How to Set Up a Justice System in Dwarf Fortress


This article contains all the details you’ll need, in order to establish a functioning Justice system in your Dwarf Fortress. Read everything there is to it down below!

About The Game

Bay 12 Games’ Dwarf Fortress, also known as Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress, is a roguelike construction management simulation. The main gameplay involves the user taking indirect control of a band of dwarves in a randomly created fantasy world in an effort to build a prosperous stronghold.

Justice System in Dwarf Fortress

Criminal activities done inside the fortress, such as dwarves disrespecting their superiors, smashing furniture, initiating fights and so on, are dealt with by the Justice system, which is managed by a Sheriff or captain of the guard.

Once you’ve been eligible for a Sheriff, you’ll be able to access the Dwarven Justice screen as a tab on the z status screen. No eligible sheriff, means no access to it.

The sheriff, who investigates crimes, and the hammerer, who beats up the accused, are two lords that oppress the Dwarves in the Dwarven legal system.

List of Crimes

  • Conspiracy to Slow Labor
  • Disorderly Conduct, Building destruction, Vandalism 
  • Espionage 
  • Murder 
  • Theft 
  • Violation of Export Prohibition 
  • Violation of Job Order 
  • Violation of Production Order 

The sheriff or a member of the fortress guard will hand down the sentence for a crime or string of offenses. If the offense warrants incarceration, the guard will attempt to do so; if there are no available prisons, the guard will downgrade the penalty to beating.

If the offense warrants hammer strikes, the Hammerer will affix the prisoner to a restraint before carrying out the penalty; if there are no justice constraints available, then again the punishment will be reduced to a beating.

How To Build Justice Structures

  • Press b to open the menu.
  • Press r to select the type of structure you want to build. In this case, Cages/restrains.
  • Press J to bring up the Justice menu and assign the building that you just created to be used as jail.

The construction and structures made of metal chains, metal cages, and ropes as prisons is possible. Additionally, chains are favored over cages for incarceration since dwarfs on chains may still take one step in either direction, enabling them to maintain their own nutrition and hydration if food and drink storage or wells are provided nearby. Confined dwarves must rely only on the kindness of their human captors for survival.

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How to Set Up a Justice System in Dwarf Fortress


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