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This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

The Observer skill represents situational awareness: the ability of a creature to notice key details about their surroundings. For general patrol, this skill increases the chance to spot a stealth unit; the higher the skill the greater the range[Verify]. The skill is particularly good to have for guards at your entrance or marksdwarves on your walls.

The maximum detection range is currently unknown, although experiments suggest that it is much longer than the 3 tiles of previous versions. Detections at a range of 20 tiles have been reported.

In combat, the observer skill is used to note and anticipate the attacks of enemies. Skilled observers are less likely to be surprised by an opponent's charge, for instance, and less likely to receive a penalty for being attacked from the side. Higher skill levels give the observer more information, such as which arm the opponent is using for its next attack.

Soldiers will gradually increase this skill while training. It is currently uncertain whether observing combat demonstrations improves observer skill directly, or if improvement is limited to sparring and combat. For targeted live training, fighting a group of weak or harmless enemies should increase the number of observer rolls as your trainee is surrounded. However, Observer can also be trained just by witnessing a fight. IE; an arena with lots of opponents will also significantly train Observer, as long as the dwarves 'watching' the fights are close enough to observe the attacks.

In adventure mode, the Observer skill directly influences the level of detail shown when identifying opponents' attacks, and is used to locate hidden creatures and traps. It slowly increases during combat, by successfully spotting traps, and by walking near hidden creatures, whether detected or not. You are also able to speed up training of your Observer skill while dodging. Warning: Detecting giant cave spiders and giant brown recluse spiders may be more hazardous than remaining blissfully ignorant to their location. In fortress mode, however, this is simply used by scholars who are naturalists.

Topic Description Wikipedia link Subdivision Skills used in research
Dissection The dissection of creatures Dissection Method Critical thinker
Anatomy The anatomical study of creatures Anatomy Observation Critical thinker, Tracker
Embryology The embryological development of creatures Embryology Observation Observer
Foraging behavior The foraging behavior and diet of creatures Foraging Observation Tracker, Record keeper, Observer
Migration The migratory patterns of creatures Animal migration Observation Tracker, Record keeper, Observer
Reproductive behavior The reproductive behavior of creatures Reproduction Observation Tracker, Record keeper, Observer
Social behavior The social behavior of creatures Social behavior Observation Tracker, Record keeper, Observer
Veterinary medicine The diseases of creatures Veterinary medicine Observation Tracker, Record keeper, Observer
Climactic adaptation The way that creatures are suited to the climates in which they live Climatic adaptation Theory Critical thinker
Comparative anatomy The comparison of the anatomy of creatures Comparative anatomy Theory Critical thinker
Food chain The links between the diets of different creatures. Food chain Theory Critical thinker
Physical taxonomy The classification of creatures by their physical features Aristotle's biology § Classification Theory Critical thinker
Struggle for existence The struggle for survival among creatures Struggle for existence Theory Critical thinker
Fishery worker