Drafting is an immediate call to action for any capable colonist. In order to defend yourself from armed incursion from raiders and mechanoids, and maintain order in your colony when colonists start suffering mental breaks or when prisoners become uncooperative, you're going to need to draft your colonists as soldiers. To draft a colonist, press the button marked with two crossed swords or press the R button.
Drafting works for potentially all colonists, even those unarmed or incapable of Violence. Colonists having mental breaks, incapable of walking, or currently in prison cannot be drafted. 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. Targets may be manually ordered as well, in which case, a draftee will attack until that target is downed, killed or destroyed. If drafted and left alone for some time with no threats or orders, drafted colonists will undraft themselves and return to default jobs and needs as dictated by their Work priorities.
Drafting also overrides a colonist's hostility response mode setting (found in the top-right of the colonist info panel). This can be useful to make colonists defend themselves when they are set to "Flee" from or "Ignore" danger. Even colonists incapable of Violence can be drafted and ordered to rescue a downed colonist or animal from a firefight.
Unlike a "civilian" colonist, a drafted colonist can be precisely controlled as in deciding where he/she shall stand, what target to fire upon and so on. 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 can be queued by holding shift while selecting each action, such as rescuing, stripping, attacking or even equipping armor before moving into position. 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.
Draftees will use any viable terrain features or structures they're standing next to as cover to protect themselves during a firefight with your enemies, considering the placement of themselves, the cover and the target.
Drafted colonists can only can do certain tasks. They may have their movement manually directed, be ordered to capture or rescue downed pawns, arrest pawns, consume food, manually attack most things 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.
Any drafted pawn, even the one incapable of hauling work type, can be ordered to carry a downed creature (human, animal, etc), which can be dropped on command later. This is useful for carrying the creature out of danger like flames or line of fire to a safe place, where they can be tended. In some situations, this can be preferred to rescue.
Unlike non-drafted pawns, drafted ones can tend to creatures right in place, rescue is not required. Being assigned to doctoring isn't required either, only being capable of doctoring. Medicine is optional, it will only be used if the tending pawn is carrying any. While any creature (friendly or not) can be tended while downed, injured colonists and tamed animals can also be tended on their feet. They suspend any activity (fighting, moving, etc) while being treated. While it can be a life-saver, wounds' treatment in dirty environment, with low Medical skill, and without medicine, increases chances of infection.
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 ensure that soldiers are always armed, unless you want them to use their bare fists to subdue someone with a minimal chance of killing or crippling them. Armed draftees will use their ranged weapons as bludgeons as well as their other empty hand and even their own teeth to melee attack.
Draftees can arrest colonists and neutral human characters, dragging them to the nearest convenient bed marked for prisoners. 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. No one likes being imprisoned however. They may resist their capture attempt. You can see the Arrest Success Chance in the tooltip before you order the arrest. It is therefore advised to check multiple pawns for the highest chance. Being imprisoned affects their mood, even after release for a while. Use only when necessary.
Drafting will immediately interrupt what the colonist is doing. 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 any "Ate raw food" mood penalties.
Drafting and then immediately undrafting colonists has a variety of purposes.
- It wakes up the draftee, which can be useful to make sleeping colonists fight fires or attend parties or weddings.
- 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.
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.
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 being near corpses exacerbates this.
- 1.1.0 - Interface now reports the chance of a successful arrest before you try to make it.
- 1.3.3066 - Drafted pawns can tend to others in the field. They will use medicine if they are carrying any.
- 1.3.3066 - Drafted pawns can be ordered to carry another downed pawn. The pawn can be dropped on command.