Raiding can be a lot of fun in Rimworld. It’s a great way to gain resources, and with mods like Combat Extended, the gunplay and combat is really challenging. With that, comes a new potential source of colonists, prisoners. The prisoners in Rimworld are a unique class of pawn that can be pretty fun to mess around with. And with the new DLCs like Royalty and Ideology, there are new mechanics at play to add variety. If you want to make a colony into an organ farm, for example, you’re going to need some “guests”.
Or if you have multiple colonies, they’re a great source of labor.
But first, let’s learn a bit about how prisoners work. You need to set aside a space within your base to keep prisoners, as well as pawns to take care of them. Pawns set to Warden are the ones that will feed, treat and attempt to recruit new pawns from your pool of prisoners. This is just the basic idea though, keep reading to learn more.
How to take prisoners
Taking a new prisoner is a pretty simple process, but you need the infrastructure first. The first thing you need is a cell to keep them in.
You can’t take any prisoners until you’ve built a prisoner bed. Build a room within the walls of your base (Away from any weapon or armor stockpiles) and place some beds within it. These can be basic beds or bedrolls. Once the bed has been constructed, click the option on the UI that says For Colonists. Change that option to For Prisoners, and this room will now be classified as a prison cell. Make sure to include things like a table and chairs, as well as a small food stockpile, this will make managing large numbers of prisoners easier.
When you have a prison finally set up, it’s time to begin. Say you went raiding and managed to capture some downed enemies. This is pretty tough to do, as they often die en route back to your base. Be sure to stabilize the captured colonists before bringing the raiding caravan home to make this more viable. The more common option is to capture NPC raiders that come to attack your base. Stunning them with mortars is a great way to knock them out. Once a pawn is Downed, right-click and chose Capture. This option will only work if you’re on a map with a valid prisoner bed.
The one thing you need to remember is that your prisoners will try to escape. You need to minimize the chance of that happening. Rimworld Ideology also introduces a few methods for dealing with unruly prisoners. You could do public executions if you’re of an ideoligion that favors that, this will also boost the mood in your colony. If you have a particularly unruly batch that keeps trying to escape, consider removing a few heads to calm them down. Converting a prisoner to your ideology will be a huge help here as well. Select a prisoner and click the Prisoner tab on the bottom left. Change the option to Convert, and a pawn set to Warden will talk to them, trying to convert them to your colony’s way of thinking. This is best done by a colonist who has great social skills.
Now, what do you do with your new prisoners? Do you want to make them a colonist. Make sure to check their stats and look what kinds of skills they have. There’s no use recruiting a garbage colonist with no skills or who can’t do manual labor.
There are a few options when it comes to taking prisoners and turning them into colonists. You could either recruit them, or enslave them. Also, some random events will have them join your faction of their own volition. Recruiting can be done via the same menu as Convert, and just takes a lot longer. The upside is that they will become a full colonist, and won’t be restricted in their labor; though they are also really picky, and need all the recreation and beauty needs of a normal colonist.
Enslaving prisoners is the cruel way for most players to get new colonists. Slaves don’t need recreation and it’s much easier to enslave a prisoner compared to recruiting them. cannot warden, make art, or research. Slaves cannot request military aid, trade caravans, or persona core locations at a comms console, though nobles added by the Royalty DLC can change their heir. But the added value of trading slaves, especially if you’re an ideology that favors the practice, has huge upsides in mood and colony revenue from trading.
Stopping slave and prisoner rebellions
Slaves may be easier to manage in some ways, but they can be kind of annoying for one big reason. Just like prisoners, slaves will try to escape, though there are some ways to reduce the chances of this happening. Slave rebellions can be pretty dangerous, as can mass escapes of your prisoners. You will need to manage a few key factors to keep them in line. The game randomly rolls for a new rebellion every so often.
Here’s the formula the game uses:
Mean Time Between Rebellions = 45/(Moving Factor * Suppression Factor * Slave Count Factor * Mood Factor * Room Edge Factor * Weapon Factor * Unattended Factor)
The chance is never 0%, but proper base design can lower the chance of rebellion firing significantly. For one thing, the more slaves you have, the more likely rebellions are to occur. Try using some slaves as trade or combat pawns to get rid of them before taking new ones. Keeping them around normal colonists and keeping their mood high is a great way to stop these rebellions.
When a pawn is enslaved, there’s a new option in their interactions menu called Suppress. A pawn with the Warden task will routinely come by and repress them, lowering their chance to rebel. Make sure to have that toggled on for all enslaved pawns on the map. Look below for an image of the Prisoner menu and the various options.
As far as base design goes, keep your colonists indoors and away from weapons at every possible opportunity. Also, try and keep them away from the map edge. The closer a pawn is to the map edge, the more likely they are to rebel. You don’t want to allow your slaves to get most weapons. Weapons such as Wood, EMP grenades/launchers, and Smoke launchers will not increase rebellion chance, despite being weapons. Rebellious slaves will take ranged weapons even if equipped with shield belts, dropping the belts in the process. That means they can be used as fodder against incoming raids or Mechanoid assaults.
Try giving the Rimworld wiki on the topic a read if you want more exacting detail. Applying these same principles when designing your base and managing prisoners in Rimworld can be a huge help as well.