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Wear is the degradation of materials over time, primarily in the context of food and clothing. Wear will alter the quality of an item, denoted by the symbols x, X and XX. For example, over time a dwarf's "Pig tail shirt" will degrade into a "xPig tail shirtx" and eventually a "XXPig tail shirtXX" before disappearing entirely.
Animal-based products can rot, which is different from wear (see miasma). Crops and harvested plants can wither if not stored in a stockpile, making them useless but generating no miasma.
Notes on wear:
- Clothing over time will wear due to normal usage.
- Clothing and leather items are worn down very rapidly after catching on fire.
- Trolls can beat on doors, wearing them out until they break.
- Wood and cloth items in a Trade depot built outside in a Glacier biome will degrade until purchased. This will also happen to items in a starting wagon in a similar location. Walls do not halt the effect.
- Invaders' clothing is also subject to wear.
- Cages do not prevent wear.
All improvable items made from creature or plant materials (i.e. cloth, silk, leather, yarn, or wood) will gradually wear out over a very long period of time, even if just sitting in stockpiles, gaining one level of wear every 100 years. This is technically a bug - cloth/leather items are supposed to wear out at 5 times this rate.
Dealing with Decay
Dwarves will pick up new clothes if it available. However, Bug:2481 prevents dwarves from using their acquired clothes. Also wear is a source of a significant drop in FPS Bug:3942. Vermin will accelerate food decay; as such, your food stocks should be kept in barrels and guarded by cats or trappers.