Once you’ve established a functional base in Rimworld: Biotech, it’s time to start improving your colonists’ quality of life. There are a lot of advantages to keeping everyone happy, not the least of which is the continued survival of your settlement. The downfall of your entire colony can start with a single mental break.
There are many systems in place that affect your colonists’ moods, and using these systems to your advantage can turn your settlement into a thriving glitterworld. Without further ado, let’s jump into our guide on how to keep your colonists happy in Rimworld: Biotech!
Earn Inspiration and Avoid Mental Breaks
Moods in Rimworld are complicated and difficult to manage. The game can occasionally feel like The Sims (plus a little organ harvesting and drug cultivation, no big deal). There’s an important benefit to mood management, however. The higher the mood of your colonists, the higher their chance of activating inspiration.
Inspiration gives colonists a huge, powerful, often single-use bonus to one of their skills. Crafters can create legendary items with highly-boosted stats and value. Animal Tamers can automatically tame any animal, including the elusive and powerful Thrumbo. Wardens can rapidly convert prisoners to your team. One of the best inspirations is for Doctors, allowing them to succeed in any single surgery, no matter how difficult.
On the flip side of inspiration are mental breaks. These occur when colonists reach too low of a mood for too long. Mental breaks can be catastrophic, as many of them have cascading effects. For example, one of the low-level breaks can cause a colonist to wander around the base, insulting other colonists. The insulted colonists will take a mood debuff, possibly causing them to also have a mental break. The worst breaks can even make a colonist want to murder one of their companions!
As you can see, it’s important to keep your colonists’ moods high enough to avoid mental breaks and hopefully gain inspiration. Luckily, there are a handful of ways to do this.
Increase Your Beauty Level
Keeping your base beautiful and minimizing contact with ugly areas hugely affects the overall mood of your colonists. There are a lot of tricks you can use to keep your base beautified, starting with managing debris.
Shelving is incredibly important, as the vast majority of items left on the ground reduce the beauty of the surrounding area. Luckily, shelves received a huge buff with the Biotech DLC, and are now capable of holding three stacks of items on a single square. This allows a normal shelf to hold up to 450 units of steel.
Some items reduce beauty more than others, like chunks of steel slag or marble. You’ll want to store these items in a more secluded location than your regular storage room — simply being around them will drop a colonist’s mood.
Wooden flooring or carpet adds beauty to a room, as does stone brick flooring, or smoothed stone floors. The latter two are preferable in the later game for most rooms, as wooden floors are a huge fire hazard. If you have the Royalty DLC, you can even make fine floors. These provide the highest beauty bonus, and are also necessary for royal rooms.
Adding tile floors outdoors can also be helpful if you have extra bricks and time. In addition to their beauty boost, they also improve the walking speed for your colonists compared to walking on dirt.
Sculptures and Furniture
You can also add beauty to rooms by placing quality items strategically around your base. Everyone eats in the dining room, so it’s a good place to prioritize beauty over individual workstations or bedrooms. Still, having high-quality furniture in colonists’ bedrooms has a definite positive effect!
Sculptures can be made of various materials, though it’s better to stick with wood or stone, as they’re more renewable and have fewer uses than other options. Jade is also great, as it’s naturally beautiful and can’t be used for many other purposes.
Skilled Artists can make better sculptures, and colonists with high-level Construction can build higher-quality furniture. A Mastercraft bed is five times more beautiful than a regular bed, and can be a great choice for a colonist in need of a mood boost. Having your Construction Worker add things like columns into your base can also massively improve its overall beauty.
If you have the Ideoligion DLC, you can also build items that are specifically appealing to followers of certain beliefs. When creating an ideoligion, you can set the kind of style they prefer in the top left of the screen. A base that matches the colonists’ style will help them feel like they fit in, keeping them happier all the time.
Assign the Right Jobs
Working on jobs they’re passionate about will help keep your colonists happy and productive. The only jobs colonists can’t be passionate about are hauling and cleaning, so make sure colonists with those jobs get some extra recreation time.
You can pair colonists that like each other into nearby workstations to allow them to socialize. This slightly decreases their work speed, but makes them happier!
Be sure to pay attention to the traits of all your various workers when assigning jobs. We’ll talk about traits more shortly, but they’re important in the workplace. An Undergrounder will be happier mining and crafting indoors than they will be out hunting or planting crops. Night Owls prefer a late night schedule, and Nudists like wearing less clothing. Keep this in mind if you’re on a map with cold nights — colonists with the latter two traits should probably stay inside, though Nudists can wear the new sash apparel to slightly improve their temperature resilience.
Psychopaths are a double-edged sword. They don’t gain any mood at all from socializing, but also don’t lose any from common debuffs. They don’t mind other colonists dying or being around dead bodies, so having a Psychopath transport corpses can keep your other colonists free of that stacking debuff. Keep in mind that they’re still affected by rotting bodies and rot gas, so use caution here.
Be Mindful of Traits
Speaking of traits, make sure colonists with conflicting traits aren’t spending too much time together. Social fights can cause real damage, especially if a strong fighter picks a fight with a colonist with no combat skills. Every colonist should ideally have their own bedroom, but if that isn’t possible, you can split the ones with conflicting traits into barracks. For example, don’t let a Teetotaler and someone with Chemical Interests share a room. They’re going to hate each other, and simply being around each other will bring down their moods.
Some traits are massive problems when it comes to mood, and require special care as a result. Anyone with an annoying voice or creepy breathing will be unlikable to other colonists. Abrasive colonists will occasionally say something rude to anyone nearby, lowering their mood. Depressive is one of the hardest traits to deal with, giving that colonist a constant -12 to their mood.
On the flip side, some colonists have natural benefits to their mood from their traits. Kind colonists will almost always be beloved for the nice words they exchange in passing. Sanguine colonists are the opposite of Depressives, with a constant +12 to their mood. You can push these colonists to work harder than others for longer as a result.
Offer Helpful Drugs
There are a lot of accessible drugs in Rimworld, all with varied effects. Many of these are grown naturally, but others have to be processed with neuroamine. You can only obtain neuroamine through trade, certain quest rewards, or special events, making these drugs harder to synthesize.
Some of the drugs be very dangerous, and all of them can cause addiction. Breaking addictions causes a massive mood debuff that can be difficult to overcome without multiple sustained mental breaks. In the Biotech DLC, two of the new Xenotypes have built-in addictions. Wasters are naturally addicted to psychite, and Hussars to go-juice.
You can change drug policies to ensure colonists aren’t taking stronger drugs too often, though this won’t affect anyone with the Chemical Interest or Chemical Fascination traits. They’ll get high on whatever they want whenever they want.
So which drugs should you give your colonists in Rimworld?
From the get-go, the only drug available without research is smokeleaf. It can be grown immediately, and keeping some around can keep your colonists from bottoming out on their mood (provided you have enough food to compensate for the munchies). Colonists can process smokeleaf at the basic crafting spot, but will do it quicker at the drug-making station you unlock later on.
Smokeleaf sometimes makes injured colonists pass out, but also provides a huge pain reduction. Make sure to disallow any colonists with already-lowered consciousness from using smokeleaf, as it drops that stat by 30% during the high. A colonist at 0% consciousness will die.
After a bit more research, you can unlock brewing. This can be hard early on, as you’ll need to grow the hops, process them into wort, and store that wort in fermenting barrels until it becomes beer. The barrels then can’t leave the temperature range of 44.6–89.6º without the beer inside spoiling. Luckily, this is also the ideal “comfortable” range for colonists, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Once the brewing process is complete, you can give beer to your colonists. Beer is great for recreation while also providing a small amount of nutrition and pain reduction.
You can also immediately start growing psychite, but it cannot be processed without some research. You can make it into three different products with varied effects, all of which can fulfill a colonist addicted to psychite. The mood boosts also stack, so you can have a colonist consume all three in an absolute emergency (at risk of overdosing).
Psychite tea has a safe use interval, meaning it can occasionally be taken without a chance of addiction. Flake is cheaper to make than the third option, yayo, but doesn’t provide a movement bonus and is also more addictive. Yayo can be used as a makeshift combat drug, as it provides a huge mood boost and the aforementioned movement buff.
Go-Juice and Wake-Up
Yayo can also be processed with neutroamine into go-juice, an incredibly powerful and dangerous combat drug. It increases almost every relevant stat for combat, but is never safe to take. Wake-up is also made with neutroamine, and can be useful for combat or pulling all-nighters. Either of these can be addictive, lowering the mood of your colonists if they don’t have access to more.
You can acquire ambrosia via a random event wherein it blooms somewhere on your map. The smartest way to harvest an ambrosia patch is to draw a growing zone on top, but forbid sowing. This will make your farmers harvest the patch as soon as it is fully grown.
Harvesting an ambrosia patch is always beneficial. Ambrosia fullfills both food needs and recreation, giving colonists a feeling of warmth and happiness at no risk. It can be addictive, but the addiction is very mild and can be overcome without even stopping use of the drug.
Make Fine Meals
An easy way to keep your colonists happy is to feed them good meals often. Simple meals are easy to make, but don’t provide any particular mood boost to your colonists. Fine meals take the same amount of ingredients as a simple meal, but need to be made by a higher-level Cook, and require a mix of meat and vegetables. You can make vegetarian fine meals, but it will take more vegetable ingredients than the basic fine meal.
Chocolate can be grown after some research and is a valuable source of recreation as well as a food source. Insect jelly has a similar effect, but you can only get it by fighting off monstrous insects from their hives. Either of these are valuable for caravans, as Caravaneers have limited access to recreation besides briefly socializing when resting. Having some form of recreation via food will help keep them happy while their mood is ravaged by long-distance travel.
Making lavish meals should be reserved for when you want to get rid of an excess of food, whether you’re lacking storage or simply want to reduce your wealth score. You can also keep lavish meals around in your freezer and save them for when a colonist needs a mood boost.
Prepare for Psychic Waves
One of the most unpredictable events in Rimworld is when psychic drones or a psychic soothe emanate from space. These can affect the mood of one gender or the other across your entire colony. Psychic waves affect your colonist in a variety of ways. Sometimes the effects are positive, improving everyone’s mood for a few days. More often, however, they are negative, dropping half the colony by -15.
While this isn’t enough to harm a highly-functioning settlement, it can be the straw that breaks the muffalo’s back in a stressed situation. Additionally, some of your colonists might have additional psychic sensitivity via traits, increasing the impact of either kind of drone. Thankfully, they may also be completely psychically deaf, taking barely any effects, if any at all.
There are a few ways to counter these. You can trade for or otherwise acquire psychic foil helmets, which reduces the effect of psychic waves by 90%. Note that this also blocks the effects of the psychic powers your royalty can use (more on that later). You can also get ahold of a psychic soothe pulser, a single-use item that gives a 24-hour +15 to mood, also scaling to psychic sensitivity. These stack with depreciating effects, meaning you can use up to three to gain a +35 to mood for the entire settlement. You can often find them in ancient shrines.
Some colonists will have a fascination with body modding, while others will be outright opposed to it. Your Ideoligion frequently affects this, with Transhumanists always desiring modification. Sometimes colonists will lose limbs, eyes, or organs. Some parts of their body may also cause them constant pain (you can check these in the Health panel). If you’re lucky, you can get ahold of replacements, artificial or otherwise. After enough research, you can unlock the ability to turn components and metals into bionic limbs that actually work better than their organic counterparts. When you notice colonists are in pain, you can try bionic replacements to improve their mood.
There are also a few implants you can use to boost a colonist’s mood, like the joywire brain implant. This gives a permanent +30 mood boost at the expense of 20% consciousness. If you need a colonist to just clean and haul all day, or if a depressive Miner really gets on your nerves, a joywire is a monstrous but effective measure. Alternatively, if a colonist has chronic pain, a painstopper implant will help them out massively.
Lastly, if you have a colonist with the Sanguine trait, you might want to think about installing a psychic harmonizer. This projects a buff or debuff (based on the mood of the implantee) for a total of 30 squares. If you can keep the harmonizer-holder happy, this can result in a +10 buff to your whole colony. If they’re psychically sensitive, this buff can be up to 400% stronger, but be careful — some kind of massive loss could shock the entire colony into distress.
Take Advantage of Psychic Powers & Royalty
If getting psychic powers from the remnants of a decaying, forgotten interstellar empire is appealing to you, make sure you pick up the Royalty DLC. Early on, you’ll receive a quest asking you to defend a fleeing noble from a pack of attackers. After you fend off the attack, one of your colonists will receive some points of honor. They can exchange these to get appointed to the position of yeoman, granting them a psychic power and a big buff to their mood.
Now that they’re royalty, they have a need to meditate, which will also fulfill some recreation needs. Royals meditate with a throne, which will eventually need to be placed in a well-established throne room, complete with musical instruments, burning braziers, and leather drapes. The mood of your royals will depend in part on the quality of their throne room. You can plan on allowing your throne room and your dining room to share space, but don’t let it overlap with any production stations or ritual rooms. Higher-ranked royals will also need particular apparel made for them or they’ll take a mood penalty.
Keeping your colonists happy gets easier if they have a strong leader with some psychic powers. Some can outright boost the mood of a nearby colonist at the expense of their consciousness, or block any pain they’re feeling. Higher-level royals can also give speeches in the throne room, which can have various effects depending on their social skills.
Use the Ideoligion System
If you own the Ideoligion DLC, your colonists’ moods will depend a whole lot more on their specific beliefs. This can bring a wide range of effects to your game, enabling a much wider variety of playstyles. We don’t have time to go over them all, so we’ll address the ones you’re most likely to encounter below.
Transhumanists are happiest when surrounded by numerous high-tech devices that allow them to operate on a higher level. They may also be happier eating nutrient paste than others. The downsides are that they often disallow drug use, and demand yearly age reversal biotechnology. Save your high-level prosthetics for your Transhumanist populations.
Pain Is Virtue
If your population believes Pain Is Virtue, they won’t need or want comfortable beds, preferring to sleep on slabs instead. They will ignore many of the temperature constraints that would bother other colonists, which is helpful for hostile environments. They will even gain a mood bonus from being in pain, which you can capitalize on by crafting torture crowns or implanting mindscrews.
Supremacist factions will want to take slaves and will get a mood debuff if none are around. They like having skull spike ornaments around and aren’t bothered by the sight of corpses unless they’ve started rotting. Similarly, Raider factions want you to regularly go on raids on surrounding targets.
High-Life colonists usually have no problems with mood, since they consume lots of drugs and gain additional mood boosts from an altered state of mind. If anything, they’ll have trouble with mood from running out of smokeleaf. This is easily compensated for, however — just select a particular Farmer colonist as a plant specialist.
Regardless of your specific ideoligion, you’ll likely deal with rituals and speeches. These come along with certain roles and are powerful tools for keeping your colonists happy and engaged. Make a good-looking ritual room and keep it free of foot traffic in order to keep it clean. This improves the quality of the ritual, and thus the mood boost and rewards your colonists receive.
Try Xenotypes & Gene Modding
Some xenotypes, like Highmates, are naturally predisposed to better moods. Having a Highmate around the colony should boost everyone’s mood, as they are naturally sanguine, beautiful, and kind. Hussars and some Yttakin, meanwhile, have a tendency to be aggressive. If you have them around your base, you may want to sequester them away from the rest of the crew.
Sanguophages are a complex new addition to the game. These are a powerful xenotype that brings vampires to the savage planets of Rimworld. They can drain the blood of other colonists, but this will (understandably) bring down the colonists’ moods. To keep your vampires fed and your colonists happy, you can instead extract hemogen packs via an operation. Only feed on your own colonists if you have no prisoners, slaves, or medicine to help extract the hemogen. Also, put your space Dracula on a heavy workload right before they go into death-rest, where their mood can’t drop.
Outside of xenotypes, Biotech adds a whole new slew of options for boosting the mood of your colonists. Foremost among them is gene modding, which includes a series of mood-affecting genes. Some genes, like the Happy of Very Happy xenogerms, directly make your colonists happier. Implanting them means you’ll need to construct a decent amount of high-level technology, including a station to store the xenogerms.
How to Get More Colonists in Rimworld
Once you’ve got your base settled and your initial 3–5 colonists are reasonably happy, you can start to expand your crew. This can be an arduous process, especially with the huge variety of beliefs and specialties your colonists can have. It helps immensely to have a colonist with high-level social skills, as they’ll be able to convert others to your side. They’re also likely to be popular, provided they don’t have any unlikable traits.
The easiest, and one of the most common, ways to get more colonists is when they simply fall out of the sky or come as a quest reward. When they’re a reward for a quest, you can often check on their skills before you accept them as a colonist, but sometimes they’re on the run and you don’t get a chance to see what they can do before you accept them into your base. Sometimes you can buy colonists from slave traders.
Wanderers and Prisoners
Sometimes wanderers in need of help will ask to stay in your base for a while. Often, if they can stay in a good mood for long enough during their stay, some of them will be willing to join your settlement. But beware — if any of them die, the others are likely to turn violently hostile with chaotic results. There is also a small chance that the wanderers will betray you, so it can be smart to keep them in their own, separate guest barracks.
Another common way to acquire more colonists is by taking them prisoner and reducing their resistance until they agree to join you. You’ll want a warden with good social skills to do this, as it can otherwise take a very long time. If you see a raider with skills that you want, one way to keep your colonists from killing them outright is to send melee attackers with blunt weapons at them. Blunt weapons like maces and war hammers are significantly less likely to make their target bleed out, increasing your opportunities to take prisoners. Keeping medicine in your prison will also increase the chances that your doctors will be able to treat their damage in time.
If you have the Ideoligion DLC, you’ll also likely want to convert prisoners before you start to break their resistance. This will make sure they don’t hold onto any of their pesky old beliefs, which likely include a desire to attack nearby factions frequently, and will also reduce the social penalties they’ll have with their new comrades. Ideoligion may also also reward you with random recruits for performing certain rituals, like throwing a Christmas tree party.
Lastly, there is also the new system for raising children with the Biotech DLC. This is a very complicated system, so we’ll go into detail in a future guide. In short, you can now acquire embryos from your colonists and grow them into children in a mechanical vat. They can also have organic children together if you prefer to keep machinery out of things. Raising your own colonists is by far the most rewarding way to get new ones.
Join the High Ground
Rimworld: Biotech is an expansive game, with many solutions for keeping your colonists in line. We hope this guide leads you to make the best choices for your settlement, allowing you to keep building bigger and better things. Whether your goal is building a starship, pleasing the High Stellarch of the empire enough to join their court or whatever devious sci-fi dreams you can think of, we hope this guide helps you keep your colonists happy and plentiful.