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In RimWorld, colonists can trade with faction trade caravans and passing trade vessels to buy and sell resources, gear, slaves/prisoners, and other valuable items. They will also sometimes sell furniture and pack dromedaries.

Trade caravans consist of one or more friendly faction members, with most caravans having pack animals and tamed animals in tow. To trade with a passing caravan, direct a colonist (preferably with high social skill) to speak with the caravan member with a yellow question mark above their head.

Trading vessels will often pass within comms range, and stay there for a limited time. A blue notification will appear at the right of your screen to announce the trade ship and its type. A simple notice at the top of the screen will declare when the trading vessel has left comms range and can no longer be traded with.

Each type of trade ship will buy and sell only certain types of items. Selection varies with each passing ship, as they typically don't carry every item that they deal in at any given time.

As of Alpha 14 (July 15th, 2016), the interface also now lets you type in the number you want to trade instead of dragging to the number.

How to Trade

As of Alpha 13 (April 6th, 2016), visitors and trade caravans from friendly factions will randomly visit the colony. Both visitor and trade caravan event will cause an alert letter to be send to the player. To initiate a trade, order a colonist to interact with the visitor having a yellow question mark above their head. Any item located within one of the colony's stockpiles will be eligible to sell and appear in the trade window. If any items are purchased, they will spawn in the location where the trader stood when trading completed.

You can now request traders by calling allied factions. It costs 600 silver, which can be reduced to 300 silver if you are friendly with the faction (goodwill above 50). (Alpha 16)

To enable trading with orbital traders, a colony must have a powered comms console, and at least one powered orbital trade beacon. To initiate a trade, order a colonist to interact with the comms console after the alert letter is received. As of Alpha 13 (April 6th, 2016), the orbital trade beacon does not need to be located outdoors nor have access to outdoor tiles. Only items located within the range of an orbital trade beacon will appear in the trade window. Colonies may place multiple orbital trade beacons to expand the number of items that can be eligible for trade. If any items are purchased, they will be sent to an outdoor beacon's zone via drop pods. If no beacons have outdoor tiles, drop pods will phase through constructed roofs. If all tiles are covered in thin rock roof or overhead mountain, drop pods will appear at the nearest eligible tile to the beacon.

Prisoners can be sold directly from their cell, even if the cell is not in range of a beacon, and tamed animals can be sold from anywhere on the map. The trade value of a prisoner or animal is based on their skills, capabilities, and injuries. The training level of a sold animal is factored into the sell price. Any colonist can be ordered to trade with available vessels by selecting them and right-clicking on the comms console. The higher the social skill of the selected colonist, the better the trade prices will be. After selecting the trading vessel, the trade interface opens.

The trade interface shows what commodities are available to trade, the colony's stock, the trader's stock, and the prices to buy and sell.

ALL ONE positive = buy
negative = sell
<< < may type # here > >>

Note that prices listed in green are cheap, and prices listed in red are expensive.

Your items that the trader doesn't deal in are shown grayed out at the bottom of the list. To trade those items, you'll need to contact the right kind of trader.

Food items that are rotting and animals that have been downed (whether due to starvation or injury) are not listed for trade.

Types of Traders

Physical Presence

  • Visitors are small groups that carry all of their goods on their person. They often have few items and little silver to trade with.
  • Trade caravans are large groups that carry their goods on pack muffalo or dromedaries, depending on climate. They have a moderate amount of items and silver to buy trade with.
  • Orbital traders are traders which have no physical presence. They have large amounts of items and silver to trade with.

Technological Level

  • Neolithic traders are tribal in nature and will be limited to selling neolithic level items.
  • Outlander traders come from other colonies on your rimworld and are not restricted to a specific technology level of items.

While the game does not specify where orbital traders hail from, the technologically advanced nature of items that they carry generally indicates that they are from urbworlds or glitterworlds.

Inventory Types

  • Bulk goods traders buy and sell basic materials such as steel, wood, components, gold, textiles, and food.
  • Combat suppliers buy and sell melee weapons, ranged weapons, armor, medicine, and implants.
  • Exotic goods traders buy and sell artifacts, apparel, non-craftable joy items, furniture, and some other exotic items.
  • Pirate merchants buy and sell slaves, armor, implants, medicine, and rare animals.

A trader will have all three qualities listed above. For example, you may be visited by a neolithic trade caravan offering bulk goods.

Trader Inventories

Orbital Bulk Goods Trader

Orbital bulk goods traders deal in foods, textiles, and materials.

Orbital bulk goods trader

Exotic Goods Trader

Exotic Goods Traders deal in rare and valuable items such as AI Persona Cores, sculptures, televisions, telescopes, apparel, bionic body parts, neurotrainers, some Furniture, gold, uranium, and Glitterworld Medicine. May also carry animals of the wilder variety.

Pirate Merchant

Pirate Merchants deal in slaves/prisoners, weapons, body parts, medicine, and beer. The chance of a trade ship carrying prisoners should go down as colony population goes up.

Combat Supplier

Combat Suppliers deal in weapons, armor, mortar shells, and medicine.

Trading tips

  • Colonists with a higher social skill using the comms console will negotiate lower buying prices for everything but the commodities (0.5% per social skill point).
  • Likewise, colonists with a higher social skill will negotiate for higher selling prices for everything but the commodities (0.5% per social skill point).
  • Trade is influenced by your trader's ability to speak and hear. Damage to any such parts will ruin trade prices, and conversely bionic enhancements will improve trade.
  • Selling a prisoner is profitable, but has a negative impact on the happiness of all colonists (excludes psychopaths). To prevent exploiting a recruiting loophole, you cannot buy back a prisoner you just sold.
  • Food and textiles can be quickly grown on hydroponics basins, which makes farming a viable income source, provided there's enough manpower to tend to the crops.
  • It is recommended to put your comms console in or near the bedroom of the colonist with the highest social skill for convenient trading.
  • Trade ships carry a limited amount of silver, so they may not be able to buy everything you wish to sell.
  • Sculptures can be created with a sculptor's table and sold to traders. Since trade ships carry a limited amount of silver, though, you may find that you cannot sell a very expensive sculpture.
  • You can trade your expensive items (weapons, sculptures) for other desirable items if the trade ship doesn't have enough silver to complete the transaction. Of course, the amount of silver you can gain is lower, but it is usually better to have a lot of cheap items than an expensive one in your store (sometimes you have items so expensive that no trader can buy them, or when you try the sell bunch tip above).