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Thoughts icon.png

Thoughts are the reported observations and sentiments of dwarves in fortress mode, visible on the thoughts and preferences subscreen of their profile. Over the course of play, a dwarf will experience circumstances that evoke specific emotions based on their personality.

A dwarf's recent emotions contribute to their stress level, displayed on the thoughts and preferences screen in somewhat subjective terms – to avoid bad thoughts, make keeping your dwarves happy a priority. Even when nothing is happening, a dwarf can still relive a past experience through memories, and thus a single experience can produce not just one thought at the time it happens, but many thoughts, as they remember that experience again and again. Dwarves can also feel nothing or not care about certain situations, giving them a neutral thought. A few examples of different levels of thoughts can go as follows:

He felt satisfied at work. He felt satisfied upon improving mining.
He was uneasy after seeing a human's dead body.
He felt restless dwelling upon seeing a goblin die.
He didn't feel anything after seeing a dog's dead body.

To view a dwarf's recent thoughts and current stress level, press k, move the cursor to the dwarf, and press enter twice, or v, move to the dwarf, then z and enter. This brings you to the thoughts and preferences screen for that dwarf, which, among other things, describes the dwarf's overall stress level as well as their constituent thoughts.

Below is a list of circumstances that may inspire thoughts.


                    - Positive thought
                    - Very positive thought
                    - Negative thought
                    - Very negative thought
                    - Variable thought


Occurrence Trigger
after sleeping in a bedroom like a personal palace

after sleeping in a (fantastic/great/very good/good) bedroom

Slept in a (not necessarily assigned) bedroom of a certain quality recently; see Room#Quality.
after sleeping in a (horribly substandard/horrible/awful/very poor/poor) bedroom A member of the dwarven nobility who has slept in a less-than-satisfactory bedroom; see Noble#Needs.
dining in a (legendary/fantastic/great/very good/good) dining room Dined in a (usually not assigned) dining room of a certain quality recently; see Room#Quality.
dining in a (horribly substandard/horrible/awful/very poor/poor) dining room A member of the dwarven nobility who has dined in a less-than-satisfactory dining room; see Noble#Needs.
after sleeping uneasily due to noise

after being disturbed during sleep by loud noises
after loud noises made it impossible to sleep

Was sleeping in the zone of influence of a noise source.
after sleeping without a proper room Was sleeping and couldn't find a bed designated as a bedroom not assigned to someone else.
after sleeping (in/on) the (mud/dirt/grass/rocks/ice/a rough cave floor/floor/a pile of driftwood) Could not find any bed for sleeping, or the dwarf is a hunter. The thought may be dependent upon the terrain.
when (drowsy/utterly sleep-deprived) Became sleepy, but wasn't able to sleep because a task had to be completed. Extreme tiredness will lead to insanity, but could only really happen when a mother is looking for her infant.


Occurrence Trigger
after having a (pretty decent/fine/wonderful/truly decadent/legendary) drink Dwarf drank booze they have a preference for. (level determined by alcohol stack's value[1])
after eating a (pretty decent meal/fine dish/wonderful dish/truly decadent dish/legendary meal) Dwarf ate food they have a preference for. (level determined by meal value)
when (thirsty/hungry) Got hungry or thirsty and didn't eat or drink soon enough.
when (dehydrated/starving) Has not had food or drink for a long time and will soon die if immediate remedial action is not taken.
after being forced to eat vermin to survive Dwarf hunted vermin for food due to starvation. Will still die if real food is not provided immediately.
drinking nasty water Got thirsty and had to drink stagnant water because no alcohol or fresh water was available.
drinking the same old booze

eating the same old food

Drinking the same variety of alcohol or eating the same type of food repeatedly.
after being forced to eat a (beloved creature/treasured pet) to survive Of course, if things get this bad, a tantrum spiral can't make it that much worse.


Occurrence Trigger
seeing a/near (own) (very fine/splendid/wonderful/completely sublime) (tastefully arranged) [building] Passed by a constructed piece of furniture or a building requiring architecture and noticed it.
after being near to a * in a cage Passed near a caged creature the dwarf has a preference for; see zoo.
after a bath Was cleaned with soap during the administration of medical care.
after a soapy bath Dwarf cleaned contaminants from self using soap.
being near to a waterfall Sprayed by mist from a waterfall, which dwarves find relaxing.
after retching on a miasma

after choking on (smoke/dust) underground

Dwarf was exposed to miasma, smoke, or a cave in recently. Impact based on personality traits.
at the lack of chairs Was eating and couldn't find an unoccupied chair.
eating at a crowded table Tried to eat at a table someone else was already eating at (only occurs if there are no free tables).
at the lack of dining tables Was eating and couldn't find a table next to an available chair sat on while eating.
after being pestered by * Shared a tile with an annoying vermin and noticed it.[Verify]
after being accosted by * Exposure to a vermin that the dwarf particularly hates.[Verify]
after being near * Dwarf examined a cage containing hated vermin (moral of the story, don't cage hate-able vermin in sight).[Verify]


Occurrence Trigger
talking with (the spouse/mother/father/a lover/a friend/a sibling/a child/somebody) Dwarf employed their social skills and conversed with someone while idling or attending a party recently.
after watching a performance Dwarf was in a tavern and watched someone performing.
after talking to a pillar of society Dwarf spoke with a noble.
(interacting/visiting) with a (pet/animal training partner) Dwarf was near a friendly animal
discussing with (the spouse/mother/father/a lover/a friend/an acquaintance/a sibling/a child/somebody) about their problems Spoke with somebody while stressed
when forced to talk to somebody annoying Had to endure the presence of the object of a grudge recently.
after bringing somebody to rest in bed Dwarf carried an unconscious (usually injured) dwarf to a bed.
after giving somebody (food/water) Dwarf carried food or water to an indisposed dwarf.
after making a friend Initiated a friendship recently.
after getting into an argument Dwarf got into an argument with someone else.
after forming a grudge Spent time with a dwarf with an incompatible personality, resulting in a new grudge.
after adopting a new pet Adopted a domesticated stray animal recently; note that adopted animals cannot be butchered without serious stress penalties, which can cause problems.
at being separated from (a loved one/loved ones) Dwarf's loved one is not in the fortress, either due to migration or a snatcher.

Job satisfaction[edit]

Occurrence Trigger
at work The dwarf was able to work with materials, items or animals they have a preference for in their job.
after producing a masterwork The dwarf created a very high quality item.
upon mastering * The dwarf reached legendary status in a skill.
after creating an artifact The dwarf crafted an artifact in a strange mood.
after suffering the travesty of art defacement A masterwork quality good crafted by this dwarf was lost, stolen, or destroyed.
after forming a bond with an animal training partner The dwarf grew attached to an animal during training.
after felling a tree The dwarf cut down a tree.
after putting a piece on display The dwarf put something on a pedestal.


Occurrence Trigger
to be wearing (old/tattered) clothing Wearing Old or tattered clothing with no available replacement.
to have clothes rot off An article of clothing on the dwarf wore away completely.
to be uncovered The dwarf has no clothing from the item_pants file, leaving them pantsless. And probably complaining about the draught.
to have no (shirt/shoes) Missing specific articles of clothing.


Occurrence Trigger
after giving birth to * Children may tax a fortress's resources and population cap.
after becoming a parent Dwarf became a father/mother.
after gaining (a sibling/siblings) Finally! A family member with a lesser beard!
while getting married Marriage (and childrearing) is the secret to happiness.
was caught up in a new romance The (bachelor[ette]) dwarf gained a lover recently.
after (a/spouse's) miscarriage Pregnant dwarf miscarried due to starvation, dehydration, or severe injury.

Noble pretensions[edit]

Occurrence Trigger
to be (elected/re-elected) Dwarf was elected to office.
after (entering the/receiving a higher rank of) nobility Dwarf gained a new noble title.
having a (legendary/fantastic/great/very good/good) tomb after gaining another year A member of the high dwarven nobility had a more-than-satisfactory tomb upon having reached their birthday recently; see Noble#Needs.
having a (poor/very poor/awful/horrible/horribly substandard) tomb after gaining another year

about not having a tomb after gaining another year

A member of the high dwarven nobility had a less-than-satisfactory tomb upon having reached their birthday recently, or none at all; see Noble#Needs.
considering the state of demands Noble dwarf demanded something.
to have a mandate deadline met Noble dwarf mandated something and it was provided on cue.
having a mandate (deadline missed/ignored) Noble issued a mandate that went beyond time or was unfulfilled entirely.
not having enough (chests/cabinets/weapon racks/armor stands) Noble doesn't have enough of their position's furniture requirements.
by a lesser's pretentious (office/sleeping/dining/burial) arrangements A member of the dwarven nobility who is unhappy that their accommodations are worse than those of a lower-ranked dwarf's room.
having to conduct an official meeting in a (bedroom/dining room) Noble dwarf had to meet with a diplomat without an office (or any dining room if a bedroom was used)
not having any rooms Noble dwarf without any kind of room to conduct a meeting in.


Occurrence Trigger
to have (his/her) punishment delayed No one was around to carry out the dwarf's punishment.
to have (his/her) punishment reduced No jails were available, so the punishment was "reduced" to a beating (unless precautions are taken, this is likely to be lethal for the unfortunate dwarf).
after punishing somebody with a beating Justice, dispensed.
after beating somebody with a hammer Criminals, smote.
after being released from confinement Was jailed or snatched, and was released recently
that a criminal could not be properly punished The victim of the crime, upset that it goes improperly punished.
after the delayed punishment of a criminal The victim of the crime, upset that punishment was delayed.
after being confined Dwarf is in a cage (jailed or trapped), or has been abducted by a goblin snatcher.
considering the scarcity of cages and chains Dwarves in a sufficiently large fortress don't like to be without a fortress guard or the lack of a proper jail. Currently only affects the actual dwarves in charge of law enforcement.
after being beaten Justice was administered unto this dwarf recently.
after being beaten with a hammer Justice was smitten unto this dwarf recently (they're likely lying in a hospital bed with broken ribs at the minimum, and just plain dead at worst).
after being unable to find a hammer Poor hammerer.
after an animal was convicted of a crime When you pin a crime on an animal...
after a long-dead corpse was convicted of a crime ...or a corpse...
after the bizarre conviction against all reason of the victim of a crime ... or the victim--for example, convicting a blood-drained dwarf of draining their own blood
upon receiving justice through a criminal's conviction

when a family member received justice through a criminal's conviction

Justice, served.

Injury and death[edit]

Occurrence Trigger
after being knocked out during a cave-in The dwarf was caught in a cave in and knocked unconscious, check for injuries.
after being (rescued/able to rest and recuperate) A wounded dwarf was rescued and carried to a bed, and is now resting.
after receiving (food/water) An indisposed dwarf received nourishment from their fellows.
after being attacked Dwarf was assaulted by a hostile creature.
after being attacked by the dead Fighting undeath exacts a heavy mental cost on dwarves, as does getting attacked by ghosts.
after being * by a dead (pet/spouse/lover/sibling/friend/animal training partner/and still annoying acquaintance) ...especially when your own child's reanimated corpse is gnawing on your ear.
after suffering a (minor/major) injury Dwarf sustained a wound recently.
after seeing * die Saw something/someone die
after seeing * 's dead body Saw a corpse, or a part of a corpse--even a single tooth.
after being tormented in nightmares by a dead (pet/spouse/lover/sibling/mother/father/child/friend/still annoying acquaintance/animal training partner) A dwarf's companion, loved one, or rival died recently.
after being forced to endure the decay of a (friend/pet/spouse/lover/sibling/mother/father/child/annoying acquaintance/animal training partner). The corpse of the dwarf's companion, loved one, or rival is rotting on the ground rather than being properly entombed.

Military duty[edit]

Occurrence Trigger
being near to a conflict Dwarf saw a battle.
while in conflict Dwarf was in a battle.
when joining an existing conflict Dwarf went all emo because the battle had already begun.
while killing somebody Landed the killing blow on another creature.
after a sparring session Military dwarf in training successfully sparred.
during long patrol duty Military dwarf has active order (other than training) for more than one month (one if complaining, two if depressed, three if enraged). Soldiers stop getting this thought upon becoming Heroes.


Occurrence Trigger
after (throwing something/toppling something over/smashing up a building/starting a fist fight) The dwarf recently threw an item, threw something over, smashed up a building, or punched someone while throwing a tantrum. Needs to be controlled immediately or else a tantrum spiral may result.
while (yelling at/crying on) somebody in charge The dwarf took out their frustration on a noble.
after being unable to find somebody in charge to (yell at/cry on) The dwarf was not consoled because a noble is inaccessible or busy.


Occurrence Trigger
when caught in (the rain/a snow storm/freakish weather) Went outside while it was raining, snowing, or in evil weather. Dwarves who like working outdoors won't get stressed from this.
at being out in the sunshine again

after being nauseated by the sun

Is suffering from cave adaptation and went outside. Nausea indicates a more serious case.