RimWorld Diary, Part 1: Welcome To Bogdan’s Rest

RimWorld [official site] continues its march through early access, adding drugs and enticing modders, almost as if it wasn’t already wonderful. We sent Brendan back to the planet’s surface, where he decided to set up a hotel in the middle of the desert. In part one of this three-part diary, the colonists struggle to establish themselves.

Shinichi needs a new kidney. He has been walking around in the blazing desert sun for days, dismantling any ruin he can find and leaving the bricks for someone else to carry back to the hotel. And now he has a cancerous growth in his kidney. He needs a new one but the chances of a group of crooked merchants passing by with organs on sale is slim. He goes home and lies down in his bedroom, which is actually a cave. His bed – made from granite – offers little comfort. This was supposed to be a hotel.

I started this game of RimWorld with one aim in mind – to create an rest stop for travellers using this hospitality mod. It allows you to house and talk to passing visitors, sometimes recruiting them into your own colony, sometimes chatting with them to increase your reputation with their off-screen faction, and sometimes just leaving them alone like a decent hotelier. Essentially, I wanted to become an inn-keeper. I didn’t realise that this would just add another layer of problems on top of the game’s already panicked colony management.

The hotel began with three characters – heavily sculpted using another mod. Bogdan is the optimistic founder of the colony. He is a middle-aged, mouth-breathing entrepreneur with a dodgy background. But he’s also great at convincing people to help him (a blistering social skill of 13) and he’s not a bad cook either.

Wide-eyes Pete is his friend. ‘Wide-eyes’ because of his crippling addiction to ‘wake-up’, one of the game’s new drugs. Pete is the youngest of the group – a good-looking party animal with a fascination for chemical substances – a hobby he probably developed during his job as a paramedic.

And then there’s Julie – Julie Savage – a military brat turned architect who wears a cowboy hat and says insulting things to everyone on account of her bloodthirsty and abrasive nature. She is a hard worker, older than the others and is twice as likely to get into a fight with her fellow colonists. I don’t know why she agreed to this.

The three business partners arrived in the desert on foot, ready to build the space equivalent of Las Vegas. After three weeks they had only just managed to hollow out enough room in the rocks for separate bedrooms.

Part of the problem is their management, ie. me. I’ve never played in a desert environment before, despite dumping around 50 hours into the game. I always assumed it would be too harsh. I wasn’t wrong. The first few days were a panic. My usual tactic is to build all the basic amenities from wood, harvested from the abundant trees scattered around. This time, there are no forests. Just a few cacti lightly sprinkled in the arid landscape. I resort to growing potatoes and rice on what fertile soil I can find, and begin to mine out a system of rooms and caverns in the most central ‘mountain’.

The walls of the “hotel” are a mismatch of materials – limestone bricks, rough sandstone, steel plate, cactus wood. All the furniture likewise is built from whatever material we had at the time of construction. If one of our guests were to leave a review on Trip Advisor, they would probably describe it as “idiosyncratic” or possibly “disgusting”. It’s a good thing we don’t have any guests.

One day, a Boomalope comes toward the hotel and becomes friendly with us. These creatures are large grazers with huge yellow blisters on their body which explode with the force of a small bomb when the creature is killed. The Boomalope makes itself at home and sleeps in our bedrooms, or the dining area, or the freezer, according to its whims. This worries me. Any day now we might be attacked and a single stray bullet from a raider’s rifle could destroy anything or anyone unlucky enough to be standing near this creature when it gets hit.

I select Bogdan, the boss, and hover over the option to slaughter the animal. From what I remember doing this does not cause it to blow up, it just harvests the meat. But I’m not sure. I experience a moment of doubt and I dismiss the option without clicking on it. Maybe the Boomalope will come in useful some other way. In the meantime, we’ll have to be careful. Not that anyone but Bogdan is worried. Julie is out there digging, building and doing her damn job. While Pete… well, we should probably talk about Pete.

On the fourth day, Wide-eyes Pete went on one of his binges, launching himself into an overdose with a glee normally reserved for rock stars and lab rats. He vomited all over the dining room entrance and quickly got back to work, cutting down what few cacti remained and harvesting the material. In the between-the-lines fiction I like to cultivate in these diaries, I like to imagine that either Bogdan or Julie sent out a message about their young friend’s behaviour, because the next day a woman comes over the horizon. It is Pete’s fiancée.

She’s called Miesha. She wandered in from the top of the screen with a ferocity I swear I only half imagined. She was, after all, a trained ninja assassin, according to the game. She is a picky eater with a pampered childhood, but someone who strikes me as a person who won’t take the antics of her fiancée in forgiving spirits. As overseer, I’m happy with her arrival – more hands is always good. I immediately built a double bed for the couple and put it in a particularly nice bit of the cave.

Days went by and we cracked on with the farm and the hotel, hollowing out more rooms in the stone. On a clear winter morning (23 degrees Celsius) Julie and Pete crossed paths in the guest dormitory (still unvisited) and Julie said something rude to him, which is what she loves to do between shifts of stonecutting and constructing. A huge fight broke out between them and they started beating each other up, getting blood all over the guest beds.

Somehow, Julie came off worse than Pete, whose youth and scrappy childhood as a street urchin must have given him the edge in a fist fight. He knocked Julie unconscious and was suffering pain from bruises all over his body. Then he picked up his defeated workmate, carried her to her bed and treated her wounds.

They haven’t argued since.

One afternoon, as Bogdan cooked rice and Pete planted corn, a solar flare, an eclipse and a heat wave struck all at once. Why these three simultaneous solar phenomenon were not taken as an omen I do not know, because the same day a man called Kenneth Riddle came running toward the hotel, shouting and begging for sanctuary, pursued by a pair of pirates from a gang called the Wasps of Cruelty.

“Excellent,” I thought. “Our first customer.”

We accepted his request for safety and prepared to fight the pair of pirates off. They came toward us, lobbing grenades, guns blasting. Bogdan shot one in the chest with his shotgun and beat him to death when the pirate collapsed.

The other assailant was battered around the head by Miesha, until he was dragged, unconscious, into a chamber with a prisoner’s bed. Our new guest, Monseuir Kenneth Riddle, was safe. Welcome to Bogdan’s Rest.

Then he collapsed and died from heatstroke.

We stripped his corpse of useful clothing and buried him out in the burning sands, along with the bodies of the pirate and a couple of other lone raiders who had been foolish enough to take on Julie and her rifle in past weeks and had been rotting in the sun on the outskirts of the hotel.

Miesha went to see the pirate we had imprisoned. Along with Bogdan, she’s also a smooth talker. Did he know that this was actually a hotel? The old Wasp turned out to be pretty friendly. A former child star in his homeworld, he became a pirate and was now a heat tolerant giant of a man, happy to work the desert sands. His name was Shinichi.

Miesha recruited him to the hotel’s staff and he worked like a monster without complaint until the day he developed cancer in his left kidney and his health and mental state began to decline. Shinichi didn’t know it yet but he would eventually resume the mission his old clan had tasked him with.

In the fields, Wide-eyes Pete was suffering. He was undergoing withdrawl from ‘wake-up’, having run out of the stimulant days ago. He soon began wandering around in a sad, dazed comedown. But from the side of the screen comes hope for a poor addict – pirate merchants. They are sure to have drugs.

Wide-eyes runs to them to trade but they haven’t got any of the Wake-up he so sorely wants. But they do have some Yayo, a white powder that might take the edge off. He also picks up some beers for good measure. I say ‘he’ but obviously I am doing all the bartering here. I look at the price. Hundreds of silver. I can’t afford to just blow all that on drugs. There must be something I can trade, I think, but the pirates won’t accept potatoes and rice – the only things we have in abundance. Then, I spot the price they are willing to pay for a healthy Boomalope. 110 space dollars. Finally, that walking health and safety hazard has come in useful. It’s a deal. Pete walks away from the transaction with a handful of drugs and alcohol. He has entirely forgotten to buy a new kidney for Shinichi.

A few days later, Miesha and Pete get married. Pete is probably high at his wedding, but I forget to check. There’s no marriage spot allocated in the hotel (you have to place one yourself) so the pair are wedded in the dining room, in front of Bogdan and Julie and the hotel’s pet cat Conga, who was lying asleep in its basket during the whole thing. I don’t like Conga, because he regularly crawls into the freezer and eats our ready-made meals. Some day I hope to sell him for drugs as well.

A bunk in the corner of the dining/wedding room is still littered with the discarded clothes of the fugitive Riddle, who died in the same room. In fact, there are clothes scattered all around the hotel premises. Some we brought with us and simply haven’t tidied into stockpiles. Others are the remnants of desperate raiders who have come to take what little we had. Julie takes some of the clothes and hauls them to the storage pile. She is responsible for acquiring many of the t-shirts.

Over the next few days, Pete is so happy about his marriage that he even forgets about his Wake-up withdrawl, and walks around in a blissful state, ignoring the stash of Yayo powder he bought from the pirate merchants and subsequently dropped in the corridor. He and Miesha are in the honeymoon period. They are happy. In the next room, Shinichi is spluttering and coughing from a bad flu. He is dying.

Finally, the raiders attack in earnest, choosing to launch their assault at dusk. But it’s still three against five. I scramble the hotel staff. Julie takes pot shots from the cover of a doorway as the raiders approach, hitting her target with every second bullet. Bogdan and Miesha fire shotguns when they get closer, and Wide-eyes unloads a pistol clip at them before ducking into the guest rooms. Eventually, I drag Shinichi out of bed. I don’t want to, but I must. He is the one with the grenades.

He limps out into the desert sun, walks slowly toward the firefight and lobs a grenade at one of the raiders, who in perfect unison throws one of his own. The explosives pass each other in mid-air.

They explode at the same time. The raider dies. Shinichi, the gaint with flu and cancer, is somehow still alive.

We drag him to a medical bed, his neck and arms shredded by the blast. He wakes up, the only casualty of the raid. Julie had finished off another of the raiders and the last one fled in terror. We bandage and treat Shinichi’s wounds, but the influenza has tightened its grip.

In severe pain from both his kidney cancer and the grenade, he stumbles out of bed, strips off his clothes item by item and wanders out into the desert. By the time he comes to his senses, sickness and cancer has weakened him immensely. He crawls back to the medical ward, puts on a button-up shirt and lies down in the medical bed.

Wide-eyes Pete was the first to get up that next morning. For him, life is brilliant. He is married and he has some Yayo for the afternoon and the raiders are all gone and oh no Shinichi is dead.

I want to bury the body before anyone else sees it and gets upset. So I order Pete to haul the cadaver out to the sands and bury him next to Riddle, the panicked escapee who died not by the hand of pirates sent to kill him but simply because the sun was having some kind of psychological breakdown. The Wasps of Cruelty had once tasked Shinichi and his pirate mate with chasing down this fugitive, Kenneth Riddle, wherever he went. Now, they were buried on either side of him, as if their pursuit hadn’t even stopped at death.

The thought is lost on Pete, who buries the corpse like a good little computer pawn. I click on him anyway, to see how he is feeling. He is sad that his friend the ex-pirate has died. If only there had been some way to avoid this horrible tragedy. All he needed was a kidney, right? Where could he have gotten a kidney?

Oh well. Pete sits down next to the grave and stuffs his face with a ready-made meal.

Then he returns to the hotel and immediately snorts a line of Yayo.

Next week, the hotel gets some visitors and Bogdan buys some cows – but Pete has other plans for the hotel’s farmland


  1. Captain Narol says:

    I’m still about the fence about Rimworld but this diary is a delight to read… Keep the story coming !

    • GrumpyCatFace says:

      Same. I can’t get past the horrible interface, but these stories are WAY more entertaining than the actual game, anyway.

      • Harlander says:

        What do you dislike about the interface?

        • GrumpyCatFace says:

          Well granted, I didn’t spend a lot of time bashing my head against it, but there’s a real lack of information on how to do anything. The action/building menus are anything but intuitive, and look more like an alpha build than a modern game. (Yes, I know that it’s not done yet, but it’s not ready for prime time either)

          This game does look fascinating and complex, but there’s no reason to make the player suffer through a bizarre system in order to enjoy it.

          • hungrycookpot says:

            I’m not really sure what you would have preferred? It takes a moment to figure out exactly which sub-menu each and every template lives in, but they’re all clearly organized and labeled, building furniture and structures is a pretty simple affair, click build item, paint on grid, pawns build it for you….

      • king0zymandias says:

        If you think RimWorld has a bad interface then you shouldn’t touch Dwarf Fortress even with a ten feet pole.

        • ButteringSundays says:

          Eh, I find (mostly) intuitively assigned hot keys pretty fluid myself. Nobody complains about it in Unreal World.

          We can all agree on the Military interface though.

        • GrumpyCatFace says:

          Another game that I desperately wanted to try, but I’m not going to spend weeks learning a new language to do so.
          Trying to differentiate between ASCII characters and find them on a gigantic reference list is not my idea of a game interface.

          It’s not that I fear complexity or anything – I love TIS-100 to death. MOV HATE, DOWN

  2. derf says:

    Trepediciously waiting for the CCL A15 mod. I love Rimworld, but have been playing it with a few mods that are pretty damn essential from a usability perspective.

    I’m sure there are others in the same situation.

  3. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Uh oh, it’s an RPS diary. You know these things make me want to buy a game more than anything else, right?

  4. Brad B says:

    This game is excellent so don’t fence sit any longer. The developer really understands the balance of game, story and emergent gameplay. It exceeds prison architect and kerbal space program and is something I keep getting drawn back to over and over. The mods add additional variety and usability once your get the basics down.

  5. dongsweep says:

    Love these diary posts and so happy Brendan is the one doing it, you have a real ability for storytelling!

  6. Monggerel says:

    Is Ashley Kilacorn going to romance Alex the Muscular? Will they have babies? Can they have babies? Should they have babies? How did the colony feel about that one time a Schluffamurf came by the camp and ate all the snazzberries?

    The answers are strictly unknowable because I don’t actually tell myself stories – so the questions have always-alredy never existed in the first place.

  7. teije says:

    Such a fun little game. My latest ended in pathetic disaster when a heatwave struck and I ignored it (previous ones having not been too much) until 3 of my people passed out due to extreme heatstroke. My one remaining colonist tried to rescue them, but then went psychotic, threw off his clothes and then was downed by heatstroke too. As they all lay dying in the sun, Taras the dog went berserk, attacking and killing the tame squirrel and tortoise. The tortoise put up a tough fight, leaving the dog in shock. The colonists died. And then I left.

    • Thurgret says:

      They seemed to be intelligent enough about going and standing in the freezer for a while for me, though I did try to get air conditioning in where I could. Not sure how standing in the freezer really counteracts heatstroke, but there you go.

    • Ericusson says:

      The heat stroke thing is kind of overblown.
      In reality with some attention water and carefulness, you can work reasonably in hot conditions and if too hot just look for draft and shadow.

      The mechanic kind of annoys me as a purely artificial game thing that has not much to do with what it takes the name of.

      • carewolf says:

        Rimworld heatwaves are not like Earth ones. They often goes up to 50C even in temperate climates.

        Though a cowboy hat and a duster gives the colonists immunity to even the most extreme heat waves.

        There is just one minor problem: You need to tell them not to wear parkas and turques during the summer…. THAT is what kills them. Wearing goddamn winter coats during a heat wave.

  8. drmcscott says:

    Hi all, long time reader and fan.

    I had made a Rimworld diary of some drunken lunatics a lil’ while ago. Not sure if any of you would enjoy it, but here it is.
    Highlights include a drunken monkey, slight murder and agreeable group hatred.

    link to inputerror.co.uk


  9. Pyromanta says:

    Love these, good job Brenda. I’m interested to know, having not played the game, how much of the characters actions are AI and how much is Brenda. Can anyone whose played give me some idea?

    • Pyromanta says:

      I of course mean Brendan. Bloody autocorrect.

    • tumbleworld says:

      Almost all of it is the game. Like in Dwarf Fortress, you don’t actually have much direct control over your people — at least not without having to resort to serious UI shenanigans.

    • Lagran says:

      You have overarching control (such as building plans, setting the overall job priorities, setting research topic, and trading), but the day to day minutia is all done through a mix of randomness and calculations. The boomalope self-tamed (random event), the game usually throws a new colonist at you within the first few days (though this one being a current colonist’s fiancée was interesting), and the eclipse/solar flare/heatwave are again random events. Getting a call for help from someone being chased is again random, as are the trade caravans (the pirate merchants, though these are pulled from the tribes, outposts, and pirate colonies around; you also get orbital traders once you have the tech set up).

      All colonists have mood buffs and debuffs, and any colonist that’s hooked on a drug or alcohol needs frequent doses otherwise they go into withdrawl. Withdrawl gives a debuff, and too many debuffs/too low a mood leads to a mental break. Mental breaks can be “wandering in sadness” or they can be “go bezerk and attack everyone you see”. Unless your colonist is hooked on Luciferium. Withdrawl is death on that drug. You also get random illnesses, and infections can pop up in unclean medical facilities.

      Pawns can attempt to get into romantic relationships; if accepted, they’ll want to sleep together. At a random point, one of them will propose; if accepted, the wedding will be set a random time later. If refused, the couple breaks up. Social fights occur if someone gets insulted and they attack.

    • hungrycookpot says:

      Basically all jobs get automatically queued by the game, depending on what priorities you’ve set for your colonists. All decisions relating to layout or building of anything is done by the player, but the pawns do the work of building it on their own time.

      However you can take direct control of any character at almost any time, and tell them to do a task immediately, or recruit them for military action and have direct control over where they move and what they shoot.

    • Pyromanta says:

      Holy balls, multiple detailed responses! Thanks guys, pretty much convinced me to give this a try now ?

  10. ButteringSundays says:

    Those visuals though :( Looks like a naughties flash game. I’d take a tileset over this. I have the same gripe with prison architect.

    / grumble

  11. geldonyetich says:

    Even unmodded, these experiences mirror my own in Rimworld. The term “comedy of errors” comes to mind as I play, given how virtual chain reactions of misfortune drop at the whimsy of thr virtual GM, but as my last colonist bleeds out again I admit it’s more tragedy than comedy.

    To an extent, I think there’s too much Dwarf Fortress in Rimworld. It made sense when dwarves went on bloody rampages because they’re Tolkien-esque dwarves, strange tempermental blighters who get upset when the wrong rock gets shifted twice a century. Humans have no excuse, it’s honestly unfeasible they would have even survived the trip to Rimworld when having to rough it on a hard bunk causes them to fly into a rampage or wander off in a psychodelic stupor where they shed theif clothes and succumb to exposure.

    • keefybabe says:

      It makes sense if you think they were on a luxury liner that crashed.

      • CartonofMilk says:

        That’s one of my only issues with the game, how much of a bunch of whiners the colonists are. you give them a room bigger than any bedroom i’ve ever had and they still have a mood penalty for finding it too small. And while eventually as my colony improved berserk mode started happening less, it’s still way too frequent. It should be that only about 1/4th of colonists can even get into berserk mode. It’s not like everyone has it in them to go crazy and start attacking anyone willy nilly. Under massive stress and trauma i know i’d be way way more bound to go for suicide before i go berserk (and actually suicide SHOULD be in the game though of course also only very seldomly happen and only if your colonist has been under a neverending pile of traumatic events OR if they already had a propensity for it in the first place in their traits). I know there’s other mental breakdowns in the game but berserk should be rare, as it is it’s the most common form of breakdown.

        • hungrycookpot says:

          I’ve played a LOT of Rimworld, and I don’t find berserk to be more common than anything else. I see a whole lot of dazes and binges, and I’ve probably seen nearly as many fire-starting streaks as rages.

    • Harlander says:

      Being pushed over the edge by a minor thing is meant to have been down-tuned in more recent versions, I understand – though I can’t say that I’d noticed.

  12. Shiloh says:

    I love Rimworld. Last game I played, I used the Prepare Carefully mod to craft a heavy rock band comprised of Sticks, Shredder and Bass, and their manager (me). Their tour bus crash-landed having taken a very wrong turn after a crazy, crazy night and they awoke with horrible hangovers and various stages of addiction on a strange jungle world.

    First priority was getting the hop farm set up. Once the wort was fermenting and the beer started flowing, contentment reigned – for a while, at least.

  13. kentonio says:

    The section about selling the cat for drugs made me actually laugh out loud. Great article. :)

  14. GrumpyCatFace says:

    subscribing to this thread. Ignore post

  15. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Love the game. Were the “cancer” and the “ninja assassin” added by mods or added by the devs recently? I don’ tremember them from my gameplay.

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      Not the mods as far as I can tell. I had never had cancer in a character before either though, so it may have been added last patch

  16. gi_ty says:

    This is off to a great start! Where is part two? I need my part 2 damnit!

  17. Ddub says:

    Just FYI if anyone didn’t know (or didn’t care), Yayo is the slang word for cocaine, made famous by the movie, “Scarface”. There’s even a song about it called “Ayo for Yayo” that was popular back in the early 2000’s.

  18. celticdr says:

    Dammit I bought it, and dammit it’s addictive!

    Still playing with my tutorial tribe – the characters get strangely personal and when Arthur’s favourite turkey was slaughtered to survive winter (and because it had a heart attack) I really did feel his pain (at the same time as feeling hungry for turkey IRL).

  19. Gomer_Pyle says:

    Good read, can’t wait for the other parts!