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Kenshi - Town Founders Guide
By Farsight
A beginners guide to building your first Town.
Welcome to the Town Founders Guide
This Guide has been heavily revised and rewritten since it was first posted in 2013. In 2017 the process of founding your own Outpost in the wasteland has become more complicated and involved. Still, this Guide endures, and will endeavour to do it's utmost to ensure a clean, smooth path to establishing a base of operations out there in the bleak unforgiving world of Kenshi.
Step One - Research
Research has become a lot more complicated, with several technologies that were available from the start, are now hidden behind a tech wall. Research itself has become a more involved process, requiring special Research Book to purchased and placed inside the Research Bench's inventory before certain technologies can be researched.

The technologies that are required to get a succesful Outpost off it's feet and on it's way to becoming a Town, are Building Materials, and Iron Plates.

Building Materials
Average Research Time: 2 Hours
New Buildings: Stone Mine, Manual Stone Processor

Iron Plates
Average Research Time: 3 Hours
Research Book Cost: 1 Research Book
New Buildings: Stone Mine, Manual Stone Processor

There are two ways you can go about Researching these Technologies.
  1. Go to an already estabilished Town, buy the cheapest building there (usually a Small Shack), build a Small Research Bench inside, and then Research these Technologies.

  2. Or you can build a new Small Shack and Research Bench at the location of your Oupost, as detailed in Step Four of this Guide.

Just don't forget to purchase Research Books from the local Bar/Shop.
Step Two - Money and Manpower (M&M)
If you want to jump straight into founding your own Town from the word go, then it it is recommended that you select the Freedom Seekers option available when starting a New Game. Doing so will give you a starting party of 6, which given the cost and rarity of potential Recruits, shaves a lot of the cost and time off of founding a new Outpost.

The Freedom Seekers come equiped with 20 Building Materials, 20 Iron Plates, 17 Gohan (food), 10 Wheatstraw, 5 Fabric, 5 Backpacks, 5 Wakizashi (katana), 1 First Aid Kit, 1 Horse Chopper (sabre), and some clothes.

All of this more than provides an excellent basis for founding an Outpost in the wasteland.

If you've already started the game or don't want to choose the Freedom Seekers, then your going to need quite a lot of Cats (money) to get the ball rolling. You'll need to purchase construction materials, and it is recommended that you Recruit some workers as getting your Outpost up and running will be quite labour intensive.

Potential Recruits can sometimes be found wandering around NPC Towns, otherwise they'll be inside Bars. They cost around 3000 to 6000 cats depending on how skilled they are.
For example: An unskilled Drifter costs 3000 cats, while a trained Gunner costs 6000 cats.

The price of goods changes from place to place.
Step Three - Location
Before you start building, you should decide where to start building. You can build your town almost any where, but for your first town I recommend building close to an already existing Town. There are two good reasons for this.

Reason 1. When you are attacked by bandits you can up sticks and leg it to the nearby town and have the their guards kill them for you.

Reason 2. Later on you can trade supplies with the town and later on siphon off some of their traders.

The location should also be fairly flat, as you will need a sizable location to found your town.
Step Four - What to Build First?
Before building anything, you should aim to build these three structures first.

The Stone Mine lets you mine Stone.
The Manual Stone Processor lets you process Stone into Building Materials.
The Manual Iron Refinery lets you process Iron into Iron Plates.

Stone Mine
Materials Cost: 3 Building Materials
Max Workers: 3
Produces: Raw Stone

Manual Stone Processor
Materials Cost: 6 Iron Plates
Max Workers: 3
Produces: Building Materials

Manual Iron Refinery
Materials Cost: 6 Iron Plates
Max Workers: 3

If you're playing as the Freedom Seekers, or you didn't follow the first step, then the first thing you should build is a Small Shack and a Small Research Bench.

Small Shack
Materials Cost: 5 Building Materials

Small Research Bench
Materials Cost: 3 Building Materials
Max Workers: 1
Step Five - Expansion
Once you've explored most of the Tech Tree and have a steady flow of Cats either through trade goods or looting, you're just about at the end of what the Kenshi Alpha provides. The only thing left is to go to more towns and draft more recruits and expand your Towns production or start building new Towns.
Tips For Making Money
You have probably had a look around the local Town Store and saw some really cool weapons and armor, unfortunately it costs anywhere from 2000 to 10000 Cats and your coffers are currently dryer than the desert sands your standing on. However no worries, because here are some tips to solve your (ingame) money problems.

The eaisiest way to make money is to scavenge it, but what do I mean by "scavenge it"?
Well put simply, it means to loot the corpse of a dying NPC. Every NPC in the game has a weapon (usually a katana), most of them wear armor and some of them carry an additional weapon. All three of these can be stripped off of the dead and/or dying sold as "legitmate salvage" to a local Town Bar or Store for Cats.

Now it's fine just saying go out into the world and scavenge, but how? Most enemies you won't be able to defeat yourself, while the rest will give you such a beating you'll barely be able to stand. This is why it is recommended that you use the baiting strategy.

The "baiting strategy" involves going out into empty desert around towns until you hook a wandering band of bandits and then running back to the Town Guards who will kill the Bandits for you. Though you should be wary about baiting colored (faction) bands as sometimes they will be friendly with the Town Guards who won't attack them, leaving you to be slaughtered!

If the Town Guards outnumber the bandits, you can join the fight with them to build up some combat experiance.

Repeat this process as many times as you like, or until you have enough Cats to outfit yourself and an entire squad with the best gear in the game.
It is possible to bring up the games World Editor by holding Shift and pressing F12. This will allow you to add walls to your town, while also providing access to numerous other buildings that normally cannot be built.
Update 1 (10/03/2017) - Updated the new price for hiring Recruits.
Update 2 (10/03/2017) - Updated the information on producing Building Materials.
Update 3 (13/03/2017) - Overhauled and Rewritten Building and Research Steps, and part of M&M.
For the Greater Good, please Like, Favorite & Follow.

If you found my Guide useful or simply enjoyed reading it, then why not join my Guide Makers Club? It's a group dedicated to helping would-be Guide makers, but if you liked my Guide and want to see me make a Guide for a specific game, then you can make a request there.

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Farsight  [author] Dec 13, 2021 @ 10:47pm 
I mean, it has been a Buddhist icon for thousands of years, but I did choose it both because my moniker is "Farsight" and because I collect a huge Tau army, not that it's a great time in the hobby for us right now.
Iz am who am Dec 13, 2021 @ 10:02pm 
A Tau icon?
ceo60 Sep 28, 2020 @ 12:10pm 
To Farsight: the good thing about Kenshi is that every time you play is a new game.
Zalzany Jul 23, 2019 @ 11:30pm 
Oh and now some bandits have ranged units with xbows. Minus that feels same I mean its weird to have dust bandits shooting xbows but they are so weak its not an issue once you get some defenders trained and most of them don't even carry melee weapons so you can rush them and force them to fight hand to hand.
Zalzany Jul 23, 2019 @ 11:28pm 
Feels same to me, granted nothing really changed except now if you live near town you pay taxes, and bandits try to shack you down first then raid you if you don't pay. Minus that tech tree hasn't changed in at least a year...
Farsight  [author] Apr 21, 2019 @ 8:33pm 
I'm barely committed to gaming.

I've tried getting back into Kenshi a few times, but it's not the same game that I remember, and what it is now isn't really my jam.
Thefoxwraith Apr 21, 2019 @ 8:26pm 
Still committed to that overhaul?
Depression Dec 30, 2018 @ 8:21am 
Yes, Farsight, please do.

Your guide is already nicely promoted for multiple kenshi-related keywords on google. It would be a shame to waste it on outdated data.
Farsight  [author] Dec 22, 2018 @ 8:25pm 
So the game finally released. Guess that means I need to overhaul this guide.
Sohei Dec 22, 2018 @ 10:59am 
I prefer to build a well first. The first building you put down determines the center of the buildable area for your settlement and a well can be left alone without rebuilding, even if it may wind up in a less than ideal spot. The pathing for NPCs to find their way through your settlement also relies on this first structure which can be helpful if you want to have a shop. A level 1 well is only 5 building materials so not that much more to haul over before you can begin making your own from local stone.