This will probably be very long, but I think I can afford to be self-indulgent in my last big post here.
My previous Rimworld playthrough stalled a little. I reached what is pretty much the end game but didn’t feel like going for any of the end game goals (build a space ship, etc).
So I started a new one. A custom scenario based on tribal start. A custom ideoligion (religion) based around transhumanism and some light cannibalism with the raiding precept thrown in to force me out on the world map more often. It’s a weird mix but there’s some sense to it. My basic idea is that my tribespeople’s village was raided and destroyed by the far technologically superior pirate faction. I won’t go for any of the formal end game goals. My five survivors will have to rebuild, close the tech gap and then wipe every single pirate base off the face of the planet. We will beat them and we will eat them.
If you haven’t played Rimworld it’s worth mentioning that this is a tall order. The world is huge (tens or hundreds of thousands of tiles) and travelling far is generally slow and dangerous both in terms of logistics and threats to your caravans and your now understaffed home base. I will probably fail.
I was thinking I’d make a casual diary of this in a separate thread. It was going to be called Josephine’s Beavers Must Die. Josephine’s Beavers is the pirate faction. I didn’t name it, the game did.
But the forum is going away so that’s not happening.
There is one story I want to tell though.
(How I learned I’m actually a monster)
One of my original five colonists is called Watts. She’s very good with animals and loves shooting, so she’s been our main hunter. I had big plans for her right from the start, but to explain why she’s special I’ll have to go into game mechanics for a moment.
The Royalty DLC introduced the Shattered Empire faction, an extremely technologically advanced society that runs on a sort of feudal hierarchy. You can do quests for them and have individual colonists gain titles. As you gain titles the Empire will bestow psylink levels to you, a sort of magic system that lets you cast extremely useful spells. You also eventually get trade rights with them and get “permits” that let you do useful stuff like have imperial space drones nuke things from orbit every 40 days.
They’re powerful allies but there are downsides to nobility as well, most importantly your pawn becomes a right Royal pain in the butt. They get increased expectations, they want an ever more lavish and monstrously expensive throne room, a large fancy bedroom and special “noble” clothes. With some traits they might become “conceited” and refuse to do some kinds of work altogether while only eating rare exotic foods.
But Watts is special; she has the Ascetic trait. This means she won’t care about throne rooms or fancy clothes no matter what, and she’ll be perfectly happy in her dirt-floored bedroom with bare rock walls forever. She’s my path to all the benefits of nobility without most of the downsides.
One day we got hit by a tribal raid and I captured a few survivors. Among them was Mosquito, a 32 year old warrior of the Laneisa Union. I looked over his stats to see if he was worth trying to recruit. He likes animals and is very good at melee, but nothing else. I looked at his traits. Tough. Ascetic.
Watts is 30, Mosquito is 32. They both like fighting and are good with animals. They’re both ascetics. I instantly started imagining them as my noble power couple. It seemed too perfect. I had to make it happen.
When it comes to friendships and romances you’re a bit limited in how much you can control. Pawns will generally just chitchat whenever they’re near each other and they’ll like each other more or less depending on things like physical beauty, matching traits and so on, with a big dose of random chance. Sometimes they get on, sometimes they start hating each other and having fights. There is a psypower called Word of Love which can be used to artificially make pawns like each other more, but this was early game and I didn’t have that.
I had some options though. Mosquito was my prisoner. The way recruitment works is you give someone the “warden” job and every day they go have a chat with prisoners. This breaks down their resolve bit by bit and also builds positive regard for the warden in the prisoner. Watts has a social skill of 2, so she’s a terrible warden but that could work to my advantage. It would take longer, they’d chat more and Mosquito would trust Watts more and more.
Getting Watts to like Mosquito was a harder prospect since the warden doesn’t gain a big friendship bonus with the prisoner from recruitment. In addition to being ascetic Watts also has the Body Modder trait. This makes her really want artificial body parts but also makes her like other people a little more if they have them. It’s not a huge bonus, but it would be a start.
Having settled on a plan, I made Watts my head warden and sent a caravan out to neighbouring settlements to try to find bionics or any other artificial parts I could install into Mosquito. The first settlement I visited had a bionic arm and a toughskin gland. They cost everything I had, but they would do. Meanwhile back home, the recruitment was making progress.
When my trade caravan was making its way back, it bumped into another friendly trade caravan by chance. Did I want to trade? I had no money, but why not see what they had? I scanned the list and…
Psytrainer: Word of Love, for 1200 silver.
I couldn’t afford it. But I had to have it. In the end I traded away all but one of my pack animals and all the caravan’s remaining food. I can breed new animals but I may not see another Word of Love psytrainer for years.
This was perfect. Romance is never guaranteed, but through a combination of psychic suggestion, forced surgery and Stockholm syndrome I’d shift the odds massively in my favour.
Back in the colony I was just looking at my pawns going about their business, working, having dinner, getting some recreation. Watts and Newton, the colony doctor, were playing poker in the rec room. That’s nice I, thought and started scrolling away. A heart popped up in a speech bubble above Newton’s head. No.
I checked their social stats. “Deep talk x3: +45”. They really liked each other. Newton also has an artificial heart that makes Watts like him a little more. Newton had started flirting with her. Nononononono. You’re ruining everything.
I briefly considered immediately banishing Newton from the colony, but he’s our best doctor and our best crafter. We couldn’t affort to lose him. Besides it would give a huge mood debuff to everyone. But I had to do something.
I drafted them both into combat mode. I made them stand next to each other. I made Watts punch Newton. I made Newton punch Watts. I forced these two close friends to have a fight and they couldn’t help but obey me. I paused the game and checked their social tabs.
"Harmed me: -15"
“Harmed me: -15”
Your pawns don’t have free will. Of course they don’t. They’re little computer game people, not people. They’re called pawns. But I instantly regretted it. In this game where we’ve raided neutral camps and carried off the survivors to be eaten, where I’ve captured prisoners and kept them locked up for years while performing medical experiments on them, where I’ve slaughtered so many puppies I’ve lost count because it was just inconvenient to feed them. This was the first time I really felt I’d done something monstrous.
My scheming worked, by the way. Just a day after we finally broke Mosquito and got him to join the colony he flirted with Watts and they became a couple.
When originally planning to do a narrativ diary/let’s play I put some thought into how I could try and make a coherent narrative in shorter posts (much shorter than this) without drowning it in game mechanics talk and base building updates. I have a mod that lets me save camera positions, so I thought about maybe doing some birds-eye time lapses of base development with each update, to show things growing. I only ended up rendering out one for the first 9 days of the colony. It’s nothing special, but since the diary isn’t happening and I have it sitting here I figured I might as well post it.