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Hi All,

There are quite a few skill training guides to kenshi, but a lot involve exploits like putting a person in a bed and hitting them, or things that I found took ages like getting characters in cages and fighting them, healing them, repeating. I thought I'd share my steps to taking a set of characters to 90 attribute and combat stats (most of them) without exploits, and mostly without leaving The Hub, or really taking much risk. It takes about 250 game days to do the whole thing, I'd guess about 15 - 20 hours of play, but you can probably get to 70 or 80 in the same way in a lot less time (the 70 - 90 part is the big jump).

kenshi skills

Starting as two HN slaves, I quickly got an opportunity to run for it, made a beeline for The Hub to begin my training:

First things first, money: I simply set both my dudes mining copper, hauling it back and selling it. It's a bit of a slow start, but it gets your labouring up at the same time and is low risk. There are 3 copper mining points in range of the hub that I use, one is outside the front door, one is between the hub and the rebel bar behind it, and the other is on the way down towards Squin, just bit down the path from the hub. These 3 and the iron mine accounted for a fair bit of game time (iron comes later).

As the money went up I would visit the 2 waystations, one past squin, the other over the river towards venge, directly north of the swamp. Here I would recruit my party, in my case I decided to build up a squad of 7 scorchlanders. I decided on scorchlanders because dex is probably the slowest to train, so their bonus sped things up. More than 7 will get very tedious, and you won't need that many. I also picked up a Garru, which I'd recommend for lugging resources around and for stocking up at shops.

You'll probably want about 200K cats to get all this training done.

With 7 in my party, I had 6 mining copper, one researching and building. Each day the stores (the bar in the hub, and the bar north of the hub) had a few more books and a few building materials. I would buy a house in the hub, build up my reserves of iron plates and building materials, selling copper to cover it. Pretty soon I had researched the basics in most crafting, had a few houses, beds, and food stores (stocked up each day from the stores).

So far so trivial, so here's when the training starts:

First I improved strength for all my people. A few runs up to Stack, down to Squin, and to the waystations provided me with a Traders backpack for each person. meanwhile I mined all the iron ore I could into an ore storage container in the hub. Then loaded up the backpacks with 54 iron ore, and put them in inventory (not as a backpack, just carried it in the main inv for additional weight). Picked up a corpse each from starving bandits that foolishly attacked the bar, and strength exp was be 50% from walking. Then I set every person to hauling to copper storage as their primary task, and mining from one of the three copper mines as the secondary. This means every character spends 90% of the time walking and massively improving strength. This is a known technique, but it's pretty effective. Be sure to periodically sell the copper in your store and stock back up with food in your food store (the people will take a break to go and eat it).

While my 7 were training strength, I would take one person out of the mix and send them for toughness training. This involved finding a dust bandit camp and running straight into it. First though I made sure my person had a couple of medkits, a splint, and was set to medic as a job (shift (right?) click on the medic button to make it a job). Run then into the camp with a cheap wakazashi and set to block. You will soon be knocked out, try to be next to a bowman when you do. Once you come round you should go into "Playing dead" mode, in which you'll bandage your wounds (medic role) but will not get up. I'd suggest watching your toughness stat as you do this, but the important point is to get up while surrounded by bandits (the more the better). You should see your toughness skyrocket at the start by 4 or 5 points. You'll be quickly if not immediately knocked out again, you'll recover in about a minute, you'll bandage again, and you get up again. There are 2 things to check for: Firstly make sure your KO point is far enough away from your current injury before getting up, if you get hit beyond that you'll be waiting a while for the person to get all the way back to 0. For this reason it's worth having a set of good armour for your toughness trainee. Second make sure you don't run out of bandits, you're not killing them, but they keep shooting each other, they never bandage and eventually die. The toughness increase is linked to the number of enemies nearby, so if you're down to 3 or 4 it's worth running off and finding a new camp.

With this technique I was able to train my toughness up to 80 in about 5 mins, and 93 in about 30 mins, depending on the circumstances I found some got really lucky (sometimes you get a loop where you try and get up, they knock you straight out for 9 secs, then repeat) and one of mine went up to 97.2%. The toughness is needed for the next stage as you need to reduce your wound bleed rate.

While strength training (keep it going in the background) you need to research up to plate amouring. There's a workshop just south-west of the swamp with the strange circular mounds where you can get the engineering research. The choose one of your peeps to start making armour plating, and set your strengh trainees to be carting iron ore to them. make lots of plating, build many stores and keep making it. Only once you're up to armour skill 80 is it worth trying to make armour, but if you want to make a bit of cash in between build some heart protectors. Once you're up to 80 start building up Samurai armour, the blueprints can be obtained from either Heng, or from the library in Black Scratch. Get boots, legplates and main armour all up at masterwork (it takes a while, and you gets lots of failures at specialist level to sell). You can go for Samurai Helmet, I preferred getting a blueprint for Masked Helment from the swamp as it's pretty good without any penalties (nobody uses perception). Build yourself a full set of armour, then I also built a leather turtleneck each at specialist level just because leather isn't so available, and it takes ages to max out at masterwork.

Part 2 to follow for the good stuff, getting your melee, dex and weapons up to 90

Part 2

It's worth knocking along with someone to train up their smithing. Don't build anything beyond a lvl1 smith that only needs iron plates. You can skill up smithing to 90 on this without needing anything but hub resources (you can run one person and your garru up to stack / down to squin for additional), then sell your catun no. 1 nodachis for profit. Only once you're up to about 85 and have researched mk3 weapons should you build a lvl3 smith. Then with th lvl3 smith you can build your actual edge type 1 wakazashis.

By now Str should be up to 90, Toughness at 93+, and you're kitted out with Samurai armour and a wakazashi (lvl not important, but I gave all my peeps edge 1). Selling the offcuts of your armour making should have made a fair bit of money. Now you need to buy a sleeping bag for each person, and a load of food (this is where the Garru helps for carrying). Your melee defense should have gone to about 30 or 40 while getting knocked out for toughness training.

Melee skills:
This is the bit I've not seen in any guide, but in my opinion is the best way to skill up melee. Run your squad up north around the west of fog islands towards the shrieking forest. Don't go in yet, instead find a spot a way to the west of it in Dreg on the north coast, I found a nice mini mountain that I could build 7 camp beds behind. Set all your people to sleep in the beds so they consume less food. Pick one person and kit them out with a med kit and a splint. Run them into the shrieking forest, aggravate as many shrieking bandits as you can, attack unprovoked if they're not hostile.

There is a point on the map, it's a mountainous bit just by where the coast jags in, with a curved road around the inside of the mountain ridge, in the middle of this road is a crossroads where a path down from the hill meets the road going across. This road gets a constant flow of bandits, if you stand in this road and set your character to block you'll soon be surrounded by about 50 bandits. It's the ratio of outnumbering that increases your skills fast, about 100 bandits should be a target, but you have to take what you get as they cut you up pretty fast. This is why we needed the toughness, you'd be unconcious and bleed out without it. Firstly just block, you should get to melee defense 50 within a minute, then probably you'll be knocked out. Play dead, heal, then run back to your camp. Save each time as it can go very wrong (especially if cannibals steal all your sleeping people, though a good spot should be hidden from everyone). While that person rests and heals up, send in the next. A few runs for each person and you'll be at 60 melee defence each. Then take off block and train up attack. You'll not run out of bandits, and your attack will rocket up to 60, as will your dexterity. The important thing to remember is to build up a crowd and to train solo, it's the numbers that make the xp go up fast. It's also wise to save often just because the game crashes a lot in the shrieking forest.
Post edited August 22, 2020 by wpegg
From here it's a matter of tailoring to your own tastes, you already have a squad of 60/60 atk/def with lvl 60 katanas. They can take on most things, you can keep training as far as you like. I took all my peeps up to 80/80 then trained all other weapons up to 60 (by which time melee was up to 90/85). Martial arts can be similarly trained, but if you're doing that then I'd suggest only getting 5 people as it's way overpowered at 90, which you reach in little time.

All this took 250 game days, it's not quick but it's not an exploit, and it allows you to train melee beyond the apparent barrier point of about 55 you may have encountered while trying to skill up your squad. The resultant squad of 7 I had built then raided Blister Hill and knocked out Holy Lord Pheonix and his lord protector (and everyone else). They can do just about anything. A previous squad of 4 skeleton martial artists killed Cat-Lon and all his screamers in seconds.
This is sound advice. The only problem I have with this - it's extremely boring.
Kenshi has an amazing world to discover, spending 100 days mining copper and just leveling your squad in a mundane way just seems to be a waste of time when you can do the same, albeit way less efficiently by adventuring.

However, the shrieking forest bandits has been a favourite training spot of mine for a long time. I usually bring 16 building materials for a storm house and then however many sets of 1 building material and 4 fabric to build beds. If you set up base as in the picutre bellow, the house is out of direct way of any bandit patorls providing a safehouse. And you are just right next to a big choke point where bandits always travel through.

There's always plenty enemies to fight and train up your squad. If things get too hot, you can withdraw and heal. Also the shrieking bandits do not steal any of your stuff or carry you away etc. The only real danger is the occasional cannibal raid, however, the shrieking bandits will often take them out before they reach you and you should train up quickly here such that cannibals provide no real threat.

Edit: it doesn't like to post any attached images it seems. It's just above the foglands / obedience hugging the mountains on the west side, having a pocketed position coverd by mountains on your east and south, just south of a small mountain pass which always has a high density of bandits traveling through.
Post edited December 18, 2020 by likeawizard
likeawizard: This is sound advice. The only problem I have with this - it's extremely boring.
I agree. Well at least with the boring part. I found I couldn't level in "genuine" combat beyond about 50 if I just took my squad for a walk. My first few play throughs was that, and I was finding that especially toughness wasn't levelling as when you've got a full squad nobody plays dead (they all keep getting back up without gaining the toughness bonus). Even taking the whole squad together into the shrieking forest provided minimal returns.

The idea of the guide is that you can tailor your character levels beyond the plateau that you reach when doing the standard adventuring. The long time training is really just strength, which I set going while I built up toughness. You're probably fine letting it peak at 75, which takes very little time to reach.

I found that if I built a base in the actual forest then while there was no shortage of bandits, the game crashed pretty quick. One of the nice things about camping in the sector outside it is that the game cleans up all the bodies while you switch over training subjects.
I had the dumbest way of training my strength. I would get that traders backpack filled up with iron ore and place it in my inventory so it would get the full encumberance penalty. Then take a second traders back pack and fill it with food and set my character to body guard some roaming inquisitor squad and forget about them forever and do other things. I think I even did this overnight and woke up having my character in it's 80's or 90's :)

This of course only works with human characters, but it's pretty safe as HN territory does not have anything that could threaten those squads.

Alternatively you could do the same trick in your base and set them to a hauling job that produces and consumes a lot of resources. This will make sure your character is constantly slugging around town and training that strength without having to expose them to any risk or having to manage their training.
Post edited December 20, 2020 by likeawizard