RimWorld is known for its brutally honest depictions of flawed humans cooperating to survive a hostile sci-fi planet. Nothing could enhance this vision better than the addition of childbirth in the new Biotech expansion. Two colonists could meet on your RimWorld settlement, fall in love, have a child, and watch that child grow into a fully-fledged member of the colony.
But just like in real life, raising kids is often a difficult process. Even more so when you’re in space and prone to being murdered (by hostile forces or your own ineptness). So in this guide, we’ll help you figure out how to manage pregnancy, childbirth, and raising the child/children in RimWorld.
Let’s get started.
Finding Love on a Rimworld
Getting two of your colonists together can be a difficult prospect. First, they need to be compatible. This means they should be near the same age and of matching sexual preferences. If you want them to have a child in RimWorld, one needs to be a male under the age of ninety, and another needs to be a female under the age of fifty.
Fertility in RimWorld works differently between men and women. Both are capable of reproduction starting at age sixteen, but have low fertility until certain ages. Men become more fertile at eighteen and start to become less fertile at fifty. Women become more fertile at twenty, and drop off more gradually starting at twenty-eight. Thus, younger colonists are more likely to have more kids.
In the social tab, you can find a menu called “Romance” that tells your colonists to attempt to make a romantic connection with another. This menu will tell you the chances of it working out. Typically, you won’t see chances higher than 50%. Colonists that like each other that much will usually hook up on their own.
Don’t use the romance action when the chances are too low, because rejection hurts both people’s social and emotional well-being. You can improve the social standing between all of your colonists by giving them plenty of opportunities to talk while they’re in a good mood, dressing them in nice clothes like bowler hats, and making sure colonists with conflicting personality traits don’t come into contact very often.
Biosculpting to Perfection
The other two DLC, Royalty and Ideology, both provide some more options for increasing the chances of colonists getting together. If you have some favorite colonists that you really want to try and couple up to make a child, but they’re starting to get a little too old, there are some solutions in RimWorld.
Ideology unlocks the use of biosculpting pods that can be used to reverse the aging of the particular colonist. This can be done repeatedly, allowing you to de-age someone and reverse their fertility loss. It puts the colonist out of commission for extended durations, but this could be worth it to prolong their life indefinitely.
Don’t Follow Your Heart
Colonists that have been gifted with a royal title gain access to numerous psychic powers. One of these is called “Word of Love.” You can use this psycast to make one of your colonists temporarily fall in love with another. This might be enough to spur them into a relationship, which will provide its own, longer-lasting social bonus between the two.
However, convincing two people to get together that truly dislike each other can have disastrous long-term consequence. A breakup causes massive social and mood penalties to everyone involved, and is likely to happen after the effects of the psycast fade. So be responsible and only use it to nudge two colonists that are already thinking of getting together.
Love This Ideology
If you want lots of kids around your colony, use the Ideology expansion to set physical love to “Free and Approved.” This means your colonists will like each other more when they’ve got the “Lovin'” moodlet and will be allowed to engage in Lovin without waiting for marriage first. Setting the rule around “Diversity of Thought” to “Exalted” will let you integrate colonists of other beliefs more easily.
Some xenotypes are more fertile or attractive than others. You can even make a custom xenotype with extra attractiveness and fertility if you really want to jump-start the romance in your colony. By default, Sanguophages become very attractive and also don’t age, so they will stay fertile forever. Highmates are very attractive and provide a psychic consciousness bonus to their mates. Both of these can be included in your starting scenario if you really want to jump-start your nursery.
There’s a Vat for That
As an alternative option to the natural method of making babies, you can also use spacer technology to fully grow a child artificially in RimWorld.
This lets you skip all the pesky business of making colonists like each other or putting a child-bearing colonist out of commission toward the end of the pregnancy. Maybe you just need a bunch of new colonists of a specific gene type, and you don’t have time for them to grow up naturally. Or maybe you’re just trying to make some kids so you can grab their organs ASAP.
Pick up the “Fertility Procedures” and the “Growth Vats” technologies to gain access to everything you’ll need to grow new children from scratch. Fertility procedures are accessible immediately once you’ve got a research table and can be used to extract an ovum from a female colonist or prisoner. This ovum can then be fertilized by a male colonist and placed either into the womb of a female colonist or directly into a growth vat once that technology has been unlocked.
Growth Vats take nutrition, which ideally will be just raw food to avoid letting anyone spend time cooking it. While hay is on the menu for growth vat nutrition, it cannot be used.
A growth vat massively accelerates the aging of a child. Using it until the age of three brings no penalties to the growth of the child in RimWorld, other than a baseline higher chance of a poor delivery at “birth” compared to using a real human womb. This also brings the chances of a fully-grown colonist dying in childbirth to 0%.
By default, your colonists won’t like their kids being plugged into a growth vat. Both parents will be afflicted with a negative mood debuff while the child is inside one. The Ideology expansion includes a tenet around growth vats, either encouraging their use or banning them altogether. If you encourage growth vats, colonists will be happy to have their kids in a vat and will become unhappy about a natural pregnancy.
Pregnancy on the Rim
Now that you’ve gotten your colonists to start hooking up, it’s time to get someone pregnant. If you check their social menu once two colonists become “Lovers,” you’ll be able to change a small tab referring to how hard they’re trying to get pregnant.
Click on the heart to the right of the name of one of the lovers. This will open a small menu with a few different options. “Normal” provides a 100% fertility bonus, “Avoid Pregnancy” drops your fertility to 25%, and “Try For Baby” raises fertility to 400%.
The Burdens of Pregnancy
All pregnant colonists receive some kind of penalty for the duration of the pregnancy. Each trimester lasts 6 days and gives different, gradually harsher penalties. All trimesters can result in “morning sickness,” where your colonists will puke and take some additional sickness penalties. Mood swings can occur, giving them a bonus or penalty to the colonist’s mood.
The first trimester only gives a 10% increase in hunger. The second ups that to 30% and provides a movement and manipulation penalty. It’s in the second trimester that you should take the pregnant colonist out of the workforce. At the very least, demote them to tasks like cleaning and hauling that won’t have their quality lost by the penalties.
Ensuring a Safe Birth
When a colonist is ready to give birth, you should try to have a sterile medical room ready for them. This room should be complete with a hospital bed, sterile tiles, and a vitals monitor, but any bed will work. An event will fire that you should try to start immediately. Waiting too long to gather together for the birth could result in the mother giving birth alone without any medical aid. This will massively increase the chances of something going wrong in RimWorld. It may even result in the illness or death of the child or mother.
You’ll get a bonus if someone who is at the “Friends” or higher level of social connection with the mother attends the birth. This will usually include the father of the child, but other friends will provide the same bonus. The mother will undergo various levels of pain while they go through the stages of labor until the baby is born!
Infancy and Nursery Tips
When your first RimWorld colonist gets pregnant, you’re going to want to build a temperature-controlled nursery room for the child. This should be complete with a crib, some toys, and a comfortable chair that your colonists will use to feed the child. You can put more than one crib into a nursery without any of the babies taking a mood penalty.
Isolate the Child
It’s best to locate the nursery deep inside your base, yet separate from rooms where other colonists spend a lot of time. If you can build it under a mountain, it’ll be safe from drop pod raids.
Avoid putting a nursery anywhere centrally located, as babies will sometimes emit cries that give a harsh mood debuff to anyone within ten tiles. Conversely, a very happy baby will laugh frequently, giving a positive mood boost to anyone nearby. These debuffs and buffs are, respectively, halved and doubled for the parents of the child.
Keeping the Child Alive
You’ll also want a craftsperson to make some kid clothes for when the infants turn three years old. Rompers cover a child completely but don’t provide as much temperature protection as wearing pants and a shirt.
Someone will also need to feed and play with the child. Assigning colonists to the “childcare” work will allow them to do this. The mother will also feed the child breast milk by default. You only need to bother making baby food or keeping a supply of animal milk around if the mother is deceased or otherwise unable to feed the baby. Of course, you can avoid having to manually feed the baby at all if you place it in a growth vat.
Children in RimWorld grow more rapidly than adults do. Until they reach age eighteen, they will age four times faster than all the adults in your colony. This setting can be altered within the storyteller’s settings. This lets you see the kids grow up over the years without needing to play for thirteen entire years to see them develop into an adult. Around sixteen, they start to gradually age slower, until they hit the normal 100% age rate at eighteen.
At age three, infants become children and become capable of hauling and cleaning. At ages seven, ten, and thirteen, children reach what is called “growth tiers.” These are moments where new skills become unlocked, along with new passions for various skills and character traits that will determine what kind of colonist your child will grow up into.
Learning to be Useful
Children will have a unique need called “learning,” which can be fulfilled in lots of ways. You want to have your kids get as many opportunities to learn as possible. Building a schoolhouse is one way to do this, with three blackboards and as many school desks as you have children. This room will allow adults to teach the colony kids the skills that they themselves specialize in. You’ll also sometimes see kids follow an adult around and watching them perform their work. This will give them skill points in that skill as well as learning points.
The more learning points a child has when they hit a new growth tier in RimWorld, the more passions and traits they’ll be able to choose from. If a child doesn’t get many chances to learn, they could end up with negative personality traits like lazy, jealous, or wimp. All of these traits are good enough reasons to exile a normal colonist, so try to avoid that.
You can increase how many learning points your kids get by banning child labor for your ideology. This will give you a percentage-based bonus of learning points, but adults will be upset if children get assigned to work at any time of the day. We recommend leaving children in the “anything” setting. This will still let them volunteer to work even if child labor is prohibited.
Xenotypes for Kids
The existence of xenotypes complicates matters significantly when it comes to making child colonists in RimWorld. If you have xenotypes with germline genes, you need to pay attention to these when you’re pairing up your colonists.
Germline genes can be handed down to kids, whereas Xenogenes cannot. This means Hussars, Genies, Highmates, and Sanguophages do not hand down their genes when they have children. You need to extract their genes manually and gradually re-build their xenotype if you want to make exact genetic duplicates of these xenotypes. However, this often isn’t necessary, and re-creating these xenotypes ad-hoc tends to work a little better.
Gene-Editing Your Child
You can tell which genes are geneline genes and which are xenogenes in the image above. The borderless genes up top are labeled “Geneline Genes.” Everything that was added as a xenogerm pack shows up with a blue border. You can only apply one xenogerm pack to each colonist without wiping out whatever was added to them before.
While babies can’t have prosthetic parts added, they can have a xenotype added to them while they’re still an infant. This can be a great idea for a few reasons. Colonists get put into a coma when they have their genes altered, so doing it while they’re still a kid that doesn’t get any work done anyway is a smart idea.
Additionally, sometimes you will receive a set of geneline genes that puts you far over the normal metabolic rate, or perhaps just makes a colonist that isn’t very functional. Adding complementary xenogenes during infancy can either let you drop the metabolic rate by adding negative xenogenes, or increase the colonists’ capacity for certain kinds of work by adding positive xenogenes. Don’t turn kids into a Sanguophage, as they will start to crave hemogen packs but won’t be useful in combat until adulthood.
Join the High Ground
That’s everything you need to know about raising a child (or hundreds) in RimWorld! This new addition to the game can let you play for multiple generations of interstellar colonists. We hope this helps you avoid any big mistakes in your colonist’s early years. If you have any questions or think we should cover something else in greater detail, let us know in the comments below. And make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more RimWorld content!