In Kenshi, there are several different factions you can join and fight against. Some factions will be hostile to any person they see, such as: Cannibals, Berserkers and Swamp Ninjas.
The different factions can wage war against one another, so be careful with whom you choose to side.
By attacking a different faction you will become an enemy of that faction for some time. Some factions have methods to repair relations, but most do not. So pick your battles wisely.
The player's faction. All your characters belong to it.
The main factions of the world. They tend to have several cities and outposts across the world, and will likely be the primary factions you interact with during gameplay.
The Holy Nation
The Holy Nation is a Human faction made up of religious and xenophobic fanatics who worship a deity named Okran. They treat Shek and Hivers as corrupted and subhuman, enforce women's submission to men, and attempt to kill Skeletons on the spot. Their primary enemy faction is the Flotsam Ninjas which is made up of rebel women and escaped slaves. They are also at war with the Shek Kingdom and United Cities.
The Shek Kingdom is made up of Shek warriors. Their kingdom is in ruins after a long war with The Holy Nation, but their new leader is trying to reestablish their society by slowing their warlike culture. They are opposed by many rogue Shek factions who oppose peaceful living such as the Band of Bones, Berserkers, and Kral's Chosen.
The United Cities, also known as the Empire, is the largest faction in Kenshi. The Empire is ruled by a cruel cabal of nobles. The United Cities are closely allied with many factions such as Bounty Hunters, Slave Traders, and the Traders Guild. They are opposed by the poor of their region, the Anti-Slavers and the Rebel Farmers.
The Western Hive is a faction of the insect-like Hive race. The Western Hive proper is located on an island off the western coast, but a majority of the Hive lives on the continent, in series of Hive Villages stretched along the river in the Vain.
Machinists and Tech Hunters
Based out of World's End, the Machinists work to determine the history of Kenshi and theorize about different factions. Machinists take their findings and distill some information into Books which are distributed across the world. Tech Hunters venture out into the wilderness in search of Ancient Labs and Technologies. Tech Hunters have built Waystations to serve as bases for them to rest between journeys. In addition to World's End, they control several Major Towns in the southeastern part of the continent.
The minor players in the world. Usually only have a couple of outposts or cities at most. There are quite a few across the world, so you'll likely meet several of them as you explore, though you'd be forgiven for not noticing some of them.
The Border Zone is the region between the Shek Kingdom and The Holy Nation territories. Aside from those factions, the Border Zone is home to three minor factions. The Hub, previously under Holy Nation control, is now owned by Holy Nation Outlaws. At The Hub and the nearby Rebel Base, Trade Ninjas can be found. The majority of the Border Zone is terrorized by Dust Bandits and Starving Bandits. The Border Zone is also home to the Black Dragon Ninjas and a Waystation.
In the northwestern corner of Kenshi, the Plains have been overrun by Cannibals. The Deadcat civilization has dwindled to their current state of existing only in the corners of their former lands. Deadcat Mercenaries and Cannibal Hunters work in the area to decrease the Painted Tribes' power.
The Flotsam Ninjas are a faction mostly made up of women who escaped the oppression of The Holy Nation, though they do have some former slaves from Rebirth in their ranks as well. They live in a hidden village near the Cannibal Plains, as the painted tribes provide a good deterrent from their oppressors.
In the middle of the infamous Fog Islands, outlaws and survivors have built the city of Mongrel. The Shinobi ninja guards of Mongrel keep the Fogmen at bay while the artisan locals perfect their craft inside the city walls.
Slaves work in Stone Mines or Farms owned by The Holy Nation and the United Cities. Characters can be captured and enslaved by Slave Hunters and Slave Traders. If characters escape from slavery, they can be hunted down by Manhunters and Slave Hunters. Slaver factions are opposed primarily by the Anti Slavers.
Inside The Swamp there are Swampers, but the area is mainly controlled by the criminal gangs. The top gang is the Hounds, which can be joined by the Player faction. The other swamp gangs are the Blackshifters, Grayflayers, Stone Rats, and the Twinblades. The Swamp is also plagued by two bandit groups: Red Sabres and Swamp Ninjas.
- Anti Slavers
- Band of Bones
- Black Dog
- Bounty Hunters
- Crab Raiders
- Free Traders
- Mercenary Guild
- Shinobi Thieves
- Traders Guild
- United Heroes League
Ancient Security Robots, Bandits, Cannibals, and the like. These are the factions that are out to kill or rob you. Some have outposts where they are based out of, but players are not generally welcome. You'll likely spend a large amount of time fighting these factions.
- Black Desert Ninjas
- Black Dragon Ninjas
- Dust Bandits
- Grass Pirates
- Kral's Chosen
- Preacher Cult
- Rebel Farmers
- Red Sabres
- Sand Ninjas
- Shrieking Bandits
- Skeleton Bandits
- Skeleton Legion
- Skin Bandits
- Southern Hive
- Starving Bandits
- Swamp Ninjas
- The Gorrillo Bandits
- Thrall Masters
- United Heroes League
- White Eyebrow Clan
- Yabuta Outlaws
While technically factions, these will not show up in the factions list, and cannot have their relations changed. Often used for empty locations, ruins, wildlife, or to represent groups that have no actual organization. (e.g. Drifters, Slaves, etc.) Some are hostile, and others are passive and have no care in the world for what you're doing.