Colonists are the main protagonists in RimWorld. They are living inhabitants of each RimWorld colony, and the primary goal of the game is for the player to properly manage them. Each colonist has specific skills, positive and negative traits, and a character backstory. In general, every human is a colonist, except for raiders/travelers/prisoners. The colonists come in various outfits based on their background, which can be seen by looking at the 'Character' tab in game. Colonists are also often referred to as the player's "pawns" by the RimWorld Community. Note, however, that when used without the possessive the term "pawn" more correctly refers to any ambulatory entity in the game including, but not limited to, colonists. See Pawn for further explanation.
When managing the colonists, the player must take note of as many of the colonists' attributes as possible. These include, but are not limited to, managing their needs at all times, utilizing their skills to help with their progress throughout the game, increasing their skills, having them research technologies and build anything that helps them the most, and defend themselves against raiders - which include increasing their defenses with each passing moment.
When possible, playing into the strengths of each colonist, as well as their likes, will increase the player's efficiency of advancing through the game.
Raiders are essentially the main antagonists of RimWorld. They are predatory enemies who appear in events called "Raids" and are sent by the storyteller or by player accepted quests. The group size and strength of a raiding party is determined by 'points', which will be explained in-depth further down this article.
Visitors are friendly faction members that come and mill about the player's colony. Sometimes one of the them has items to trade, indicated by a question mark. Their arrival could prove advantageous if the colony is assaulted by a mutual enemy while they are present. When leaving, visitors will often rescue their own downed pawns.