Kenshi Walkthrough (Part 4) Philosophy & Random Nonsense
This is the final part of my Kenshi walkthrough and this entire page is pretty much an opinion piece on what I made my "end goal" of Kenshi to be. I've spent over 1000 hours in total for Kenshi on Steam and this one question was pervasive for the first 500 hours of the game -- "What is the point of Kenshi?" Everyone is going to have a different answer to this question and my answer came to me after digging into the Kenshi lore a bit and also after watching this video here.
My overall goal in Kenshi is to help humanity flourish. What I mean by this is I want to ensure that the world I create in Kenshi will thrive after I quit the game. I do not want to destroy any factions or leaders that will result in their cities going to complete ruin and I want to secure the world of Kenshi so that when I log off for the final time the people are safe from outside threats. Also, I want to ensure that humanity has plenty of food and materials to rebuild their civilization.
To start with this goal you must learn a little bit of history in Kenshi about why the world is currently in the situation it is in. Humanity had 2 great downfalls and the game is pretty vague about both of these downfalls. In addition to that there is not much written about them within the game itself. The best write up for this history is found on the wiki, check out the History of Kenshi to learn it all.
A TL;DR version of this history is 'technology' caused the first major downfall and the second downfall was caused by the current Skeleton faction within the game. Specifically, the "end boss" of Kenshi - a Skeleton by the name of Mad Cat-Lon is one of the 2 main perpetrators of the second downfall. Cat-Lon worked along with Tinfist to bring a 'utopia' about for the humans but the humans rejected his version of utopia and created a rebellion which was eventually successful in acquiring freedom.
The human rebellion was lead by a man known as the Phoenix who worshipped the god known as Okran. You may recognize both the Phoenix and Okran names considering that most of the Holy Nation is named Okran and their leader is the 62nd Holy Lord Phoenix. Despite the animosity you most likely feel towards the Holy Nation one thing that's important is they are the only living civilization that currently knows "some" of the world's true history.
Holy Nation hates the Skeleton faction because they still have some knowledge about the fall of the second empire and they know of the Skeleton's involvement. They worship the man who rose up against the Skeletons as their living God so it's no surprise they remember at least something of what happened in the past.
Skeletons are the only other faction who has knowledge of the past and what happened... However most Skeletons refuse to share any of this knowledge with the humans, shek or hivers. It's said throughout the game that Skeletons erase their memories every hundred or so years but this is more or less a lie they tell the humans. Some Skeletons do erase their memories but this isn't the norm like you're lead to believe throughout the game.
When you have a conversation with Iyo, a Skeleton who is 2nd in command of the Machinists faction this is made obvious. Machinists is the faction currently focused on learning the history of our world and studying old books/ancient technologies. Talking to Iyo with a human will result in a totally different conversation but if you talk with him as a Skeleton you'll see the dialogue shown above. Iyo pretty much says that he will ensure that no one learns the truth about the history so long as he is second in command to Finch.
Leaving the conversation with Iyo will result in another line of dialogue, "Let's not waste each other's time with this act any more." Which also gives more implication to the fact that Skeletons like Iyo are working to ensure that the humans never learn the truth about what happened in the world. This is pretty much all of the relevant backstory for Kenshi that you will need to understand my goals for helping humanity flourish.
As far as helping humanity flourish we have a couple of goals to accomplish to do this. Since Kenshi has a world that reacts to your actions, if you destroy a leader or a town then another faction will take over and either run the town better or worse. I have gone through pretty much every town in Kenshi and researched which World States change when you defeat the leaders. In my opinion only the United Cities towns are worth raiding and taking out their leaders as each of their towns will often fall into the control of a much better faction.
Empire Peasants, Tech Hunters and Yabuta of the Sands are the factions which will take over United Cities towns when you take out the current leaders and none of these factions have the same vicious cultural slave trade that the UC does. Below is a list of all the things you should accomplish to achieve my "Have humanity flourish" goal:
1. Have Seto join your group for Diplomatic purposes
2. Take out Emperor Tengu and Longen (United Cities) to establish The Free City
3. Defeat the leaders of Stoat, Heft, Sho-Battai, Bark, Heng and Brink change World States
4. Take out Mad Cat-Lon in Ashlands
5. Build a capital city to provide food to the world
6. (Optional) Take out Admag & Shek leaders
7. (Optional) Kill Tinfist & Other Skeletons
I've explained a lot on this list already but to give an explanation for a few of them... #1 is the personal "out" I gave myself to avoid killing all of the Shek. The Shek are a warmongering imperialist faction that seeks honor through battle and they currently have their goals set on the Holy Nation and United Cities. If you have control of Seto maybe there's a chance you could convince the Shek to not be as destructive as they are.
There is reason to believe Esata, the current leader of the Shek, would listen to reason and avoid glory through battle. She's done this once before that the game mentions and if you have control of her daughter it's more likely she will do it again in my opinion. If not then #6 is the only viable option since the Shek are too hell bent on wiping out humans.
#7 is probably the most controversial one on the list because Tinfist is loved by many. However one must remember that Skeletons are responsible for the downfall of humanity... arguably both times -- and leaving them alive poses a risk to all future generations. Maybe diplomacy is possible, maybe not. This is up to you to decide since this is your game after all.
That covers most of it. It's up to you how you wanna solve the other problems on the list, you can build your main capital anywhere you want and decorate it however you please.