Kenshi Wiki
Stats Affected: [Affects physical bulk]
Your physical strength determines your ability to use heavy weapons and armour without tiring, and to carry heavy loads, including your wounded comrades. Strength affects the blunt damage you do with heavy weapons, hacking-type blades, and while unarmed. It is trained faster by using heavier weapons in battle, or by traveling with a very heavy inventory or encumbrance.
-Max carry weight
-Attack speed with heavy weapons
-Chance to break free or resist kidnapping attempts
-Martial arts damage
Ways to Train:
-Carrying people or overloading inventory
-Using a heavier weapon

Strength affects carrying capacity (Encumbrance), Combat Speed when using heavy weapons, and the effectiveness of Blunt Damage and Martial Arts. In 0.96.26, the formula for carrying capacity is 15 + strength.

In combat, your Strength XP is mostly gained by attacking. Every strike you land, even if blocked by the enemy, grants you Strength XP. Successful blocks also grant a small amount of Strength XP.

1, 50, and 100 In all related skills.

Strength—like Armour Smithing and Weapon Smithing—affects the bulk of your character. At level 1 Strength, a character will display as fairly thin and frail. At 100 Strength, they will appear much larger and bulkier. This is not to be confused with Dexterity, Martial Arts, Athletics, and Swimming, which increase the definition/visibility of the muscles. Cooking and Science, on the other hand, have a negative effect on muscle definition.

All weapons—including unarmed Martial Arts—have a required Strength level equal to 40x the blunt damage value of the weapon. If the weapon has no blunt damage, this level is 1x the weight of the weapon. In rare cases, it will be 1x the weight of the weapon, if, and only if, the weapon weight exceeds 40x the blunt damage. The required Strength for Martial Arts is equivalent to 80% of the Martial Arts level. Weapon weight modifiers are ignored when calculating the required Strength level. Failing to meet the required Strength level will result in massive Combat Speed penalties.

Strength also determines the amount of blood that Human and Shek characters have, scaling from 75 to 150 proportional to your Strength.

Racial Experience Multipliers
Negative Multiplier:
-Deadhive Prince
-Deadhive Worker
-Hive Prince
-Hive Worker Drone
-Southern Hive Prince
-Southern Hive Worker Drone
-Scorchlander (-10%)
Positive Multiplier:
-Shek (10%)
-Deadhive Soldier (10%)
All multipliers are either 0.8x or 1.2x unless marked otherwise.

Improving Strength

One effective way to train strength is to fill a backpack with Raw Iron, Generator Cores, or other heavy items. A Shopkeepers Backpack would work best for this. When the backpack is full put it in your inventory without wearing it. You will then have all the weight inside the backpack applied to your character. Have your character follow a guard or policeman around a city; they will continue to walk around while carrying this weight, accumulating strength experience rather quickly and autonomously.

At 70% Encumbrance a maximum of 25% Strength XP is reached. Further Encumbrance only diminishes the Athletics XP gain. You can push this to 50% by carrying any character or creature.

If you have a party of more than 1 person, you can further train strength by ordering one of your people to carry the other via the 'pick up' command (hold down the right mouse button on the character you wish to carry) and ordering the carrier to walk as usual. This can also be achieved by picking up a corpse or unconscious character.

You can use combat to train Strength as well. Using a weapon that has a required Strength (see the introductory section) that is 20 levels over your character's Strength level will gain you a fair amount of XP per swing. But the lighter you go, the lower the Strength XP bonus you receive, eventually dropping down to a low 0.1x XP rate. Keep in mind however, that being over-encumbered actually penalizes strength exp gain while using a weapon, so you need to keep a light inventory when using this method.

Alternatively, you can overload your inventory as explained above and then go fight using Martial Arts. Each hit you make will give a you a HUGE boost to Strength XP relative to the other methods. However, this is also the most dangerous method; Encumbrance slows the character down to the point where running away from a fight is near impossible. The encumbrance also significantly diminishes the character's combat stats. Nevertheless, this is by far the fastest training method for Strength and has the added advantage of simultaneously training several other stats.


  • Strength suffers more penalties from malnutrition and damage to your body, while Dexterity suffers only from damaged body parts and armor penalties.
  • If you do not like how bulky your character has gotten. You may want to go to a Plastic Surgeon to change your appearance. Alternatively you can make yourself start out looking very skinny, and look more normal as you train your stats.