Throughout the world of Kenshi, there are a number of armour and clothing items than can accept colours. Most of the time this is done directly as part of the item, though there are cases where it's only possible on a specific variation of the item. The primary purpose of the system is for differentiating the ranks of NPCs who wear the armours, for example the various levels of soldiers in The Holy Nation.
Colour Schemes can be assigned in one of three ways, with some taking priority over others. From highest priority to lowest:
Items that have a colour scheme assigned directly to them can never be cleared, and will always override the other two methods. While character and faction assigned colours can be cleared from armour by selling the item to a shop, and character assigned colours will always override faction assigned ones.
Note that a character with a faction assigned colour scheme that is recruited, will continue to be able to dye clothing with their original faction's colour scheme, until the game is reloaded. After a reload they will no longer have a colour scheme applied, unless they had one assigned to their character instead.
This system can be exploited by the player to dye their armour, with some restrictions. Notably, an already dyed item cannot take on a new colour without first being cleared of its colour first. An item can be cleared of its color by being sold to a vendor. Upon re-opening the trade menu the item can be bought back with no color assigned.
Any character with a colour scheme assigned to themselves or their faction will instantly dye any compatible items when it is equipped to them. The easiest method to exploit this feature is to knock out someone of the colour you want, and equip the item you want dyed to them, then take it back. The item will now have taken on the colours from their colour scheme.
However this can be exploited with essentially any method that allows equipping and unequiping the items. For example keeping a prisoner in a cage, or even recruiting them to your faction in some cases (only works for character assigned colours, faction will be removed on recruiting).
Colour Compatible Armours
This is a list of all armours compatible with the Dyeing methods mentioned above. Remember, if they already have a colour scheme applied, they will need to be cleared first by selling the item to a shop. Many of these items often come already coloured, so it's important to keep in mind.
- Armoured Rag Skirt (colored)
- Armoured Rags (colored)
- Bucket Zukin
- Cargopants (colored)
- Cloth Shirt
- Dyed Rag Shirt
- Dyed Robes
- Dyed Trousers
- Dyed Turban
- Dyed Turtleneck
- Empire Samurai Armour
- Halfpants (colored)
- Holy Chest Plate
- Mercenary Plate
- Paladin's Heavy Hachigane
- Rag Loincloth (Dyed)
- Samurai Helmet
- Samurai Legplates
- Stout Hessian Uniform
- Swamp Ninja Rags
- Visored Helmet
There are more armours in the game that technically are compatible with the colouring system, but have it disabled by the devs, or are simply not available in a colour free version. Notable examples include the Plate Jacket and its variants, all kinds of Chainmail, Blackened Chainmail, Leather, and Rusty Chainmail shirt items (including Hiver variants), Tin Can, Police Helmet, Martial Artist Bindings, and Mercenary Leather Armour. These can be fairly easily enabled/added by mods, but are currently unable to use this system in vanilla.
There are 35 colour schemes found in vanilla Kenshi that can be applied to items. They are listed below, with the characters and factions that can apply them, as well as their raw colour values. They are also previewed to the side on a variety of items, to give a better sense for how it affects items of various material types.
There are more colours technically in the game, but they are either only assigned to objects that cannot have them removed, assigned as hair colours, or assigned to characters or factions that do not spawn. As such they have not been listed here.
Players can rather easily mod in colors of their choosing through Forgotten Construction Set, and even apply them to their faction or a specific character in order to make them capable of using the Dyeing methods mentioned above.
In the FCS, on the left there will be a "Colour Scheme" section, click it to select it. Right click anywhere inside and select "New Item" to create a new entry. Change the name to whatever you wish, then move down to the colours themselves.
The primary and seconday colours are shown here in RGB numbers, with a little preview image of the colour. Simply change the numbers to whatever you wish to change the colours, or click in the numbers area and click again on the little box to the right of them when it appears to open an easy to use colour picker.
Once you have the colour scheme created, you can add it to your faction (or characters) as you will. For adding to the player faction you'd want to go to "Faction" section, then select "Nameless" from the list. Then in the dropdown in the top right you can add a "color" entry to the faction. Adding to a character is done exactly the same way, except on its own entry of course.