Corpses are obtained whenever something dies. They reflect what they had in life; missing limbs will affect a corpse's yield.
Certain means of death may destroy the corpse, or deal so much damage that there is nothing left to see.
All corpses will deteriorate when left outside. In addition, all corpses have a Missing Body Parts value, separate from the deterioration mechanic.
The corpses of organic life (e.g. non-mechanoids) can be used for food. When eaten directly, corpses will gain Missing Body Parts until there is nothing left, at which point the corpse will disappear entirely. Animals don't mind, but colonists will receive the −12 Ate corpse moodlet and have a flat 5% of food poisoning when directly eating corpses. Eating human corpses will also impose the −20 Raw cannibalism on non cannibal pawns, or a mood buff of varying intensity for pawns with the Cannibal trait or a pro-Cannibalism ideoligion. Corpses can instead be butchered, which is a more efficient way of gaining food.
Colonists who see a human corpse will receive negative thoughts, which are worse if the corpse is rotten. Colonists with the Cannibal or Psychopath trait don't mind fresh corpses. Those with Bloodlust are completely immune, as well as those following an Ideoligion with the "Corpses: Don't Care" precept.
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Organic corpses will rot after 2.2 days, the same as meat, if left above freezing temperature, 0 °C (32 °F). Refrigeration at temperatures between 1 °C – 9 °C (33.8 °F – 48.2 °F) slows rot time as it does with food. For a full description of the relationship between temperature and rot time, see Temperature.
Animals with scaria have a chance to rot immediately on death dependent on the Scaria rot chance AI Storyteller settings, and pawns with toxic buildup will have a chance to rot immediately equal to the severity of buildup.
Rotten corpses have the same texture as normal corpses, but with a red tint.
Rotten corpses cannot be eaten or butchered. Rotten organic corpses will produce corpse bile, which is dirty and ugly to look. In addition, a rotting corpse emits rot gas clouds. Standing in rot gas for too long can inflict lung rot.
Eventually, a rotting corpse will desiccate. The corpse will become a skeleton, stop producing corpse bile or rot stink, and is no longer is a valid target for a resurrector mech serum.
Butchering & shredding
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Organic corpses without rot can be butchered at a butcher spot or the superior butcher table for meat and leather, which can be processed further. Mechanoid corpses can instead be smashed at a crafting spot or shredded at a machining table to produces steel and plasteel.
How much yield is determined on a variety of factors including:
- The base Meat Amount and Leather Amount of the animal, which also varies with maturity. For mechanoids, yield is dependent on their type.
- The butchery efficiency of the cook butchering, or Mechanoid Shredding Efficiency of the shredder
- A 66% multiplier for "damaged" organic corpses i.e. any animal not cleanly slaughtered either through taming or injury-less downing followed by hunting execution.
- A percentage multiplier for lost body parts.
- A 70% multiplier if using a butcher spot or crafting spot instead of a table.
Butchering organic corpses requires 450 ticks (7.5 secs) of work, modified by the butchery speed of the cook and up to two nearby tool cabinets. Shredding mechanoids requires 300 ticks (5 secs) of work from a table, or 450 ticks (7.5 secs) from a crafting spot.
When butchering human corpses, most butchers will get a -6 I butchered humanlike moodlet, and all colonists in the map get a -6 We butchered humanlike moodlet. Colonists with the Cannibal, Psychopath, or Bloodlust traits are immune, as does an Ideoligion that finds Cannibalism acceptable. For the latter penalty, it doesn't matter how many corpses you've butchered, it will remain at -6. There is no further penalty for working with human resources until actually eaten or worn.
The following methods can dispose of corpses:
Butchering & feeding
Butchering is the most useful use of non-rotten animal and mechanoid corpses, giving you usable materials. See #Butchering & Shredding above for details.
But as butchering human corpses incurs a mood penalty, you may want to feed corpses directly to your carnivorous and omnivorous animals. This takes no work beyond hauling, though is less nutritious than butchering. Corpses and their meat will rot over time, so it is recommended to use a cooler if you want to preserve their food.
Molotov cocktails or incendiary launchers will create fire. Place a pile of corpses in a fireproof room (such as using stone for walls and floors) and light it on fire. The process requires a pawn to be drafted, move to the place in question, and fire a single shot. Make extra sure that the room is fireproof, as a large fire can destroy many buildings. This is often the best, least time-consuming way to dispose of human and rotten corpses.
Alternatively, you can use frag grenades, which can destroy most items. As multiple grenades are needed per corpse, and as the explosion is rather small, they use more time. However, you don't have to mess with fire. Grenades can also destroy walls, so give a little space when throwing them.
Mechanoid corpses are immune to fire (but not frag grenades), but don't rot and can always be shredded into useful ingredients.
Corpses can be buried in a grave or sarcophagus, where the corpse is hauled to its location. Graves are much better for general disposal, costing no resources and 800 ticks (13.33 secs) of work to make. Sarcophagi are more beautiful, so are useful if placed inside.
They can be useful for preserving corpse in a freezer, preventing both rot and overzealous cooks from destroying them. This helps if you're waiting for a resurrector mech serum to revive the corpse in question. Up to 5 buried coprses can be used for meditation of the Morbid type. They will also improve the Funeral ritual. Finally, either building acts as solitary recreation. However, this type of recreation is available even without burying, and colonists may visit graves that are far away.
Having a buried human allows the Corpse Obsession mental break to occur. Everybody who sees the corpse will receive the normal Saw (Rotten) Corpse penalty, but this is one of the least immediately harmful of the major breaks.
The main problem with burying is space - large raids can quickly consume a lot of time and area. And as you need to go further away, the longer it takes to bury. It is recommended to swap to another form of corpse disposal, once available, for your enemies.
If a way to start fire manually is available, then it is typically more efficient. Cremation is automatically done by haulers, so is largely for convenience's sake, or if fire isn't available. Cremation is also marginally better for dealing with rotten corpses, as rotten corpses do not accumulate in a single area.