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Ethic tags are used in the entity raw files to determine how different civilizations feel about various issues. Relationships between civilizations are based on their ethic responses in relation to each other; similar ethics result in friendship, while conflicting ethics result in animosity. Strongly conflicting ethics often trigger wars during world generation.
In practice, this generally causes elves to declare war on everybody else over killing plants and making trophies, and everybody else to declare war on the elves over the devouring of sapient beings.
Some ethics also affect fortress mode features, such as justice, or trading. In adventurer mode, ethics can affect the level of conflict (lethal, or no quarter). During world generation, ethics also affect how the entity treats its kills, such as devouring them or making trophies out of them.
In the raw files for entities, ethics appear as follows:
This means that the entity will treat lying as a personal matter. More technically, the value of its LYING ethic is set to PERSONAL_MATTER.
 Ethic types
|ASSAULT||The result of a tantruming citizen attacking another in fortress mode. Other effects unknown.|
|EAT_SAPIENT_KILL||This determines if the race will sometimes devour defeated enemy combatants.|
|EAT_SAPIENT_OTHER||This also determines whatever or not a race is willing to butcher other sapients.|
|KILL_ANIMAL||A response between MISGUIDED and UNTHINKABLE (see below) causes the entity to refuse animal products in trade — namely, materials with [IMPLIES_ANIMAL_KILL].|
|KILL_ENEMY||If REQUIRED, all lethal combat with an enemy who is an enemy of the whole entity will put the creature in no quarter mode.|
|KILL_ENTITY_MEMBER||If REQUIRED, all lethal combat with an enemy in the same entity will put the creature in no quarter mode. Determines whether and how often entity members will be murdered.|
|KILL_NEUTRAL||If REQUIRED, all lethal combat with an enemy who is neutral with the entity will put the creature in no quarter mode, and the creature will also demand that strangers identify themselves.|
|KILL_PLANT||This determines a race's position towards wood as well — a response between MISGUIDED and UNTHINKABLE (see below) causes the entity to refuse wooden objects (except for "grown" wooden objects) in trade, and it also prohibits them from bringing caravan wagons.|
|LYING||Giving false witness reports?Verify|
|MAKE_TROPHY_ANIMAL||This determines whether animal kills in world-gen will lead to characters with trophies.|
|MAKE_TROPHY_SAME_RACE||This determines whether kills of one's own race in world-gen will lead to characters with trophies.|
|MAKE_TROPHY_SAPIENT||This determines whether kills of other sapients in world-gen will lead to characters with trophies.|
|OATH_BREAKING||The result of a citizen violating noble mandates in fortress mode. Other effects unknown.|
|SLAVERY||Civilization will enslave defeated enemies and bring them back to their site. Also affects whether you may trade caged sapient beings to merchants.|
|THEFT||This determines whether the race will try to steal goods.|
|TORTURE_AS_EXAMPLE||Civilization will sometimes execute non-combatants after defeating enemy defenders.|
|TREASON||Protects position holders from being murdered like everyone else. Reason that demon overlords of goblins manage to live for centuries, despite goblins' regard of killing each other as being a personal matter.|
|TRESPASSING||Ignoring burrow restrictionsVerify|
|VANDALISM||The result of a tantruming citizen breaking furniture in fortress mode. Other effects unknown.|
 Ethic values
As used internally (see below), roughly in order of acceptability:
 Ethic value numbers in relation to each other
The following table describes how entities respond to other cultures, with the observer on the vertical axis and their target on the horizontal axis. If an entity's accumulated animosity towards another passes a certain threshold (determined by ruler's personality) then it will run a risk-assessment check. If passed, this will lead to a declaration of war.
In general, entities react much more strongly to actions that violate their taboos than to the outlawing of their customs in other civilisations. For example, Civ A finds slavery Acceptable, but Civ B considers it a Capital Offence.
- Civ A will consider Civ B most unreasonable (−5) for executing people over such a non-issue.
- Civ B will be shocked and disgusted (−15) that Civ A engages in such a debased activity.
- The end result is mutual negativity. However, Civ B is 3× more offended, and much more likely to go to war over the issue — assuming, of course, they think they have a chance of winning.
All above info was collected and interpreted from the data given by Toady himself at .
 Ethics of vanilla civilizations
|Killing member of the same entity||Capital punishment||Justified with extreme reason||Justified with good reason||Personal matter||Exile|
|Killing neutral sapient||Only if sanctioned||Acceptable||Justified if no repercussions||Required||Required|
|Killing animal||Acceptable||Justified in self-defence||Acceptable||Acceptable||Acceptable|
|Torture as example||Unthinkable||Acceptable||Acceptable||Acceptable||Unthinkable|
|Torture for information||Unthinkable||Misguided||Acceptable||Acceptable||N/A|
|Torture for fun||Unthinkable||Unthinkable||Appalling||Acceptable||Acceptable|
|Torture of animals||Unthinkable||Unthinkable||Shunned||Acceptable||Unthinkable|
|Treason||Capital punishment||Exile||Capital punishment||Capital punishment||Unthinkable|
|Oathbreaking||Capital punishment||Exile||Capital punishment||Personal matter||N/A|
|Lying||Personal matter||Exile||Personal matter||Personal matter||N/A|
|Vandalism||Serious punishment||Reprimand||Serious punishment||Personal matter||N/A|
|Trespassing||Serious punishment||Reprimand||Serious punishment||Personal matter||N/A|
|Theft||Serious punishment||Reprimand||Serious punishment||Personal matter||N/A|
|Assault||Serious punishment||Exile||Serious punishment||Personal matter||Personal matter|
|Slavery||Capital punishment||Exile||Acceptable||Personal matter||Unthinkable|
|Eating sapients||Unthinkable||Unthinkable||Unthinkable||Personal matter||Unthinkable|
|Eating sapients (that have been killed in battle)||Unthinkable||Acceptable||Unthinkable||Personal matter||Unthinkable|
|Making a trophy from a corpse of the same race||Appalling||Unthinkable||Acceptable||Acceptable||Unthinkable|
|Making a trophy from a corpse of another sapient race||Shunned||Unthinkable||Acceptable||Acceptable||Unthinkable|
|Making a trophy from the corpse of an animal||Acceptable||Unthinkable||Acceptable||Acceptable||Unthinkable|
Animal people currently have the same ethics as kobolds.