RimWorld is known for having a vibrant, active modding community that creates a lot of content for the game. Many features that are now a core part of RimWorld and its DLCs used to be popular mods. Whether you want some simple tools that just make the game a little easier to control, an expanded list of events options, or a chance to transform the game completely, there is a mod for you.
NOTE: This list of mods is intended for the 1.4, 2023 PC version of RimWorld.
Basics of Modding RimWorld
To start modding RimWorld, go into the “Mods” tab and choose where you want to begin your search. You can go through the Steam Workshop or just search the RimWorld forums themselves.
The Steam Workshop makes it easy to subscribe to mods, keeping them updated whenever a new version of RimWorld is released. The best mod authors keep their mods in working order quickly after a new version is released. Some mods are more complex than others and might take a few weeks to keep up with new editions of the game. This is especially true if newly-released content might conflict or interact with the purpose of a mod.
Essential Mods to Function
Before you get any other mods, you’ll want to go ahead and pick up HugsLib and Harmony. These mods are nearly essential for playing modded RimWorld. Both of them help keep multiple mods functional while working together. Lots of mods will require you to have HugsLib and/or Harmony installed in order to function at all.
Once you’ve got HugsLib and Harmony, you’ll be able to see how the mod-list loading order works. Click and drag on Harmony to place it on the top of your list, with the base game and all of its DLC placed directly afterward. You can also click the “auto-sort mods” button to avoid any incompatibilities.
This list is the order in which your mods will be loaded. Harmony needs to be loaded before the main game. Meanwhile, HugsLib will come after the main game and all of its DLC, but before any other mods. Various other mods might also have list-order requirements.
If you run into any incompatibilities between mods, changing your load order might help ease the problems, or at least pinpoint their source. Hit auto-sort, then turn off suspicious mods one at a time until you find the issue.
Best Quality of Life Mods
Some of the least intrusive mods you can add to your playthrough of RimWorld simply change the UI a bit. These are designed to make interacting with the game a little easier. There are a good number of mods that organize data a little better, or show you stats about your colonists that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Best of all, these mods are the least likely to have conflicts with anything else in your mod library.
RimHUD is a fantastic mod for organizing data better. It includes bars and stats that tell you more about the recreation, food, or sleep needs of your colonists with a quick glance. You can re-size and move around more data menus as well.
RimHUD is especially helpful when you first acquire a new colonist, letting you absorb all their information in a single panel. Any mod that saves you some clicks will let you spend more time playing the game instead of navigating menus.
Betterinfocards expands all of the info cards you can select. This gives you a lot more info about individual pieces of gear, or the capabilities of an individual human or animal. You can also open more than one info card at once with this mod, making it especially helpful for comparing multiple pieces of equipment against each other. It reveals a lot of information that would otherwise be hidden, without giving you so much that it breaks the game or ruins any big surprise.
CM Color Coded Mood Bar
CM Color Coded Mood Bar is a great mod, showing you the mood of your colonists at a glance. They’ll be graded from green to red based on their chances of having a mental break. If you check the mod options, you’ll be able to turn on various other small indicators, many corresponding to the medical status of your colonists.
You can see if they’re bleeding or the status of an illness based on colored biohazard icons, for example. With the Biotech DLC installed, you can even tell what stage of a pregnancy your colonists are on. You can also turn on borders that tell you what kind of activity phase your colonists are set to do.
Best AI Mods
A lot of mods on the market for RimWorld improve the AI. They mostly improve the AI on things like better pathfinding and avoiding obvious, stupid mistakes without player input. These mods also tend not to conflict too much with the game, since they just improve how practically the colonists tend to behave.
Common Sense is a mod that adds a bunch of new conditions where your colonists will choose to act in their own best interests. Many of these are based around convincing colonists to fulfill their recreation needs without so much player input. They’ll choose to go outside for recreational activities if an outdoor recreational spot is available and they have the desire to go outside, for example.
It also improves things like when colonists decide to take drugs, or assist injured colonists. Lastly, it can vastly improve how cleaning works, encouraging colonists to clean up the room they’re in before they cook, eat meals, do medical operations, use workstations, or go to bed.
Smarter Construction makes colonists approach construction with a lot more intelligence. They won’t box themselves into a structure, or build anything that will box in something that hasn’t been constructed yet. These are such important features it feels inevitable they’ll one day be incorporated into the base RimWorld code. For now, this mod will let you focus on more exciting occurrences while construction is taking place.
Just Put It Over There
Just Put It Over There saves you some time and effort whenever wandering traders come into town. Usually, you’d need to time things properly in order to have your top trading colonist meet up with the leader of the wandering traders right as they get close enough to your colony that you won’t need to haul the goods you buy very far.
Now, wherever you make the trade deal, the traders will haul goods into your stock themselves. They can even put them on shelves and will seek out the location with the proper priorities themselves.
Best Constructible Content Mods
Adding new buildings you can construct on your settlement is one of the best uses for mods in RimWorld. All of these options will expand the range of machinery your constructors can create, opening up new possibilities for your deep-space survival stories.
Wall Light adds a light you can place on walls. That’s it. They take barely any steel and don’t produce quite as much light as a regular lamp would. But, they don’t take up a whole tile for just a stupid lamp.
RimWorld players know that tile space is a premium, and that keeping a base well-lit is important for everyone’s moods and work speeds. Wall Light remains the most popular mod of all time for RimWorld, likely due to its simplicity and how much better it makes the average base look.
Dubs Bad Hygiene
Dubs Bad Hygiene takes the opposite approach as the simple Wall Light mod. Instead of keeping things simple, it adds whole new systems to the game revolving around managing water use. Dubs Bad Hygiene is such an extensive mod that other mods on our list can actually be used to improve the AI around its use.
Your colonists will gain access to a number of structures that allow them to interact with water. They can pump it from the ground, heat it up, and use it for various purposes like hygiene and thirst. They’ll also gain benefits from using a very nice bathroom! Just like a personal bedroom, everyone in your settlement will be happier with their own assigned bathroom, too.
Beyond just consuming the water, they can also heat their base with radiators, or cool it down with ceiling fans that also light up the room they’re in and provide an industrial feel to the base. Dubs ceiling fans even spin faster when they need to work harder to cool down a room! The only downside to this mod is that it makes the initial setup and planning of your base even more complicated than usual. However, since most RimWorld players thrive on intricacy, it’s still a great pick amongst the sea of mods.
RT Fuse is a mod that enables a certain research option for fuses. In real life, electrical systems depend on a fuse box to keep from blowing out the entire electrical grid.
Without this mod, even the most highly advanced RimWorld settlement has no such option. Instead your settlement is forced to run its power with a high risk of electrical explosions, represented by the dreaded “Zzzt” random event. You can avoid having to explain why your scientists can invent mechanoid gestation tubes, but not a fuse box.
The Blueprints mod lets you save, as it implies, blueprints of various structures into your architecture tab. This is highly useful for making a small, simple structure multiple times, like adding a lot of bedrooms at once or building a set of completely identical houses for your colonists.
Replace Stuff lets you place new buildings right on top of old ones without the need to dismantle and re-build. This can be hugely advantageous for replacing wooden walls with stone ones, as it will keep the heat from leaking out of the room during construction. If you like to build big expansive colonies or find yourself changing your mind about room organization often, you should pick up Replace Stuff.
Best Quest and Event Mods
One of the best parts of RimWorld is the random events that can push your entire colony into disaster or glory. They shape your settlement style over the course of the game, and modders have made sure to add plenty more kinds of events to the game.
Among the newer, popular mods for RimWorld is Factional War. This mod adds a lot of fun to the game without disrupting the base game too badly. This mod adds possible events where two factions will converge on your map to fight each other. You can even choose to engage with them upfront, or wait until after the fight to swoop in and finish off the weakened victors.
This adds a lived-in feeling to the world, since you aren’t the sole focus of everyone’s attention at all time. It also adds more events in the overworld that require a caravan to attend to, like two factions bombarding each other nearby. You can engage with these caravan quests to try to scoop up the loot after they’re done fighting each other.
If you want an even more extended, Grand-Strategy-style experience out of RimWorld, look no further than Rim War. This changes the dynamics of factions in the game drastically, where the raids sent out from each enemy settlement will actually be based on the relative population of that area.
It adds a new potential victory condition for when you’re able to wipe an enemy faction off the map entirely. Rim War can make for a drastically different feeling game, where your settlement is just part of a long campaign to take back the entire planet.
Orion’s Hospitality mod doesn’t actually add new events to the game. Rather, it just makes one of the recurring events seem a little more interesting. Of all the events that can randomly trigger, a group of outsiders coming to visit is among the most boring, especially if they don’t have anything to trade.
This mod changes this dynamic by rewarding you for constructing guest lodging for weary travelers. You can set a price on each bed, and even set up a trading area inside your Rim Motel, rewarding you for creating an increasingly more pleasant resort. If your favorite part of RimWorld is the Sims-Esque mood management, this mod is a must-have.
Real Ruins is an ambitious mod that allows you to stumble onto ruins that truly are structures left behind by another player. An external server compiles images of real players’ bases and spawns chunks of those bases into maps all over the RimWorld you choose to play on.
It can make for some highly divergent gameplay, especially since even your caravans can stumble onto an ancient ruin. You can see how other players have built their bases, and maybe even get ahold of some of their loot! Best of all, you can know that even after you’re done with a particular colony, your favorite settlements could live on in other players’ stories.
Best Mods for Making the Game Easier
RimWorld can be a really difficult game for the uninitiated. It has a lot of difficult systems to manage, and for new players, this can get kind of overwhelming. Additionally, some systems can be unintuitive for newer players, and result in some misplaced efforts. This small list of mods will all streamline RimWorld quite a bit and can be great picks for newer players still trying to understand the game.
Rimfridge is a mod that adds refrigeration to the game. This essentially means you won’t need to prioritize building a deep freezer right away, as you would usually need to do in an average game of RimWorld. Temperature management is one element of the game that isn’t rendered very well with graphics, so it can be challenging at first to get ahold of it. Rimfridges take up significantly less space than a deep freezer would, and can otherwise be used like a shelf.
If you think the necessary room size for keeping colonists happy seems unrealistic compared to the size of your colonists, the mod authors behind Realistic Rooms agree with you. This mod shrinks the expected size of many rooms for your colonists, resulting in structures that feel more in line with realistic human proportions.
This means you won’t need to spend as much time constructing, so if you like RimWorld but prefer to focus on individual character stories rather than building a huge base, this mod is a great pick.
Prepare Carefully is among the highest-rated mods for a very good reason, even though it does fly in the face of the often cruelly random nature of RimWorld. This mod lets you customize everything about your colonist’s starting situation. That means you can change the colonist’s looks, xenotypes, traits, and skills, and even add high-level bionic body parts right off the bat.
You can also change the starting equipment you spawn in with, so if you would prefer to begin the game with all the materials you’ll need to build a massive base, go for it! This mod is great for trying out a very specific situation, like seeing how a group of super highly-skilled colonists can function together, without having to sink a ton of time into prep work.
Misc Training adds a bunch of training structures to the building tab. Many of these provide recreation on top of training your colonists in their combat skills. They include an archery range, a gun range, and melee dummies. The only reason we include this inside the “making the game easier” section is how much it can affect young colonists’ development.
Having a good number of these structures around all but guarantees any young colonists that grow up on your settlement will have very powerful fighting skills. The ranges are very cool, though, and you will need to make sure your colonists don’t accidentally wander onto the range!
Best Combat Mods
Some players live for building bases, some live for seeing a beautiful story occur among your beloved colonists. Others just want to see how many organs they can harvest from a massive block of raiders. These are the best mods for watching the world burn in RimWorld. Combat mods will typically require you to start a brand new file to apply them, since they overhaul so many systems they would break a vanilla save file immediately.
The biggest combat overhaul mod is called Combat Extended. It’s incredibly popular among the more tactically-minded members of the RimWorld community. This mod overhauls the entire combat system, adding concepts like ammunition and bullet trajectories to replace the often random vanilla system.
Melee combat has been revamped as well, adding critical hits and parry chances to make the game feel a little more RPG-esque. Individual colonists can be set to carry a loadout, a certain set of gear like weapons, ammo, food, and combat drugs. Missed shots induce a condition called “suppression,” where massed fire can cause a target to flee their cover, or hunker down and become completely unresponsive.
Run and Gun
Run and Gun allows your colonists, and enemy raiders, to move while they’re shooting. This minor change has massive effects on the combat system of the game, requiring drastically different tactics to survive the raids of the game. If you’d prefer a faster-paced, tactically-minded combat system, this is a great pick for you. Just watch out for the now massively-empowered mechanoids!
Defensive Positions is a simple mod that lets you set up some go-to positions for individual colonists to head to when a raid is on its way. This minor change could easily be considered just a quality-of-life mod. It’s an easy pick since it’s unlikely to conflict with any other mods, and it saves you some time every single time raiders attack. It’s also fun that your colonists know which positions to take whenever an alarm sounds, giving each battle a Helm’s Deep kind of feeling.
Simple Sidearms lets you equip your colonists with a sidearm, with a range of options for what exactly that means. By default, it means everyone can carry one larger weapon like an assault rifle or charge lance, as well as a smaller melee weapon like a gladius or an axe.
But now you can expand those options to let everyone carry around a whole stack of weapons like the main character of a first-person shooter. Raiders will come with sidearms as well, adding a small level of complexity to combat.
Best Cosmetic Content Mods
Visual clarity is a critical aspect of games that often gets overlooked. Becoming further immersed or knowing exactly what’s going on in RimWorld just by taking a glance is incredibly useful, and these mods aim to deliver exactly that.
Camera+ is a simple mod that we use mostly to get nice screenshots for these kinds of articles. It lets you zoom further in and out than the default camera allows you to do. Zooming further out than normal can be taxing on your computer. Your colonists will be represented by small white dots when you zoom far enough out, letting you quickly get a grip on the status of your colony at a glance.
SimpleFX Vapor & Splashes
SimpleFX Vapor & Splashes are both mods from the same author, and they add a bit more visual flair to the game. You’ll see vapors hanging in your deep freezer room, or filling cold caverns near your base. Splashes make rainfall more interesting.
Interaction Bubbles lets you see what colonists are talking about when they chat with each other. Normally you have to open the social log to see what exactly they’ve been conversing about. With this mod, you’ll be able to see the numerous odd conversations your colonists like to engage in. It’s especially fun with the Biotech DLC to watch the lessons kids get at a school desk.
Best Setting Expansion Mods
Picking the map your colonists come crashing down into is one of the first steps of a new round of RimWorld, and these three mods from the same author will give you lots of new possibilities for the terrain you choose to settle.
Map Preview saves you a ton of time by letting you see a small, low-res version of the map you’re about to touch down on. Sometimes you’ll go through all the effort of picking out your colonists, making them an ideology, picking what feels like a perfect spot, only to find out there are no steam vents anywhere close to the only patch of fertile soil. Or, the river and road intersect in such a way that the map just looks ugly. With this mod, you can just pick a different tile instead of needing to start your game all over.
Biome Transitions make each map have a little more biological diversity. This makes it so more than one biome can be represented on a single map tile. You can have a split forest/desert, or a boreal forest that turns into a tundra in the north. This also means more variety in animal and plant life. Biome transitions pair very well with the other two mods in this section.
Geological Landforms adds more diversity to the structure of maps. It adds numerous randomly-generated features like cliffs, shorelines, and valleys. Many of the landforms are more defensible than a normal map, providing a wider range of options for players who like to build a mountain-style base. With this mod, you can build a beachside resort or a mad scientist’s lair in the caldera of an extinct volcano.
If you want to completely change the style of the game you’re playing, look no further than the Outland series of mods. You can download this pack all at once from the Steam workshop. This mod pack will give you access to a bunch of medieval-style furniture and constructions. It pairs very well with Combat Extended, which adds shields to the game.
You’ll be able to craft medieval-style siege weapons like the ballista. It also adds hints of magic to the game, in case you wanted more of a fantasy vibe than the sci-fi default planet of RimWorld. Outland is a work in progress, with more factions and features being added with time. Starting a game as a tribal settlement that works up through the tech eras is now possible.
Vanilla Expanded (Series)
And we can’t have this list of RimWorld mods without mentioning the Vanilla Expanded series. This series expands on lots of different facets of the game, sometimes by adding more variety to different sets of items, and sometimes by re-skinning certain textures. Vanilla expanded has packs that add fishing to the game or expand cooking to allow making numerous new recipes. They also have additional storytellers that will make the gameplay different.
The ‘Multiplayer’ Mod
One of the greatest mods for RimWorld adds multiplayer functionality to the game. And yes, the mod is literally just called “Multiplayer.” As fantastic as it is, this multiplayer does come with some barriers — namely, a lot of other mods don’t necessarily work properly with it.
Luckily, if you have it installed, you can check other mods for multiplayer compatibility via a button in the mods menu. Other mod developers are regularly updating their work to make it friendly for multiplayer, so check in regularly! Another barrier is that all the players on a multiplayer server will need to be running identical mod-packs, even mods that only affect your own UI. They make this easy to do as you join a new server.
You can connect via Steam, use a direct connection, or a LAN network. The RimWorld multiplayer mod can support up to eight players. All of you will share total control of the entire settlement, so right now, you can only play cooperatively. You’ll be able to see where other players are directing their attention. This takes some coordination at first, whether it’s giving each player an assigned role or only letting them control certain colonists. The end results are a lot of fun and well worth it, though.
Raids in particular are more enjoyable thanks to the addition of multiplayer. It makes it much easier to play them in real-time without having to pause as often. You’re also way less likely to miss a particular critical enemy with someone else watching your back and controlling a second set of fighters. Caravans are also better with this mod, since one player can just watch the caravan instead of needing to split attention between their home base and the goings-on of the road.
Join the High Ground
This comprehensive list of mods will set you up for success in RimWorld. One of the best parts of RimWorld is how supportive the game’s community is towards its modders. So much great content gets comes from fans seeking to fill any gaps they can see in the renowned settlement-builder.
If you think another mod deserves to be on this list or have any more questions, leave a comment below. And make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more RimWorld and other gaming content!