Sea Ice Guide

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This guide details how to survive in the most hostile environment in RimWorld - sea ice. We focus on the Lost Tribe start because it is the hardest to thrive in hostile environments since you have more people to feed and less technology to help you.

The tribal start in sea ice is the ultimate survival challenge in RimWorld and very close to being impossible, therefore there is not much room for different strategies here, you have to stick closely to the guide.

This guide was made on version 1.0.2096 on Cassandra Merciless.

Introduction

Sea ice is one of the coldest option of maps. There is almost no animal life and no plants. In fact, you should not expect to find anything more than three snowhares in your start. You should also not expect to see more than one new snowhare every week.

In addition to that, they do not have any kind of soil available and moisture pumps will only generate more ice. It is literally impossible to grow anything on the ground. You will struggle a lot until you get a heater, a sun lamp and a hydroponics basin, then you can plant something indoors.

The worse part is that they do not have ruins, geothermal vents or minerals to mine. Also, deep drills do not work. There is literally nothing here to even build a base with. You will have to rely on trading, quests and random events to get any material to build a base.

Even on the warmest sea ice tiles, it is still really cold. The average varies from -20 °C (-4 °F) to -30 °C (-22 °F) and they never have growing periods due to the temperature. You still need to eventually make a freezer though, because the summer temperature can be hot enough to spoil your food. Expect to have problems with hypothermia during fall, winter, spring and during cold snaps in summers.

They are particularly bad to travel in caravans. They do not have roads and are always placed in the poles of the world, so they have a big penalty to caravan speed due to winter, which is most if not the whole year. But caravans are more important here than any other biome, so you will have to do it anyways whenever you can, because you do not have other options to get the resources your colony needs.

Landing site

Example good landing site. In sea ice, landing near faction bases is all that matters.

In all maps you should choose your landing site carefully to increases the resources available. Landing in the wrong spot not only makes your start harder, but also makes your mid-late game frustrating, as it severely limits you from using the whole caravan and quest system. Sea ice is always in bad locations, but there is one thing that makes some areas better:

  • Near a friendly faction base (faster trading)

Sea ices do not have roads or rivers, neither does ice sheet which is always next to you. All you can do is be near to a friendly faction base. Without trading it is already impossible to survive.

To make things better you should settle close to two faction bases. You will expand much faster in the mid-late game with help of two faction bases instead of just one.

Starting colonists

There are a few things to consider while selecting your colonists for sea ice:

  • Sea ice is so harsh that you will have to resort to cannibalism, slavery and organ harvesting, so you wanna have a crew that can endure that.
  • You can not feed five people, neither can you put them to sleep in cryptosleep and people are the only thing you got that is worth something. So, since you can only feed about two people you have to sell the other three. You will not use them in the beginning, but you might still meet them later on quests.

Needless to say, with so few people and such a stressed life you better pick people resistant to mental breaks.

Base planning

It is always better to plan your whole base right from the beginning.

The whole map is empty, save for a few water pools. The good news is that you can place your base right in the middle and make a very symmetrical base.

Regardless, remember that it will take a really long time to get the materials to make your base, so you will probably stay in only one of your planned rooms for years.

Example of base planning. Plan your whole base while you still got nothing built.

First agenda

  • Make your starter base with wood. Give people a place to sleep, eat and play.
  • Whenever you use wood to make campfires, either for cooking or heating up, make sure that after your wood is forbidden so they do not refuel it unnecessarily.
  • Hunt those snowhares before they leave the map.
  • Arrest your three merchandise colonists.
  • Sell your merchandise colonists and your starting animals.
  • Buy your survival items with the silver you got from selling your people and animals.
  • Make lightleather bedrolls.
  • Make your research bench and start researching complex clothing.

Notes

Hunt the bunnies and make a room to arrest people and go sell them.

Go visit your nearby friendly base to trade your merchandise colonists, your animals and some useless weapons. You should get something between 1500 and 2000 silver for three colonists and three animals in addition to your starting 200 silver.

Now you have to buy some food, clothes and materials. Since you can not carry all the materials you need, you need to come back to trade many times. Food should be the cheapest option available. Nutrient paste meals, insect meat, human meat and vegetables are the best options. Meat is more expensive but is better to cook it than buy fancy meals.

Clothes are just a little insulation to save you in the first season, the cheapest tuque is enough. After that, you need to either make your own clothes or strip clothes from raiders, even if it is tainted.

You need at least 25 steel to make your research bench and some wood to use for cooking. Try to build two research benches if you can, otherwise your other colonist will be very idle. Later, you will need more materials to actually build a base. First you want wood and steel because they are lighter, but later you want stone blocks which are cheaper and do not catch fire.

Base before the first trade.

BONUS: Buy a Muffalo

You need to keep one colonist at base researching, so trading will be really inefficient with just one colonist to carry stuff. There is one solution: a Muffalo.

It will more than triple your carry capacity and eventually give you milk and wool. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that a faction base will have a Muffalo for sale unless if you reload before your trade until they eventually have it. If you do not want to do this, you can keep three colonists with you and use two colonists for trading instead. But remember, a colonist eats more and carry less than a Muffalo, so it is really going to slow down your progress.

Base on first week.

Second agenda

  • Keep trading to get food whenever you need it.
  • Keep trading to get materials to make a base.
  • Harvest and sell the organs of anyone you get alive.
  • Butcher and eat the meat of anyone you get dead.
  • Make human leather bedrolls.
  • Make and sell human leather tribalwears.
  • Wear their tainted parkas and tuques if you got nothing better.

Notes

The first raid should arrive by the end of the first week. Try to have both colonists in your base when that happens, because you do not have any defenses yet.

Now the fun starts, you will harvest the organs, eat the meat and wear the skin of your enemies. If anyone tries to join your colony, you will sell or harvest him too because you can not afford more people now. People who you will harvest includes:

By butchering your enemies you will get food and leather, which you can make tribalwears and sell, but that is not enough. Everything you get is through trading, so you should also harvest and sell the organs of anyone you get alive before eating them. It is worth buying medicine just for that, you do not need to do this every time, but that is a lot of money and will greatly speed up your colony building.

BONUS: Summon Man In Black

Getting Man In Black to show up when you got so few people is really easy. Just set their 'Food Restriction' to 'Nothing' and wait until people collapse. Then use him to bring people back up.

Man In Black comes with good gear. You should strip his gear and sell him to slavery or harvest him.

Base on second week with MIB.

Third agenda

  • Buy guns.
  • Make all the quests you can, loot and butcher anything and anyone you see.
  • Buy cloth from your neighbors.
  • Once you done researching complex clothing, make parkas and tuques with cloth.
  • Make and sell human leather dusters.

Notes

Make sure to buy some decent guns since your researcher colonist will likely have to defend himself alone while your other colonist is outside trading. Fortunately, you are so poor that it is likely that even on the hardest difficult you will only face raids of one single melee enemy for the whole first year.

Once you have your colonists with parkas and tuques you should take every opportunity available to go to another map. Your trading colonist should always be either trading or doing quests. Do not forget to take a bedroll with him on quests. Quests that matter now includes:

You will have more things to care about here than you normally would. It is important that you butcher any animal you find and any raider you kill on the quest locations. You might find your previous colonists that you sold before on those quests. If your human leather clothes and organs business is doing well you can afford to bring one more person to your colony. Do not forget that you will have to buy more and more meals for each person you save. Anyone you do not like can be sold or harvested once you return home.

Lonely sea ice quest.

Your research is really slow, since you only got one person at home taking care of everything and doing research at the same time. So another thing to focus is furniture that you can carry home, since it is gonna take a while for you to be able to make them. Heaters, batteries and turrets are great things to bring back home. You do not have electricity yet, but once you do, you gonna have lots of things to plug in.

You better make sure you got good clothes before winter starts. It is about time you get rid of tainted tattered clothes and make your own. Go buy cloth and make some decent parkas and tuques with it. Most importantly, make and sell lots of human leather dusters because they are worth a lot.

Even in sea ice quests are quite profitable.

Fourth agenda

  • Research complex furniture.
  • Make beds.
  • Replace your walls with stone.
  • Replace the cloth parkas with better insulating parkas.

Notes

Winter makes caravans even worse than already is, despite that, you can never stop trading, neither can you stop doing quests.

Time to make improvements. If you got at least two rooms and all the workbenches you need you can start replacing your walls with stone so raiders will not try to set it on fire. Replace your bedrolls with beds. If you want, you can also make some comfortable human leather armchairs and human leather animal beds.

Try to replace your cloth(cold insulation 18) for bearskin(cold insulation 20), bluefur(cold insulation 20), foxfur(cold insulation 20), devilstrand(cold insulation 20), alpaca wool(cold insulation 22), synthread(cold insulation 22), wolfskin(cold insulation 24), muffalo wool(cold insulation 24), megasloth wool(cold insulation 26), hyperweave(cold insulation 26), chinchilla fur(cold insulation 30), heavy fur(cold insulation 30) or thrumbofur(cold insulation 34).

Your best bet is thrumbofur parkas with muffalo wool tuques. Thrumbo is the only animal guaranteed to show up in sea ice and you should already have a Muffalo with you for wool.

Base after a whole year.

Fifth agenda

  • Research electricity.
  • Set up defenses.
  • Set up power.
  • Make a kitchen.

Notes

Your second year will be just as hard as the first one. You still gotta harvest and eat your enemies while trading human leather dusters and organs for materials for your base.

You probably already learned to live from trading and quests by now and may add another colonist. You should not expect to finish electricity before the end of the second year. So unfortunately, your food will spoil in the second summer. You can try to keep the stocks low to avoid loses or turn your food into pemmican.

Now however, you got more people and you gotta set up some kind of defense because raiders will be more numerous. This place is wide open, you wanna make an enclosed environment where you can shot raiders from behind sandbags without getting outranged. In other words, you want a killbox. Once you finish electricity, you can finally use those turrets that you got from enemy outposts. If you could not bring any battery home from quests you will have to research them now.

When you are setting up power, keep in mind that solar generators will not work at all during winter in sea ice.

With electricity, you can finally make a electric stove so you may stop buying wood.

Basic defense.

Sixth agenda

Notes

Your third year will come with lots of improvements and you can finally start feeling like you are playing a normal map.

Your first priority after electricity is air conditioning so you may stop losing all your food on summers. Once you done researching it, make a freezer. That will even allow you to accept more people in your colony since now food lasts forever.

Then you wanna make the almighty nutrient paste dispenser. It frees your cooker to do other stuff, completely prevents food poisoning and reduces your food consumption by 40%. You may even buy another Muffalo now to speed up trading.

Then, to increase your trading opportunities you want a comms console. Any bulks good trade ship that shows up will be a blessing to your colony development.

BONUS: Buy Joywires

You might have noticed by now that your worse enemy is not the hunger or the raiders, but the mood penalties that come with harvesting and eating people. Still, you can not stop it, since without it you will lose your main source of food and your two main sources of silver which is human leather dusters and organs.

Now that you have a little extra silver, you can buy a solution which is the Joywire. Overall, in such a stressful colony this implant is well worth it. The drawbacks of the Joywire can later be offset with bionics.

Seventh agenda

  • Research hydroponics.
  • Make a greenhouse.
  • Research biofuel refining.
  • Research gun turrets.

Notes

You are on your fourth year and have yet to plant something, so you start wondering if you even need to plant anything at all.

A greenhouse will require a lot of power, which means you will have to defend a larger area to put extra wind turbines. You will also want to add a lot more batteries to store power at night so it may be used during the day. Make sure that your greenhouse is as small as possible to take less power and covered by double walls to increase insulation.

The greenhouse will allow you to stop buying food to survive and stop the cannibalism. Of course, it will also allow you to have more colonists. But first, you should plant some healroot so you can harvest organs without using good medicine. Also, plant smokeleaf and psychoid plant so you can make smokeleaf joints and psychite tea to reduce the overall stress in your colony. Then you may plant some food.

Without the cannibalism you may turn your human meat into chemfuel. Then you can use chemfuel powered generators during winter and solar generators during other seasons.

You are getting wealthy and the raiders know it. Eventually, the turrets you get from quests will not be enough, so you better research them so you can make more of them by yourself.

Eighth agenda

Notes

There is one last thing worth focusing in sea ice. The long-range mineral scanner.

The scanner works normally on sea ice and if you set a colonist to work on it full-time it can pick up locations of minerals faster than you can retrieve it. Which means you can endlessly make quests for minerals to greatly increase the amount of materials available for you to build your base.

However, you should keep in mind that minerals are heavy so you need lots of Muffalos to carry it. Like a whole 8 Muffalos and 6 colonists to mine Uranium. Which is why is better to make it after your greenhouse, because then you can support all the Muffalos you need.

Mining in sea ice.

Tenth year

Did your base turned out the way you expected? If your final base turned out like what you wanted from the beginning then you are good at planning.

Result of early base planning.