When your base gets raided in Rimworld, it can be kind of annoying. But one upside to defeating raids is all that loot. Tons of weapons and armor that can quickly be sold to traders for easy resources is great, especially in the later stages when huge raids spawn. The downside is that it takes a ton of work and resources to maintain a solid defense, but the amount of effort can really pay off in an unexpected way. With the advent of the Ideology expansion, slaving and pillaging are much more viable ways to run a colony. You can now trade captured and enslaved pawns for huge sums, making it much easier to afford late-game weapons from traders.
Trouble is, you have to capture raiders alive in Rimworld for this to work. The best ways to capture raiders is to use the right kind of weapons. If you can avoid blasting raiders in the face with high-powered rifles, all the better. Your defensive setups have to be tuned around the idea of downing and stunning colonists, rather than outright taking them out.
Design Your Base Properly
When setting up your defenses, make sure to orient your killbox or other defensive structure around disabling raiders. Instead of using pure gun turrets or explosive IEDs, opt for spike traps and other options that will wound and maim, but not outright kill. Traps that cause tons of cuts and blood loss are great here, and pose minimal risk to your colonists. In the early game, you can make lines of traps out of wood, but you will want to opt for stone-based traps later in the game, as they are more durable.
Another thing to keep in mind is that newly captured raiders will need medical attention. Keep a doctor-capable pawn away from the fighting, then have them rush in and grab downed raiders when the shooting stops.
You need to set up a separate area within your base to house prisoners. Marking beds for prisoners in their own isolated room is a good start. Just make sure not to leave weapons and armor too close by, as slaves and prisoners can attempt a breakout. Be sure to zone some of the beds as medical for both slaves and prisoners. Bonus points if you set this combined medical area and cell block room right by your kill box. That way, you won’t lose precious minutes carting wounded prisoners around. Having a good stockpile of medicine and spare body parts right by the hospital will help save many lives.
Clever use of Traps is Key
The simplest trap hallway is a basic with two doors at both ends. Simply mark both doors as Hold Open, and then draft a colonist to walk through each one. This will create a clear path through your trap hall and the AI will dutifully follow it into your base, and to their deaths. You need to build a long, winding hallway for this to work, but it’s a very interesting approach to slowing down big raids. The one upside to this is that the coolers tend to draw raiders into attacking them, slowing down the raid, and further drawing them into more traps. Just make sure to forbid your trap hallway doors to prevent colonists from wandering through and getting skewered. Packing in traps, sandbags, IEDs and other traps will be important, but there are other considerations. Make sure to build the walls out of a tougher material than wood to make them easier to maintain.
Temperature traps are another option. This is a finicky option, but the simple is to use a series of coolers or heaters within your trap tunnel, cranking the temp inside to one extreme or the other. The key with this is to build the temperature trap behind a switch that’s part of your Home zone. This will allow you to turn the trap off when you’re not being raided, then simply flick it on when the enemies are in range. The need to have a sustainable power grid makes this hard until the late game, though.
Animals Make for Great Help Too
One other tactic to capture raiders alive in Rimworld is to use animals. Trained beasts can be a great help as their tusks and claws can incapacitate lightly armed raiders without too much issue.
The idea is that you set up an animal pen nearby and stock the area with trained War/Guard animals, then let them loose on incoming raiders. For this to work, you do need to design your kilbox around the idea, meaning you have a direct path into the open area of your kill box for the animals to roam. The biggest problem, aside from the setup, is maintenance. The time and resources to procure and train more animals when they inevitably get taken out makes this only really viable until the mid-game. But as an early defensive measure, it’s not a bad idea.
Most of these can be trained to guard a location, so use them in your defenses.
Arresting is an Option
If you have a group of raiders that has broken from taking too many casualties, then it’s a good time to use drafted colonists to try and arrest them. This won’t always work, as you can only arrest colonists like rebelling slaves, but it is an option if you don’t want to kill them outright. Send you drafted colonists over the barricades to claim downed pawns, and to try and stop the ones running away.