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The dwarven calendar is used to display the day, month, and year of any given date, and is visible in the upper right corner of the Status Screen (z). There are 12 months in the dwarven year divided into 4 seasons of 3 months each. Unlike the traditional Gregorian calendar, each dwarven month is exactly 4 weeks long, or 28 days. New Year's Day and the first day of Spring both fall on the 1st of Granite. New Year's Eve and the last day of Winter both fall on the 28th of Obsidian. The months are named after kinds of stones, ore, gems and wood.
The game's first playable year begins whenever the world stops generating. By default, the world will stop genning at year 250. Worldgen can be set to stop at several distinct years ranging from 5 to 1050 when selecting Create a World, and can also be set to any arbitrary year by editing the advance option End Year in the Design New World with Advanced Parameters screen, or by interrupting world generation.
Months and seasons
The seasons correspond to growing seasons from the farm plot q menu, which dictate what can be grown when during the year. (See the List of crops.) It should be noted that crops grow during seasons regardless of the actual weather, so any crops that grow during the spring will do so regardless of how much rain your area gets.
Civilizations will visit your fortress based on what season it currently is. Trade caravans for each race show up during the specific seasons each year, with the elves arriving during the Spring, the humans during the Summer, and the dwarves during the Autumn. No caravans arrive for the winter, so it's smart to stock up on food and drink during the fall.
In addition to the year, a world's history is also divided into ages. An age can be seen as an epoch, something which defines the period of years it describes. The age itself has no bearing on gameplay other than as categorization in Legends mode, though players may witness a change in age (with an accompanied announcement) should their actions cause the current age to end. This may happen after killing a large number of megabeasts.
Ages are determined by the states of the world during world generation. Worlds start in the Age of Myth, though this may not always hold true if changes to world gen parameters are made. Some of the known things that influence the ages are number of megabeasts currently living and dominant civilizations. It is also possible for a world to enter a particular Age more than once (e.g., The Second Age of Legends) if the appropriate conditions are met.
Below is a list of 'Ages' that may occur, an explanation and their (possible) triggers, and their in-game descriptions. World size may affect how long an age lasts. Because the age is dependent on variables such as number of megabeasts, number of civilized creatures, etc., smaller worlds will tend to change ages more frequently. Conversely, larger worlds tend to be more age-stable.
Great Powers in Control
If there are more than 3 significant powers (historical figures with the [POWER] or [MEGABEAST]/[TITAN] creature tokens) in a world when it begins, then it will progress through the ages of Myth, Legends, and Heroes. If there are 3 or less, then it will progress through the various Ages of Powers.
- The Age of Myth
- The number of living powers and megabeasts is at least 2/3 of what it was when the world began.
- The Age of Myth was a time when living gods and mighty beasts still held sway.
- The Age of Legends
- The number of living powers and megabeasts is at least 1/3 of what it was when the world began.
- The Age of Legends was a time when the powers of the world were fading.
- The Age of Heroes
- The number of living powers and megabeasts is greater than zero.
- The Age of Heroes was a time when the last of the powers fought their final battles.
- The Age of Three Powers
- Exactly three powers are alive in the world. If a world starts with 3 powers and manages to progress beyond that, it will proceed to the Age of Myth.
- The Age of Three Powers was a time when the dragon Flarrgh, the demon Blarrgh and the titan Glarrgh were the only great powers in the world.
- The Age of (Race) and (Race)
- The Age of Two (Race)s
- Exactly two powers are alive in the world.
- The Age of Dragon and Demon was a time when the dragon Flarrgh and the demon Blarrgh were the only great powers in the world.
- The Age of Two Dragons was a time when the dragon Flarrgh and the dragon Blarrgh were the only great powers in the world.
- The Age of (Name)
- The Age of the (Race)
- The (Racial) Age
- Exactly one power is alive in the world. The name style is selected randomly.
- The Age of the Hydra was a time when the hydra Flarrgh was the only great power in the world.
- The Age of Flarrgh was a time when the titan Flarrgh was the only great power in the world.
- The Draconic Age was a time when the dragon Flarrgh was the only great power in the world.
No Great Powers
Once there are no powers left in the world, the ages will proceed as follows.
- The Age of (Race)
- Less than 50% of all civilized creatures are mundane, and the majority are of one race.
- The Age of Dwarves was a time when dwarves ruled the world.
- The Golden Age
- Less than 50% of all civilized creatures are mundane, but there is no single majority.
- The Golden Age was a time when various civilized races peopled the world.
- The Twilight Age
- Between 50% and 90% of all civilized creatures are mundane.
- The Twilight Age was a time when fantastic creatures no longer lived in great numbers.
- The Age of Fairy Tales
- Over 90% of all civilized creatures are mundane, but some non-mundane ones still remain. Toady One' quote from 2008 devlog:
"I finally saw a world arrive at the Age of Fairy Tales, which happens if mundane creatures (ie humans) make up at least 90% of the world's civilized population with the requirement that there are still a few fantasy creatures lurking around. In this case, it was a kobold cave that their scouts never found. I guess all of the fairy tales were about people having their crap stolen."
- The Age of Fairy Tales was a time when fantastic creatures were few and far between, and some even doubted their existence.
- The Age of Civilization
- All civilized creatures are mundane, and all semi-megabeasts have been vanquished.
- The Age of Civilization was a time when fantastic creatures were but mere stories told by travelers.
- The Age of Death
- All civilized creatures are dead, and the world has passed through at least one Age of Twilight, Age of Fairy Tales, Age of (Race), Golden Age, or Age of Civilization.
- The Age of Death was a time after civilization had crumbled completely.
- The Age of Emptiness
- All civilized creatures are dead, but the world never progressed beyond the Ages of Myth, Legends, Heroes, or Powers.
- The Age of Emptiness was a time when no civilized peoples existed in the world.
- The Age of Emptiness was a time when only simple creatures inhabited the world.
A world that ends generation in the Age of Death or the Age of Emptiness will only allow games to be started in Legends mode or Adventurer mode.
Biome · Climate · Surroundings · Map legend · Calendar