Characters include the different creatures you can meet in the game, as well as some Memetic Badasses.
A short, sturdy creature fond of drink and industry.
The Alcoholic: They're capable of living without it, but it will make them so slow as to be nearly useless.
Always Lawful Good: Their morality (slavery, murder, assault and theft is bad) and their values at first seem closest to Lawful Good... that's before you see that oaths are taken so seriously oath-breaking is punishable by capital execution! So it's more like Lawful Neutral or Lawful Stupid (the latter is possibly the most accurate).
Blood Knight: They "take joy in slaughter" or can "have satisfying sparring sessions".
Dirty Coward: Civilian dwarves, which will fight only when forced to and flee from hostiles (which is understandable) or any wild animal (which tend to piss off players when a wild but harmless creature (such as a weasel) has entered your fortress and your dwarves flee from it). Military dwarves are another story — except when they run away in terror...
Fluffy Tamer: Dwarves can tame any animal. The definition of "animal" extends to dragons, hydras, rocs and giant cave spiders. Imagine THAT as your cavalry. However, "exotic" animals can turn on you, especially if your civilization knows next to nothing of the animal in question.
Mad Artist: Dwarves go in a strange mood once in their life, in which they halt all actions and claim a workshop relevant to their best crafting skill (or some random skill if they are peasants). They will ask for a specific list of items and create an artifact, a unique, very high quality, and indestructible item. It can end in them creating a hilariously useless item (like some bone musical instrument), something that looks unimpressive but is in fact quite useful (like a stone door), or alternatively something awesome (adamantine battle axe). Their creation can either boost the relevant skill to Legendary, which can go from mildly useful to extremely awesome, or not boost the skill at all, in the case of possessions.
If they are unhappy, they may go into a macabre mood and build something out of bones or skulls, or in a fell mood, which is by far the best expression of this trope: they build something out of the corpse of a dwarf they just murdered.
Mighty Glacier: Compared to other races, that are stronger and tougher but less agile (and therefore slower). It is not very noticeable though.
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played straight in some regards and not in others. Yes, they're all short bearded alcoholics. However, they're also far more insane and stupid than most dwarves.
Granola Girl: The live in forests, don't use metal, are "at peace with nature", and are the biggest tree-huggers you'll ever encounter.
Green Thumb: Elves can shape their wooden weapons and armor without needing to chop down trees. One of ThreeToe's stories explains that they use magic to do this. This is, in fact, exactly how they build their forest retreats of trees planted in perfect rows. In fortress mode, however, their wooden goods are special only in that dwarves can only make training weapons out of wood, while elves have slightly more lethal wooden weapons.
Fluffy Tamer: Even more so than the dwarves; they can tame every animal with no difficulty; they even use Unicorns as mounts. The also have the "at peace with nature" attribute, which means that wildlife won't attack them.
I'm a Humanitarian: If a sapient being is already dead then elves will happily eat the corpse, since leaving it to rot would be a waste of resources.
Knight Templar: It's even stated outright in their creature description!
Lethal Joke Character: Normally, elven warriors carry wooden armor and weapons, which are about as effective as you expect in melee range against iron- and steel-wielding dwarves. However, their archers can and will maim your military.
Our Elves Are Better: In terms of pure physical stats, they are quite good, but their equipment is terrible and their actions toward other civilizations are ludicrously self-destructive. This means that elves kidnapped and raised as goblins, thus willing to user iron weapons, are notably bigger threats.
Plant Wrongs Group: They don't like it when you try to trade them wood, or cut down too many trees. They have some secret method of harvesting wood without killing any trees, so they'll trade you plenty of wooden items. But if you try to sell those items back to them, it pisses them off - even though they made them in the first place! In previous versions (and with some easy modding, in the current one), an elven diplomat might try to impose a tree-cutting quota in your fortress.
A medium-sized humanoid driven to cruelty by its evil nature.
Always Chaotic Evil: They are nothing less than outright called evil in the game, seem to attack you and kill your dwarves for no reason. They are rather cruel to their enemies. They also kidnap children. The kicker is that the goblins then raise them as their own without prejudice.
Ambition Is Evil: Their entity values show that they are extremely ambitious for power.
Impossible Thief / Took a Level in Badass: In early versions of v.40, they could steal from sealed divine vaults, whose treasure and secret are guarded by possibly the strongest things in the entire game. They may still steal trinkets from demonic spires built as gateways to Hell itself.
Undying Loyalty: They cannot even think of betraying the group they are in!
Armok, God of Blood
Badass: Universally depicted as the most powerful entity in the world.
Blood Lust: Literally. Armok demands for blood to be spilled in his name.
God of Evil: Maybe, or maybe he is simply a god of chaos. See the later quote.
Jerkass Gods: See this official description of him : "Armok, the God of Blood, is just about the only constant in these chaotic random universes. A general sense of conflict keeps Armok appeased - when the universe becomes too boring it is set on the anvil of creation to be reforged. The destruction of the world by Armok will arise inevitably in most game worlds. As civilizations spread and the frontier closes, the world will start to look homogeneous. Armok, looking upon this decadence in disgust, will reform the world. Basically, when the universe has become too boring, it will be changed."
Religion of Evil: No worship of him is implemented into the game yet, but players tend to build giant obsidian cathedrals with Human Sacrifice, lava moats and shed rivers of blood to appease him. If this doesn't scream "not a nice god" to you, nothing will.
Top God: One of the very rare certain facts about him.
War God: Or at least god of conflict. He seems to be appeased by violence and the shedding of blood.
Curse: Some gods tend to curse their mortal followers in vampire or werebeast form for profaning one of their holy places.
Fantasy Metals: Among their creations are procedurally generated, ultra-powerful metals of unknown nature. They're used by Angels, who guard the slade vaults of allied demons.
God of Evil: Some of them will collaborate with demons and bring them to the overworld. For pleasant reasons such "so that more might die" or "so that the world may bathe in misery forever"
Jerkass Gods: As the above indicate. Even when they're not raising demons from hell, they have more of a negative than positive effect on the world; they seem to hand out curses more often than blessings. Even necromancers count as a negative influence in the end, as they are a plague to any fortress near a tower.
The Necromancer: Gods associated with death tend to teach necromancy to mortals.
Odd Job Gods: Some of them. You can perfectly have a god of family, law and murder, although it doesn't happen often. Considering gods are randomly generated, this makes sense.
The (sentient) Memetic Badasses created by DF play (or just stories) and accepted by the community as such.
One-Man Army: Killed 87300 sentients in a few centuries. DF sentient kill counts are normally less than in the ten, sometimes cases around 100, and exceptionally around a few thousand and less than 10000.
Our Monsters Are Weird: "A gigantic one-eyed elephant twisted into humanoid form. It has a bloated body. Its dark green hair is long and straight. Beware its deadly spittle!"
Body Double: He made the wise decision of ditching the place once his year was up, explicitly stating at the end of his entry that he'd paid another dwarf in Boatmurdered to pretend to be him (as opposed to later rulers, with whom it was accepted that the dwarves named after them were the rulers themselves).
Got Volunteered: By a noble from the dwarven capital. He suspects it's related to his having recently discovered gold.
Only Sane Man: Despite his aforementioned tendencies, He's able to share this role with a number of other rulers. He recognizes the stupidity of the fortress's setup and the dwarves who live there, and comments on it frequently.
Art Evolution: First it was cheese, then it was elephants, then it was elephants killing dwarves, then it was lava killing elephants, dwarves and pretty much everything else, really.
Bad Ass: Actually survived after retiring as ruler of the fort, then beat up a baby, a cow and an elite marksdwarf. Also tried to drink lava a few times.
Berserk Button: Her tomb being damaged. The entry after Mystic Mongul threatened to get rid of it, Sankis had inexplicably regained leadership of Boatmurdered (with Mongul becoming Judicator), and she proceeded to trap him in a locked room with an elephant.
She's also very protective of her engravings. One of them getting destroyed by magma was enough to trigger her killing spree and subsequent death.
Hammering Judge: Views at least three people in Boatmurdered as being "in desperate need of a hammer to the face".
Kangaroo Court: His legal methods. He explicitly states at the end of his run that he'll be "acting as the merciful hand of law and merely throwing randomly selected dwarves into jail for no good reason" in his role as Judicator.
Knight Templar: In regards to the law, and to the revitalization of Boatmurdered. When he finds Unknowing without any jobs assigned, Mongol gives him a lengthy list of jobs to complete (at crossbow point).
The Rival: To Emperor Sankis, due to his hatred of Sankis'sunusualengravings. He wants to send a message to would-be criminals with her death, and even changed her name to "Sankis the Beardless". This, as well as Mongol threatening to destroy her future tomb and use it for supplies, causes Sankis to return these feelings.
Bad Ass: Not only did he manage to avoid becoming a part of the insanity/tantrum spiral that killed everyone else, but he survived the entire Boatmurdered saga prior to that and even escaped the place alive. And in the words of the player, "Also he wears plate mail over chainmail and uses 2 swords."
Bittersweet Ending: After centuries of bloodshed and countless victories against the elves, Tholtig died undefeated after the death of her entire clan, including all her children. The elves never recovered from their losses in the Conflict of Martyrs and soon faded away too.
The Epic: Her story. It's kind of a sad Epic, but it's glorious and awesome one nevertheless. The official Bay12 forum thread narrating her story is called "The Legend of Tholtig Cryptbrain: An Epic of Bloodshed, Despair, and Glory".
King in the Mountain: "A story is told by the dwarves to their children, that one day, when demons rise from the underworld to bring about the world's end, Queen Tholtig will lead out her clan of heroes from their tombs under the mountain, as well as a horde of the skeletons of elves slain by her and her people, and the ensuing clash will tear the surface of the earth asunder. A different legend is told by the elves. They say that Tholtig's spirit is still walking the realm and possessing elves, causing moods and forcing them to perform depravities like chopping trees to make wooden rings, amulets, and bins..."
Last of Her Kind: The last living member of her race in the world. She lived out her remaining years still fighting off the elves from her ancestral home of Circletower, before finally succumbing to old age.
Meaningful Name: The Waning Diamonds. Now see the parallels between her story and her nickname. It's totally coincidental, but still.
An attempt to see what would happen if a dwarf got legendary rank in all increasable skills in 40d Fortress Mode. The end result was a hilariously strong dwarf due to how ranking up skills equated into stat buffs in that version.
Boring, but Practical: Getting some of the more annoying-to-raise civilian skills was extremely tedious at times but it all paid off as back in 40d these equated into buffs to stats and made Morul pretty strong even before he started military duty.
A Wizard Did It: They're magic, animated bronze statues. Not much more is known.
Badass: The most powerful creature in the vanilla game, not counting procedurally generated creatures and adamantine-clad legendary military dwarves. Dragons can melt them via dragonfire, but not before the colossus has laid a few solid punches on the dragon, possibly crippling or killing it.
Lightning Bruiser: Huge? Check. Fast? Check. Ridiculously tough? Check. Very strong? Check. They're not one of the most terrifying enemies of the game for nothing. They are oerall most dangerous of the megabeasts, even if dragons generally have more damage potential. Unless you cage trap spam, and in that case it's more like Zero-Effort Boss.
Kill it with Magma/Dragon Fire: A possible way to kill it, but not a very good idea: due to it's huge size it takes quite a while to melt to death and bronze has a melting temp slightly below magma's, so if it's hot enough to start melting it can cause fires or kill other living things nearby it with the heat it gives off.
Weaksauce Weakness: Thanks to an infamous incident, fluffy wamblers are considered this by the community. More conventionally, bronze colossi are still vulnerable to traps, cage traps in particular. Or you can abuse the Square/Cube Law and give them a good long drop, as their sheer weight means they tend to fall apart from falls that would merely bruise a dwarf.
A gigantic reptilian creature. It is magical and can breath fire. These monsters can live for thousands of years.
Breath Weapon: They have THE most powerful breath weapon in the game. Not only does it have huge reach, but dragonfire is extremely hotnote 22222°C/40000°F — compare to our sun's ~5500°C/~9900°F and can easily melt or burn most of the materials in the game. It won't melt unmined stone or constructed walls, however.
Glass Cannon: Physically, probably the frailest of the megabeasts (In DF dragons don't have extra-tough natural armor). But their weapon skills and especially breath weapon mean they can and will destroy nearly anything in their path, unless that thing is wearing a shield.
Greed: Standard trait for Western dragons. In Legends mode, they go and steal stuff from civilized settlements, then hoard it in their lairs. Most often improbably worthless baubles, like dog bone amulets, so looting a dragon's lair for treasure is not that good.
However, in fortress mode, they are not interested in your riches. They just will burn your fort to the ground or die trying.
Half the Man He Used to Be / An Arm and a Leg / Off with His Head!: Easily capable of shaking off limbs or removing torsos from things smaller than itself due to it's high natural combat skills, great size, and superior strength after biting. Assuming it doesn't kill something outright from caving in or removing a head by biting it, which is the main combat hazard it poses to your adventurer or your dwarfs and causing the above tropes to happen.
A bird of prey so large and ferocious it dwarfs many dragons. All beneath its mighty wings should fear the sky.
In the deep, there are beasts so fell and terrible, that only they know what they are, for none who have met them have lived to tell of it... they are the Forgotten Beasts, born of the chaos from before the world's birth... they have waited, brooding in the dark places of the world... and now... by digging too deep... we have awakened them.
Magikarp Power: Not just literally. Part of their lethality in older versions was due to how gaining experience in skills affected attributes, while aquatic creatures built up the swimming skill despite being innate swimmers. While all aquatic creatures where affected by this, other factors combined with a steady increase in strength to make carp quite lethal with a high enough swimming skill.
The terror of Boatmurdered and of the first versions of the game, Elephants are now Gentle Giant creatures who will leave you alone... if you don't provoke them, that is.
Awesome, but Impractical: Training them for war. Yes, an army of War Elephants will crush nearly any mortal enemy you can face. But they will die of starvation very soon, due to a bug that makes them starve when tame. However, in the first versions of DF2010, when grazing was not implemented, elephants could be tamed easily and trained for war, breed, and curbstomp goblins.
Honorable Elephant: Completely, utterly averted in former versions of the game. Nowadays there are far more calm, but still not to be pissed off.
Mighty Glacier: It's quite fast for one, but considering it is far stronger and tougher than fast...
War Elephants: You can make them these. While awesome, it tends to be short-lived due to a bug however.
Giant Cave Spider
A spider the size of a horse that lives Beneath the Earth. Terror of the underground. It has a paralyzing web attack and a neurotoxic, paralytic bite. It can and will kill every single other King of Beast, provided it can use its webs.
Badass: They can fight cave dragons to a standstill. Cave dragons which are far more skilled and more than 30 times bigger than them. Same with every other Lightning Bruiser creature. Hell, it could fight with any megabeast except the Bronze Colossus and dominate the fight!
They can also take on a single fully armed and armored legendary warrior dwarf and render them unable to battle, a feat that no other standard creature in the game can do with certitude.
Gradual Grinder: They tend to take their time when killing dwarves, mostly because their venom takes time to kill and their bite is pretty weak.
Lightning Bruiser: Their redundant members and chitin give them quite a lot of defense and they are fast. They tend to kill their opponents slowly however, so it's more like a fast Stone Wall.
The Paralyzer: Except that paralysis leads to death by asphyxiation, Dwarf Fortress being as developed as it is.
Giant Desert Scorpion
Exactly what it says on the tin. They are encountered only in savage deserts. They also can equip weapons, as impossible as it should be.
Awesome, but Impractical: Yes, you can technically catch them in fortress mode, tame them, put them over piles of crossbows and bolts, hope they pick us both and pelt your enemies with bolts. Fired by giant scorpions. However, it is quite unlikely and unwieldy considering you can just use your own dwarves for marksdwarf duty. They at least learn how to fire crossbows well.
Badass: Their venom can kill anything in the game with a nervous system. Even a dragon. They can also shoot crossbows and wield weapons.
A seemingly ordinary parrot...only rendered huge, and no less eager to snatch any item they can get their talons on. They're infamous for combining the normal keas flight and tendancy to home on on any available items with the size to make them a serious threat.
Bandit Mook: Attracted to whatever you leave lying around or otherwise accessible, even if it means tearing through half your fortress to get to it.
Giant Flyer: Bigger than a grizzly bear. Not the largest Giant Flyer in the game by any means, but few such birds will make a beeline for your fortress like these will.
Killer Rabbit: To quote the wiki: Giant kea will kill your dwarves faster than you can say, "It's just a big parrot, what harm could it do?"
Even if they don't kill any dwarfs god help you if they steal something important early in a fort life like your only anvil or your picks which will make it much harder for your dwarfs because of the lack of being able to forge real armor or replace metal objects that get stolen or render your dwarfs unable to dig in and make a actual fortress or get away with stealing a masterwork crafted item that makes the Dwarf that crafted it finally snap from all the strain of dwarf life and start a Tantrum Spiral that proceeds to destroy your fort.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a Porifera the size of a grizzly bear. It was infamous in DF2012 for being completely invulnerable to combat damage. They would charge and kill dwarves who come close to the river, despite being immobile — essentially invincible carp. DF2014 has nerfed it considerably, however, due to improved combat mechanics.
"Without a central nervous system, the only thing they can feel isanger."
Badass: In the .34 version, despite being a sessile sponge.
Fake Ultimate Mook: Undead versions in .34. They gained immunity to air-drowning in exchange for collapsing after taking enough hits, rendering their effective invulnerability moot. Regular versions have taken a blow too as of DF2014. Now a thralled giant sponge is another matter entirely...
Nigh Invulnerable: In its debut version, it could not be killed in combat. The 2014 version nerfed it quite a bit, however, due to the addition of pulping damage. Enough blunt strikes and it does fall apart, especially since sponge-tissue is even more fragile than flesh.
Did You Just Have Tea With Cthulhu: Sometimes a human civilization sends a diplomat to your fortress. Sometimes that diplomat is a demon. The non-hostile demon will meet with your leader, make some meaningless but polite small talk, then leave. The encounter may be harmless, or extremely !!FUN!! if the demon is made of fire or spat flesh-eating toxins all around your fort due to an enemy appearing in his line of fire.
Dug Too Deep: The page image. Dig deep enough through a certain blue metal and you will see.
Evil Overlord: May be an aversion. While some named demons take over human settlements (by posing as a deity) or goblin settlements (by force), they don't rule better or worse than normal rulers, as civilization ethics are tied to the civ, not who's in charge of it. It IS implied that demonic rule is part of the reason behind goblins being Always Chaotic Evil, as it's normal for goblin civilzations to get a demon ruler sooner or later.
Final Boss: The closest equivalent to a Final Boss the game has, for now. Earlier versions had leader Demons better fitting this trope.
God and Satan Are Both Jerks: Gods currently have quite a bit more influence on the world, and one of the ways is collaborating with a demon to build huge spires and vaults of slade and terrorise the outside world.
I Know Your True Name: Invoking the true name of a demon, engraved in the slab in a demonic vault, gives you power to banish it or put it under your command. A demon companion is more of a Bragging Rights Reward though, because if you manage such an amazing feat, you're already a god among men. (For the reason why, see the section just below.)
Nigh Invulnerable: Like Forgotten Beasts, some demons can have this characteristic. Inorganic blobs are functionally immortal, save for a few instant-kill methods.
No Sell: Fire and heat of any kind does not harm them, meaning the classic solution of magma is futile. They can't be drowned, are immune to any bioweapon you may have. They however are quite prone to being squished, encased in obsidian, impaled by spikes, or meeting their end on your most powerful warriors' adamantine weapons.
Omnicidal Maniac: They're already this in Fortress mode, but the eventual plan is to have them incur the end of the world for releasing them from Hell.
Our Demons Are Different: Mostly physically: they are generated randomly and can have wildly different forms, from a blob made of steel (which is just as Nigh Invulnerable as you expect it is), to a random, giant version of animal with a few additional (or removed) body parts, to something made of water (which is hilariously weak due to how the current combat system handles creatures made of liquid). Mentally, they are just as sentient and just as evil as standard demons.
Zerg Rush: One can tear apart an unprepared fortress, but demons come in swarms.
Radiant creatures that were created by the Gods to be their servants. This does not mean that they are good beings. They are best known for guarding the slade vaults of demons, whom the gods themselves were responsible for bringing up to the mortal world. They even outshine the demons as the most powerful things in the game.
Fantastic Metals: One of the reasons that they are so freakishly strong. The divine metals that they carry as weapons are almost as strong as Adamantine.
Light Is Not Good: They are some of the most dangerous and vicious creatures in all of Dwarf Fortress. They also guard the possessions and the true names of unspeakably evil beings.
Our Angels Are Different: They are created by specific gods and have descriptions associated to their progenitor's spheres. They also do not shout "Fear not!", because you have every reason to fear them.
Fragile Speedster: Very hard to hit unless you are a very good fighter. But when you do hit them, most of the time Ludicrous Gibs does happen. This would only make them annoying, if they weren't also...
Glass Cannon: They have very high strength and impressive combat skills, and tend to punch/gore/bite right through steel armor despite being the size of a child.
The Imp: Their appearance. They don't really act like stereotypical imps, however.
Involuntary Shapeshifting: They can only assume a bestial form in the full moon, which tends to make them change into their weaker, human, naked form at the worst possible time, also in adventure mode they are in their human, naked, weaponless form 30 days a month.
Magic Pants: Averted: body transformations remove all clothes.
The Virus: Their bite transforms other creatures into werebeasts.
Like werebeasts, they are former mortals cursed by a god. Unlike werebeasts, vampires are a much more insidious threat - they disguise themselves as normal citizens, even taking false names and fabricating their life history, to hide their habit of drinking people's blood in their sleep.
Lightning Bruiser: They have double the agility, strength and toughness of non-vampires; it's not unheard of for one to survive a full-on Hammering from a ☼silver war hammer☼. This is one reason why many players turn their adventurers into vampires.note The other reason is that they don't need any form of sustenance besides blood.
Our Vampires Are Different: They mostly follow the standard vampire model, but are also deceitful social chamaeleons who take deliberate steps to kill people in secrecy. Or, if they're powerful enough, they'll openly overtake their civilisation.
The Needless: In Fortress Mode. They'll drink blood every so often, they don't actually die of thirst if isolated from the population. Sealing one up and (keeping them from being harmed or going insane) can render a fortress functionally immortal. Even though the need to drink blood is present in Adventure Mode, vampires in both modes still don't need sleep or food.
Vampire Bites Suck: They tend to kill the dwarves they feed from, and those few who do not die become faint with blood loss and need to recover.
The Virus: Unlike classical vampires, they don't change creatures they bite. However, drinking their blood does transform the creature into a vampire.
X-Ray Vision: They can sense living creatures with blood through walls.
The dead walk. Hide while you still can!
Former mortals that were taken by an obsession with their own mortality, seeking it to extend their lives by any means. In doing so, they take on devout worship of a god of death and learn the secrets of life and death, becoming immortal and gaining the power to raise the dead.
Magic is Evil: One of the first types of sorcerer introduced in the game. They will cause endless amounts of Fun if your fortress is nearby one.