User:JonN/User guide/Zombieland

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These are my thoughts after 10 runs with the Zombieland mod ([[1]]). Note that YouTube has a 79-part (!) series by “Toxic Timewaster”, which I haven’t watched. Corrections and comments are welcome.

I am assuming default settings unless otherwise specified. I will concentrate on tips specific to Zombieland, but some advice relevant to Rimworld generally will come through.

Also see [[2]].


The main thing to know up front is that the Zombieland mod requires a lot more micro-management than regular Rimworld. If you prefer to mostly watch your pawns getting things done at high speed, this mod is not for you. If you want to survive, you will be issuing lots of commands, managing multiple zones, and listening constantly for key sounds.


I recommend using the Simple Sidearms mod ([[3]]), since all your pawns will need ranged weapons, even those who aren’t good with them or don’t like equipping them. In particular the Electric zombies are hard to handle without sidearms.

Choose pawns with lots of shooting skill to mow down those Z’s. In particular you want pawns with “passion” for shooting, even if they are originally at skill 0. They will level up quickly, as long as you have someone with a little starting skill.

First Two Days[edit]

You will get 2 days to dig in before the zombies arrive. In this time, you need to get a walled house with plenty of doors, and everything you need inside to wait out the zombies outside. Consider picking a location which has a crevice in a mountain, or using existing walls from a ruined building.


Make sure all your pawns have a ranged weapon. In the default 3-pawn start, you start with a bolt-action rifle and a revolver, so create a crafting spot and make one short bow. Put melee weapons in your sidearm slot (with the Simple Sidearms mod).

Keep your pawns from equipping anything which slows down movement speed, because they always need to be able to run faster than zombies. Periodically check the gear on all pawns, to make sure they haven’t picked up a flak jacket, or worse yet a set of plate armor. Mark all armor with movement penalties as “not allowed”. Helmets have no movement penalty so wear the best you have.

Fighting Zombies[edit]

Especially at the beginning, you will be fighting with a “run and gun” style. Draft your pawns and form a tight formation, blast away until they get close, then run some distance, set up and repeat. This is the only way to kill zombies until you get more skill and better weapons, and even then you need to be ready to run at any time.

Even a single zombie bite can be disastrous, so when in doubt, run. Don’t overestimate your ability to get away before they reach you. Remember that there is a delay before shooting pawns start moving, and also a delay to get doors open.

You will have to be especially attentive while pawns are drafted. Stay at speed 1. If you run away a second too late, or forget that some pawn is drafted, you will lose a pawn.

Your pawns have to be consistently faster than zombies, including “agitated” zombies. Keep slow pawns in safe places when zombies are around.

In general, your pawns will shoot the right zombies by default, the ones which will reach them first. The only exception is the blue “healers”, which you want to get rid of as soon as they are in range.

Always be ready to run through a door into a safe space, even if it means letting the zombie horde have one room of your base.

If a zombie is right behind a door, there is no way to open the door without risking a bite. Worst case you can blast the door from a distance.

Waiting out Zombies[edit]

In general I don’t recommend hunting zombies unnecessarily. It’s just too dangerous. Instead, wait them out inside your base or secured areas. There is no point in killing them, more will come.

You may need to force your pawns with Construction to repair damaged doors before the zombies get through them.

When you hear one of the critical sounds, pause the game and check your perimeter:

  1. The clinking key sound means that an “albino” zombie is opening one of your doors. They aren’t that dangerous on their own, but they can let in other zombies until the door automatically closes, and their scream can disable your pawns.
  2. The explosion sound means that a “suicide bomber” zombie has detonated, probably taking a few wall sections with it.
  3. A little map shake means that a “tanky operator” zombie drilled through a section of wall.
  4. Mining sounds mean that a “miner” zombie is tunneling into rock. They take a long time to tunnel and are pretty undirected, but theoretically they could breach your base.

Base Structure[edit]

Your base will be pretty much as normal for Rimworld. Have a stockpile of food in the base, plus a small stockpile of wood and steel, in case you are besieged for an extended time. Be ready for a power outage.

One other thing – due to the risk of burning zombies, you will want stone walls sooner than usual. However your doors should remain wood, so that pawns can dash in quickly with zombies on their tail. I have never tried autodoors, don’t know whether they are liable to open by accident.

Curtain Walls[edit]

As soon as you can manage it, start putting up curtain walls some distance from your base. These are walls blocking the zombies from reaching your base. If you can’t get 360 degree coverage, do one side at a time, and use natural features if you can – if you only hold back half the zombies, that still improves your chances.

Build plenty of doors in your curtain walls. If you only have one door, zombies right behind the door will prevent you from safely getting through it, even to clear the space behind the curtain wall.

Zombies can get through walls in three ways:

  1. Breaking down doors
  2. “Suicide bomber” zombies
  3. “Tanky operator” zombies

If a breach occurs, you have a choice. You can put together a team to push them back, then put up a quick replacement wall. Or, you can surrender the space and wait for a zombie window.

As you get more secure, you can put up additional curtain walls further away. These will keep some of the zombies off your back, even if they develop minor breaches.

You can block off whole corners of the map by building curtain walls with no doors. Be warned that this may keep visitors from reaching you.

Zombie Windows[edit]

Zombies come in waves and leave in waves. Periodically, they will all die off. I call periods when there are no zombies “zombie windows” (windows in time that is).

So, even if you are trapped in your base, you can just wait until the next “zombie window”. It usually happens in a day or two, but there is no guarantee.

During zombie windows, prioritize collecting stuff which dropped outside your curtain walls.

Managing Zones[edit]

Because the cost of a bite is so high, it is critical to keep your pawns from wandering outside. This means you will be spending time maintaining “zones” where your pawns are allowed to go. I recommend the following:

  1. “Indoors” as usual, as a fallback during zombie infestations, or a safe place for slow pawns, and (as usual) for environmental catastrophes (cold snap, heat wave, toxic spew).
  2. “Safe” also includes the area protected by curtain walls.
  3. “Allowed” as usual is pretty much everyplace except traps etc., for use during “zombie windows”.

Zones should include the walls and (especially) doors themselves, so that your pawns can repair them. Make sure you have not included even a single square outside, otherwise your pawns will walk out into a zombie swarm to clean that square.

As usual you will want to remove toxic waste areas (left behind when Toxic zombies die) and active traps from any areas assigned to your pawns or animals, and your “tantrum room” if you have one. (Side note: A Tantrum Room is a space to hold critical but rarely-used items such as Persona Cores, so that pawns with the Tantrum break don’t destroy them. You can also keep there dangerous drugs for later sale. Keep the Tantrum Room out of all zones and disallow the door, or wall it off completely and don’t have a door – you can always deconstruct a wall as needed.)


The Zombieland mod messes up the finely-tuned Rimworld economy pretty thoroughly. Dead zombies will often drop an item of clothing, usually poor/awful quality and tattered, but they are not considered “tainted”. Sometimes these are even really nice things like armor or prestige gear. If you get a trader who buys clothing, you can usually take everything you want from that trader including all their ready cash.

Because a zombie window can end at any time, clothing will drop all over the map. When a zombie window comes, look around to see if there is anything you want. If you’re lucky a Cataphract helmet will drop. If you’re really lucky Recon or Locust armor (no movement penalty) will drop.

Traders and Raids[edit]

If a trader or raid comes outside a zombie window, the Z’s will usually get them before they reach you. Only Imperial caravans are likely to survive. This means that raids are less of a threat, and also that you will have fewer trade opportunities. Build the comms console as soon as you can.

Some raiders seem immune to zombies, not sure why. Spiders and mechanoids can’t be hurt by zombies (except “suicide bombers”), however zombies will mob mechanoids and temporarily keep them from reaching you.

Another upside is that if zombies kill a trader, the trader’s entire cash and inventory will drop, and you can scoop it up at the next zombie window.

Zombie infections, extract and serum[edit]

If a pawn gets bitten and the bite proves to be infected, you have three options:

  1. Administer Zombie Serum to cure the infection
  2. Amputate the affected limb, replacing the limb if possible
  3. Write off the pawn. You will lose them in a week or so, but in the meantime you can get a lot of work out of them. Change their schedule to 100% work, they no longer need to rest. When their time is almost up, strip them naked and line up a firing squad.

Zombie Serum is hard to make, but it’s worth having one in reserve if you can manage it. You will need to “extract” up to 100 from zombie corpses, and zombie corpses disappear quickly. Only pawns with “Doctor” enabled can extract, and only if the zombie corpse is in their current zone. You can make Serum if you have a Drug Lab and some Medicine, and a pawn with Crafting 3 and Intellectual 4. Keep serum in a safe place. I recommend against engaging zombies explicitly to harvest Zombie Extract, it’s more likely you will accidentally get someone bitten.

Human Corpses[edit]

Human corpses will turn into extra-powerful zombies, even if zombies were not involved in their death, and even if they are buried. Pawns can “double-tap” them if they have Hunting enabled and if the human corpse is in their current zone.

Mental Breaks[edit]

Mental breaks are unusually dangerous when there are hordes of zombies around. One last-ditch option is to “arrest” the pawn, although they will become prisoners you need to re-convert.

In order to reduce the risk from Binge breaks, make a point to keep the entire map clear of drugs, otherwise binging pawns may head outside the walls. This can also apply to food if you are out.

Zombie behavior[edit]

Zombies get agitated by nearby pawn activity, so one of the benefits of curtain walls is to keep them away from your base. Zombies can be surprisingly docile when kept away from your pawns. However if too many zombies get bunched up, they will get “agitated/angry”, moving faster and doing more pathfinding to find a way to you.

Zombies are very vulnerable to catching fire, especially around exposed power conduits. Hordes of burning zombies, setting everything around them on fire, are a serious threat.


If you must send a caravan while zombies are underfoot (try to avoid if possible), you will have handle it carefully. First your pawns will grab their designated stuff -- watch that they don’t leave your safe area. Then they will head for the designated exit point, which seems to be a random area anywhere on the edge of the map. Draft the pawns before they leave the safe area, wait until everyone is ready, then conduct them carefully toward the exit point. Every once in a while you can undraft someone to see what direction they want to go.

Abandoning the Settlement[edit]

If things get really bad, you may choose to cut and run. This happened to me one time when the zombie count hit 450 and wouldn’t come down.

Be warned that once you abandon a settlement, you can never return to that location. I learned this the hard way. Consider trying the following (I haven’t tested it): First change the Rimworld setting for maximum settlement count to 2 or more, then just leave and don’t abandon the settlement. Set up a second settlement nearby and hopefully you can return in a few days.


Animals do not interact with zombies. Tame animals can open your doors and let in zombies, so zone them inside your curtain wall and outside your base. I don’t know whether trained animals can safely attack zombies.

Other notes[edit]

Pawns with good armor seem to get bitten rarely if ever. It’s probably possible to drop the “run and gun” and go armored instead, but I have never tried it. Jump packs could theoretically get a pawn out of trouble.

Zombies are immune from psychic attacks.

There is a device called a “zombie shocker” but I never managed to use it.