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Urist McBitten, Cheesemaker has transformed into a werelizard!

Werebeast sprite preview.png

Werebeasts Ñ are night creatures resembling an unnatural cross between a sapient creature and a beast, cursed to transform every full moon into a dangerous and bloodthirsty beast form. The curse can be contracted by incurring the wrath of one's patron deity or from another werebeast. Werebeasts are hated and feared throughout much of the world, posing a great risk to the player. Though adults and children can be cursed, babies will not be.

There will be a specific amount of werebeasts roaming the lands, depending on the world's settings. They can take the form of mammals or reptiles, ranging from the classic werewolf, to more exotic things like weregiraffes, werelizards, weresloths or weregila monsters. Also included are some creatures not normally present in the game (werelorises, weremammoths).

The behaviour of vanilla werebeasts in worldgen (i.e. fleeing town upon being cursed, and conducting raids from their new lair) appears to be caused by the cursed individual's beast form having the [NIGHT_CREATURE_HUNTER] tag; removal of this tag from a generated werebeast extracted from a world.dat file and jimmied into the standard raws caused those cursed to behave no differently from any other unnaturally-immortal individual.

The sprite assigned to a werebeast will be closest to its randomly, procedurally generated appearance. There are 72 possible sprites.


"My Captain of the guard, just released from the hospital, transformed into a weregoat while sparring with his soldiers just to instantly get an arm cut off and the head smashed in."
Art by Devilingo

A number of different types of werebeast curses are procedurally generated during world generation. Their numbers are normally dependent on world size, but can be directly controlled with advanced world generation - if you prefer not having werebeasts (and therefore not having fun), generating a world with "Number of Werebeast Curse Types" set to 0 in advanced world generation will ensure that no werebeasts exist in your world.

There are more kinds of mammal curses (64 possible, though it might leave off some amphibious/bat ones), so it reduces the chances of each specific one to avoid a mammal flood. The generic lizard is given more weight, since it's more vague and presumably encompasses more things.

While procedurally generated, all werebeasts possess certain characteristics in common. They are all fanciful, evil-aligned humanoids taking the shape of an animal who is crazed for blood and flesh, with glowing eyes and a brief description of their skin ("Its charcoal scales are blocky and close-set."), who are associated with the spheres of animals, chaos, moon and night. While intelligent, werebeasts are locked in a berserk state and will behave accordingly, attacking anything in view.

During werebeast transformations, which occur at full moons, the beast will not transform back into its original form until the duration of the full moon has ended. The transformations, whether from dwarf-to-beast or beast-to-dwarf, will fully restore the unit in question to complete health. Hunger and thirst will both be removed, and injuries (including missing limbs) will be fully healed. Effects induced by insanity are not reversed, however, so berserking soldiers that transform will still not follow orders.

Curse transmission and effects[edit]

Sapient creatures (humans, dwarves, elves, goblins or animal people) bitten by werebeasts are cursed to become werebeasts themselves.[1] Those that have died as a werebeast are still capable of being resurrected by necromancers as intelligent undead. When this happens, the curse is retained and the newly revived will proceed to transform on a monthly basis whenever the original bite/turn date is reached. Transformations will not remove their status as undead.

The size of the werebeast is dependent on the nature of its curse, but all are significantly larger than a dwarf, with things like wererhinos and weremammoths being particularly massive. Depending on their starting status and the beast form in question, transformed individuals may receive augmented (or reduced!) strength, agility, recuperation and disease resistance while in monster form, though they often possess slightly lower-than-average toughness and endurance. All werebeasts possess at least Talented skill in wrestling, biting, fighting, striking, kicking, dodging and observing, as well as Legendary skill in ambusher. If the werebeast is a child, these skills will be at "dabbling" level. Additionally, they can breathe underwater, feel no exertion, cannot be stunned and are immune to pain, nausea, dizziness and fevers. Werebeasts need no food, water or sleep to survive, nor do they need to breathe, meaning they cannot be drowned or strangled. Werebeasts are Level 2 building destroyers and are almost completely immune to traps while transformed, safely bypassing any sort of trap set in their way. They may become caged when they revert, however.

Combat, strengths and weaknesses[edit]

If the werebeast cannot use weapons in wereform (i.e. no hands), only the natural abilities of the creature are available for combat, which differ from creature to creature (claws/hooves/venomous bite etc.), but only their bites cause the werebeast curse to be transmitted. Werebeasts have been confirmed to have the ability to arrive at your fortress both armed and stealthed. Some werebeasts possess venom as well, applying "night sickness" to those who are bitten along with the werebeast curse.

All werebeasts possess a built-in damage resistance against most weapon-grade metals which halves the damage taken during combat, save for one randomly chosen metal which the werebeast will instead be 10 times weaker against. Unlike in the werewolf myth, this weakness isn't restricted to silver, though a werebeast race may indeed be weak to it. There are no means in fortress mode to learn which metal a given werebeast is weak against during gameplay. In adventurer mode this information is included in the quest rumor, but an afflicted adventurer can only learn their own weakness the fun way.

Dwarves will never have preferences for werebeasts, as they possess no [PREFSTRING]. They possess an unused pet value of 2,000.

Killed werebeasts are always listed in a unit's or weapon's kill log as a member of their original race, even if the werebeast was dispatched while in animal form.

Werebeast types[edit]

Here follows a conclusive list of all possible shapes given to a cursed individual. Note that descriptors/colors are randomized upon the curses' generation, so you may encounter "different" werebeasts of the same species in the same world. These descriptors, however, are purely for flavour, and have no gameplay implications.

Graphic Werecreature Graphic Werecreature Graphic Werebeast
Reptile Werebeasts
Werechameleon sprite.png
Weregecko sprite.png
Weregilamonster sprite.png
Wereiguana sprite.png
Werelizard sprite.png
Weremonitor sprite.png
Wereskink sprite.png
Weretortoise sprite.png
Weretortoise sprite.png
Mammal Werebeasts
Graphic Werecreature Graphic Werecreature Graphic Werecreature Graphic Werecreature
Wereanteater sprite.png
Werecoati sprite.png
Werekoala sprite.png
Wereporcupine sprite.png
Wereantelope sprite.png
Werecoyote sprite.png
Werelemur sprite.png
Wererabbit sprite.png
Wereape sprite.png
Weredeer sprite.png
Werellama sprite.png
Wereraccoon sprite.png
Werearmadillo sprite.png
Weredonkey sprite.png
Wereloris sprite.png
Wererat sprite.png
Werebadger sprite.png
Wereelephant sprite.png
Weremammoth sprite.png
Wererhinoceros sprite.png
Werebear sprite.png
Wereelk sprite.png
Weremarmot sprite.png
Weresheep sprite.png
Werebeaver sprite.png
Werefox sprite.png
Weremole sprite.png
Wereshrew sprite.png
Werebison sprite.png
Weregiraffe sprite.png
Weremongoose sprite.png
Wereskunk sprite.png
Werebuffalo sprite.png
Weregoat sprite.png
Weremonkey sprite.png
Weresloth sprite.png
Werebull sprite.png
Weregopher sprite.png
Weremoose sprite.png
Weresquirrel sprite.png
Werecamel sprite.png
Werehare sprite.png
Weremouse sprite.png
Weretapir sprite.png
Werecapybara sprite.png
Werehedgehog sprite.png
Wereopossum sprite.png
Werewarthog sprite.png
Werecat sprite.png
Werehorse sprite.png
Werepanda sprite.png
Wereweasel sprite.png
Werecavy sprite.png
Werehyena sprite.png
Werepangolin sprite.png
Werewolf sprite.png
Werechinchilla sprite.png
Werejackal sprite.png
Werebeast sprite.png
Werewombat sprite.png
Werecivet sprite.png
Werekangaroo sprite.png
Werepig sprite.png
Werezebra sprite.png
*The animal this corresponds to does not actually appear as a normal animal in Dwarf Fortress.
**This werebeast doesn't correspond clearly to any specific in-game species of animal.

Werebeasts in fortresses[edit]

In some regions, the full moon will herald the attack of werebeasts upon your fortress and the unwilling transformation of your own citizens into their bestial forms.

If the region has at least one type of werebeast, a werebeast may choose to ambush your fortress from the surface, revealing itself only once seen. Unlike most other invaders, werebeasts are only announced on their discovery (triggering a message similar to that of a megabeast), allowing them to get much closer to your fortress than most other threats. Local werebeasts will be announced at the moment of their transformation, but unlike invaders will not pause the game and can therefore slip under the radar if the transformation was unexpected or there was numerous other announcements at the time.

Transformed werebeasts are building destroyers, pathing to and toppling workshops and furniture that may be accessible to them. They will attack anything they can find for the duration of the full moon - including wildlife, livestock, and the dwarves of your fortress, prioritizing creatures over buildings in their efforts to spread the affliction.

Werebeasts of the same beast-species are not hostile to each other while transformed. Generally, a werebeast will not attack another werebeast of the same species when it initially transforms. There have been reports of them attacking each other, so be careful if you want to keep them alive.

Because werebeasts are ambushers (only announcing themselves when found) and are only active for a few days of the month, it's possible for their 'visits' to go completely undetected by members of your fort (though the local wildlife may certainly have noticed). If a werebeast is only spotted after the full moon has ended and it has reverted back to its normal form, the game will still announce its discovery, but instead in its current form (leading to amusing/terrifying messages such as "The Human (name) has come! A medium-sized creature prone to great ambition.").

Occasionally, a werebeast can infiltrate your fortress, as they've visited as part of a passing caravan. They'll only turn upon the changing of the moon phase, and you will not get the warning given when they'd normally appear on the map.

Defending your fort against werebeasts[edit]

If you have not established an early-detection defensive perimeter (see defense guide and note, werebeasts are trapavoid), it is quite likely that if a werebeast attacks, a dwarf will be bitten. The best defense against this is to keep civilians off the surface (unless they are inside high walls), and rely on warning systems to tell you when to trigger a civilian alert and close your drawbridges. A werebeast retains its infectious form for only a few days during the full moon. After that, it reverts to an ordinary humanoid form, and will typically flee.

Warning systems may include pastured or restrained animals, or outdoor statues. If you get notices of toppled statues with no visible cause, it's probable there is a werebeast nearby. Baby werecreatures are neutral, and while you can order your military to kill them, the order will not be followed.


A Weregiraffe infecting dwarves. Note that getting infected doesn't protect the dwarf in question from further attacks.
Art by Zach Adams.

Werebeasts are dangerous opponents, perfectly capable of killing an unarmed dwarf with impunity, but as notification-worthy invaders go they aren't especially terrifying; a few dwarves with modest military training and gear should be able to handle them with few casualties, as will a single elite dwarf in quality steel gear. The real threat they pose, however, is in their bite. If a sentient creature is bitten by a werebeast, and the bite tears fat, skin, or muscle, the said creature becomes infected. Infected creatures will become werebeasts at the next full moon (see below for schedule). Scratches, bites that merely bruise or dent, and subsequent shaking attacks after a bite will not transmit the curse, and thus are merely as dangerous as any other such assault. Any learning creature who has blood and isn't undead or supernatural can potentially be infected, meaning you could theoretically have things such as troglodyte or troll werebeasts, while animals, vampires, and mummies are immune to it.

There is no cure. To protect your other dwarves, you should either keep all infected dwarves isolated so they cannot infect your whole fortress, or if you do not want to take care of them, expel them from the fortress or just kill them.

Contrary to popular belief, only the original werebeast of a particular strain is immune to aging. All subsequent creatures who become infected from that strain will still retain their original lifespans (in the case of elves and goblins, they simply continue to be immortal.) While transformed, a werebeast will require neither food nor drink, nor do they require sleep. Note the immunity to these requirements only applies during the full moon. However, the monthly transformation resets an infected creature's dehydration and hunger levels, thus allowing them to be trapped in a room until they expire from old age (although they will likely go mad way before this happens.) Additionally, each transformation will heal any and all of an infected creature's wounds, and will also restore any missing limbs which the creature may have had.

Particularly Fun ideas for using werecreatures include:

Infecting your entire fort[edit]

Yes, it is possible. Having only infected dwarves does not end your game.


  • Super-effective hospital service; your dwarves are fully healed once per month. No need for crutches or anything.
  • No need for food or drink, though you can keep alcohol around for happy thoughts and to avoid alcohol withdrawal
  • No need for beds or bedrooms, other than those for nobles
  • When transformed, civilian dwarves are less vulnerable
  • Dwarves will happily discard their old tattered clothing and pick up fresh clothes every month.
  • Unhappy thoughts are less severe, as the process of being bitten and biting others tends to make your dwarves very resilient to tragedy.
  • Go for were-elephants or were-badgers for extra dwarven points
  • Fun


  • Exceedingly difficult to set up, quite long as well; May kill your most important dwarves
  • When transformed, fortress activity grinds to a halt, and for a few days afterwards, as civilians run around finding new clothing
  • Werebeasts are building destroyers, so you'll constantly need to remake workshops and most furniture
  • Trading is especially difficult
  • Will cause issues with military when transformed: transformation removes all armor, though they will hold onto their weapons, shields, and even quivers/bolts during transformation.
  • May be exceedingly ‼fun‼ for dwarven sanity... but then again, you were looking for fun in the first place

There are several ways to attempt to infect your whole fort, some with higher success rates than others. The trick is to have your uncursed dwarves be bitten but not die, and also to have your cursed dwarves survive any retribution. Delaying the release of the werebeast until near the end of the full moon will reduce the chances of the situation spiralling out of control (though it will also reduce the rate of infection).

The following are some commonly used methods to acheive this; in an approximately decreasing order of risk to your fortress population, but increasing effort to implement.

Squad assignement method[edit]

One method is to equip a squad of dwarves with training weapons and send them to an isolated area with one or two of your werebeasts. Ideally the dwarves who get injured will back away while the others hold back the werebeast. In reality it can be hard to balance the battle, which leads to either the werebeast killing off the injured dwarves, or being pummeled into submission without spreading their curse. Another significant problem arises when an attack by either the werebeast or a dwarf happens at the moment of transformation. This is considered a dwarf-on-dwarf attack, which leads to a minor loyalty cascade.

Confinement method[edit]

Another method is to simply lock a werebeast in a room with civilian(s) and hope that the civilian survives long enough for the werebeast to turn back. This reduces (but does not eliminate) the chance of a loyalty cascade, because only the werebeast is attacking. The increasing risk with this method, is that werebeasts become legendary fighters/wrestlers very quickly, at which point they are capable of mortally wounding, or outright killing, half a dozen dwarves in a single transformation.

Cage trap method[edit]

Wereraccoon accidentally caught in cage trap. A safer outcome than most ‼SCIENCE‼ failures.

The most successful method discovered is to lock a werebeast in a room with civilians, but make sure the room is completely covered in cage traps (Though this method may not work with certain types of werebeasts, such as wereraccoons, as they are small enough[Verify] to be caught in cage traps when transformed). Many injuries inflicted by werebeasts can knock a dwarf unconscious due to pain or strangulation, and an unconscious dwarf will be trapped by a cage trap. In the cage, dwarves are free to recover from their wounds, safe from any further attacks. In addition, a dwarf who is released from a cage gets an enormous happiness boost that will help him cope with the loss of family and friends who were not so lucky.

Further improvements to this technique, such as assigning the uncursed to squads with no uniform (or just a helmet), that replaces clothing in order to allow every bite to break the skin, have pushed successful conversion rates to near 50%. It is also recommended to release dwarves from their cages immediately (via constructing the cages and attaching them to a lever), to prevent insanity due to unhappiness.

Werebeast military[edit]

A somewhat less drastic (though potentially even more fun) option to integrate werebeasts into your fort, is to start a werebeast super-soldier breeding program. Some werebeasts can hold and use weapons in wereform, and whatever combat skills they have as dwarves also apply while transformed. Being infected gives dwarves a large increase to their physical attributes (which can still be increased further, unlike vampires), and they need not worry about being wounded in combat as long as they survive until their next transformation. Add to this the wereform's large size of 80000 and inability to feel pain, which partially makes up for its lack of armor, and you end up with a potentially devastating military force, if you can manage to keep them from murdering each other and the rest of your fortress.

Were-soldiers are mostly useful when their wereform is of a variety that can use weapons and preferably also shields, which obviously requires hands of some sort. Weregophers, for example, can use either a shield or a one-handed weapon, but not both, and may even equip crossbows as well as quivers and bolts. It is unknown if dwarves in wereform can wield weapons that are normally too large for them, such as pikes. If they cannot use weapons they may still be useful as soldiers if their wereform is of the dangerous sort, for example in the case of werelions and tigers and bears.

Transformed military dwarves respect their stations, alerts and uniforms (when applicable) and ignore the civilian alert, but will still attack anything they regard as an enemy, such as their fellow dwarves or any destroyable buildings. They must therefore be kept away from the rest of the fortress with walls and bridges, as they will destroy any non-artifact doors.

Bonus points if you also install a dump chute in the room to give them new weapons and booze. Designate a stockpile under the chute, set it to take from links only, disable bins and set it to allow booze, empty barrels, weapons, shields and possibly ammo. Supplying the were-soldiers with booze both keeps them happy and prevents them from wandering into your fortress to look for it. Be aware that they can and will jump out of a hole directly above them, so either make the chute at least 2 z-levels high and smooth the walls, or keep it firmly locked with a hatch cover.

Once their containment room has been built, add a piece of furniture, designate a large barracks from it and set them to train there. The were-soldiers will destroy the barracks while transformed unless it is an artifact, so wall it in after the room has been defined. Remember to use 2-tile thick walls because of the sparring bug above.

An important thing to remember is the following: If two or more transformed dwarves have any sort of active military order (either from an alert or direct orders), and can see each other at the moment they change back from wereform, then they will instantly begin fighting to the death, causing a loyalty cascade. To avoid this, either train your were-soldiers alone in separate rooms (slower due to lack of sparring), or make sure to set their alert to Inactive and cancel all their orders before they change back to dwarves. Once they've changed back, they can be set to train or given orders again. If they do start fighting each other, canceling all their orders and setting them to Inactive will make them stop.

The soldiers will not train while transformed, but if they were sparring during the transformation they will continue to spar in wereform, which can be entertaining to watch. The combat log for sparring dwarves in wereform will be gray instead of the normal cyan.

Transformation dates[edit]

There are exactly thirteen full moons in a dwarven year, so werebeasts transform on exactly the same dates every year:

Day 25th 23rd 21st 19th 17th 15th 13th 11th 8th 6th 4th 2nd 28th
Month Granite Slate Felsite Hematite Malachite Galena Limestone Sandstone Timber Moonstone Opal Obsidian Obsidian
Date (XX-01-25) (XX-02-23) (XX-03-21) (XX-04-19) (XX-05-17) (XX-06-15) (XX-07-13) (XX-08-11) (XX-09-08) (XX-10-06) (XX-11-04) (XX-12-02) (XX-12-28)

Werebeasts in adventure mode[edit]

Non-leather clothing will be destroyed on any transformation

In adventurer mode, werebeasts are usually found living in small lairs on the edges of civilization. Young adventurers will often be called upon to slay them, with instructions along the line of 'he assumes a bestial form' along with a description of what type of metal they are vulnerable to. However, as long as they are not visited on the night of their transformation, they are just common peasants and can be dispatched easily. It would behoove these individuals to hide themselves among townsfolk, but what can ya do?

Becoming a werebeast[edit]

To become a werebeast, you must either happen upon a werebeast in its beastly form or seek one out on the night of their transformation. The most safe and certain way to permit an infectious werebite is to remove all upper body armor, and only torso armor. The torso is the easiest target and it can sustain more damage than limbs. Getting an appendage bitten or shaken off has a lower probability of penetrating the bloodstream than a bite to the chest area.

Note if you select a form for its advantages: the werebeast form doesn't guarantee the stat ranges their animal type may imply; those are generated completely independently. The beast form only confers a proportionate size/mass increase, the tissue layer materials, and all their attack types.

It is additionally possible to become a werebeast by toppling statues of your god(s) in a temple or sanctuary. Walk up to the statue and topple it with u then a. Toppling a statue in this way will lead you to be cursed: the curse will be either werebeast or vampirism. (toppling statues unrelated to your religion has no effect.) A simpler way to obtain a werebeast curse is to roll divination dice to the point of angering the gods. Once you get a message urging you not to tempt fate, another roll of the dice will bestow upon you a curse - which curse you get appears to be randomly decided at the time you topple the statue or roll the dice. Reloading the game and repeating the process often gives the alternate curse.

If you become a werebeast and transform in adventure mode, you can pick up your weapon and shield that were dropped in the transformation, but, seeing as almost all werebeasts seem to have a minimum body size of about 80000, armor will become too small for you to fit into. Hauled items will also be dropped on Fast Travel.

Implications of being an adventuring werebeast[edit]


  • Every full moon all injuries are instantly healed, then again when the phase ends.
  • For 30 game hours you are inexhaustible; the perfect time to power-train your combat skills. You can sustain max movement rate, multi-attack with everything you have, block and dodge without exhaustion limits. Though your physical attributes won't increase, the skill gains will make your natural form much stronger than it was.
  • Potential increase to all physical stats, likely increase to all physical stat maximums (your mileage may vary; sometimes base and maximum stats are lower than your normal form.)
  • Increase in mass that scales up with animal's base size (eg a smaller creature adds a marginal amount, a larger creature may gain mass in the 100ks.)
  • Acquire all the animal's traits including swim/climb/crawl rates, innate swimming, physical attacks such as hoof or horn, tissue layer properties such as scales or thick hide.
  • Acquiring the curse directly from a god additionally grants agelessness, which similar to necromancers' agelessness makes you neutral to undead.


  • Attacked if you visit any towns during your transformation. Automatically hostile with everyone except werebeasts of your own species and your base species.
  • Having to re-equip yourself every transformation unless transformed size is similar enough to your race's size. Non-leather clothing will be destroyed on any transformation regardless of size difference.
  • If enemies are wielding weapons of a material your new form is weak against, damage taken can be devastating.
  • Werebeast form often starts relatively weaker, and its maximum potential may be less than normal form.


  • Ordering your military to kill an infected dwarf may trigger a loyalty cascade, potentially making every single dwarf of the fortress hostile to all others Bug:0003259. To prevent this, it's safer to dispose of the infected by other means, like quarantining them via forbidden doors on hospitals fitted with… hygienic measures.
  • On first transformation an afflicted character's birth year and time can be set back hundreds to thousands of years Bug:0005835. This can occur from infection by bite or direct deity curse.
  • Infected invaders don't attack the rest of the invasion force when they turn.Bug:10014
  • Regardless of whether or not their original race is known, a unit's kill list will always show a defeated werebeast as a member of their starting race, even if transformed.

D4Dwarf.png This article or section has been rated D for Dwarf. It may include witty humour, not-so-witty humour, bad humour, in-jokes, pop culture references, and references to the Bay12 forums. Don't believe everything you read, and if you miss some of the references, don't worry. It was inevitable.

Sometimes a werebeast arrives in humanoid form, and the game then announces the arrival of a normal, intelligent creature as if it was some terrible beast. The naked, confused creature usually runs away, probably scared by your dwarves' laughter.

Unlike other werebeasts, werehedgehogs have shown the ability to unnaturally stretch their limbs out for extra mobility, and often attempt to steal rings from your stockpiles.

"Werebeast" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: senelfer
Elvish: riviìle
Goblin: bemkåbu
Human: hixursuku
Military and defense
Managing soldiers
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