Rimworld: The Great Elk Massacre of 2021

(This is part of my journey going playing through 2016’s Rimworld. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

So let’s talk about my colony as it stands in mid-summer of the first year. Starting from the top down, I have five fields growing food and one growing cotton in rich soil, hopefully coming to harvest before the cold sets in. For power, I’ve got a wind turbine and a second one in the making, but no batteries or solar panels yet. There’s a large store room for misc. supplies, and a freezer for food. Then under that is the single common room/bedroom with beds, a table, and the research bench, and finally at the bottom is a jail cell.

I’ve got a lot of goals that I want to accomplish by the end of the first year, such as getting batteries to even out power demands (don’t want heaters turning off in the winter!), making cold weather clothing, and hunting all the animals I can find before they migrate away. I’m also hoping to carve out the interior of the hill here to put in different bedrooms.

One cool Rimworld trick I learned a while back is that the nutrient hopper is one of the best additions to your colony for food. It takes any food source and makes meals for people without needing a cook, which frees up a person and cooking space. Yes, there’s a small hit to morale (people don’t like eating nutrient slime all the time), but it’s worth it for the convenience and additional colonist.

Weirdly enough, I discovered in this playthrough that I can’t recruit the “wild man” I arrested — but I can try to tame him. Like an animal. DON’T LOOK AT ME THAT WAY.

Alas, Hoffman isn’t doing that well after being savaged by a rabbit. The infection is burning hot, and while Lozano tries to tend to her, his doctor skill is only 1 and her immunity isn’t rising fast enough to help out. I’m really worried that she’s going to end up in an early grave, which will be a huge setback to my small colony.

And sure enough, on Jugust 7th, Hoffman perishes. If I had a medical facility and a proper doctor, I could’ve tried to amputate the foot as well. As it stands, we’ll just need to make do with two colonists for now. The only upshot of that is less food needed.

Lozano buries her a distance away and then has a light snack. Weird guy, that Lozano.

To kick me while I’m down, immediately after Hoffman dies the colony gets raided. Normally, this isn’t a huge deal in the early game, especially since it’s just one chubby guy with a club versus my expert brawler and another guy with a rifle. But no, the raider absolutely thrashes both of my guys — and, to top it all, the wild man escapes his jail cell.

So is this the end of my very short colony? Well, there is hope:

This is an interesting event that sometimes happens when all your colonists are downed. The game’ll send you a bonus free colonist to come in, help defend, and hopefully help get your colonists to safety. My man in black is Gallagher, a kind guy who rushes in from the west.

At the same time, the raider attempts to kidnap an unconscious Lozano. I tell Gallagher to attack the raider, but he’s too far away and the raider is clearly going to win this race. At least, until the raider collapses from blood loss and drops Lozano to the ground before finally dying. Hooray!

As Gallagher tries to rescue both colonists and get them to their beds, the game decides I need another challenge. Oh hey, now my corn crop has the blight, which spoils the food and spreads quickly if I don’t cut down the harvest right now. You know, with my zero free people.

Long story short, we squeak through this crisis. Lozano and Wallis are patched up, Gallagher cuts all the infected crops, and the colony starts functioning once more. A day later, my first rice crop comes in, and that’s great news — it’ll feed people for a while and won’t spoil if power to the freezer cuts out.

Hunting many types of animals, especially in the northern climes of Rimworld, is a risky proposition. I really need the fur and meat, but there’s always a chance that the hunted animals will try to get revenge. Gallagher finds this out firsthand as a herd of elk team up on him after he plugs a few of their own.

The angry elk herd doesn’t stop there, but starts gunning for the other colonists. Poor Lozano, who’s already had a hard week with the death of his friend, getting pummeled by a raider, and then kidnapped, finds himself on the receiving end of a whole lot of unforgiving hooves.

Wallis then finds herself under siege in the base by elk. At least they can’t get in the door, so she’s safe… but the other two are dying unless she can get to them.

Gallagher dies from blood loss, but Lozano — bless his heart — wakes up and staggers to his new friend’s corpse. He grabs some food and tries to make it home. The elk… the elk have other plans. Lozano gets ambushed feet away from the door — but maybe that’s close enough for Willis to grab him. We’ve got to try!

Oh no! Now the elk are in the base! Repeat, the elk are in the base! Oh the humanity!

The elk take down Wallis — not a death-threatening move, but definitely inconvenient — and then get trapped in the freezer with them. Finally, after a lot of braying, the elk batter down a door and escape, leaving my guys writhing in the ground in agony.

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