Children

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Children are added by the Biotech DLC. They are smaller, slower, and less capable of work when compared to adult pawns, but gain skills as they age.

Acquisition[edit]

  • Having a baby age up to 3 or beyond.
  • Purchasing them from slavers.
  • Most quests and events where an adult colonist would join.

Note that raids will not have children, unless you enable it in the storyteller settings.

Summary[edit]

Children are human pawns from 3 to 13 years old. Younger pawns are babies. Older pawns, between 13 and 18, are teenagers - considered adults for most purposes.

Children have important growth moments at ages 7, 10, and 13. These give the pawn access to new work types, as well as the choice of traits and passions. Giving a child access to Learning increases the possible choices. See #Development for more details.

Age[edit]

Age is measured both biologically and chronologically. Biological age represents how far a pawn has grown physically and mentally. Chronological age represents how long a pawn has existed since their birth; their "true" age, so to say. Since chronological age has no direct gameplay effects, all listed ages are in biological years unless stated otherwise.

By default, children biologically age at 400% speed. Upon reaching 11, their aging will linearly slow from the child aging rate until they reach 20, where they'll age at the adult aging rate, or 100% by default. Their aging can be altered by changing the storyteller settings.

At the default aging rates, it takes about 3.30 years (~198 days) for a child to grow from birth to age 13, and about 5.38 years (~323 days) to go from birth to age 18. In total, a child takes about 6.91 years (415 days) to go from birth to age 20, of which 2.75 years (165 days) is from birth to age 11.

Growth vats can be used to very quickly age pawns up to age 18, after which they will get forcefully ejected. A pawn in a growth vat will age at a constant 20x speed, unaffected by any other aging factors except for the Growth Vat Occupant Speed statContent added by the Ideology DLC, as long as it has access to power and nutrition. However, if used to speed up the "Child" stage (ages 3-13), then the vat will impact the child's Development. Conversely, the ageless gene will linearly slow aging from 13 until stopping entirely at 18.5. Growth vats ignore the ageless gene.

For more explanation of aging rate, see #Aging.

Capabilities[edit]

Children as young as 3 can wield weapons and are valid for any non-reproductive surgery, including organ harvesting. However, children are limited to child-sized clothing like the kid pants and kid parka, and can only do certain types of work. They receive penalties to Global Work Speed, Move Speed, and more, scaling with age. Due to their body size, they have less health, can store less nutrition, and receive stronger effects from drugs. Children are also vulnerable to the Fleeing Fire mental break when seeing fire. Instead of Recreation, children have Learning, which gives them more options for each growth moment.

Teenagers wear adult clothing, have access to all work, lose their Learning need, and won't flee fire without Pyrophobia. However, they can only reproduce once they reach 16. And, teens retain a small penalty to work speed and body size until they reach 18, where they become full adults and all penalties are removed.

See Stats for a full breakdown of stat penalties.

Noncombatants[edit]

Luckily, children (until 13) do not always have to participate in combat. Children who are unarmed and have not been drafted in 24 hours are very low priority targets for enemies.[Verify mechanic] Adult colonists will virtually always be targeted over a noncombatant. If children aren't in the line of sight of enemy fighters, they won't be hunted down during an attack.

However, children are still able to be targeted. This is in contrast to pen animals, who enemies will never attack intentionally. If a raider has no other targets available, a "noncombatant" child will be attacked. Hungry predators have no regard for this mechanic, and will target your children if they are nearby. In any case, a child in the way of a firefight can be hit by stray shots and friendly fire.

Mood[edit]

Children receive a moodlet for simply being young: at age 3, +16 Childlike joy, at age 6, +12 Childlike wonder, age 8, +8 Childlike enthusiasm, and at age 10, +4 Childlike confidence, finally lost at age 13. Children are happy when their parents are happy (+6 for each parent), and parents are happy when their children are (also +6 for each child). Other than that, most regular moodlets apply to them.

Adult colonists receive a +2 Happy youngsters for each child colonist with 60 mood or higher, stacking up to +6. They will receive a -2 mood for each child colonist with 35 mood or less, stacking up to -6. Most receive a −6 moodlet for killing an innocent child.

Development[edit]

Learning[edit]

Children have a Learning need, which replaces Recreation. Children scheduled to do Anything or Recreation will satisfy their Learning need. Not only does a fulfilled Learning give mood buffs, analogous to Recreation at the same level, but it can also increase their growth score.

Specifically, when the schedule allows it, children will try to begin a Learning task if their Learning need is currently below 90%, their mood is above any mental break threshold, and their Food and Sleep needs are above 40%. (Some of those conditions seem to be recalculated only once per hour.) Once begun, they will continue the Learning task until either Learning reaches 100%, or they get interrupted (by needing to eat or sleep, or being drafted, or the Learning type becoming invalid—e.g., for work watching, if all adults have stopped doing any watchable work types). After an interruption, if their Learning is below 90%, they'll resume doing a learning task, but if it's above 90%, they won't—instead doing work or idling, until it drops below 90% again.

Thus, a perfectly educated child, who is always ready to begin a learning task when Learning drops to 90%, and never gets interrupted, will have Learning oscillate between 90% and 100%, averaging 95%. This gives a margin for error with respect to the maximum growth tier goal of "average Learning ≥ 90%".

Learning Tasks[edit]

At any one point, Learning will consist of 1 or 2 of the following tasks, which may not always be possible:

  • Floor drawing: Children draw pictures on the floor in various places. This does not require any additional supplies and can occur on anywhere within or near home area. The drawings can be cleaned up the same way as any other dirt. Unlike other types of filth, however, it does not have any effect on beauty.
  • Lessons: The child(ren) sit together at a school desk. If an adult is present, they will instruct the children in a random, currently usable skill (e.g., when age 4 this can be Shooting, Melee, or Social), increasing the child's respective skill level. The speed at which the child learns can be increased by up to 60% by adding up to 3 blackboards near the school desks at which the lesson takes place. It also trains the adult's Social skill.
    • Teaching lessons improves the child's opinion of the adult, for +8 Taught me a skill. The adult will additionally raise their opinion of the child: +4 Listened to my lesson.
  • Nature running: Children run around outside, similar to the adult "Going for a walk" activity. Care must be taken as nearby predator hunt or potential raid can occur near them, as they tend to run outside the safe zone near the edge. Children can ignore allowed areas while "running", but will quickly go back.
  • Radio talking: Chat with people over the radio, which requires a powered comms console. Children will stop radio talking if the comms console is used for other purposes, such as trading with a trade ship or contacting another faction.
  • Sky dreaming: Children lay on the ground and watch the sky, much like adults that are cloud watching.
  • Work watching: Children that are work watching will follow an adult, who does standard work, and slowly gain the corresponding skill (e.g. Plants when watching plant work). Children will only watch work types that use a skill they can use themselves (e.g. children under 7 will only watch Social work, such as childcare and wardening; they do watch wardening even though they can't perform it until age 10). Children gain skill even when watching the unskilled parts of skilled work (e.g. they gain Crafting skill when watching stonecutting and Medical skill when watching a doctor feed patients).

Growth score[edit]

Each day, children will raise their growth score (shown at the bottom of the screen when a child is selected) proportionate to their Learning need. Growth points are not gained when the Learning need is frozen, such as in a growth vat or cryptosleep casket.

The growth score can pass through 8 tiers of learning, and each will grant more rewards during a child's growth moment. Tiers give you more flexibility in choosing a child's next trait and gives more passions. Once a growth moment has passed, the child's growth tiers will reset to 0, and you'll need to keep them learning to gain more rewards. A child with constantly fully-satisfied Learning need would achieve a hypothetical maximum of 180 growth points, but 162 is the highest value displayed.

Growth point gain is directly proportional to the time spent between growth moments, so that average Learning for each growth tier remains constant. Under the default settings, children from 3-7 gain up to 3 growth points per day, and children from 7-10 and 10-13 gain 4 growth points per day. Changing the child aging rate in storyteller settings adjusts the growth point gain accordingly. Changes to Global Learning Factor, such as Fast learner, have no impact on growth points or the Learning need.

The preceptContent added by the Ideology DLC Child Labor: Disapproved increases Learning gain by 20%. It doesn't directly improve growth point gain, but makes it easier to keep the Learning need high.

Note that the displayed growth points are always rounded down to avoid confusion regarding thresholds.

Growth Tiers and Rewards
Tier Points Traits Passion Min Av Learning
0 0 1 from 1 options - -
1 30 1 from 2 options - 17%
2 55 1 from 3 options - 31%
3 80 1 from 4 options - 44%
4 100 1 from 4 options 1 from 1 options 56%
5 120 1 from 4 options 1 from 2 options 67%
6 135 1 from 4 options 1 from 3 options 75%
7 150 1 from 4 options 2 from 4 options 83%
8 162 1 from 6 options 3 from 6 options 90%

Growth moments[edit]

Babies become children at 3, and children experience growth moments at 7, 10, and 13, allowing them to gain traits and passions. When a child hits the biological age for a growth moment, a notification will pop up that lets you pick new traits and passions. The selection of traits and skills is randomized,[Genes/incomp. traits?] and the number of options is increased by the growth tier. When at least two traits are offered, one trait option may be replaced with the option to select no trait. This option if offered randomly[When/How often?] and can be selected if no trait is preferable to the traits offered. Only one passion can be added to a skill at a time, but passions are additive - selecting the same skill in two growth moments will result in a double passion. You can choose their traits/passions within 48 hours of the birthday, and view their bio/health from the selection screen.

During a growth moment, your child may randomly receive a new nickname, such as John Doe gaining the nickname Johnny (becoming John 'Johnny' Doe). Like other colonists, you can always change their nickname from their bio.

Capable work types
Age Firefight Patient Doctor Bed Rest Childcare Basic Warden Handle Cook Hunt Construct Grow Mine Plant Cut Smith Tailor Art Craft Haul Clean Research
3 Ex.png Check.png Ex.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Check.png Check.png Ex.png
7 Check.png Check.png Ex.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Ex.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Ex.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Ex.png Check.png Ex.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Ex.png
10 Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Ex.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Ex.png
13 Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png
Learnable skills
Age Shooting Melee Construction Mining Cooking Plants Animals Crafting Artistic Medical Social Intellectual
3 Check.png Check.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Ex.png Check.png Ex.png
7 Check.png Check.png Ex.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Ex.png Ex.png Check.png Ex.png
10 Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Ex.png
13 Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png Check.png

Age 3[edit]

At 3, your baby transitions to childhood and additionally undergoes a growth moment. Now that your pawn is a child, they can walk and talk, wear clothes, and do basic activities. Their Play need is also replaced with a new Learning need. Because babies haven't learned anything yet, this "growth moment" does not come with traits or passions.

On their birthday, you will receive up to 2 notifications. The first is "Growth moment for <Pawn>", which may include a new nickname for your child that you'll have 48 hours to change. Both of these decisions can be postponed until their deadlines.

 Baby <BABY NAME> has grown up and become a child! (S)He is now old enough to do the following work: <LIMITED WORK> Children do various type of work. As they get older, they become able to do more work types. They also do various child-specific recreational activities. Children need to wear specific child-size apparel. 

With IdeologyContent added by the Ideology DLC, you'll get a second notification, "<Pawn> became a child". The child will now follow one of the ideoligions your colonists currently believe in. This seems to be chosen at random, and does not have to be the ideoligion of their relatives or friends. In addition, you'll have 12 hours to decide whenever to make the child a colonist or a slave.

 <BABY NAME> has decided to become a follower of the ideoligion <MAJOR COLONY IDEOLIGION>. By tradition <BABY NAME>, born to <MOTHER NAME> of <COLONY> (and) <FATHER NAME> of <COLONY> / unknown parents, is a colonist/tribesman, but exceptions can be made... Should <BABY NAME> remain a colonist/tribesman? 

Children and their caretakers maintain any social opinion modifiers that arose during infancy, but these wear off over time. They immediately become aware of any pawns on the map that they hadn't met while babies, and gain the normal opinion modifiers for every pawn, like those based on beauty, traits, and ideoligion.

3-year-olds gain the Childhood background Child: The story of [their] childhood is still being written. They also gain the ability to learn the shooting, melee, and social skills, although they start with 0 experience in them. If you started as a New Tribe, then children will gain the Natural meditation focus.Content added by the Royalty DLC

Age 7 & 10[edit]

Ages 7 and 10 are ordinary growth moments. Your child will gain a selection of passions and traits, with available choices corresponding to the Learning need. They will remain a child after either age threshold, but will gain access to more work types in the process.

Age 13[edit]

When a child turns 13, you will receive the notification: "Child" became an adult. They are not full adults yet, but are now considered adults (or teenagers) throughout the game, and have access to all work types.

They wear adult clothing, dropping their too-small child's clothes if wearing any. Their Learning need is immediately replaced by Recreation, removing any mood effects from learning. In addition, they finally lose their +4 Childlike confidence' moodlet. Drug dependency genes take effect at this age, as if they last took the drug on their birthday. They also have a chance to gain a sexuality trait, separate from the growth moment trait choice (if they receive none, they will be considered heterosexual). Some kids get special changes upon turning 13.

Children will receive the childhood background of Tribal Child or Colony Child, dependent on if you started as a New Tribe or as New Arrivals. Alternatively, they will receive Vatgrown Child if they spent enough time in a growth vat - this removes the Natural meditation focus, if it was present. Their adult backstory will be set to Tribe Member or Colonist, respectively.

Stats[edit]

Children and teens have various penalties to speed and effectiveness. Specifically, they have a multiplier to the following stats: Move Speed, Aiming Time & Melee Hit Chance (thus, DPS), Arrest Success Chance, Global Work Speed, Market Value, and Body Size. Each trait is affected differently by age: Global Work Speed rises steadily until adulthood, whereas Move Speed changes in jolts by life stage.

Note. The melee hit chance multiplier is applied not to the hit chance itself, but to the bonuses and penalties imposed on it. That is, a 3-year-old child will have ~ 50% +-5% chance of hitting both having the maximum skill level + Go-juice, and having severe traumas that reduce work and vision to 0%.

Aiming Time Multiplier by Age
Melee Hit Chance Multiplier by Age
Arrest Success Chance Multiplier by Age
Global Work Speed Multiplier by Age

The preceptContent added by the Ideology DLC Child Labor: Encouraged increases Global Work Speed by +20% until 13.

Move speed[edit]

Age 0-2 3-9 9-13 13-18 >18
Speed Factor x0.2[1] x0.75 x0.85 x0.95 x1
  1. As defined in the game defs, however in practice not applicable due to babies being unable to move.

Market value[edit]

Age 0-2 3-9 9-13 >13
Value Factor x0.5 x0.9 x0.95 x1

Body size[edit]

Certain traits are indirectly affected due to a child's smaller body size. These include health, drug effectiveness, Carrying Capacity, Meat Amount / Leather Amount, and nutrition capacity. Stats that don't differ for teenagers include food consumption, Maximum/Minimum comfortable temperatures, and Filth rate. Note that teenagers also have a 1.25 multiplier on maximum nutrition, which offsets the 0.8 multiplier from their reduced body size, resulting in the same nutrition capacity as an adult.

Age 0-2 3-8 9-13 13-18 >18
Size Factor x0.2 x0.35 x0.58 x0.8 x1

Aging[edit]

Aging starts to linearly slow from biological age 11 to 20. Assuming that the adult aging rate is 100%, the deviation in biological age and chronological age is displayed in the below chart.

Child age over time

Increasing the growth rate lowers a pawn's chronological age at any given biological age. For example, at 200% aging, it takes ~10 years to reach age 18, and at 400% aging, it takes ~5.4 years (assuming 100% adult aging speed).

A pawn with the ageless gene will linearly age slower after 13, before coming to a complete halt at 18. With this gene and the default rates, a pawn will take ~6.5 years (~390 days) between ages 13 and 17, then a further 20 years to reach age 17.999. They should never actually reach age 18, but due to round-off error, will likely reach it at some point. If reaching 18 is desired, then a growth vat can be used to ignore this gene.

The fastest a pawn can age is in a growth vat from birth with the Growth vats: Essential preceptContent added by the Ideology DLC, where they reach adulthood in only ~40.5 days, after which they will age according to the set aging rate. Note that these values won't be accurate if a pawn has the ageless gene, spends time both in and out of growth vats, or the aging rates are altered in the storyteller settings mid-gameplay.

Wearable clothing[edit]

Being much smaller than adults, children can only wear a limited selection of clothing, mostly consisting of headwear:

Ideoligion[edit]

Babies have no ideoligion of their own, however when a baby becomes a child at age 3, an ideoligion is assigned to the child based on a weighted random selection.

These weights are assigned to the ideoligions of the pawns that interact with the baby. For the purposes of this calculation, this is specifically:

  • +0.5 for any social interaction.
  • +1.0 for carrying the baby for one hour.
  • +1.0 for breastfeeding the baby for one hour.
  • +1.0 for feeding the baby baby food for one hour.

These interactions are remembered forever until the baby transitions into a child.

As with all weighted selections, the more that pawns from a given ideoligion interact with the baby, the more likely the baby is to choose that ideoligion, however ultimately there is always a chance selects any ideoligion to which it was exposed.

Analysis[edit]

When raised naturally and with lots of Learning time, children can very easily become powerful colonists. With the ability to choose from up to 6 traits per growth moment, the likelihood for at least one "great" trait, like Jogger, Industrious, or Quick sleeper, per growth moment is significant. A child is very likely to have multiple good traits by the time they become a teen. Passion choice is also excellent - burning passions in any desired field are quite common. Needless to say, it'd be very rare for a randomly generated adult to match a colony raised child.

Child rearing mainly comes at a cost of time, with slightly more than 2.5 years spent in the child stage on default Child Aging Rate settings. However, time is not equal to work. Once they reach age 3, children do not actually require much adult supervision to raise optimally. Five of the six Learning types don't even involve an adult dedicating time to Childcare. The one type that is improved by an adult being present—Lesson learning—can be done perfectly fine without one. Children gain Learning at the same rate, but having adults present will increase their skill experience (as well as increasing opinion between child and teacher). Set an allowed area so that they won't wander too far from your base, and children will develop almost entirely without interaction from either colonists or the player. The only actual burden of raising children, is food.

To fulfill all possible Learning types, you'll need a comms console, a school desk with 3 blackboards, and a means to go outside. In practice, you can skip out on 1-2 types, and still have 100% Learning. These requirements can make it somewhat hard for starting children (especially for New Tribes) to get the maximum bonuses, though it is trivial for any midgame colony to handle. Older children that join your colony will be comparatively worse off.

Baby stage[edit]

As opposed to the proper child stage, the baby stage, which lasts for 45 days (3/4ths of a year), requires a notably higher amount of colonist labor. Feeding babies takes a surprisingly long time, especially if breastfed. The base duration of feeding a baby from empty is 5,000 ticks (2 in-game hours), and babies need to be fed roughly twice a day. Between this and caring for her own needs, a mother tasked with caring for her baby can spend over half her waking hours, every day, for those 45 days. On the plus side, feeding and playing with babies can be done by children as young as age 3.

Growth vats can be used to skip the baby stage, at the cost of nutrition and a slight mood penalty to parents. Babies don't learn, so this comes at no cost to a child's development.

Vats[edit]

Growth vats can turn children into working machines. It still takes a long time to grow a person - 9 days for the embryo to be born in vat, another 39 days to reach age 13, and then a further 15 days to reach 18 (if desired), for a total of 63 days from embryo to 18 (~ 52.6 days with a pro-vat ideoligionContent added by the Ideology DLC). In the meantime, the vat consumes a lot of food. Growing an embryo requires a total of 54 nutrition - 60 simple meals, or 4 colonists of food for 9 days - while a pregant mother would consume an extra 30% nutrition for 18 days. Growing the child thereafter requires 2 colonist's of nutrition per day. Unlike with most colonists, you can use undesirable foods like human meat and kibble with no penalty.

Vatgrown pawns have 0 passions, barely any skills, and 3 random traits. Despite this, extra bodies can always be useful for tasks like Hauling and Cleaning, or fighting in general. While any wanderer or captured raider is likely to be better, all three storytellers have a population intent. As you have more people, it becomes harder to recruit more colonists. Children ignore this mechanic entirely. Therefore, growing children becomes more viable for larger colonies.

Gene modding can make vatgrown children much more powerful. For example, the Great Shooting gene provides 8 Shooting skill, added on top of the pawn's "true" skill level, and a passion. If planted immediately after birth, the extra passion will nearly triple the Shooting skill bonuses from the vat. This can provide late-game colonies with a functionally infinite supply of soldiers, ignoring the game's natural population curve, and limited only by food production (and possibly lag).

Note that using vats to speed up the baby stage (0-3) and teen stage (13-18) does not penalize the pawn in any way. Babies don't learn or work, and speeding up this phase comes mostly at the cost of mood. Speeding up a teen to adulthood removes their work speed and body size penalties, though they could've done work in the meantime. However, teens in growth vats do not apply a mood penalty to their parents, as they are not "kids" anymore. Also note that unlike with cryptosleep, colonists in vats have absolutely no penalty applied to them when they exit the vat. If you need them for an emergency (such as a dangerous incoming raid), they can be removed from the vat at a moment's notice.

Version history[edit]

  • Biotech DLC Release - Introduced. In Core RimWorld, the minimum human age is 14, where they are treated as adults.
  • 1.4.3524 - Children no longer get adult body types from genes.
  • 1.4.3525 - Fix: Temporary work restrictions affect growth moment passion choices.
  • 1.4.3527 - Growth moment flavor text doesn't appear when a pawn becomes a child.
  • 1.4.3530 - Fix: Children gain growth points in cryptosleep.
  • 1.4.3531 - Children can now do Basic work at age 3. Allow children to wear shield belts
  • 1.4.3555 - Children now deprioritized if not holding a weapon and not drafted. Teen (11-20) aging rate now smooth scales from child age rate to adult age rate. Added preceptsContent added by the Ideology DLC relating to child labor. Fixed "Tribal Child" not giving Natural meditation focus. Added an option for selecting “no trait” on growth letters some of the time if there are more than two trait choices.
  • 1.4.3558 - Tribal babies becoming children get natural meditation focusContent added by the Royalty DLC at 3.
  • 1.4.3563 - Round growth points down on UI for clarity. Children now recalculate their life stage immediately when they become an adult instead of waiting for their next growth tick. Fix: Children generated at tribal game start don't have natural meditation focus.Content added by the Royalty DLC
  • 1.4.3580 - Fix: Radiotalking doesn't adhere to child's allowed area.
  • 1.4.3613 - Fix: Child prisoners attempt to wear adult clothing, causing it to disappear.
  • 1.4.3641 - Fix: If a child goes through a growth moment expecting passion increase choices, but there are no available passions, the UI will lock. Fix: Errors when trying to bring a baby to a mom inside a container to breastfeed.