Skills

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Every character in RimWorld has a set of skills; these skills govern their effectiveness in the relevant tasks. A character may be unable to undertake certain work types due to backstory elements, and as such, the relevant skills will be disabled entirely, and show " - " under skills on the Bio tab. Experience points are gained by performing a relevant task or may be boosted by using a neurotrainer.

Learning skills

All skills are acquired and improved by performing their associated work types or tasks. Doing so will earn the character experience points per skill, which in turn will level up the skills. The resulting skill level then improves the performance in all associated tasks and types of work. Skills are levelled up individually, and there is no single "character level" as in many role playing games.

In some cases, special tactics can be employed to more effectively steer the skill training in the colony, especially during periods of low work in colony development. See the main article on skill training for more information.

Skills vs work types

Skills and work types (or "tasks") are two different, but related, concepts. In some cases, like "mine" (work type) and "mining" (skill), there is an almost perfect correspondence, but in many other cases there is not: the work types "tailor" and "smith", for example, are associated with the crafting skill. Some tasks listed on the work tab do not even have an associated skill (eg. "haul", "clean" and "firefight").

The Work tab, where you assign tasks to colonists, indicates which skills are relevant for a given task (by mousing over a tick box). It also shows you if the colonist has a passion for those skills (with an icon in the tick box), and if a significant proficiency has already been acquired (by emphasizing the tick box border). All these aspects are important for deciding how to assign tasks and types of work.

In general, you want a colonist to perform tasks they are good at (it is productive for your colony), as well as tasks they are passionate for (have them improve the associated skill).

Game mechanics related to skills and levels

Skill levelling in Rimworld is very similar to many role playing games: experience points are constantly earned, and the skill is levelled up when certain thresholds are reached.

Importantly, the effect of a skill improves by level, but it costs more and more XP to gain another level in a skill. This means that skill training is more effective the lower the skill level is.

As an example, consider the influence of mining skill on mining speed: 12% additional mining speed is granted (additively, and relative to a "base speed") by each skill level. However, each additional 12% costs more and more XP, which translates into more and more time spent mining. The same principle applies to many other skills, such as researching and the intellectual skill.

Skill point acquisition strategy

This means that on average it is better to spread out the skill training over several colonists instead of having only one "expert". You probably still want masters in certain skills, but investment in skill mastery always comes at the opportunity cost of some productivity loss.

For example, you need to acquire about 150,000 XP to make one colonist a "region-known master" (level 16); the same amount of XP would be enough to have three colonists at level 9 ("solid professional"). Three decent level-9 researchers are more productive than one level-16 expert, and you will lose a lot less should one of your people become incapacitated or die.

Decay

Furthermore, there is another mechanic in play called decay: starting at skill level 10, XP points are continously drained away, at a faster and faster rate with higher skill levels. This means that all XP earned after 55,000 total XP is effectively worth zero (at the limit, that means in the very long term!), because it will disappear. It becomes more and more expensive to even keep a master at his or her current level, let alone have them improve further.

As an example, consider that roughly 3,500 XP is lost per day by a colonist at skill level 20. This usually means that the colonist would have to be applying that skill more or less continuously during her work hours in order to never lose level 20. In most cases, XP is gained by time spent on a skill, and not by effective work performed! Working faster does not make it easier or faster to gain XP, or compensate the decay loss.

So the higher you go, the harder it becomes to even maintain the current skill level. This is why actual "legendary masters" are very rare, usually only achievable by colonists who are autistically spamming a single ability (such as research or crafting artworks).

List of skills

Using or applying skills will give experience in the skill, and improve the character's proficiency. How much experience is gained depends on the passion for the skill. See passion below.

On this page, where experience gains are listed, an "Interested" passion with 100% skill gain is assumed. Note that this is not the "default" passion; "no passion" at 35% gain is far more common.

Animals

The animals skill determines how well a character handles wild and domesticated animals, and increases the chance to go undetected while hunting wild animals.

Higher animals skill has the following benefits:

  • Chance to tame a wild animal increases. Some animals can not even be attempted to be tamed if the animals skill is too low.
  • Chance to successfully train a domesticated animal increases.
  • Animal handling, such as milking and shearing certain livestock, becomes more efficient, with a lower chance of wasting products.
  • Mastering an animal, as in having it follow you and obey your commands, becomes possible for more animal races. The more wild a race is, the higher the animals skill required to be assigned its master.
  • It becomes less likely for a colonist hunting an animal to be detected by the animal, and the animal retaliating. It still requires shooting skill for the colonist to be able to kill the animal.
For a list of skills that animals can learn, see the list of animal skills.

Artistic

The artistic skill is the proficiency to create beautiful works of art at a sculptor's table.

Higher skill makes the artist work faster, and increases the chance for a higher quality, in this case more beautiful, sculpture.

The beauty and market value of sculptures increases tremendously at the highest quality levels. Combined with the fact that trade partners pay more for works of art compared to other items, this makes artistic a useful skill outside of decorating the home base.

Construction

The construction skill governs a wide variety of colonist tasks, centered around creating structures in the game world; it is an essential skill in any colony:

  • Making all kinds of structures, like furniture, walls, power lines and spaceship parts. If a structure can be placed on the ground in form of a blueprint, its construction is usually facilitated by this skill. Many structures require a minimum skill to make.
  • Deconstructing existing structures back into raw materials.
  • Building and tearing down roofs.
  • Laying and removing flooring, like carpet, concrete and stone tiles.
  • Smoothing rock walls and stone floors.

Higher construction skill will

  • allow the construction of more difficult to build structures.
  • increase construction speed; the base speed at 0 construction skill is 50%, this is increased additively by 15% for every skill level.
  • reduce the chance of a construction effort to be "botched", which will result in some resources going to waste, and require the construction effort to be restarted (ie. all work is wasted). The base chance of success is 75%, increasing by about 3% per skill level to 100% at skill level 8.
  • increase the chance to make higher quality items, for items that have a quality rating, such as furniture.

Construction outcomes are influenced by the manipulation and sight capacities of the colonist.

Experience is gained continuously while working on a construction project. At 100% work speed this seems to translate to roughly 82 experience per point of work required.

Cooking

The cooking skill affects how long it takes to cook meals and butcher dead creatures, as well as the Food Poison Chance for the person who eats the meal. It also affects Butchery Speed and Butchery Efficiency, how much meat is produced when butchering.

Cooking and butchering increase cooking skill. It is also trained by smaking smokeleaf joints at a drug lab.

A cooking skill of at least 6 is required to make a fine meal.
A cooking skill of at least 10 is required to make a lavish meal.

  • Each skill level increases cooking speed by 11% (additively).
  • Each skill level increases butchering speed by 10% (additively).
  • Each skill level increases meat and leather amount by 2.5% (additively), up to a maximum of 100%.

These additive increases are relative to a base value; that means each increase corresponds to a fixed amount.

Project Experience Given Per Task
Simple Meal 60
Fine Meal 110
Lavish meal 160
Pemmican 80

Crafting

The crafting skill affects the smith, tailor and craft work types.

The Crafter's skill is a driving factor in the quality of crafted clothing and neolithic weapons.

The crafting skill determines the time it takes for a colonist to cut stone, extract metal from slag, and disassemble mechanoids. It also determines the amount of resources produced.

Each point decreases crafting time by 10%

Each point increases the resource yield by 2.5%

Medical

Main article: Doctoring

The Medical skill level is the main factor for medical treatment quality and speed, surgery speed and surgery success chance.

Low quality treatment will increase the chance of infection, and the likelihood of permanent health conditions such as scars, in turn leading to chronic pain. Certain scars cause more than 10% pain, permanently weakening the consciousness of the patient, which reduces their work performance.

Medical surgery, if not successful, can fail in minor or major ways, even causing the death of the patient. The success rate is not only determined by the medical skill, but also other character stats like manipulation, eye sight and consciousness. It is not advisable to let an incapacitated doctor perform surgery.

Higher grade medicine and medical equipment like hospital beds and a sterile environment significantly boost the effectiveness of all medical treatments, independent of the skill level of the doctor.

Medicine can be trained very quickly by performing euthanasia on fast-breeding animals such as chickens. This costs 1 medicine per procedure, but only requires herbal medicine. The procedure can be scheduled in the respective animal's health tab, and an animal sleeping spot must be available to perform the euthanasia.

Performing surgery trains the medical skill. The amount of XP that is awarded only depends on the duration of the procedure (varying by procedure and medical operation speed of the surgeon).

Melee

The melee skill determines a characters' chance to:

The tables below are post-processed chances for a healthy pawn.

Chance to hit
Skill Level Standard Brawler Skill Level Standard Brawler
0 50% 62% - - -
1 53% 65% 11 81% 85%
2 56% 68% 12 82% 86%
3 59% 71% 13 83% 87%
4 62% 74% 14 84% 88%
5 65% 77% 15 85% 89%
6 68% 80% 16 86% 90%
7 71% 81% 17 87% 90.3%
8 74% 82% 18 88% 90.6%
9 77% 83% 19 89% 90.9%
10 80% 84% 20 90% 91.2%
Chance to dodge
Skill Level Standard Nimble Skill Level Standard Nimble
0 0% 20% - - -
1 0% 22% 11 12% 33%
2 0% 24% 12 14% 33.5%
3 0% 26% 13 16% 34%
4 0% 28% 14 18% 34.5%
5 0% 30% 15 20% 35%
6 2% 30.5% 16 22% 35.5%
7 4% 31% 17 24% 36%
8 6% 31.5% 18 26% 36.5%
9 8% 32% 19 28% 37%
10 10% 32.5% 20 30% 37.5%

Mining

The mining skill determines how long it takes for a colonist to mine out each rock, and how much they can obtain from each mineral vein mined.

Each point increases speed by 15%.

Skill Level Mining Yield
0 60%
1 70%
2 80%
3 85%
4 90%
5 92%
6 95%
7 98%
8 - 20 100%

Intellectual

This skill affects the speed at which research is completed.

Each point increases speed by 15%

Plants

The plants skill affects how fast a colonist sows and harvests growing zones, hydroponics and flower pots, and how fast trees and other vegetation is cut down.

Each point increases speed by 12%.

Project Experience Given Per Task
Harvesting 50

Some plants require a minimum plants skill in order to plant them:

 Required skill
Hop plant3
Smokeleaf plant4
Strawberry plant5
Psychoid plant6
Oak tree6
Poplar tree6
Healroot8
Devilstrand mushroom10

Shooting

The shooting skill affects a character's accuracy with a ranged weapon.

The table below shows post-processed shooting accuracy per tile of distance for each skill level and trait combination, assuming the pawn is healthy:

Skill Level Standard Careful Shooter Trigger-Happy Skill Level Standard Careful Shooter Trigger-Happy
0 89% 94.5% 84% - - - -
1 91% 95% 85% 11 97.25% 98.333% 95%
2 93% 95.5% 86% 12 97.5% 98.5% 95.5%
3 93.5% 96% 87% 13 97.75% 98.666% 96%
4 94% 96.5% 88% 14 98% 98.833% 96.5%
5 94.5% 97% 89% 15 98.167% 99% 97%
6 95% 97.25% 91% 16 98.333% 99.125% 97.25%
7 95.5% 97.5% 93% 17 98.5% 99.25% 97.5%
8 96% 97.75% 93.5% 18 98.666% 99.313% 97.75%
9 96.5% 98% 94% 19 98.833% 99.375% 98%
10 97% 98.167% 94.5% 20 99% 99.438% 98.167%

Note that shooting accuracy for the pawn is calculated per tile, meaning that while a trivial increase (like 1% or so) in shooting accuracy may not matter up close, it can make a huge difference in long distances.

For example:

  • A colonist with shooting accuracy of 99% has a base accuracy of 72.5% against a target 32 tiles away.
  • With 98% accuracy, the base accuracy against the same target becomes only 52.4%.

The base accuracy at various distances are listed when you check the information of a pawn. This can show the actual shooting performance of a pawn, especially at long ranges.

Social

The social skill affects the impact of social interactions on other characters' mood, the impact of gifts on faction relations, the recruitment chance for prisoners and trader prices. A small amount of experience is gained every time two colonists have a social interaction with each other. Characters have a talking stat that somehow interacts with this skill

Each point increases social interaction impact by 10%

Each point increases gift impact by 5%

Each point increases diplomatic power by 5%

Each point makes trade prices 1.5% better

Passion

This character is currently learning "construction". The "soft" XP cap of 4000 per day has been reached. This character's skill gains are further modified by the "Fast Learner" trait, and effectively also by the "Neurotic" trait that increases work speed. (The green arrow on the "construction" skill bar is added by the popular "TD Enhancement Pack', and not visible in the unmodified game.)

How fast a character gains proficiency (experience points) in a skill depends on the passion for the skill. Passions are indicated by a flame icon next to the skill experience bar on the character's Bio tab.

Most commonly there is no passion for a skill, and the character learns this skill at 35% of the base rate.

There is absolutely no way to change a character's skill passions in the unmodified game.

There are colonist traits that give global bonuses to skill learning: "Too smart" and "Fast Learner" both increase all skill acquirement by 75%. This is independent of the passions for the individual skills. Effects from these traits are not correctly explained in a skill's tooltip information.

Once colonists have acquired 4000 XP in a skill, per day, further learning of this skill is sharply reduced to 20% of the usual rate. This is indicated when mousing over a skill bar in the Bio tab.

Skill gains from using a neurotrainer mech serum are influenced by passion. This makes the item a lot more valuable when used by characters with a passion for the associated skill.

Effect on mood

Passion influences a character's mood. If the pawn is "interested in" or "burning for" learning a skill, this gives them a substantial mood boost for the duration of the activity.

  • Interested gives +8 mood ("Minor passion for my work").
  • Burning gives +14 mood ("Burning passion for my work").

In some cases this effect is not visible, if the activity is intermittent (such as hunting animals).

The significant mood boosts can be used to keep a pawn from heaving a mental break by putting them on a task they are passionate for.

Degrees of passion

The three levels of passion are:

None

Skills with no flames; can be considered the default passion for a skill, and is the most common. Characters with no passion for a skill only gain experience at 35% of the standard rate.

Interested

PassionMinor.png

Skills with one flame. Characters that are interested in a skill will gain experience at the standard rate of 100%.

Burning

PassionMajor.png

Skills with two flames. Characters with a burning passion for a skill will gain experience at 150% of the standard rate.

Experience Table

Level 20 is the highest skill level achievable for a pawn.

Level Name Total experience required Experience till next level
- Incapable - -
0 Barely heard of it 0 1000
1 Utter Beginner 1000 2000
2 Beginner 3000 3000
3 Basic Familiarity 6000 4000
4 Some Familiarity 10000 5000
5 Significant Familiarity 15000 6000
6 Capable Amateur 21000 7000
7 Weak Professional 28000 8000
8 Employable Professional 36000 9000
9 Solid Professional 45000 10000
10 Skilled Professional 55000 12000
11 Very skilled Professional 67000 14000
12 Expert 81000 16000
13 Strong Expert 97000 18000
14 Master 115000 20000
15 Strong Master 135000 22000
16 Region-Known Master 157000 24000
17 Region-Leading Master 181000 26000
18 Planet-Known Master 207000 28000
19 Planet-Leading Master 235000 30000
20 Legendary Master 265000 32000

Experience decay

Starting at skill level 10, the experience for a skill will decay automatically until dropping back to level 9. The rate of decay depends on the skill level and increases with level.

Experience decay is an automatic mechanism and is independent of which and how many skills are used – not using or frequently using a skill (or other, unrelated skills) has no effect on the rate of decay, which only depends on the current skill level.

The Great Memory trait halves the decay rate for a pawn.