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Periodically, individual dwarves are struck with an idea for a legendary artifact and enter a strange mood. Dwarves which enter a strange mood will stop whatever they are doing and pursue the construction of this artifact to the exclusion of all else. They will not stop to eat, drink, sleep, or even run away from dangerous creatures. If they do not manage to begin construction of the artifact within a handful of months, they will go insane and die soon afterward.
Note: All controllable civilizations are currently able to enter strange moods, though in earlier versions of DF the only civilization this applies to is dwarves.
- The conditions necessary for a strange mood to occur are not fully understood, although they may possess even dwarf children.
- The game will pause, center on a dwarf, and announce that the dwarf has entered one of five different types of strange moods. The types of moods are listed below. While in a mood, a dwarf will display a blinking exclamation point (see status icons).
- For the duration of the mood, the dwarf will claim a workshop related to the skill that the mood affects (not all skills are eligible), kick out any dwarf who was using it, and render it otherwise unusable until the mood has been resolved. If a moody dwarf does not claim a workshop, it is because the appropriate workshop does not exist. (See skills and workshops below to determine which workshop(s) might be required.) A moody dwarf will not be available to build a needed workshop; another dwarf with the appropriate labor designation must do so for them, if one is necessary.
- After claiming a workshop, the dwarf will set about collecting the required materials for their artifact. If the dwarf remains idle inside the workshop, it's because they cannot find the right material. Reference the demands section to determine what may be required. Important Note: They will only collect these materials in the order that they require them. In other words, you have to determine where they are on the list of required materials and then provide the next one before they will continue collecting other materials.
- Once all materials have been gathered, the game will once again pause and center, and the moody dwarf will begin construction. Upon completion the dwarf will create a semi-random artifact related to the skill affected and gain legendary (or higher) status in that skill (unless the mood type is possessed). See the skills and workshops for information on which skills can be gained, or the artifacts created section for more details on the artifacts themselves.
Types of moods
For each of the following types of moods, the first message is how the mood is announced; the second message appears in the dwarf's profile when he or she is viewed with the v key. All moody dwarves will have "Strange Mood" listed as their active task and are "quite content", regardless of any recent thoughts they may have had.
- <dwarf> is taken by a fey mood!
- Has the aspect of one fey!
This is the most basic strange mood. Fey dwarves will clearly state their demands when the workshop they are in is examined.
- <dwarf> withdraws from society...
- Peculiarly secretive...
Secretive moods are the same as fey moods, except a secretive dwarf will sketch pictures of their required materials instead of clearly stating their demands if they cannot find what they need. Descriptions of all these secretive requirements can be seen only by viewing the workshop that the moody dwarf has claimed, with q, and then only while the dwarf is waiting inside it. More than one "picture" is likely; these will cycle through the entire list automatically if any one is not available. (Since materials are gathered in order, it's quite possible that only one of a long list is needed to allow the moody dwarf to continue on their project. If the dwarf has gathered some of the materials (seen as "tasked" when looking at the workshop with t), then the next in the list is what they are looking for.)
- <dwarf> has been possessed!
- Possessed by unknown forces!
Possessed dwarves have cryptic material requests, and have the unfortunate distinction of not receiving any experience upon successful construction of an artifact. No controllable circumstances lead to a possessed mood instead of one of the more desirable fey or secretive moods. It is pure luck-based. Possessed dwarves will mutter the name of the artifact they are working on (which, under some circumstances, might end up being their own name) once they have all the materials they need.
A possession is the only mood that does not result in a jump in experience.
A possessed dwarf that is muttering nonsense has already gathered everything it needs
- <dwarf> looses a roaring laughter, fell and terrible!
- Has a horrible fell look!
A dwarf that goes into a fell mood will always take over a butcher's shop or a tanner's shop. If neither are available, any other workshop will be used instead. The dwarf will then murder the nearest dwarf (bonus if its a noble), drag the corpse into the shop and make some sort of object out of dwarf leather or bone. Once the artifact is completed, the fell dwarf will become a legendary bone carver or leatherworker. Strangely, none of the other dwarves seem to mind the murder. Only unhappy dwarves may enter a fell mood.
Aside from the loss of a potentially important dwarf in the wrong place at the wrong time, there doesn't seem to be any downside to a fell mood. The end result is always an artifact and a legendary craftsdwarf. Since the only ingredient used (a dwarf) is available in abundance, a fell mood will only fail if the fell dwarf is completely isolated from other dwarves, or if the proper workshop does not exist.
- <dwarf> begins to stalk and brood...
- Brooding darkly...
Macabre moods are similar to fell moods, but the dwarf will not murder a fellow dwarf. A macabre dwarf may require bones, skulls[Verify], or vermin remains; if you do not happen to have any, you will have to make some, e.g. by butchering an animal and/or allowing a cat to go hunting, or let the moody dwarf go insane. Like fell moods, only unhappy dwarves can enter macabre moods.
- Shells are a common request in moods and are only produced from preparing raw turtles, mussels, oysters, or cave lobsters at a fishery. That is, you must be able to fish them at your site - there is no way of trading for them, since traded cave lobsters and turtles are processed fish (with the shells already removed). Version 0.31.12 and beyond should have much fewer shell requests.
- Should the claimed workshop be a magma forge and lose power due to insufficient magma beneath it, the mood will fail immediately and the dwarf will go insane. Should the forge be in danger of losing power, you should forbid it before it is claimed and wait until it is powered up reliably. Once magma forges are built, at least some dwarves will no longer be satisfied with a regular forge.
- The following can happen (v .31.12) "OVERWROTE JOB: Strange Mood BY Starting Fist Fight".
- The mood's primary material will only be mentioned once in the dwarf's requests, even if the dwarf wants more than one unit of it. 
- The item to be built is not set at the beginning of the mood. Saving (even after a dwarf has begun to gather materials) will allow you to reload and the result may be a different artifact. If you want to receive artifact adamantine breastplate, make sure to have adamantine nearby and forbid/move away any other materials. You can reload the artifact creating process, even after the dwarf has gathered most of components by forbidding the claimed items. If other items of that type are available, dwarf will immediately switch to them.
- There are bugs reported related to moody dwarves. As has been the case in 40d, most turned out to be (understandable) failures of the player to grasp the mechanics of artifact creation and demands. Bug tracker: 
- Dwarves may request "rock bars" -- This is satisfied by metal bars.
- Moody Dwarves don't respect burrows when grabbing a workshop, but DO when looking for items. If his claimed workshop is outside his assigned burrow, the dwarf will continue to grab materials until all materials of the needed type are exhausted within his assigned burrow, this is similar to the Planepacked glitch.
- If a dwarf dies because of failing to complete an artifact, a memorial made to the dwarf will read that the dwarf did create it, despite the failure, and will even list the name of the artifact that never came to be.
Once a workshop is claimed, the dwarf will begin collecting materials. Each artifact will require between one and ten materials to complete - 1-3 "primary" components and up to 7 additional items based on your fortress's population (up to 1 per 20 dwarves eligible to enter a mood) and previous moods (up to 1 per artifact successfully produced). The dwarf may well need several items of one material! If the moody dwarf remains idle, then the necessary materials are not available. Forbidden items must be reclaimed (d - b - c) before they may be used, but moody dwarves will ignore settings regarding economic stone. Press q and highlight the workshop to receive a series of clues about what the dwarf needs. Hints that stay active for longer than 2 seconds mean that multiple pieces of that material will be required; each single demand will be displayed for 2 seconds, so if it says "gems... shining" for 6 seconds, 3 gems are demanded. However, occasionally a hint shown for only 2 seconds will require more than one item to fulfill it; this behavior seems to occur mainly (only?) with the primary material (the base material of the artifact, and the first item gathered).[Verify] Materials will always be fetched in order, so if at least one item has already been retrieved (the items will show up with "TSK" ("task") next to them when the workshop is viewed with the t context menu), it will usually be possible to tell what item is required next.
If you want your dwarves to construct their artifacts out of valuable materials instead of whatever useless thing happens to be close at hand, you can selectively forbid types of material through the stocks screen so that only the material you want them to use is available; though this might interfere with the normal crafting operations of your fortress, the disruption is generally short-lived (as long as you remember to unforbid them again afterwards!). You can even forbid something a moody dwarf is carrying (which may be necessary sometimes, since while they are not waiting in the workshop they will not tell you what they need); the dwarf will finish hauling it to the workshop, but then immediately go searching for another. This trick can mean the difference between a bauxite statue decorated with moss agates and a native platinum statue encrusted with diamonds. Be aware that this may not always work - moody metalsmiths will occasionally insist on a specific type of metal with which to make their artifact, and forbidding other metals to force them to use a more valuable material will simply cause them to sit in the workshop until you give them what they want. This metal is usually the one listed in their Thoughts and Preferences page as their favorite metal. Weaponsmiths and armorers are likely to insist on adamantine wafers should any exist in your fortress, forbidden or not, regardless of the particular dwarf's preferences[Verify].
As of v0.31, burrows seem to allow even better control over moody dwarf's material usage. Simply by creating a burrow around claimed workshop and another part over desired material, moody dwarf can be controlled without forbidding every single stone in fortress. A moody dwarf will follow the burrow-definitions just like a regular worker, but be mindful that they will not leave the burrow to get materials that are outside of their assigned burrow. A problem can arise when bones from an outside refuse stockpile are needed by a moody dwarf that is assigned to a burrow.
The various demands are translated here:
Material Fey Secretive Possessed <dwarf> screams "I must have <demand>!" <dwarf> sketches pictures of <demand>. <dwarf> mutters "<artifact> needs <demand>..." Stone rock a quarry stone... rock Stone/metal blocks rock blocks square blocks blocks... bricks Wood wood logs a forest tree... life Metal bar rock bars shining bars of metal bars... metal Gems (cut) cut gems cut gems gems... shining Gems (raw) rough gems rough gems rough... color Green glass raw green glass glass raw... green Clear glass raw clear glass[Verify] glass and burning wood raw... clear Crystal glass raw crystal glass[Verify] rough gems and glass raw... crystal Bone[Verify] bones skeletons bones... yes Shell[Verify] shells shells a shell... Leather tanned hides stacked leather leather... skin Cloth (plant fiber) plant cloth stacked cloth cloth... thread Cloth (silk) silk cloth stacked cloth cloth... thread Cloth (yarn) yarn cloth stacked cloth cloth... thread Skull body parts death a corpse
Dwarves in macabre moods will list their demands in the same fashion as those in fey moods (though with them brooding "Yes. I need <item>." instead of screaming "I must have <item>!"). They may also say "Leave me. I need... things... certain things", in which case they want special items such as skulls or vermin remains.
Fey dwarves will sometimes ask for rock bars. This is just a typographical error, caused by stones and metals having been joined into a single "inorganic" material type in version 0.31 - they are actually asking for metal bars.
Related to the above behavior, moody dwarves demanding rock blocks will also accept blocks forged from metal bars.
Moody metalworkers may occasionally require a specific type of metal as their artifact's primary material - for secretive moods and possessions, take a look at the dwarf's material preferences to see which metal the dwarf wants to use.
Once all materials have been gathered, viewing the workshop with q will display a special message depending on the type of mood:
- Fey - "<dwarf> works furiously!"
- Secretive - "<dwarf> works secretly..."
- Possessed - "<dwarf> keeps muttering <artifact>..."
- Macabre - "<dwarf> works, darkly brooding..."
- Fell - "<dwarf> works with menacing fury!"
The mechanics of moods
When a fortress is started, an internal counter is set to 1000. Every 100 frames (12 times per day), this counter is decremented by 1, running down to zero in about 3 months. When the counter would ordinarily be decremented when it has already reached zero, there is a 1 in 500 chance that a strange mood will strike. This means that, once all conditions are met and the clock is ticking, while there is approximately a 2.4% chance of a strange mood per day, or very approximately a 50% chance of a strange mood per month, there is no guarantee when a mood will strike - might be sooner, might be (almost) never.
In order for a dwarf to be struck with a strange mood, three conditions must be met:
- There is no currently active strange mood,
- The maximum number of artifacts is not met,
- There are at least 20 eligible dwarves (see below).
If all three of these conditions are true, the game may trigger a strange mood according to the frequency.
Maximum number of artifacts
The maximum number of artifacts in any one fortress is limited by the lower of:
- The number of items created divided by 100.1 Mined-out rock does count as an "item created", though it is not clear whether bolts or units of drink are counted individually.
- The number of revealed subterranean tiles divided by 2304 (this is an area equivalent to a 48x48 square). Once you discover and explore the caverns and magma sea, this limit becomes largely irrelevant.
- 1 - actually the sum of all items by type and by type+subtype+material, divided by 200.
The deciding factor for eligibility is a dwarf's actual profession. (Note that "custom professions" have no effect on this!) Thus, dwarves may enter strange moods regardless of what skills they have or don't have, so long as they are of an acceptable profession. Dwarves who have already created an artifact are not eligible to create another, and since every mood ends in either an artifact or death, every dwarf may enter at most one mood. Dwarves who have obtained one or more legendary skills without creating artifacts may enter strange moods.
Dwarves with a military profession other than "Recruit" can not enter moods. Incidental military skills make no difference - eligibility (and weighting) depends purely on the actual profession as listed at the time, so soldiers can enter moods if they are off duty and thus in Civilian mode. Babies may not enter moods.
Any other profession is eligible to enter a mood, but not all have the same chance to enter a mood...
- (Note - Specifically, and to avoid previous misunderstandings, Strand extractor, Clerk/Administrator/Trader, Doctor (and related), Architect, Recruit and Child are moodable professions.)
When determining who will have a strange mood, each eligible dwarf is put into a weighted lottery. The odds are assigned a higher or lower weight based on the dwarf's profession. The default weight is 6, but some professions are more likely to enter a strange mood than others. (This is like most dwarves getting 6 tickets to the lottery, and others getting more.)
|21||Armorer, Blacksmith, Bone Carver, Clothier, Craftsdwarf, Jeweler, Gem Cutter, Gem Setter, Glassmaker, Leatherworker, Metalcrafter, Metalsmith, Stonecrafter, Weaponsmith, Weaver, Woodcrafter|
|11||Bowyer, Carpenter, Stoneworker, Mason, Woodworker|
|6||Engraver, Mechanic, Miner, Tanner, & all other professions (including Peasant).|
- Example: What this means is: if you had 21 dwarves, made up of 20 eligible farmers, furnace operators, miners, woodcutters etc. (with 6 chances each) plus one Armorer (with 21 chances), that one Armorer would have a 21 in 141 chance (20 dwarves x 6 chances each = 120 + 21 chances more = 141 total) of the mood striking them. That's about 1 in 7, while the other 20 have a 6 in 141 chance each, or about 1 in 24. The odds are still against the armorer, but much better than for any other single dwarf.
Note that not every profession is from a moodable skill. A Soaper, Architect, Furnace Operator or Strand Extractor can be taken by a mood, but that will not make those skills legendary, nor will they create an artifact bar of soap, building, bar of metal or wafer of adamantine.
- NOTE: If your game was saved shortly before one of you dwarves acquired a mood, reloading that game will most likely cause the chances to be completely re-figured, resulting in a different mood at a different time for a different dwarf with different materials. This is true for most all random events and results in Dwarf Fortress.
Skills and workshops
A dwarf will claim a workshop according to their highest applicable skill, and upon completion of the artifact, gain 20,000 experience in that skill (excepting possessed dwarves). This will give the dwarf a legendary-level skill (specifically, "legendary+1" or higher, depending on the dwarf's initial skill level). The table to the right describes all applicable skills and their potential workshop requirements - there are only 20 skills that determine the workshop and that can be affected by a mood (sometimes referred to as moodable skills.) If a dwarf does not possess at least one of the moodable skills listed to the right, they will take over a craftsdwarf's workshop and gain one of bone carver, stone crafter, or wood crafter skills, producing an artifact craft.
When selecting the desired mood skill, only the level itself is checked, and if the highest level found is shared by multiple skills, then one will be selected randomly.
This fact can be utilized to maximize the possibility of getting a dwarf with the specific legendary skill you want: since non-moodable skills are ignored, whenever possible make sure that each dwarf's highest moodable skill is one of those you want*. Have all your peasants, farmers, non-professional military and other dwarves without any moodable skills do a tiny bit of work in the skill(s) you most want; if a "dabbling" skill is the highest moodable skill they have, that is the skill that will be used.
- (* Armorsmith, Weaponsmith, Metal crafter and Metalsmith are possibly the most-desired legendary skills, but much depends on your fortress, your current mix of skills, and your play style.)
The type of artifact created will depend on the dwarf's highest skill. Masons and miners will always create some kind of stone furniture; bone carvers, a bone or shell object; carpenters, a wood object, etc. engravers and stone crafters will turn out a stone craft; metalworkers, metal crafts, weapons, or armor (depending on the type of metalworker); weavers, an article of clothing; tanners, a leather armor or object. If a dwarf has no moodable skills, they will take over a craftsdwarf's workshop and create a bone, stone or wood craft of some type. The precise type of craft created is usually somewhat random but if a dwarf has a personality preference for a particular thing, such as gauntlets or floodgates or crowns, and that thing is an available choice given the dwarf's profession, they will generally create an object of that type.
The first object grabbed by the dwarf will be the "primary" substance; all other materials will be used to decorate the artifact. If a dwarf grabs a piece of chalk and makes a statue, for instance, it will be a "chalk statue", but an artifact can potentially be composed of bone, cloth, gems, leather, metal, shell, stone, and wood all at once. In some cases, a moody dwarf will produce an item which normally cannot be made from that material, leading to such odd constructions as an obsidian bed, ruby floodgate, or turtle shell cage.
Once created, most artifacts will be available for use just like a normal item of its type. Artifact furniture is useful for high value noble rooms. Artifact weapons in weapon traps can also boost a room's value considerably, as in the case of artifact trap components and mechanisms.
Unless the mood was a Possession, the dwarf will gain 20,000 points of experience in the skill used to produce the artifact, enough to boost them to Legendary.
If you can't provide the desired workshop and all the required component materials within a couple of months, the dwarf will go insane, which cancels the mood and the artifact. As if that's not bad enough, any dwarf who goes insane will soon die, one way or another.
A dwarf who is stark raving mad or melancholy is harmless to others (until they die and start a tantrum spiral), but a berserk dwarf will attack other dwarves and possibly pull levers at random. You may want to station a squad nearby or assign a few war dogs to the dwarf on the chance that they will lash out. If you build your workshops inside enclosed rooms with doors you can also lock the moody dwarf in the room until he or she starves. In extreme cases, building a wall around an open workshop is the best precaution.