Ideology Min-Maxing

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This is a guide purely about the gameplay aspects of the ideoligion system. You can play with ideologies however you want, from nudist cannibals to tunnelers deep underground. It is not necessary to min-max in order to enjoy the game. In order to get the most out of the Ideology expansion, it is recommended to not follow this guide unless you are doing some sort of difficult challenge run. Updated to 1.4.3555 (Feb. 2023).

With that being said, there are two notes about the scope of this guide:

  1. This guide is focused around Losing is Fun and 500% threat Losing is Fun. This primarily means that combat, and things that help combat, are given much more importance. (For the sake of sanity, wealth and wealth management are largely ignored)
  2. Even in a min-max standpoint, there are many different viable memes and meme choices.

Structures (Ideological, Abstract theist, etc.) and cultures (Astropolitan, Corunan, etc.) do not matter. While the former can give access to rituals and styles, none are optimal.

Fluid vs Static Ideology[edit]

Pick fluid if you don't need specific memes immediately. Pick static if you do.

Fluid has the advantage of adapting to a playthrough. You can settle in a mountain tile, live outside for a while, mine out a base, and then swap to Tunneler. If you've stopped using melee once you've built a killbox, then you can create a Ranged weapon preference. Static has the advantage of starting with whatever memes you want in the early game. In particular, Pain is Virtue. Meanwhile, other memes, like the aforementioned Tunneler, can make starting out a bit harder.

Fluid has a massive advantage if a sun blockerContent added by the Royalty DLC is ever deployed against you. You can take Combat in Darkness for a huge accuracy buff, and either feed yourself with nutrifungus or sun lamps.

With a fluid ideology, you can delete all your rituals and create 6 new ones every time you reform the ideoligion. With Execution: Respected if Guilty, each guilty prisoner executed (just select "Execute" in the Prisoner tab) is +1 development point. Therefore, the first few reformations can be done relatively quickly.

The Big Two (memes)[edit]

There are two "main" memes that are generally useful to just about any playthrough. These two have large, mostly irreplaceable perks, and their downsides are easily mitigated or nonexistent.


Supremacist.png Supremacist offers 2 main benefits: Corpses: Don't Care, and the Shooting Specialist / Melee Specialist.

The ability to ignore corpses is a pretty valuable mood buff. Seeing corpses is an inevitability, and can really hurt mood during extended periods of combat. Helpful for cannibalism, too. Pain is Virtue, Cannibal, and Raider are the other memes with access to this precept.

Only Supremacist and Raider have access to either combat specialist. Shooting Specialist has all the benefit from trigger-happy, with greater accuracy than careful shooter, with neither trait's downsides - while stacking with the traits themselves. Marksman command gives all other colonists a substantial reduction in aiming and boost to accuracy. Melee Specialist gives an effective +8 Melee skill, boosted to +16 melee skill and 0.1x pain while under berserk trance.

Even though both combat roles remove the ability for most skilled labor, they can still: clean & haul, tame animals, make art, and research. If you've ever had a dedicated researcher, then they could become a shooter. Most of the time, shooting specialist is preferred over melee:

  1. The bonuses to Melee Hit and Dodge Chance have diminishing returns as skill increases, reducing its usefulness in the mid and late game, while an Aiming time reduction is always excellent.
  2. Marksman command affects everybody in range, while berserk trance is a self buff. Having 3 Shooting Specialists can provide the marksman command buff to your entire colony all day, every day.

The only major downside of Supremacist is the -50 goodwill penalty for most factions. However, goodwill can always be bought with money. You can easily create allies by dropping human leather and flake using a transport pod. While Raider gives the same precept choices and roles, both Raiding precepts give a penalty to Global Work Speed, and force you spend time outside your base actually raiding. (Also, you can add the raiding precepts to supremacist and they'd be identical).

If combat isn't an issue to your colony, then Supremacist loses a lot of its appeal.

Human Primacy[edit]

Human primacy.png Human Primacy gives exclusive access to Production Specialist. The only big negative is that you can't restrict yourself (and animal bonding).

Production Specialist gives +1 quality to every crafted item, constructed building, and art piece (despite Art not being mentioned in the description). Highly skilled specialists have a very high chance to create Masterwork gear - 27% at skill 14, 50% at skill 20. Production Specialist is the only way to get Legendary items without inspired creativity. With the inspiration and high skill, you are almost guaranteed to make a legendary item.

To put this into perspective:

  • Better weapons - Become that much stronger in combat. Masterwork and Legendary weapons offer large bonuses to DPS, even when compared to Excellent.
  • Better armor and clothing - All colonists protected better, both from damage and the elements. Apparel items last longer before becoming tattered.
  • Better beds - Sleep less. More comfortable throughout the day, happier throughout the day.
  • Better poker table + billiards table - Colonists need to recreate for less time.

The benefits of quality, especially at the highest levels, are of great benefit to every colony. Production specialists are also +50% faster at crafting, from any of the items listed above, to drug synthesis, to menial "Crafting" tasks like stonecutting and smelting.

Even though this role prevents dumb labor and most other tasks, they can still do a lot of work, like stonecutting. Higher quality dusters, sculptures, and armchairs, and faster drugs, are all great ways of making money when needed. At the very least, you can have them sit at a research bench all day. Higher quality for just about every item is worth 1-2 colonists being unable to do dumb labor.

Human Primacy prevents animal bonding, the only debatable negative of this meme (loss of +5 mood for bonded pets). However, no bonding also means that your colonists won't become upset whenever a bonded animal dies. This can be a positive when raising combat pets, who, through training or tending, are more likely to attach to a colonist and eventually die.

Notable memes[edit]

Pain is virtue[edit]

Pain is virtue.png

Pain is virtue offers 2 main benefits:

  • Pain: Idealized. Injuries are normally unpleasant. A mood buff instead makes it much harder for your pawns to break down during or after combat.
  • Rough living. No penalty for Ate without Table or Slept on the Ground, making it much easier to handle early game mood. No need for armchairs. No penalty for slept in heat/cold, which normally apply regardless of clothing.

In addition, you get access to skullspikes and Corpses: Don't Care, if you didn't get them from supremacist.

At 2 main downsides:

  • Scarification. Each scar increases pain by +4%, reducing a pawn's "health" before Pain Shock. Extreme scarification causes enough pain to reduce Consciousness by -4%, reducing just about everything a colonist can do. The Scarification ritual also takes a ritual slot. This ritual can only be done if a colonist is not scarified enough.
  • No comfort. No +10 mood for luxuriantly comfortable. The +2 mood from slab beds helps, but doesn't make up once you can afford to make colonists comfortable.

Overall, this meme is very strong, if only for idealized pain. A colony can quickly descend to madness (i.e., the "death spiral") when colonists are injured and moody while the base is destroyed - something that raids tend to do. Even with the best killboxes, an inopportune drop pod can cause serious damage. Rough living is also great in the early game. Meanwhile, minor scarification only gives +4% pain, and gives no Consciousness debuff. Use Scarification: Minor unless you want to challenge yourself. Note that Guilty also gives Pain: Idealized, but is incompatible with supremacist.

Minor scarification gives a net +4 mood (+3 from mild pain, +1 for scars themselves). More scars give more mood, though at the aforementioned Consciousness penalty. Combined with the +2 slab bed moodlet, and you get +6 mood all day, as opposed to a maximum of +10 Luxuriantly comfortable that decays when not sitting/sleeping. Before you have access to end tables/dressers, good regular beds, and armchairs, this meme is a net positive.


Tunneler.pngTunneler is a no-brainer for mountain bases. In general, living in a mountain is incredibly powerful.

The overhead mountain roof completely blocks both mortar shells and drop pods from entering - negating 2 of the biggest raid threats (sieges and center drop pods). This comes at the cost of infestations... but an infestation is often less dangerous than a drop pod raid with doomsday rocket launchers.

In specific, Tunneler gives all pawns the Indoors need, meaning it's amazing when settling on a mountain tile, but a weaker choice outside of one. They enjoy nutrifungus, which can be grown indoors, in temperature-controlled rooms, without the need for a sun lamp. Tunnelers can create fungal gravel, allowing them to grow said fungus under the mountain without a hassle. Finally, they don't mind cramped spaces.

Tunnelers dislike being outdoors and dislike any crop other than nutrifungus. This makes the early game somewhat harder, as it takes a while to really mine under the mountain. With a fluid ideology, you can start by living in a mountain tile, but outside the mountain. Once you've settled and gain enough development points, you can add this meme, and live happily inside. Fluid ideoligions can also add Mining Specialist, use them to dig out a large base, then switch to another specialist afterwards.

High life[edit]

High life.pngHigh life forces drugs to be essential. This can be easily mitigated, and this meme gives access to some possibly useful perks.

Beer is a great way to satisfy the drug itch - it is considered a drug like any other. An adult can drink 1 beer per day without ever getting addicted. In addition to the mood & recreation from the beer itself, High Life gives a +3 moodlet for 0.75 days while avoiding the penalty for not using drugs. With only 1 drink, beer only gives -2% Manipulation. A beer a day can be combined with psychite tea every 2 days; tea decreases how much colonists need to rest for no statistical penalty.

  • Safe dose intervals listed only apply for adults. People under 18 will need longer intervals. (If using the Biotech DLC, you can see relevant intervals for any age if you highlight over the "Safe Dose Interval for Adults" stat in the drug's info screen)

In addition to the drug requirement, you also get significant bonuses to drug synthesis speed, drug plant harvest yield, and drug sell price, as well as Plants Specialist. If you need or want to make money, then high life is one of the best memes for that.

The other big positive is the autobong. You can create autobong traps, giving every organic raider that passes through -30% Consciousness and a further -10% Moving.

Great synergy with the drug dependency genes.Content added by the Biotech DLC


Transhumanist.png Transhumanist is resource-, power-, and time- heavy, but does come with pretty large benefits. Powerful in the late game, and viable to take as an entire-game ideoligion.

Gives access to the sleep accelerator and neural supercharger, increases biosculpter pod speed, removes penalty for the nutrient paste dispenser, and gives mood buffs for artificial parts. Also gives research specialist. However, neural superchargers will eventually be demanded, with both accelerators and superchargers consuming lots of power and resources. Eventually, age reversal will also be demanded - every colonist will want to spend an absolute minimum of 2.61 days a year in the biosculpter. With access to Anomaly content, the Chronophagy Ritual also satisfies the requirement, though there is no mood buff, and a mood malus is inflicted for performing the ritual.

Transhumanist demands for the neural supercharger and artificial body parts start at moderate expectations (80,000 colony wealth). Demand for age reversal starts at high expectations (180,000 colony wealth). Note that, like with body modder, installing a denture is an easy implant for any pawn who isn't doing Social or Animal Taming work.


Inhuman.png While its flagship Inhumanization precept can be taken by any ideoligion, Inhuman still presents an interesting package.

The Inhumanization precept itself is extremely powerful. It eliminates mood swings from social factors such as unhappy children or deaths in a pawn's family, prevents all sorts of social fight-inducing rivalries, allows use of tainted apparel and mutated body parts without penalty, makes temperature management a non-issue in all but the most extreme biomes, gives strong pain resistance, eliminates beauty and outdoor needs, and gives a massive +8 mood bonus at all times.

Downsides are low-impact. While social-related mood boosts such as happy children are disabled, the elimination of associated penalties more than makes up for it by reducing the potential for serious crises to spiral out of control. The same applies to neutralizing beauty and outdoor moodlets – avoiding penalties from seeing blood splatters (or hiding undeground) during a crisis is more useful than getting a bonus from relaxing in a nice forest or art gallery on a peaceful day. Inhumanization also applies a -12 aptitude adjustment to Animals, Artistic, and Social, but this is easy to play around since pen animal farms are lucrative even with 0-skill handlers, an unskilled Production Specialist can still mass-produce sculptures quite profitably (with occasional high-quality works possible with psycast inspirations), and inhumanized colonists are so unlikely to break that Arrest Success Chance loses most of its relevance.

For many colonies, inhumanization would be a net positive even without the constant +8 moodlet. The presence of the latter elevates it to an extremely powerful precept that should be considered for every playthrough.

There remains the question of whether to take just the inhumanization precept, or the whole Inhuman meme. The latter option grants access to Corpses: Don't Care and Eating Nutrient Paste: Don't Mind, which normally require Pain is Virtue or Supremacist and Transhumanist respectively, all good memes but not necessarily present in any given playthrough. The only real drawback of the Inhuman meme itself is that Execution must be set to Respected if Guilty, whereas fluid ideoligions might prefer Required for easier development point generation.

Other memes[edit]

A lot of the other memes are low impact, or don't add much that you couldn't add with precepts, or are meant for challenges. This list assumes you adjust precepts as well.

Generally good, low impact:
Good filler precepts.

  • Collectivist: Work Drive: Tripled means that the "work drive" leader ability lasts for 9 days, 3x the time. Useful, but note that using work drive also means not having Combat Command or Leader Speech during the cooldown.
  • Proselytizer: Makes it easier to convert others to your ideoligion, especially important if you start with only 1 colonist. Each conversion attempt upsets the pawn in question, but with many ideoligions, they'd be more upset not being converted.

Good with notable downsides:
Has some benefit... with some downside. Some memes have bigger downsides than others.

  • Blindsight: Blind means you are less effective at both work and combat. But with only Blinding: Respected, there are no mood penalties for being sighted, just a -8 opinion. There is a large catch - if you take Blindsight, many starting colonists / ritual-induced wanderers will be fully blind.
    • Most of the benefit comes with the Royalty DLC: the blinding ritual can turn bionic eyes into psycast levels, and being blind will increase psychic sensitivity by a net of +80%.Content added by the Royalty DLC
  • Cannibal: Can be extremely good if you need to rely on cannibalism, such as in the sea ice biome. Relatively better as difficulty increases, because raids are bigger (i.e., more food). However, there's a mood hit if you don't eat human meat for a while.
  • Guilty: Gives access to Pain: Idealized without the full costs of pain is virtue. Charity: Worthwhile only gives -2 mood for not helping quests (but -6 if "travelers betrayed", even if not by you). Guilty is incompatible with supremacist.
  • Individualist: Gives access to Diversity of Thought precepts, making it easier to have a multi-ideoligion colony. This allows you to have multiple types of specialist, and lots of different rituals, all with separate cooldowns. Incompatible with supremacist.
    • A single ideoligion can receive the full benefit of player customization. For example, most ideoligions would suffer in a Tunneler colony, meaning it's better for the colony to convert them... losing the benefit of diversity of thought. In addition, many factions have forced precepts - pirate ideologies always have Raider, for instance, which is a negative if you don't want to raid.

Not required for their precepts:
Most (if not all) of the benefit of these ideoligions can be replicated by just adding their precepts to another ideoligion.

  • Inhuman: Taking just the Inhumanization precept is a very strong option, but the whole meme is still worth considering. See #Inhuman.
  • Darkness: Combat in Darkness and Darklight Preferred can be obtained by any ideoligion - the only benefits from the meme are Mining Specialist and +5 mood for seeing an eclipse. Darkness can be very powerful in the right conditions, but you don't need the meme. See #Precepts for details.
  • Female Supremacy / Male Supremacy: Just an opinion buff/malus for genders. Generally a colony won't be all female or all male.
  • Loyalist: Loyalist doesn't add anything of note, except for the symbol burning ritual, and gives -10 goodwill with every faction. Incompatible with supremacist.
  • Nature Primacy: While nature primacy's associated precepts all restrict your options (with 0 upside), you don't actually need to keep any nature-preserving precept. Therefore, a min-maxed nature primacy just gives you Plants Specialist. Incompatible with human primacy.
  • Nudist: No armor means that pawns are liable to severe injury and death. (Plus, you can require nudism without the meme)
  • Bloodfeeding:Content added by the Biotech DLC You can obtain all the bloodfeeding related precepts, including Bloodfeeders: Revered, with a base ideoligion. The only benefit is that starting with Bloodfeeders gives access to the Deathrest research immediately. This also means that Tribal starts with this meme will begin with Electricity.

Themed run:
Clear negatives that make it hard to recommend these memes for general purpose.

  • Animal Personhood: Increased tamed chance and animal specialist can be good if you rely on combat animals. However, you lose out on meat eating and hunting.
  • Flesh purity: Lost body parts are inevitable: -18 mood for any artificial part is incredibly rough. Absolutely no drugs removes your options with no compensation. Flesh purity gives access to Medical Specialist, but medical is the least required skill. A mid-game colony with regular medicine doesn't need a specialist to handle diseases, reach max surgery success, or tend to injuries. The specialist does give increased tend speed, and a mood buff for being tended. While this is a positive, it is limited in application.
  • Raider: Raiding precepts give a -8% / -16% to global work speed, making colonists less effective at almost everything. Raiding can give a strong mood buff, but gives a strong mood penalty if you can't raid. Plus, each raid will force colonists out of your colony for a few days. As mentioned, supremacist gives access to everything raider has.
  • Rancher: Mood hit for sowing non-hay plants (min: Low expectations), but makes it easier to tame animals, and gives access to Animals Specialist. Plants are more consistent than animals
  • Tree Connection: Wood is valuable at many stages of the game, and cutting down trees is often the easiest way to get wood. If/when you don't need to cut down trees, then the Amazing Tree and lots of trees mood buffs can be a net positive. Gauranlen tree connection is notable, but pruning still takes lots of time away from colonists. It is rarely worth it because it is so much time. Possibly good with Fluid Ideology once you are wood independent.


Of the precepts that are not exclusive to memes...

Precepts present in (and adjustable in) the base ideoligion:

Precept Reason
Respected if Guilty
Superior to Execution: Don't Care; gain mood for guilty execution with no downside. In addition, prisoner execution is one of the easiest ways for fluid ideoligions to gain development points (you don't need to do the execution ritual, just select execute on the prisoner tab).

Execution: Required just gives +3 mood for 2 days for any execution, but gives -3 if you don't execute anyone in 30 days.

Diversity of Thought:
Higher levels of bigotry give an increasing mood buff. Intense bigotry is a free +3 mood at the start of the game, with another +5 for being near a 2x2 table or anything else with a style. However, you are forced to convert everybody you want to recruit. Bigotry is relatively better at the start of the game, and also good with some of the more exotic ideoligions - cannibals won't be very compatible with everybody else, for instance.

Neutral / appreciated diversity gives you more leeway before conversion. Multiple ideoligions gives access to many different rituals, and possibly different specialists, too.

Cannibalism: Acceptable (or higher) Not allowing cannibalism reduces your options with no benefit. Human leather is quite valuable, while human meat can be used for chemfuel, fine meals, etc.

Cannibalism: Preferred only gives a -2 mood penalty after not cannibalizing for a certain amount of time. Both Required precepts mean having to eat human meat every day, which requires enough human meat, to eat every day. If you have large enough raids, then the stronger cannibal precepts are easier to use.

Slavery: Acceptable
(possibly Honorable)
Not allowing slavery reduces your options with no benefit. Even if you don't use slaves proper, it gives a negative moodlet for selling prisoners (to the empireContent added by the Royalty DLC; organ harvesting is just better for profit).

Slavery itself is not very appealing - the lowered Global Work Speed, the inability to hold a weapon without increasing rebellion by 4x, slave rebellion in general, and high relative raid points, makes Slavery: Honorable's requirement sub-optimal. In the late game, it is possible to keep slaves with their legs cut off solely for the purposes of a +10 mood buff.

Male Spouses: (Any) As female spouses.

Polygamy means better mood for every relationship a pawn has, and less rebuffs overall, but rapid penalties if and when anyone dies. Allowing the entire colony to gain +20 for each wedding is a plus, but only 2 pawns can share a double bed at a time.

Female Spouses: (Any) As male spouses.

Polygamy means better mood for every relationship a pawn has, and less rebuffs overall, but rapid penalties if and when anyone dies. Allowing the entire colony to gain +20 for each wedding is a plus, but only 2 pawns can share a double bed at a time.

The following precepts allow for more options or greater stats, at 0 downside or opportunity cost:

Optional precepts:

Precept Reason
Apostasy: Abhorrent Makes it harder to convert away from your ideoligion. Presumably you want to play with your ideoligion, right?
Combat in Darkness:
Darklight Preferred:

Take if in darkness
Both precepts can be incredibly good in the right setup. Combat is a very large accuracy buff. The +25% shooting accuracy is added (not multiplied) after all other accuracy factors are met, turning a "true" 28% shot to a 53% shot, and so on. Darklight is +4 mood with a darklight, while negating work/movement/mood penalties in regular darkness. Tunneler ideoligions can live underground and in darklight indefinitely. However, in the light, you will be less accurate and have a mood debuff.

Incredibly powerful with a fluid ideology and sun blocker.Content added by the Royalty DLC Sunblockers will create complete darkness, and off-map sun blockers will persist until you actively go out and destroy it. Add both precepts to your fluid ideology, and you can take full advantage of the darkness. Nutrifungus' -3 moodlet can be taken for +4 for preferred darklight and the massive accuracy buff. Alternatively, a sun lamp can grow regular crops. Tunnelers actively enjoy eating fungus.

N.B. For the combat precept: if the sun is out and the area is considered "outside", then it does count as "lit" for combat, no matter how bright/dark the area is. Darklights are counted as "dark" for combat purposes. Finally, the combat precept only checks if the target is in light, and not the shooter.

Body Modification: None or Approved Both negative body modification precepts restrict your options with no benefit.

For Modification: Approved - like with the body modder trait, you can install a denture on any non-Social pawn at very little downside, to avoid the no part penalty. You will still need medicine and a decent surgeon to do so, however. This precept only applies from Moderate expectations or higher.

Trees: No Precept
Desired (late-game)
Wood is usually a very useful resource, and cutting down trees is the best way to do so.

Trees: Desired could see use in a late game, fluid ideoligion, where you simply don't need wood anymore.

Raiding: No Precept Raiding is difficult, going out to raid is difficult, hauling stuff from camps takes quite a few pack animals. This is before considering the -8% / -16% Global Work Speed.

Precept Reason
Growth Vats: No PreceptContent added by the Biotech DLC
The usual strategy is to growth vat from embryo to 3 years, then (optionally) from 13 to 18. Naturally raising children from 3-13 results in very powerful pawns, and the growth vat speeds everything else up.

Vats: Essential only applies when a child can believe in the ideoligion, e.g., when they are 3 or older. Thus, this precept demands full vat growth - children grown this way have 0 passions, few skills, and 3 random traits. Faster kid growth speed could be useful late game, as the power of xenogerm editing makes up for reduced pawn quality.

Vats: Prohibited makes children grow slower - 45 days slower for the entire embryo to 3 process - for a +1 mood buff just to the parent.

Child Labor: EncouragedContent added by the Biotech DLC Both child labor precepts only check if the child is scheduled to work/recreation in the Schedule tab. A regular child set to anything will default to Recreation (Learning), then do whatever work they are assigned. With Child Labor: Encouraged, children work, then do recreation. In both cases, children can work/learn after they're done, without triggering the negatives of the precept.

Child Labor: Disapproved is a worse precept due to the increase in Learning. Children will gain skill XP while Lesson Learning or Work Watching, but will immediately stop either task once Learning is at 100%. Increasing Learning rate decreases skill XP.

As children can easily learn to maximum Growth Tier without a precept boosting it, Child Labor: Encouraged is better than none, due to the increase in work speed. This precept may require some micromanagement in order to reach max growth.

Bloodfeeders: (Any)Content added by the Biotech DLC Bloodfeeders: Revered is great if you start with a bloodfeeder.

Otherwise, Sanguophage quests can take a long while to appear. If you plan to just use bloodfeeders for their 6 organs, then Reviled gives another +5 moodlet for doing so. However, Sanguophage implantations can be incredibly useful, preventing death while curing scars / health problems a la luciferium, at the cost of keeping a few legless prisoners fed. No precept is a useful middle ground.

Mechanoid labor: ?Content added by the Biotech DLC With a solo mechanitor, this precept is (eventually) a no brainer. However, there are a few tasks, like smithing gear, deep drilling, or research, that are colony-limiting, and that mechs cannot do for you. Even in a mechanitor playthrough, you'll need a way to get steel / plasteel / components early game, and tunnelers are only unlocked after defeating a diabolus.

Note: Because almost every mech starts with only 50% Global Work Speed, adding +20% to raw GWS means that the work boost is actually greater than 20%. On an otherwise unboosted mech, 50% GWS turns into 70% GWS, which is a 40% increase.

Adding the Slaughtering Animals, Autonomous Weapons, Drug Use (except Essential), Cutting Trees, Killing Innocent Animals, Meat Eating (both carnivore and vegetarian), and Mining precepts all restrict you with no upside.


As mentioned in the memes section, Shooting Specialist and Production Specialist are the best combat-related roles. Shooting Specialist is +4 Shooting Skill and -40% Aiming Time for the entire colony through Marksman Command, not to mention all the benefits to the user. Production Specialist is +1 quality on every item they make, including weapons. If you have to pick only one: Production Specialist is better when wealth isn't an issue, or if combat isn't your main focus at all. Shooting Specialist is better for low wealth and when combat is important. For more details, see the #The Big Two (memes) section.

Other specialists can be useful, especially in a Fluid ideoligion, where you can switch specialists as needed. Mining Specialist can be great in a Tunneler colony, then it can be swapped for Shooting Specialist once you have both 1. dug out your base, and 2. got some pawns that can afford to become shooting specialists.

Note that you can have infinitely many specialists in a colony (e.g. multiple shooting specialists at once), but only 2 types of specialist. Also, remove any required apparel for each role - it comes with no benefit.


If Diversity of Thought is neutral or any form of bigoted, then any combination of Techist, Totemic, and Rustic is the optimal style.

  • Techist gives you access to styled autodoors and shelves, being the only style to do so. It also provides hex tile, a research-less, nonflammable fine floorContent added by the Royalty DLC made out of steel, though it shares this advantage with Spikecore.
  • Totemic gives styles to every building that techist does not have a style for. It also gives access to totemic slab (medium), a wood-based way to get style on the floor, and totemic boards, a research-less but flammable fine floorContent added by the Royalty DLC made out of wood.
  • Rustic gives Rustic rug (medium), which is a cloth-based way to get style. Inferior to totemic slabs if wood is available, but still an optimal style to pick.

If Diversity of Thought is Appreciated or Exalted, then give other factions these styles.


Firstly, set all the rituals you can to "Any Time", rather than set date. Any Time rituals have a cooldown of 20 days (and can be done before then, at a quality penalty). Date rituals can only be done once every 60 days.

There are 3 generally viable rituals that you can do any time:

Ritual Quality Consumed Misc
Social festival
  • Leader present
  • Altar / ideogram (variable)
  • Lectern (x50 wall material)
  • Enough ritual seating (any stuff, variable)
None Trains Social
Drum Festival
  • Lit campfire
  • Drums (fabric/leather + wood)
    • 50% of people, rounded up, will play a drum.
    • Only drums being played count.

1 drum mandatory.
Only available if ideo is created as a tribal colony

None May give +20%
Global Work Speed (24h)

Highest mood bonus of any ritual
(tied with Dance Party)

Skylantern festival
  • No buildings
x4 wood / person Attracts visitors

Other rituals:

  • Dance Party is like Drum Festival, tied for highest mood bonuses, but with more expensive equipment, but pawns don't have to actually play a loudspeaker. Drum Festival is usually the preferred option, as it uses cheaper instruments. If not starting as a tribe, you can create your ideoligion with a Tribal start, save it, then load it with your desired scenario.
  • Most rituals that consume items are... costly. Christmas trees cost steel and wood. All the other sacrifice (building) require a set ideoligion. Generally, social festival / drum party can reach similar qualities but don't consume anything.
    • Animal Sacrifice requires Human Primacy, is worse than social festival, but gives a chance for inspirations. Good if you have animals, bad if you don't.
  • Gladiator duel requires 2 prisoners or slaves that can walk, which is constraining in it of itself.
  • Funerals cannot be done at any time.

All rituals receive innate quality based on your colony's expectations, and the amount of people present.


One of the best rewards is Random Recruit. This is an easy way to get colonists, without having to convert them first, and without abiding by the storyteller's "population intent". While the wanderer will be entirely random, if you don't want them, then just kill them. As long as colonists don't see the death, all they'll get is −3 Colonist Died. This is easily counteracted by the ritual. Both violent downing and death will impact your adaptation factor, reducing the size of raids. Banishment also gives -3 mood, but does not cause adaptation, making it inferior.

  • Psyfocus can be good once you get high level psycasters.Content added by the Royalty DLC However, it doesn't help you until then. Good in a fluid ideoligion for those word of inspirations and the like.
  • Faction goodwill can be bought with gifts. But, early game, it can help to call in allies/trade caravans, or to make a faction neutral.
  • Ancient complexes give loot, but you'll have to send colonists to venture out of your colony.
  • The other rewards are locked by memes, and in any case, are either monetary or a gauranlen tree sprout (the time cost of gauranlen pruning makes the tree not really worth it, even when you get pods for free).


Pew and small altar / ideogram tend to be the preferred option. Pews are created with wall materials, so you can create them before cotton plants grow / before you get leather. Small altars are the cheapest altar, costing 50 wood/stone/steel. Ideograms cost 50 steel, but do not take up space.


Personal weapon preferences can change a lot depending on playstyle, difficulty, and base layout, so here are some notes:

  • Ranged / Melee - Ideally take neither, unless you want to add some challenge. Both ranged and melee have a role for the entire game. Either is viable if you do want that challenge, but pro-ranged is a much easier option. In the late game, when you have killboxes and enough firepower, Ranged only is entirely viable.
  • Long shots / Short shots - In a mountain base, Short Shots is clearly preferred. Sieges are nowhere near the same threat level, negating one of the better niches of the Long Shots. Meanwhile, chain shotguns and the like are very useful against infestations. Overall, "Long Shots" only covers 2 weapons. They both are useful, but niche outside of kiting builds.
  • Melee piercer / Melee blunt - It is very easy to rely on one side of melee or the other, unless you get lucky with persona weaponsContent added by the Royalty DLC.
  • Ranged Heavy / Ranged light - The only lategame weapon included in ranged light is the charge rifle. A notable weapon, sure, but there are many heavy weapons you can rely on for the majority of the game.
  • Neolithic / Ultratech - The top tier craftable melee weapons, maces and longswords, are medieval and so you aren't benefited by or penalized for their no matter which you pick. However, there are no ultratech weapons without the Royalty DLC. If you have Royalty, take ultratech unless you're doing a slow tribal start, and even then swap to ultratech if you're using a fluid ideology as every melee pawn should be armed with one by the mid-game. If you don't have Royalty, neolithic helps with a Tribal / Naked Brutality early game and has no other impact.

With fluid ideology, weapon choices become a lot easier. Prefer Neolithic at the start of a Lost Tribe, switch to something else in the lategame. Ranged heavy if you rely on Heavy SMGs, then Ranged light once you can afford charge rifles. You can't change ideologies too much, but it is a lot more flexible.


If you don't have the Royalty DLC, just pick 3 charge rifles. Even with this DLC, charge rifles have their merit.

With Royalty, relics give you the only 100% reliable way to get legendary persona weapons, while legendary charge rifles can be crafted. Persona monoswordsContent added by the Royalty DLC are the best melee weapons in the game for pawns without the Strong Melee Damage gene,Content added by the Biotech DLC with persona zeushammersContent added by the Royalty DLC coming in second and offering some other flexibility with their EMP damage. With the gene, zeushammers are better against humans regardless of armor, and the monosword is better against high health scale enemies like centipedes. This is because:

  1. Blunt overkill mechanics make sure damage isn't wasted and a legendary zeushammer can one-shot a torso; and
  2. High health enemies tend to die from total damage over part destruction, and persona monoswords have higher base DPS as well as additional damage from the Cut damage type's cleaving ability.

If you picked Ranged Heavy with a static ideoligion, then Minigun / Heavy SMG / Assault Rifle may be preferred.


Button-down shirts are the best item in their slot, except for the uncraftable (and less protective) eltex shirt.Content added by the Royalty DLC Thus, strongly preferred button-down shirts is, more often than not, an entirely free +2 moodlet.

Most of the other apparel will restrict your armor options. CapesContent added by the Royalty DLC are equivalent to dusters, but take slightly more work to create. However, if you'd want to get marine armor in the future, then the cape would get in the way.

Venerated animals[edit]

Venerated animals give positive mood when present in your colony, and minus mood when they are killed.

The best venerated animals are pen animals with some form of utility. Pen animals won't be targeted by raiders, and can be kept safely in a pen without much hassle from the player. Horses offer the fastest riding speed for caravans. Boomalope can be milked for chemfuel. Cows, and if your game can handle it, chickens, offer renewable sources of animal product.

You don't need to set venerated animals if you don't want to mess with animals. If a venerated animal dies outside (say, to toxic fallout), then you'll get the mood hit.

Preferred xenotypes[edit]

Preferred xenotypes give +2 mood if every colonist is one of up to three preferred xenotypes. This turns to a −2 mood (or higher) if a single colonist is a different type. Prisoners and slaves don't count. Colonists will also have lowered opinion of other xenotypes.

Generally, it isn't a great idea to set preferred xenotypes. If you want to recruit anyone of any other xenotype ever, then all your colonists will get upset. The recruit ritual reward will not force a preferred xenotype onto the wanderer. Player xenotypes can be extremely strong, but they are very rare to find in the game. Replicating a player-set xenotype using a gene assembler is incredibly difficult. This creates a clear problem.

However: with Preferred Xenotypes set, you will get a colony-wide +3 moodlet per raider kill of a different xenotype, lasting for 10 days, up to 5 times. This is because opinion is lowered enough for them to be considered "rivals". Up to +15 mood for every raid every 10 days is on a similar level to bloodlust, and it stacks with bloodlust. Preferred xenotypes also gives an early game buff, before you start recruiting anyone. This buff may be strong enough to negate the −4 from disliked xenotypes, and −6 from xenotype self hatred, though note that the social penalty will end up increasing social fights.

Unfortunately, it seems like you can't have a xenogerm-created xenotype become preferred. No fluid ideology cheese there.

Xenotype info[edit]

With Biotech's default faction selection, Baseliners are more common from events, while enemy factions are primarily composed of 5 separate xenotypes. Thus, there are 6 "common" xenotypes - but you can only pick 3. If you select factions closer to Core RimWorld, then baseliners become much more common, but pirates still come with a variety of xenohumans.

Each of the four "artificial" xenotypes, Hussar, Highmate, Genie, and Sanguophage, are rare, but great at their respective role. As mentioned, player-created xenotypes are very rare, but can be extremely powerful. You'd need to rely on reproduction - and pass up on every good colonist in the meantime.

1 Player xenotype + Baseliner + 1 other can be pretty good, especially with Core Rimworld factions, but this still comes with downsides.

Other factions[edit]

If you're playing with the EmpireContent added by the Royalty DLC, make sure to edit their ideoligion and turn any Drug restrictions off. If you ever want to host a royal, then having access to mood-regulating drugs is incredibly helpful. With Biotech DLC, the Empire also requires hosting hussars - with any of the anti-drug precepts, they'll take a mood penalty for ingesting the go-juice they need to survive.

Min-maxing other's ideoligions is completely unnecessary and time consuming. But regardless, here are some pointers:

  • Make other factions have similar memes to yours, except for Supremacist. More goodwill. Supremacist, Loyalist lower goodwill, so should be removed if possible.
  • Give any other valid factions Individualist + Diversity of Thought: Exalted, so that they like being surrounded by a colony consisting of just your ideoligion. Impossible with most factions that start off hostile.
  • If you are not playing a Transhumanist ideoligion, then give every possible faction the Transhumanist meme. This makes it easier for you to construct neural superchargers and sleep accelerators in the late game, without the age reversal / supercharger / body part requirement that the meme usually comes with.
  • Watch out for preferred apparel. You can give outlander enemies apparel to remove their armor, and you should remove preferred apparel from allies to keep their armor (empire soldiers wearing flophats are common).
  • Any factions you don't want prisoners from can be given Pain is Virtue + Scarification: Extreme, to make them weaker.
  • Add player-created preferred xenotypesContent added by the Biotech DLC to other ideoligions, so that they can randomly appear throughout your game.

Pirates have a mostly set ideology in terms of memes, so there isn't too much you can do with them.