RimWorld Guide

How to get more colonists in RimWorld.

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How to Get More Colonists

by AdamVsEverything | RimWorld Guides

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How to Get More Colonists in RimWorld

This RimWorld Guide is from Patch 1.2 but is still applicable to the current version of the game. 1.3 added new ways to gain colonists, however, which will be covered in a future guide.

Hey everyone, Adam here with another Rimworld guide.
A question I get a ton on my stream is ‘How do I get more Rimworld Colonists’? So in this guide I will go over the five primary ways to get more pawns in Rimworld. I’ll be talking about colonist join events, quests that result in someone joining your colony, buying new people from slavers, recruiting through nursing and taming, and lastly converting prisoners to colonists.

I did also want to mention a quick story teller specific thing that I will cover much more in other guides. But, basically, it’s important to know that Rimworld has a sort of colonist number breakpoint based on the storyteller you choose. This number has changed several times throughout Rimworld’s various patches, so it might be worth checking on these values if you are reading this guide on a further (or previous) patch than 1.2.

As of right now, Phoebe and Cassandra have the same breakpoints, and Randy is a little bit … special.

All three storytellers will try to get you to four pawns if you are under this breakpoint. This means that, if you have less than four colonists, you’re likely to get more events that result in someone joining your colony.

The next breakpoint is at 12 pawns. If you are at 4 or more but not yet at 12, you’ll get a moderate chance at receiving quests and the like that result in a new colonist. This is true for all three storytellers.

The final breakpoint for Phoebe and Cassandra is 20. Once you hit or exceed this number they hit a sort of ‘kill switch’ where the population curve will work against you and allow for harder events in order to try to kill you back down in colonist number a little bit.

So, like I said, Randy is a little special. His kill-switch number isn’t until 50 colonists. So, if you’re wanting the best chance at having a really large, populous colony, Randy will be your storyteller of choice.

One more quick note before we dive into specifics and a piece of advice based on these numbers. Since it’s more likely to get new pawns in the early game, when you may only have 1-3 colonists, that’s the time to be a bit pickier. Maybe only take someone that’s relatively young, has no physical issues, has no traits that are a detriment to the colony or themselves, etc. Then, when you start to get into the teens, open it up a little more. Will they actively hurt the colony? Can they fight? If they can help defend the base and aren’t going to screw with what I already have, then that’s good enough.

Part One – The first way you will get new colonists is through join events.

As the game has developed and received new patches and content, these events have become more varied. Out of all the ways to get new RimWorld colonists, this is the one you have the least control over.

Occasionally you will have someone wonder on to the map and instantly join you, or even fall from the sky in a crashed pod and join you (with the extra bonus that they may be in a comma for 40 days before you can put them to work – thanks, Royalty!)

As I talked about earlier, these events are more likely to happen when your colonist count is already low. As such, if you get someone that is absolutely terrible, feel free to either banish them or let them die. Both of these can give you a -3 mood debuff for a little while (unless they happened to be a relative, which will hurt more), which shouldn’t be a big deal early game while your starting colonists have extremely low expectations. Oh, and don’t forget to strip them of any good clothing or equipment before they go.

The last auto-join event I will talk about specifically is the Man in Black event. In the event that all of your pawns are incapacitated, either from death, shock, wounds, etc, you may get a Man in Black who auto joins. This is to give you one last shot at survival before everything is gone. You can count on them to at least be able to fight and perform first aid, but aside from that they are not special in any other way, so they could turn out to be a terrible colonist.

The Man in Black event has a cooldown, and can only occur after your colony has developer to the point to be named.

Part Two – The second way to get more colonists in RimWorld is through quest joins.

Occasionally you will receive a quest in which someone is requesting to join you. These can be tricky because you learn nothing about them other than their profession and age. In general, I try to remember a few bonus skills that certain prime jobs have and keep an eye out for those. I also try not to accept anyone from these quests that are nearing 50 years or older. I’ll talk more about that in my upcoming guide on traits and pawn selection.

In addition to this, you will generally have to defend yourself against a group of enemies, or more, if you accept this person. So, be sure to read what you’re going to get hit by and ensure you are confident in taking it out if you accept these colonists. Another note about quest events like this is that, sometimes, the event will have to be caravanned to in order to stop it. So you might not want to take the 70 year old muffalo shaman if it means a mech army will be setting up a psychic drone 10 tiles away from your base. Often times, though, these pawns may have relationships with your existing colonists, in which case you may want to take the risk.

Now, there is another join quest that was recently added in which you can take in Refugees. The number can vary, but, basically, after a set number of days they will decide to either join, leave, or betray you. So, if you decide to take that risk, maybe make the new guys have their bedrooms and dining area on the opposite side of the base from everyone else … or right next to your turrets.

You can also get new colonists from quest rewards themselves. To increase the odds of this happening, make sure to go to your Quest Book and then click the button in the bottom left that says ‘Reward Preferences’. Once in this menu, turn off ‘Accept Honor’ and ‘Accept Goodwill’.

Also, it’s important to note that with this type of join quest, you CAN check how good (or bad) the pawn will be. To do this go to the quest, then click the pawns name. In this popup menu you can check their bio and health tabs to determine if they are worth completing the quest for or not.

Part Three – The next way to get more new people in RimWorld is to simply buy them.

Over your playthrough you will occasionally run into traders selling slaves. Don’t be fooled, though, you aren’t really purchasing a slave for your colony, well, that’s debatable, but anyway … you are purchasing their freedom from slavery so they can join you as a full-fledged colonist! (1.3 IDEOLOGY UPDATE! Slavers will now show a ‘JOINS AS COLONIST’ text next to a pawn who will auto-join on purchase. All others join as actual slaves.) The great thing about this is that you’re able to check all the stats of the pawn before purchasing. You do this the same way as with the quest rewards earlier. Simply click on the info button for the pawn from the store list and look through the various tabs. This can set you back a ton of silver though, so be careful.

As a bonus, the new colonist will have a temporary mood boost from you saving them from the slavers, as will your existing colonists.

Part Four – The next way to get more people in RimWorld is through nursing or taming.

When a non-hostile pawn is incapacitated, you can right click on them to rescue them and bring them to a medical bed or sleeping spot. Once you have nursed them back to health, they have a chance of automatically joining you.

Occasionally, you may have a random event in which a wild person comes onto your map. You can actually tame these people and they will join you as a full-fledged colonist. Just like other wildlife, you can always go to the wildlife tab and scroll through the animals to find any wild people wandering your map.

To tame them, simply click them and then click the tame icon in the lower left of the screen. Make sure you have your best Handler set to for the job in the Work tab as well as enough food for them to use during the taming process.

Part Five – The final way to get more new colonists in RimWorld, and the one you will probably use the most, is to convert and recruit prisoners.

I won’t go over this in extreme detail here as that would take up way too much time and is best made into its own guide, but I will give you all the bullet points that you need to understand in order to effectively do this in your playthrough.

First, you must either down another pawn or right click on them and choose ‘arrest’. You can do this to either enemies or non-hostiles. Just be aware that, if you do decide to arrest a friendly, you will make that faction angry. In many cases this will make it so the arrested pawn’s friends who are still on the map will attack you.

So, once you have found a downed enemy or perhaps a random traveler who is too good to pass up and have decided to forcefully have them join you, you’ll need a prison cell to take them too. The only thing you need to denote a prison is an enclosed room with a sleeping spot or bed set to ‘For Prisoners’. Be careful, though, because once you set a single bed in a room to a prisoner bed it will convert all others within that room.

Once you’ve carried your prisoner to their new cell and have addressed any wounds they might have, you will need to set them to recruit. To do this, select the prisoner and then click the ‘Prisoner’ button on the left of the screen. In here, click the ‘recruit’ button in order to make it so pawns you have set to ‘Wardening’ will work on recruiting the prisoner. If you aren’t sure yet if you want them to join but you want to get started on the resistance anyway, you can choose that option.

As I said, there is a lot to say about getting and recruiting prisoners. There are ways to help you down more enemies without straight up killing them, tricks you can use to help people join more quickly, etc, but that will be its own guide. For now, just know that having a prisoner in a higher quality room with a bed, a table, and a chair will help tremendously. Keep your prisoner as happy as you can, don’t steal their organs, if you can stop yourself from doing so, and have your best social pawn be their warden and you will have them joining you in no time.

Alright, that’s it! If you’ve been wondering how to get more people in RimWorld, I hope this guide has helped you out.

If you are interested in me making more RimWorld Guides for beginners and beyond, please let me know by subscribing on YouTube, hitting the like button on the guide videos there, and leaving a comment. It also helps tremendously to share this post and website to others you think may find it helpful!

And, as always, thanks for watching!


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