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This article is about the current version of DF.

Bones are obtained when butchering animals or taking apart skeletons. Some severed body parts also decay into usable bones, the same way a corpse rots into a skeleton.

Skeletons are the last step of the rotting procedure. After a corpse begins to rot, no food can be created from it, and it will eventually rot into a skeleton. The skeleton has to be taken to the butcher's shop and "butchered" to be torn apart into skulls and bones afterwards. Bone does not rot further or produce miasma. Note that many civilizations (like dwarves) consider it unethical to butcher certain skeletons Bug:1180. An exception is the stack of bone that can form after a severed part decays. This appears to happen when the part in question has bone as its only non-rotting material.


[edit] Stockpiles

While bones are counted as "body parts" in the stocks menu, they have their own subcategory in the refuse stockpile menu.

Be aware, stockpiles with refuse enabled automatically degrade some items (clothes and armor) quite quickly; refuse should not be enabled in a multi-purpose stockpile. Refuse stockpiles also cause the degradation of stored body parts (such as bones and shells), though at a much slower pace. Bones stored in a refuse stockpile may eventually disappear due to vermin such as rats, it is therefore advisable to have a pasture with cats overlaying the stockpile.

[edit] Uses for Bone

Bones are processed as follows:

At a craftsdwarf's workshop, using the bone carving labor:

  • Bone crafts, for sale to visiting merchants.
  • Bone armor, namely leggings, greaves, gauntlets, and helm. Bone armor uses bones individually, but may require one bone from several stacks. The first stack determines the material of the resulting armor. Note that armor made out of bone can be used by dwarves assigned a uniform of metal armor.
  • Bone decorations. Any decoratable item can be decorated with bone, which adds to the items' value.
  • Bone bolts. These bolts are fired from crossbows. Each bone will produce 5 bolts. Each bone must be crafted individually (a stack of Yak Cow bone [7] becomes a stack of Yak Cow bone [6] plus a stack of yak bone bolts [5]). This renders the process for carving bone bolts very slow. Despite this, some players still use bone bolts for hunting animals for a long time, mainly because the remnants of animals killed become bones, allowing more bone bolts to be made. Bone bolts are an excellent substitute for wood bolts if there is a shortage of wood. Like wooden bolts, they are mostly good for hunting and archery training, not so much for actual combat use against invading armies.
  • Some instruments or instrument parts can be made from bone.

At a bowyer's workshop, using the crossbow-making labor:

  • Bone crossbows. They are one of the few weapons available without access to wood or metal.

Apart from the manufacture of leggings and greaves, each bone-using job consumes only one bone from a stack. Greaves will consume 3 bones per job. This means it's ideal to make greaves out of lower value bones and weapons out of higher value bones if you plan to export the non-masterworks. The difference is only about 25% in value, but it adds up after making hundreds of items.

Bone greaves are among the best items to make because metal gauntlets and high boots give a positive return for melting while greaves do not. Metal greaves are also very heavy. Bone greaves can be combined with a metal helm, gauntlets, high boots, and leather armor with optional mail shirt, to make a relatively light-weight, full-coverage, uniform for an all-civilian military.

[edit] Moods

Dwarves in strange moods will occasionally require bones, sometimes even multiple stacks of them. These dwarves will always take an entire stack independent of the amount of bones in it.

As the amount of bones per stack has no influence on the value of the resulting artifact it is recommended to guide your moody dwarf to use smaller stacks. This may be achieved by creating stacks of single bones before a strange mood happens and forbidding all other stacks of bones when you get the notice of the dwarf having claimed a workshop.

(Note that while it is not directly possible to unstack bones, it is possible to use bigger stacks to craft goods until only one bone remains.)

[edit] Bugs

"Bone" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: osod
Elvish: one
Goblin: mudo
Human: sut
  • Dwarves will not butcher corpses or skeletons of tame creatures that died to causes other than hunting and workshop slaughtering Bug:1180; this can be partly fixed by changing their ethics.
  • Butchered bone stacks from hostile creatures cause "seeing a _ die" thoughts.Bug:8813
  • Limbless torsos can rot to bonestacks which cannot be used for bone decorations, returning a misleading "needs improvable item" error.Bug:2540
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