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Item quality

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

For information on room/zone quality, see Room/Quality.
For article quality ratings, see DF:Quality.
For the Masterwork Mod, see the Masterwork Mod wiki.
Item quality preview.png

Quality is - by definition - the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something. Within the world(s) of Dwarf Fortress, the primary factors of the quality of something are determined by the skill of the creator, as well as the materials used to make it. Quality also determines an object's financial value, and can strongly dictate someone's reception of said object when using it.

The value of some goods can be further improved by other means. For example, some goods can be encrusted with gems, and clay goods can be glazed with ash.

Quality grades[edit]

All crafted items (e.g. furniture, armor, clothes and prepared meals, but not drinks) have quality levels. If the quality of their craftsdwarfship is above-standard, the item name is bracketed by characters that show it (see table below). Coins are an unusual case. The image on the coin may have a quality level, but this does not affect the value of the coin, and the coin's quality level is not shown by special characters.

Graphically, the quality of upper body clothes can be seen in portraits of some individuals, such as the created characters in Adventure mode. Before starting a game in said mode, the player can choose any type of wearable item for themselves, at the cost of points. In these character portraits, the quality of clothes can be easily seen, as the piece of clothing will appear to be more lavishly decorated the higher the quality is. This can be seen in the image below:

From left to right, the coat the human is wearing is standard, -well-crafted-, +finely-crafted+, *superior quality*, =exceptional=, ☼masterful☼ and artifact.

The player has the choice of choosing the quality of some clothing and weapons by clicking Quality increase button.png and Quality decrease button.png, with higher qualities costing more points. Note that some articles of clothing will not show a unique graphic for every level of quality, and the player can never choose the artifact quality from the start.

Item quality depends on the skill and attributes of the crafter. Past a certain skill level they will almost always make at least level 4 (exceptional) quality items. Level 5 (masterworks) are capped to a flat 1/3rd chance.

Images on floors or walls that are engraved by an engraver have quality levels, which can be seen by examining the engraving. Note that engraving values are calculated differently than crafted items (they still use pre-v50 values), and while a wall will appear to be engraved on all four sides, the only rooms that benefit from a wall engraving are those containing the square the engraver was standing on at the time of engraving. Keep this in mind if you want to improve a specific room or improve multiple rooms!

Raw materials used for crafting items (e.g. stones, logs, bars, thread, dye, food) have no quality levels, with the exception of cloth. Blocks, an intermediary building material, also lack quality levels, as do smoothed floor tiles, walls, and carved fortifications.

Designation Description Value
Sharpness Weapon To-Hit /
Armor Deflect Modifier
Item Name +0 50%

-Item Name-

Well-crafted 1.1× +3 60% 1.2×
+Item Name+ Finely-crafted 1.2× +6 70% 1.4×
*Item Name* Superior quality 1.333× +10 80% 1.6×
≡Item Name≡ Exceptional 1.5× +15 90% 1.8×
☼Item Name☼ Masterful +30 100%
Unique name Artifact 20× +300 100%
«Item Name» Decorated object Varies Varies unknown

For named weapons that are not artifacts, see here.

Note: Items may also be surrounded by braces {}, which indicates the item is forbidden, or parentheses (), which indicates the item came from off-site (i.e. it arrived as Goblinite, was purchased in a trade, or was part of the original embark supplies). See Item designations for a summary.

Almost all decorations have quality levels, too. An item of any quality (except artifact-level) can have a decoration of any quality. (Artifacts can't be decorated manually, but have inherent decorations depending on the materials used to make them.) The quality level of a decoration is shown by the same signs (-, +, *, ≡, ☼) just outside the double angle-brackets («,»). Thus, a *«+steel battle axe+»* is a finely-crafted steel battle axe with superior decorations on it, and a «☼steel battle axe☼» is a masterfully crafted steel battle axe with decorations of standard quality. Each decoration imparts its flat bonus and multiplier, so high-quality decorations can quickly create extremely-valuable items, even if those items were low-quality to begin with.

Dyeing is considered a (type of) decoration with quality levels, as are glazes, the latter having the effect of making an earthenware jug or pot waterproof and capable of holding liquid. For example, some rope reed thread may be finely dyed with emerald dye. Dye can be applied to either thread or cloth, but not other goods made of cloth. If thread is dyed, and then woven into cloth, the new cloth will retain the dye and whatever quality level the dye had. The same is true for cloth made into clothes and other goods.

Note that destroying a ☼masterwork☼ item (e.g. by melting) may cause the dwarf who made it to get unhappy thoughts. Covering an engraved image on the floor with water will remove the image, and cause an unhappy thought if the image was masterwork. The same is true for mining through a wall with a masterwork image on it. An unhappy thought can also happen if a thief steals a masterwork item. It also happens in the unusual case where a creature was shot with a masterwork crossbow bolt and the bolt gets stuck in the creature when they leave the map.[Verify] Eating a masterwork prepared meal will not cause an unhappy thought, similarly to dismantling a masterwork building Having a masterwork building destroyed by a cave-in or building destroyer, however, will.

Quality levels of imported goods[edit]

The vast majority of goods brought by caravans, immigrants, visitors, and invaders are superior-quality or less. Exceptional or masterwork-quality items are extremely rare. As a result, you can eventually make better-quality goods yourself, provided your dwarves are trained in the appropriate skill. This is important to keep in mind for your military, since the quality level of weapons and armor can make a big difference in combat performance.

There are goods that you can't produce, that foreign civilizations can. Typically, these include uninteresting clothing items like skirts, or useless tools like pestles, but also include some exotic weapons like whips and daggers. If you want to use those weapons, you have to settle for whatever is available, so it can take some time to find one made with decent quality and made from a good metal like iron.

Quality levels in stockpile settings[edit]

Stockpiles can be set to accept only goods of certain quality levels. However, the Core quality and the Total quality which can be set in a stockpile's settings are in a difficult relation to the crafting and decoration quality.

Core Quality[edit]

Core quality means the quality of the craftsdwarfship of the item. A masterfully crafted armor (made from qualityless metal bars) has masterful core quality. A finely-crafted dress (made from an exceptional pig tail fiber cloth) has fine core quality (because the craftsdwarfship of the item is fine).

Total Quality[edit]

Total quality means the highest quality level between the craftsdwarfship of the item and the craftsdwarfship of its components (or decorations). The finely-crafted dress from our previous example has a fine core quality, but its total quality is exceptional because its component — a pig tail fiber cloth — is of exceptional quality. Likewise, a superior quality steel gauntlet, masterfully studded with copper is of masterful total quality (and superior core quality).

A more complex example: A rope reed fiber sock is superiorly decorated with pond turtle shell. Is masterfully crafted from a rope reed fiber cloth which was finely dyed with redroot dye. Core quality: masterful, Total quality: masterful. (Remember, for total quality, the best of either the item's quality, the quality of its components, or the quality of its decorations is chosen.)

See also Crafting Skills, Quality and Statistics research.

Admiring furniture[edit]

Quality has an impact on the amount of happiness a dwarf gets from admiring furniture only to the extent that it contributes to the furniture's value. That is, if there's a no-quality statue and a masterwork statue which have exactly the same monetary value, they'll each give the same amount of happiness when admired (assuming Urist has no preference for the material of either statue). Furniture quality has no influence on how often a piece of furniture is admired.

Changes to artifact weapons[edit]

Toady gave us a quote on weapon and armor quality, giving the game qualities of an "artifact" in v0.31:

  1. Additional value multiplier of 10 over masterwork, so a total multiplier of 120.
  2. Cannot be owned (can be equipped, you might have to do it explicitly though).
  3. Armor deflection roll has ×3 roll modifier instead of the masterwork's ×2.
  4. Same for melee attack and archery rolls.
  5. It looks like the artifact edges are the maximum edge for the material, which is also what a masterwork gets, so beyond a masterwork you'd just be getting the hit roll modifier. *
  6. Things like artifact bone spears will likely be crap against steel, yeah. We don't have actual magical artifacts yet, and that's what would be required.

See also[edit]