A guide on how to efficiently and easily play a solo character.
How to Play Easy Solo
So for whatever reason you want to play with a solo character, whether like me you don’t want to manage a lot of characters, or perhaps just want to see your guy/gal single handedly take care of swarms of bandits and be the last one standing.
Choosing Your Path
I’ll briefly mention the various weapons you can use, after playing with swords up to 90 points in everything I went for martial arts instead, and let me tell you nothing hits that hard. Even mid-game stats martial artist will outright kill or tear off a limb in a single hit on dust and starving bandits, seeing those 200 damage hits and limbs flying around, if that ain’t hilarious I don’t know what is.
That aside, swords focus on cutting damage and deal about half as much damage but rely on bleeding to deal with opponents instead, especially if they are heavily armored, each hit makes your enemies bleed which will eventually make them die, unless they are weak enough to be dealt in a few hits anyways.
The other weapon classes are a combination of blunt and cutting damage or purely blunt, I won’t mention crossbows because I don’t see a way to play solo with that, those are more of a support damage type if they ever hit at all.
Basically pick whatever you want except for crossbows, but keep in mind that martial arts are more difficult to level up because they have no dummies, and you frequently injure your limbs when hitting enemies, at least at the start.
Stats and What Do They Mean
Depending on what path you choose you are going to need different kinds of stats to deal more damage.
Dexterity increases your cutting damage, and is helpful when fighting with katanas or hacker class weapons, or anything that really has any cutting damage. It is trained by fighting with no encumbrance and light weapons.
Strength increases your blunt damage, and martial arts damage, increased by overloading inventory, carrying something, or fighting with overloaded inventory.
Martial arts is self explanatory, as you progress you unlock stronger moves and it also increases your damage on top of the strength damage.
Dodge is a necessary stat for martial artists, since you can’t block without a weapon, it gains the most experience when you have zero encumbrance.
Toughness is necessary for any fighting, it increases your damage reduction and reduces the wound degenaration speed, it is mostly leveled up by standing up instead of playing dead after being knocked out, and also when animals try to eat you and you shoo them away.
Attack and Defense are also self explanatory, only for wielding weapons, increased by either hitting opponents or successfully blocking their attacks.
Important secondary stats for solo playing are also Athletics, which at the beginning will allow you to run away from fights that are not favourable to you, or all around fast travelling, and Field Medic, which will allow you to heal yourself faster, so much so that you can use it during fights, and increases the amount of health you can heal with splints, which is very useful when you get knocked out somewhere and have nigh broken legs but want to go somewhere without having to crawl over there.
Aside from combat Lockpicking and Stealth are also useful, especially for looting ancient labs without fighting the spiders.
Now, I almost always went for a Wanderer start but I suppose anything really goes, the essential things are few.
First you should obtain a medkit and a splint kit, and some food, the starting money should cover at least two of those, if you can’t find anyone selling the items just steal them from someone’s house, the splint kits can usually be found even in civillian houses, while medkits and food are in bars and shops. If you are gonna steal something though, make sure it’s at night so nobody sees you, unnecessary bounties can become a pain to deal with, especially since you can’t fight back yet.
Now there’s two approaches to getting the very basic skills, either you lure bandits towards some cities or encampments and join the fight, picking off some single bandit and getting some hits on him before the guards get to him, or you could start a small outpost and try to get some training dummies, you could also try finding those in cities or certain towers but most of the time those count as trespassing so there is usually not much point in sneaking around to train a few attack points. If you go for martial arts, the dummies won’t really help you, unless you have a mod for them.
A very helpful thing at the beginning is to train your strength because it helps with pretty much all damage unless you are playing with purely cutting focused sword which relies only on dexterity to deal damage.
Training strength is rather simple, buy a bag from a store with all the scraps from bandits you manage to loot, then overload your inventory and the bag with the heaviest items you can find, you should aim to have encumbrance of "heavy", you can look that up above your stats on the left when you click the arrow for more detailed overview. This alone will give you 25 % of Strength xp when walking, but to hit 50 % you have to carry someone, it can be a corpse, an animal, anything that can be carried will give you that additional 25%. With that just go from point A to B and back, it will quickly raise your strength. Keep in mind that you are the most vulnerable while doing this, so try to walk around safer areas like the Hub or the very long road leading to Blister hill.
About combat, when you get stats of 10-20 and want to try fighting someone, you can either throw yourself into starving bandit groups and get beaten up and have them steal your food, or you can try to find some of those wandering assasins on the road, and by micro managing get some points off them. I’ll explain what I mean.
What I call micro managing is looking closely so you can precisely see every movement of your and enemy character, and move properly before you get hurt. If you are playing with a weapon, and your enemy starts a swing, if your character either does not start blocking, or blocks the wrong side, pause the game and make your character turn back and run away a couple feet, thus avoiding the hit. Sometimes your character will engage the first hit, but it will most likely be blocked, so right after it is blocked, pause the game and turn back and run a couple feet to avoid the counter hit, as long as you give good calls you won’t ever take damage and your experience in attacking and blocking will only go up. If you are playing martial arts you are gonna take limb damage from hitting your enemies though, so at some point you’ll have to find a bed to sleep in and heal up.
Remember that the stronger your opponent the faster you gain experience and vice versa.
Once your stats are roughly 30 you can try tougher areas, but always keep in mind the damage of your enemies and your health, it’s fine to fight with -50 on your left leg, but only if your opponent doesn’t deal around 50 per hit, you would be risking losing a limb, and most likely bleeding out or crawling endlessly before being eaten by something.
Mid Game and Equipment
Once your stats are around 40, you might want to start looking for equipment to suit your needs. Dexterity characters should go for stuff like assasin rags which are commonly worn by assasins and ninjas, while strength builds can opt to go for heavy armors instead. Martial artists can wear whatever they want but there are certain items that increase your martial artist skills as well.
Keep in mind that having a boosted stat will make it harder to level up.
You can either go around main cities looking for equipment or try to loot ancient armories, the shops sometimes even carry masterwork items, but not that often. If you lack a good weapon go pay the robots at scrapyard in Deadlands a visit, but make sure to bring a lot of cash.
One of the masterwork items you can find in an old empire supply outpost. I’ll only hint that this one’s near the Crags.
About money, or "cats" in Kenshi, I´ve never once farmed, mined or crafted a thing and I usually have several hundred thousands on day 20+, just loot ancient labs without fighting the spiders. There are several of them on map that allow you to lure the spiders outside and then close the gate leading inside the lab, thus allowing you to freely loot the lab, each of these will net you roughly 80 thousand if you can carry all of it at once that is. I´ll list Obedience one for refference.
A good thing when looting those labs is to find something to carry back on your way to sell the stuff so you get some strength stat up while making money at the same time, because you are most likely going to be encumbranced with all the loot.
Talking about mid game, when solo playing it it essential to also always carry a sleeping bag on top of medkit and splint kit, you should also buy one of those thieves backpacks as they don’t reduce your stats that much compared to normal ones. Usually you’ll either get beaten up or beat someone up, but you’ll always take some damage, when soloing cannibals or fogmen for instance, sleeping bag is a must, after you are done fighting, find a spot with no patrols around, lay down and fast forward until you have enough health to fight again. Keep watch on your character though, as especially fogmen and cannibals tend to kidnap you when you are sleeping as you can’t fight back.
Don’t wanna end up like this poor slave caught by the fogmen.
Late Game Playing
If you live long enough to see yourself reach 60-70 or more in your stats, you can easily destroy groups of bandits around the hub, and probably even the holy nation patrols.
When you reach this point, the question arises who and what else is here to challenge, but don’t worry, there are far more formidable enemies to fight. I usually set up an outpost and recruit one or two people to do research on the side with all the stuff I loot around the world to save myself the time after conquering it, but you can also skip that part.
There are certain danger zones like the Arach and Ashlands, but those are really end-game, before you go there you should first level up on weaker enemies, that being either the bounties you can hunt, or perhaps the hive patrols and skin bandits near the Ashlands, their stats are all roughly 60 so they prove to be a real challenge even in late game taking them on alone. Remember that some enemies will kidnap you right after knocking you out, not allowing you to get up and fight again, especially the skin bandits, if they kidnap you the game is pretty much over, so make sure to save before fighting anything.
At this point you might also be looking for the fabled "Meitou" end-game weapons, there is only one of them for each type, and they are usually carried around by the most formidable enemies in the game, usually the ones with high bounties on their heads, if you see 50k or more as a bounty, chances are that he or she might be carrying one.
This one comes from a certain 50 k bounty for instance.
To Mod or to not Mod
Mods can change your gameplay experience, so think about which ones you want.
I definitely think that for solo playing the item stacking is a must, at least it will make your life much easier. The map redesign and Reactive World are also cool.
I had also been using dark UI and a Meitou retexture on the screenshots above if it caught anyone’s eye.