RimWorld: Rimworld Slaver’s Guide to Slavery

RimWorld: Rimworld Slaver's Guide to Slavery

The Ideology DLC has introduced the slavery mechanic into the base game. This guide discusses various aspects of this addition as well as some ways to optimize its use.


Welcome, fellow Respected Owners in the Slave Trade!

I must admit that when I first saw slavery as a new option in the game, I was not terribly impressed. After all, regular colonists work for just food and shelter, so how would slaves be any different? With that in mind I decided to delve into the game and figure out a way to make slavery useful, not only for the purposes of roleplaying, but an actual backbone of the economy of the colony.

NOTE: This guide is not based on any modding, its principles apply to the base game + the Ideology Expansion.

The Cons of Slavery

1. Regularly enslaving people is a disaster for a colony with the Slavery-unfriendly ideology.

Playing the dedicated slaver requires a lot of forethought and the right setup from the get-go. Do not attempt this with an Ideology that sees slavery as anything less than Acceptable.

2. Slaves work 15% slower than free colonists.

This means that if you have a slave working on the same schedule as a regular pawn, you’re not doing it right. Either do it right or recruit the pawn as a free colonist instead.

3. Slaves cannot be Wardens, Artists or Researchers.

Makes sense with Wardens, but I was kinda bummed about the other two. Anyway, it is what it is.

4. Slaves cannot be assigned a Specialist role.

Once again, makes sense.

5. Slaves need to be suppressed.

This can and should take many forms: wardens, apparel, certain sculptures, executions, etc. A colony that relies on slave labor must have all of its slaves at 100% suppression at all times. Period. One exception to this rule can be a freshly recruited slave that can remain at 75-80% suppression for a day or so.

6. Slaves Rebel.

Even with all of the suppression in the world the slaves will rebel. There are ways to minimize and mitigate this threat, but there is no way to completely eliminate it. Humans have a problem with being corralled like farm animals and will actively seek to change their lot in life. Thus, rebellions come in two main flavors: Escape and Revolt.

Escape is rather self-explanatory: a slave (or a group of slaves) will attempt to run away.

Revolt means that they will seek to arm themselves and enact revenge on their masters.

Setting up a Slavery-friendly Ideoligion

There is of course much more to playing a successful slaver run than just setting Slavery to Acceptable. Slavery has to make sense economically, to provide significant benefits to the colony, benefits that outweigh having to deal with slave rebellions. As such, here are my recommended memes and precepts that I consider to be a necessity for a Slaver society :


Pain is Virtue

This is easily the most powerful meme in the game regardless of play style, but it is absolutely essential for a Slaver. Any colony can have slaves, but having slaves is not the ultimate goal here, productivity is. Rebelling slaves are not productive. Slaves on mental breaks are not productive.

So, how do we achieve a situation where we can have a slave that works 24 hours a day (minus the time spent collapsed from exhaustion) with no breaks (except to eat), no recreation, no bedroom, not even a sleeping spot, all the while remaining above their mental break threshold? This is the meme for that.

The precepts that it unlocks are just fantastic:

Pain Idealized

Rimworld is full of pain making this an endless source of positive moodlets. No more mental

breaks from things like food poisoning or scars.

Comfort Ignored, Rough Living Welcome, Temperature Tough

This trifecta of required precepts works great for both slaves and regular colonists. A slab bed

for the regular colonists? Sure. For Slaves? No. They can just collapse at their workplace.

Saves them from having to walk back to resume their toil when they wake up. Bedrooms?

Never heard of them, what are those?

Corpses: Don’t Care

This one is great for any colony.


I prefer its Minor version, as too many scars tend to have an increasingly negative effect on

Consciousness, but otherwise it is a nice +moodlet for everyone.

Other necessary Precepts not dependent on a meme:

Slavery: Honorable

Duh. Kinda need this one. Slavery: Acceptable would also be …umm… acceptable, but

why not take Honorable? You will have slaves, might as well get a mood buff from

having them.

Execution: Required

Yes, it is quite literally required for this play style. Instantly sets Suppression levels for all

attending slaves to 100%. Execute early. Execute often. An absolutely indispensable tool in

Slaver’s arsenal.

Skullspike: Desired

Skullspikes are cheap and plentiful. In sufficient numbers, they do a decent job of terrorizing

nearby slaves.

Diversity of Thought: Intense Bigotry

Slaver colony is no place for other Ideoligions. The +moodlets for Uniform Thoughts and

Uniform Surroundings go a long way in keeping slaves pacified and productive.

Cannibalism: Acceptable

Not all prisoners are fit to be slaves. That Depressive Pyromaniac Tortured Artist is of best

value to the colony as Pemmican.

Organ Use: Acceptable

See above.

Physical Love: Spouse Only(strict)

Love is blind, and people always have and always will fall in love across the social strata.

Same is true in Rimworld, except that free colonists cannot share bed with slaves. They can

never marry either. Their relationship will never advance beyond the stage of Fiancee, and

this precept will spare them from negative “Sleeping Alone” moodlets.

As for other memes/precepts, they are optional, although I would recommend skipping anything that weakens or disables the precepts outlined above.

Festivals. Events, etc:

Execution with no set date is the only event that is required for this strategy.

Base Design Details

With the optimized Ideoligion there is no need for bedrooms. At all. Not for the slaves, not for the colonists.

A Slab bed for a colonist is still a good idea, but slaves do not need beds: a slave that is able to reach his bed without collapsing is a slave that isn’t working hard enough.

Having separate hospitals (for colonists and for slaves) is also a good idea, as colonists dislike sharing hospital rooms with slaves.

I would recommend having a nice and comfy Prison barracks though. Floors, tables, chairs, maybe even a sculpture or two. Whatever it takes to keep the prisoners docile while the Conversion is in progress.

Selecting Good Slave Candidates

A full Prison barracks is a good problem to have, but ultimately those prisoners need to be put to better use.

What makes a good slave? Before we answer that we must answer a more fundamental question of what makes a good colonist.

So, what makes a good colonist? A Good colonist gets along with others. A Good colonist has marketable skills and passions in those skills or at least is capable of unskilled labor. A Good colonist is good or potentially good with weapons.

All the same applies to good slaves except for the last one: a Good slave is a Good colonist that cannot fight well or at all.

So yes, that Abrasive Brawler with Burning passion in Mining is better off as a free colonist, while the Wimp Craftsman with the Intellectual skill to boot is best used as a slave.

Speaking of Intellectual slaves, while they cannot be used in Research, they will happily Scan Minerals or man the Drug Lab.

Suppressing the Slaves

Slave suppression is of paramount importance and is the main means of minimizing the frequency of Slave Rebellions.

A freshly recruited slave starts with about 70% suppression level, which is subject to drop based on how well slaves get Terrorized by the Wardens and things like Skullspikes and Gibbet Cages.

70% is not good, but below that things get really hairy: at 50% suppression slaves will begin to actively steal weapons in preparation for a rebellion. Anything below 50% is a countdown to an imminent disaster.

So, what is a poor Slaver to do? Getting a bunch of Wardens could work, but that is hardly efficient: a colonist that is busy Wardening is a colonist that is NOT busy doing things that are actually productive for the colony.

Fortunately, a series of steps can be taken that will allow your Slaves to run around doing their jobs without any need for Wardens.

1. Every slave must wear a Slave Collar and a Slave Body Strap. *

This will prevent their suppression level from dropping from normal passage of time. This also

means that the slave will not be able to wear things like Parkas or anything else that goes on the

Outer layer. Furthermore, some apparel (like Cowboy Hats) actually increases the suppression

loss, while things like Tuques have no effect.

2. Care must be taken not to recruit more than one slave at a time OR if recruiting multiple

slaves at a time, the recruitment must be immediately followed up by a summary execution.

This means that keeping a worthless prisoner just for this kind of occasion is a very prudent


Also, in case of an open rebellion, any slaves that survive and are recaptured will start with 100% suppression.

*Note: Wardens will not attempt to suppress a slave that is not losing any suppression, even if that slave is at a low suppression level. This means that collaring and strapping a 50% suppressed slave is actually a bad idea. Since Wardens will not increase that slave’s suppression, he is a walking liability. Either remove his collar until the Wardens have done their job or have an execution.

Other Techniques for Rebellion Mitigation

“Every slave we own is an enemy whom we harbor.” — a Roman proverb

Suppression goes a long way, but not far enough. There are other things to do to make rebellions less likely.

1. Weapons

If you give a Slave a Heavy SMG, his foremost desire would be to empty the clip into his

master. Sorry, no slave-soldiers in Rimworld. Not unless you want them to turn against you at

the first opportunity. But that is not enough. Do NOT have weapons scattered around the

base. A weapon that is just laying around is just asking to be picked up and used.

Slaves should never be near weapons, they should never handle weapons. This means

assigning slaves to their separate “Allowed” area that specifically excludes the Armory. Slaves

should never enter the Armory, not even to clean up. Furthermore, Slaves should not be

tasked with making or smelting weapons.

To put this into a complex formula: Slaves + Weapons = Bad Things Happen.

Incidentally, this includes Beer, because a beer bottle counts as a weapon. I still remember a

Wedding Reception gone horribly wrong when a Janitor, a Cook, and a Delivery Boy decided to

start a rebellion, grabbed some beer bottles and proceeded to bludgeon the guests with them.

Thus, no beer for the slaves.

2. Keeping the Slaves (reasonably) Happy

Slaves naturally get a hefty “Slave Expectations” +moodlet, but sometimes that’s just not

enough. By default, Slaves do not participate in Recreational activities, and will not take

Recreational drugs, but can be manually instructed to do so. It can be a good idea to

occasionally take the edge off with a Yayo or a smoke.

During a lull in labor, usually after the planting season is over, I often see a bunch of Slaves

idling about with nothing to do. This is a good time to switch them from 24hr Work Schedule to

24hr Anything Schedule. Gives them time to catch some sleep while there isn’t much to do


Final Thoughts

Slavery can be fun if done right, but it also has a huge potential to backfire: rebellions are far more likely to take place right after you have fought off that mech raid and have colonists in various degrees of Hurt/Incapacitated/Dead.

This is purely anecdotal, but it seems that if the colonists outnumber slaves by more than 2:1 ratio, rebellions are far less likely to happen. Just my observation so far.

Since I always play The Lost Tribe scenario, Psyonics on most free pawns are obviously a huge help in dealing with slaves. From incapacitating them during a rebellion, to giving your Craftsman Slave an Inspiration for that Legendary Marine Helmet, etc.

Never dared to try teaching slaves Psyonics, as a rebelling level 6 Psycaster would be a scary sight to behold.

By rvg


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