I had previously used lethal weapons to attempt capturing elven merchants, and it always ended up with them missing some limbs. I noticed that after a while, some elven corpses would end up in my refuse pile because they apparently died in the cage (at least I think so since there were no other elven bodies around).

I've since switched to using unarmed combat only, to ensure survival rates of the captured elves, but now they tend to end up with broken limbs and mangled facial features.

Can I somehow heal these non-dwarven prisoners (ie, goblins, humans, etc...) back to full health while they are in cages and/or restrained by chains?

1 Answer 1


Some prisoners will heal themselves as they would if they weren't captured, however you can't perform any medical assistance on them.

It maybe worth trying to 'bath' them by the use of cages which are in a wet, but not deeper than 3/7, area which then drains away as this will remove any blood/other substances which can cause issues. You'll need to remove and then re-cage them to make them wet - dwarfs/creatures in cages under water breath by magic, and will continue to do so indefinitely (until they starve/die of dehydration. as no one will come to feed them).

  • 1
    Do all creatures need to be fed? I haven't noticed the dwarves feeding the humans, elves, or trolls in captivity. I even have a hydra chained up, but I haven't seen any feedings (or maybe I'm not that observant?). I know that some animals need to be pastured, but those are usually for grazers, not humans or elves.
    – gamecan
    Jun 11, 2015 at 14:47
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    I am given to understand that only creatures that are part of your civilization need to eat in fortress mode. Thus traders and wild water buffalo don't, but if you domesticate the water buffalo they suddenly start needing to eat. If you somehow inducted the prisoners into your civ, then they would need to eat. Also if the elven traders bring a moose along, it only starts getting hungry after you buy it.
    – Nick
    Jun 12, 2015 at 3:54
  • That raises an interesting question, can animals give birth in cages, and if so, will the offspring starve? Jun 12, 2015 at 10:00

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