If you’re not familiar with what Rimworld is, I suggest reading at least the first little bit of the description on the game’s website. In short, it’s a sci-fi remote planet colony management simulator. This piece follows the story of Tom, Budd, and Justin – three civilian survivors from a crashed space ship. They must survive on a rim world at the edge of known space. Please note that colonist injuries were slightly bugged in this version of the game (Alpha 16) – they almost never got infected. This plays into the story somewhat. This bug has been patched in Alpha 17.
The story begins with a single message on screen:
The three of you awake from your cryptosleep sarcophagi to the sound of sirens and ripping metal. You barely make it to the escape pods before the ship is torn apart. Some time later, you land on an unknown rimworld…
The escape pods land in a temperate forest at the northern edge of a mountain range. The planet is New Dnoces. You can see the location of the crash site/new colony in the global map image below, marked by the blue house icon in the center (all images are clickable to view the full resolution version).
Below you can see the local terrain (the game takes place entirely at ground level in two dimensions. The large grey areas are the inside of stone hills and mountains.). It’s the 6th day of spring on New Dnoces, and the year is 5500 CE. The weather is cool but pleasant – sunny and 18 degrees C.
The escape pods contained a few resources for survival, including wood, metal, medicine, electrical components, packaged survival meals, some silver for trading, and three weapons: a knife, a pistol, and a survival rifle. Tom’s escape pod arrives with Red, a male cat belonging to Budd. Tom is the most experienced shooter, so he takes the survival rifle while Budd takes the pistol. Justin is a brawler, meaning he strongly prefers melee combat, so he takes the knife.
Below are the personality characteristics of each survivor. The names have been censored because they’re named after real people. The skill levels range from 0-20, with 10 being a very high degree of skill for the average person, and 20 being a prodigy. The size of the flames beside each skill represent the amount of interest, or passion, each colonist has for that skill. The more fire, the more interested they are, and the faster they learn that skill through practice.
The trio springs into action almost immediately after landing. Tom spends the bulk of the first day constructing a wooden shelter against the side of the sandstone mountain to the east. Justin constructs a few beds, while Budd hauls in the supplies scattered around the immediate area. Within a few hours they have a working, albeit rudimentary, base of operations.
It was decided that the safest place to expand would be into the mountain, so as to minimize danger from external threats like wild animals and inclement weather. Tom spent the remainder of the day chipping away at the soft sandstone, while Budd and Justin cleared away the natural debris outside the shelter. They planted some potato and rice crops in the soil in the hopes that they could grow food (shown in the yellow and green farming zones below). By the end of the first day, things were looking good, and the three survivors, with cat, went to bed feeling hopeful about the future of their new colony.
The next morning, Tom was up early to begin constructing the beginnings of a basic power grid. By midday, a solar panel is built outside, with a power conduit running into the shelter where it was charging a large battery bank and powering an indoor lamp. Tom then returned to his work at digging into the mountain, and was able to clear a large room 10 meters on each side by the end of the day. Justin built himself a bench for conducting research, as knowing how to construct defenses and produce medicine would be essential for survival. Budd spent most of the day chopping wood out front for construction materials. A pair of travelers from a distant village pass through the area and decide to spend the night at the colony. They have nothing of value for trade, and they depart in the early hours of the morning.
The following day, further digging into the mountain took place. Tom hollowed out a long and narrow room that lead outside, walled it off, and installed a cooling unit at the entrance, turning it into a huge walk-in fridge (blue tinted room below). Budd decided that our faction (group of individuals) needed a name, and so did the community (location) they were building. After some deliberation, it was decided. Our faction would be known as the Crash Crew, and the community would be called Point Zero. Late that afternoon, an alert came in: A gazelle in the area had gone simply insane and was attacking on sight. The three headed outside to investigate just as the gazelle came charging out of the forest, running directly towards the shelter. Tom and Budd fired a few shots, but all of them missed. The crazed gazelle reached Justin first and tried to bite him in the leg, but Justin plunged his knife into the gazelle’s neck and it collapsed in a heap outside the entrance.
On the 10th of spring, a wanderer named Joe “Badluck” Rogers entered the area. He asks to join the Crash Crew, and at just 19 years old, the group was hesitant. Why the nickname Badluck? But another pair of hands would go a long way, so he was allowed to join. Tom spent the day hunting Ibex for meat, as the survival meals in the escape pods were almost depleted and the crops would need more time before they were ready to harvest.
On the 11th of spring in the late afternoon an alert arrived: A pirate group called “The Deadly Company” had sent someone to raid Point Zero and take whatever they could by force. A brief survey showed the bandit, named Tony, was only armed with a club. He waited until nightfall and then attacked, but the Crash Crew were waiting for him behind sandbags placed for exactly this kind of situation.
Tony was shot twice in the torso while running towards the colony entrance, but he still made it all the way up to the sandbags and took a swing at Badluck. Justin managed to stab Tony in the arm, and Tony fell to the ground in shock. Justin dragged him deep into the mine that Tom had been working on, and locked him inside as a prisoner. It was thought that Tony could be of use to the colony, so his wounds would be tended to and he would be held as a prisoner until such time that he agreed to join the group.
The following few days were uneventful. A stove was built so that meals could be cooked. Tom was able to mine some useful metals out of the mountain, additional crops were sown, and some edible fruit plants were found deeper in the forest which made for some scavenged meals. Tom mined out some bedrooms for each colonist, as sharing a single large room was quickly becoming unpleasant. Badluck got to work cutting stone blocks from the rubble of Toms mining operations, which were used as sturdy building materials for internal walls. Justin shoved a stick in the ground outside and soon everyone was able to play horseshoes in their downtime. Budd even found some spare time to create artwork, and his first piece called “Untitled for Justin” was finished shortly afterwards. It was described as follows:
Untitled for Justin
On this work is a depiction of Justin smacking Tony while capturing him with obvious pleasure. Justin is spitting into Tony’s face. The scene seems to take place on the outskirts of a town, and the work is executed in a blocky style.
Budd produces a second piece called “Song XI.”
This work represents Tom riding in a drop pod with incredible force. A nearby tarsier is looking up, startled. The work has a pixelated feeling and a square structure. If you squint your eyes, the rectangular composition of the image reveals the outline of a seal.
A travelling caravan arrives at Point Zero and while browsing their wares, Justin finds that they are selling a Light Machine Gun (LMG). It is purchased in trade for most of the colony’s silver. Tom equips the LMG, and Badluck takes the survival rifle, having previously been wielding nothing more than a board with nails in it. A planetary eclipse plunges the landscape into darkness, and after a few hours, the power stored in the battery bank runs out, shutting down all the lights in Point Zero. A mysterious blight destroys much of the crops, but shortly after this is discovered, several cargo pods crash-land nearby containing an enormous amount of tortoise meat. It’s not great, but it’s something. Budd manages to convince Tony to join the group, and the Crash Crew are now 5 strong.
Late in the day on the 2nd of summer, the pirates return for another raid, this time in force. There are four of them, and they all have guns. The colonists defended from behind the sandbags once again.
Tom’s new LMG quickly cut down two of the pirates, one of them killed outright with 6 shots to the torso, and the other incapacitated with 4 shots to the torso, 2 to the left arm, and one to the right thumb, which is shot completely off. The other two pirates, realizing they were up against a more well-defended foe than expected, fled the scene, but not before sustaining several gunshot wounds during their escape. Justin had taken a bullet to the right lung in the fighting, and he was hauled back inside by Tom and patched up as best as could be done in the darkness. The pirate that was still alive was left to bleed out in the grass, and by morning he was dead. The eclipse ended during the night and in the morning two graves were dug to dispose of the pirate bodies. Their weapons were collected and moved to the storage room.
Two days later, the pirates returned again, this time with a surprise attack from the south. Everyone was barely able to make it outside before the pirates were upon the base. Four of the pirates took cover behind one of the solar panels and took potshots at the colonists, while another with a stone club charged the encampment. Tom swiftly cut him down with a burst of machine gun fire, but then a pirate bullet struck Budd in the chest, and Budd collapsed in a heap, unconscious.
Justin ran to Budd and began dragging him inside, and took a gunshot to the torso for his trouble. Another shot from the pirates hits Tony in the heart, and he is killed almost instantly. The pirates then refocused their fire on Tom and he was hit several times in a barrage of gunfire. His left arm took several machine gun rounds above the elbow, blowing the lower half of his arm entirely off. After falling to the ground in pain, another bullet struck him in the right foot, blowing it open and leaving his ankle little more than a bloody stump with several dangling strings of gooey flesh.
Knowing that all would be lost if the pirates succeeded, Tom used his good arm to push himself up and continued firing over the sandbags. In a minute or two, he and Badluck killed all but one of the pirates, who retreated into the woods and disappeared. Badluck was uninjured in the fighting, and dragged Tom back to his bedroom. Justin’s gunshot wound hadn’t been too serious, so he and Badluck tended to Budd and Tom’s injuries. Tom’s arm and foot were unable to be saved, and it was discovered that Budd had been shot directly through the spine. He was paralyzed with no ability to move his arms or legs. He would never walk again and was confined to his bed indefinitely. Tom, finally having a moment to think on what had just taken place, suffered a mental breakdown while limping to the kitchen and began wandering aimlessly in a daze. He wandered deep into the woods, until he eventually collapsed from exhaustion.
Justin tried to return to his work on researching how to build gun turrets, when he remembered that one of the dead raiders had been carrying some beer. His desire to escape the horrors of his newfound life got the better of him. He went outside, sat down beside the bullet-riddled corpse, and drank all six beers then and there. Tom returned from the woods the next day, tired and hungry, but no worse for wear. It took three days to clean up all the blood and dead bodies.
The following week went as well as it could, given the circumstances. On the 7th day of summer, another wanderer named Croc arrived at Point Zero and joined the Crash Crew. A new, better research table was built for Justin in a dedicated laboratory room. Justin is able to fit Tom with a wooden prosthetic foot, and a steel prosthetic arm. Tom mines out a new room to serve as a medical ward, and in the process discovers an isolated outdoor area in the middle of what was previously thought to be mountain.
Justin completed his research on building gun turrets, and two were built in front of the base near the sandbags. A group of alphabeavers (genetically engineered man-size beavers) were spotted in the area, and Tom and Badluck hunted them down before they did too much damage to the forest. A trade caravan arrived, and much of Point Zero’s old furniture and was traded away in exchange for electrical components and medicine. Justin also was able to devise a way to build a geothermal power generator, and one was constructed a short distance from the colony entrance, ending the reliance on solar power.
On the 13th of summer the pirates returned, this time with the intent of laying siege to the colony. They brought two artillery guns and hundreds of shells, and they set up an encampment in a clearing about a kilometer away from Point Zero. Strangely, one of the six pirates in the group was Badluck’s older brother Josh. Within an hour they had fortified their position and began shelling the colony. It wasn’t clear if Josh knew his brother was living in the colony they were shelling.
Budd remained in bed, helpless, while the rest of the Crash Crew (now Justin, Tom, Badluck and Croc) mounted an assault on the pirate camp. Justin grabbed a rifle, knowing it would be impossible to get into melee range with the enemy on full alert. While covering the distance to the camp, an incendiary shell landed in the middle of the farm, setting most of the crops ablaze. The four colonists took up firing positions behind some large rocks and boulders and a massive exchange of gunfire ensued.
Croc leaned out of cover to get a better firing angle and had his left arm shot off at the elbow from a high power sniper round. Croc was forced to fall back into deeper cover and could no longer meaningfully fight. Justin downed one of the pirates with a lucky shot to the pelvis, and the colonists moved forward to press their attack. Badluck takes a grazing bullet to the face, severing his nose, and then a second grazing bullet to the neck slows him further.
A second pirate is cut down in the gunfire, and the remaining four give up their defensive position and push forward to attack. Justin is hit with an incendiary grenade, and retreats back to the rocks with his clothes on fire. A well timed machine gun bust from Tom killes a third pirate, and the remaining three flee the scene. The colonists, badly injured but victorious, stumble back to the colony to find the majority of the farm ablaze. A heavy rain set in only minutes later, thankfully stopping the blaze before it could destroy everything. Justin’s moderate burns were tended to, and Badluck and Croc had their injuries bandaged up. Croc’s arm could not be saved, but luckily the smokeleaf crops (in-game marijuana) weren’t destroyed in the fire, and Justin was quick to harvest some and smoke a joint or three in the kitchen with Croc.
The first three days of fall were uneventful. Justin attempted to fit a steel arm onto Croc to replace the one that was shot off in the fighting, but botched the surgery. Croc was furious with Justin over this, and the two had little further communication besides hurling insults at each other as they passed in the hallway. On the 4th day of fall, Tom’s younger brother Martin stumbled out of the woods at the Point Zero entrance. He was wearing only a bulletproof vest and a cowboy hat made of human leather. No questions were asked. He joined the Crash Crew. The following afternoon a radio call came in – a woman named Butler was being chased by pirates and was requesting help from the Crash Crew. It seemed as though the colony was becoming reputable for it’s numerous victories over The Deadly Company. The request for help was accepted, and minutes later Butler came sprinting into the area with 9 pirates chasing behind. Everyone except Budd (now Justin, Tom, Croc, Badluck, Martin and Butler) took cover behind the sandbags, opening fire when the pirates came into view, and what ensued was the largest gun battle yet.
Martin was hit by an incendiary grenade almost immediately after the battle began, but his burns were not so severe that he could not continue to fight. Croc shot and killed one of the pirates, then another was downed in a hail of gunfire from the new automated turrets. Another incendiary grenade lands between Croc and Martin, setting both of them ablaze. It was at this moment that one of the pirates fired three shots from a rocket launcher in quick succession. The first rocket hits near Croc, knocking him down and shredding his torso. The second rocket hit even closer to Croc, blowing his head and body apart, scattering his brains over the sandbags. The third rocket hit near Butler, tearing apart the skin on her torso but not killing her. Finally, two more pirates were killed in the fighting, and the rest of them gave up the fight and retreated into the woods. Bodies littered the area as the wounded stumbled into the medical room.
That night, after the survivors wounds were tended to, everyone had some time to think on the loss of Croc. Justin had had enough of the situation, and retired to his room with the door locked, refusing to speak to anyone or come out of the room. Badluck did the same. Later that night, Butler was laying awake in his hospital bed in immense pain from her wounds. Martin was in the bed beside her recovering from his burns, and he made a comment that didn’t go over so well. Butler snapped. She stood up, walked over to Martin, and began pummeling him with punches. Martin leapt from the bed and ran into the hallway, drawing his gun and warning Butler to calm down. Butler charged out of the hospital room, ignoring the warnings. Martin shot Butler four times, holstered his pistol, and dragged her back to her hospital bed. Tom tended to her wounds, which were luckily not life-threatening.
The next few days were quiet. Another eclipse darkened the landscape for a few hours, wood was gathered for the coming winter, and some cotton plants were sown for later use to make new clothes. Another group of alphabeavers roamed into the area, and they provided an excellent source of food. On the 9th day of fall, an escape pod crashed hard near Point Zero containing a man named Takeru, who joined the group the following morning. Tom also has a mental break and begins wandering in a daze, unable to cope with the horrible working conditions while mining out additional bedrooms.
That day another raid happened – five pirates, two of which had personal shields to protect them from ranged attacks. One of the pirates overdosed on go-juice (an addictive, performance enhancing drug) during the raid preparations, and collapsed unconscious before reaching the colony. Badluck was shot in the leg, but nobody else was injured in the fighting, and the pirates retreated after taking two more losses.
Things took a turn for the worse that evening. Butler once again lost control of her emotions and went on a furious rampage, threatening to kill anyone who got in her way. Luckily, she stormed outside and wasn’t posing any immediate danger. But a cold snap set in as freezing arctic air was blown into the area, and within an hour the outside temperature had dropped 30 degrees to -16. Takeru breaks into a daze from pain and the hideous environment, while Tom snaps out of his daze and returns to the colony. Butler, who was still wandering outside, was attacked by a grizzly bear near the colony entrance. The automated turrets began firing on the bear, and the bear turned and charged at one of the turrets. The turret is seriously damaged by the bear and explodes in a concussive blast. The turret was destroyed, but the bear was killed.
Butler is seriously injured – both her legs are broken, her spine is broken, her right arm had been torn off, and the bear had ripped part of her chest open and destroyed her right lung. Plus, hypothermia was setting in from the cold. Justin rushed outside and brought her into the medical bay, saving her life despite all odds.
At this time it was realized that the colony had no means of generating heat, and the indoor temperature had fallen to -6. Martin, who was already in the hospital room, was in extreme pain from serious hypothermia. Tom began immediately building an electric heater for the hospital while Badluck was tending to the Butler’s wounds. Without warning, Martin snapped and charged at Badluck with a knife. Badluck had just enough time to ready his LMG and fired a burst of rounds into Martin’s legs. Justin dragged Martin back into a hospital bed and began tending to his wounds while Badluck resumed tending to Butler. Tom finishes building the heater in the medical bay, and heads to the kitchen for food because he hadn’t eaten all day. He arrived in the kitchen just in time to see that Takeru, still wandering in a daze, had taken off his pants and gone outside into the cold. Tom goes into a blind rage from from how out-of-control the situation was becoming, and in a fit of temporary insanity, pummels Red (the cat) to death in the kitchen. Martin, now hobbling on crutches from his gunshots to the legs, leaves the medical bay and heads to the kitchen because he too is starving. However, he sees Tom raging and quickly ducks out of sight into Justin’s bedroom, where he throws up on the floor from food poisoning and collapses once again from hypothermia. Justin drags him back into the hospital again, feeds him some painkillers, and goes to sleep in his bed, exhausted.
Over the course of the night, things improved. Tom’s rage came to an end, Takeru returned from the outside no worse for wear, the temperature in the base stabilized and Martin was tended to. Catharsis brought stability to the group again. By midday, the temperature was back up to +12. The blood and vomit was cleaned up, and Red was buried.
No food left. The commotion of the last few days of fall prevented any food gathering from taking place, and with winter setting in, all of the scavengables from the forest were frozen and killed. Some cargo pods crashed in the area containing nutrient paste, which was quickly consumed. Two cows were spotted in the area which were quickly hunted down for meat, but that lasted only a few days. Budd got food poisioning, and was moved from his bedroom where he had been for 2 seasons into the hospital for treatment. Takeru had enough downtime to produce two pieces of artwork.
On this piece is a portrayal of Tom stumbling forward with a psychotic look on his face because of the stress. His eyes are dead pools of madness. The subjects are in front of a valley. The work is infused with the idea of steadiness and is done in a modern style.
On this carving is a portrayal of Butler becoming madly, violently insane because of the stress. She is shaking with ungovernable rage. The image seems to express honesty. The whole image is depicted by the careful arrangement of hundreds of tiny komodos.
A call came through on the radio. Butler’s brother Calvin was being chased by pirates and needed help. Naturally, the colony agreed to assist, not knowing that this was the call that would be their undoing.
The colonists took their familiar positions behind the sandbags as the pirates emerged from the forest. Takeru, Martin, Tom, Badluck, Butler, and Justin, now joined by Calvin wielding a pistol. Seven pirates emerged from the woods, but one of them was carrying a weapon the colony wasn’t ready for – known as the Doomsday Rocket Launcher.
Only a few gunshots were exchanged between the groups before the superweapon was fired. What happened next happened very quickly. The rocket soared across the battlefield and struck the entrance of the base. The explosion was enormous. The entire front wall of the base was blown apart. Calvin had both legs blown off and fell to the ground unconscious, and everyone else was seriously injured but not fully incapacitated. The remaining automated turret was damaged and began spewing sparks in all directions. The majority of the crops were set ablaze, as were the solar panels and fridge equipment.
After a few moments, the turret explodes, killing Badluck by blowing his torso to pieces. Butler was slightly further away and was knocked out by the blast.
Justin moved towards Butler to rescue her, as Takeru dropped in a heap from a gunshot to the neck. Tom and Martin fall back for better cover – Tom into the workshop inside the base and Martin behind the solar panel. Justin grabs Butler and is dragging her inside when he is shot through the heart and killed.
Martin takes a bullet to the face and falls down in shock. At this point, fire is everywhere. The pirates decide they’re going to kidnap who they can and leave. A pirate approaches and grabs Butler and begins to make off with her. Tom continues shooting from behind the stonecutting table, but hits Butler and kills her with a stray shot. Another pirate, carrying Takeru, drops him near the blaze and runs. A third pirate is carrying Martin away. Tom made his decision in the blink of an eye. He drops his gun, runs through the blazing fire at open wall of the base, grabbing a dropped LMG as he goes.
He rushes forward into the middle of the inferno, his battle cry drowned out by the deafening gunfire from his machine gun as he cuts down the pirate carrying Martin in a hail of bullets. He turns to the next pirate just in time to see the muzzle flash – Tom is shot through the forehead and killed.
Martin and Takeru lay on the ground. Takeru clutched his throat as blood seeped out from between his fingers. He watched as Martin reached up, feeling the part of his head where his face used to be. He watched Martin’s breathing sputter and stop as his lungs filled with blood. He watched the inferno grow, consuming the bodies of the dead and the colony they all had worked so hard to build. He watched until his eyes had grown too heavy to keep open, so he closed them, and he too was consumed in the fire.
A gentle snow began to fall.
Budd lay in his hospital bed. He had heard the explosions, the gunfire, and the screams, but was helpless to do anything. A few hours after everything had gone quiet, the lights began to dim. Everything around him faded into complete darkness as the last of the emergency battery power ran out.
There he remained, unable to move. His only measurement of time passing was the growing sense of hunger in his stomach. After a day, it was clear nobody was coming back for him.
Another day passed. He saw nothing, he heard nothing, he felt nothing. Except the hunger. On the third day, it was finally over. Everyone was dead.