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.
The Cons of Slavery
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Slaves cannot be assigned a Specialist role. Once again, makes sense.
- 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.
- 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 exact 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 slabbed for the regular colonists? Sure. Slaves? No. They can just collapse at their workplace. Saves them from having to walk back to it 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.
- 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
- Skullspikes are cheap and plentiful. Insufficient numbers, they do a decent job of terrorizing
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.
- 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. The same is true in Rimworld, except that free colonists cannot share beds 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 to do 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 prisoner barracks is a good problem to have, but ultimately they need to be put to better use.
What makes a good slav? 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.
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 wok, 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.
- Every slave must wear a Slave Collar and a Slave Body Strap. This will prevent their suppression level from dropping from the 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.
- 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 summary execution. This means that keeping a worthless prisoner just for this kind of an occasion is a very prudent idea. 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
Suppression is a long way, but not far enough. There are other things to do to make rebellions less likely.
- 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. Period. 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 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 went horribly wrong when a Janitor a Cook and a Delivery Boy decided that they had enough, grabbed some beer bottles, and proceeded to bludgeon the guests with them.
Thus, no beer.
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 otherwise.
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, Psionics on most free pawns is 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 to teach slaves Psionics, as a rebelling level 6 Psion would be a scary sight to behold.
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