Mount and Blade 2 just released and this hand guide will help you on your first tentative steps through Calradia.
Intro and Character Creation
While this is going to be a very in-depth guide that’ll give you a good foundation for Mount and Blade 2, we’re going to start off with the assumption that you’ve at least completed the introduction quest and the training field. Because the basics of combat aren’t exactly something, I can explain them in great detail in a written piece.
But we can give you some advice for the step before that! The character creation! While your starting faction doesn’t matter that much, as a beginner, we highly recommend Vlandia. That 20% experience bonus to your troops will be pretty handy in the early game.
As for the actual character creation, these stating stats don’t actually matter that much, since you’ll be leveling everything pretty quickly as you get to it. What helps is having a general idea of what kind your character you want to play. Do you see yourself as an archer on horseback? Or with a sword and shield in hand? So as you pick your background, make sure to keep these in mind.
Next up is picking a difficulty; personally, I’d recommend playing at a higher difficulty or setting it to realistic as it makes combat a lot more interesting than just swinging your sword around. But if you want to experience Mount and Blade for the first time, just keep everything in the default settings. And if you want to save on some frustration, make sure to save regularly to savescum your way out of a tricky situation. We’ve all done it.
I just finished the Tutorial; what do I do?
So now that you have learned the absolute basics welcome to Calradia. Your first instinct might be chasing after that main quest. But don’t worry; that’ll resolve naturally as you progress through the game. It is actually more of a ‘late game’ activity and you’re going to brush shoulders with many of the figures really soon anyways.
First up, you want to stock up on troops and provisions at the nearest village. You’re going to have a hard party limit of 20 at first. Just make sure not to get too attached to them. You’ll regret it later. As a beginner, we highly recommend you start chasing down highwaymen and bandits between towns and cities to level up your troops. It’s an easy way to train them and get some field experience.
Your focus should be on making some money, getting better equipment, and raising a small troop. Just make sure to take battles that are challenging. They’ll give you more experience and more renown. And renown is very important, as is your clan’s reputation and level. The higher it is, the more troops you can recruit; the more options will open up later.
The Basics of Campaign Map Movement and Troop Management
You should know some small things about your troops and how you move through the map. Your movement speed is largely affected by the number of horses available to your troops if you have any mounted ones, for example, and your or a companion’s scouting skills. Having several horses on standby also affects the number of items you can carry around with you. We recommend always traveling lightly.
But you should also always have enough horses with you, as some unit upgrades require horses when it comes to what upgrade paths to choose for your boys and girls that come down to personal taste. When operating with a small army of 20, you should make sure to have both archers and melee troops. Maybe even a cavalry, but that’s up to you to decide and it’ll come down to preference.
The morale of your men is affected by many factors. Do they get paid on time? Do you win? Have you committed acts of cowardice recently by running from a fight, and leaving some men behind? If you want to brush up on that morale number, make sure to stock enough food and multiple types of food. And if you win your battles, they should usually be happy and won’t complain.
And as for movement speed, it is affected by the number of mounted units and so on, (you can see how that number is influenced by hovering over the horse icon). It is nothing you should obsess over unless you plan to rob caravans. They are fast.
Join Tournaments and Questing
You should also partake in tournaments, you can see if a tournament is taking place by the bronze helmet symbol next to a city’s name. And don’t be afraid to play scummy in tournaments; we’re here to win, not to make friends. So ensure the AI is beating each other up while you attack from behind. It’s also a great way of practicing your combat skills.
Most tournaments will reward useful equipment and garner you some renown if you win. You should also, always bet on yourself. The more you bet on yourself per round, the more money you make. This can quickly spiral into a decent profit. And if you win equipment that you don’t want or can’t equip? Just sell it.
Another way to make a quick Denar and garner some reputation is completing quests for the various villages and cities. Since we’re trying to min-max here a little. We advise taking on any quest that requires you to go get something or transport something somewhere else. Think locally. Like beating up brigades bullying the locals, and making a friendly visit to a nearby bandit hideout. Great way to make money and a great way to get some experience and renown under your belt.
Reaching Clan Tier 2 and Recruiting
No matter what you do, you’ll slowly progress towards Clan Tier 2 eventually. Why is that important? Well, Clan Tier 2 allows you to work as a mercenary for the various lords and ladies of Calradia, which will eventually make getting renown and money a lot easier and will also work towards getting a reputation with those lords and ladies.
You also want to recruit companions, those are other characters that can join your party and carry out tasks or bring attributes to the party. You can ask around taverns in the cities for the type of companion you want to recruit. Generally, it’s helpful to recruit companions that bring a lot of utility out of the gate. So at first, going after a Medic and a Scout should be your top priority.
Reaching Clan Tier 2 will also allow you to take up mercenary work, which is very important because it’s a great source of income. To become a mercenary, you have to hunt down one of the many leaders of the armies of a respective nation and ask them if you can join them. Generally, if they are at war, they’ll have use for you. They’ll pay you essentially nothing at first, but we can work our way up. And it instills a sort of purpose in you.
Being a Mercenary
First, as a Mercenary, it is perfectly acceptable to join a faction, fight for them, and if things look grim, you quit your contract by hitting up the Kingdom menu. Then join the winning side, yes, your influence will reset but that’s better than losing your troops to a battle that is impossible to win, right? As a mercenary, I want to preface that you should pick and fight for the winning side. We worry about loyalty later.
But how do we gain influence? Well, in the early stages, influence affects your pay and, well, your influence. As a mercenary, your influence will constantly tick down, so you have to make sure to get into as many fights as possible to keep that number going up.
So if you’re a mercenary, I highly recommend going around and raiding nearby neighboring villages. Not only is that a great source of influence and experience, but you can also make some good money off it. Just be careful; raiding and plundering will attract nearby armies that are all too happy to steamroll you in an unfair fight. But since you’re acting in the interest of your kingdom, there are no personal consequences to this.
Other than that, you want to join armies and participate in as many battles as possible. Help out, lead sieges, and make your employee happy. You can also snatch quests from the various leaders for pocket money and renown. And if your kingdom decided to make peace with its enemies, go join another kingdom.
As you undoubtedly noticed, there are many ways to make money in Mount and Blade 2. One of the easiest, straightforward ones is to sell off your loot. Just make sure to sell it all in cities, because small villages don’t tend to have enough gold to buy it all.
Another way to casually make some money on the side is by buying wares on one side of the map and selling it off somewhere else. This is especially useful in the early stages of a campaign because you’ll be moving across the map quite often. As mentioned above, taking on quests and joining a kingdom as a mercenary are also good options. Once you have companions and enough troops, you can send them off to do quests for you.
But eventually, you want to look for something more sustainable. Workshops and caravans come into play here. First, the workshops, while being a little more expensive, they are a great source of passive income. You find one of the various workshops in a city, and buy it for an upfront fee. Do this as soon as possible and you’ll live an easy life.
As to setting up workshops, you need to keep an eye on the city’s villages. Next to the village’s name, you’ll see what resource they’re producing, so you should set up your workshop accordingly. Like if there is grain in the area, make a brewery, and if there is iron ore, make a smithy. The great thing about workshops is that they aren’t affected by cities being put under siege or changing hands. Making them a great source of stable income.
Another way to make coins are caravans. Just talk to one of the merchants in a city and ask them about forming a caravan, this will have a bit of an upfront cost, and you should also prepare to invest more money to better troops. Caravans in Mount and Blade are all about risk management, you want strong troops to protect them and you also want to find a companion that will lead them toward profit.
While there is no real answer to what kind of companion is the best to go, someone with many skill points in trading and decent leadership skills is preferable. While there is always the chance of your caravan being robbed, they are also highly profitable and investing early in them can make your life throughout the costly midgame much easier.
I would argue, the midgame starts the moment you hit the Clan Tier 3. Now you can become a vassal and choose your liege or work towards being your own liege under them. By now, you should’ve been able to complete the first main quest that had you talk with various nobles around the map and you can get to assembling the dragon banner. This will only be important if you plan to rule your own kingdom. Otherwise, you can give it to your liege to gain some influence. I recommend staying with one of the larger factions.
Once you’ve become a vassal, you can use the influence of the currency you earn within your kingdom for various feats and spend it on actions. You can use it to start a war or gamble it away for castles and cities. Having a castle and or city is a great way to generate more income but it’s also more stuff you’ll eventually have to deal with. Consider hiring a new companion with a lot of points in being a steward; they can handle managing your property while you’re off to wage war.
By now, you should also consider creating new parties in your clan menu. This will allow you to have some troops patrol your lands, for example, to make sure bandits do not harass your villagers. And if you need those companions and troops back for war, for example, you can go and call them back with that same clan menu.
Here is also when you should decide if you want to stay with a faction or if you want to take your chances to run your own kingdom. This is important because you should avoid investing any money in fiefs and cities if you don’t plan to keep them. Because declaring independence from a faction will also result in losing all the land, you hold in that faction’s name.
Now you should be more than ready to venture out into Calradia and make it your own. Or at least you should have a general idea of what you should be going after, going forward. Next up, it should be creating your own kingdom, but that deserves its own little guide.
However, one thing I wanted to mention is not to reload older saves when you mess up. Yea losing your entire army can be a little bit of a setback but on the other hand, having to claw your way up again is one of the more enjoyable experiences you’re going to have in Bannerlord. The same goes for the higher difficulty and playing in Ironman mode (which means you’ll only be able to save when closing the game). Committing to mistakes makes Mount and Blade so much more enjoyable.
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