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RimWorld's combat system may seem a little daunting to new players at first, however a few simple guidelines will have you ready to repel attacks and hold ground like a pro.

In every gunfight there is one very important lifesaving rule to remember:
Always use whatever cover is available!

Combat mechanics

There are several key mechanics in the combat system of the game.


Using the best cover available is key to winning a firefight. Select any pawn with a ranged weapon and hover over a target in their line of sight to see a popup that shows the shooter's chance to hit that target, including the target's measure of cover. Walls and natural rock provide the best cover and are great for flanking positions. Sandbags make for very effective cover. When placed in a U-shape or zigzag pattern, the extra bags will provide more cover for your defenders.

Chunks of stone and steel slag near your base can be used by attackers as cover. This cover is far better than trees or bushes. Be sure to have your colonists clear away such debris to deprive ranged attackers of using it for cover.

If you have the time and resources to spare, you can make multi-layer defenses, with rows of cover you can fall back to if you're being overwhelmed. The drawback is that if enemies advance they can use your defensive lines as cover.

If assaulting a siege or mech cluster Content added by the Royalty DLC, you should take advantage of preexisting cover such as trees, rock chunks, ruins, or mountains.


Ranged involves the use of weapons from a distance. Pawns wielding ranged weapons will shoot at enemies, because what else did you expect them to do?

Ranged weapons consist of many attributes:

  • Damage
  • Armor penetration
  • Stopping power
  • Burst count
  • Aim time
  • Cooldown time
  • Accuracy
  • Range

Each ranged weapon has 4 accuracy values corresponding to accuracy at close (3), short (12), medium (25) and long (40) ranges. Stopping power allows a ranged weapon to stagger whatever their projectile hits if the victim's body size is less than or equal to the stopping power value, slowing them down to 1/6th of their normal speed for 95 ticks (1.58 secs) - explosives will stagger regardless though.

Whenever a regular ranged weapon misses, the projectile will land within a random distance from the original target depending on the actual accuracy of the shot based on the weapon and the shooter. Stray shots have a 50% chance of hitting nothing and a 50% chance of hitting another target on the alternative cell it happens to land on. Accuracy to maximum miss distances are as follows:

Accuracy Max Miss Distance Area (cells)
100% 1.0 5
22% 2.0 13
11% 4.0 41
7% 6.0 -
4% 8.0 -
2% 10.0 -

Ranged weapons with a forced miss radius will hit anything but the target within its miss radius, though there's a small chance that they'll occasionally use standard accuracy with smaller radii having higher chances. Forced miss radius also scales with distance:

Distance (cells) Radius Multiplier
0 - 8 0
9 - 24 0.5
25 - 48 0.8
49+ 1.0

Projectiles can also hit other things that are between the target and the shooter, such as stray animals.


Melee involves hand-to-hand combat, with or without the use of weapons.

Pawns usually will not stack into a cell with other melee attackers, but if they do, only one pawn per cell may attack the same target. This does not apply to colony brawlers, as they can and may stack into a cell while melee attacking the same target sometimes.

Melee combat has strengths and weaknesses. A colonist skilled in melee and equipped with an effective weapon will easily win any one-on-one melee battle. However, a brawler trying to close the gap to attack a gun-wielding attacker may get shot down before reaching their target. The shield belt was designed to solve that problem. A colony might develop a small strike team of brawlers that can swiftly eliminate threats in close quarters, especially those that have infiltrated the colony.

Blunt attacks also have a chance to stun enemies on hit. The chance of this is dependent on the damage of the attack and the toughness of the opponent, with attacks to the head being much more likely to stun.

If a colonist has gone into a berserk mental break they will engage nearby targets. To subdue them with the least risk of causing serious injury, draft one or more colonists armed with nothing but bare fists or marginally blunt weaponry.

If a pawn has lost all the body parts that can melee attack (such as hands), they will resort to using a head butt attack.

Sometimes, humanoid pawns that engage in melee combat may 'kick dirt' or 'water' in their target's eyes, effectively blinding them for a short time (-80% sight for dirt, and -50% sight for water).

Pawns equipped with ranged weapons such as guns can defend themselves in melee by rifle-butting, pistol-whipping, or 'poking' enemies with them. This is more damaging than mere fists, but is typically not as good as dedicated melee weapons such as the longsword.


When a pawn attacks another, the chance that the attack hits is known as accuracy.

  • Melee accuracy is very straightforward, simply the chance that a pawn can land melee blows.
  • Ranged accuracy, on the other hand, is more complicated. The in-game accuracy is described per tile, meaning that the actual accuracy is much lower at a distance as the accuracy at that distance is calculated by the base accuracy to the power of the distance to the target. This is further multiplied by the weapon accuracy of that weapon at that distance.
    • Many other factors are also taken into account, such as weather.

A pawn's base accuracy is affected by skill, as well as sight and manipulation.


Skilled melee pawns have the ability to evade melee attacks when fighting. When the melee blow is dodged it will always miss regardless of whether or not it is supposed to hit.

Combat basics

The various character roles play a big part in combat. Characters having great skill in at least 1 form of combat are ideal, use them first. Have colonists equip weapons at all time so they can defend themselves or respond quickly when drafted.

It's often handy to keep one colonist with only firefighting duties nearby in case a fire breaks out. This extra character can extinguish fires leaving shooters to continue engaging attackers. They can also aid a defender if they catch fire and can't extinguish themselves.

If a colonist starts to sustain too many injuries you can use your less combat-skilled colonists to take over while they retreat. If you need to, have your injured colonist drop their weapon and undraft them, then have your reserves pick up the weapon and fight in their place. If during combat a pawn takes on too much damage, they may become downed and require rescue.


Sometimes you will have to use more clever tactics to defeat your incoming enemies, such as when you're outnumbered, or you don't have suitable ways to cope with the incoming raiders.

Friendly fire

Friendly fire safety radii:
Central pawn will not hit any friendly pawn on or within the gold radius
Any pawn on a sterile tile will not hit any other friendly pawn on a sterile tile.

Friendly fire is a mechanic in which ranged attacks that missed their target have chance to hit nearby targets, including allies. As such it is important to be careful when you shoot at enemies while allies are in the way or near them, as they may have a chance of being hit as well.

There are several subsidiary mechanics in this process.

First, there is radius of immunity around the shooter in which friendly targets cannot be hit by missed attacks at all. Colonists can shoot over the shoulders of allies up to 5 tiles away from them, but any further and they may be hit. In the image to the right the two radii are displayed. Any pawn standing on a gold or sterile tile cannot be hit by friendly fire by a pawn standing in the center. The inner radius of sterile tiles defines an area in which no pawn standing on one of these tiles will hit any other allied pawn also standing on a sterile tile with friendly fire. Both of these are still the case, even if the actual target is also within with radius. Note that standing inside an open door invalidates this immunity for some reason, allowing pawns to be hit with friendly fire even if inside these radii.

Second is the Friendly Fire Difficulty Setting. This acts as chance multiplier on the existing chance of friendly fire, ranging between 0% and 100% to pawns in the red area of the image or beyond. Note that 100% will not result in all misses causing friendly fire, it only adds an additional scalar to the existing chance.


Your defenders will slowly become tired and hungry, eventually leading to a mental break if you don't take them off draft. Undraft them so they may work on cleanup and repair. Select dropped items and corpses and unforbid to allow colonists to move them. Build graves, set up a dumping stockpile accepting corpses, or set a bill for butcher table or crematorium to dispose of bodies and prevent colonists from taking a mood penalty.

Colonist morale

It's important to keep colonists' mood high and needs satisfied, to prevent them from breaking in the middle of combat, leading to more problems.

A satisfying colony will keep soldiers' spirits high while they starve a sleepless night in the trenches.

Combat log

The game keeps track of all combat actions done by a pawn. This can be accessed through the 'Combat' tab for a character, and lets you review combat after the battle has finished or in the heat of it.

Each action is accompanied by some flavor text.

Pause frequently!

The most important combat tip is saved for last. Use the pause feature! The tide of battle changes very quickly with a smoking turret or thrown grenade in the middle of your colonists. Take advantage of the space bar to freeze the action and give your colonists new orders.

Version history

  • 0.18.1722 - Storyful combat: A major rework of melee combat, and a new way to report all combat interactions. Storyful combat generates a combat log that reports each blow, miss, swipe, block and fall in the combat. During or after a fight, you can review the combat log to see what happened, to generate a richer story.

See also