RimWorld Creative Rewards Guidelines

When you create content for RimWorld, you are creating first-class content. This means that whatever you make won’t be an unimportant throwaway in a corner somewhere - players will interact directly with your content for tens of hours at a time. Your descriptions will be translated into other languages, and stories will be invented based off them.

Sounds great, right? Well, this also means we have to set a really high and consistent standard for this content, because it’s really important. This document describes that standard.

When you submit content, it’ll get checked by moderators. If it doesn’t fit into the game, you’ll get an email saying so and a chance to try again. But if you never submit anything that fits, you’ll never get anything in the game. Nobody is guaranteed to have their content in the game, even if they paid to back the game at the appropriate level.

We’re totally ready to take questions and clarify things. If you’re got a question, head to the creative rewards forum.

Pirate backers (creating names only) only need to read the first section. For info about the fictional universe of RimWorld, see the RimWorld universe quick primer.

Pirate Tier - Names

1. Names general info

Names are composed of three words:

The first and last name are shown in menus, while the short form is visually attached to the character in the world. The short form should usually be the same as the first or last name. If it’s different, it’s shown in the menus separately from the first and last names like a nickname.

Real names are best! All real birth names will be acceptable. In this case, the short form will be the same as either the first or last name most of the time, or will be a common shortening of it (like Joseph having Joe as a short form). I encourage you to go this route! If you do, there will be no problems, and you can stop reading here.

If you want something different, like treating the short form as a nickname, you’ll have to be careful not to submit anything too jarring.

Make your content interesting, but do not grasp for attention. Please do not send us content that is over-the-top badass, super fantasy-like, or anything else that would require a double-take in a space western game. Remember that your character is not the hero - they’re part of an ensemble cast. The easy way to think about this is: Would the name fit in as a crew member on the TV show Firefly?

Other key rules:

Name examples:

Mercenary Tier - Backstories

Pirate tier players can stop reading here; the rest only applies to Mercenary tier and above.

2. Backstories basics

Mercenary backers will write:

Don’t write a generic background, and don’t just write yourself uneditied. It’s fine to use your life as inspiration, but find an interesting way to interpret yourself into the RW universe. Invent interesting, specific details - a profession, a strange childhood talent, connections to a organization. Here are some ideas for former jobs to give your character.

For examples of backstories that we’ve written which follow these guidelines, check the RimWorld wiki backstories page. All our backstories are interchangeable, so any childhood can match with any adulthood. However, your backstories can come as a pair.

All backstories must be for humans as the game does not support other species/xenohumans/transanimals. All content must be in English (though it’ll likely get translated later).

Optional: When writing your backstory, you can replace the character’s name and related pronouns with special codes. Based on the final gender, the game will resolve these back during play. This is especially important if the character can spawn as either gender.The replacements are:

3. You’re not making a character, you’re making backstories

Your character will be modified by the game. They’ll be wounded, losing limbs and capacities. Or they’ll be enhanced by augmentations. They’ll age, and may start at various ages. The player may train their skills in anything. As the game develops, the character will be modified even more by game systems we haven’t even thought of yet.

All this means is that you’re not creating a character as you might normally imagine - you’re creating background “pieces” for a character, which can be mixed and matched with other character elements to create the evolving person in the game.

If RimWorld were a pen-and-paper RPG, you wouldn’t be rolling up a new hero. You’d be writing backstories that actual players choose between while creating their characters.

This means that a character background cannot fixedly say anything about who the character is now.

For examples of backstories that work this way, you can look at the standard backstories in the wiki.

4. Fictional seamlessness

All content must fit seamlessly into the RimWorld universe. The universe is very broad, but it still follows some basic rules. For info on the universe, please see the RimWorld universe quick primer.

It can never be obvious that someone wrote the content based on something in the real world. Such obviousness would jar players out of the game, which is not okay.

Don’t just describe your life. Add some flair - an interesting job, a criminal past, a strange ambition - something to give your character an interesting (but no ridiculous twist).

Here are some ideas to get you started.

As with the names, do not grasp for attention. Make your character a butcher, a soldier, or a politician - but not a mad famous murderer-butcher, a perfect super-soldier from the future, or the ex-president of an entire star system. Your character is not the hero - they are part of an ensemble cast. (this rule is relaxed a tiny bit for Pirate Kings ).

No swearing, inappropriate, or gratuitous content is allowed.

5. Spelling, grammar, style

Spelling and grammar must be correct and not deviate radically from the normal Ludeon style.

This is harder than you might think - especially the style part. The normal Ludeon style uses short, simple words and straightforward declarative sentences. Avoid adjectives and adverbs, and try not to use more than one piece of punctuation in a sentence.

Examples:

If you make minor mistakes, we’ll correct them during the moderation process while keeping your meaning intact. We may rearrange words, change punctuation, or remove unnecessary words to match the Ludeon style. If any of our edits bother you feel free to email me at tynan.sylvester@gmail.com and I can correct the situation.

If we can’t understand you or you don’t fit the style in a more drastic way, we’ll send the content back.

6. Length

7. Skill offset balance

Mercenary tier and up get to set skill offsets for their characters. All skills default to 3 - your skill offsets will be added to this amount to get the skill the character starts with in the game. If you set the offset at -2 Mining, the character will spawn with 1 Mining skill. If you set their Mining offset to +4, he’ll spawn with 7 Mining skill.

These skill offsets must be balanced. Background can be better or worse, but there are limits to how good or bad they can be before they start unbalancing the game. Try to stick to these general guidelines, and leave room for players to develop the character.

Work disables are classes of work that your character can never do. You can set any number of these (except disabling every type of work). People can be unable to do work due to culture (a noble unwilling to farm a field), phobias, or implied intellectual quirks (a medieval slave cannot do research).

These balance limits are relaxed 10-20% in the case of Pirate Kings.

Not every background needs to be beneficial. I encourage you to consider making a scarred character, or someone with weaknesses in their background. It makes stories interesting when characters vary this way.

8. When to end it

There’s no need to state how the character ended up on the rimworld or on the ship that crashed there. Focus on the character backstory, not the inciting incident. Let the player interpret how the character ended up at the colony.

9. Skills and work disable tags

These are the skills in RimWorld. The game is unfinished, so the last four skills do nothing right now. All of the skills will gain new meaning and be used for new things as the game develops. For example in version 232 of the game, research skills are only used for researching at a bench. In the future, they might also be used for researching artifacts found in the field.

These are the work tags in the game so far. These are what you choose from when you set your work disables (which determines certain activities that the character will never do). The tags each correspond to a certain set of activities a characters can do. These aren’t the same as the skills because skills can influence multiple activities. Doing it this way also lets us expand the game in the future - as new activities are added, they’ll be assigned to existing work tags, which will work automatically.