This RPG is a nightmare, but in a good way. Kenshi is a post-post apocalypse game, set in a weird fusion of samurai legends and absurd sci-fi. And with the rich potential for storytelling of the setting is fully realized, it’s a joy to play. And to get anywhere, you need money, Yes, Capitalism can survive even the end of the end of the world. Despite that abject horror, the game remains a treat to enjoy.
The player has to build up a ragtag band of adventurers and scavengers into a hardened war party of survivors, and the journey won’t be easy. You could just roam the wastes and scavenge your way to independence. You might also have ambitions of joining a particular faction and telling your own take on their story. Building your own faction might be another goal you have in the game. Kenshi is a very unforgiving game. Getting to the point where you can reliably build and expand your own settlement is a major hassle.
One of the best ways to make money is with bounties in Kenshi. These are paid based on the power of the target, and the severity of their crime. Some of the toughest foes in the game have absurdly high bounties. But taking them on is no walk in the park.
Bounties in Kenshi Explained
You need to be careful how you deal with the various factions as well. They will often place bounties on you that you need to get rid of. This can be done in a few different ways, and usually involves a lot of warfare and bloodshed. Some lesser bounties will just decay over time. But if you declare war on a faction and take out its leaders, they’re not going to be too willing to look the other way. If you start messing with World States, you’re going to have a messy time dealing with the fallout.
Player characters can accumulate bounties up to a sum of 10,000 cats. If this number is exceeded then the bounty becomes permanent. Bounties below 10,000 cats can decay over time.
But it’s not just other NPCs that will place bounties on you that’s a problem, you can actually make plenty of Cats from claiming Bounties on various NPCs. Both major faction members and random no-name NPCs will have bounties on them. You need to turn them over to the correct faction though, luckily it’s pretty easy to tell who’s paying for what bounty. Just hover over the bounty notice in the corner and the details of said bounty contract will be shown. Make sure to keep in mind which faction holds the bounty, you need to be able to access their territory to turn in a bounty. If you’re at war with the Holy Nation, you’re going to be chased out of town anytime you try to collect bounties.
Claiming bounties works in one of two ways. You can either kill the target and turn in their corpse to a police captain or jailer; or you can knock them out and smuggle their unconscious husk back to the jail. The difficulty of these two options varies wildly. Usually, you will need a huge amount of stealth kill to knock out sleeping foes if they’re even mid-level. Killing the bounty target outright might be a better option if you don’t have the Stealth and Assassination skills leveled up enough.
Unique and mission-based bounties
If you hit up the police chief in a town, they will also give you the option to take on bounties for them. They have a list of targets and pay good money for their bodies or capture. You get half the bounty if you turn in their corpse, or the full bounty if you turn them over alive. Check the list of targets by choosing “I’m a bounty hunter looking for work” from their dialogue menu. From there, they will assign you a target to hunt down, and give you some basic info about said target.
Not only can you get tons of Cats, with some bounties as high as 100,000 Cats, but you can actually score some choice weaponry, too. Some of the best Meitou-grade weapons in Kenshi can only be found by killing bounty targets. You need to keep in mind that some bounties in Kenshi are tied to faction leaders and officers. Capturing or killing these characters will fundamentally change the state of the world, thanks to the World State system.
This list will lay out each named bounty in the game, and what you can do with it. The values are listed below, as well as the spawn location of the target. The Quest Giver lists where you can turn the bounty in. And the Weapon tab lists what kind of weapons each target has.
|Yayoi||30.000||Special Event||United Cities, The Holy Nation||Skeleton Smiths Ninja Blade|
|Yabuta of the Sands||10.000||Tengu’s Vault||United Cities||None|
|Valamon||50.000||Ark||United Cities||Meitou Longsword|
|Tora the Fearless||10.000||Exile Camp||Shek Kingdom||Ancient Combat Cleaver|
|Tinfist||100.000||Spring||United Cities, The Holy Nation||None|
|The Preacher||15.000||Cult Village||The Holy Nation, United Cities, Shek Kingdom||Meitou Moon Cleaver|
|Sinklyde||25.000||Tengu’s Vault||United Cities||None|
|Shade||20.000||Swamp Ninja Base||Shek Kingdom||Edgewalkers Guardless Katana|
|Seto||20.000||Admag||The Holy Nation||Catun Plank|
|Screamy||20.000||Tengu’s Vault||United Cities||None|
|Savant||80.000||Skinhouse HQ||United Cities||Meitou Nodachi|
|Sand Ninja Oni||10.000||Cactus Den||United Cities||Catun Ninja Blade|
|Red Sabre Boss||10.000||Red Sabre Hideout||United Cities, Shek Kingdom||Meitou Horse Chopper|
|Razor||10.000||Black Desert City||United Cities||Catun Longsword|
|Psycho||?||Tengu’s Vault||United Cities||None|
|No-Face||15.000||Strange Camp (Gut)||United Cities||Skeleton Smiths Longsword|
|Mighty Canhead||20.000||Special Event||United Cities, The Holy Nation, Shek Kingdom||Ancient Moon Cleaver|
|Meat Lord||30.000||First Village (Darkfinger)||United Cities, The Holy Nation, Shek Kingdom||Ancient Long Cleaver|
|Luquin||30.000||Tengu’s Vault||United Cities||None|
|King Gurgler||60.000||Island Lab||Everyone||Meitou Combat Cleaver|
|Jaegar||30.000||Spring||United Cities, The Holy Nation||Skeleton Smiths Naginata Katana, Nodachi|
|Holy Lord Phoenix||100.000||Blister Hill||Shek Kingdom (Admag), Flotsam Ninjas, United Cities||Meitou Paladin’s Cross|
|High Inquisitor Valtena||40.000||Okran’s Shield||Shek Kingdom (Admag), Flotsam Ninjas, United Cities||Edgewalkers Paladin’s Cross|
|High Inquisitor Seta||40.000||Stack||Shek Kingdom (Admag), Flotsam Ninjas, United Cities||Catun Paladin’s Cross|
|Hex||25.000||Tengu’s Vault||United Cities||None|
|Gutterhead||10.000||Old Control Tower||United Cities||Mercenary Club, Toothpick, Spring Bat|
|Grey||30.000||Spring||United Cities, The Holy Nation||Skeleton Smiths Falling Sun|
|Gorrillo||50.000||The Old Prison||United Cities, Shek Kingdom||Meitou Exile Plank|
|Ghost||10.000||Berserker Village||Shek Kingdom||Ancient Fragment Axe|
|Flying Bull||30.000||New Kralia||Shek Kingdom||Ancient Bull Horn Axe|
|Esata The Stone Golem||100.000||Admag||The Holy Nation, United Cities||Meitou Fragment Axe|
|Dust King||35.000||Dust King Tower||United Cities, The Holy Nation, Shek Kingdom||Skeleton Smiths Weapons|
|Dimak||20.000||Tower Of Ninjas||The Holy Nation||Meitou Ninja Blade|
|Crab Queen||40.000||Crab Town||United Cities||Meitou Naginata|
|Cannibal Grand Wizard||40.000||Cannibal Capital||United Cities, The Holy Nation, Shek Kingdom||Ancient Moon Cleaver|
|Buzan||20.000||Tower Of Ninjas||The Holy Nation||Ancient Ninja Blade|
|Bugmaster||100.000||Arach||Shek Kingdom, Holy Nation, United Cities||Meitou Foreign Sabre|
|Boss Simion||20.000||Fort Simion||United Cities||Edgewalkers Horse Chopper|
|Bo||30.000||Black Scratch||United Cities, The Holy Nation||Ancient Ninja Blade|
|Blue Eyes||10.000||Mourn||United Cities||Unknown Jitte|
Exploits for free Cats
There’s actually a pretty cool exploit in Kenshi that allows you to farm infinite bounties. All you need to do is have a scapegoat character that you don’t plan to use for anything else recruited to your party. You also need one clean character with no bounties. Take your sacrificial character and have them go off and accrue some bounties with a faction. You could have them steal, kidnap or attack guards and then flee the scene of the crime. As long as they escape, they will accrue bounties for their crimes.
Have your clean character carry the sacrifice into the target faction’s town and be ready to hand them over. You will need to scout it out ahead of time to avoid guards or other NPCs attacking you. But as long as the character carrying the bounty scapegoat can sneak into the city, they should be able to collect the bounty. All you then have to do is deposit the “sacrifice” into a cage owned by the faction that they have a bounty with to claim the Cats from them. You could also go a less cheaty route.
One of the most common ways to get tons of prisoners is to build a base, and ring that base with turrets. If you can get some Skeleton recruits, stick them permanently to the guns on your gate. A U-shaped wall around your gate, like the one shown below, allows for excellent coverage with just a couple of gunners. And since Skeletons don’t need to eat, they can sit on guns 24/7. Anytime bandit raids or other threats show up outside your gate, just let the gunners blast them to bits. If you’re lucky, you will get NPCs with small bounties on them.
Wait until the wounded are all that’s left, then send a few haulers out to collect any bodies or survivors with bounties. You could also strip the corpses for any loot for a few extra Cats. Grab the survivors and place them inside cages that you’ve pre-built, and you have a prisoner of your own. At your leisure, take them to a nearby settlement and turn them over for a reward.
Be sure to feed your prisoners to keep them alive. This can be done after putting them in a cage inside your base. Simply send a character with some food in their inventory over, right-click on the prisoner, and Loot. You can then place the food inside your prisoner’s inventory and they will eat on their own.