Kenshi Roadmap for New Players and Basebuilding
This is an updated roadmap and beginner guide for new players. There are a lot of good guides out there for achieving particular goals, but only one real dominant roadmap guide out there right now that I’ve seen and it isn’t necessarily designed for new players or my particular playstyle.
The world in Kenshi can be a tough master – it won’t necessarily force your play style but will force you to make hard decisions or punish you for rushing. For instance, if you want to strike out on your own and empire build in a tax free or lawless region, you may need to grind a bit and/or recruit a ton before you can adequately defend the settlement.
If you want to live in a safe region, like the Holy Lands, you have to follow the rules (meaning you can’t recruit non-humans or females without risk of bringing unholy hell upon your people). And generally speaking, it seems that if you are in a more “controlled” portion of the map, your settlement will have to pay taxes. A lot of them. Unless you want to fight the very people you hope to trade with or receive protection from.
Character Creation and Start Choice
Character Creation and Start Choice
I started as a lone wanderer, which is what this guide will focus on as it is the standard start.
Your primary character will likely be your most complete. I chose a Male Greenlander, but if I were to do it over I’d probably do:
- A Shek warrior due to combat bonuses, even though I think they get targetted by the Holy Nation so that might limit you for early recruiting and trade in the central northern portion of the map, or
- A Male Scorchlander due to how rare they are to recruit, combat bonuses and don’t eat much (plus I think they don’t get targeted by Holy Nations as they are still humans?)
Made sure to run around alot in the beginning to get athletics up. I recruited the freebie in Hub, saved up money from copper mining south of Hub to buy the large backpack and access to the Thieves Guild there; trained my character in basic melee (up to 5 or 10), lockpicking (to about 18), and Sneak attacks (to about 18) so I could escape imprisonment/stealth attack bandits for prisoners.
A good strategy I read about but didn’t try is to find the Waystation south of Squin and hire bodyguards to attack the Dust Bandit king, heal him and turn him in for his bounty to give a sizeable starting income.
Squin Base Start – Found Squin, its a good central location south of the Hub with a ton of dried meat from the bars and an adjacent copper source and set one of my guys to mining full time with another doing research.
- Note: I only bought dried meat, bc it was so much more affordable than other sources of food. And if Squin was out of food, I’d do a run north to Hub and then to Stack which has 3 bars.
Automate Route – Got copper storage setup in my town house to automate the first route
Early Recruiting – With my primary character I focused on on recruiting 1 Pack Bull (and eventually a second), any freebie recruits and anyone that was 3k or less
Initial Outposts – Set up two small mining “outposts” which I would never defend, but used my fastest character to pull raids back to guards at Squin once my other characters were safely back in town. I never had any issues with the storage units being raided when I abandoned the bases and used the loot to upgrade my player equipment.
- Primary one being south of squin where you have a 2 man copper vein and a lot of iron/stone. Set up some refineries and started collecting resources. Put one pack mule here to ferry resources back to storage/town for sale and to bring food back to my workers. My Squin miner would be my sales person for all objects in town.
- Secondary one setup north of squin where there were several 2 man copper veins and just focused on copper mining. Repeated above process with second pack bull.
Prepping for Expansion: Bought second house for additional research benches (up to III), storage chests, and prison cells to train fighters on the rooftop.
- Primary focused on naked training to build toughness of my main character as my other guys were focused on building labor/research skills.
- Started stockpiling a lot of cactus and wheat (I think I had at least 30+ cactus, and 15 or so wheat) with 2 of all other resource types for research purposes for the planned expansion. Continued to stockpile as much building materials, iron plates, etc. as I could.
- Researched as much as my level III bench would allow for purposes of town building – ignored things like training dummies, and weapons crafting for now.
Building your faction: Once you’ve automated mining, selling excess scavanged goods and any bounties that you pulled to the Squin guards you should have 30k to 50k resources saved up even while continuing to buy up all the dried meat you come across. Now is the time to explore a bit/start recruiting in earnest.
- Nearby recruits – the Waystation south of Squin and Stack both had recruits for me to find for 3k and I recruited the 9k holy warrior in Stack as well. I gathered them and set them to tasks in my outposts before beginning the journey north.
- World’s End – I wanted to find Scorchlanders and Sheks for fighting, and Greenlanders for farming. I had run into plenty of the latter two, but no scorchlander recruits so I headed north towards World End. I recruited every 3k people I could find, and a few 6ks (I think one was a skeleton).
- Continued going north to the Fishing Town above World’s end. I recruited a few more scorchlanders I found there and another one or two Greenlanders. I sent them running as fast as they could go towards my home base, but they required monitoring to make sure they didnt go aimless on the long trek south.
- At this point, I had 17 recruits that were equipped with all the Dust Bandit gear I’d scavanged, about 5 or so with backpacks, and 2 pack mules. I had 2 doctor/researchers I kept on passive. I got rid of most of the heavy weapons they were using in favor of any katanas or nodachis I could afford.
Starting Your Settlement – There seem to be so many workable locations in the game, each with different pros and cons but after my earlier research, trial and error, I decided I would try “Rainbow Valley” again (discovered by Stormbrooke on steam). Its located between three different Biomes, with great arid farming, ample access to 4 copper mines, several iron mines, and 100% stone.
- I used my pack mules to haul all of my stored building materials, iron plates, food, etc. to this location.
- I started by creating storage bins for all basic basebuilding items (iron plates, building materials, etc.) and transferred my stored materials to them, then focused on the refineries and mines that I would be using initially, and defensive walls. I did not create a wall funnel yet, just a basic inner sanctum that I would later expand with other walled in segments to protect my resources from animals, create public trading zones, etc.
- I immediately dismantled my earlier outposts and went to the nearby Waystation to hire as many Mercs as possible for the town (2) – if you don’t dismantle them, the mercs will guard your old outposts unless you hire them as bodyguards but then youre limited to two days and I used my main character for running all over the map so I wanted them in the town.
- Once this was done I built a small storage shed and focused on building up my food production with the Cactus and Wheat I’d stored up (with a well, etc.). Then I proceeded to build a food production building and a research/crafting building.
Expanding: From here I focused on trying to recruit a few more specialized characters (cooks, etc.) and started building up and training a “fighting group” with my three training prisoners and the training dummies. The raids and random attacks slowly built up my factions fighting capabilities as a whole while this was happening.
- I refused to pay taxes to the Shek, and had to deal with that. You may consider doing otherwise.
- I expanded the city with additional walled sections in the South for trading, and in the north for farming a bit in Vain biome and setup a future “killzone” walled section to tunnel enemies there which I haven’t manned yet.
- Used my pack mules to ferry copper to nearby cities, the Hive Town and Squin primarily – while I worked on developing more lucrative trade resources and shops.
Hopefully this helps new players start with a basic roadmap if they are struggling.
Expanding on Concepts from Roadmap
The meat of this guide will be in the following in-depth sections that chart each of the following sections below:
- Early Money Making Strategies
- Settlement Location
- Base Layout
- Farming and Food
- Faction Economy – Buildup and Strategies
- Race Breakdowns
- Role Selection and Job Rankings
- Arming and Equipping your Squad
- War Party and Fighter Training
- Advanced Research and Loot
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.