be a bug where if a non-dwarf civilization reclaims a site, it will still be considered a ruin, and can be reclaimed. The most common cause of actual ruin for dwarven sites is the arrival of an unexpected guest, with whom any reclaimers will need to deal eventually.

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 in 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 or unretired, two weeks pass on the calendar, just as with a regular embark. Currently, there is a bug where the fortress may be reclaimed by some other dwarven party during this time. This will likely cause a crash.


  • Reclaiming a fortress can make FPS drop to unplayable levels.Bug:3825
  • 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)
    • Many reclaimed items won't even be properly dumped, making it impossible to clean up the map without external tools.
  • 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.
  • Fortresses with water or magma works may end up partially or fully flooded during the retirement/abandonment period, even if there was no way for the fortress to accidentally flood while active.
    • Levels that were originally filled with liquids (ocean/river tiles, flooded cavern floors etc.) and were cleared during a previous play are going to be flooded on reclaim. The only silver lining is that doors stop the 7/7 flood of death.
  • Hauling routes can become buggy and need to be remade.