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Kenshi Walkthrough (Part 1) Making Money & Recruiting

Kenshi Walkthrough Start

Since we are starting in The Hub you should loot things on the ground and even break into buildings and loot what is inside. When you hold down the 'ALT' key in this game it will highlight all of the items on the ground for you to pick up. Items that have red names are property of someone else and you can get in trouble for taking them. Items with white names are free game and you can take them without anyone caring. You will very quickly run out of items to gather in The Hub and things to do which is when it will be time to move onto Squin. Squin is a town to the southwest of where we are now -- it will appear on your map when you get close.

At such a low level running from town to town is quite dangerous and I strongly recommend you save the game each time before attempting these runs. Unless you're encumbered you can usually out run any enemies that try to attack you. 18 -20 mph is considered a good run speed to outrun any enemies pursuing you. To increase your run speed you can run around to level up your Athletics Skill or you can buy a pair of Wooden Sandals from a vendor which will boost your run speed too.

Ultimately the first couple of hours playing Kenshi will involve a lot of you running around and earning money so that you can buy food along with more Companions, Gear and Items. It doesn't matter what game mode you choose, eventually you'll have to do this initial grind so that you can expand your squad and gear them out.

There are a couple of good ways to earn money in Kenshi, it comes down to what you as a player want to do. In my opinion the best way to earn money in Kenshi is by doing a buttload of Mining and selling the ore in town. This is probably the most well known method of money making in Kenshi and also one of the most boring. Mining is personally my favorite way of making money in the early game because I can put on Netflix or Youtube and watch something or listen to an audiobook and let my miners do their thing with only a little bit of micro managing.

Check out my Mining Money Making Guide for Kenshi if you'd like to learn more about my favorite mining spots and how you can maximize your profits!

Kenshi Early Game Mining

You can always keep stealing to raise money too but I feel that it's not really worth the time it takes for how much you earn. In order to get rid of your loot you will need to sell it to a fence inside the town you're in or take it to another town. Trying to sell stolen merchandise to a vendor in the same town is very risky and will almost always get you arrested.

If you want something that is a bit more high risk high reward you could train enemies to nearby towns and loot their corpses before the guards do. Depending on what town you do this outside of it'll either be meh money or really good money. One of the best towns to do this imo is Flats Lagoon, Catun (in Bonefields), Black Scratch (The Outlands) or any of the Hive Villages in Vain.

Make sure to always heal your character's injuries if you decide to train enemies to town and have guards kill them for you. You can do this with the "Issue Command" button which is set to right click as default. I rebound mine to Q because I like using right click to spin the camera and it was annoying me always sending characters to where I clicked.

Another option available to you in Kenshi is creating your own trade route. This isn't possible until you have at least a couple of characters, one or two pack mules and some basic equipment. It's a bit complicated but it's a very engaging and good way to make money so it's good for people who want to actually play the game instead of sitting around and watching characters mine. For more information about this method check out my Kenshi Trade Route Money Making Guide.

Money Making Methods:

1. Mine Ore outside of Squin or Sho-Battai
2. Train enemies to Guards
3. Steal items from town & sell them to fences or other towns
4. Do a trading route
5. (Advanced) Craft Armor & Sell it for profit
6. (Advanced) Build a farm & make food

Once you level up a bit more and get a larger squad and some basic gear I will expand more on #5 & #6 and tell you other ways to make money. For now, let's dive into the mechanics of Kenshi a bit and some things you should know about. When you open your map there will be a tab across the top with a lot of information throughout. You should go through this carefully and look over everything in here.

For right now the main thing I want to draw your attention to is one of the options under AI called Share Food. When enabled this will allow all units in the same Squad to share food with one another so long as that food is inside of someone's backpack. A screen shot of where you can find this option in the AI window is shown below. It's very important that you enable this so that you don't have to micro manage food on every single character in your team. You can put all your food into one character's backpack and everyone will take food when they need it.

Kenshi AI Window
Make sure to enable 'Share Food' in the AI Window. Open it with 'M' and click on AI.

With Share Food turned on the only things you'll need to micro manage in your character's inventories are loot, First Aid Kits, Repair Kits and Crossbow Ammunition. Repair Kits you don't have to worry about until you add Skeletons to your Squad or until a character loses a limb and you're forced to replace it with a Skeletal Limb. Essentially, Repair Kits do the same thing First Aid Kits do except they only work on Skeletal body parts.

Crossbow Ammunition is something you won't have to worry about until mid game when you can afford it along with a ranged weapon to use it. For right now the only expenses you should have for your Squad is Food, Weapons, Gear, First Aid Kits and additional Companions. Most Companions you can hire for 3000 Cats each but sometimes you'll find a unique Companion (like Rane the Giant or Kang) who can cost up to 7500 Cats. Despite the high price tag these Companions are definitely worth it because they start with very good stats.

You can find Companions to hire inside Bars and Inns throughout Kenshi, if you hire all the available Companions in one town simply move to another and you'll find more. It takes a couple of days (sometimes a week) for new recruits to respawn in a town once you clear it out. I recommend you go out of your way to try and find unique recruits like Kang and Rane the Giant both for the lore that they provide in the game along with their initial strength as a party member. For a list of all unique recruits in Kenshi follow the link provided.

At the start of a game I typically try to hire 10 Companions and at least 1 pack animal before doing anything else. Enemies in Kenshi travel in groups of 5 or more and pretty much every enemy in the game aside from the most basic Hungry Bandits have at least 10 - 20 in all of their stats. One thing to keep in mind is that unless you change it using the game editor or mods you can only fight enemies 1 on 1. As a solo character you can run into a group of 10 enemies and you'll only fight 1 at a time; the other 9 will stand there with their weapons out dancing around you until it's their turn to fight.

It's important to keep this in mind because you will almost never fight a single enemy in Kenshi. They will almost always come in large packs of 5 - 10 which is also why we want to recruit at least 5 - 10 characters before going out to adventure.

Kenshi Starting Team

Once you have all the characters you need for your first squad the next thing you'll want to do is get some gear and weapons. As for right now I do not recommend you worry about buying the best equipment available to you; instead focus on outfitting all of your characters in something other than rags and a weapon other than the low quality one you start with.

Note: If you're unfamiliar with the world of Kenshi buying maps from an adventuring merchant isn't a bad idea either. Maps will mark locations you can explore on your map along with all of the different towns in the game.

All equipment in Kenshi has a color coded rarity system that will tell you the quality of the item. There are a total of 6 categories for Armor & Ranged weapons and 14 categories for Melee Weapons. Most vendors in the game will sell armor that is Standard quality or better, depending on the town you may or may not be able to buy a decent amount of Masterwork Armor from the vendor too.

Armor Tiers: Prototype, Shoddy, Standard, High, Specialist, Masterwork

Weapon Tiers: Rusted Junk, Rusting Blade, Mid-Grade Salvage, Old Re-Fitted Blade, Re-fitted Blade, Catun No. 1, Catun No. 2, Catun No. 3, Mk I, Mk II, Mk III, Edge Type 1, Edge Type 2, Edge Type 3, Meitou

Weapons are a bit different, you'll almost never find a vendor that sells a weapon higher than an Edge Type 1; if you're lucky enough to even find an Edge Type 1. The only way to acquire the best weapons in the game are to make them with a Weapon Smith. There is a tier of "legendary weapons" in Kenshi called Meitou weapons as well, these weapons are one of a kind and can only be obtained from defeating the boss that holds them. If you'd like to know where to find every Meitou weapon check out the list of Meitou Weapons on the wiki or my Best Weapons in Kenshi Guide.

I recommend Standard or High quality equipment for now -- preferably Light Armor since we don't have high Strength yet. If you were lucky enough to recruit any of the unique Companions with high stats then you'll be able to purchase either Medium or Heavy Armor for them and have them tank for you. To make them tank just enable Taunt in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

For weapons you'll want to shop for specific types and buy the best quality ones you can find. I've listed a few of the best weapon types below for you to search for at shops. You may have to travel to a few different towns to find the type of weapons for sale that you want to purchase. Squin usually comes with 1 or 2 Falling Sun weapons every other day but the rest of what is sold in Squin usually isn't good. Admag is close enough for you to travel to as is Stack and Bad Teeth. Be warned though, if you travel to Bad Teeth or Stack only humans will be allowed to enter unmolested.

Good Starter Armor: Leather Shirt, Samurai Clothpants, Drifter's Leather Pants, Armoured Rag Skirt (Medium), Samurai Boots (Heavy), Samurai Legplates (Heavy)

Good Starter Weapons: Foreign Saber, Paladin's Cross, Falling Sun, Nodachi, Heavy Jitte, Polearm

After outfitting your team with some basic gear (make sure everyone's got some armor in each slot at least) it's time to start exploring! Or time to purchase a building in a town and build a Research Bench that way we can start unlocking technology. If you'd like to skip ahead to the exploring then skip to Part 2 of this Walkthrough, for the rest of part 1 I am going to focus on preparing you to survive the outside world.

In order to buy a building in Squin find one that is destroyed and left click it; in the bottom left of the screen you'll see an option to purchase the building for some Cats. You should purchase a building in a town you like and plan to revisit often during our initial travels. Since I chose a Wanderer start the building I purchased was in Squin which is located in The Border Lands.

Note: In most towns other than Squin the buildings you can buy will not be destroyed. Click on buildings in towns and you'll see if they're for sale as they will tell you in the bottom left.

Kenshi First Building

Once you purchase a building you will need to refurbish it and make it functional again. In order to refurbish a building after you buy it you'll need to use your 'Issue Command' keybind while moused over the building. Hold it down and you will get a drop down asking you to Repair the building. Usually this costs about 20 Building Materials all of which you can purchase from the general store in town. Once you completely refurbish the building you'll be able to build things inside of it. In the bottom right of the screen you will see a little Hammer and Nail icon; it's right next to the window that displays your total money and what day it is.

First thing you'll have to build is a Research Bench, you can find this under the Tech tab. Once you've build your Research Bench the next step is stocking it with Books, hit up the general store in town, an adventuring merchant in town or any vendor at a Waystation and you'll find Books for sale. Left click the Research Bench to open up the bench's inventory and place all Books you buy into this window.

Press 'T' on your Keyboard to bring up the Research Window with a list of all the different things you can research. It's up to you what order you want to research everything in but I would recommend you start with these few things...

Research Checklist:

1. Small House
2. Tech Level 2
3. Indoor Lighting
4. Item Storage
5. Leather Armor Crafting
6. Basic Weapon Smithing
7. Gear Storage
8. Storage Boxes: Ore
9. Basic Weapon Grades
10. Storage Boxes: Crafting
11. Beds

If you follow this checklist then you'll have unlocked the next Tech Level, basic crafting stations, storage and beds. Unless you plan to pursue Money Making with Crafting in Kenshi then most of the items on this list aren't required for what we want to do... Technically only Small House, Tech Level 2 and Beds are needed for now.. However you'll eventually need to research all of this anyway so it doesn't hurt to do some of it now.

Beds are extremely important for you to make since they give you an x8 Healing Bonus when you sleep in them. The reason this is so important is because after we run around town for a bit and get into a bunch of fights we're going to be wounded and we'll need to return to our house and rest before adventuring out again. An alternative to this is you can bring Sleeping Bags with you when you go out adventuring but sleeping outside isn't 100% safe so I don't recommend it for right now.

That just about sums up all we need to do in preparation for adventuring out into the world. As previously stated I will start covering adventuring with Part 2 of this walkthrough, when you feel that your team is prepared enough to adventure out into the world head on over to Part 2 to continue.


Continue to Kenshi Walkthrough (Part 2) Building A Base & Mid Game

Return to Kenshi Walkthrough (Part 1) Making Money & Recruiting