How to attract migrants in Dwarf Fortress

The rules of attraction.

Image via Bay12 Games

When you start a normal game of Dwarf Fortress, you begin with only a few dwarves and a big dream. Slowly but surely, you’ll be able to carve out a domain for them on the map, but eventually, you will need more dwarves. Waiting for marriages and baby dwarves is a long process, so your fort will have to rely on immigration to bolster its numbers. Here’s how immigration works in Dwarf Fortress and how to attract more dwarves to move in.

Related: How to make blocks in Dwarf Fortress

How to get more dwarves to move into your base in Dwarf Fortress

Dwarf Fortress Immigration Waves

The most natural way of getting more dwarves are waves of immigrants that have a chance to appear seasonally. There are two fixed waves that come after the game has started, and you receive the Caravan before the first winter, as well as another chance right after the winter ends.

After that, immigration waves become random but can be influenced by a few factors. These factors include:

  • The number of available jobs
  • The jobs that are most needed in your fort
  • Your fortress wealth
  • Ongoing sieges and invasions
  • The number of deaths in your fort
  • The number of living and dead animals

Also, Remember that there is a population cap that you can set up in the options, which is 200 by default. After reaching that number, no more immigration will trigger, and the only way to expand your population will be through breeding.

The wealth of your fortress

One of the most influential factors when determining the attractiveness of your fortress is the overall fortress’s wealth. The more high-quality expensive items and furniture you have placed, the higher the chance of becoming a target for immigration.

Another factor that goes hand in hand with fortress wealth is the job and living availability. What we mean by that is that if you have vacant jobs that need skilled dwarves, they might just show up looking for work. And also, if you have bedrooms prepared but unclaimed, that might make your fortress more desirable for new dwarves.

Location, location, location

Lastly, the location of your fortress can play a role in getting targeted by immigration waves. For example, if you’ve placed your fortress on the horn of a peninsula and there are kingdoms warring all around you, then an immigrant caravan won’t risk coming all the way there. Similarly, if you’re located in treacherous terrain that’s difficult to reach, that will lower the chance of a caravan heading your way.

The opposite is true as well. If you’re in a prime location, with trade routes nearby and in a prosperous region, then you might just get more immigrant waves as a result.