Patching the DF binary

Writing scripts and plugins for DFHack is not the only way to modify Dwarf Fortress. Before DFHack, it was common for tools to manually patch the binary to change behaviour, and DFHack still contains tools to do this via the binpatch command.


We recommend using a script or plugin instead of a raw patch if at all possible - that way your work will work for many versions across multiple operating systems.

Getting a patch

There are no binary patches available for Dwarf Fortress versions after 0.34.11.

This system is kept for the chance that someone will find it useful, so some hints on how to write your own follow. This will require disassembly and decent skill in memory research.

If you want to write a patch, the armory patches discussed here and documented below would probably be the best place to start.

Using a patch

There are two methods to apply a patch.

Patching at runtime

The binpatch script checks, applies or removes binary patches directly in memory at runtime:

binpatch [check|apply|remove] <patchname>

If the name of the patch has no extension or directory separators, the script uses hack/patches/<df-version>/<name>.dif, thus auto-selecting the version appropriate for the currently loaded executable.

This is the preferred method; it’s easier to debug, does not cause persistent problems, and leaves file checksums alone. As with many other commands, users can simply add it to dfhack*.init to reapply the patch every time DF is run.

Patching on disk


This method of patching is deprecated, and may be removed without notice. You should use the runtime patching option above.

DFHack includes a small stand-alone utility for applying and removing binary patches from the game executable. Use it from the regular operating system console:

binpatch check "Dwarf Fortress.exe" patch.dif

Checks and prints if the patch is currently applied.

binpatch apply "Dwarf Fortress.exe" patch.dif

Applies the patch, unless it is already applied or in conflict.

binpatch remove "Dwarf Fortress.exe" patch.dif

Removes the patch, unless it is already removed.

If you use a permanent patch under OSX or Linux, you must update symbols.xml with the new checksum of the executable. Find the relevant section, and add a new line:

<md5-hash value='????????????????????????????????'/>

In order to find the correct value of the hash, look into stderr.log; DFHack prints an error there if it does not recognize the hash.

Tools reliant on binpatches

Some DFHack tools require the game to be patched to work. As no patches are currently available, the full description of each is included here.


Enables a fix for storage of squad equipment in barracks.

Specifically, it prevents your haulers from moving squad equipment to stockpiles, and instead queues jobs to store it on weapon racks, armor stands, and in containers.


In order to actually be used, weapon racks have to be patched and manually assigned to a squad. See gui/assign-rack.

Note that the buildings in the armory are used as follows:

  • Weapon racks (when patched) are used to store any assigned weapons. Each rack belongs to a specific squad, and can store up to 5 weapons.

  • Armor stands belong to specific squad members and are used for armor and shields.

  • Cabinets are used to store assigned clothing for a specific squad member. They are never used to store owned clothing.

  • Chests (boxes, etc) are used for a flask, backpack or quiver assigned to the squad member. Due to a probable bug, food is dropped out of the backpack when it is stored.


Although armor stands, cabinets and chests properly belong only to one squad member, the owner of the building used to create the barracks will randomly use any containers inside the room. Thus, it is recommended to always create the armory from a weapon rack.

Contrary to the common misconception, all these uses are controlled by the Individual Equipment usage flag. The Squad Equipment flag is actually intended for ammo, but the game does even less in that area than for armor and weapons. This plugin implements the following rules almost from scratch:

  • Combat ammo is stored in chests inside rooms with Squad Equipment enabled.

  • If a chest is assigned to a squad member due to Individual Equipment also being set, it is only used for that squad’s ammo; otherwise, any squads with Squad Equipment on the room will use all of the chests at random.

  • Training ammo is stored in chests inside archery ranges designated from archery targets, and controlled by the same Train flag as archery training itself. This is inspired by some defunct code for weapon racks.

There are some minor traces in the game code to suggest that the first of these rules is intended by Toady; the rest are invented by this plugin.


Bind to a key (the example config uses P), and activate when viewing a weapon rack in the q mode.


This script is part of a group of related fixes to make the armory storage work again. The existing issues are:

  • Weapon racks have to each be assigned to a specific squad, like with beds/boxes/armor stands and individual squad members, but nothing in the game does this. This issue is what this script addresses.

  • Even if assigned by the script, the game will unassign the racks again without a binary patch. This patch is called weaponrack-unassign, and has not been updated since 0.34.11. See Bug 1445 for more info.

  • Haulers still take equipment stored in the armory away to the stockpiles, unless fix-armory is used.

The script interface simply lets you designate one of the squads that are assigned to the barracks/armory containing the selected stand as the intended user. In order to aid in the choice, it shows the number of currently assigned racks for every valid squad.