Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Kenshi

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kenshi_full_battle_image.jpg
You are not The Chosen One. You're not great and powerful. You don't have more hitpoints than everyone else. You are not the center of the universe, and you are not special. Unless you work for it.
Advertisement:

Kenshi is a tactical RPG / RTS / Simulation from Lo Fi Games based around a Wide Open Sandbox, with emphasis on "sand." You are dropped into a vaguely post-apocalyptic desert with nothing but a few Catans and a sword on your back. It's up to you to decide how you want to survive in this world.

After several years in Early Access, the game was released on Steam and GOG on December 6th, 2018.

The world contains many biomes, each with their own quirks and local fauna, as well as their environments affecting things like windpower, material quality, water quality, access to furs or arable land. etc. There is even a swimming skill, and you can cross the oceans.

The game includes a tech system, requiring your characters to trade for technical books to advance anything beyond very basic tech levels, with higher levels requiring scavenging from the desolate installations of the previous era for advanced engineering or technological manuals.

Advertisement:


The game provides the examples of:

  • Abandoned Mine: The Holy Mine ruins in Skinner's Roam. The presence of a large, thick and permanent sandstorm in the region may have something to do with their abandonment.
  • Advanced Ancient Humans: It's hotly debated in-universe whether the first empire was ruled by humans or Skeletons, but it is known for certain that an ancient human faction was responsible for creating the Behemoths, the Skeleton's larger cousins.
  • After the End: The current era of the game is set after multiple cases. There have been two separate collapses of civilization, the first one happened thousands of years ago and the second a few hundred.
  • The Ageless: The entire Skeleton race.
  • Alien Sky: Moving your camera to look up at the sky at night reveals that whatever planet you are on, it isn't quite Earth: There appears to be another large Earth-like planet that the game's world is either orbiting or in a binary orbit with, along with some smaller and/or more distant planets.
  • Advertisement:
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Played with. To be caught commiting a crime in any settlement with a lawkeeping force will usually mean a sound beating from the cops, who will then proceed to patch the unconscious lawbreaker and haul them to prison - regardless whether the crime was stealing a mug or assaulting a high ranking officer. However, the severity of the crime will impact the bounty placed on the felon's head, which in turn regulates the length of the prison sentence.
  • Alliance Meter: Shows the player's standing will all the factions met so far in their journeys. Not to be trusted in regards to certain factions however (i.e. Manhunters, Slavers, some outlaw gangs), as they may attack regardless of having a neutral reputation with them.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Cannibals and Fogmen are hostile to everyone, and everyone duly reciprocates.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Flotsam Ninja faction is an all-female collection of misfits who are either escaped slaves from either the Holy Nation or other slaver-dominated societies or regular women who are tired of their normal lives and wanted to join the faction. They want to bring down the Holy Nation and kill their leader, the Phoenix, because of their oppressive policies towards females among other misdeeds. If you are male and manage to discover their Hidden Elf Village where their leader resides in, they will get suspicious and might think you're a member of the nation unless you pass some speech checks to convince them otherwise.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Skeletons. While they lack physical genders, it is not entirely clear whether some (or perhaps all) skeletons individually consider themselves either male or female. In a pretty hilarious party banter, Agnu seems to imply she(?) identifies as female. However it's ambiguous if said statement is for real or if Agnu is merely having some extra fun at poor confused Beep's expense.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Limbs can be severed unless the player selects the option to disable this. Once lost, they must replace it with a robotic limb, which has its own sets of pros and cons, such as being stronger than your original limb. But the Holy Nation looks down on anyone with one.
  • Anyone Can Die: If the description above didn't already clue you in, the character you start out with can be killed off just as easily as any other NPC out there. So long as you have at least one other character, you can continue on, or at least revert to a previous save.
  • Apocalypse How: There have been at least two Class 2 events in the past, with one of them veering dangerously into Class 3a - in-game information suggests the human race was at one point on the verge of extinction.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Captive's Journal Series.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The player can recruit a maximum of 30 characters for their faction.
    • A mod ups that limit to 256 characters. Be careful about the impact on the game's performance and the resulting challenge in micromanagement though.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. A good set of protective gear is key to ensure survival, unless a character becomes an unbelievable agile Lightning Bruiser able to gracefully evade all attacks (which is a long, arduous and painful development path). The game employs a fairly complicated system (explained here) involving resistances against different kinds of damage, plus how much coverage each armor piece provides to each body part. Note that even the best armor alone won't instantly turn any character into a walking tank, as the Toughness stat also influences how much damage is suffered from each hit. Also, some enemies can cause extraordinary amounts of damage, so developing your defensive (blocking) skills is also esential for survival. In any case, a decent suit of armor will still be much appreciated in many situations, like when confronting hordes of weak enemies who will eventually land some hits through any character's defense.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: High level martial artists can deliver surprising amounts of damage even to well armored enemies, specially when resorting to special moves unlocked as the Martial arts skills goes up (like flying kicks).
  • Artifact Collection Agency: The Tech Hunters, who brave ancient ruins and fight automated security measures to recover ancient artifacts. They have many waystations across the continent for their hunters and other people to rest in, providing the player with neutral safehouses. Oddly enough, any dismissed squad member will join this faction.
  • Artificial Limbs: Needed to replace lost limbs.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Many faction leaders are very strong warriors in their own right.
    • Esata the Stone Golem, queen of the Shek, in addition to her very high stats and skills, wields a legendary Meitou Fragment Axe and therefore hits like a truck.
    • Tinfist, infamous leader of the Anti-Slavers, is the strongest martial artist in the game.
    • Mad Cat-Lon, the now insane leader of the Second Empire Exiles, is also extremely powerful and armed with his own Meitou BFS.
    • Don't let their gaudy and somewhat funny-looking outfits mislead you: the Noble Hunters of the Traders Guild, usually found patrolling the United Cities territories, are pretty competent fighters. They usually carry very good grade weapons and possess stats and skills in the 50-70 range. And let's not forget about the entourage of elite samurai bodyguards that accompany them everywhere.
  • Bad Ass Army: Recruit enough characters, and have them survive long enough, and they can eventually turn into this. Most fights become trivial once their stats are high, particularly combat related ones.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: New physical customization of already hired characters is provided by a specific NPC found in taverns, a surgeon-barber described as "a greasy alcoholic-looking fellow".
  • Back Stab: Not really a "stab" per se, but while on stealth mode it's possible to approach unsuspecting victims from behind and silently knock them out. Characters with very high Stealth and Assassination are able to take down virtually anyone in such a manner, which comes in handy not only to prevent sleeping guards or store owners to wake up from suspicious noises (like someone trying to unlock their safes at night) but also for capturing powerful wanted individuals without the need of a fight.
  • Badass Longcoat: Some of the armours contain coats, as expected of a post-apocalyptic setting. For some reason, they offer better protection than actual plates.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Characters who fight exclusively with their hands and feet will train their martial arts skill. A loading screen tip mentions that in a regular fight, an unarmed combatant is generally at a disadvantage over an armed one. It also mentions rumors that skilled martial artists have delivered a Curb-Stomp Battle to a trained swordsman. One in-game benefit of this trope is that you don't have to worry about finding stronger weapons to take on more heavily armored opponents. The drawback is that heavier armor penalizes the skill, and your only defense is the dodge ability, since you don't have a weapon to parry blows with.
  • Beef Gate: Too many. Extreme caution while exploring and traveling is advised in the early game. The most common starting area, the Border Zone, is relatively safe as long as you are able to outrun the gangs of bandits - which is not too difficult. Venturing into the nearby areas of The Swamp, deep Shek territory to the south-west or (specially) Vain to the north-west can potentially mean a brutal death sentence at the hands of hostile blood knights, bloodthirsty giant spiders or the rightfully dreaded Beak Things.
  • BFG: The Eagle's Cross is the closest thing in Kenshi's setting, a long-range crossbow able to deal a very high damage output. In the hands of an experienced shooter, the Eagle's Cross is almost an unfair weapon due to the crazy amounts of damage it can inflict (usually blowing limbs off with a single shot). Its downsides are the size of its bolts (long bolts only come in stacks of 10, which can be a problem for long campaigns in the wilderness, with little chance to resupply) and how dangerous it can become for your own party in the wrong hands and/or amidst weather effects that reduce visibility and precision shooting.
  • BFS: Several examples. They often have a higher damage potential and a longer reach than one-handed weapons at the cost of being slower and receiving a skill penalty if used inside a building and not being able to be used if even one arm is disabled. There are:
    • From the Katana class, the Nodachi. It's arguably the fastest two-handed sword of the game and inflicts plenty of damage, but it suffers from lack of armor penetration and a higher defense penalty than other katanas.
    • From the Hacker class, the Long Cleaver and the Paladin's Cross. The former is so heavy it's on the verge of being classified as an heavy weapon, the latter is a two-handed weapon with a straight blade and a wide guard, making it the closest thing the game has to an european sword. Both have some armour penetration and a bonus to damage done to robots, but a lower ability to cause bleeding.
    • All the weapons from the Heavy Weapon class qualify. These are the Plank, the Fragment Axe and the Falling Sun. The first is the one that fits the most the usual BFS description, and looks like a giant sharpened metal plank (hence the name). It deals heavy cutting damage and has decent armour penetration. The second looks like an oversized aztec macuahuitl and inflicts incredible blunt damage at the cost of being THE heaviest weapon in the game. The last is a rare weapon with a long, curved blade with a flat tip and a guard almost as long as the blade itself. While it deals singularly less cutting and blunt damage than the other two, but inflicts more combined damage. It is also deceptively quick for its size and weight.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Slaves being freed by you will think of you this way. While some will flee, others may decide to follow and eventually follow you. Can also be done if you rescue a fallen comrade from Fogmen or Cannibals before they're Eaten Alive.
  • Big Good: The Machinists and their ally the Tech Hunters are the closest the setting has to this. Unlike most other factions, who are struggling for dominance or for survival, the Machinists struggle solely to improve the life of everyone. They are attempting to recover ancient tech and distribute their findings to the rest of the world. If there's anyone to thank for what little advanced technology the world still has, it's probably them.
  • Blood Knight: The Shek is an entire species of this, constantly looking for battle and never retreating when defeated. This ends up biting them in the ass big time. It has gotten to the point where the Sheks have to be placated into a more peaceful lifestyle by their leader or face crippling underpopulation. Even then, many Sheks refuse to settle down and keep on living violently, forming many hostile warbands who attack anyone they come across.
  • Bonus Boss: Due to the non-linear, Off the Rails nature of Kenshi's gameplay, every single named antagonist in the game can be considered this. Powerful individuals tend to be the leaders of major and minor factions the player may opt to oppose and topple, and usually possess valuable and desirable items. However, in the end, going against them or not is entirely for the player to decide.
  • Bounty Hunter: Capturing criminals and turning them over to prison guards to collect the reward is a legit and profitable way to earn a living. Bear in mind that any NPC can be flagged as a "criminal" as long as they break the law in a settlement controlled by some kind of authority, and it's not unheard of players to reap around 10k in bounties after taking advantage of random brawls between caravans and city guards. Merchants will also sell "wanted papers" which detail the approximate whereabouts and exploits of named felons.
  • Brave Scot: Trepp, an infamous captain of the Tech Hunters. She speaks with a Scottish accent and her reaction after fighting her way through the Holy Nation is laughing her ass off.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Most bandits will assault anyone who pops up into their field of view, irregardless of disparity in terms of numbers, skill and equipment. This can and will lead to situations in which a group of ten or twelve Dust Bandits or Grass Pirates eagerly charge against foes perfecly able to turn them into mincemeat. Some gangs are a bit smarter though: Holy Nation Outlaws will usually refrain from assaulting anyone whom they do not outnumber by some margin.
  • Canine Companion: You can purchase a Bone Dog from some animal traders, and a starting scenario starts you off with one.
  • Cannibal Tribe:
    • Cannibals are a faction that is hostile to others, and its members wander the map to take prisoners. They come in two varieties: Scrawny Cannibals, who are dangerous early on because of their numbers but become a joke for any party by the mid-game, and actual Cannibals which are much more dangerous because of their higher stats and (marginally) better weapons. Once they knock the enemy unconscious, they take them to the Cannibal Capital. They will also happily carry off any of your sleeping characters out in the wilderness if they happen to be wandering by at the time. See Captured by Cannibals below.
    • The Fogmen are a mutated strain of hivers which inhabit the Fog Islands. They are hostile to everyone and roam their territory looking for prey which they take back to their princes, which then start eating them in a ritualistic manner. Fogmen aren't dangerous alone because of their low stats but are literally endless, so staying too long will usually result in any party being overrun.
  • Captured by Cannibals: A captured character is locked in a cage in their hideout, then loses each limb, one at a time, until freed or dies.
  • Character Class System: Entirely absent. All characters have access to every available skill, it's just a matter of levelling them up through continued use.
  • Church Militant: The Holy Nation as a whole: zealous, sexist and technophobic greenlander supremacists.
  • Clash of Evolutionary Levels: The Shek and the Holy Empire's humans are fighting for dominance. See Human Subspecies below.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Many characters tend to express themselves as crudely as one may expect from a post-apocalyptic Crapsack World setting. Most people won't be happy to have one of their limbs chopped off.
    • The game provides the option to "sanitize" dialogues, turning some exchanges into Gosh Dang It to Heck!.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Averted. Humanoid bosses can be silently KO'd, disarmed, kidnapped, put into cages or mutilated like every other humanoid NPC in the game. In combat, they can also be staggered like everyone else. The only things setting bosses apart from regular opponents are their high stats and the quality gear they usually wield and wear.
  • Cool Shades: The Ashlander Stormgoogles.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Holy Nation hearthland of Okran's Pride may seem nice at first glance to any male human player character: a green and fertile valley surrounding a non-contaminated river, with working farms and constantly watched by a steady amount of patrols who may even offer supplies to the wandering adventurer. However, by just digging a bit deeper it will become obvious how sexist, racist, totalitarian and technophobic the Holy Nation actually is.
  • Crapsack World: Comes with being a post-apocalypse game. All of the major powers are assholes, in one way or another. Common people are mistreated so much that they turn to banditry in droves. Slavery is perfectly legal and those who oppose it are seen as insane extremists. Many areas are swarmed with dangerous wildlife that can make short work of elite armed guards within minutes, chief among them being the dreaded Beak Things. For some unknown reason, the northern portion of the map is filled to the brim with hordes of cannibals. To top it all off, it's believed in-universe that the skeletons were responsible for one of the collapses, and they are still hiding something to this day.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: The Cannibal Hunters. They are responsible for containing the northern cannibals and helping stranded people. It can be said that they are one of the few unambiguously good factions in the entire game.
  • Creepy Monotone: Skeletons. Their inability to physically express emotions is one of the main reasons most other races tend to find them unsettling and hard to trust.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The Holy Nation's stance on robotic limbs is pretty close to this. If you approach one of their settlements with a character sporting any artifical limbs, they react as if they're a skeleton; that is to say, they attack on sight.
  • Cyborg: It's possible for characters to replace their lost limbs with robotic ones. Characters with four artificial limbs are, from an injury treatment perspective, more machine than man.
    • The Skin Bandits are an interesting example of this. Instead of being humans who get cybernetic parts, they are robots who get organic parts to feel alive.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Leviathans, massive creatures indigenous to the aptly named Leviathan Coast. Ironically, in a world where almost everything will actively try to kill, enslave and/our devour the player's band, Leviathans are not aggresive and will usually cause no harm as long as they're left alone. The valuable, ten-kilo pearls that can be looted from their bodies makes them a pretty lucrative hunting target however.
    • Beak Things are feared not only for being extremely fast and aggresive predators able to deliver devastating area of effect attacks, but also because they're pretty tough. Strategies involving rotating tanks and at least a few crossbowmen will be mandatory to deal with just one of them in the early-mid game. And reaching "elder" age only makes them faster, meaner and much tougher.
    • In the early game, well armored and seasoned fighters like Holy Nation paladins and samurai from the United Cities can be perceived as this from the perspective of ill-equipped opponents.
  • Dangerous Deserter: Besides the usual (human) Hungry and Dust Bandits, the Shek territories are home to three distinctive bands of outlaws. Two of them, the Berserkers and Kral's Chosen, are made up from rogue Shek who oppose the new queen's more rational strategies and have fully embraced the more traditional Blood Knight lifestyle of their race. Both Berserkers and Kral's Chosen are pretty dangerous in the early game, decently armed and with stats in their 30-40s, and they will usually assault outsiders on sight.
  • Deadly Gas: Some regions are plagued by toxic fumes which can be hazardous to organic characters not equipped with gas masks. The Black Desert still bears the marks of the pollution of the past, with frequent and dangerous black poison clouds which sometimes drift into nearby areas. In the Ashlands, the continuous volcanic activity also produces poison clouds which do nothing to the resident Skeleton Legions but can be dangerous to unprepared "fleshy" visitors.
  • Death World: Once you take a step outside of the town gates, almost everyone and everything will want a piece of you. In addition to bloodthirsty bandits and vicious wildlife, many regions in the game also feature major environmental hazards such as acid rain, toxic air or giant laser beams constantly glassing the landscape.
  • Decapitated Army: It's not possible to completely obliterate the main factions, but kidnapping or killing their leaders will throw them into turmoil and decadence: some settlements may fall into disrepair, be conquered by opposing factions or even overrun by Fogmen hordes. Can be done, on a smaller scale, to some specific settlements, like United Cities ones (without the local head noble, they tend to quickly fall into anarchy and be constantly preyed upon by bandits and rebels).
  • Defector from Decadence: The unique recruit Griffin is a former soldier of the Holy Military.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Slavery is the driving force of the United Cities' economy and an integral part of their society. Nobody will bat an eye if some poor bastard happens to drop unconscious at the wrong place at the wrong time and is subsequently seized by opportunistic slavers. Among the majority of the population, the Anti-slavers' reputation ranges from "weird plucky outlaws" at best to "insane anarchist terrorists" at worst.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The "holy sword" beginning. You start with no companion, low money, low stats, and one of the game's powerful factions is hostile to you instead of being neutral, but you have a high tier nodachi.
    • The unique companion Infinite Wingwang initially costs 100,000 c; depending on the barter dialog you have with him, it's possible to eventually hire him for 5,000 c. With some patience and chance, it's possible to amass enough money (by scavenging weapons and amour pieces on battlefield) quite early in the game. Anyway, Infinite Wingwang starts with very high stats, and normally raising the own attributes and martial stats of your common average party members would be a lot longer than scrounging 5,000 c.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: If a player character gets their hands on some gear branded as belonging to a specific faction, it's possible to disguise oneselves as a member of that faction. The more pieces of "branded" gear being worn at the same time, the more effective the disguise will be. Be warned that even with a full set, a high Stealth skill will be mandatory for successfully fooling anyone. And there is also the possibility that guards will become suspicious, so try not to get too close to them. In any case, whatever the reason you have for disguising yourself, don't hang around for too long or you'll eventually get caught. And be also careful not to casually stroll into a settlement while wearing the uniform of a faction that is not welcome there.
  • Driven to Madness: One of the proposed origins for the Cannibals has them be the descendants of an advanced civilization. Some sort of experiment gone wrong or environmental hazard have corroded their mind and turned them into the insane cannibals seen today.
  • Drop the Hammer: There is a whole category of Blunt weapons including all kinds of jittes, clubs and sticks. They cause little bleeding damage and as such are optimal for knocking out and capturing enemies without accidentally killing them, which makes them a favourite tool among slavers. The exception would be the Spiked Club, which actually provides a very high bleeding rate. Due to how the damage system works, Blunt weapons are (realistically) pretty effective against armor, and strong enemies wielding quality ones (like Skin Bandits) will remain a real threat even in the late game.
  • Drugs Are Bad: All of the main factions have branded Hashish as an illegal drug, and guards will routinely perform inventory checks at their settlements' gates to make sure none of it gets through - said checks are pretty easy to circunvent by hiding the Hashish in unequipped bags. Due to being illegal, price markups shot really high... but no honest traders will want to touch it. Luckily, the Shinobi Thieves traders have no such qualms. By buying low from swamp and hive villages and/or setting up your own plantations at an appropiate place, then selling high in the United Cities settlements, it's perfectly possible to become a successful and wealthy drug lord.
  • Dummied Out: There exists a mysterious entity known as the Whistler that resembles a headless female robot in the game files. Due to her rather creepy design, many fans speculate that the character was meant to be the real Narko, the devil-like goddess of the Okranite religion.
  • Early Game Hell: Standard starting conditions include low tier clothes, a crappy weapon, and various amount of money ranging from a decent amount to none at all. Your starting stats are usually lower than any other character, so you're almost sure to lose any fight in the beginning. Also, some of the starting conditions are even less fair, especially Rockbottom.
  • Eaten Alive: Some creatures and NPC's will do this to your characters if they manage to knock them out. While Beak Things may feast on you right away, Fogmen and cannibals will carry you to their camp, tie you to a post and eat you at their convenience.
  • The Empire: Depends on which race you play as, the Holy Nation is this and will attack anyone on sight who isn't a human.
  • The Engineer: The game includes features allowing to build your own base and craft. Due to how skills and training works, anyone can become this. You can recruit party members which already have a high level in those skills, too.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: There are plenty different ways to earn cats. Some are quite common in the RPG genre: mining iron or copper nodes to get ore which can be sold to merchants, robbing the dead to sell the loot at the nearest town, etc. Other strategies involve bounty hunting, becoming a proper highwayman, selling captives to slavers, caravaneering between settlements buying low and selling high... and to top it all, establishing your own stronghold with farms, factories, etc.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The vast, desolate wilderness of Kenshi's world is a very, very dangerous place. In some places, even the weather will try to kill you.
  • Evil Is Easy: Played with, and depends on what one may consider "evil" in such a brutal, unforgiving setting where most factions are assholes one way or the other. A skilled thief can effortlessly sneak around at night and rob an entire town blind with relative ease, and a well coordinated, proper ambush set up by a strong enough group can destroy virtually any caravan and reap huge profits from the looted goods. And let's not even begin with the potential monetary rewards of the drug trade. It's perfectly possible to play the game as a highly successful, morally ambiguous (or corrupt) hustler... but a single mistake at the wrong time and/or place can mean incurring in the wrath of one of the major factions. If that happens, you'd better be prepared for que consequences.
  • Evil Luddite: It seems the Holy Nation doesn't allow discovery of ancient science books or any significant progress of technology. Nor even let anyone to be at their technological level.
  • Evil Tainted the Place: The Holy Nation believes The Hub to be "cursed", thus they stay away from it. This has allowed the place to become a safe haven of sorts for drifters and criminals.
  • Evil vs. Evil: From the perspective of the Antislavers and other outcast groups like the Flotsam Ninjas, the ongoing war between the United Cities and the Holy Nation basically amounts to this. From a more balanced point of view, see Grey and Gray Morality below.
  • Faking Amnesia: The Skeletons claim that they have no memory of the previous eras. A conversation between a player skeleton and Iyo reveals that this is all an act.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The Holy Empire is racist toward everything that isn't a Greenlander. Unlucky spotted nonhumans are either killed on the spot or condemned to eternal slavery.
    • Although the Shek Kingdom respects every race if it's strong, they still use racial slurs when meeting other races, like "tinman" for Skeletons, "softskin" for humans and "bugman" for Hivers.
    • The UC has a racially-diverse society. However, that doesn't stop their presumably human-controlled newspaper from taking jabs at and blaming other races for their problem.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The setting is a wide desert which human dwellers are Japanese-inspired people and factions.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: According to the developers, the concept of guns does not exist in this universe. So you have a world where robots are the norm, but not even the most primitive type of firearm exists. Crossbows are fair game, however.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Being captured by Fogmen or cannibals, and being unable to escape before you're Eaten Alive by them. Beak Things may also start feasting on a character it manages to knock out.
    • Falling in the hands of the Skin Bandits may perhaps be even worse. They throw captives into a "peeler machine" which unceremoniously skins them alive. Players tend to face a serious dilemma after taking down their actually human leader: turn him in for a very substantial reward or put him through his own invention.
  • The Federation: The United Cities would be an evil (and decadent) version.
  • First Town: The Hub, a mostly ruined den of vagabonds and drifters, is where most players will begin their first playthrough. It is conveniently located right in the middle of the Border Zone, one of the safest areas in the continent due to the abscence of carnivorous predators and unhealthy weather conditions, and there are several iron and copper nodes nearby to earn some easy cash at the beginning of your adventure.
  • Flaying Alive: The Skin Bandits are really fond of this.
  • Flunky Boss: Many examples. Virtually every faction leader is wise enough to surround themselves with the strongest bodyguards available. Boss fights tend to be difficult as a result, as not only are most leaders pretty powerful in their own right, but they're also surrounded by strong retinues.
    • Tinfist is the strongest martial artist in the world. He is also surrounded by several highly skilled martial artists. There is a reason why he is considered one of the toughest targets in the game.
    • Cat-Lon's own might and his Meitou-grade Falling Sun turn him into perhaps the fiercest opponent in the game. Since that was clearly not enough, he can also summon a horde of mooks from a nearby dome to help him in the fight.
    • Esata the Stone Golem is likely the strongest Shek in existance. She shares the same building with the Invincible Five.
    • To reach the Holy Phoenix one needs to cut their way through an entire horde of paladins, in the most tightly defended city on the entire map.
    • The nobles of the United Cities and Traders Guild are always surrounded by a retinue of elite samurai.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Unarmored characters are naturally quicker, and also very fragile.
    • Martial Artists are this by requirements. Their only defense is Dodge, which only functions optimally when little to no armor is worn.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Get near the region of Venge during daytime, and you'll be surprised to see large columns of light seemingly falling down from the Sky. Tip: without proper burn-resistent gear, said beams will give you something more than a sunburn. Except for Skeletons. Actually, having at least a Skeleton in the party will shed some light on the matter: it's the work of a satellite weapon (a relic from ancient times) orbiting above the region. There used to be another one... before it fell amidst The Eye.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted. The "Precision Shooting" skill actually regulates how likely any shooter is to accidentally incur into friendly fire when allies are in the way of their shots. For this reason, players are advised to refrain from giving high damage crossbows to low-skilled shooters. Since, as with any other skill in the game, Precision Shooting is levelled up from hitting your own allies, it's preferable to assign low-quality junkbows to your newbie shooters until they get said crucial skill up to an acceptable level.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The player character starts at the absolute bottom of the ladder, and is likely to spend the early game either running from or getting pummeled by even the weakest kind of bandits and wildlife. In due time, after much fighting, adventuring and suffering, they may end up prevailing upon the most powerful entities of the continent and tipping the scales between the major political powers.
    • The Holy Nation's rise to power is hinted to have followed similar guidelines. It seems they started out as a somewhat isolationist minor cult with "noble intentions", but the Second Empire's repressive policies fueled the flames of rebellion and the situation quickly spiralled out of control, eventually bringing the Empire to its knees and paving the way for the Holy Nation to become what they are today.
  • Game Mod: Tons and tons of them. Some are only available at the Steam Workshop, but most can be downloaded from NexusMods for other versions of the game as well.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Averted. Anyone Can Die is always in full effect, all the time.
  • Gas Mask, Longcoat: Player characters can easily achieve this look by combining either a Longcoat or Dustcoat with any type of gas mask (the Fog Mask, the Swamp Ninja Mask or the Mask Type III).
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Swamp Ninjas, for purely aesthetic purposes though. note 
  • Gender Is No Object: Both the Shek Kingdom and the United Cities' societies and armies are highly equalitarian in terms of gender. Women can hold nobility titles and rule over entire towns (or even the faction itself, as in the Shek's case) and roughly half of their elite Hundred Guardian and Samurai troops are female as well.
  • Ghibli Hills: The fluvial valley of Okran's Pride, heartland of the Holy Nation and lush jewel in a mostly arid and inhospitable continent. Thanks to the continuous patrolling of the holy military, it's also one of the safest areas in the entire world (bar some groups of hungry bandits and the annoying river raptors).
  • Global Currency: Despite the game's cities being controlled by different factions, they all use the same currency: the catnote  (or "c.").
  • Good Is Not Nice: Several factions adhere to this trope in diverse regards.
    • The Shek Kingdom. A faction of Proud Warrior Race Guys which, under its current leadership, tolerates other races and is willing to protect merchants and travellers inside their territory. That doesn't stop the Shek in general from being mostly self-centered, rude and very dismissive towards the battle prowess of others.
    • The Flotsman Ninjas oppose the zealous and tyrannical Holy Nation and wish to help anyone oppressed by them. They're also (understandably) paranoid about the presence of agents or spies of the Holy Nation, and if the wrong dialogue choices are selected, they may attack the player out of fear of them being one.
    • The Black Dogs fight against the slavering Reavers and other dangers of the Outlands. They will also try to extort money out of the player's pocket as a "protection fee" (even if no "protection" has actually been provided).
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The conflict between two of the biggest factions in the world, United Cities and Holy Nation, is this. Holy Nation is a zealous, racist and sexist tyrannical government, but they maintain order in their territories and treat male humans rather well. The United Cities, while racially and sexually tolerant, is hideously corrupted, to the point that guards will frame innocents to extort money in broad daylight. In addition, their peasants aren't treated that much better than Holy Servants, leading them to turn to banditry in droves.
  • Happiness in Slavery: While it doesn't happen in most cases, some slaves will resist being liberated, saying "this isn't right" and running back to their cages. More than happiness, it seems to be mostly fear of possible reprisals from their masters. Being persistent and freeing them again, carrying them to the outside, will eventually make them relent (having taken their master out also seems to help).
  • Henchmen Race: The Shek apparently were this at some point. Dialogue with some Skeleton NPCs implies they started as genetically engineered "Enforcers". Although their horns are a late evolutional development, they already had "spiky" personalities to begin with. Interaction with party members also suggests Sheks still consider themselves to be human.
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: Some factions, specially bandits and slavers, will many times attack you despite having a neutral standing with them.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Antislavers fight to liberate slaves. However, citizens of the HN and the UC hate them due to the economy being dependent on slaves. A random chatter can have a citizen expressing concern for "those poor slavers".
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Flotsam Village in the Hidden Forest and the Cult Village in the Outlands.
  • Hide Your Children: No children are present in the game.
  • Hive Caste System: The Hivers have a 4-class system, 3 of which are playable. They are the workers, the soldiers, the princes and finally the queen.
  • Honest Advisor: Bayan is this to Esata. It can be said that he's the savior of the Shek Kingdom, if not the entire species in the long-term. His reforms ensure that the Sheks are able to rebuild their dwindling population and prepare themselves better for a war against the HN.
  • Hulk Speak: The Gorrillo speaks this way.
  • Human Subspecies: According to the World's End academy, Hivers and Sheks are related to humans. When and how exactly they evolved to what they are are unknown, but not too long ago as the ancient Skeletons of Black Desert city do not recognize then.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Behemoths, long since destroyed.
    • Cleanser Units in the Ashlands.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Some regions sport welcoming names such as "Deadlands", "Cannibal Plains", "The Forbidden Isle" or "The Unwanted Zone". They are all aptly named.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Cannibals, the Fogmen and the Gurglers.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Falling Sun. It combines both high cutting and blunt damage, a pretty decent reach, lower Strength requirements than other Heavy Weapons and substantial damage bonuses against tough enemies like Beak Things. Dealing both cutting and blunt damage allows users to level up both Strength and Dexterity at the same time, and also makes it a proper tool to deal with any kind of enemy. Its only downside is, as usual with Heavy Weapons, the skill penalty when fighting indoors, but even that is fairly negligible once a character's skills are high enough. It is also a rare weapon, and as hinted by the in-game description, its blueprints are only available for sale in the Scraphouse next to Black Desert City, in the very heart of the polluted, acid and inhospitable Deadlands.
    • With all of the above in mind, the actual true Infinity +1 Sword is the Meitou grade Falling Sun in the hands of Cat-Lon, arguably the strongest enemy in the game and more than able to outright kill 50s stats characters in an single swing.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Polearms: long reach, decent damage output (with a fine cutting&blunt balance as well), easy and cheap to research, nice attack bonus plus +30% armor penetration and +50% damage to animals. They also weight very little, so they're arguably one of the best options for any large group of low level characters. Employed en masse, they can tear through virtually anything the early-mid game may throw against the player, and the long reach also makes them suitable to deal with hordes.
  • Item Caddy:
    • It is possible to treat at least one of your characters this way, especially when equipped with a large backpack. They become less effective in combat (the larger a backpack is, the more it decreases combat skills).
    • Inverted, if you decide to carry someone, most likely a squadmate, who in turn is an item you carry along as added weight for your strength training.
  • Item Crafting: one of Kenshi's main features is its extensive crafting system. Almost every useful item in the game (food, weapons, armor, med and repair kits, building materials, robotic limbs, etc.) can be manufactured by the player as long as the research requirements are unlocked and/or the appropiate blueprints obtained. Mass production of certain highly valued commodity items (like grog) or high grade weapons and armor can also be extremely profitable in the long run.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: The game has a grid inventory system, in which each item takes several squares, have their weight which affects your mobility, and allows to carry some of them in a backpack.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: The "main character" and usually the first recruits to join them in the adventure tend to become this due to sheer need to survive.
  • Kaiju: The leviathans, building-sized carapaced creatures that roam around the northern coast. They're usually not aggressive, but woe betide anything that manages to piss one off.
    • The Bonefields imply the existence of even larger creatures. The ribcages lying around are the size of a small town.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Averted. As it happens with every other weapon in the game, katanas have a set of strengths and weaknesses. To be more specific, katanas tend to be considered a good choice for the early game due to their high attack speed and damage bonus against humans (+10%), since most players are likely to spend the first in-game days contending with scantly armored human opponents. However, the maluses to armor penetration (-30%) and versus robots (-39%) turn them into suboptimal options when tougher and better armored enemies begin to appear.
  • Kill Sat: The Eyes. One has crash-landed in the desert, the other seems to be malfunctioning and constantly blasts the region of Venge with death rays.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: An extremely viable career choice due to how efficient high Stealth characters can be, as long as you are careful when selling the stolen goods and have a good pair of legs to run for it in the case you are discovered.
  • Klingon Promotion: The current Shek leader got to her position by slaying the previous emperor.
  • La Résistance: This being a Crapsack World where most major powers are tyrannical, a lot of resistances spring up.
    • The Flotsam Ninja is this to the Holy Nation. They are a group of mainly female ninjas who fight to free slaves and women..
    • The Rebel Farmers is this to the United Cities. However, they are not as benevolent as other examples. See The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized.
    • The Antislavers are a group of martial artists who are fighting both the Holy Nation and the United Cities in order to abolish slavery. They are extremely good at their jobs and feared by many slave owners.
  • Large Ham: Unnervingly, the Skin Bandits, who are really fond of stating out loud how "human" they are. It adds even more fuel to their very creepy presence.
    • Also the extremely enthusiastic hiver merchants, to the player's potential amusement.
    Hive Trader: Human! You will love my goods, nothing is stolen. Come Human, come and trade. All goods produced here in the Hive! We must trade now, Human. All original goods of the Hive! Let us trade in the tradition of humans. Where are you going? Do not flee from the shop!!
    • Not to mention a certain recruitable hiver after emerging victorious in battle...
    Beep: BEEP IS THE STRONGEST NOW! THERE WILL BE CHANGES!
  • Legendary Weapon: The Meitou quality weapons crafted at some point in the past by the fabled smith Cross, of whom nothing but their name is known. Their blades do not corrode over time, never need sharpening and seem to be still in top-notch condition after many years of use.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • If your strength and your athletic skill are high enough, they'll compensate the armor's encumberance, though it may be not enough to compensate encumbrance from the content of your inactive inventory.
    • High level martial artists are incarnations of this trope. Their damage output rivals late-game weaponry and they can dance around the fight without getting hit.
  • Lost Technology: A very common theme given the game's post-apocalyptic setting. Huge, inexplicable machines and structures are scattered across great swaths of the landscape. Only the skeletons know their purpose, and they're not telling.
  • Low Fantasy: A fictional world without magic, hidden Chi stereotypes, and The Chosen One.
  • Machete Mayhem: Most weapons from the Hacker class. Fights between large groups of Cannibals and Shrieking Bandits are a literal representation of the trope.
  • Made a Slave: Slavery is very common in the world and it's shockingly easy to get enslaved. Defeat in battle? Slavery. Not being a male greenlander human in Holy Nation or accompanied by one? Slavery. Commit a crime? Slavery. Getting downed near slavers even if you haven't done anything? Slavery! No wonder why there are so many ex-slave outlaws all over the wasteland. Likewise, your characters can also sell off defeated humans to the Slavers.
  • Magikarp Power: Martial artists at lower levels are mostly useless, dealing silly amounts of damage via normal punches and kicks and being unable to dodge most enemy attacks. A lot of training and fighting later, a character with 60 points in Strength, Kenpo and Dodge can single-handedly destroy Gorillos in one-on-one brawls, and routinely tear limbs off with all sorts of flying kicks and punches. Furthermore, unarmed attacks deal blunt damage, so even heavy armors provide limited protection against it. High level martial artists can tear through the toughest stuff the game may throw at them, as long as they avoid getting hit.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The Skeleton Bandits.
  • The Medic: Anyone can be trained to eventually become this. Some companions which are already high-level healers can be recruited, too.
  • Medieval Stasis: The Holy Nation tries to enforce this throughout their territory, attacking both Skeletons and anyone with artificial limbs, forbidding any technological development and banning everything they consider "high tech" (from Ancient Science Books to AI Cores).
  • Mega-Corp: The Traders Guild is the closest thing to being one in the Kenshi world. Their caravans are present in most settled lands, and their noble caste have a solid grip over the highly profitable slave trade. Should the player investigate and work enough in the right direction, it's also revealed that the top dogs of the Traders Guild are also playing a Powers That Be role, pulling strings from the shadows and igniting the flames of war between the major factions as a means to keep the slave trade (and its related profits) flowing. The player is given the option to play along and help develop their schemes or oppose them outright.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Fairly common event since so many factions (including different flavours of bandits) are hostile to each other. It's perfectly possible for some confrontations to even escalate up to "Mêlée à Quatre" with the player's intervention. Some areas in the map are specially prone to hold such diverse meetings. Okram's Shield is one of them: a border stronghold of the Holy Nation, and scenario to a perpetual battle between the garrison, Old Machines and Cloud Ninjas assaulting from the Iron Valleys, Rebel Peasants, Manhunters and large Skimmer bugs from the Skimsands. It's a dangerous spot for low level characters to find themselves in, but also a nice place to gather loot from the fallen.
  • Mighty Glacier: Armor provides protection from damage while reducing deplacement speed.
  • Misery Builds Character: Kenshi lives and dies by this trope. The Nietzschean understatement of "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is in full effect here, as the only way for characters to actually get stronger is to be beaten down by more powerful enemies again and again.
  • Money for Nothing: Played with, as many new players tend to struggle economically in the early game. Eventually however, it's difficult not to become filthy rich regardless of the long-term profit strategies the player may choose to pursue.
    • Leveling up the crafting skills needs some initial investment and quite a bit of time, but once a character is able to routinely yield high grade items, any workbench becomes a gold mine. Amusingly, very simple and modest pieces of cloth like bandanas are some of the most profitable products to be made, as their crafting process is both cheap and fast as long as a skilled craftsman is available. And NPC shops never get tired of buying them.
    • The drug trade (aka "Hashish smuggling") can reap huge profits as long as you are able to survive the dangers of the quickest routes between The Swamp and the best markets to sell it (either the northern United Cities or Flats Lagoon).
    • Merely scavenging around and looting downed enemies to later sell their gear can earn you some quick and steady cats. Even if you are too weak to confront groups of bandits directly, it's always an option to lure them towards town gates where guardsmen will make quick work of them, leaving their battered bodies for you to rob naked. Areas like Bast that feature a lot of constant fighting between two or more factions can be true heavens for scavengers as long as they are not caught Robbing the Dead.
    • As soon as your group is strong enough to deal with Beak Things, they can quickly become a fantastic source of income. They yield large amounts of both animal skins (which can be turned into leather, and then into sellable clothes) and meat (making it easier to keep your characters fed). Furthermore, raid their nests and run away with all those delicious eggs you cannot actually eat, but rather sell at 4200 cats apiece.
  • Mordor: The Iron Valleys, the Black Desert, the Deadlands, Arach (aka "Spider Hell") and The Grid.
  • National Weapon: Most factions' troops tend to rely on specific types of weapons.
    • Virtually all ninjas in the game, from the Flotsam up north to the Swamp Ninjas down south, are armed solely with ninja blades.
    • The United Cities' armies adhere to japanese themes: rookie soldiers carry naginatas, fully-fledged samurai employ katanas and wakizashis, and elite samurai wield nodachis.
    • The Holy Nation specialices in weapons from the Hacker class, which is fitting with the background as Hackers provide nice bonuses against their hated enemies (heavily armored samurai from the United Cities and Skeletons). Holy chosen and sentinels have combat cleavers, while high ranking soldiers like paladins or inquisitors rely on their famed holy crosses.
    • The Shek, who have powerful soldiers but lack in numbers, are very fond of massive two handed weapons (planks and fragmented axes) which are quite efficient when dealing with more numerous enemies.
    • Hivers (both the friendly Western Hive and the hostile Southern Hive) deploy polearms in massed numbers.
    • Slavers routinely resort to blunt weapons as they are less likely to kill or maim potential "adquisitions" via bleeding or mutilation.
  • New Meat: The main factions' armies are structured around limited numbers of elite troops paired with scores of red shirts. The Holy Nation squads are typically made up from one single leader (a holy paladin, sometimes an inquisitor), several paladins and (usually) double the amount of holy chosen (new recruits in baggy shirts and pants). The United Cities deploy squads featuring heavily armed samurai and also much lighter samurai conscripts, who are not entitled to katanas and carry naginatas instead. Same story with the Shek, whose low and middle ranked troops (scouts and warriors) roam around almost bare-chested.
  • Ninja: The eponymous rogue Sand Ninjas faction as well as many other named ninja factions. Anyone with a high stealth skill and a ninja suit also fits this trope.
  • Noob Cave: The Border Zone. The only dangers are Hungry Bandits (the weakest opponents in the game, and they can sometimes be talked down) and Dust Bandits. None of them will eat you and both are easy to outrun as soon as you reach a somewhat decent level in Athletics. The bands of Slavers are a bigger threat for obvious reasons, but even slower due to their heavy gear.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: While the game is lore-heavy aspects throughout your journey, it has no linear story and there are no plans for such a thing to exist.
  • No Woman's Land: The Holy Nation is a male-dominated society, treating females as slaves and submissive workers to their society. So much that any female who rebels against the nation or are free-willed are treated as corruptors of the light of Okran and must be subdued. Because of this, there's a renegade faction living in a secluded forest north of the capital of the Holy Nation that is mostly comprised of escaped females who are sick of the oppressive misogynistic policies of the nation and want to destroy it by having their leader, the Holy Lord Phoenix, killed. The leader of said renegade faction is likewise wanted by the Holy Nation due to her stance against them.
  • Non-Entity General: Though not very obvious at first: you begin the game by creating and physically customizing a lone player character, but he isn't more important or more powerful than any other party member. The initial party member isn't supposed to be the player's avatar.
  • Obvious Beta: Even after the official release and several subsequent patches, a plethora of bugs and performance issues remain. Some could be considered Good Bad Bugs. Others... not so much.
  • Off the Rails: No rails of any kind from the very beginning.
  • Off with His Head!: Surprisingly averted for a game where loss of limbs is quite commonplace. That said, if the damage meter of any "essential" part of the body (head, chest, stomach) reaches -100, it's instant death.
  • One-Hit Kill: A strong enough character can kill their opponents with one hit. If the health of their opponents head, chest, or stomach drops to -100 or more, they will die instantly. A limb getting hit that hard will cause it to be severed.
    • One-Hit Polykill: A strong enough character wielding a weapon with decent range can potentially knock out, or even kill, several opponents with a single strike. To many a player's chagrin, Cat-Lon is a fervent practicioner of this trope.
  • One-Man Army: A character that has high stats and combat skills can easily defeat many weaker opponents, especially if they can One-Hit Kill each one. That said, having a few characters is often preferable since many enemies are hardly ever alone.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: Averted in the sense that the main factions (wisely) will never send a single elite soldier against rising threats. If the player manages to piss off one of those factions, they can expect entire squads of increasingly large amounts of troops visiting their base to deliver retribution. Infuriate them enough (like, by kidnapping their leaders) and be ready for entire armies knocking at your gates.
    • Played with in the case of the United Cities and the Traders Guild. Become an enemy with them, to the point of kidnapping or killing some of their minor nobles, and they will dispatch small squads of "elite hunters" to assault your base. Once they reach the point of considering you a real threat, they'll send Eyegore instead.
  • One Size Fits All: The team members' bodyshape can range from "frail hunchbacked midget" to "tall mass of huge muscles", but they can swap the same clothes without any effect.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted due to the abundance of generic recruits (both available in taverns and as potential slave recruits) with randomly generated names. It is also possible to give party members the same name after paying one of the available surgeons a visit.
  • Optional Stealth: Stealth is considered to be pretty overpowered in Kenshi, and with good reason. A character with a high Stealth + Assassination combo, clad in the proper gear and shrouded by the shadows of night will be able to pass undetected before the nose of most NPCs. This enables the player to silently rob entire towns and outposts blind, knock out guards and even kidnap potential bounty targets without the need of a fight. And if you get caught... there's always the option to pause the game, open the inventory and change into a more suitable battle equipment.
  • Outlaw Town:
    • The town of Shark in the Swarm. It's remote and dangerous location makes it ideal for many gangs to set up a hideout there. The town is wholly controlled by criminals. Their main export is drugs. Walking around the bar may lead to your party getting bullied and extorted.
    • The Hub is a former Holy Nation town that has been ransacked by the Sheks and taken over by the outlaws. The belief that the town is corrupted by demonic influence keeps the Holy Nation from touching it, creating a safe haven for criminals. It's a downplayed example, however, because other than a criminal tavern and a base for the local thief clan, the town has no other infrastructure. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from restoring the ruined buildings out of your own pocket and fill the town with your own gang of criminals, thus playing this trope straight.
    • Mongrel is another example, full of criminals from all over the continent, though it's far more united than Shark. When you are trapped in a place swarmed with fogmen, you have no choice but to rely on everyone you can find, regardless of their background.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: An unconscious character can be carried to safety this way by anyone healthy enough to bring them home, or spend the rest of their life being training equipment.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The game never explicitly tells where the legendary Meitou weapons are located. While some of them are brandished by faction leaders, others are in the hands of minor bandit bosses, whose corpses may go unnoticed among those of their comrades. The Preacher is also fairly easy to miss among the bodies of all the members of his cult village, potentially preventing players from obtaining his Meitou Moon Cleaver.
  • Playing Possum: Your characters and some enemies can do this if they're knocked out and recover quickly enough. Some enemies will continue on their way after beating you up, allowing you a few moments to bandage up your allies. Enemy NPC's will also wait until you're far enough away before they get up and either get away or heal their allies.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: There is no Stamina stat/bar in the game, and characters can be active forever as long as they're properly fed. Resting in beds is possible (and while sleeping, the hunger meter doesn't get depleted) but its real effect is to heal injuries faster.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The Holy Nation is a theocratic autocracy controlled by a priest caste note  who think that advanced technology is evil, inferior races should be enslaved and women should Stay in the Kitchen.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Gas Mask: The Fog Mask, the Swamp Ninja Mask and the Mask Type III. Amusingly enough, most NPCs wearing them live in places where gameplay does not actually demand it.
  • Power Fist: While there are no actual "unarmed weapons" in the game, some of the robotic limbs could be considered this. In particular, masterwork quality KLR Series arms boast incredibly high durability, decent bonuses to both Strength and Dexterity and a +4 to Martial Arts.
    • Tinfist, leader of the Anti-slavers and renowned martial artist, is said to be (metaforically) equipped with the "Fists of Justice".
  • Praetorian Guard: The leaders of the main factions are always surrounded by a squad of Elite Mooks: Emperor Tengu's Jonin Elite, Esata's Invincible Five, the Hive Queens' Elite Droneguards, etc.
  • Press-Ganged: The Reavers run on this trope, assaulting and enslaving whoever they come across. Their conscripts are lightly armed and armored, being used a little more than weak, disposable meat shields. Notably, conscripts that prove themselves can become full Reavers.
  • Press Start to Game Over: Kenshi can be very unforgiving for new players not acquainted with its quirks and game mechanics. Starting scenarios taking place in the Great Desert will usually see the player character venturing out into said dessert just to be oneshotted by any passing Noble Hunter willing to test his new crossbow.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Shek. See Blood Knight above.
  • Puppet King: It's heavily implied that Emperor Tengu gets his position solely because he's easy for the noble circle to control.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender:
    • Male and female characters have identical stats.
    • Subverted when it comes to certain factions that react differently to genders. Male humans are warmly welcomed in Holy Empire territories, while females are heavily discriminated against.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Played straight with Edgewalkers and specially Meitou weapons, whose blades never rust nor need sharpening and are rumored to be unbreakable. The KLR Series robotic limbs are also famed for their extreme durability, and despite being employed in war frontlines some have survived (in perfect condition) to the present day. Averted with almost everything else, as the game world is littered with corroded and broken remains of the past eras, and the current civilizations have been forced to basically rebuild from scratch.
  • Ragtag Band of Misfits: The average player's faction will most likely be integrated by an heterogeneous bunch of random adventurers recruited at taverns, ex-slaves, freed prisoners, marginalized Shek, drifters rescued from Cannibals or Fogmen, etc.
  • The Red Baron:
    • The Stone Golem for Esata, the leader of the Shek.
    • The Iron Brute for Tinfist, the Skeleton leader of the Antislavers.
  • Red Shirts: The "Holy Chosen" who make up for a significative percentage of the Holy Nation's armies are appropiately dressed with orangeish baggy shirts.
  • Regenerating Health: Every living creature and robot in the game has this to some degree, and (beyond instant death) every injury will be healed as long as it's properly bandaged and the limb has not been lost. That said, natural regeneration for humanoid characters is very slow unless resting on "camp beds" (sleeping bags, x4 recovery rate) or proper, actual beds (x8). Some races, like Skeletons, also heal faster by default.
  • The Remnant: The Second Empire Exiles, confined to the Ashlands, is all that remains of the Second Empire, which used to be the dominant power in the continent hundreds of years ago.
  • Repressive, but Efficient: The Holy Nation is a zealous, technophobic theocracy that heavily discriminates against everyone not being a human male. On the other hand, they have the most cohesive society among those of the main factions (while some dissidence exists, it's nothing compared to the open revolts faced by United Cities and Shek in their own territories) and their very efficient military force keeps their hearthland of Okran's Pride on a pretty tight leash. That they manage not only to survive but keep their status as one of the main powers of the continent despite being surrounded by enemies in all directions speaks volumes about their internal structure and organization, however repressive and backwards their ideals may be.
  • Retired Badass: Burn, a very old Skeleton who can be persuaded to join the player for one last adventure.
  • Robbing the Dead: Looting dead or unconscious bodies is illegal in many civilized areas, but it's completely fair game in the wasteland. A viable tactic is to follow a caravan that's about to enter a dangerous biome (such as the Crater) and loot them when they get assaulted by hostile forces.
  • Robot Buddy: Any recruitable Skeleton that may join the player's entourage, including the unique recruits Burn, Agnu and Sadneil.
  • Robot War: It is theorized in-universe that one of the apocalypses was caused by a war between an ancient organic civilization and the Skeletons. The Holy Nation's hatred of Skeletons is believed to stem from this. Their hatred is completely justified.
  • Rock Bottom: One of the possible and more difficult starting scenarios. Your character just lost a limb, is starving, and is in the middle of a desert.
  • Rule of Three: There are three main factions in the game for the player to ally with or fight against: the Holy Nation, the United Cities and the Shek Kingdom.
    • Several weapon manufacturers have three different models of increasing quality: Catun Scrapmasters (No.1, No.2 and No.3), Skeleton Smiths (MKI, MKII and MKIII) and Edgewalkers (Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3).
  • Sanity Slippage: While Skeletons are ageless, their minds tend to corrode over time, requiring memory wipes to prevent them from going insane. Or so they claim. Amusingly, it was played straight with Cat-Lon and his Second Empire as a whole.
  • Save Scumming: The game can be saved at any time, and even autosaves by default every ten minutes. Kenshi's setting being a pretty unforgiving Death World, new players may find themselves save scumming often. It tends to be looked down upon by more experienced ones, and "no save scumming" tends to feature prominently among the self-restrictions many players place upon themselves to fully enjoy the game experience.
  • Scavenger World: Played with. Even after several collapses, civilization has managed to rebuild itself to a reasonable degree of prosperity, with access to electricity and decent quality manufacturing, plus flowing trade routes. High tech however is still a thing of the past, and in terms of technologic development none of the current factions come even close to the precursors of old. As such, while it's possible for the player to research and develop current levels of technology via simple and commonplace books, unlocking more advanced tech will require scavenging around ancient factories and laboratories.
  • Scenery Gorn: The landscape is dotted with decayed and ruined buildings from a bygone era. Industrial areas of the past host what remains of former factories over ground so polluted it will damage characters walking bare-footed, plus the occasional acid rainstorms.
  • Scenery Porn: Despite Kenshi's outdated graphics, the developers managed to produce surprisingly beautiful and engaging landscapes, specially at dawn and dusk, when the game's lighting shines at its best. Dialed up to eleven with the addition of some graphic mods like the popular Tsuki ReShade or ShadowsSSAO.
  • Schizo Tech: Vast varieties of weapons revolve around old Japanese and Persian times while little development on ranged weaponry, but it didn't stop electrical devices and automatons from walking the alien planet along with their humanoid counterparts.
    • Hilariously, post-collapse civilizations apparently haven't rediscovered boats, despite their remains littering the landscape in some areas. Caravans that need to reach the outlying islands just swim there, pack animals and all. This may be a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, as there are no functional vehicles in the game.
  • Scratch Damage: What happens when low quality katana-class weapons or small caliber crossbows encounter heavy armored foes.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: With notable effort and some losses, the inhabitants of Mourn managed to trap the Great White Gorillo inside the ancient lab of the settlement before locking its gates down. Unlocking said gates is considered a crime (if caught), although slaying the beast and presenting its claws to the barman will earn the player a collective applause and some free grog.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: While the unforgiving setting and the game's steep learning curve firmly put Kenshi into Early Game Hell territory for many newcomers, it's not uncommon for experienced players well acquainted with the game to consider it "too easy" as long as one doesn't refrain from taking advantage of the most unbalanced and/or overpowered mechanics. Therefore, many set up self-imposed restrictions when starting a new playthrough, like "no Save Scumming", "no stealing", "no using prisoners as training dummies", "no crafting", etc.
  • Serious Business: The Crab Raiders are really really fond of their crabs.
    • The Hiver merchants are extremely enthusiastic about their jobs as well.
  • Servant Race: The Skeletons, a long time ago in the past.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The bandit factions are hostile against each other. You can watch them mutually slaughtering each other, then finish off the survivors (or just loot the bodies when they all left the place). Also, any faction is hostile toward Cannibals and Fogmen.
  • Shareware: The evaluation version of the game caps the skill level to 20, forces you to play a male, forbids to hire more than one party member, and prevents use of mods. The evaluation version is actually the same program as the full game, but you need to buy and enter a product key to unlock all the features.
  • Shout-Out: The "Drifters Leather Jacket" looks like the iconic jacket from the Mad Max franchise (including a single sleeve) worn with a Japanese-style sash.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Averted. Not only main and minor factions actively and enthusiastically engage in slavery (as much as the Holy Nation insists those sent to Rebirth are not "technically" slaves), but the player is perfectly free to do so as well... potentially without any major repercussions. There is no karma meter, and the game doesn't keep track of the player's involvement in the slave trade. It's actually possible to end up allying oneself with the Anti-Slavers after earning a large fortune by selling people into slavery.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Dismissed party members, who go on to join the Tech Hunters after leaving your faction, will always keep everything they're wearing and carrying the very moment you kick them out.
  • The Social Darwinist: The United Cities have this as a core belief. They wholeheartedly believe that the rich deserve every luxury they can get, while the poor must toll away in mines and farms.
  • Stat Grinding: You increase your stats and skills by performing actions which requires them (running increases athletic, running while overburdened increases strength, being hit increases constitution, fighting increases the skill or stat related to the weapon you're welding, etc).
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: A pretty curious example. Certain NPCs have set a certain color (i.e. black for several factions of ninjas, maroon for Reavers, light green for Starving Bandits, etc.) and will dye the "colored" versions of some armors when putting them on, as long as said clothes had not been dyed beforehand (the effect is permanent on each piece). This can be used to some effect by players wishing to further customize the looks of their troops, by turning certain recruits or mere prisoners into walking dyeing factories.
    • Agnu's color being blue may be a hint of his past involvement with the Second Empire's police forces.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: Averted, and dangerously so. The "Precision Shooting" skill determines the probability of a ranged character to accidentally incur into friendly fire when shooting in the midst of melees. Players should be extra careful when managing the equipment of their sharpshooters, and refrain from giving high damage crossbows (Eagle's Cross, Oldworld Bows, etc.) to newbies if they don't want their melee fighters to die from some stray shot hitting them in the back of the neck. The same skill also affects shooting from turrets.
  • Subsystem Damage: The game has several sub-sections on each character that can take individual damage. Blood, Head, Chest, L-Arm, R-Arm, L-Leg, R-Leg. Part health ranges from -100 to 100. A character will faint or die if their blood, chest, or head reaches 0 or -100 respectively, though head and chest wounds have a small chance of instantly killing a character via a high damage critical hit when being reduced below 0. Arms/legs become crippled if they drop below 0 and require use of a more advanced splint kit in order to resuming healing, regular bandages only work above 0. If a limb reaches -100 health, it's severed and lost, permanently crippling a character and requiring a prosthetic in order to regain some of their full function.
  • Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: It is sometimes possible to shout back to Screaming Bandits and prevent them from attacking.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Even when you level up your character to around 90 or higher in your combat and general stats (which is a very long and tedious process outside of game mods), you will still be targeted by lesser ranked enemies who think they have the chops to take you down. They will retreat, however, if you manage to cripple/maim one or more of their limbs and they eventually decide it's not worth their life trying to kill you.
    • Justified by the Fogmen, Cannibals, and wildlife: they are all feral and willingly attack anyone and anything regardless of level, and thus never retreat.
  • Take Your Time: Everything on the map is left "frozen" as long as the game does not actively load it due to the proximity of player characters. This means you can leave your bases behind undefended to go out exploring without worrying about enemy raids - even if said events are already upcoming, they will be put on hold until you return.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Nothing prevents the player from hacking or pummelling enemies with their own favourite national weapons, tying Fogmen to their own poles in order to be devoured by their brethren or throwing the leader of the Skin Bandits into his own "peeler" machine. Mods also allow recruiting imperial Nobles after kidnapping them, to just force them to work on your mines and farms 24/7.
    • A minor example for many players would be, once strong enough, to go around hunting Beak Things for their skin and meat. It can be quite a cathartic experience after spending the early game running away from them in terror, a process which quite often involves the loss of limbs and/or the lives of unfortunate and/or slow party members.
  • Technical Pacifist: It is possible to use only blunt weapons or no weapons at all to deal with enemies which results the lowest blood loss in the long run.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Rebel Farmers may be fighting against the United Cities for a better life, but they are not above robbing innocents who have no hand in their mistreatment.
  • Thieves' Guild: The Shinobi Thieves (known as "Thieves Guild" in early versions of the game).
  • Third-Person Person: How Infinite Wingwang speaks before recruiting him.
  • Those Two Guys: Beep and Agnu if you have them both in your party. Beep seems to be the only one than can make sense of Agnu's angry roaring, and they quickly become best friends, to the aggravation of their squadmates.
  • Tin Tyrant: Cat-Lon is an extremely literal example, within and without.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Too many groups of weak and poorly armed NPCs have a strong tendency to jump straight into situations they have little chance of surviving.
    • A honorable mention goes to those Holy Nation Outlaws who casually and carelessly stroll into the Fog Islands, usually to become Fogmen food.
    • Another one for the United Heroes League, a minor faction of bigoted xenophobic vigilantes who enjoy harassing anyone not being a greenlander. They tend to end up torn apart by Skimmers or beaten down and eventually enslaved by passing Slave Traders.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Moll used to be a mere slave at Rebirth. Now she leads the Flotsam Ninjas and sports several stats and skills in their 90s.
    • Any individual recruited into the player's band will eventually take a level in badass over the course of the game, one fight after another. If they manage to survive, that is.
  • Trauma Inn: Downplayed. Sleeping in an inn (or in a bed inside your own base) increases the healing rate of injured body parts, but only if the wounds have already been treated.
  • Tribal Facepaint: The Northern Cannibals are known as the "Painted Tribe" for covering almost their entire naked bodies with tribal body paints.
    • The option is also available for human player characters in the character editor (only the face though).
  • Undying Loyalty: The Behemoths wiped themselves out for an unspecified reason, but it is known that they did so for the human race. Their corpses can be viewed in Obedience.
  • Unique Items: The Meitou quality weapons forged in the past by the legendary smith Cross. Only one or two versions of each weapon type exist, and are usually in the hands of powerful, rich and/or dangerous individuals. That said, it is possible to obtain a limitless amount of them by exploiting certain game mechanics.
    • The Chalice of Fire, bestowed upon the player by the Holy Lord Phoenix LXII (blessed be his name) after becoming a formal valuable ally of the Holy Nation. According to the in-game description, it just looks like a standard cup, but it IS very shiny.
  • Universal Ammunition: Zig-zagged. Some types of ammo are used by several different crossbows, like regular bolts (Ranger and both MkI and MkII Oldworld Bows) and toothpick bolts (Tooth Pick and its cheap imitation, the Junkbow). Others are specific for certain crossbows (heavy bolts for Springbat, long bolts for Eagle's Cross).
  • Unreliable Expositor: Elder, the sociopathic leader of the Skeleton Bandits. Skeleton player characters have the option to call him out for his lies.
  • Vendor Trash: Certain items in the game, many of which can be found mostly inside ancient buildings, have no use besides being sold to merchants.
  • Verbal Tic: Beep, who beeps.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The entire Ashlands region counts as this.
  • Vestigial Empire:
    • The United Cities is only a shadow of the prosperous empire it was. A severe famine in the past triggered a massive peasant revolt when the rich refused to share the remaining food with the poor. Although the UC managed to restore order and enslaved the surviving rebels, it was unable to recover from the event. Living standards became lowered as a result of the UC becoming more oppressive to prevent future unrest.
    • The Second Empire still exists in some capacity, but they are now confined to the Ashland.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • Your party member all have a name and a physical appearance (both can be customized right during the recruitment), an inventory, and stats. You can give them armors and weapons, heal them, and eventually turn your little army of weak everymen into powerful warriors.
    • Upon seeing travelers being attacked by bandits or other hostile factions, you can rescue them from the losing fight and heal them afterward.
    • Even though it puts you in hot water with the authorities, you can free slaves and beat down the slavers who oppress them. Even though the feature is not yet completed as of early 2018, one of the items on the dev's checklist is to add proper slave responses to being rescued.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The Subsystem Damage also works with the NPCs, including the hostile ones. Unless they bled to death or suffered very massive head/chest trauma, any character defeated in battle will only be unconscious and eventually regain conscience (although their physical abilities would be severely impaired by untreated wounds). It's possible to grind your skills by healing passed-out enemies, then attacking them again when they're standing. You can also increase your strength by carrying unconscious enemies.
    • Receiving injuries raises the "toughness" attribute. A practical way to artificially increase the physical resistance of your party members, would be to throw them willingly in fights in which they would be severely outnumbered. You also increase the medical skill of one party member when reanimating the kamikaze.
    • You can sell unneeded companions to slavery, or less cruelly, intentionally get them enslaved to train up their laboring skill.
  • Videogame Perversity Potential: Let's be realistic, it was only a matter of time before someone developed a mod which adds bouncing boob physics.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Zigzagged. Some dialogue you have with NPC's can allow you to avoid fighting, such as claiming that non-human teammates are your servants when entering a Holy Nation city, or paying the extortion fee that bandits approaching your town demand. In some other cases, you may be attacked on the spot, such as wearing Holy Nation armor you pilfered from some paladin into a United Cities town.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: Can be found in shop keepers' inventories. They briefly state the crimes, approximate whereabouts and bounties of infamous criminals.
  • Warrior Heaven: The Sheks believe that dying gloriously in battle will bring them to this.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Can happen to your base early on if they get attacked by a force that's stronger than you are. While they technically don't destroy anything, you'll likely be forced to flee your base for a while until their rampage is done.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: As the leader of the Anti-slavers, Tinfist is determined to erase slavery (and the slavers) from the map. He doesn't exactly have a solid plan regarding what to do after the inevitable resulting societal collapse, though.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A key aspect of Skeleton lore. Due to their unability to express emotions visually, they're often regarded as volatile, unpredictable and unreliable by organic races. Skeletons however are fully sentient, and according to the in-game description, capable of feeling a wide array of very human emotions. Upon reaching a certain landmark (Stobe's remains in Stobe's Garden), a moved Skeleton party member will state how Skeletons are "always crying".
  • White Mask of Doom: The creepy-looking Skeleton Masks worn by the Skeleton Bandits.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Right from the get go, you have access to the entire map. The limit being your ability to face enemies.
  • Wild Card: The player being one since the very beginning is one of the defining aspects of the game. You're free to ally with or antagonize the main and minor factions as you see fit.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: You must have at least some amount of food supplies to keep your characters fit. Having the hunger meter drop below 200 will incur stat penalties unless you feed them back up to strength and having it go down to zero will obviously have them die of starvation. There is an option to control the speed of the hunger meter on whichever you choose to artificially enhance the challenge of your game.
  • We Buy Anything: Each merchant only sells specific types of items (shoes, clothes, weapons, backpacks, medical items, etc), but they will buy anything from you, not just the items they sell.
  • Worf Effect: Inevitable in a game where the original player character starts off being so weaker than virtually anyone else. Over time, even terrifying predators like Beak Things will become easy fodder once your characters become strong, skilled and well geared enough.
  • Worthy Opponent: Shek party members can become this to their kingdom if the player decides to kill Esata.
Shek party member: And I'm honored to be their enemy.
  • Wretched Hive: The Outlaw Town of Shark, in the Swamp. It is so unstable and dysfunctional that it's pretty much guaranteed to collapse from infighting if the player lingers around the place for long enough. Everything usually begins with some random bar brawl that escalates badly, and ends up with the fearsome Bloody Spiders of the surrounding Swamp preying on the weakened survivors.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Party members are hired in taverns.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Anti-Slavers can be either, depending on who you ask.
  • Zerg Rush: What will happen to your party upon entering the fog isle. Fogmen are as strong as a normal hive worker individually, but 50+ of them plus some elite fog guards homing on you at the same time will usually end badly for your party.

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback