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YMMV / Dwarf Fortress

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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • The random name generation can cause these on occasion. One example being a settlement named "Virgincrack". Bonus points if the group that rules it is called along the lines of "The Fellowship of Balls".
    • The word "hungry" is shortened as "hung" in adventure mode. It's a perfectly good way to shorten the word, but can be humorous if one knows the word's other meanings.
  • Anticlimax Boss:
    • Forgotten beasts and titans made of fluid tend to be this, since they fall apart at the slightest touch. If they have some additional ability such as deadly dust, they could be Glass Cannons, but ones that rely on their body strength alone are just fragile.
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    • In earlier versions, werebeasts tend to change into their weak, naked humanoid form at the worst possible time (they're only beasts in the full moon), often the very instant after their arrival gets announced. This is no longer the case as of 0.40, where werebeasts are vicious.
  • Broken Base:
    • The friendly teasing that occurs between tile users and ASCII users, or between those who prefer Adventure Mode to Fortress Mode, is occasionally mistaken for this.
    • Players that find Fan Nicknames fun and those who don't have been a straight example at times.
    • Kobolds. Part of the community sees them as adorable Woobies, and the other part sees them as lowly thieves to be slain as soon as possible. (Although again, this usually escalates to entirely silly proportions.)
    • And you should see what happened with the tweaks to stone drop rate (where Legendary miners would once create a boulder from every square 100% of the time). The !!debates!! are practically legendary.
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    • The modding community is quite split over the giant modpack known as MasterworkDF, with some unaffiliated modders outright quitting due to lack of attention since Masterwork usually had all the attention, not to mention the criticism the pack itself gets such as occasional bugginess, Schedule Slip and a complete lack of a unifying theme (essentially being Kitchen Sink modding where everything is thrown in). The fact the head of the project completely disappeared for an entire year due to a depressive crisis didn't help in the least. Outside the assigned board, and especially outside Bay12, Masterwork is a sure topic to start a !!Conversation!!.
    • The announcement that the game is coming to Steam has created two distinct camps. Those who couldn't be happier since being on Steam gives the game a larger audience, and Toady will receive more revenue to keep the game rolling forward. Others feel it's a terrible idea - being free gives the game an excuse to be in it's current shape, but putting a price tag on a game that has no planned date for even a beta release, is full of bugs that sometimes dont get fixed for years and is overall just extremely difficult will likely result in the steam release being flooded by negative reviews by players who aren't as forgiving as the current players are.
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  • Crazy Awesome: A trait that is actively encouraged in players. Given that "Losing is Fun", there's no reason not to come up with the most completely nucking futs solution to every problem, in hopes that your lunacy at least yields a memorable story to share on the Bay12 forums (said solution actually working is just a bonus). After all, getting people to recognize your dorfiness is about as close as you get to actually winning.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Arguably the entire point of the game. No matter what, your fortress is eventually going to die, so you might as well make sure that the fortress and everyone in it dies in as hysterically violent, absurd, and over-the-top a manner as you can possibly contrive.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Not the game itself, which, despite all of the horrors that can happen to fortress and adventurer alike, has a fairly standard tone for a medieval fantasy game (even the literal legions of hell can be overcome if you're prepared enough). However, the game's notoriously steep difficulty curve ends up having the same kind of effect on many players, leading to the "losing is fun" mentality; if you're going to fail anyway, you might as well go all out.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Literally with giant cave spiders, as they are of the bear-sized, venomous, web-spitting kind. They can trap dwarves with their webbing, paralyze them with venom, and go for the head for a straight kill. They never run out of web, either. If you ever see a zombie giant cave spider, RUN. RUN AND NEVER LOOK BACK.
    • Wolves, especially in adventure mode, where they can ambush a hapless low-level traveler and kill them in a matter of moments, provided they're surrounded.
    • Elephants have been toned down greatly from the days of Boatmurdered, but unicorns have since gained a reputation as psychotic serial killers who brutally murder dwarves at random.
    • Pond grabbers are the new carp. Not excessively hostile, but if you fight them they are terrifying.
    • In previous versions there were the elephants, then the carp (even Toady One thought he made them too strong). Now it's giant badgers.
    • You also occasionally run into randomly-generated enemies that are made of solid stone or even metal, and are as hard to kill as that would imply. To make things even worse, if the Random Number God hates you, they can also have a dust attack that is, in its most deadly form, an "Instant Death" Radius with about the same range as your archers.

      Also in previous versions, a Forgotten Beast made of poison mist. Then, a forgotten beast made of any intangible material could only be killed by being encased in obsidian or ice. However, forgotten beasts made of such material are now laughably easy to kill; one punch will tear off limbs.
    • Although they're not strictly enemies, they deserve mention here: The evil biomes occasionally have clouds of ash or mist that wash across the map, and, just like a forgotten beast, poison your dwarves with a random syndrome. A few minutes after the new version was released there already were reports of particularly nasty clouds wiping out entire embarks before they had a chance to dig in. The worst of these will zombify your dwarves instantly and turn them against you. Your best bet in evil biomes is to seal yourself off from the outside world and never look back.
      • Particularly evil biomes have spontaneously rising corpses, which can easily fall into this trope both on their own, and as a result of the fact that all their severed limbs also rise up and create more enemies. The only certain way to kill them is, of course, by either dismembering them or mangling them into a fine paste — that is, if your combatants don't shit themselves in terror instead of fighting. Worse still, undead from necromancers' towers can carry armour and weapons. Fortunately, they are now vulnerable to magma.
      • The "husks" produced by the aforementioned clouds are themselves this trope — even more so than the endless rising body parts. Not only are they insanely strong and near-impossible to kill, they tend to be covered in the dust that zombified them... which means that almost anything that touches it will become a husk itself.
    • Giant mosquitoes in the initial 2012 release deserve a mention here, as, even though they're no match for a trained dwarf individually, every time they show up they bring a hundred friends with them, and, even if you simply lock yourself underground to avoid them, they'll lag your game to high hell due to sheer numbers. Luckily, this was because of a bug that was fixed within a few days.
    • Giant sponges in the 0.34 version. They're not supposed to move, so you can't drive them away from your fort, but somehow they can charge at your dwarves and easily crush them by pushing them around (they're huge, so even a push can crush bones), and are immune to normal weaponry due to lack of body parts and blood. Also, they can spawn in rivers and lakes, too. Normal sponges are like this, but without the killer strength and they can spawn anywhere that has water (giant sponges only live in savage areas). In 0.40, they have been nerfed due to the addition of pulping damage. Sponge tissue is soft and easily destroyed by blunt trauma. They can still hurt your dwarves in the process due to sheer size though.
    • Giant keas, in fortress mode. Normal keas (they're small green/grey parrots) fly in groups and steal items, which is annoying but generally not deadly. Giant keas not only do that, but are far bigger than your dwarves, also fly in groups, and tend to kill your civilian dwarves if they meet them.
    • In the 0.40 version, werecreatures can easily wipe out a budding fortress. This is in contrast to 0.34, where they were laughably weaknote . And if your fort survives the werebeast onslaught, you're likely to have a whole hive of them inside your fort by the next full moon. To make things worse, they can kill dwarves silently. Stealth weremammoths are why you should fear the night.
    • Villains quickly became very painful to deal with once they were added in February 2020. The highest members will often never even enter your fortress, instead sending spies through your tavern or even corrupting your dwarves for their plans. They will very frequently make your dwarves try to steal your artifacts, forcing you to imprison them, but often times once you release corrupted dwarves, they will immediately attemp to steal the artifact again! Artifact-seeker guests aren't the worst they can do, since they can also corrupt your dwarves and make them stage a coup and basically start a loyalty cascade!
  • Fanon Discontinuity: There are several iconic elements that have been patched out of the game, which the fanbase chooses to ignore and still treat as expected. Booze used to be Made of Explodium, for example, which caused hilarity to ensue when a ‼dwarf‼ decided that this weird orange stuff they'd been ignoring is making them awfully thirsty. Nowadays the booze just boils away, but nobody talks about that because it's less ‼fun‼.
  • Game-Breaker: Arrows and thrown objects were this in earlier versions. Before projectile velocity calculations were fixed, elven arrows (made of wood) could pierce through steel plate armour with little effort.
    • Ballistas in some versions. There have been reports of people holding off huge raids with just one ballista, and people going on rampages in Adventure Mode with just a ballista bolt. In other versions, they become a Scrappy Weapon with the ballista bolts just glancing off leather and being more useful as unwieldy shanks than as projectiles. Generally, the materials update crippled their effectiveness.
    • Whips (blunt) and scourges (edged) have an extremely tiny area of impact and 5 times the attack force of other weapons. Compared to other weapon attacks, a successful hit by one of these will focus all the weapon's power (and weight) into a single point on the target rather than a wide area. This will nearly always instantly crush (whip) or sever (scourge) a body part, making them the best melee weapons in the game by far.
    • Flails are popularly known as lightsabers or hypersonic hammers. Like whips, they have a combination of a small impact area and high velocity.
    • Weapon traps are considered to be game breakers by some due to the massive amount of damage they deal. Likewise for cage traps, which unfailingly captures anything that isn't immune to traps, even megabeasts (and if you put a Giant Cave Spider web on it, it catches anything)
    • Economically, stoneware pottery. Fire clay can be gathered indefinitely and stockpiled near a magma kiln, the latter being set to perpetually churn out crafts and large pots. Considering that stoneware can hold liquid without being glazed, you will never have problems with booze again. The value of stoneware crafts is comparable to obsidian, but are much easier to mass-produce; a few years of constant production will give incredible purchasing power.
    • In adventure mode, sneak and find a tile where rocks can be picked up that is as close as you can get to the enemy's vision cone. Then start throwing the rocks until they die (or pass out, at which point you can walk up and slit their throat), without ever being seen. A higher Ambusher skill makes this better, of course.
    • In older versions, the so-called "Danger Room" method of military training. Make a small room full of low-quality menacing spike traps. Fill those traps with practice spears. Attach them to a lever or repeater. Station a squad of dorfs in the room and watch their dodging, blocking, armor using, shield using, and weapon skills go up at a ridiculous rate. As a bonus, if any of them actually manage to get hurt, it gives your doctors practice, too! Later versions have significantly increased the injury potential of poorly-aimed practice spears while also increasing the skill-gain done from sparring with other dwarves, so this is no longer the game-breaking training method it once was.
    • Currently, Elephant Men (and, to a lesser extent, Rhinoceros men) are this in adventurer mode, due to their sheer size and weight relative to speed; basically, imagine the old Elephants and all the damage they could inflict, now imagine if they could use weapons. The only thing keeping them relatively balanced is the armor system making it so they're almost always wearing default, non-protective clothing rather than armor. Still, an average strength Elephant Man is still large enough to fight enemies simply by running at them and slamming into them head on, and their punches and kicks are strong enough to send any average-sized creature flying (provided they hit squarely), and, with some luck, turning them into a man-sized projectile against anyone unlucky enough to be in the flight path of the unfortunate victim. To say nothing of simply walking up to someone, grabbing them by the head and throwing them.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Bogeymen. The only thing stopping them from being Demonic Spiders is that a decently skilled/strong character can usually manage to kill them; they're still absolute bastards, though, since you can almost never fucking hit them. Which is why, of course, every single person in the world tells you not to travel alone at night.
    • Most thieving creatures, such as rhesus macaques, raccoons, but especially the flying ones such as kea and buzzards, because they have far more mobility and are therefore harder to kill.
    • Magma crabs, only if you embark on a volcano though. They live in magma and are very resistant to bolts, and fire liquid basalt that will maim or even kill your dwarves. They will attack anything at every single possible occasion. They have More Dakka. They spend years in the magma sea or volcano and will probably never leave. It's not very difficult to protect yourself against them, though.
    • Quite a few of the cavern creatures, such as crundles, or creeping eyes, but most especially hungry heads. Small, flying, come to your map as a flock, tend to get stuck in corners and scare and harass dwarves like nobody's business.
    • Kobolds, that is; if you don't consider them as Woobies. Steal stuff, generally annoying, sometimes deadly, draw attention from more important tasks? Check all of these.
  • Good Bad Bugs: These are the kinds of bugs that make DF the game it is.
    • Magma sea vanishing? Oops, it's all being sucked down by a hole into HELL.
    • Thirsty? Oh hey, I'm on the beach! Oh, I can't drink salt water? No problem! When you fall into water, your clothing and external organs get wet with an item called a "water covering". It's never salty.
    • Due to a few of the particulars of combat and skill training, along with an overpowered bite attack, carp in previous versions had the ability to very quickly tear your people to shreds.
    • A good bit of the popularity of the game — aside from the whole ridiculously-detailed fortress-building thing — is due to various bugs, perhaps "misfeatures", that produce unintentionally hilarious results: for example, dwarves not recognizing that they are on fire before attempting to drink from the extremely flammable booze stocks. The developer's constantly updated progress log is a good source for these stories.
    • Spit coming out frozen is a recent one. The adventurer Toady was using hit it aside as a result.
    • Pinching (yes, pinching) was ludicrously overpowered in previous versions. Pinching someone in the neck while they're sleeping could sever their head and send it flying across the room.
    • And of course, the nicely illustrative, 'Got rid of world gen crash during succession after death of prolific long-standing position holders with inbred descendants.'
    • A bug in the way cooking ingredients used to work, which enabled a cook to produce solid meals out of nothing but booze; this has since been fixed.
    • Due to a rather peculiar glitch that has since been fixed, ordering the construction of metal goblets would turn even the most valuable bars into iron mugs. Some reported that iron bars turned into gold, as something of an alchemical counterbalance.
    • You can throw things without having usable arms. Or legs for that matter. Apparently your character spits them out.
    • For the first few 2010 versions, it was possible for creatures, including your dwarves, to melt if caught in the rain in a warm area. This leads to one of the most ridiculous exploits ever in adventurer mode: by going in and out of fire to melt all the fat in your body (but avoiding bleeding to death in the process) you become effectively fireproof.
    • Speaking of which, the Adventure mode also has several conditions where your controlled character suddenly shifts to some other creature. Overlaps with Game Breaking Bugs depending on luck and personal preference as you may get something stupid like a kobold or something horrendously awesome and nigh-unkillable like a bronze colossus.
    • More in adventure mode: the effects of walking with a crutch (speed becomes dependent on crutch-walking skill, which grows as you move) only cease when you drop a crutch, not when you put it in a container or throw it. This lets adventurers missing legs regain mobility without losing use of a limb in the process and sell back crutches they're already "done" with.
    • Water will freeze in cold environments, the resulting ice can be mined out like stone, it will melt if it gets too warm - all logical and expected. But constructions built out of ice will never melt. You can build a magma aqueduct out of ice if you so desire.
    • Normally, necromancers and other unnatural types make people around them increasingly suspicious with their agelessness until they're run out of town. So, from the devlog: "In bug news, the zombies in a necromancer's tower became suspicious after the necromancer failed to age, and he fled into the hills."
    • More necromancy hilarity, as we see the very silly results when certain abilities are not tied to specific body parts:
      Today: Then I talked to one of [the resurrected severed limbs], and it told me that it was peasant. It was flattered but had no need of my services. I imagine its little fingers were shaped into the form of a mouth and they flapped back and forth while it spoke with a high-pitched voice. I guess there's still work to do.
    • Dwarfs ordered to remain inside (40d) or in a burrow (2010 and newer) will exhibit a few bugs. A moody dwarf will ignore this order when deciding on what workshop to take, and will bring items to said workshop even if it's outdoors/out of the burrow. One still-standing glitch causes a moody dwarf to forget whether or not he brought items to a workshop that's outside of the area he's supposed to be in. Cue the creation of Planepacked, which took over a year for all the materials that ended up being used to be gathered and contained 73 images of itself.
    • A bug that briefly appeared in at least one version caused a sort of Goblin Civil War. Somehow, goblins were divided on whether or not they were loyal to non-goblin leaders of goblin civilizations. This caused Goblin ambushes and sieges to immediately start killing each other as soon as they arrived on the map.
    • In one version of Adventure mode, sleeping on the beach may result in you being ambushed... by fish that immediately drown as soon as the battle starts.
    • Body Surf: Before 34.11, it was possible to suddenly shift from controlling an adventurer to an underground creature (even a demon), then to bodyswap to some other animal every time you go to sleep... and they still can talk. Humans are okay with a talking elephant.

    • When a caravan appears and you have a hospital zone designated, your dwarves will sometimes pour out of the fortress en masse, steal all the cloth the merchants are carrying, and take it to the hospital to use as bandages.
    • Historical figures can survive having their necks ripped off in world-gen, only to instantly die once they show up during actual play.
    • The delivery of magma to your fort in bags carried by traders tends to lead to your depot exploding, but it's hard to argue with any trade good so dwarfy.
    • In versions .40 and .42, wandering bandits and armies can be composed of nothing but domesticated animals. Such groups can even invade and take over civilized sites in world gen, Animal Farm-style.
    • Early versions of .42 had a bug which caused horses of all creatures (and only horses) to spawn in ludicrously huge numbers, often up to 3600 per site. It got to the point where what was identified in-game as a goblin settlement would in reality consist of one goblin and thousands upon thousands of horses. Several people even found the game would let them control a horse in Adventurer mode.
    • Version .47 introduced villains that may send spies as disguised visitors to infiltrate a player's fort, if not infiltrate it themselves. Problem is, infiltrators frequently outnumber legitimate visitors, at times by a factor of 2 to 1.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!: The game has a very high barrier to entry that new players compare to flying a passenger jet with no training or experience. Newcomers are advised to ditch the mentality that losing is a bad thing ("Losing is fun!"), but many still are reluctant to try for more than five minutes.
  • Memetic Badass: Toady himself. When you look at what he created, it's not all that surprising.
    • Any fortress will create a few of these if it survives long enough, but some are truly exceptional, such as the backpack-wielding dwarf of Headshoots, or the dwarves of Bronzemurder.
    • Captain Ironblood who never bathes (and is thus literally covered in blood, mud and vomit at all times) and can kill titans and dragons on his own. He eventually took up siege weaponry use as a hobby.
    • Cacame Awemedinade, The Immortal Onslaught, Elf King of the Dwarves. According to the (partially player-invented) story, he joined the Dwarven military after his wife was killed and eaten by other Elves, just so that he could kill more elves. He proved to hate elves so much, that he was made the Dwarven King.
  • Memetic Troll: Kea. They are hard to hit and tend to steal everything they can; their ability to steal items many times their size and/or weight is particularly well known, with anvils being a common specific item mentioned (because you can't make an anvil without another anvil, and Finagle's Law ensures they will take the only one you have). Some people have even reported Kea stealing both the crossbows and the arrows intended for hunting them. It's surprisingly a Truth in Television, as they are this in real life — they are known for their intelligence and seemingly intentional trolling of humans.note 
  • Quicksand Box: The game doesn't (as yet) come with a tutorial. Some aspects of the game have complex and undocumented requirements. The wiki — or failing that, a geology textbook — helps out a good deal with both points. Or practice repeatedly making new fortresses and abandoning them when things go wrong — which they will (losing is fun!) — until you start to get the hang of making a working fortress, or at least one that's not so dysfunctional.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The economy in 40d. There's a widely recommended option to turn it off, and several other options to turn it down if you do permit it (none of which allow you to convert a stack of coins from a blindingly spammy list of one-coin objects.) DF2010 just scrapped the whole thing until Toady can make something that isn't horrendously broken.
    • Force transfer mechanics in post-0.42 versions, because everyone is Made of Plasticine due to them and armor doesn't help anyone. It's quite a blasted annoyance when you lose your adventurer or champion dwarf because a lucky shot to the fingers that glanced off their *Steel Left Gauntlet* somehow still imparted enough force to twist their wrist/elbow/shoulder into a gordian knot, tearing muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves and collapsing the victim into a helpless heap of pain with no chance to prevent it.
    • Bogeymen appear to be this, as many players expressed relief when Toady revealed they would only appear in evil biomes from 0.47 onward. Their tendency to literally tear apart early-game adventurers who travel alone was considered especially frustrating, since in some causes you may not have been able to recruit anyone in nearby towns yet your goals were too far to reach before nightfall.
    • Stress is commonly considered to be incredibly broken, as it builds up quickly, often affect the dwarf for their entire life, and the mechanics intended to lower it don't do nearly enough to help. The fact that some stress-causing elements are incredibly minor, sometimes plain unavoidable, and often bizarre (such as seeing the aftermath of a battle despite the game having a Death World - you'd expect Dwarves would be used to seeing that stuff) doesn't help.
  • Sequel Displacement: Slaves to Armok Chapter 1? What? Possibly inverted — at this point, Dwarf Fortress is popular enough that "people who would never have heard of Slaves to Armok 1 if not for Dwarf Fortress having that conspicuous 2 in its full title" probably outnumber "people who might have actually played Slaves to Armok 1 if not for Dwarf Fortress being more polished and popular" by quite a lot.


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