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While playing Dwarf Fortress (0.34.11), I noticed that a trader had come with my last migrant wave. Instead of following the rest of the dwarves to the fortress, he decided to hang around at the edge of the map. I didn't pay much attention to that at first, but now there are suddenly five traders having some sort of meeting there.

I can find them in the Others tab of the unit screen, so they were not real migrants, but I'm clueless as to what I should do with them.

Here's an image of the little Trader club:

Traders hanging around the corner of the map

Do they have some sort of purpose?

EDIT: I should have made this clearer, but I'm aware of how to trade with caravans. However, these traders are seemingly not associated with any caravans.

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This is from a bug. bay12games.com/dwarves/mantisbt/view.php?id=5098 –  Daenyth Jul 25 '12 at 4:58
    
I see. What should I do with this question then? Do you want to answer it stating the above so that I can accept that as the answer? –  Merigrim Jul 25 '12 at 8:42
    
Like Daenyth said. It is a bug. They can eventually become normal dwarfs iirc. Or they can just randomly walk over the map edge. –  Ids Jul 25 '12 at 10:01

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Those traders are present due to a bug, and the issue should be resolved in a newer version (whenever Toady gets around to fixing it).

In the mean time, consider them useful scouts and decoys in the ongoing Goblin conflict.

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Are there any consequences for getting them killed? Can you kill them on purpose to get their gear? You know, farming the dwarvenite ;). –  Ids Jul 25 '12 at 17:00
    
@Ids: I'm fairly certain that ordering a military strike will cause a loyalty cascade, but I have not verified. Humane euthanasia (read: impaled to death on repeating spikes, or drowned, or lava) should be fine though. –  Daenyth Jul 25 '12 at 17:14
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@Daenyth They actually did serve as very useful decoys when a certain... well, big and angry thing attacked me (I don't want to spoil anyone). Thanks to them, I was able to rebuild the drawbridge some tantruming dwarf had decided to destroy in time to prevent it from entering my fort. =) –  Merigrim Jul 25 '12 at 18:56
    
its funny because exactly the same thing happened to me and i fed those guys to a goblin ambush :D Works great ^^ –  Gigala May 1 '13 at 0:54

Traders come seasonally and bring goods from the Mountainhome (Or Elf/Human settlements). The schedule is as follows:

First Spring: -Nothing-
First Summer: First Migrant Wave
First Autumn: First Caravan
First Winter: -Nothing-

All Subsequent Springs: Elf Caravan (if available)
All Subsequent Summers: Human Caravan (If available)
All Subsequent Autumns: Dwarf Caravan (If applicable)
All Subsequent Winter: Still nothing

You can trade with merchants if you build a Depot for them to unload their goods at.

The mechanics of trading are pretty simple - have your dwarves haul any item from your fortress to the depot, request a trader (requires a Broker noble, or to set "Anyone May Trade" at the Depot), and selecting Trade (another Depot option).

All items have a weight and a value associated with them; Traders will only trade for a profit (how much of a profit depends on how much they like you), and will only accept up to their weight limit in trade offers.

Trading is essential for acquiring resources not present on your own map (in fact, the only way!).

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Yes, I am aware of the trading mechanisms (sorry, I should have made that clearer). However, these traders are not associated with any caravan as far as I can tell and they just stand there, doing nothing. Note that my depot is accessible as well. Have an up vote for a very good explanation of trading in any case. I didn't realize that they were determined by the seasons. =) –  Merigrim Jul 25 '12 at 1:52
    
@Merigrim Might they be necromancers and/or left over from a reclaim? –  Raven Dreamer Jul 25 '12 at 2:06
    
This is my first fort in this region, so no reclaims have been made. However, I wouldn't rule out them being necromancers. I've had trouble with those recently. Is there any way to check that? (It doesn't say necromancer after their name, in case that is necessary). (I'm going to sleep now, but I'll be back to check here when I wake up.) –  Merigrim Jul 25 '12 at 2:10
    
Modded the answer down, as it wasn't an answer to the question. –  Ids Jul 25 '12 at 10:02

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