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How To Attract Migrants In Dwarf Fortress

How To Attract Migrants In Dwarf Fortress

As with any simulation game, you rely heavily on your population to carry out the tasks for the civilization to prosper. This is very much true in the case of Dwarf Fortress, although in this game you depend on the influx of Dwarven migrants to fill key positions in your kingdom.

However, the whole attracting migrants in Dwarf Fortress mechanic is a bit complicated and thus you need to have the proper knowledge and do things just right for these migrants to appear in scores. Let us find out how to go about attracting these creatures.

Migrants only appear once at the start of a season in Dwarf Fortress. Try to create a wealthy kingdom with accommodations for potential migrants. Create jobs that would bring in skilled migrants. The most important thing you can do is keep your fortress safe from dangerous conditions and death to project safety and become attractive for migrants.

Population Cap

Population Cap

Before we dive into how you can make your fortress more attractive for migrants we need to know this underlying fact. Waves of migrants are very much dependent on the population of your fortress. There are population caps settings in place that limits the number of citizens your fortress can hold.

Due to this, the number of migrants is affected by how far below the population cap your fortress is. The closer you are to the limit the smaller the migrants’ waves will be. For example, if your population is at 199 and the limit is 200 then the next wave will only include 1 migrant (if any).

One factor which is known to affect migrant wave size is the total size of your fortress’s units list that either died or currently live at your fortress. As this number increases, the maximum size of migrant waves will be reduced.

Starting at a local population of 1000, migrant wave sizes are limited to 10, and at subsequent levels of 1300, 1600, 1800, 2000, 2200, 2400, 2600, 2800, and 2900, the limit is decreased by 1, and once you reach a local population of 3000 you will cease to get migrants at all.

The only way to increase your population after the limit is reached is through natural births within the fortress. However, there are settings you can tweak that can change the population limit in the game.

Related: How To Deconstruct Walls In Dwarf Fortress

Seasonal Migration

Seasonal Migration

Waves of migrating Dwarves will only appear at the start of each season. These homeless refugees will gravitate toward your fortress looking for better lives. Each time migrants arrive you will receive a notification of their appearance. You just have to wait for them to pour in.

There are two hardcoded waves in the game that will definitely arrive depending on your progress. All other waves are contingent upon the state of your fortress. The more hospitable your mountain home is the more migrants will be attracted.

Facilities for Migrants

Facilities for Migrants in Dwarf Fortress

You need to have your base sorted and welcoming for the migrants to consider it as their next potential home. When building your base, try to include basic necessities for an average Dwarf. Create more beds and bedrooms for them to get comfortable.

The nicer and homier your fortress is the more attractive it will be for migrants. Make sure to add things like meeting halls, dining rooms, guild halls, taverns, temples, kitchens, etc. Migrants will be encouraged to join your settlement seeing all these facilities you have for them.



Another thing of note in migration is that the arriving dwarfs will come with all manners of innate skills. Your fortress can benefit from the skills they provide. Although you can not control the skills they will bring but you can influence them through other means.

By creating specific types of workshops and tools, you can attract the right migrants for the job. Having an excess of certain employment will prompt the game to send you migrant labor for your needs. You can use this to your advantage when you want a particular industry to prosper within the fortress.

For example, if you want more miners, make sure you have spare picks, or if you want more leatherworkers, make sure you’ve built some leatherworking workshops.

Related: How to Butcher Livestock in Dwarf Fortress



Dwarfs are always portrayed as a greedy bunch and this is somewhat true in Dwarf Fortress as well. On top of making facilities, the other thing that attracts migrants is the show of wealth from your kingdom. The number of migrants depends on the created wealth of your fortress and so is affected by your dwarves’ activities.

Wealth is calculated, reported, and made public by the Caravan system. Make sure the caravan stays safe until it leaves your jurisdiction. With a higher wealth standing of your kingdom, there is a better chance of luring in more migrants.

You can also project your wealth to the world by building higher quality items in the game, fancier buildings, furnishings, and lavish food feasts. These activities can even attract Nobles from other kingdoms which is another show of worth.



This point has the biggest impact on migration. If your kingdom has become a safety and security hazard then say goodbye to any potential migrants. Refugees will prefer to wander the dangerous lands rather than be sitting ducks in their fortress.

This safety concern stems from a recent and frequent rise in death within your fortress. The reason behind it could be that your mountain home was subjected to many invasions, raids, and deaths within the fortress due to your negligence.

If the fortress hasn’t reached a critical state, you can still take some precautionary measures. Try to improve your defenses, make the fortress safer, and generally lower the death count with proper counteractions. If done effectively, you can still recover your bad reputation.

Although there is a chance that all is lost at this point and you will have to abandon your base.

Migrants are essential to the betterment of your fortress and you should do everything in your power to attract them to your Dwarf Fortress. Creating jobs for the potential influx and safety of the people is the best way to keep your kingdom relevant.

In the end, if you have done everything right, it is all down to waiting as there are no set rules in place about whether you will receive any migrants or not. Good luck, my dwarven brethren.