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40d:Reclaim fortress mode

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This article is about an older version of DF.

To reclaim a fortress you can hit R on the fortress location choice screen. This will let you return to a previously lost or abandoned fortress. The number of dwarves you reclaim with will depend on the nearby hostile monsters. These include both wild animals and megabeasts left behind, as well as newly spawned inhabitants. It is possible to embark on a fortress incredibly infested with creatures. Most likely, you are slaughtered immediately, and if you reclaim, can get up to 70 dwarves.(usually near special caves or chasms with multiple caves)

Abandon fortress[edit]

If you are done with this effort at a fortress, you can abandon the fortress entirely. To do this, hit esc, then scroll (+ and -) down to Abandon the Fortress, and hit Enter. There will be a confirmation screen, as this decision cannot be undone - if you are sure, hit yes. (But it might not hurt to make a copy of the game file first, just in case.)

When you abandon a fortress, that locale in the "Local" pre-embark map is no longer available for embarking, but any other area in that game world now becomes open for a new Fortress. Or, if you wish, you can reclaim that previous location, which is significantly different than starting a new fortress (see below). You can also now visit that abandoned fortress in Adventurer mode.

Preparation for Reclaim[edit]

When you prepare for the journey, the Skills screen is different from standard Fortress Mode but the Items screen is the same.

The skills screen in reclaim mode shows a list of dwarves on the left and the list of skills on the right. The skill list shows the total number of dwarves with that skill, not the skill level of the selected dwarf. The skills of the selected dwarf are shown highlighted in green. Each of your starting dwarves is allowed one military skill and one domestic profession. If you do not like the randomly generated profession (highlighted in green) for the selected dwarf, you can move the selector right and pick a new profession with Enter. The equipment screen is the same as standard Fortress mode. Military skills are handled the same way as professions, though all start off as axedwarves, marksdwarves, and hammerdwarves and the military skill is highlighted in red. They are organized in squads of seven.

Choosing specific professions will result in the dwarf having (without addition of attributes) the matching skill. General professions (Woodworker, Stoneworker, Ranger, Metalsmith, Jeweler, Craftsdwarf, Farmer, Engineer, Administrator) give novice skill level in each of the specialist skills in the same way as incoming migrants have them in dwarf fortress mode. Additionally, if no dwarf is marked as a trader, whichever dwarf is trading at the depot the first time the trade menu is opened, even if no trade is made, will instantly become a competent appraiser (though not a better judge of intent).

As for items, your dwarves will start fully equipped with steel plate armor and weapons that match their military skill; it is therefore safe to not take extra axes with you. If your fortress had one or more anvils they will most likely also still be there, so you can ditch the anvil for, say, a horde of war dogs, lots of booze or more bolts.


Upon arrival, you will see the items you left behind randomly flung about, buildings will be either destroyed or unclaimed, and all objects will be aged according to how long the place has been abandoned, so food will mostly be rotten or gone and dead bodies too will be rotting, bones or gone. All objects will also be forbidden. Forbidden is a good thing, at least if you're reclaiming a fortress that was conquered by beasties or invaders, as it keeps your dwarves from rushing off on hauling jobs to the middle of enemy-infested nowhere.

Your dwarves start in military mode. You will have to clear out any invaders to make use of the fort, and then reclaim the items and buildings in the safe sections. Once you've got a usable section of the fortress, you can start releasing your dwarves from military duty m so that they can start getting back to regular fortress life. Also note that your dwarves will want to reclaim, stockpile, sort and entomb all the bones of the previous inhabitants, so a happy fortress may require a lot of coffins, depending upon how far along the fortress was when it failed.

Reclaiming buildings[edit]

In order to reclaim a building for your dwarves to use, say a Smelter, you will need to reclaim all of the items that make up that workshop. The easiest way to do this is to designate them for reclaiming by using d > b (> c claim is defaulted). This method is ideal for reclaiming undisturbed stockpiles and empty workshops.

Alternatively, you can manually unforbid each individual item by pressing t, hovering over each building in question, then selecting each item and pressing f. This can be especially useful if any of the workshops happen to be cluttered with other items, as it will allow you to begin using them (albeit slowly) without flooding your dwarves with extra hauling jobs. This can also be done from the Stocks screen, but in that case you likely won't be able to associate individual buildings with their materials, so it's generally not worth it.

Remaining living dwarves[edit]

If you abandoned your fortress before all your dwarves died, you may see some of the previous occupants wandering around. Currently, that's exactly what they'll continue to do - wander aimlessly. If they die, they will go to your graveyard stockpile, but your dwarves don't care if they're entombed or left to rot. Mostly they just get in your way, but a few of them may be useful. They will not use your workshops, but fisherdwarves will fish, endlessly flinging their catch onto the ground for others to pick up. An exception to this is any insane dwarves that were left in your fortress when you abandoned it. They will remain hostile to the reclaiming forces as well.

Remaining monsters[edit]

If you lost the fortress to a megabeast or a goblin siege, then the monsters will still be around, but hidden on the unit list. When a monster is discovered, it will be announced with "an ambush, drive them out".


  • In some versions, reclaiming a fortress located on a goblin outpost will calculate the size of your force based upon the wealth of the goblins, resulting in a huge reclamation army.
  • Frequently, forces that were hostile when you abandoned are friendly when you reclaim, and visible on the unit list.
  • Reclaiming a fortress frequently breaks your ability to construct magma buildings, whether you discovered magma before or after the reclaim. You may use buildings built before the reclaim but may not be able to build new ones.

Differences from Fortress Mode[edit]

All dwarves know each other and are friends. This means, if one dwarf dies, it can start a tantrum chain.