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Urist likes dwarves for their beards.

Any location


· Learns · Humanoid

Cannot be tamed 
Birth: 3,000 cm3
Mid: 15,000 cm3
Max: 60,000 cm3

Child at: 1
Adult at: 12
Max age: 150-170
Cannot be butchered

Wikipedia article

This article is about an older version of DF.
A short, sturdy creature fond of drink and industry.
This is a masterfully-designed engraving of a Dwarf and a battle axe.

Dwarves are "intelligent", alcohol-dependent, humanoid creatures that are the featured race of fortress mode, as well as being playable in adventure mode. They are well known for their stout physique and prominent beards (on the males), which begin to grow from birth; dwarves are stronger, shorter, stockier, and hairier than the average human, and have a heightened sense of their surroundings. Dwarves live in elaborate underground fortresses carved from the mountainside, are naturally gifted miners, metalsmiths, and stone crafters, and value the acquisition of wealth and rare metals above all else.

Dwarven civilizations typically form peaceful, trade-based relationships with humans and hippies elves, but are bitter enemies with goblins. Dwarven babies become children one year after birth, grow up to become adults at their twelfth birthday, and live to be around 150-170 years of age.

Well-trained dwarves are a menace in combat; they are the only race that can enter a martial trance when beset by multiple foes, granting them a major combat bonus, and their emphasis on mining and metalworking ensures access to the best arms and armor. They are incapable, however, of riding mounts, and will always fight on foot. Note however this is only applicable to player controlled dwarves in fortress mode, as they have been observed riding the same cavern mounts as goblins (such as giant olms and toads) when assailing modded races.

Fortress mode[edit]

Dwarves are the default race in fortress mode, as in, the only one that can be played without modding. As a trading race, Dwarves will send a caravan every year in Autumn. These merchants will bring back tales of a fortress's wealth and goods, which will attract immigrants.

Dwarves may occasionally be struck by divine inspiration and desire to create a legendary artifact, an item of masterful craft and great value. A dwarf who is successful in this quest will likely become a legendary worker in that profession; however, if the appropriate materials are not available, the dwarf will instead go insane.

Dwarves react to stress violently. When pushed to unhappiness by unfortunate events, dwarves are more likely to tantrum than to talk things out. It is not uncommon to find them overturning furniture, injuring others, and generally being rowdy. Paradoxically, they also have a strong sense of justice, and those who damage property or other dwarves may find themselves incarcerated, or -- in extreme cases -- on the receiving end of the Hammerer's corporal punishment.

Adventure mode[edit]

Dwarven fortresses (and their inhabitants) currently do not exist in Adventurer mode, although player-made fortresses that have been abandoned can attract dwarven NPCs that will settle down in them. Unfortunately, human-made armor is too large for them to wear, and humans are the only race with shops, so all armor upgrades will have to come from looting elves, goblins, and other dwarves. Most human weapons must be wielded two-handed by dwarves, due to their size.


Morally speaking, dwarven ethics most closely resemble human and elven ethics, agree somewhat with kobold and animal-people ethics, and disagree strongly with goblin ethics. Unlike elves, dwarves find the devouring of dead enemies unthinkable, and will not butcher or consume intelligent beings (goblins see this as a personal matter). They are entirely opposed to torture of any sort for any reason, unlike elves, humans, kobolds and animal-people (who find certain forms of torture acceptable) and especially goblins, who find all torture acceptable. Dwarves tolerate animal trophies but shun those who keep trophies of sapient beings, and find those who keep trophies of other dwarves appalling. Dwarves find the killing of animals, enemies and plants completely acceptable, unlike elves, kobolds and animal-people. An exception to this is the killing of neutral beings, which is sanctioned as long as the killing had been officially ordered. A dwarf found to have participated in assault, theft, trespassing or vandalism will be seriously punished; some crimes such as killing other dwarves, breaking oaths, slavery and treason are punishable by death. On the other hand, lying is considered a personal matter.


In real-life mythology, dwarves are much like humans, but generally prefer to live underground and/or in mountainous areas. In their fortresses they have accumulated treasures of gold, silver, and precious stones, and pass their time fabricating costly weapons and armor. They are famed miners and smiths, although, like humans, they can specialise in any number of trades. Generally shorter than humans, they are on average stockier and hairier, and usually sport full beards. Though slow runners and poor riders, dwarves are excellent warriors and defenders of their strongholds. Dwarves have the ability to forge magical items, which shows off their culture's and species natural craftsmanship. For instance, dwarven smiths created some of the greatest and most powerful items of mythology, which inspired the in-game strange moods and Legendary artifacts.

Community outlook[edit]

Dwarves have accumulated a reputation among players for being slow-witted, although to be fair, this is more a function of the game itself (and certain consequences thereof) than it is the fault of the dwarves. The instances of dwarven stupidity are numerous; examples include dodging into thin air (off of cliffs and into rivers), never accounting for water flow (and being swept off of waterfalls to a watery grave several z-levels below), always taking the easy paths (even through a pond poisoned with toxic forgotten beast blood), building constructions from the wrong side (trapping themselves within), channeling the floor one is was standing on, wandering off to do dangerous things (collecting webs when a giant cave spider is visibly lurking), and generally disregarding dangerous circumstances (carrying back friendly corpses even when the goblins that have rendered them horizontal are a mere two feet away).

The problem is further compounded by dwarven touchiness; they easily become depressed, throwing tantrums that spiral out of control for what seem like minor reasons (e.g. a temporary lack of unworn socks). This inevitably leads to players' emphasis of the "dwarfy": failsafe design, machinery in place of dwarfpower, fun with magma, seizing control of the environment, killing all the cute fuzzy animals, strip mining the whole place hollow, etc. It is a great insult to be called an elf, implying that the player is apt to sit around and gaze at trees, living in the world rather than bending it to their will.

In accounts of exploits or fun, the generic name Urist is often used in place of any specific dwarf name, often because the default dwarf names are complex, random, and hard to remember. Several other nicknames for dwarves also exist; some are less polite than others.

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