I'm currently trying to purchase a lot of Steel items from the dwarven caravans to melt. Hence, I've pushed the demands for all items that can be made of steel (minecarts, cages, crafts, etcetera) to the max. This increases prices for the items, as indicated in the trade agreement. However, it doesn't grant that the caravan will actually bring those items, and if it brings, their prices will be inflated by demand and by quality. So, I ask the following (related) questions:

  1. Does an increase in demand translate (linearly) to an increase in the dwarven caravan's offer?
  2. Does the same increase affect the quality of items offered?

If an increase in demand doesn't translate directly to an increase in offer, and instead translated to an increase of the current offer of higher-quality items, it would be economically saner to not increase demand.

  • What do you mean with "increase in offer"?
    – Madmenyo
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 22:50
  • E.g. Year 1 caravan brings 5 steel items. I up the demand to 200%. Year 2 they bring 10 steel items. This was what I was wondering, because if it isn't linear or if there are other considerations involved, the economy aspect is changed. Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 1:16
  • If you abuse lavish meals as a trade-good, normally economics are not a consideration. I am usually able to buy out the first caravan totally using lavish meals, and for follow on caravans I have so much trade surplus that the issue becomes how much they bring to trade and I no longer care how much they want for it. Just make sure you embark with a maxed out cook so the lavish meals have the highest value. Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 10:36

1 Answer 1


If you set goods on higher priority the caravans will bring more of those goods. You will pretty much overflow in the goods you put on highest priority once the caravan visits you again.

Obviously the price increases too, i never seen a significant increase in quality however. It might even be lower, maybe because the other traders put lesser skilled workers on the job. I did not do any !science! about the quality though. I guess it might look like you see more higher quality stuff since the caravan brings more of that type. Maybe there is somekind of hidden mechanic that they will sell there legendary stuff only when you drive the price up, that remains guessing until some significant !science! has been done i suppose.

I do think it is linear (but one can only speculate, however everything in the game is randomized so it won't ever look linear until a lot of !science! has been done. The first year they could bring 5 steel items, the next year without increasing demand it could be 50. If you would increase demand the next year they would bring much more by your theory. However there are very possibly some base numbers on what to bring. These numbers probably increase linearly, see it like this:

  • Toys 100%
  • weapons 100%
  • Armor 100%
  • Food 100%

Now if i would give you 12 of these items randomly, each with the same amount of chance % you could end up easily with 4 toys. If i would give you 20000 of these items randomly you would get around 5000 of each. So if you increase demand by 200% for an item your chances of getting that item in the long run increase significantly:

  • Toys 100%
  • Weapons 200%
  • Armor 100%
  • Food 100%

Now if i would give you 20000 of these items you would get around 8000 weapons and 4000 of the other three.

But the basic idea is if you need steel you should request steel. The price does not really matter, if you smelt a couple of steel toys and make them into some nice weapons, armor or trap components you will earn your money back more then a couple of times. Dwarfs can get rich fast you know.

  • 2
    Sorry for the late reply. There are essentially 2 things that prevent me from accepting (or upvoting) this: You're (from the 2nd paragraph and up) supposing on the game's mechanics. This and I had some time to test the trading behavior, which is regular enough not to be random. Traders also have strong preferences for specific types of items (i.e. if they bring 50 steel crafts and 1 steel bar, upping the demand for bars isn't going to make a dent). I wanted with this question to check if someone somewhere had thought about this earlier, which it appears it didn't happen. Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 9:32
  • That is ok, you might be better off on the bay12 forums. I am surprised things are not random since i sometimes get like 4 steel anvils and a single iron or completely the other way around. So i still believe things are very much random. But i agree, more !science! is needed.
    – Madmenyo
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 11:17
  • @DoktoroReichard Perhaps you could answer with your findings?
    – C. Ross
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 17:50
  • @C.Ross I haven't played DF in a while. However, I did look into this for some time and I found that there are several items (pretty much anything not cloth or food based) that are only brought at a maximum of 5. Pure metals may not exist whilst alloys always exist if the civilization knows the recipe. Also, DF allows for a player in the first years to generate enough wealth to buy off every caravan, making this question moot, until the trade system is revamped. Not having serious research done in this, I am reticent in writing an answer. Commented May 15, 2014 at 17:04
  • I agree i did not do the proper !science! for a perfect answer. Still i answered using the best of my knowledge and experience. Regarding your first comment, upping the amount of steel crafts is making a dent, just smelt them into bars again. I do know, since i used to up the demand for food and cloths, that if you increase demand you get much more of these items for a higher price.
    – Madmenyo
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 17:20

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