Victorian Gentlemen Adventurers in Rimworld

January 12, 2023 by Solar Cross

The Rimworld is a sci-fi setting with a curious clash of high technology with primitive barbarism. Club wielding neanderthals rub shoulders with bionically enhanced glitterworld explorers toting laser guns. A setting that may owe something to the Fallout universe.

There was a time in our own real history when this was also the case. A time when finely tailored men, highly literate in the sciences, armed with bolt action rifles would meet, trade and sometimes fight with naked animists armed with pointy sticks.

This time was the time of Victorian Britain. Victorian Britain was the fruition of several centuries of steady development in science and industry. Almost all at once, the steady development became a cascade of rapid technological development that birthed our own modern world today.

We might say our own modern, or even “post-modern”, times have this Rimworld flavour too. While I am typing this article on my personal computer for dissemination through my website Solar Cross Games there is someone, somewhere else, still hunting his lunch with a pointy stick.

Yet really, the Victorian times were far more like Rimworld than ours today. Today the pointy stick people are a rarity that barely exist but in Victorian times they were still the baseline normality of very much of the world.

It was a time of real adventure too. Victorians may have been the most advanced people on the earth but they were not so coddled and tamed as western people now. They could own a gun, buy a tea chest of opium and travel the world without a permission slip from the scolding nanny state.

The Victorian Ideology in Rimworld

The prevailing Victorian ideology was a fusion of Anglicism (of a less degenerate and effete form as that today) and an exultation in science and technology.

We can approximate the Victorian ideology in Rimworld using the Individualist, Proselytizer and Human Primacy memes.

You might also chuck in a mild form of male supremacy. Although it should be noted that while the Victorian world was very much run by manly mustachioed men, this was also the time and place that feminism started to get going.

Victorian Britain might look like a male supremacist society viewed through the warped lens of our post-modern degeneracy, but on the other hand it was a million miles from Islam in any century.

Arguably the most supreme position in Victorian Britain was that of the British monarch who was of course, eponymous to the period, Queen Victoria herself, a woman. That would never happen in Islam. So perhaps we can leave out the male supremacy, or at least keep it mild.

The precepts would be:

For roles, Human Primacy allows the production specialist in addition to the standard leader and moral guide roles. Just make sure to edit the dress requirements of leader and production specialist to bowler hat!

Since our Victorians are good at shooting but bad at melee, it will make sense to change the weapon pairs to melee despised / shooting noble.

If we change the preferred apparel to bowler hat, then all our starting pawns with the ideology will start with one! This is most important.

The Victorian Xenotype in Rimworld

Now we know how to make the victorian ideology, let us spare a thought for their physicality. I would go with the following genes: slow runner, weak melee damage, kind instinct, low libido, strong shooting and strong intellectual.

As Sting would sing, “a gentleman will walk, but never run”. A stately pace is the preference for the dignified Victorian gentlemen, consequently they would have the slow runner gene.

As the most advanced people on the face of the planet, the Victorians had the best guns, so they would tilt towards strong shooting but weak melee damage. Think Battle of Rourke’s Drift.

If it’s a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it’s a short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 caliber miracle.

Lieutenant John Chard
Alphonse de Neuville - The defence of Rorke's Drift 1879 - Google Art Project

Victorians were rather prudish about sex and so perhaps would have low libido.

The strong intellectual gene well represents the Victorian’s enormous scientific and technological prowess. They were the period of peak IQ for Brits and perhaps the world. Certainly Brits of today are shambling cretins in comparison. How far have we fallen?

Scenarios for Victorians

What follows are a variety of scenarios to try in Rimworld to replicate various adventures inspired by real and fictional Victorians using the ideology and xenotype illustrated above.

Dr Livingstone, I presume?

Dr Livingstone was a Victorian gentleman adventurer with a big heart. He sought fame as an explorer of Africa in order to use the acquired status to influence for the end of the brutal Arab-swahili slave trade.

If he were to land up in Rimworld no doubt he would want to put a principled stop not just to slavery but also other Rimworld norms like ideological blinding, human sacrifice and live organ harvesting too.

A trained physician and Christian missionary, Dr Livingstone would be best represented by the Rich Explorer scenario using the Victorian ideology and xenotype above. Roll for a character with high doctor, researcher and social skills.

Preaching from a Waggon (David Livingstone) by The London Missionary Society
Dr Livingstone preaching the gospel.

If you want to play the classic goody two-shoes Victorian on a civilizing mission in more primitive lands, then Dr Livingstone is your man.

Mr Kurtz’s Heart of Darkness

Mr Kurtz might be the near opposite of Dr Livingstone. A sociopath who exploits his technological superiority to make himself the object of worship by primitives. Admittedly Mr Kurtz was a fictional character rather than a historical one and not strictly a British Victorian even then.

The novel Heart of Darkness, in which Mr Kurtz is the chief antagonist, was however based on Joseph Conrad’s own real experiences in the Belgian Congo. Mr Kurtz represents the dark triad opposite of the eminently pro-social Dr Livingstone type.

Mr Kurtz was initially an ivory trader before promoting himself as a cult leader among the natives. Like Dr. Livingstone, he would be a Rich Explorer but he would have high shooting and animals skill. Perhaps also high social, it does takes some charisma to become a cult leader.

Rimworld would certainly be an interesting place for the glitterworld equivalent of a Mr Kurtz. Rimworld does not just have elephants to hunt, it also has megasloths as well as the rare and dangerous thrumbo!

If you roll psychopath or bloodlust for a trait, so much the better. Mr Kurtz would not presumably have the Victorian ideology described above. Ideologies with memes like Raider, Supremacist and even Cannibal would suit his character better.

Of course Mr Kurtz “went native”, so perhaps he could start with the Victorian ideology but let himself be converted to a local cannibal raider cult.

Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness

Big Game Hunter

A more generic and perhaps more benign version of Mr Kurtz above would be the Victorian big game hunter.

Hunting for food may be mankind’s oldest business but the new steamships and new guns of Victorian Britain created a new kind of hunting altogether. Instead of hunting local game for food, the wealthy Victorian gentlemen could travel the world to shoot exotic and dangerous animals for the sheer entertainment value of it.

This is certainly something we could replicate in Rimworld with a Victorian ideology, xenotype and the Rich Explorer scenario. Now go hunt some thrumbos!

Robinson Crusoe in Space

Robinson Crusoe is another fictional gentleman adventurer although his story is set centuries before the Victorian period. In those early days of mass exploration, ships were not as large or well powered as those of the Victorian era.

Shipwrecks were not so uncommon and so the Robinson Crusoe story was something of a fictionalisation of a real situation that many a seafaring Brit or European would face. Indeed Robinson Crusoe endures multiple shipwrecks.

It is a scenario that fits very well in the Rimworld. There is even a premade scenario, the Naked Brutality scenario, that is a perfect fit. Who will be your Man Friday?

Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday by Carl Offterdinger

Robinson Crusoe in Rimworld would be a Victorian xenotype having the Victorian ideology but with the Naked Brutality start. Make it a coastal tropical biome for that true castaway experience. At least the berries are safe to eat.

Roll his skills as you like, but this start does not favour the specialist. At least basic level food skills like cooking, animals and plants are highly desirable.

Earnest Shackleton / Captain Scott

By the Victorian period, centuries of world exploration had largely filled in all the corners of the map. The last remaining true unexplored wildernesses were the Arctic and Antarctic. It was to these blank parts of the map that the Shackletons and Scotts went to make their name.

Both were naval officers, so roll for shooting at least. Depending on how daring you want to be, you could pick any scenario out of Crash Landed, Rich Explorer or even Naked Brutality.

These are the men you want for seeing how the Victorians will make out on the Rimworld’s dreaded Ice Sheet biome, or at least the Tundra.

The Three Polar Stars, 1913 (8889621500)

Edmund Hillary

Another great Victorian explorer of the same quality as Shackelton and Scott but his bag was mountaineering and he made his name by being first to scale the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest.

Put him on a tundra mountain start I guess, although mountain climbing is not really a thing in Rimworld.

Hillary statue and Mount Cook

Dr Doolittle

Another fictional Victorian, Dr Doolittle is a gentleman physician with such a high animals skill, and firm belief in animal personhood, that he can literally talk to the animals.

Dr Doolittle’s victorian ideology should be modified to include the animal personhood meme instead of human primacy.

The challenge with Dr Doolittle is that, while he can tame any animal, he can not slaughter them to eat. Luckily in Rimworld, animals are useful in many more ways than as a source of food or skins.

They can be trained to guard, fight and haul things about, both around your base and as pack animals on the caravan map. Some can provide food products, like milk and eggs, without dying to your knife.

Needless to say, Dr Doolittle or companions, will want some plant skill alongside the animal skill for providing both animal feed and human feed.

Mad Scientists and Eccentric Inventors

Europe has had a trickle of science and technology going since the days of Aristotle, even the Dark Ages were not so very dark for that. In the Victorian period however the trickle became a flood.

The flood makers were almost invariably privately wealthy gentlemen either seeking a fortune with a new invention or satisfying a personal curiosity as a hobby.

It was quite a noticeable phenomena and it gave rise to many fictional reflections, notably Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Captain Nemo.

Naturally the artist does not reflect faithfully, for the laws of drama, preaching and prejudice trump fidelity for a good story. Less fictional mad scientists and eccentric inventors would be: Charles Darwin (evolution), George Stephenson (trains), Isambard Brunel (bridges and boats), Samuel Morse (telegraph), James Clerk Maxwell (electricity), Richard Owen (dinosaurs) and John Snow (germ theory of disease).

To recreate either the mad scientist or the eccentric inventor in Rimworld we can use the Victorian xenotype and ideology with the mechaniator scenario. Roll for intellectual.

Dinosaur Hunters and Tomb Raiders

Victorians were not just interested in creating a technological future they were also interested in digging up and understanding the past. This lead to many a gentleman adventurer going on expeditions for dinosaur bones and ancient artifacts.

Egyptology was a particularly popular craze among Victorians. The pyramids of Egypt being among the most physically impressive and oldest of preserves of the ancient days.

Rimworld has its own ancient tombs with hidden treasures, remnants of higher civilisation in the past. However Rimworld’s ancient tombs contain ancient dangers as well as valuable loot. The mummies there can even return to life!

A fun playthrough might be to have your Victorian gentleman adventurer take a Rich Explorer or Mechaniator start and specialise in tramping across Rimworld serially looting ancient dangers.

This will require a nomadic or semi-nomadic playstyle.

There we go, a full guide on how to recreate the high adventures of Victorian Britain in the Rimworld. Which will you try?

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