Kenshi Walkthrough (Part 2) Building A Base & Mid Game
Welcome to Part 2 of my Kenshi Walkthrough! In this part we will be covering adventuring in general along with more information about the world of Kenshi. At this point in the game you should have at least 10 characters in your Squad and they should all be outfitted in some basic gear that you've purchased from the armor and weapon shops in town.
If you need help deciding what to buy I recommend you return to my Kenshi Walkthrough (Part 1) and read the bottom of the page. I've included some weapons and armor that I would recommend purchasing to outfit your characters in on that page. Before you go out adventuring in Kenshi there are 2 things you should do too...
1. Make sure every character has at least 3 First Aid Kits
2. Make sure one character has a backpack and food is inside of it; or you have a pack mule with food in their backpack
There's one last thing we can do to prepare before adventuring out into the open world as well... At almost every Bar in Kenshi you can find a group of Mercenaries or Tech Hunters that you can hire to accompany you and protect you. Each group will stay with you for either 1 day or 2 days depending on how much you pay them and they will protect you from any attacks out in the world. A screen shot of one of these mercenary groups is shown below.
On the map shown above I circled the primary areas where you can find and hire Mercenary body guards around The Hub in The Border Zone which is the most common noob area in the game. If you're in a different town simply visit any Bars or Inns and look for a Mercenary Captain or a Tech Hunter you can talk to.
For those of you who have never played Kenshi before I strongly recommend that every single time you go out into the wild you hire a group of Mercenaries to protect you. No matter what faction or type of enemy attacks you these guys will defend you. If your entire Squad gets downed these mercenaries will heal you and protect you (so long as their contract remains) until you can get back on your feet and get out of harms way.
Essentially, the mercenaries in this game act as a fail safe preventing you from dying and losing an entire Squad due to a bad decision. At the start of the game many things can go wrong and wipe your entire Squad since they're so weak... this is why I don't recommend you venture anywhere without protection.
There is no level system in Kenshi, instead the best way to gauge your strength against an opponents is to look at their stats as well as the health on their limbs. Most humanoid enemies all have the same amount of health on their limbs but monster vary greatly and can range from 300 to 7,000 depending on the enemy.
One of the most common enemies in Kenshi that you'll learn to love and hate is Beak Things. These creatures are found in many zones throughout the world and when you see them you'll know that zone is meant for characters with stats 35 - 45+. A large majority of Beak Things that you fight in this game will be Adult Beak Things and all of them have about 300 Health on all of their limbs.
For right now a general rule of thumb is going to be avoid any zones with Beak Things in them because they will ruin your day. At least until your characters all have 25 or more Toughness at which point you can fight some Beak Things if you want so long as you have a hired group of mercenaries with you to assist. 1 or 2 Beak Things isn't much of an issue but it's rare to find them traveling in small groups.... and if you see a small group of Beak Things and engage it, there's always a chance the rest of the herd will come to assist.
Beak Things are very strong enemies for 2 main reasons. The first is they have a lot of health and the second is their attacks do a lot of AoE damage. When Beak Things attack they swing their head in an ark and can damage characters standing nearby that are not currently fighting the enemy. Tip: If you use 2h weapons on your characters you'll do the same thing to a group of enemies.
Additionally in Kenshi it's important you pay attention to the Age of a monster. If you have any animals in your party and you click on them you'll see a category just for them called Age. Typically they start out as a Pup and grow into a Teen then eventually an Adult and finally they end with Elder. In Kenshi as enemies age they will grow in strength significantly, most of the Beak Things you'll come across in this game are Adults.... However in the southern portion of the map, specifically in zones like High Bonefields, you can encounter an Elder Beak Thing.
Elder Beak Things have a bit bigger of an enemy model than Adults and have more stats but the real danger of them is confusing one for an Adult Beak Thing and assuming you can kill it because it's alone. Leviathans can be similar the Teens are significantly weaker than the Adults. To turn these niche examples into generalized advice, make sure you carefully look over enemies when you enter into new areas of the game and know what you are getting yourself into. This is very much so a strategy game when it comes to combat.
Once you pop your head into a couple different zones in Kenshi you'll start to get a grasp of just how big this world is. You also may start to wonder where is safe to explore and where isn't safe. The landscape in Kenshi is not really dense when it comes to enemies and it's definitely possible to run through an entire zone without seeing any enemies. Additionally, with some enemies you can't really gauge their difficulty until you fight them.
After you have done some exploring it will be time for you to start thinking about additional ways for you to earn some extra money. Sooner or later you are going to have to buy a lot of really expensive limbs for your characters as well as upgrade their weapons and armor to the highest quality possible. In addition to all of this spending you're also going to have to constantly buy food for your characters, First Aid Kits for when you get injured and Ammunition for anyone who is using a Crossbow.
In addition to earning more money you also need to buy a house in a town you like and start researching all of the technology you'll need when it comes time to build a base. Speaking of building a base, you should start looking around for possible locations to build one since we're getting close to the point where building a base will be necessary.
I talked about this a little bit in Part 1 of my Walkthrough, I highly recommend you purchase a building in Squin -- or whatever town you're comfortable with and start building some basic things that you need in there. You need a Research Bench to start and you'll need to purchase some Books to put inside of the bench. Once you've done this press 'T' to bring up the Research window and start clicking away at everything you can!
Through researching you'll be able to unlock crafting benches and recipes that will allow you to make pretty much every type of weapon, armor and item in the game. You're able to unlock the majority of recipes in the game with just Books but eventually you'll need Ancient Science Books and Engineering Research to unlock the best technology. For those of you curious which technology is the best and you'd like a run down on what everything does I recommend my Kenshi Researching Video. I give a quick break down of everything and explain each section in a bit more detail.
Usually the first things I research are Tech Levels and more/new buildings. Everything in the Core tab I typically get out the way first since that's a pre-requisite to unlock other things. After that, everything in the Training and Defence section I purchase as well as Weapon Smithing and its upgrades. Usually I focus on other crafting too depending on what my plans are in the game.
Most of the items you buy in the Training section are useful for giving your characters basic skill levels in Lockpicking, fighting and a couple of other things. Defence is only important for base building which comes a bit later but it's important to get the research out of the way for it now. The moment you slap down your base enemies will start sending raids against it so it's best you have everything researched and prepared before you do that.
Tip: You can download mods that allow you to unlock training dummies for more skills that go higher than just level 30. There are lots of mods for this game and if they're your thing I recommend checking them out!
What I personally would recommend is to research up to at least Tech Level 4 before starting your own base. This will give you access to some of the bigger buildings which are pretty much required when it comes to starting your own base. I also strongly recommend that you research every single thing possible that costs 'Books' to not only get it out of the way but to also give you a very solid start when it comes to building a base.
Tip: If you need some Engineering Research and Ancient Science Books early on you can visit Flats Lagoon and buy some from a vendor here. World's End also has a vendor that sells some Ancient Science Books too but less than in Flats Lagoon.
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Moving into Mid-Game for Kenshi
At some point you will begin to ask yourself what sorts of challenges you can find by exploring out in the world of Kenshi? Which challenges are geared towards lower level players? The game isn't really good at pointing you in any sort of direction and you have to kind of deduce all of these things for yourself. Thankfully, I have played the game long enough to help you out with these things!
In The Border Zone there are 2 locations that you can hit up which are perfect for testing your character's strength and letting you know what you can and can't handle. The lower level one is the Dust King Tower which is the main base for the Dust Bandits; the higher level one is the Tower of Ninjas which is the home base for the Black Dragon Ninjas.
Before attempting either of these locations I strongly recommend you have a Squad of 10 - 15 characters and you've outfitted them in some Standard or better gear in every slot. If you're not confident in your abilities wait until your stats are higher and also hire a group of Mercenaries (or two!) to protect you.
#1 Dust King Tower: (Recommended Toughness & Other Stats 25+) A locked gate and large wall will block your entrance. When you approach you'll be shot at from the wall turrets and will have to break down the door; roughly 20 bandits will fight you once you break in. Your rewards are some basic loot along with a unique Companion by the name of Cat who is locked in a cage.
#2 Tower of Ninjas: (Recommended Toughness & Other Stats 35+) A lone tower sitting alongside a path. It's home to about 20 Ninjas and it has a few turrets on the top floor which will fire at you when you approach. Dimak is the leader of the Ninjas and drops a Meitou Ninja Blade; the best Ninja Blade weapon in the entire game.
Once you've conquered both of these locations and you've done some basic research progression I would say that you've made it to the start of the "mid-game" in Kenshi.
What's next is what you're probably wondering... Well, in the world of Kenshi what you want to do and when is something that is usually entirely your choice. For the rest of Part 2 of my walkthrough what I am going to do is talk a bit about money making, starting a base and where you can spend some of that money to outfit yourself in better equipment.
Before we dive into money making and all of the best ways to do it what we need to do first is visit Mongrel. You can find the city of Mongrel in the center of Fog Islands, a zone which is dominated by large groups of Fogmen and can be difficult to navigate for low level players. A screen shot showing you the map location of Mongrel can be found below... It's not too hard to find this city since you can easily see the walls in the distance throughout almost all of the Fog Lands.
The reason we're visiting Mongrel is because this town sells a lot of top end gear as well as top end Skeleton Limbs AND this town is also where we get the best companion in the entire game, Beep. A Kenshi play through is not complete unless you have Beep in your party, all the best memes about Kenshi have Beep in them and he is regarded as the best companion by almost every single person that plays this game. Beep isn't super powerful nor does he come with a special set of skills when you first recruit him. The reason Beep is so popular is solely because of his unique dialogue.
Mongrel is the town I chose for this guide because it's an amazing town that has pretty much everything you need to equip your characters in some advanced gear. If you've lost any limbs until now there is a small shack with a Skeleton merchant here who will sell you specialized limbs which frequently are [Specialist] and [Masterwork] quality.
In addition to the Skeleton merchant you also have an armor vendor here as well as an undergarments vendor. Both of these vendors very frequently stock armor that is [Specialist] quality as well as have a very wide selection of armor to choose from. The undergarments vendor sells both regular Light Armor shirts as well as Medium Armor Chainmail. There is a boot merchant in town too who sells a wide variety of boots as well as almost always having a couple pairs of Wooden Sandals stocked (which are one of the best boots in the game).
But wait, that's not all! Mongrel also has a weapon vendor who almost always has some Mk. I and Mk. II weapons in supply. Don't want melee weapons and want Crossbows instead? Mongrel has that too! Best of all, Mongrel's Archery Store very frequently stocks [Specialist] and [Masterwork] weapons! Are you starting to understand why I love this town so much yet?
Aside from Beep you'll also find 3 more Companions in Mongrel who are unique, Infinite Wingwang, Crumblejon and Shryke. It's up to you who you want to recruit, I recommend you grab all 3 including Beep since the game is more fun when you have unique Companions. For those of you who are looking through the weapons and armor sold by vendors and are unsure what is good and why -- I can help you out a bit with that...
These links will take you to guides I have written which are pretty much compilations of information I have researched online. I've gone through multiple Reddit Posts and spreadsheets going over the best weapons in the game and the best armor and I have summarized most of that information on those pages.
If you'd like a summarized version of all that information, below you'll find a list of the types of weapons you'll want to keep an eye out for in Mongrel as well as the types of armor.
Best Weapon Types in Kenshi:
Guardless Katana: Light and effective sidearm weapon
Jitte: Great defensive weapon for indoors
Spiked Club: Best bleed & damage sidearm weapon but also can get quite heavy
Short Cleaver: Great damage and armor penetration but very short range
Desert Saber: Well rounded weapon for people who are lazy and don't like weapon swapping for different encounters
Foreign Saber: Best defense outdoors of all weapons
Paladin's Cross: The best weapon you can use against Robots
Falling Sun: Best pure damage weapon in the game.
Fragment Axe: Deals the most AoE damage and has the most range of all weapons.
Best Armor in Kenshi:
Wooden Sandals: Deceptively amazing. Most armor in Kenshi covers 100% of the legs and there are no "feet" limbs in this game. You can't have more than 100% coverage on 1 part of your body... so what this means is so long as you have a pair of pants that offer you 100% coverage you're good. Samurai Legplates are the best Heavy Armor, Samurai Clothpants are the best Light Armor and they both give 100% coverage.
Samurai Legplates: Best piece of Heavy Armor you can get for your leg slots. I typically make all of my melee characters wear a pair of these.
Samurai Clothpants: Best piece of Light Armor that you can get for leg slots. Crossbow characters and Martial Artist characters will want to be wearing a pair of these.
Plate Jacket: In my opinion this is one of the best pieces of Medium Armor that you can get.
Armoured Hood: Not really the best but it's what for sale in Mongrel frequently and it offers decent protection. I outfit my melee characters with these usually.
Once you've visited Mongrel and bought what you can afford it's time to return to The Border Zone and setup our first base. Technically you can setup a base wherever you want but I recommend The Border Zone for your first base since it's technically a noob zone and the enemies that will bother you here aren't very strong.
Before coming to the location where you will be setting up your base I strongly recommend that you stock up on some basic supplies that we will need for building a base. We'll want enough supplies to put down at least 1 or 2 buildings along with a Stone Mine, Stone Processor and other must haves for building a base. I'll list everything below that I would recommend you bring...
1. 100 Iron Plates
2. 200 Building Materials
3. 20 Electrical Components
4. 20 Fabric
The above materials will be enough to get you started with the things you need. Electrical Components, Leather and Fabric are technically optional but strongly recommended because you'll want to build Batteries and Beds as quickly as possible. The location we're going to be setting up base is in the eastern portion of The Border Zone, an exact location is shown on my map below.
If this is the first base you've ever built in Kenshi then you will probably be confused by parts of this process. That's ok, we're in a noob zone so you don't have to worry about enemies wiping you out too much here. I'm going to talk a little bit about setting our base up on this page but if you'd like more detailed information about all of this check out my Kenshi Building Your First Base Walkthrough. Additionally, check out my Kenshi Walkthrough (Part 7) Building Our First Base Youtube Video for more information about this as well.
For those of you who are already a bit familiar with Kenshi or just want something more challenging I recommend a base in the Swamp. You will get attacked a lot by Stone Rats and Red Sabres along with Swamp Raptors who want to eat your crops but that's just free Toughness points without ever having to leave your base if you know what you're doing. Check out my Kenshi Base Locations for more information about the spot I use in the Swamp.
Note: Many base raids that attack your settlement in this game will steal your food from the Food Store as "payment". You can prevent this from happening by not letting enemies inside your base or intercepting them and attacking them before they reach the building that holds all your food. In Kenshi it's possible to lock the door to the building that has food and lock the door to your front gate.
Since we are in The Border Zone the environment here is going to be 100% Arid and 10% Green making Farming a bit difficult since we can't grow many crops. Thankfully since it's 10% Green we can still grow more than Cacti here. For this base in The Border Zone what I recommend your main goal to be is make some money using Cactus Rum and make some Dustwichs to feed our troops.
This is going to be the last time that I hold your hand as far as money making goes. In the future I will only refer you to my Crafting, Mining, Trading or Farming Money Making Guides. What I recommend you do is focus on producing a lot of Cactus Rum at this base as well as Skeleton Repair Kits. If you want some more information about each of these check out my Skeleton Repair Kits Money Making Guide or my Cactus Rum Money Making Guide.
Once you produce enough of these that you're satisfied it's time to load up your pack animal and transport everything you've made to the swamp. All of the Cactus Rum you made sells for +25% here and there is typically always a really good price mark-up on Skeleton Repair Kits when you're in the swamp as well. What I like to do is purchase a ton of Hash from the swamp merchants and sell all the Cactus Rum and Skeleton Repair Kits I have. Then I will travel to Flats Lagoon and Mourn to offload all of the Hash for an insane price mark-up of +400%!
For more information about this trading route check out my Trading to make money in Kenshi guide. This talks about the route in detail providing pictures, maps and the nitty gritty details that you should know. Below I have put together a list of everything my first base contained when I made it for this guide.
Research Bench: You will need this to research new technologies, it's probably one of the most important things you can make for your base. Before starting a base I strongly recommend you buy a house in a town that you like and make a Research Bench in there. Research a bunch of what you need before starting to build things outside of towns.
Robotics: For our first base this is kind of optional but it's useful for you to start raising your Robotics skill and making some Skeleton Repair Kits which will make you really good money.
Weapon Smith: I strongly recommend you make a Weapon Smith (level 1) and about 2 dozen Weapon Cabinets. All you need to ever make is Iron Clubs with the Weapon Smith (level 1) and it'll only every cost 2 Iron Plates each. This will raise your skill as high as you want it to go then you can easily switch to a Weapon Smith (level 2) when you want to make the best weapons for your team.
Armour Smith: With a lot of Leather and Fabric you can get some skill ups early on with Armour Smithing as well as make some pretty good money. For more information about this check out my Making money with Armour Smithing Guide.
Electrical Workbench: This crafting station makes Electrical Components and is required if you plan to do Robotics or make some of the more advanced tech for your base such as Batteries.
Stone Mine: Probably the second most important thing for you to build when starting a new base. Stone is used to make Building Materials which are used in building nearly everything you need for a base.
Stone Processor: Without a Stone Processor to process the stone you mine you can't make any Building Materials! You'll need to build one of these close to your Stone Mine and have workers operate it to convert your stone into Building Materials.
Iron Refinery: These are needed to turn Iron Ore into Iron Plates. You'll need a lot of Iron Plates for building things throughout your base as well as for crafting.
Steel Refinery: Steel bars are needed for some of the more advanced things that you can make with crafting. They're also used in some of the more advanced technologies that you can make for your base.
Cactus Farms: One of the only things we can grow in The Border Zone is Cacti. You can make Chewsticks and Dustwich's with this crop as well as Cactus Rum. What I like to do is mass produce Cactus Rum to sell for money in the Swamp and Dustwich's to keep my character's fed. I recommend making 2x or 3x more Cactus Farms than Wheatstraw since we'll be needing so many more Cactus. Remember to make Cactus Storages too so your characters have a place to put them.
Wheatstraw Farms: In order to make the Bread that we will need for the Dustwich you'll need to have some Wheatstraw farms. Since this region is only 10% Green the Wheatstraw crops won't be very efficient but that's ok we only need a little bit of it for the Bread.
Bread Oven: To make Bread you'll first need to grind the Wheatstraw up into Flour using a Grain Silo then you'll have to bake it with water in a Bread Oven. I'd recommend building at least 2 or 3 Bread Ovens depending on what your Wheatstraw production looks like.
Cooking Stove: All of the food you make in Kenshi will be created at the Cooking Stove. This is where you'll be turning the Bread and Cactus we've farmed into Dustwich for food. Dustwich isn't that great for food but it's the best we can do right now.
Rum Still: Cactus can be turned into Cactus Rum at a Rum Still. You typically will not be able to sell Cactus Rum for a whole lot in the desert towns but if you go to the Swamp or some region where Cactus Rum is not produced you'll be able to sell it for a premium.
Grain Silo: As aforementioned in order to make Bread you'll need to grind up the Wheatstraw you farm up in a Grain Silo. For the first part of the game you'll have to manually assign a character to grind up the Wheatstraw for you... however once you unlock the Automatic Grain Silo you'll be able to run it without any manual labor for the small cost of some electricity.
This just about sums up part 2 of my Kenshi walkthrough! Whenever you feel that you're comfortable to move into the endgame for Kenshi you can hop over to Part 3 where we will be covering big bad bosses we can take out as well as all the different areas we can explore.