Drafting

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Drafting is an immediate call to action for any capable colonist. An unarmed colony is not going to last long out in the wilderness. In order to defend yourself from armed incursion from raiders and mechanoids, and maintain order in your colony when colonists start suffering mental breaks, you're going to need to draft your colonists as soldiers. Drafting works for all colonists, even those incapable of Violence. While drafted, a colonist will immediately follow your move, rescue and arrest orders while, if capable of Violence, attacking any threats in range once positioned. Drafted colonists will ignore any other duties including their own hunger and rest needs until all nearby hostiles are no longer a threat, whether killed, downed or retreated. If drafted and left alone with no orders or targets, drafted colonists will undraft themselves and return to their previous jobs and needs.

Drafting a sleeping colonist will immediately wake them to follow orders. Colonists having mental breaks, incapable of walking or in prison cannot be drafted. Drafting also overrides a colonist's hostility response mode setting. This can be useful to make colonists set to Flee or even colonists incapable of violence attempt to rescue a downed colonist or animal from a firefight.

Basic Control

To draft a colonist, press the button marked with two crossed swords. Unlike a colonist, a drafted colonist can be precisely controlled as in deciding where he/she shall stand, what target to fire upon and so on. Draftees will also use any viable terrain features or structures they're standing next to as cover to protect themselves during a firefight with your enemies.

Drafted colonists can only can do certain tasks. They may have their movement manually directed, be ordered to capture or rescue downed pawns, directed to consume food and equip weapons and armor. However, they cannot be ordered to haul items or perform work tasks.

For ranged colonists there is a 'Fire at will' option which defaults to 'On'. When turned on the colonist will freely engage any targets within range, shooting at them. If turned off you will need to manually direct the colonist to shoot at a specific target. All drafted colonists capable of violence will automatically melee attack any threats within 1 tile.

Weapons

A draftee carrying a weapon will hold it out and ready at all times, automatically attacking any hostile characters or animals that comes within range. If you draft a colonist who does not have a weapon, you will be immediately notified of such. It is advised to always ensure soldiers are armed, unless you want them to use their bare fists to subdue someone with a minimal chance of killing or crippling them. Note that soldiers equipped with ranged weapons can still attack with their fists (or hand/arm attachments) if ordered to engage in melee, or if engaged by an attacker in melee combat.

Additional Functions

Draftees can arrest colonists and neutral human characters, dragging them to the nearest convenient bed marked for prisoners, provided they don't resist. This can be used to arrest colonists who have suffered a non-violent mental breakdown, which can be very helpful if someone starts setting fires, binging on drugs or gets out of bed when they need medical treatment. To do so, select a different colonist, draft them, right-click the desired captive, then select "arrest <name>" from the menu. It's also possible to arrest visiting members of other factions... if you don't mind becoming Hostile with them.

Drafting and then immediately undrafting colonists has a variety of purposes.

  1. It wakes up the draftee, which can be useful to make sleeping colonists fight fires or attend parties or weddings. Do not abuse this though, as there is a mood penalty for interrupted sleep.
  2. It can be used to interrupt their current activity so that a colonist will more quickly switch to another with a higher priority, like fighting fires or tending to the wounded.
  3. It can be used to prevent starving colonists from immediately consuming raw food. Careful use of drafting and undrafting can give a cook time to make meals for starving colonists and avoid "Ate raw food" mood penalties.

Animal Handlers

When a colonist is drafted, any animals assigned to this colonist will disregard their allowed areas to follow and defend their master against nearby enemies. If the colonist has any animals trained for Release, clicking the 'Release animals' button will let animals leave their master's side to attack enemies up to a certain distance.

Animals and colonists alike will have mood penalties if their counterpart is killed. Animals will typically go Manhunter if their masters are killed.

Orders

A draftee can be directly ordered to move where you want them to, and shoot what you tell them to shoot. To move a draftee, select them, then right-click on any pathable tile on the map. If you band-box select multiple soldiers at once, you can order them all to move to the same area. Multiple orders, such as rescuing, stripping, attacking, and moving, can be queued by holding shift while selecting each action. Each action will be carried out in the order it was given. Queued orders can be cleared simply by issuing a non-queued order or movement, or by undrafting the soldier.

Training

A draftee can train to increase their shooting skill by having them fire a ranged weapon at something that can't be destroyed, such as a grave, sleeping spot, or crafting spot. Be aware that if left drafted for too long, the colonist won't have been able to fulfill their needs and could begin to starve or suffer a mental breakdown. Undraft the colonist to allow them to rest and address their needs.

Other info

  • A colonist who spends a long time drafted will accumulate mood penalties from various unmet needs, which will negatively impact their mood and increase the risk of a mental break. The potential penalties from witnessing death or handling corpses exacerbates this.

See also: Combat