15 Best Kenshi Mods To Download (All Free)

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Kenshi is a rich sandbox in the most honored sense of the word. An expansive, open world governed by intricate mechanics that push and pull and grind against one.

For instance, the daring adventurer might venture forth into the unknown wasteland, encounter a roving gang of cutthroats and become enslaved by them.

Another bold player might sneak into a guarded encampment, get caught, and become enslaved by the camp’s masters. Perhaps you’ve decided to go for a casual stroll. Enslaved.

The infinite ways one might find themselves forcefully indentured to the game’s various factions is, uh… truly mind-boggling.

Now the base game often touches upon tips with perfection, but through the use of community-made mods you can achieve peak Kenshi. This means things like improved skin textures, quality of life changes, and the introduction of brand-new factions.

Here’s my list of the 15 best Kenshi mods out there that you can download & install today.

15. Nice Map – Variations

Nice Map Kenshi mod

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The default world map in Kenshi is barebones stuff.

You get the shape of the continent, key landmark markers, some vague visual descriptors of the geography, and that’s about it.

It’s functionally useless until you’ve memorized the locations of the world’s major towns and settlements. Nice Map fixes all of this, offering five different maps that give you all the information a survivor in the post-apocalypse would need.

With this mod you get to see where the zones begin and end. Plus what the zones are called, where all the major roads are, and topographic information about the height of the land.

Useful stuff for sure.

14. Populated Cities

Populated Cities Kenshi mod

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OK I get it: it’s the end of the world and there’s certainly context for why the world is so underpopulated.

Yet it’s difficult to justify having a uniformed city guard when you’re only protecting two families.

Also, consider this outstanding argument: the game is objectively better with a larger population.

Kenshi’s towns and cities have a sense of permanency when there are more people living in them.

By default, inhabitants are so sparse you feel they were like to pack up shop and leave the moment danger came a-knocking.

Now with this mod the people living in these settlements act like they’ve lived there for years. The change is tastefully balanced as well – you won’t find yourself struggling to wade your way through an ocean of people.

The mod adds just enough to the population to breathe new life into the game without breaking the immersion.

13. Kenshi Cel Shady

Kenshi Cel Shade mod

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Now this mod adds a subtle cel-shading effect to the game, giving a bit of the Borderlands vibe without going over the top with it.

The great thing about this addition is that the cel-shaded aesthetic pairs well with performance texture mods, meaning you can reduce texture quality a bit and still have the game looking great.

12. Advanced Character Creation

Advanced Character Creation in Kenshi

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This mod adds a bunch of awesome options to the character creation menu so you don’t have to look like every other lonely wasteland wanderer.

A staggering amount of work went into this mod, with a bunch of new face textures and eye colors specific for each playable race and sub-race.

Advanced Character Creation also generates a character’s eye color and face textures differently depending on her race, ensuring consistency throughout the world.

11. Interior (and Exterior) Design

Interior/Exterior Design Kenshi mod

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No doubt, this one is for all the post-apocalyptic interior designers out there.

Now you can actually craft all the furniture you find in the world of Kenshi. Chairs, shelves, benches, tables – you name it!

Finally, you can settle down and call a place home… then deck it out with the hottest floor mattresses, plywood shelves, and crate stools.

It’s certainly no Sims or Sweet Home 3D.

But hey, we make do with what we got out here in the dust bowl.

10. Dark UI

Dark UI mod for Kenshi

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The default interface is a minor frustration when playing solo. And I’d argue it’s aggressively awful once you’ve taken on some party members and have to manage the inventories of multiple units at once.

The colors make it nigh unreadable at times, and the font is so tiny that anyone with more than 40 hours of in-game time will develop cataracts.

Dark UI isn’t a cure-all for the interface issues that plague Kenshi. But it does fix the colors and helps to clean up the edges, making menus significantly more readable.

I know some purists might not want to tarnish the gameplay of Kenshi and many of the mods on this list aren’t an option for those (boring) folk.

The Dark UI mod, though, is a must-have for anyone who cares about their corneas.

9. Let’s Talk

NPC talking mod Kenshi

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Those of us who’ve spent enough hours in the deserts of Kenshi know that the longer you play, the quieter the game becomes.

NPCs stop talking to you, world dialogs stop triggering, everyone goes mute forever.

I never really thought about this while playing but the idea of inhabiting a world where the people only greet one another the very first time they meet and then never acknowledge their existence in subsequent meetings… is genuinely terrifying.

It’d be like meeting a coworker on the street and the two of you casually pretending not to know one another. Except not as good as that.

Can I get away with a nod? Do I have to stop and chat?

The reason NPCs stop talking in Kenshi is because their dialog only triggers once and never again.

So as you meet new characters and explore new lands, you eventually end up talking with everyone once, silencing them forever. This mod fixes that quirk by resetting dialog triggers every few in-game days, returning sound to the universe at large.

8. 256 Recruit and Squad

256 Recruit and Squad mod

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More than any other mod here, the 256 Recruit and Squad has the potential to completely break the game in many ways.

If you’re using this mod, you’re not just hoping to control the continent where Kenshi takes place.

You want total and utter domination. You want to build an empire that will last for generations.

As the title states, this mod increases the recruitment limit from 30 to 256 and lets you bring along up to 20 squad members at a time.

Now imagine what you can do with that many followers.

You could create an economic powerhouse with workers that mass produce goods. You can pillage and raze entire settlements with ease, running over town defenses with your loyal army. The world is your oyster.

7. Less Foliage and Rocks + Texture Options

Less Foliage and Rocks mod design

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Speaking frankly, Kenshi isn’t going to win any awards for excellence in visual design.

This game is (IMO) butt ugly and disproportionately CPU-intensive for something that looks like it was made back when American McGee was a relevant game designer. The fact that these are the two most popular Kenshi mods is a testament to how poorly this game runs.

The good news is that since the graphics aren’t great to begin with, mods like these two can lower the graphical fidelity of the game. And you’ll barely notice it.

Less Foliage and Rocks removes foliage and rocks from the game. Sorta obvious, I know.

Now you can set to what degree you want removal of foliage and rocks, maybe some foliage and rocks… maybe all of it.

The Texture Options mod lets you replace the default textures with downsized versions that increase FPS and shorten fast travel loading times.

Getting one or the other will still net you some sweet frames per second. Put the two together, though, and you’re saving a lot of processor time and potentially gaining dozens of frames per second as you go along.

6. Stackable Items

Stackable Items Kenshi mod

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Here’s a super simple quality of life mod that lets you carry more items by allowing stacks of up to 1,000 for each item.

Weapons and Armor don’t count and stolen and legitimate items are separated into different stacks. But still really useful if you’re out a-huntin’ for pretty much anything.

And yeah, that’s it. Download and start hoarding.

5. Minor Factions Amplified

Minor Factions Amplified Kenshi mod

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This is a major overhaul that adds two new minor factions for each of the existing big three: the Holy Nation, United Cities, and Shek Kingdom.

It also adds two more neutral factions that you can trade and work together with as well as a whole slew of biome-specific factions that you can encounter out in the wasteland.

But wait, there’s more!

Most of the game’s minor factions also have their own justice and law enforcement systems.

There’s also a ton of new sidequests like bounties and town invasions. Not to mention the mere existence of this many factions introduces a whole new level of dynamism to the world that makes every excursion out into the wilds more exciting.

4. Interesting Recruits

Interesting Recruits Kenshi mod

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Let’s be honest: the recruits in vanilla Kenshi are pretty bland.

With the Interesting Recruits mod you can encounter 25 brand new recruits out in the desert, each with their own backstories, unique dialogue, and even voice packs.

On top of that you’ll find 30 other generic followers roaming about in the wilderness, a brand-new quest line, and now the recruits even make remarks about locations and other characters.

This one mod single-handedly convinced me to stop running solo and start collecting recruits like wasteland Pokémon.

3. Tsuki – A Reshade Preset for Kenshi

Tsuki reshade preset mod for Kenshi

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If you’ve got a monster rig, this mod can make Kenshi look like a game that was made in this generation.

Well, it can make it look like a modern free-to-play MMORPG, at least.

It’s a post-processing shader mod that visually transforms Kenshi into brand-new game with amazing weather effects, heat haze, updated blur FX– the whole shebang.

2. Enhanced Shopping Economy

Enhanced Shopping Economy Kenshi mod

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Technically you can start your own in-town businesses in Kenshi, but the economy is so bad that the NPCs will spend themselves broke buying your items.

They have currency but nobody has jobs or salaries!

Open up shop and within a few days your store will get flooded with citizens screaming at you that your items are way too expensive and they can’t afford them with their non-salaries.

Enhanced Shopping Economy fixes this by slowly regenerating the money stores of NPCs in Kenshi.

They also have longer shopping lists and NPCs that previously didn’t have shopping lists now have them. Universal Basic Income in Kenshi? How progressive.

1. Reactive World

Reactive World Kenshi mod

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Once you’ve played Kenshi with the Reactive World mod, there’s no going back to vanilla.

It expands upon the basic reaction system that already exist in Kenshi, but with extra triggers and scenarios that breathe new life into already excellent sandbox game.

The changes that come with this mod – and there are too many to list here – allow for a slew of new unexpected interactions that will leave you with your mouth agape. You can see a full list of changes on the details page before downloading the mod.

This is the potential of Kenshi fully realized.

The world and its inhabitants feel alive and they act with a sense of purpose that the base game doesn’t allow for.

For instance, killing a faction leader could lead to an all-out civil war as various sub-factions vie for control, affecting surrounding regions and the trade caravans that travel through them. Seemingly minor actions can have long-lasting ramifications that affect entire settlements.

Play through Kenshi at least once, enjoy it for the excellent game that it is. Then hop back in with the Reactive World mod activate and prepare to be blown away.

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Andi Nuruljihad

Andi is Icefrog. Or is he? He'll never tell. Follow on Twitter @AndiNuruljihad.