In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (2024)

This guide is a continuation of one big guide. Find the first part over here.

The meat of this guide will be in the following in-depth sections that chart each of the following sections below:

Contents hide

1. Early Money-Making Strategies

2. Settlement Location

3. Base Layout

4. Killzones

5. Farming and Food

6. Autohauling

7. Faction Economy Strategies

8. Race Breakdowns

9. Role Selection and Job Rankings

10. Arming and Equipping your Squaddies

11. War Party and Fighter Training

12. Advanced Research and Loot

Conclusion, Misc Tips, Notes on Mods

I will be continuing to add new sections and content. If you have anything you want me to discuss in more detail, please feel free to leave a comment. This will give me a better idea of what needs to be expanded on and what players are looking for.

1. Early Money-Making Strategies

Beginning Stage Income Sources:
Before you’ve set up your base, you will need to be making money. While this section is primarily focused on building your faction economy, I will provide a few strats for making money before you’ve settled down (some of which are discussed in the roadmap, above).

(1) Mining Ore
In the initial stages of the game you want to find a safe location where you can mine and autohaul resources back into town. Preferably copper, as it sells for twice the price, but iron can work as well especially if its safe.

  • Hub, the initial town for lone wanderers, usually spawns an iron vein within the actual walls of the city which is exceptionally safe.
  • If you followed my roadmap, you will ALWAYS want to have some guys working on this as it trains their labor skills which will be useful later on, and is the safest source of income.
  • Remember to stealth your miners, as this will significantly cut down on the amount they get attacked and does not appear to slow their ability to mine (only to carry goods) – which isn’t a big deal if the storage is next to the vein.
  • I’ve discussed strats for autohauling and mining throughout this guide, particularly in the faction economy and autohaul sections, so please look at those for specific ideas about storage locations (either in town or adjacent to the vein).

(2) Scavenging and Bounties
This primarily involves using town guards or in some cases mercs, as your fighting force. There are a number of different strategies that this can involve.In my roadmap, I discussed pulling enemies to the guards in Squin. These will usually not involve individuals who carry bounties (although in some cases it will). You should focus on looting downed foes for their weapons and armor, and once your squad is equipped with the basic loot, you can start selling extras.

Note – I personally stored most of the armor and equipment I looted here because I was focused on expanding my faction fairly quickly and wanted to have my guys set up with basic armor and weapons right away. You’ll need to balance the money you need with your desire to keep storage containers filled with enemy loot. Also remember that once you can craft, you’re basically never looking back at these items.

Bounty strategies, like theDust King stratreferenced above, are more dangerous but can provide an enormous early boost. The Dust King strat alone can net you upwards of 50k starting income.

A more dangerous but perhaps more long term lucrative strategy:Fog Prince Headhunting in Mongrel. The city of Mongrel is North West of Stack, in the center of the Fog Islands. The job itself is actually easier than getting mercs to take down the dust king, but it is far more difficult to get to so make sure your athletics are trained up, and you may want to get a fog mask. This was brought up on theKenshi Wiki, and involves looting the heads from Fog Princes who died attacking the city of Mongrel (which they frequently do). While you shouldn’t even consider attacking them yourself, relying on the gate guards similar to the strat discussed in Squin and selling their bounties can net you 6k per head, and most attacks involve 1-4 Fog Princes. You can spot them in the mass of fogmen, by looking for their distinct yellow blood. The downside to this strategy is that you’re going to want to keep your guy there while he waits for attacks to happen, and venturing outside the city itself is perilous. So you essentially lose one of your companions for mining purposes.

(3) Theft
After joining the Shinobi thieves (for 10k), characters can train themselves up in the art of lock picking, thievery and stealth. This can be an extremely gratifying way to make money before you’ve settled down with your settlement but it is NOT risk free.

  • You’re going to need training before you can do much of any “thieving.” You can get some basics in at the thieves guild in Hub, but to grow beyond that agood recommendationis to focus on stealing items that are NOT in locked containers but are left out on shelves and tables. If you see that you have a 100% chance of stealing it, do so. You can then drop it, re-steal it, etc.
  • Never sell back to the vendor.
  • Most items are kept in locked storage containers, so you will need to have trained up each of your theft skills to take them on.
  • Pause is your friends. Pause is basically a requirement for viewing your surroundings, making sure the coast is clear, etc.
  • Typically requires 2 characters. A thief, and a mule. The mule can be a packbull, or a person, who waits outside the location you’re targeting, and who has a backpack on who you can instantly transfer the goods to.
  • You never want a backpack on your thief, as it comes with penalties to your thief skills which are untenable in the early going, which is the reason for the nearby “mule.”
  • Use a packbull or garru – I’ve never had a packbull stopped and checked by guards for stolen goods or smuggled items (not saying it can’t happen, just that it hasn’t happened to me yet) so this would be my recommended mule).
  • You can make a TON of early money doing this, and it really trains up your thief – a fun, important character to keep around throughout the game – for rescuing your kidnapped squadmates or getting items on the cheap.
  • Good items to target for resale are blueprints and alcohol. Alcohol in particular. However, I always try to learn the blueprint if I haven’t already before considering the sale.
  • You may be able to sell these items directly to vendors, but just to be safe I’ve always sold to the thief fence who you have access to once you’re a member of the Shinobi thieves. Will update this after some experimenting.

(4) Smuggling
Illegal items are faction dependent, but several items seem to be illegal in most major factions (like Hashish).

  • You need to have your athletics trained up to at least 40. I recommend not grinding this past 20 or so, as it happens to level easily enough when focusing on other sources of income like mining.
  • You need your stealth skills leveled up to get past town guards. One thing I’ve thought about but hadn’t tried yet was to put a backpack full of illegal items into the inventory of a captured individual (or even a squad made) who my player is carrying, bc I’m not sure if they get checked when guards look at your inventory. Will update this with some testing.
  • Hashish is the most reliable item to smuggle because it can be purchased in any town in The Swamp (easily distinguishable biome due south of Border Zone), as well as most Hive Settlements, and traded to a Thief Fence.
  • Please note that the Thief Fences are the ONLY places you can sell Hashish for the profit. In places where it is legal you like the Hive and Swamp you will make very little money on it.
  • After testing, Tekai noted in the comments that this method is very time-intensive and you will likely only get about x5 profit on your goods.
  • The market multiplier for all items is variable, but on average are as follows:
    1) Sheks = 350%
    2) Holy Nation = 400%
    3) United Cities (Clownsteady, Drifters Last) = 500%
    4) Slave Traders = 600%
    5) United Cities (Bark, Heft, Heng, Sho-Battai, Stoat) = 1200%

2. Settlement Location

Finding a place for your first settlement is a big part of the adventure in Kenshi, and I don’t want to provide spoilers.

For the basics on prospecting and scouting, I’d refer you to Stormbrooke’s guideon finding the perfect base– he’s a long time player who has educated the community a lot on different base locations and ideas.

  • Note – Use your prospect tool on the bottom right hand of your screen to find resource nodes, and rely on the colors, not the numbers.

There are tons of different biomes, each with different particularities: factions, environmental combinations, wildlife, rarities, etc. Given this, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Proximity to particular factions and cities
  2. Raw and proximate resources
  3. Environment types
  4. Notable Biome particularities

Proximity to particular factions and cities

  • For a first time player, you’re going to want to be near a few different trading settlements – whether they are cities, or waystations, or settlements or all the above; and preferably different kinds of each. For the setup above, I am near one Holy Nation city, multiple Shek cities, Hub (Independent), and numerous Hive settlements.
  • This is helpful for a number of reasons – for instance when you buy out all the food in one, or a merchant runs out of gold to buy your items/copper, you have backups nearby. Moreover, each provides the sale of faction-specific items and recruits, and biome specific farm material and food.
  • Ultimately, this choice will be based on your personal preferences and requires some exploring. I recommend not spoiling the game too much but the Wiki has some basic descriptions of the various factions in the game.
  • Probably the most notable faction for new players at the start is the Holy Nation, which provides great safe farming regions, and controls a large portion of the early access parts of the map but has strong preferences for male Greenlanders ONLY.
  • There are various quests you can do to raise your standing with a faction and obtain allies which I highly recommend.

Raw and proximate resources

  • Iron, Fertility, Space – For pretty much the entire game you’re going to need a lot of food and iron, so these should be priority considerations. A spot in between multiple biomes will allow you to have 100% fertility in multiple environments (discussed below).
  • Copper – Early on you’re probably going to depend on copper for sale, but just be aware that by mid-late game if you’ve pivoted to some other source of income you won’t need much for production. It’s a nice bonus if you have a lot of it, but it isn’t game-breaking if you don’t.
  • Stone – Early on you’re going to need a ton of building materials so this will be a priority but it tapers off once you’re more built up. Having one good source should be sufficient throughout your playthrough.

Environment Type:
As discussed, your ideal settlement will be between multiple biomes so that you can get the benefits of both. Some biomes contain multiple environments within them. The environment types are as follows:

  • Green – Grassland/forests; Good for wheat, cotton, greenfruit, trees, etc. Good for iron.
  • Arid – Desert; Good for growing cactus. Seem to be high in copper, but I’ve also found good iron and stone.
  • Swamp – Good for rice and hemp (rice products being the most nutrient-rich food in the game).

Notable Biome particularities

  • Different biomes will contain different challenges. Alongside different environmental makeup, they contain different relations to the factions and different wildlife – many of whom are extremely dangerous.
  • In the roadmap discussed above, the Vain biome in particular has dangerous beak creatures that will absolutely ravage your squad until well into the midgame. I focused on walling out a segment of that biome before I did anything else to avoid confrontations with them and typically kept these gates shut. Pay close attention while you’re doing this.
  • I will be updating this with some different descriptions of the Biomes I’ve explored shaded out to prevent spoilers.

3. Base Layout

Base Layout Concepts
There are a lot of things that you’re going to be trying to juggle when laying out your base. First, I’ll show you two examples posted byFusiaraon Reddit that I liked in particular, and then I will go into some strategies and ideas for building a base yourself.

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (1)
In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (2)

These bases are compact, they have good killzones, and have food capacity for what looks like a smallish faction, but the first example has ample room for expanding its food production. Note that one is completely walled in, while the other uses natural barriers on the far side.

You want your base to be just big enough. Too large, and you create issues for yourself. Too small, and it won’t be sustainable.

As such, space, terrain, and resources are your biggest considerations when laying out your base.

(1) Killzone Location – Your best killzones are going to be on flat, unimpeded ground, so let the terrain help determine where they are (building them is covered in Sect. 4).

(2) Food Production – You need to provide yourself with a enough space for farming. The exact amount of farm space that you’ll need is determined by your actual or projected faction size and the environment (covered in Sect. 5).

(3) Mining – You want your miners and processors to be safely within the confines of your settlement.

(4) Compact – you want to do all this with the most compact base you can reasonably make – this mitigates issues with raids, jobs/autohauling, and generally makes life easier. While its a hassle, you can always expand your base later or build additional sections.

Specific Considerations:

  • I prefer walling in my entire base and not using natural barriers, which I’ve found to be unreliable.
  • All of your walls should be at LEAST tier 2 so that they can be mounted by people and have harpoons/crossbows placed on them. Rush this research in the beginning.
  • Reduce your key entrances to 1 or 2 – Don’t worry about time lost traveling. This will save you a massive headache in the long run, as you won’t need to train and station nearly as many turret gunners, and can quickly move to where your confrontations are.
  • Section off-key portions of your base, particularly if you keep prisoners and store food. If you use prisoners for training purposes, this is especially true, and it’s nice to have an extra layer of gated security so that if a faction member runs in while you’re training and opens the locked doors, the prisoner won’t escape very far.
  • Use searchlights everywhere to light up your outdoor areas at night, particularly farms and other outdoor work areas.

    And here is an example of using Searchlights to light up outdoor work sections:

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (3)
  • I’ve discussed why I really liked the earlier examples, but now consider some potential issues from the bases Fusiara presented:
  • While compact, if you followed the roadmap above, the second base is far too small to farm for a large faction. The first base he presented provides far greater room for farm production and appears to be situated in a location that is highly conducive to farming.
  • Using spotlights in the interior portion of your base makes a big difference. For reference, compare the farms shown above, with the use of lamposts in Fusiara’s smaller base.
  • It is also strongly preferable to have your miners within the walls so that you can close your gates and still produce resources. This is particularly true if your economy is dependent on mining. In the larger base, It looks like Fusiara opted to mine outside the confines of his walls, perhaps worried the base was getting too large. Early on you don’t want your miners to get crushed/enslaved out there, and opening the gates for them potentially allows enemies past your killzone. If you can avoid this, do so.

4. Killzones

Building Your Killzones – Strategies and Walkthrough

  • You want a killzone setup at each base entrance – which is why you really want no more than 2 base entrances, even if it makes travel times slightly longer.
  • Unless you know in advance that you want to communicate with a raid group (like tax collectors), make sure you set your AI options to “shoot first ask questions later” to make your killzones much much more effective.
  • If you have the tech for towers, you can build the walls into them (if they’re flat, not if they’re circular), or you can do what I did which was save a place a spot for them within the walls so that they can shoot down into the killzone and also cover the base if there is a breach.
  • Your basic Killzone is going to be a sort of “U” shape wall, with a gate at the bottom and a few turrets pointing down. The absolute best ones are almost a pincer shape (shown in the later pictures).
  • Starting out, I created a traditional “U” killzone at my southern entrance. Due to the nature of the terrain, I created a slanted funnel-shaped more like a long V in my northern killzone where my turrets were only on one side next to the road.
  • For reference, these are two images of my early killzones:
In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (4)
In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (5)
  • Even on your early killzones, it’s a good idea to create a second gate in front of it so that enemies stop before arriving at your killzone (example at the bottom of the section).
  • A few times, I’ve had issues where enemies dug through my walls rather than trying to batter down my gates (makes sense, since they’re like 1/20th the strength). If you’re having issues with raids and saved yourself the space (I didn’t, really), a second U shaped killzone section is a great way of ensuring that enemies die before they get into your base and will allow you to keep the gates perm open so that enemies are funneled where you want them.
  • After you’ve teched up a bit, you can build more advanced killzones. In my mind, these look more like Pincers.
  • In my sample playthrough, I also changed the location of the base entrances so that they were flatter ground and provided me with some more space.

    A nice example of a more advanced killzonewas postedby CHOCOLATExPANDA, and is shown here:

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (6)
  • There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re building these. First, you want your defensive gates to have actual defensive walls directly connected to them which connect to the gate’s stairs so that you can actually get into the defensive structures (takes some finagling).
  • Second, after you’ve built your advanced killzone, you want to build a second, exterior gate outside of it so that raid enemies will stop before reaching the killzone to announce themselves.

Below, I’ve posted pictures where you can see an example from the sample playthrough I used in the roadmap.

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (7)
In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (8)

5. Farming and Food

For a group of well-trained warriors defending a small settlement, farming may be pretty straightforward – but if you followed this guide and were focused on rapid faction expansion, farming can be very difficult to get sustainable. Its labor-intensive, space-intensive, and time-intensive (in terms of the steps your farmers and cooks take to get you a final product). It was something I chose to do anyway because I wanted my town to be self-sufficient. It is completely doable with some work, just know there are alternatives – you can form hunting parties, or focus on your economy until you can hydroponic farm, etc. but since I didn’t do that, I can’t speak to it.

  • In the arid environment, I set up I ultimately wanted Dustwiches, which is bread dependent but early on you’re going to be living on Chewsticks.
  • To make sufficient chewsticks to feed 30 Greenlanders, you would need 60 per cycle which requires 480 cactus and 15 water. This requires at least 8 XL Cactus farms (1 XL cactus farm takes about 25 hours to produce 64 cactus).
  • Depending on how much wheat you stored up, you don’t want to expand too fast. I slowly built my 4 wheat farms from S to XL without using any wheat for cooking. Then I did the same thing to get that number to 10.
  • The above process (S->XL) is basically the same for all crop types, I did the same thing with my cactus plants eventually building up 8 of them (noted below, you need only need 3-4 XL cactus farms to feed 30 Greenlanders on dustwiches).
  • Note – Once you get a few XL farms going in any particular crop, you can jump straight to building the XL farms.
  • I built 3 hemp, 3 cotton (cotton I put within my walls in the land of beaky creatures). You will need more cotton/hemp eventually but early on, I was fine with 3.
  • IbelieveI had 3-4 designated farmers for this area and a transporter.
  • I continuously traded copper for dried fish/meat while this was ongoing.
  • Once I had that setup, I had two designated cooks, two designated bakers, and 2 people who basically focused on making wheatstraw. I’m still figuring out the best way to streamline the bread process and will update that when I do.
  • If you manage to do this in the Vain Biome, rather than in the arid biome, you only need 10 wheatfarms. If you do this in the arid biome, you’ll need around 19 wheat farms by the end to produce 17 bread for dustwiches to feed a large group (shown in picture below).
  • Of course, this is presuming Greenlander consumption (hunger rate of 1). Hive only require 5 and make great rangers. Skeletons require none but are expensive until you get repair beds/teched up, and scorchlanders require only .9. Shek are the worst with a 1.25 hunger rate.
In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (9)

How much do you need

  • A steam guideby Michaelrecently broke down how much food you’ll need to feed your settlement. Highly recommend checking it out.
  • It really breaks down the difficulty of large faction farming I discussed above. To feed 30 Greenlanders, you need the equivalent production of 1200 NU per cycle which is about 40 bread, 17 Dustwiches, or 16 Food cubes.
  • In arid environments, wheat farms only produce at 60% efficiency so you’d need an incredible number of them to get to 40 bread. The better strategy is to focus on producing 16 dustwiches per cycle, which means – if my math is right – you need 17 bread and 136 Cactus per cycle (about 3 XL cactus farms).
  • The best choice for farmer recruits are: Hive Workers (best) and Greenlanders (good) – See Section 9 for a complete overview of job roles and rankings.

Some additional notes

  • @KainYusanagi pointed out that because dried meat is a fairly inefficient food source (has very low NU value, certainly compared to Rice-based meals). That said, if you are settling in an arid zone like I was here, you’re going to take some time before you can start producing the Dustwich. So I still think it’s your food of choice until you have the ability to stack food sources. Your choices will differ greatly in Swamp biomes.

6. Autohauling

I’ve made this into a separate section because its extremely important – I will update this with any ideas and strategies that I come across.

  • Autohauling only collects a minimal number of resources at a time. For both building materials and farming (!), you will need to micromanage a bit to make it more efficient. Apparently, this was because the alternative (picking up the maximum amount of needed item) created more problems than it solved. It would be nice if we could select either option, but right now that isn’t possible.
  • For farming, I keep one packbull in the center where I can pick up water and max distribute it. And also pick up all of the harvested wheat, etc. and quickly put it into its storage container.
  • Always keep at least one or two guys autohauling the resources so that if you get focussed on something else, the work doesn’t bog down.
  • An alternative solution is to just throw numbers at the problem – have a ton of engineers (pretty common for me as a backup job), and a ton of people autohauling particular resources (i usually keep this as a primary task, but you can experiment with this as another type of backup job i imagine it would work okay).
  • Note – There are two types of backpacks that allow humans to stack, they come with significant combat penalties: 1) Wooden Backpacks, and 2) Trader Backpacks. Once you have a few of these, you don’t need to separately run a packbull with a seller. That said, they’re much smaller than the packbull so you’ll probably end up running a few of them together long term.

7. Faction Economy Strategies

Faction Economy Strategies:
This guide is primarily focused on faction expansion, so this section is probably the most important for developing faction economies.

Preliminary Notes:

  • Consumer Traffic – towns will always have the highest numbers of consumers for your goods, so setting up stores in a town, and autohaul routes to it, are a good idea if you want to use the character vendor features.
  • Vendors have limited funds – which is why you want to be near as many settlements as possible to offload your items. Finding a mod that increases the amount of money vendors have to spend can make this less of an issue, obviously.

(1) Copper Mining
This will likely be your primary source of income throughout the early and middle portions of the game and can drive your economy for the entire game if you want. Copper mines typically require 1-2 miners per vein and train/rely on a character’s “labor” skill.

  • You want to place your copper storage adjacent to your copper vein so that your miners don’t have to walk anywhere when the vein fills up. Use the autohaul strategy discussed below to keep the copper storage from getting to 100.
  • Labor skill only affects speed that the copper is mined. Once it leaves the ground, copper is copper, and there is no quality effect applied to it.
  • In my roadmap sample faction above, once I had abandoned the initial outposts for a settlement I had 7 people mining copper into three storage locations. I would do runs of 300 copper with my packbull for sale.
  • Some towns have a price market on copper higher than 100%, so if you can find one you can make even more money.
  • In my sample playthrough, Copper sold at the Hive Settlement for 175 per ore (or higher), so at 300 a run I was making $ 52,500 per run. At the base price of 160, you’d be making 48,000 per run.
  • $52,500 per run may sound like a lot but given the cost of particular research items, you can burn through it pretty quickly. Still, it is sufficient to sustain you throughout the game if needed.

(2) Grog, Rum and Sake Production
Each environment type (arid, green, swamp) can produce alcohol: Rum (arid – cactus based), grog (green – wheat based), and Sake (riceweed based). Grog, rum, and Sake all profitable trade items that you can pivot your economy towards once you’ve developed your farming capacity.

  • I am focused on grog production here because it is by FAR the most profitable, selling for about 952 per unit, more than double Rum (buy price of $520/u) and Sake (buy price of $428/u).
  • Grog uses wheatstraw and water, both of which you should have developed plenty of capacity if you followed the farming section above. However, the same ideas apply to Rum or Sake. Use the excess wheatstraw capacity you developed on grog.
  • At 1155 per unit, if you do runs of 50-100, grog will net you between $ 47,600 and 95,200 per run. Given the space used, it outstrips copper profits and is incredibly profitably.
  • Because you’re carrying many less of them, you can fill the excess packbull space with your mined copper. Need to double-check total profit on these runs and will update.

(3) Farm Sales and Smuggling

  • You can implement the smuggling strategy listed in Section 1, by mass producing your own Hashish and then smuggling it to a fence. In my sample playthrough, I was able to sell Hashish directly to the neighboring Hive Settlements, but the markup was not super high.
  • Alternatively, you can sell safe food goods (dustwiches, etc.) either directly to vendors or from your own shops (discussed below).

(4) Become a Vendor[Section being developed still]
This is a long term trade option, where you have less control over what you make but you can create auto-haul routes that enable you to store particular goods in shops which, worst case, you can sell to other vendors if you overstock.

  • Initially, use one of the town buildings you bought for your setup in Squin. You can then branch out to the other cities around your settlement, with autohaulers to each.
  • Shops work best with food, alcohol, medical supplies, and textiles.
  • FromDrakken: Also works with chainmail sheets, armor plating, and steel bars.
  • You need to either be in a town (preferred method) or near one, so you can benefit from city consumers.
  • Traders don’t buy loot from people you stripped in combat, so you need to either directly sell those items or not stock them.
  • The store you create must always be unlocked and open to the public.

8. Race Breakdowns

There are four primary “races” in Kenshi, with various sub-races.

(1) Humans
Contain two subraces, and have the benefit of not being attacked on sight by the Holy Nation.

(A) Greenlanders– Look like normal, you know, humans.

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (10)
  • Can be recruited most everywhere, found with obvious frequency in the Holy Nation territory but are also plentiful in Waystations and Fishing Villages.
  • They are going to be your cooks and miners, and make good farmers as well.
  • All armor slots are available to them.

    Experience Bonuses/Penalties:

  • +20% Experience Bonus: Cooking, Farming, Science
  • They have no experience penalties

    Basic Stats:

  • Hunger Rate: 1
  • Limb HP: 100
  • Blood Level 75-150 with a Bleed Rate of 1 and a Heal Rate of 1.
  • Vision Range: 1
  • Speed: Combat move speed multiplier of 1; Move Speed 16-27.

(B) Scorchlanders– Dark skin, red eyes, fairly rare.

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (11)
  • They are very nice recruits in the early going because they have combat bonuses, can be fully equipped, have good movement speed, and a lower hunger rate than Greenlanders as well as better bleed/heal rates. They are also going to be your armor and weaponsmith specialists.
  • Because of their dexterity bonus and strength penalty, you’re going to want them swinging fast strike weapons like the Nodachi or other Katana, and not heavy weapons like the Plank.
  • Fairly rare still – They can be recruited with more regularity in the far north, by World’s End and the Fishing Town above it. I believe the new portion of the map opened up more options for them and will update this when I have more information.
  • All armor slots are available to them.

    Experience Bonuses/Penalties:

  • +20% Bonus: Smithing (Armour and Weapon), Athletics, Dodge, Stealth
  • +10% Bonus: Dexterity
  • -10% Penalty: Strength
  • -20% Penalty: Cooking, Farming, Labouring

    Basic Stats:

  • Hunger Rate: .9
  • Limb HP: 100
  • Blood Level 75-150 with a Bleed Rate of .9 and a Heal Rate of 1.1.
  • Vision Range: 1
  • Speed: Combat move speed multiplier of 1; Move Speed 18-27.

(2) Shek
Horned, rocky looking humanoids. They are honor driven and make incredible warriors. They contain no sub-races.

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (12)
  • They can be found throughout the Shek kingdom and are extremely common in the starting area south of Hub (Squin, etc.). Some don’t like to be recruited by Humans, but usually, this isn’t a big problem.
  • These are your big heavies when it comes to combat. Their strength bonus and dexterity penalty means giving them slow hitting power weapons like the Plank, makes sense, once they are developed enough to wield it.
  • They can equip all slots but are limited in terms of the helmets they can wear (due to the horns and such).

    Experience Bonuses/Penalties:

  • +20% Bonus: Toughness, Attack
  • +10% Bonus: Strength
  • -20% Penalty: Dexterity, Athletics, Dodge, Farming, Labor, Robotics, Science, Stealth, Thievery.

    Basic Stats:

  • Hunger Rate: 1.25
  • Limb HP: 125
  • Blood Level 75-150 with a Bleed Rate of .9 and a Heal Rate of .8.
  • Vision Range: 1
  • Speed: Combat move speed multiplier of 1; Move Speed 16-25.

(3) Hive
Stick-like humanoids, they are controlled by the Hive Queen. There are three sub-species, and outcasts can be recruited.

Note – That recruited Hive cannot interact with anyone in the Hive faction because they are outcasts.

(A) Hive Prince

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (13)
  • Great recruits throughout, they can be found randomly throughout the world – often in Waystations. They have very low hunger and a lot of good experience bonuses.
  • They are you thief specialists, medics, and researchers.
  • Like Scorchlanders, their combat and dexterity bonus and strength penalty means you should equip them with fast-hitting weapons like Nodachis/Katanas.
  • They can only wear hiver shirts, and can’t wear shoes.

    Experience Bonuses/Penalties:

  • +20% Bonus: Toughness, Dexterity, Athletics, Medic, Lockpicking, Science, Stealth, Thievery
  • -20% Penalty: Strength, Labor

    Basic Stats:

  • Hunger Rate: .5
  • Limb HP: 80
  • Blood Level 50 with a Bleed Rate of .3 and a Heal Rate of 1.
  • Vision Range: 1
  • Speed: Combat move speed multiplier of 1.2; Move Speed 16-31.
  • Immune to Acid

(B) Hive Soldier

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (14)
  • They are pretty limited recruits, specializing in melee combat.
  • They can only wear hiver shirts, and can’t wear shoes or headgear (but have a bonus to head health)

    Experience Bonuses/Penalties:

  • +20% Bonus: Toughness, Attack
  • -20% Penalty: Cooking, Engineering, Farming, Medic, Perception, Robotics, Science, Smithing (armour and weapon).

    Basic Stats:

  • Hunger Rate: .6
  • Limb HP: 100
  • Head HP: 200
  • Blood Level 50 with a Bleed Rate of .3 and a Heal Rate of 1.
  • Vision Range: 1
  • Speed: Combat move speed multiplier of 1.1; Move Speed 16-29.
  • Immune to Acid

(C) Hive Worker

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (15)
  • Great recruits throughout, making perhaps the best farmers (due to bonuses and movement speed), and good miners.
  • They can only wear hiver shirts, and can’t wear shoes.

    Experience Bonuses/Penalties:

  • +20% Bonus: Toughness, Dexterity, Athletics, Engineer, Farming, Labor, Stealth, Thievery, Turrets
  • -20% Penalty: Strength, Cooking, Science

    Basic Stats:

  • Hunger Rate: .5
  • Limb HP: 75
  • Head HP: 125
  • Blood Level 50 with a Bleed Rate of .3 and a Heal Rate of 1.
  • Vision Range: .5
  • Speed: Combat move speed multiplier of 1.2; Move Speed 18-31.
  • Immune to Acid


In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (16)

Skeletons are basically robotic AI, they make extremely good warriors and there are three subraces.

  • They are fairly rare to recruit, have had luck finding them in the far north by Worlds End, and they are presumably available in the Deadlands, which contains a robot city.
  • Can’t wear shirts, shoes, or headgear but make up for it with high body HP bonus and have a damage resistance to martial arts attacks against metal.
  • They have no hunger, which is great, but they are very expensive to repair and maintain in the beginning portion of the game.
  • Robotic limbs are able to wield the heaviest weapons in the game effectively once strength is built up.

    (A) Skeletons

    • +20% Bonus: Robotics, Heavy Weapons, Turrets
    • -20% Penalty: Dodge, Stealth, Thievery

      Basic Stats:

    • Hunger Rate: 0
    • Body HP: 200
    • Oil (aka Blood) Level 100 with a Bleed Rate of .01 and a Heal Rate of 3.
    • Vision Range: 1.25
    • Speed: Combat move speed multiplier of .9; Move Speed 16-25.
    • Immune to all Weather Hazards
      (B) Screamer MKI
    • +20% Bonus: Melee Attack, Turrets, Assassination, Engineer, Robotics
    • -20% Penalty: Katana, Dodge, Stealth, Thievery

      Basic Stats:

    • Hunger Rate: 0
    • Body HP: 200
    • Oil (aka Blood) Level 100 with a Bleed Rate of .01 and a Heal Rate of 3.
    • Vision Range: 1.25
    • Speed: Combat move speed multiplier of .9; Move Speed 16-25.
    • Immune to all Weather Hazards
      (C) P4 Unit– lack space for a full breakdown
      Bonus smithing, science, engineering, robotics, and medic.
      Penalty katanas, dodge, stealth, thieving

9. Role Selection and Job Rankings

Discussing Races and Patterns
After considering the racial breakdown above, a few things begin to emerge:

  • Greenlanders – The jack of all trades, they have no penalties – meaning they can fill any combat or job role – can wear all armor and even if they don’t have a bonus they can still develop the skills just fine.
  • Scorchlanders – Job Roles: they don’t make good cooks, farmers, or laborers, but are flexible otherwise and are smithing specialists. Combat Roles: More limited, as they have a minor strength penalty, so lighter or ranged weapons are better here.
  • Sheks – Combat Roles: Very tanky, can use all armors, resist every kind of damage in the game but move slower, have high food reqs, and a dexterity penalty means less cutting damage and an emphasis on strength based weapons. Job roles: Extremely limited. They can be used to plug holes, but their penalties are severe outside of combat. They have no penalties to cooking and smithing.
  • Note on the Hive – In terms of combat, the hive are extremely fragile early before blossoming late.
  • Hive Prince – Combat Roles: Can be glass cannons early, they get light weapon and ranged combat bonuses. The toughness bonus is nice because the penalties to armor/slots are rough early on. Job Roles: Very flexible, lots of bonuses and only the labor penalty.
  • Hive Soldier – Combat Roles: Same as above, they get light weapon and ranged combat bonuses. Job Roles: Extremely limited, pretty much confined to labor tasks.
  • Hive Worker – Combat Role: Glass cannons early, with bonuses to light weapons, turrets, ranged weapons (however they have a vision penalty – have not tested how much this effects this yet). Job Roles: Extremely good workers. They have a base movement speed bonus, and make great engineers, farmers, and miners/laborers with only a penalty to cooking and science.
  • Skeletons – Combat Role: naturally tanky and have no bleeding, but can’t equip numerous armor slots. They get bonuses to heavy weapons and martial arts. Job Role: Very flexible (although the Screamer and P4 Unit have more limitations built in).

Combat Roles and Rankings

1) Heavy Weapon Specialists – Relies primarily on Strength and Toughness.

  1. Sheks
  2. Skeletons
  3. Hive Soldiers
  4. Scorchlanders
  5. Greenlanders

2) Light Weapon Specialists – Relies primarily on high Dexterity and Toughness.

  1. Hive Prince
  2. Hive Soldiers
  3. Scorchlanders
  4. Skeletons
  5. Greenlanders

3) Ranged Specialists – Relies primarily on Perception, Dexterity, and Precision Shooting. There are no race specific bonuses for crossbows or precision shooting right now, so it pretty much just comes down to bonuses to the base stats.

  1. Hive Prince – 20% bonus to dexterity
  2. Hive Worker – 20% bonus to dexterity, low vision
  3. Scorchlanders – 10% bonus to dexterity
  4. Soldier Bot (Skeleton) – 20% bonus to Perception
  5. Skeletons
  6. Greenlanders

4) Martial Artists – Depend HEAVILY on martial skill, strength and toughness. Dexterity is also important.

  1. Screamer MKI – Combat bonus and robotic limbs.
  2. Skeletons – No combat bonus but robotic limbs protect from fist damage, and they have no penalty to dexterity.
  3. Shek – Combat bonus and damage resistance is great. Boosts to toughness and strength are really helpful, but the dexterity penalty hurts since you can’t wear heavy armor. Late game, with robotic limbs, these guys are monsters.
  4. Soldier Drone – Combat bonuses and no bad penalties, but have armor restrictions, aren’t naturally tanky, and take time to bloom.

5) Turret Gunners – Relies primarily on Perception, Dexterity, and Precision Shooting.

  1. Hive Worker – 20% bonus to turrets and dexterity but low vision
  2. Soldier Bot (Skeleton) – 20% bonus to Perception
  3. Hive Prince – 20% bonus to dexterity
  4. Skeletons – 20% bonus to turrets
  5. Scorchlanders – 10% bonus to dexterity
  6. Greenlanders

6) Field Medics

  1. P4 Units – Bonus to medic skills, plus they also have a bonus to robotic repair skills making them the most well rounded medic.
  2. Hive Prince – The most obtainable race/subrace with a bonus (20%) to medic skills, plus movement and athletics bonus and can use defensive weapons.
  3. Skeletons – No penalty to medic skills, plus the bonus to robotics repair allowing them to do both healing roles.
  4. Hive Worker – Movement bonus, athletics bonus. Penalty to robotics repair so they can’t double as easily.
  5. Scorchlanders – Athletics bonus
  6. Greenlanders

Non-Combat Jobs/Roles and Rankings:
1) Mining and Processing – Relies on the Labor skill, also can build strength and athletics.

  1. Hive Worker – Laboring bonus, Movement bonus, athletics bonus.
  2. Greenlanders – Laboring bonus
  3. Hive Soldier – No penalties, good movement, etc.

2) Farming

  1. Hive Worker – Farming bonus, Movement bonus, athletics bonus.
  2. Greenlanders – Farming bonus

3) Cooking

  1. Greenlanders – Clear winner, with only 20% bonus to cooking in game.
  2. Hive Princes
  3. Sheks
  4. Skeletons

4) Smithing (Armour and Weapon)

  1. Scorchlanders – The clear winner here, with 20% bonuses in both armor and weapon smithing.
  2. P4 Units – 20% bonus to armor and weapon smithing

5) Researcher – Tied to science skill

  1. Greenlanders – 20% bonus to science skills
  2. Hive Princes – 20% bonus to science skills
  3. Skeletons – 20% bonus to science skills
  4. Scorchlanders – No penalties to science.

6) Robotics – Crafting, Skeleton Repair, etc.

  1. Skeletons (all types) – Robotics bonus

7) Engineer – can also build strength and athletics

  1. Hive Worker – Engineering bonus; plus movement and athletics bonuses.
  2. Screamer MKI – Engineering Bonus
  3. P4 Unit – Engineering Bonus

8) Thief – Relies on Stealth, Lockpicking, and Thievery

  1. Hive Prince – Bonuses to all three skills, only race with lockpicking bonus.
  2. Hive Worker – Bonuses to stealth and thievery
  3. Scorchlanders – Stealth bonus

9) Smuggler – Relies on Stealth. However, lockpicking and thievery may be needed to escape jail, so the list is the same as above.

  1. Hive Prince – Bonuses to all three skills, only race with lockpicking bonus.
  2. Hive Worker – Bonuses to stealth and thievery
  3. Scorchlanders – Stealth bonus

10) Assassin – Relies on assassination and stealth, primarily.

  1. Screamer MKI – Interestingly, they are the only race/subrace with a bonus to assassination skills, but it is paired with an unfortunate penalty to stealth. As such, they take a long time to develop and maybe inferior practical choices compared to the rest of the list.
  2. Hive Prince – Bonuses to all three skills, only race with lockpicking bonus.
  3. Hive Worker – Bonuses to stealth and thievery
  4. Scorchlanders – Stealth bonus

10. Arming and Equipping your Squaddies

General Notes:

  • Remember that characters only have one “attack slot,” meaning they can only be attacked by one person at a time. Its presently unclear to me if this is applies to ranged attacks, or whether they get a separate single attack slot. Will test this a bit and update.
  • Regardless, you need to keep this in mind, because it provides a significant bonus to player’s who can micromanaging their fights – assign players to specific enemies, equip multi-hit weapons, etc. I tend not to do this too much with base defense, but its something to consider when you’re controlling a smaller war party.
  • A popular mod can expand this number to 3 (or more) attack slots. After trying it for a bit with 3x, I have to say I prefer it, it certainly seems more realistic. But if youre doing a solo run or a small squad, it certainly makes sense to keep this vanilla from a pragmatic point of view. The mod changes the gameplay to make large groups more powerful so if there is one enemy surrounded inside your base, he will die much quicker. Conversely, if you maintain a small war party, they will be more susceptible to large enemy mobs.

Thoughts on Armor

  • There are three things to always keep in mind when considering which armors to put on your squad: (1) Coverage, (2) Cut Protection, and (3) Blunt Protection.
  • Armor coverage determines whether or not a strike will be blocked by the armor at all. One of the early mistakes I made was to equip people based solely on sell price. This led me to over-use the heart protector, when it provides only 50% coverage to the chest. That means that 50% of the time youre taking 100% damage to the chest (100% of the time everywhere else that isn’t covered). Not good. Once I found the recipe, I focused on crafting Samurai armor which I found to be much more effective.
  • Most enemy weapons will do cut or blunt damage to your characters.
  • Heavy armor, early on, may not always be the best choice for you. For one, youll build up your toughness more slowly and probably don’t have the stats to account for the skill penalties.
  • Toughness determines a character’s damage resistance and KO level. I’m not sure if the amount of “blood” that a character has to lose is determined by his/her strength statistic any longer; I believe this all is determined by racial modifiers and/or toughness.

General Thoughts on Weapons and Equipment

  • In my town, my specialized fighters were almost 50/50 warriors to rangers. That may sound high, but for base defense, I had 30+ workers in my base with melee weapons that could support my group if anyone broke through, and I wanted 6-7 rangers be turret specialists. In most instances, they would be the only ones involved in picking apart enemies at the gate.
  • Early on, I found nodachis (primary) and katanas (secondary) on everyone to be pretty effective since I was mostly going up against Starving Bandits or Dust Bandits; they absolutely destroy low armor opponents. However, katanas have stiff armor penalties and you pretty muchhaveto diversify your fighting group to be successful. Overall, they’re still a strong early crafting choice.
  • Note that backpack penalties do not apply to ranged combat skills, so throw them on your rangers who can carry your supplies. Also remember that you unequip backpacks in a player’s actual inventory or on the ground during a fight.
  • Pay attention to dual damage items (i.e. items that deal both cut and blunt damage). This is especially true after your fighters have +60 stats, because having secondary damage really adds up.
  • Use tooth picks/junk bows, etc. on all of your rangers until you’ve leveled up their precision shooting. Giving someone an eagle’s cross before thats done is just guaranteeing that hes going to blow off an ally’s arm or leg.

Specific Weapon Types and Style Choices
There are 8 different weapon styles in Kenshi:

  1. Katanas – Covered above. They’re a staple, particularly early on. Light, fast, nice range + will train dexterity, attack, and defense. They also cause bleeding. However, they have defense penalties, so don’t put them on your medics/designated non-combatants. Nodachis as a primary weapon for katana users was my go-to.
  2. Sabres – A slower, heavier weapon than the katana often coming with bonuses to defense. Boost your dexterity and to a lesser degree your strength skills. They’re a good option for medics, particularly ones which offer real high defense buffs like the foreign sabre. I’m a fan of them even on my combat characters because they offer both cut and blunt damage which is huge once your guys are 60+ in their stats. Desert Sabre is an extremely balanced choice, but in my mind doesn’t do as well as Ringed or Holed Sabres if you can get your hands on any.
  3. Blunt Weapons – Blunt damage causes very little bleeding, but these weapons great against heavily armored guys and are also useful for knocking out and capturing opponents. I don’t typically have more than 1 person with one in a war party because they mostly do only stun damage. The Jitte is a decent choice for indoors, and the spiked club deals multiple types of damage which can be powerful in the hands of a well-trained warrior.
  4. Hackers – Do both cutting and blunt damage and usually offer bonuses against robots (helpful in the late game). They seem good once they’re trained up, and I have a few people equipped with Combat Cleavers – will add more thoughts after testing them a bit.
  5. Polearms – Long outdoor weapons, it’s a great idea to have at least 1-2 guys wielding these. They are quick-hitting with a reach similar to that of heavy weapons; able to strike multiple enemies at once. Some appear to train dexterity. Their “affects damage” against animals is unhelpful but they more than make up for it by being lightweight, meaning that they don’t require highly trained warriors to use effectively (unlike heavy weapons). They have a bad reputation in the community because of their low damage and bad effect damage but I’ve had a lot of success with them (try the Naginta). They’re particularly helpful if you’ve focused on expansion over combat training early on. Make sure to equip these guys with indoor weapons.
  6. Heavy Weapons – Long, outdoor weapons which cause cutting and blunt damage and train your strength, attack, and defense. They boast both high damage output and high minimum stat requirements. If you followed this guide, you probably won’t be using many of them early on as your squad will simply not be trained sufficiently to wield them but long term it may be worth it to train up 1 or 2 guys with planks. Rarer heavy weapons like the falling sun may be doable with prosthetic limbs, but I have not tried this.
  7. Crossbows – They’re a must-have in most squads as the only ranged weapons in the game. They require ammunition, so keep in mind ammo availability when you stumble across a fancy one. Since most of my combat has been base-centric, they’ve been particularly useful and they build many of the same stats required for your turret gunners (which can be hard to train!). Just make sure you use low-level crossbows until your precision shooting is at least above 30 or so, or you’ll do more damage than good.
  8. Martial Arts – At high levels, martial artists are exceptionally strong. However, they are the most attribute dependent fighters in the game; as they receive no benefits from a weapon, their skills are entirely dependent on a character’s martial arts level, toughness, and strength. In some ways, they’re the easiest to internally train bc you don’t have to worry about bleed damage to prisoners (or the fact that they’re equipped, etc.). Other considerations: You will need to train dexterity separately in order to give them some protection, and they seem to require some fist protection against heavy armor/robots.

11. War Party and Fighter Training

When you’re at a point where your settlement is stable, you have turrets manned and you need to venture out for research material its time to start investing in your war party.

Preliminary Decisions: How big should your war party be

  • Since I strongly prefer using the expanded squad mod, and recommend it early on, your decisions may be different than mine. Unmodded early war squads usually start around 5 or 6, with a goal size of 10-12. In my sample playthrough, I was starting my war party later and had a large faction of 70+ with the large squad mod, and went with 18+3 pets.
  • Who to pick: I recommend recruiting with an eye for who you want warring from the getgo. Don’t assign these guys to essential jobs like farming, smithing and to a certain extent turret manning. These guys should be your engineers, miners, researchers, etc. who you can afford to take off their assigned tasks for lengthy exploratory ventures. Within this group, you want to narrow down people who have the highest stats trained up – so for me, a lot of these guys were miners who had been early responders to raids and had built up 20+ toughness. You don’t need that much, it just changes how you go about training them.

Training Fighters
I’m going to spend most of this section focused on out-of-base fighter training through war party ventures. Its the most fun, least grindy, effective way to level up your war party.

There are a lot of good guides out there that focus on in-base fighter training.This oneis explicitly about how to use prisoners as training material,this onediscusses much of the same stuff and gets into stat development,this onegoes into a bunch of different things including war party composition. They’re all worth a look and I won’t be adding in-base fighter training until later on because its already been covered pretty well.

If you followed my playthrough advice, then you’ve kind of let this slide with maybe a few exceptions and just allowed your guys to naturally level up as your settlement got attacked.

  • If your troop is super low on stats (between 10-30), you are going to gear your early fighting ventures on bandits in the border zone. This way you stay near your base and build up your stats in easily winnable fights.
  • If your troop stats are moderate (between 20-60), you have a lot more options. You can continue harassing dust bandits but I recommend going into the foglands and fighting the fog men, who will hit you with numbers, which is great.
  • With high level troops (60+ stats), you should start relic hunting, which is covered in the section below.

War Party Composition and General Tips:

  • Have at least 1-2 medics in your war party on passive, with defensive bonus weapons like the foreign sabre. Since this may not be enough to save them in tough battles, I like to put them on “hold” just outside the fight, so they don’t get killed healing someone in the center of the combat.
  • In my sample playthrough, my war party was made up of 15 melee attackers, 1 doctor, and 2 rangers. More rangers are recommended, but I didn’t have enough trained up with precision shooting to either take off turrets or trust not hitting my own guys.
  • As I covered in the equipment section, you want a diverse weapon setup. This will be limited by the stats of your guys.
  • Remember that to wield a weapon, you need your strength to be 2x the weight of the weapon. So for a plank that weighs 12 kg, you’d need at least 24 strength to wield it at all.
  • In later parties where you are artifact hunting, you also need to have one of your guys trained up in lock-picking. If you don’t have a guy super high level, try and buy some tools so that you can cut open high-level safes without lockpicking them.
  • Consult the Squad Equipment section for weapon ideas, and make sure they aren’t all wielding katanas – you want people who can hit an armored foe if you run into one. This isn’t an issue if you’re just planning on fighting bandits.
  • Some people recommend using scouts. I never found the need, but experiment with one if you’re finding yourself getting beat down a little too hard.
  • Remember that if you use the “defensive” skill, it automatically boosts your defensive stats by 20 which makes leveling said stats a LOT slower (because it considers those stats artificially higher than they are). I recommendnotusing it as much as possible so that you level faster unless you specifically need it in combat.
  • Always remember to set your war party to walk, not run, so that people don’t get left behind. If you’re having issues with staying together, remember that you can always set your slowest person to be the leader and just have everyone else follow him.
  • When a few of your guys have taken a beating and need to be carried around, liberally use beds in towns your near. It’s worth the cost and will make this much easier. You can also save some money by picking out places near cities with a thieves guild so you can sleep for free (if you paid the early 10k fee – which you should have done).

12. Advanced Research and Loot

General Overview:
To research the highest level tech, you will need to find (1) ancient science books, (2) engineering schematics, and (3) AI cores.

  • Most factions consider these taboo, and will not talk to you about them. They are illegal in the Holy Nation so be careful when you have them in your inventory there.
  • Purchase: They are extremely unlikely to be found in cities, but there are a few places where they can be purchased. The tech hunter faction and cities run by Skeletons are your best bet for information and items. You can run a character with high athletics and a backpack to these locations, but you may need special gear to protect you from weather effects (or just rough it out and heal at a bed in a city before running back out).
  • Scavenging: These items can be found in ancient labs, lost towns, lost libraries, and occasionally in places that are designated “dead” or “ruins.” You will encounter these primarily in the more remote and dangerous regions in Kenshi. Expect to encounter more advanced enemies.
  • You have two options: (1) Bringing an advanced war party – the conventional route; or (2) using a highly trained Thief – a method I have not yet tried, but intend to.
  • Breaking into Locked Containers: Regardless of your above choice, you will want one character in your war party who excels at lockpicking (over 40 is ideal to start) so that you can actually access many of the labs and containers in the game.
  • Just remember that failing (in lockpicking or anything else) is FINE, it builds your skill, but you need to have a high enough skill to be able to pick the lock in the first place. I’ve started with lockpicking as low as the mid-20s for these runs and built it up fine. Always bring tools as a backup, especially if you have a lower lockpick skill.
  • Gathering information: I chose not to purchase maps or anything but that’s an option in many travel shops. You can also ask tech hunters about them for free.
  • A good place to start your search for these items is in the Floodlands, south of Burn’s tower because it is fairly easy to get to if you followed my sample playthrough.

Ancient Books

  • Cost around 5k per book to purchase.
  • Where they can be purchased: They will occasionally appear for sale at Hive Settlements and Tech Hunter Waystations and Towns, and are guaranteed to spawn at a shop in World’s End, and at the Scraphouse near Black Desert City.
  • In places where they are guaranteed to spawn, I’m not sure if the items restock once purchased.

Engineering Schematics

  • Cost around 8k per Schematic to purchase.
  • Where they can be purchased: They will occasionally appear for sale at Hive Settlements and Tech Hunter Waystations and Towns, and are guaranteed to spawn at the Scraphouse near Black Desert City.
  • Guaranteed scavenge locations: Post-Ancient Workshop, Workshop Complex, and Deadland Workshop.
  • As above, in places where they are guaranteed to spawn, I’m not sure if the items restock once purchased.

AI Cores

  • Uber rare, uber expensive. You need a total of 32 cores to research everything in the game. They cost around 25k per Core to purchase.
  • Where they can be purchased: Three of them can be purchased at the Scraphouse near Black Desert City, but they will not restock.
  • You will need to scavenge for them using the Artifacts system, at Ancient Tech Labs or by destroyingCleanser Units, which can be found roaming the Ashlands in the Southeast corner of the map.

Conclusion, Misc Tips, Notes on Mods

Misc. Tips and Thoughts

  • Reset the navmesh regularly by pressing [cntl]+[shift]+[f11]
  • In the likely event that you eventually encounter some bugs, you can use the world editor to try and fix them by pressing [shift]+[f12]
  • Player Stuck in Walls – One bug I encountered that could not be fixed like this was having my guys get stuck in walls. Even deleting the wall didn’t allow them to move from the location. A trick that seems to work is sending another guy as close to them against the wall as you can, and issuing the “pick up” command. You can then put them down somewhere that isn’t inside a wall. The added benefit being that you don’t have to deconstruct/rebuild your wall.
  • Holding down the [Alt] key will highlight items on the ground, signs in towns, etc. which can be very useful.
  • Pathing – Certain locations that are walled off by mountains cannot be accessed without some micromanaging, so don’t just send a guy off to explore or go to a town on the other side of the world without monitoring him. The game populates 9 zones immediately surrounding your character, and will populate 3 zones in the direction he moves. However, when your screen is not focused on a character, your character will (I believe) be forced to rely on AI Pathing through difficult terrain and if you aren’t on one of these paths, you can can get stuck and go aimless.

Some Notes on Mods
There are a lot of awesome mods in the workshop that you’ll no doubt want to look into eventually – I didn’t want to use them until I had played through the game a bit. That said, three I used pretty early were:

  1. 256 Squad Limit – Strong recommend as soon as your squad is getting to the 20 person limit because this will expand it to 50. As Kenshi does not allow automation to ever fully take off, this makes micromanaging easier.
  2. In-Game Colored Biome Map
  3. More names – nothing is worse than having two guys named the same thing (if you forgot to change it).
  4. Better Eyes – the default eyes for greenlanders are honestly terrifying.

A few others I’d recommend once you’ve played in the default world a bit:

  1. Recruit Prisoners
  2. Guardposts – Unfortunately, this is no longer being updated and isn’t working for me.

    Discussed above, certain mods can make your life easier but will change the gameplay in significant ways. You have to consider whether its worth it to you to do so.

  3. 3x Attack Slots – Discussed earlier, this will change combat dynamics to favor larger groups. This is arguably more realistic but I haven’t tested it yet.
  4. Reactive World – Awesome mod for the mid-endgame which will make the world more dynamic.
  5. Shops have more items – I have mixed feelings about this one. Its really awesome to have sellers with significantly more Cats to spend on your copper and goods. BUT this significantly changes the game in other ways, because shops will now regularly sell rare items and blueprints that they don’t typically stock.
  6. Idle Training – This allows you to train character stats by providing additional and high level training equipment. Once you’ve done a playthrough where you trained up a squad using the traditional strategies, this may be a good one to check out since it cuts down on grinding.

Whatever your cup of tea, your first story will likely be about surviving the wasteland. If you followed this guide, you can really branch out and do whatever you want exploring the wastelands, basebuilding, etc. But after you’ve done that, my only recommendation is to have fun bringing your own story to Kenshi. An all chick group intent on bringing down the Holy Lands? A skeletal army intent on bringing death to all? Your own Hive Collective? Kenshi is a wonderful sandbox, have fun in it.

Wishing you good fortunes, Drifter.

Both this part and the first part, the were written by Ironslasher who has graciously permitted me to feature his guide on this blog. Thank you again.

Also check out this Kenshi Review if you want to convince your friends to try the game.

In-Depth Kenshi Guide on Base Building - Gamer Of Passion (2024)


Where is the best place to set up a base in Kenshi? ›

There's a sweet spot north of the first hive village west of the Hub. You can straddle both arid and swamp biomes, plenty of beak thing eggs, skins, and a few cannibals. If you want attrition on any incoming raiders, set up shop in the Fog Islands or Cannibal Plains.

Where is a good place for first base in Kenshi? ›

A low level and low risk area, the Border Zone has a few solid options for players looking to start out their settlement journey in Kenshi. Basically a no-mans-land slotted between the Shek Kingdom and the Holy Nation, the Border Zone is actually the home of several game starts and is therefore quite forgiving.

What are good beginner areas in Kenshi? ›

I found that the most common place to start the game is in the Hub (or Sho-Battai (in the Desert....) It's the newbie area and if you start there, I suggest you make your way to WayStation Z in the Borderlands just south east of Hub.

How do you build a house in Kenshi? ›

How to Build a House in Kenshi. Building a house in Kenshi requires players to travel far outside a town. First, bring up the building menu by clicking the appropriate button on the bottom right of the screen. This will bring up the building options in the bottom left portion of the screen.

Where is the safest place to live in Kenshi? ›

Grab a house in a town and do a little research first, and once your walls are up the base would be safe. For other safe bases, the mountains north of Blister Hill and around Rebirth are reasonably safe. Only having HN's Prayer Day to deal with. Though getting good terrain and resources nodes may be tricky.

How do I get a good start in Kenshi? ›

  1. Start your first game with more than one character,
  2. Getting in battle trains you, do not fear going down, leave one character behind to first aid everyone after a battle.
  3. Build your faction and your character skills in the safety of a building inside a town, do not build a base too soon.
Oct 3, 2022

What is the best starting city in Kenshi? ›

Sho-Battai is one of the best starting spots if you can get there. It does have copper outside the gate, has a mechanical shop and a general store which provide enough supplies to support a weaponsmith and a leather armour crafter so you can get an economy going.

What is the best way to make money in Kenshi? ›

Easy ways to make money early to mid game. 1) Run loads of animals or bandits to town guards, loot the animals and bandits after the bloodbath, sell everything except for the meat. Cook the meat yourself on campfires for free food. 2) Find a city that has a copper mine nearby and mine it, sell the copper for money.

What is in the unwanted zone in Kenshi? ›

The Unwanted Zone fully lives up to its name, unless players have very skilled fighters and are in need of Animal Skins or Raw Meat. It is densely populated by Beak Things and Crabs. There are many Nests in this Zone, making it a good source of Crab Eggs and Beak Thing Eggs.

Can you own multiple houses in Kenshi? ›

Původně napsal Shidan: Yes, as long as you can find more buildings for sale, there are no artificial limits on the number of buildings you can own.

What is the difference between storm house and old storm house Kenshi? ›

Old storm house is 6,000 and storm house is 4,800. They look EXACTLY the same size. Not to mention that the old storm house took 12 building materials to repair instead of 8 building materials for storm house. Only difference appears to be that the old storm house looks a bit rusted/dirtier outside.

Is there a level cap in Kenshi? ›

The "modifier" is a central element of this mod (patch), designed to control how quickly or slowly you advance in skill levels up to 200. In Kenshi, it's ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to reach level 101. The closer your level gets to 100 in Kenshi, the slower it increases.

Where is the best place to trade in Kenshi? ›

The area around the Hub is great for trading early game since it is relatively close to many towns. Note also that Western Hive villages have a Robotics Shop and a Trade Goods Trader, making them prime places to sell your wares if you do not mind visiting multiple places.

Where to build outpost Kenshi? ›

Player Outposts can be built just outside of towns or deep in the wilderness.

What is the best city in Kenshi reddit? ›

My favorite 3 cities to live in:
  • Squin - the best, hands down. There are SO MANY SHOPS in Vain/Shek Kingdom, of different kinds. ...
  • Black Scratch - tight real estate (Y-Houses are bugged and you can't use the northwest arm half the time - just build batteries there). ...
  • Sho-Battai - That's the best UC city to live in, imo.
Jan 30, 2024

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