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I've got a handful of dwarfs that won't stop throwing tantrums, breaking things, going insane, and spreading their malcontentness. I killed the first few in an attempt to put an end to their madness, but I'm thinking that escalated the problem. What can I do to get them back to being contributors to dwarven society?

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Boy, if that don't sound like a modern gov't... I might have to look into this game after all lol –  Aeo Jul 28 '10 at 19:38
    
Time to get a prison going. –  tzenes Jul 28 '10 at 20:47
    
@tzenes that'll make a difference? –  antony.trupe Jul 28 '10 at 21:21
    
if you have police... actually let me write you a serious answer. –  tzenes Jul 28 '10 at 21:29
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you could always buy them ponies. That's how I stop my daughter from throwing tantrums. –  Mechko Jul 28 '10 at 23:22
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3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The short answer is you need a justice system.

A jail is a room used by the justice system within your dwarven community, also known as a prison. They are designated from a constructed restraint, by querying the restraint, designating it as a room, and then setting it to be used for justice.

Source: http://df.magmawiki.com/index.php/Prison#ixzz0v0zfmSU0

The jail is only one part of the equation, you'll also need a Sheriff or Fortress Guard to actually carry out the policing.

Policing your dwarves will cause them to get locked up when they do bad things. This is an alternative to killing them as that can lead to bad thoughts amongst other dwarves. Its important to note that if your prison isn't nice enough, it can also lead to bad thoughts and make things worse instead of better.

They're going to need a Bed, Food and Alcohol to stay alive. The better the quality the better for the dwarf. A table and chair also go a long way. Finally, the quality of the restraint also affects the mood of the dwarf in question.

Its important that you always have room in your prison for new dwarves. If you don't, illegal activities will be punished by the hammerer which can lead to bad thoughts and death.

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Got to love how those dwarves get excited about their shiny steel high quality chains. –  C. Ross Jul 28 '10 at 21:59
    
@CRoss or how ash is a firesafe material. That's the problem with designing your world from the top down instead of the bottom up. –  tzenes Jul 28 '10 at 22:08
    
Makes for a good game though. –  C. Ross Jul 28 '10 at 23:30
    
@CRoss can't argue with that. –  tzenes Jul 28 '10 at 23:56
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One major downside of having a hammerer or a jail is that nobles will regularly order him to imprison and/or murder your best craftsdorfs because they didn't make that crystal glass encrusted fire imp leather bracelet they really wanted. Consult your friendly local building safety inspector for advice in how to best deal with nobles. –  Shadur Aug 17 '11 at 6:53
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Make a giant engraved dining hall. It is the Final Solution to all happiness problems. Seriously. I heard of a guy who had dwarves who starved to death, but were ecstatic because their dining room was so awesome.

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You need to be careful with the killings, because they can lead to feuds, more tantrums and loads of fun™.

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