Human resources

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Cannibalism, slavery, organ harvesting from captives, wearing human skin, human corpses in general: most pawns have a severe distaste for these things, but in dire circumstances it can be necessary to use every resource, even the human ones. If these occur in your colony it will impart significant mood penalties on many colonists, but they are also a potential route to survival and even a source of income.

A number of traits can make this feasible as a core strategy for a colony. Some colonies might even make it the preferred standard for living.


The three traits below make a colonist react indifferently or even enthusiastically towards human suffering or abuse. If there are more than one of the traits on the same person, the most beneficial one applies (e.g. a Cannibal will always receive +20 mood per day by eating raw human flesh, no matter what other traits that colonist has).

  • has no issues seeing fresh corpses or butchering them
  • has no qualms about slavery and organ harvesting
  • does NOT like seeing rotten corpses, eating human flesh, or wearing human skin clothing
  • has no issues seeing fresh corpses or butchering them
  • likes to wear human skin
  • only one who doesn't mind seeing rotting corpses
  • doesn't mind wearing tainted apparel (i.e. taken from a dead body)
  • does NOT like cannibalism or slavery
  • has no issues seeing fresh corpses or butchering them
  • loves to eat human flesh
  • likes clothing made from skin
  • does NOT like slavery or organ harvesting.

Table of mood effects

These are the standard penalties (and a few boosts) that colonists suffer from this category of activities.

Trait Observes corpse Observes rotting corpse Butchers human Somebody butchers human (colonywide) Eats raw human flesh Eats meal with human flesh Wears human skin clothing Trades human flesh or leather A slave is sold (colonywide) An organ is harvested (colonywide)
-3 Mood (0.25 days. 3 Stacks. 0.5 Stack Multiplier) -7 Mood (0.25 days. 5 Stacks. 0.3 Stack Multiplier) -6 Mood (6 days. 4 Stacks. 0.75 Stack Multiplier) -6 Mood (6 days. 1 Stack) -20 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack) -15 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack) -3/-5/-7/-8 Mood No Debuff -3 Mood (4 days. 5 Stacks) -5 Mood (7.5 days. 5 Stacks. 0.75 Stack Multiplier)
Psychopath Immune to Debuff Normal Penalty Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff Normal Penalty Normal Penalty Normal Penalty No Debuff Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff
Bloodlust Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff Normal Penalty Normal Penalty +3/+5/+7/+8 Mood No Debuff Normal Penalty +4 Mood (stack unknown)
Cannibal Immune to Debuff Normal Penalty Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff +20 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack) +15 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack) +3/+5/+7/+8 Mood No Debuff Normal Penalty Normal Penalty

Ideology precepts & mèmes

Cannibalism Precepts Butchers human Somebody butchers human (colonywide) Eats human flesh Wears human skin clothing Eats non-human flesh meal
Cannibalism: Abhorrent -12 Mood (6 days.) -5 Mood (5 days. 5 stacks. 0.75 Stack Multiplier) -20 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack) -2/-4/-6/-8 Mood Immune to Debuff
Cannibalism: Horrible -6 Mood (6 days.) -3 Mood (5 days. 5 stacks. 0.75 Stack Multiplier) -12 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack) -2/-3/-5/-6 Mood Immune to Debuff
Cannibalism: Disapproved -3 Mood (6 days.) -1 Mood (5 days. 5 stacks. 0.75 Stack Multiplier) -5 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack) -1/-2/-3/-4 Mood Immune to Debuff
Cannibalism: Acceptable Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff
Cannibalism: Preferred Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff +2 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack) +1/+2/+3/+4 Mood Immune to Debuff
Cannibalism: Required (Strong) Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff +4 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack) +2/+3/+5/+6 Mood -2 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack)
Cannibalism: Required (Ravenous) Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff +6 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack) +2/+4/+6/+8 Mood -4 Mood (1 day. 1 Stack)
Corpse Precepts Observes Corpse Observes rotting corpse
Corpses: Ugly -4 Mood (0.5 days. 3 stacks. 0.5 Stack Multiplier) -6 Mood (0.5 days. 5 stacks. 0.3 stack multiplier
Corpses: Don't care Immune to Debuff Immune to Debuff

Human butchering

By default, "humanlike corpses" is turned off under the [Details...] tab under [Bills] on a butcher table, to avoid accidental over-enthusiasm. Simply go in and turn click it back on, and get to your dark deeds.

Butchering humans may be either used as a last resort in a normal colony, or used as a nice mood buff for cannibals, or used to make kibble. Human meat is absolutely disgusting for non-cannibals (see above for mood debuffs), but to cannibals, raw flesh is even better than a lavish meal. In normal, non-cannibalistic colonies, human flesh can be kept for cannibals, but sometimes butchering humans is not worth the effort (trading a colony-wide -6 for a +10 or +20 for a few or single colonist). If people are butchered, they should be butchered together, as the mood debuff does not stack. It can also be kept as a last resort food, such as during a famine or a toxic fallout. Corpses should be only hauled and butchered by colonists who don't care about corpses, and stored in shelves to stop non-sociopathic colonists from seeing the corpse before it is butchered.

Human leather, the other by-product of butchering a human, is terrible as a protective textile, but has a high market value, so making items such as armchairs or dusters from it for trade is probably the best use. If made into clothing, wearing such items give a mood boost to pawns with the bloodlust or cannibal traits.

The most important factor is to have a pawn that does not get the butchering penalty to do butchering. That penalty stacks and gets quite large. Meanwhile, any number of corpses can be butchered and the mood penalty to the rest of the colony will be the same. Obviously the right ideoligionContent added by the Ideology DLC makes this significantly easier.

Work efficiency

Molotoving the corpses requires as much time as it takes to manually equip a pawn with molotov cocktails, telling them to toss one, and then re-equipping them with their other weapon. The exact work/corpse depends on just how full you are willing to let your burn site get before burning it. At base, cremating a pawn takes 180 ticks (3 secs) of work. The best it can be realistically and reliably reduced to is ?. At base, butchering any organic pawn takes 450 ticks (7.5 secs). A healthy pawn with archotech arms and Cooking 20, working on a butcher table linked to two tool cabinets, butchers a human in 167 ticks (2.78 secs). Stacking Global Work Speed and Manipulation buffs can get this higher but is less realistic. Butchering requires that the tainted clothes being dealt with separately. On one hand, this means that more work must be invested to dispose of them, either hauling them to a burn site or cremating them for a base 60 ticks (1 sec) of work per item. On the other, smelting the apparel and not-useful utility items are a very work efficient source of metals after the easy veins have been exploited.


Slavery in Core RimWorld is the sale of prisoners to other factions. It is a quick way to get decent amounts of money quickly. Pawns will suffer a mood penalty of -3, stacking up to -15 for 4 days once slaves are sold. Unless you have a colony of psychopaths, selling slaves can cause result in significant mood issues and mental breaks. Besides the trait, there is no way to prevent the negative moodlet in core RimWorld, however like all mood debuffs, there are strategies to mitigate its effect.

One way of dealing with this is to sell only 1-2 slaves every 4 days, keeping the mood debuff small, and easily managed by measures such as temporarily upgrading to lavish meals, allowing or increasing drug consumption, or simply tanking the mood debuff if the base mood of the colony is already high. This slow process has a downside, however. Traders generally only stay for around two days, and only appear occasionally, meaning either pawns will have to caravan the slaves to nearby faction bases for trade, or that it will be hard making slavery the main source of profit for the colony.

Alternatively, as the penalty caps out at a stack of 5, selling more than 5 prisoners does not increase the debuff further. Thus, selling in a single burst can be more efficient so long as the larger debuff can be withstood. Timing the sale with the occurance of a wedding or party for example can help. Slaves can be stored in cryptosleep caskets to eliminate their upkeep cost while waiting to sell them. Note that prisoners must generally be anaesthetized to do so, and after removing them from the casket they will take some time to both wake up and fully recover which can affect both whether they can be sold and their price. Plan ahead to give them time to recover before their time of sale.

Pawns will have a significant negative opinion of whoever sells the slaves.

Humans have a base value of Silver 1750. This is reduced and increased by various traits, reduced by injuries and ailments, and increased by the presence of bionics. The exact variables and their effect is still in need of analysis but at a certain point harvesting a prisoner for their organs can be significantly more profitable. Note however that the debuff lasts longer for organ harvesting, though it is similar in magnitude at the maximum stack sizes for both debuff types. Butchering the resulting corpse for leather and meat can increase the profit, though at the cost of incurring another debuff. Also note that the slavery, harvesting and butchery debuffs stack - ideally only slavery or harvesting should be selected in colonies not exclusively populated with psychopath or bloodlust pawns.

Slavery with the Ideology DLC

With the Ideology DLC, slaves become controllable workers. Slaves are acquired through threatening prisoners and dropping their will down to zero. Although slaves are controllable and appear in the colonist bar, they work at 85% speed and you run the risk of a slave rebellion, similar to a prison break. The frequency of slave rebellions are determined by mood, suppression, proximity of weapons, and the presence of colonists. Unlike prisoners, colonists and slaves can have intimate relationships. Colonists and slaves cannot sleep in the same bed, but they can sleep in the same room. If you want the two to sleep together, both must be made into colonists or slaves.

Organ harvesting

Organ harvesting requires a doctor and 2 units of herbal medicine or better. Organs must be undamaged; diseased organs are not available to harvest.

The kidneys, lungs, liver and heart are all options for harvesting, for use in other colonists or selling on the market. Their default market value is listed below, but in practice the actual buying/selling price is the market price modified by trading skills/etc.)

  • If unwilling to organ murder the donor, the best option is harvesting...
    • 1 Kidney worth Silver 250
    • 1 Lung worth Silver 400
...for a total of Silver 250 + Silver 400 = Silver 650.
  • Additionally, if a prosthetic heart is available...
    • +1 Heart (worth Silver 500) by installing a cheap prosthetic heart (- Silver 230) to replace the harvested one, allowing the patient to live.
...for a total of Silver 250 + Silver 400 + (Silver 500 - Silver 230) = Silver 920.

If your designated surgeon needs practice, you can also remove the tongue as well, though there is no organ market for used tongues. This counts as another "organ harvested" for mood penalties.

  • If willing to organ-murder the donor, you can harvest...
    • 1 kidney worth Silver 250
    • 1 lung worth Silver 400
...and then either..
  • 1 heart worth Silver 500
  • 1 liver worth Silver 500
These three organs are worth a total of Silver 250 + Silver 400 + (Silver 500 or Silver 500) = Silver 1150 market value.

If the heart or liver is damaged, the other can be harvested for the same value (Silver 500). If that is also unavailable, the second lung (Silver 400) or, if not that, then the second kidney (Silver 250) are the most profitable alternatives.

Harvesting the heart or liver (or a second kidney or lung) kills the patient, and no further operations are possible (but see next).

  • Optimally, if you can acquire a prosthetic heart (- Silver 230) to replace the harvested organic one, that allows the patient to live and you can continue with another operation, harvesting both the heart and then the liver (before the patient then dies), for a total of...
Silver 250 + Silver 500 + Silver 400 + (Silver 500 - Silver 230) = Silver 1420 market value, or 1650 if you crafted your own prosthetic heart (less your manufacturing costs/etc.).
Effect on moods

Most all colonists get a -6 for the procedure occurring, and stacking up to 5 times, although at a .25 multiplier (for a total -10 max). Note that this is per organ, not per victim patient. This does not occur when replacing an organ with an artificial one, nor from removing prosthetics. Psychopaths are immune to this, and those with bloodlust actually get a +4 boost to their mood.

The surgeon gets an additional -5 mood debuff for harvesting organs, unless they have the psychopath or bloodlust trait. This debuff also stacks 5 times, with a debuff multiplier of 0.75.

Note that cannibals feel normally about this; unless it's on the menu, it's probably a bad thing.

Also note that the patient receives a -30 mood penalty per organ removed, at 75% stacking, up to 5 times. Expect patients (that survive the procedure, ahem) to break, unless their environment can counter this penalty. Consider the melee skill of potential "donors", and consider adding additional doors and other security measures to their holding rooms against the inevitable.

Effect on Factions

Performing "harmful surgery on (a) member" of another faction will immediately hurt relations by -20 points. This is per prisoner, not per surgery.

Mitigation strategies

There are some approaches you can use to minimize or even negate the usual penalties, though some are rather convoluted.


It is possible to butcher human corpses without penalty for anyone if you send everybody who would be debuffed off the map (on a caravan) until all humans have been chopped up. You need a butcher who can butcher humanlikes without debuff (or else your butcher will take a severe mood penalty).

Colonists who are not on the map when a humanoid corpse is butchered do not receive the "we butchered humanlike" mood penalty. It is sufficient to put all colonists who are neither psychopath, bloodlusted nor cannibal on a temporary caravan (take no items), send them off the map to an adjacent tile and make the caravan rest immediately. Then have your psycho butchers chop up all the humans. Re-enter with the caravan when it is done. It is not necessary to take any prisoners off the map, as they do not receive the debuff in any case.

Alternatively, given the mood penalty is relatively low for human butchery, only -6, the penalty can just be accepted as the cost of doing this business. Some additional care can be taken to maintain mood levels through other means, such as providing additional recreation, psychic soothe pulsers, better meals, drugs or improved quality bed, dining and rec rooms. Diet too - just providing 1 lavish meal per day for each effected colonist for the 10 day duration is more then enough to counter the penalty. It is recommended to use a non-effected pawn to actually do the butchery though, as the penalties stack and -12 is a significant debuf.

That said, doing this can be quite profitable especially on higher difficulties where you get raided a lot.

Everybody will handle human meat without complaint, as long as they do not have to eat it in any form.

Storing human corpses for butchery will result in the Observed Corpse mood debuf, this can be prevented by hiding the corpses in shelves. See that page for details.

Human leather fetches a good price. It can also be used for furniture without penalty. Human meat can be sold, fed to carnivores, turned into kibble, or converted into chemfuel at the biofuel refinery.

Organ harvesting & slavery

The caravan shuffle does not work for organ harvesting or slavery; these transgressions are detected by colonists anywhere on the map. However, countering the debuff with the usual counter-boosts (better meals, higher quality rooms, selective drug use) is still a viable method.