How to deal with ‘strange mood’ in Dwarf Fortress

 Strange Mood Dwarf  Fortress

A happy dwarf = a happy fort. But this isn’t always the case with Dwarf Fortress. In the complex yet immersive world of Dwarf Fortress, dwarves can be pretty dramatic and sometimes, (a lot of the time), their moods are unpredictable. You may find your dwarf experiencing strange moods, and if you meet their needs during this time then all will be okay and you might even get a reward. If not, the results can be gloomy… we’re talking insanity and death type of gloom. (We did say that dwarves can be dramatic). 

So, to make sure your dwarves don’t spiral into madness, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about strange moods in Dwarf Fortress and how to deal with them.  

What is a strange mood in Dwarf Fortress?

In Dwarf Fortress, strange moods are specific statuses that affect your dwarves, compelling them to collect materials in order to craft a unique artifact. When a dwarf enters a strange mood, they become consumed with the idea of crafting a particular artifact and will not eat, sleep, drink, or do anything else until they have done so. 

dwarf fortress strange mood
(Picture: YouTube / Blind)

How do you meet strange mood needs?

To overcome a strange mood, you’ll need to meet the needs of the dwarf. To do this, you’ll need to acquire the materials that your dwarf is after, and a workshop where they can craft the artifact. Once these requirements are met, your dwarf will craft a special artifact for you. Voilà! You’ll have a happy dwarf, a brand-new artifact, and the strange mood will be no more. Your dwarf will also have extra experience in crafting once the artifact has been made. 

But, what happens if I can’t fix my dwarf’s strange mood?

If you fail to acquire the items within a few months, then your dwarf will go insane and possibly die. 

They’ll experience one of four different insanity types – Stark Raving Mad, Melancholy, Catatonic, or Berserk. If your dwarf experiences the latter, Berserk, they will suddenly attack other dwarves and cause chaos by pulling random levers. In this scenario, your best bet is to kill them to prevent harm from befalling the other dwarves in your colony. If your dwarf experiences any of the other three insanity types, they will become unresponsive, unable to do tasks, and eventually, die. So, yeah… it’s probably best to give your dwarves what they need before it’s too late. 

Strange mood types

There are a variety of strange moods your dwarf can experience – some more extreme than others. 


“[Dwarf Name] has the aspect of one fey!”

One of the most common strange moods, a fey dwarf will run to a workshop and clearly state their requirements. If they don’t have the materials required, you can find out what they need by clicking on the workshop. Fey moods happen when dwarves are happy! 


“[Dwarf Name] withdraws from society…”

Secretive moods are similar to fey moods, except a dwarf in a secretive mood will not clearly state their material requirements. Instead, they will sketch pictures of the materials they need, leading you to solve a type of guessing game. To view these sketches, you’ll need to click on the workshop and figure out which materials they need. For example, if they’ve sketched a picture of a quarry, they’re telling you that they need stone. If they’ve drawn an image of a forest, then they’ll need wood, and so on. 


dwarf fortress possessed
(Picture: YouTube / Blind)

“[Dwarf Name] has been possessed!”

A possessed mood occurs when a dwarf isn’t happy. Specific to the possessed state, even if the dwarf completes their artifact, unfortunately, they will not gain any extra crafting experience. Possessed dwarves will never state outright what materials they need, instead, they’re very cryptic and will vaguely describe what they need. Dwarves who already have the materials they need will merely mutter the name of the artifact until they have crafted it. 


“[Dwarf Name] begins to stalk and brood…”

Like possessed moods, only unhappy dwarves can fall into macabre moods. A dwarf experiencing a macabre mood will usually require bones, skulls, or vermin remains. If you don’t have these materials, you’ll just have to butcher a few animals to acquire them. Once your dwarf has crafted the artifact, they’ll instantly become a legendary bone carver or leatherworker.


“[Dwarf Name] looses a roaring laughter, fell and terrible!”

A fell mood is one of the most extreme moods that can befall your dwarf if they’re unhappy. A dwarf experiencing a fell mood will try to take charge of a butcher’s shop or tanner’s shop. They’ll then go on a murderous rampage and kill the nearest dwarf to them before creating their artifact. It’s not all bad news, however! While an innocent dwarf has been brutally killed, your fell mood-inflicted dwarf will become a legendary bone carver or leatherworker. Swings and roundabouts and all that! 

How do you improve your mood in Dwarf Fortress?

Firstly, it’s best to understand that thoughts impact moods. So, positive thoughts improve a dwarf’s mood while negative thoughts lower a dwarf’s mood. To combat bad thoughts and improve your dwarves’ moods, listen to their complaints and enhance the environment around them. This means making sure they have enough resources, good equipment, shelter, and so on. 

How do you check the mood in Dwarf Fortress?

Seeing as thoughts impact mood, the best way to check their mood is by viewing their thoughts and stress levels. To see this, press k, select your dwarf of choice and press Enter twice, or v. Move to the dwarf then press z and Enter. You’ll then see the selected dwarf’s thoughts, stress levels, and preferences.

Dwarves are strange

From fatal fell statuses to fantastical fey feelings, strange moods can be interesting to deal with, to say the least. But hopefully, this guide will help you figure out how to best combat any random strange moods should they arise. 

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Sabrina is a content strategist and copywriter with a passion for open-world RPGs. With 7 years of experience in creating compelling content, she’s here to bring you the latest in gaming, from news to guides.

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