In real life I am a full blooded carnivore but just for fun I want to try a strict vegetarian diet for a Rimworld challenge run. We can set up this restriction in Rimworld with a faction ideoligion built around the Animal Personhood meme. This unlocks and requires precepts forbidding eating meat and killing animals.
Strict vegetarian cultures are rare on our own planet but of those few none are more admirable than the various cultures of India which produced such religions as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Jainists are the strictest of all vegetarians, eating only windfall fruit! In respect for people of this region of our world, I will base this custom faction on them.
To make a vegetarian faction in Rimworld we will mainly use the custom ideoligion mechanics but we can also use the xenotype editor and create a custom scenario.
What follows is my formulation of a Space Hindu faction for Rimworld.
The most important part of this faction build is the custom ideoligion, which I will be calling Masala.
Naturally, we will have a Hindu structure. After that we will select the key memes, animal personhood and nature primacy. Animal personhood is the meme that unlocks and requires the precepts that will punish us with mood penalties for eating meat and killing animals.
Nature primacy will unlock a plant specialist which will help us with agricultural productivity. It is not exactly mandatory but it makes sense to have it since we must rely more heavily on agriculture.
I will be doing this as a fixed custom ideoligion as this allows high impact memes like animal personhood from the get go. If you prefer to use the fluid custom ideoligion system then you could start with nature primacy and the add animal primacy and related precepts on your first reformation.
The most important thing for this challenge is to set up the precepts that will reward us for being vegetarian and punish us for eating meat. For this we will want the precepts: meat eating – abhorrent, slaughtering – prohibited and killing innocent animals – forbidden. These are unlocked and required by animal personhood.
For further flavour I suggest we max out all the peaceful / non-violent leaning precepts too. So we would also find horrible or abhorrent: autonomous weapons, execution, bloodfeeders, cannibalism and organ use.
Animal personhood also makes the animal connection precept mandatory.
Not shown in the screen shot is a drug policy set to medical and social only. This allows beer, smokeleaf and ambrosia but forbids the hard drugs like yaro and go-go juice. I believe our space hindus would be as health conscious as real world hindus.
We already mentioned that the nature primacy meme gives access to a plant specialist role. In addition, Animal personhood unlocks an animal specialist, even while disallowing eating meat. Of course in Rimworld animals have more uses than just as sources of meat and skins.
Animals can potentially help us haul stuff around and defend the colony. Pack animals help us carry more stuff on a caravan. Animals can also give us food and textiles without dying to the knife. Some animals can be shorn for wool, others yield milk and others eggs. As we shall see later under our food strategy, milk and eggs will be invaluable supplements to our vegetarian diet.
Even without butchering animals for meat, there will be plenty of value in an animal specialist.
I have added and edited rituals for gaining new colonists, gaining goodwill with neighbours, recharging psi-focus and attracting animals.
Rimworld is a rough place so our Space Hindus can not be completely pacifist. That said I feel that they would despise shooting weapons because of the chance of friendly fire. A big risk when we have bulky elephants fighting for us!
This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.Obi-Wan Kenobi
We will regret having to fight, but when we do fight we will do so up close and personal. As we do not hunt we have no need of shooting for that either.
We hold all animal life sacred but we have a special high regard for cows for giving us milk and the mighty elephant for his prowess as a pack animal, hauler of goods and fighter.
At the risk of sounding bigoted we will throw in some preferred xenotypes. The first, of course, will be our own custom xenotype detailed below. I feel that of the premade human variants in Rimworld both Genies and Highmates would be especially honoured by Space Hindus.
Highmates are incapable of violence, which we appreciate, and their blue skin reminds us of our own gods.
Genies, besides being excellent craftsmen, have the dead calm gene which our Dravindian xenotype will also have.
[Edit: It is better not to use multiple preferred xenotypes due to the funny way the mechanic works. Having a preferred xenotypes makes all other xenotypes disliked including any other preferred xenotypes. So having multiple preferred xenotypes just means everybody hates everybody even their ownselves. I am not sure if that is a bug or an intended feature but it makes having multiple preferred xenotypes totally pointless and a massive handicap.]
Preferred apparel will be headwraps and this is also the set for the required headgear for our specialist roles.
A custom xenotype is not strictly necessary for a strict vegetarian run.
If we are relying heavily on agriculture then it will make sense to settle a biome with high fertility and a year round growing period. Tropical biomes are our ideal climate for maximum agriculture.
If we are fixed on a particular biome then why not be physically as well as ideologically adapted to it? Tropical biomes are hot, with a risk of heatstroke and also high in disease risk. To adapt to this we will take the strong immunity and heat tolerant genes.
We will take strong plants to support our strong focus on agriculture. Dead calm is not exactly necessary but it fits and supports our emphasis on non-violence.
Ideally we want our metabolic efficiency within normal parameters and so we will have to take some negative traits too. Cold weakness is a problem free gene to take if we stick to the tropical biomes.
The other negative would be the slow runner gene. This is quite a strong negative especially in the tropical biomes where movement is already slowed by vines.
However the agricultural lifestyle is a sedentary one and if we are smart about how we arrange our farms then we can keep walking to a minimum. More about that in the food strategy section below.
This particular combination of genes makes for a metabolic efficiency exactly the same a baseliner.
The final thing we might tweak for this custom faction is the scenario. We could just pick a Lost Tribe scenario. A lost tribe starts with less technology and a research penalty but does have the advantage of a few extra pawns and animals.
These extra bodies are valuable for making a strong religious focus. Conversion is very slow without a priest specialist and a priest specialist needs the colony to have at least three believers.
The crash landed scenario starts with three but it only takes one casualty to get bumped out of that. The five starting pawns of a lost tribe grants some redundancy.
I will tweak the lost tribe start by replacing their pemmican with berries (pemmican must be made with meat) and replacing all their weapons with wooden clubs. We despise shooting. Otherwise it will be exactly as the standard Lost Tribe start.
We already know that we want a tropical biome for the fertility and year round growing season. From there we could look at either forest or swamp. Forest will be better for our melee focused fighters for the cover it provides.
Swamp has higher fertility than forest but also reduces movement speeds still more and reduces the area available to agriculture.
I fancy a nice fat river to be our own sacred river Ganges. Since we can not slaughter animals without getting bummed out, we have a problem with disposing with animal corpses. It would be a pain to bury them all. Instead we can create a dumping stockpile for corpses in the river where they will rapidly deteriorate.
A road would be nice for faster caravans, although I expect we will be quite self-sufficient in terms of trade and not raid at all.
A flat, rather than hilly, tile will give us more room for agriculture but also reduce access to stone and other mining resources. Nevermind we can use my semi-nomadic strategy to set up temporary mining camps on other tiles when it comes to that. See my guide on wild cat mining in Rimworld here.
The only other thing is to be situated far from polluted tiles.
A limitation with a strict vegetarian diet in Rimworld, just like our world, is we will have low access to the “nutrition type: protein”. This nutrition type usually comes from raw foods classed as “meat”, but it does also come from a few raw foods classed as “animal products”. These would be milk and eggs.
For regular meals this is no issue apparently. However this has a great impact on three important prepared foods: kibble, survival rations and most fatally on pemmican.
All three of these processed long life foods require “nutrition type: protein” and well as “nutrition type: greens” to make. If we use meat for that component then these products will contain the warning “contains meat” and our vegetarian colonists will not like it.
We can use animal products, milk and eggs, as a meat substitute to create both kibble and survival rations but not pemmican. Of course the kibble will ideally only be eaten by our animals and they are not fussy about meat content. However we still have to slaughter an animal to use meat in kibble and that too is forbidden to us.
It is extremely annoying to not be able to make meat-free pemmican, especially for a tribal start. The alternative travel food, survival rations, which can be made vegetarian with eggs and milk, is a long way down the tech tree for a tribal.
If we do not travel much, nor far, and stick to tropical zones where we have year round forage and no winter shortages then this lack of long life food is manageable.
Most playthroughs tend to a centralised food production model. Food comes in from pens and fields to be processed in one kitchen, stored in one pantry and eaten in one dining room.
There is not necessarily anything wrong with this but our Space Hindus are all good at plants (from their xenotype), must get their food from fields and are not that quick when walking. It might suit then to have a more decentralised production.
Most, and perhaps all, pawns will grow their own food for their own kitchen and dining room at their own personal residence. This will save on walking and make use of our widespread agricultural skills. It will also allow us to make the most of the map’s fertility hotspots.
Even many of our more specialised trades, such as doctors and tailors will grow their own food along with growing cotton and healroot.
A rich source of textiles, leather and furs, will be largely unavailable to us. To make up the slack we will have to grow extra cotton and make more use of wool producing animals like alapaca.
The tropical biomes have a fair number of animals that make decent fighters. Panthers are fast, cobras are poisonous and elephants are tanky. Our chief tamer, boosted by the animal specialist role, should be able to reliably tame even the more formidable of these beasts.
Our own colonists, at least the ones faithful to Masala, will tend to be melee fighters too. Heavy forest biomes offer some cover against ranged fighters but we can also create structures I will call pallisades.
See the picture above for a plan of a minimalist pallisade. Each square represents a wall element. Our melee fighters, can duck into, advance and retreat though these structures to deny enemy shooters line of sight, forcing them into close quarters.
Extra layers can be added to provide more cover. They would be dotted around our settlement, as required.
There it is, my conception of a Space Hindu faction for winning at a strict vegetarian challenge in Rimworld. What would you do differently?
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