As the smoke finally clears after decades of war and strife, the grizzled pioneers take a moment to gaze in awe at the world they’ve created. Holding their cowboy hats to their hearts, they stand next to the graves of fallen comrades and try to square with the fact that things aren’t how they used to be. There’s food, now. Generators rumble, providing power to the colony, and people wander around without guns, safe behind the thick stone walls and turrets. Is there peace at last? Have the long decades of hunger, disease and war finally led to the dawning of a new and better world?
Time to start a new game.
Finally officially launched after years of development, RimWorld places the player in charge of colonists (nicknamed “pawns” by the RimWorld community because of their shape) as they try to survive in an alien frontier. Wearing cowboy hats and armed with bolt-action rifles (at least at the start), the pawns raise buildings, grow crops and guard their homes where the muffolo roam.
The immersiveness of this game and the charms of the setting inspired a massive modding community. Some modders claimed on Reddit that they learned coding specifically because they wanted to create mods for RimWorld. More experienced programmers provided frameworks such as HugsLib, JecsTools and Alien Race Framework which served as a foundation for some of RimWorld’s most essential mods.
No player has truly experienced RimWorld until they’ve experienced RimWorld’s most inventive mods. The following list includes the 10 most directly fun mods. Games which provide framework of these mods or tweak game mechanics are essential, but not included. Mods created in the same series are grouped together as a single entry.
The survivors of exploding ships, tucked in their pods with their sparse food and supplies, might land in any variety of climate or habitat. Lucky are those who land in the temperate forest with a year-long growing period, but some players punish their pawns by dropping them on the center of an ice sheet.
The Advanced Biomes mod, by “Hey my team rules!,” added several more environments for pawns to explore or land in. Did your pawns have it too easy in the tropical rainforest with its sleeping sickness? Drop them into a volcanic zone. Volcanic winter can really ruin crops and lead to famine if the player is not prepared. And of course you can’t see the words “poison forest” without trying that one on the naked brutality scenario.
Another option for biomes, Terra Project offers 23 new environments for pawns to survive in. This mod, completed with the contributions of several artists, also makes changes to the farming system, adds a seasonal weather system and a fishing system.
The new biomes allow players to start colonies on isolated islands or deep in underground tunnels. Drop pods never reach the tunnels and the sun never shines. Two mods provide a lot of help for this biome: Coal, by Agracore, provides coal-powered generators and a fuel source easily found in caves, and Growable Mushrooms, by FrozenSnowFox, gives a growable food which does not require sunlight. Mushrooms grow slowly, though. So for early crops, players may want to install Grub Farm, by Quothcraft, and just… hope the colonists can deal with it for a while.
A muffalo wrangler’s got to keep their boots on in this world. Aside from the muffalo they got cows, rhinos, elephants, deer, bear, wild boars, stag and so on. Now, thanks to Giddy-up! Core and its associated mods, you can ride most of these things.
These mods, made by Roolo, add a couple more checks to the animal’s training menu. Once trained to take a rider, pawns can ride the animals on a caravan trip or automatically ride them to their next work location. This latter feature can be an issue if you don’t want your animals out of their zone, but the feature can be unchecked in the training menu.
Can be paired with Horses by Spidercamp.
The Androids mod, a collaboration, adds synthetic colonists to the game in the forms of droids and androids. Once players develop the technology to create droids, they have the means to create colonists that work without sleep, cannot get sick and never go on mental breaks. They feed on electricity rather than food, and are decent in most skills including shooting and melee. They should be spaced away from pawns in a battle, however, because they explode when they die and can wound or kill any pawn standing next to them.
The battle droid, researched later, is deadly in battle. Aside from fighting, the battle droid cannot perform any work except rescuing and hauling. Late game, however, the hauling alone becomes more than enough for the battle bot to carry his own weight. As with droids, battle droids explode when they die.
The ultimate goal of the Androids mod, however, is to create new synthetic friends, not machines with numbers instead of names. Android printing technology gives the player the ability to craft an android pawn. It also allows players to decide the pawn’s name, stats and backstory. Androids can recharge on electricity, but prefer food if there is any. They have their own names and interact socially, just like any other pawn.
Though obviously over powered, the units and machines are expensive and the technology takes a long time to research, so the mod does not diminish the challenge of the early game. Unless you play the scenario, The Mechanist. Then your pawn can pretty much just chill while the droids you started the game with do all the work.
Children and Pregnancy
In a world of pirates, flash storms and roaming flocks of man-eating chickens, it’s not at all surprising that children are not included in the vanilla game. Who wants to see little Cindy Lou get trapped in the mountain base during an infestation? But some players felt that little ones were an unignorable part of colony life and created a mod. The Children and Pregnancy mod allows for the generation of colonists of all ages. The mod also allows colonists to get pregnant and give birth to tiny colonists. The babies can’t move at first but progress to crawling and eventually walking. Starting at the crawling stage, it’s advisable to restrict the baby to a safe zone within colony walls. Babies have very low hit points and hungry wolves go straight for them.
Dub’s Bad Hygeine
You’ve watched your colonists build massive walk-in freezers, industrial kitchens, barracks, homes, rec rooms, craft rooms, factories and farms. And yet they never have anywhere to go to the bathroom.
Dub’s Bad Hygeine, by Dubwise, gives the player the option to install latrines, sinks, toilets and showers. The mod uses a piping system, which functions in a similar way as wiring, to connect faucets and showers to water and sewer outlets.
The mod adds several debuffs to the game. Pawns will have to relieve themselves somewhere and would prefer to do their business behind a close door. Pawns also want to feel clean and will frequently wash themselves off at the nearest water source. Adding wells (for washing) and latrines or toilets to various places throughout your colony will cut down on the time it takes pawns to fulfil these needs, since they won’t have to go all the way to the other side of the colony just to use the john. Players also have the option of turning off the debuffs. Pawns will no longer use toilets or showers, but the facilities can still be added for the aesthetic.
More Faction Interaction
Rimworld features many factions, each with their own pawns, themes and temperaments. Sometimes they make excellent trading partners, sometimes they make bitter enemies in bloody wars. Now, with More Faction Interaction by Mehni, some of them host art expos and game conventions.
More Faction Interactions offers a wealth of new events. Factions may call upon your best negotiator to mediate a dispute with a rival, allies may give you access to their hunting lodges, or a chief may decide one of your colonists is hot and ask for their hand in marriage.
Rimworld, similar to Dwarf Fortress, mixes in-depth and fully customizable colony management with elements of real time strategy. Medieval Times takes this concept back to the medieval setting by adding several different swords, bows, crossbows and medieval armor.
Various other mods complete the aesthetic by allowing players to play as dwarves, orcs, elves and kobolds. Most also include factions with these races, and some modders create crossover content in the form of Warhammer and Lord of the Rings mods.
Call of Cthulhu
Can you feel the madness? You will with the Call of Cthulhu series. In Call of Cthulhu: Cults, by Jecrell, the colonists struggle against madness as they divine ancient, terrifying secrets.
Other Call of Cthulhu mods by Jecrell add Lovecraftian factions and cosmic horrors. A star vampire, deep one or Star-Spawn of Cthulhu might attack your colony. If your colonists manage to survive, the horrifying sight of these creatures will inspire such madness that they will surely wish they had not. Call of Cthulhu: Straightjackets, also by Jacrell, provides a drastic, yet effective, method of keeping these poor souls safe and under control.
The Rim of Madness expansion pack, also by Jacrell, adds an in-depth system for the new pawns it introduces: vampires and werewolves.
A vampire is a powerful pawn, capable of great strength and magic. Ferocious in battle, vampires can lay waste to any enemy foolish enough to gather at night, or at least foolish enough to draw near the shadows. Beware, though. For a hungry vampire loses control and will certainly sate its thirst on a colonist. The werewolves, in their own mod from Jacrell, unleash great power in their transformations. Werewolves, like vampires, come in several varieties.
Crystalloid, by Atomic Ravioli, incorporates the Crystalloid race for player colonies and NPC factions. Though competing with several alien race factions, Crystalloid stands apart because of the race’s psionic abilities and the very cool units that attack players during raids from hostile Crystalloid factions.
The mod also includes a single-gender variation of Crystalloids called Valkyries. Valkyries are carnivores and fight with a fierce melee attack.