The horns sound the ravens gather. Mount and Blade: Bannerlord has been in the wild in early access on Steam for quite a while now (over a year and a half) and throughout that time has gone through many changes and improvements. One of the main draws of Mount and Blade: Bannerlord is the large open sandbox that players find themselves offering great replayability. Although the game features a small tutorial when playing the Campaign for the first time, some people may opt to skip this part or even not pick the campaign mode at all.
This post will give you 20 tips and tricks that you may not have already known about Bannerlord. There will be tips on improving your combat skills, money making ability and some other features of the game you may or may not have known about. Without further ado, let’s get straight into the list.
Bannerlord Tip 1: Setting Up Your Character’s Culture
In your first moments in Bannerlord you will need to create your own character to go on the adventure with. One of the very first decisions you will have to make is your character’s starting culture. Each of the cultures have different perks and drawbacks. It is important to read through each of the factions’ bonuses and see which one will fit your play style. Do you plan on making a lot of money through trading and trying to buy your way to success in Bannerlord? Then the Aserai are probably the best choice for you as caravans will be cheaper to build and you will have less of a trade penalty. Want to move fast through the forests? Battanians will be the best fit.
Not only will your character’s culture affect the bonuses they receive however. Towns and castles will like it more if someone of the same culture is the owner of the settlement. So if you want to keep your Sturgian settlements happier in the beginning, it may be a better idea to start with their culture. Changing your culture has no affect on the appearance options available to you in the character creation menu.
Bannerlord Tip 2: Seek Out Special Troops
If you’ve been playing a while you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of different types of troops that can be recruited. Each culture has their own troops with different upgrade trees to help you form the type of armies you wish. But did you know that each culture has their own type of advanced special troop as well? For example, Battanians have the Battanian Fian which is the best archer troop in the game. For the Vlandians you will be able to eventually upgrade their special cavalry troop into a Vlandian Banner Knight one of the best troops for a cavalry charge in the game.
These troops can only be recruited from villages that are quite wealthy. Keep an eye out for these different types of special troops but be aware, they will cost more than the average farmer.
Bannerlord Tip 3: Become Arena Champion For Extra Passive Renown
One of the best ways to make some denars early on in the game is to participate in tournaments. These deathmatch-style fights allow you to fight in a series of rounds to try to best your opponents. Along with a nice little cash and renown prize at the end you have the option to place bets on yourself to win at the end as well. This can be pretty lucrative but be aware you are betting that money, so if you lose, you will lose the cash as well.
The winner of these fights will also receive a nice prize as well such as a decent weapon or armor piece. One of the things many people don’t know is that there is a leader-board which tracks how many wins each lord in the world has. If you manage to stay at the top of this leaderboard your clan will gain an extra 1 renown per day. I wrote a guide on finding and participation in tournaments here if you’re interested in finding out more.
Bannerlord Tip 4: Advanced Combat Moves Shield Bash and Kick
Along with just swing your sword and mace there are some advanced moves that you can use in combat to get the end over your opponents. Your character also has the ability to use a push kick or a shield bash in order to stun their opponents. This is especially good when you are fighting one-on-one in tournament battles.
To use the kick action simply press E. You can kick with any type of weapon equipped. You must be on foot to use the kick. To shield bash, hold up your shield using the right mouse button and press E with the shield held. When either of these make contact with your enemy they will be stunner for a shirt time, giving you a chance to strike.
Bannerlord Tip 5: Use the Couch Lance Option
The best thing about a big cavalry charge in Bannerlord is the use of the couch lance function. Couching a lance is essentially what you’ve seen the riders do in movies when they used to joust. The rider will jam their lance tight under the arm and charge ahead hoping to hit their enemy with the end of the stick. You can do this with most lances in Mount and Blade: Bannerlord too.
In the information box of each lance you will see whether or not the weapon has the ability to be couched or not. To couch, get your mount to a decent riding speed and press the X button to put the weapon in couch mode. You will see your character lower the lance if this is done correctly. Now, ride as fast as you can into an enemy to do insane damage to them. Usually this will defeat them in one hit.
Bannerlord Tip 6: Learn to Control Formations
One thing that you will be doing throughout the entire game is fighting in battles. From smaller battles against looters to large-scale wars against enemy factions, you will be on the battlefield quite a lot. The most important thing to figure out is tactics. Sometimes, even with a smaller number of troops in your army you can come out successful with the right strategy. You can select formation (archers, skirmishers, cavalry) using the number keys 1-9, and then give them orders using the F keys (F1-F9). There are a large range of orders from Hold Fire, to even putting your troops in advanced formations like the Shield Wall formation.
The tactics you decide to use will depend on the enemy you are facing. A general good rule of thumb for archers is to place them on high up locations to make it harder to foot troops to reach them and to extend their effective range.
Bannerlord Tip 7: Get as Many Companions as Possible
In addition to the regular troops you can have in your army there are a bunch of different NPCs that can join you as companions. You are able to fit these companions out with whatever gear you wish and have more control over their skills and what you want them to do. There is a limit on the amount of companions you are able to have as part of your clan. This limit will be raised as you reach greater clan levels.
Just try to get as many companions as you can early as the longer you have the companions the more their skills will be raised, just like your player character.
Bannerlord Tip 8: Push Back Siege Ladders When Defending
This one tip is fairly specific to defending against sieges, but it’s a tactic not everyone knows about so I thought I’d mention it specifically. We recently wrote about how to push back siege ladders in a post so it’s fresh on my mind.
As you’ve probably seen, attackers will attempt to scale a castle wall using siege ladders if their army has not built any siege towers to use. The enemy armies will bring these ladders up to the side of the wall and attempt to scale them. Did you know that you can actually push these ladders back down, so your enemies will have to go through the effort of raising them again? To do this, you can find long forks and use them against the ladders as long as their are no enemies currently climbing them. This is a great tactic for delaying enemy advances. You can read more about that here.
Bannerlord Tip 9: Smith Weapons for Easy Money
Alright I have to admit before I get into this one, it is a little gamey. One of the features introduced in Bannerlord’s entry to the Mount and Blade series is the ability to forge custom weapons. These can be created however the player wishes them from swords to axes to javelins. These weapons can also be sold. Picking a good combination of blades, handle lengths and other bits can net you quite an expensive weapon.
This is currently the best way of making quick money in the game and I would advise anyone that is struggling with denars in Bannerlord to spend some time in the smithy. A great way to make an expensive two-handed sword is just to pick the blade with the highest swing damage and make the length as long as you possibly can. These will always end you with a net profit regardless of the resources used. You can read a guide on how to find unlock weapon parts quickly here.
Bannerlord Tip 10: You Can Change Your Appearance Whenever You Want
Moving away from purely strategy tips for a moment, one of the best things about Mount and Blade is the fact you can create your character however you want. This includes a full customization. Are you unhappy with how you made your character now though? Is there something you wanted to change about their appearance? Well the good news is that you can change the appearance of your character whenever you wish when playing through the game. You will not have to start all over again.
To enter the character customization menu press the V key whilst you are travelling on the main map screen. You’re even able to change the height and voice of your character as well. This can be especially useful if your starting character has been defeated and you are forced to play one of your heirs.
Bannerlord Tip 11: Get Married and Have Children Early
One other feature available in Mount and Blade: Bannerlord is the ability to get married and have a family in the game. First, find yourself a suitable partner and then wait a while in-game for them to get pregnant and have a child. This is especially a good idea early on as it will take a long time for your children to grow up into adults. Once your children are adults, they will act as functioning members of your clan and will go forth and lead parties and be able to control their own fiefs as well.
The easiest way you can do this is through conversation with the head of a clan. If you have found a suitable bachelor or bachelorette through searching the encyclopedia, talk with the head of their clan about forming a bond through marriage. You will simply be brought to a barter screen where you will pay a dowry to take their hand. You will also immediately get another member in your clan as your partner counts as a lord/lady too.
Bannerlord Tip 12: Assign a Governor to Manage Towns Better
One of the best uses for companions in Mount and Blade: Bannerlord is to assign them to a town as the governor. There are a bunch of perks related to the character governing a town such as the ability to boost construction projects or give troops a boosted experience gain while the character is head of the town.
Plan ahead if you want one of your companions to be the governor of a town and choose the perks which are going to be best suited for this. You don’t want a full combat-focused companion with 0 stewardship skill governing a town.
Bannerlord Tip 13: Raise Your Charm Skill Early
Early on a lot of players are probably more focused on raising up their preferred weapon skills. But, there are a large range of other skills that are going to be super important if you want to be successful in Mount and Blade: Bannerlord. One such skill is the Charm skill. The Charm skill will decide how successful you are at convincing other lords of things. This will become vert important when you are trying to have lords join your faction and support you as the rightful king of Calradia.
We wrote a guide on how to raise your charm skill in Bannerlord which you can view here. Another great thing to note about raising your charm is that it will make all barters in the game cost you less depending on your skill.
Bannerlord Tip 14: Try to Command, Not Lead
One of the great things that sets Bannerlord apart from other similar strategy titles is rather than just having your command troops, you also have the ability to fight the fights as well. Whilst your character can be a large part in deciding the outcome of a fight sometimes it might be better for you to lead from the back rather than charge ahead with the troops.
If your character falls in combat then your troops won’t have anyone to lead them and make decisions. Rather than continue with the plan you’ve set out all of your troops will just try to charge the enemy or more than likely, run away as their leader has fallen. If you have death enabled, you might even take the last hit of your life. While it is fun being the hero swinging your two-handed axe through the fight, maybe you should just wait on the sidelines and guide your troops to victory.
Bannerlord Tips 15: Explore Mods to Spice up the Game!
One of the reasons that Bannerlord’s predecessor, Warband was such a success was the insane modding community surrounding the game. Although Bannerlord has only been out for just over a year and a half there are already a vast range of mods available for the game and a lot more in the works. From general UI changes and improvements to newer mechanics there are a bunch of great mods to explore over on Nexus Mods.
Some personal recommendations that I like to play with include:
- Better Time: This mod give you more options for fast-forwarding in Bannerlord. If you like me, can’t wait the years it takes for children to grow up in the game, this might be one for you.
- Freelancer: This mods give you the ability of joining another lords army as a common soldier. Great if you want to start up without the worry of leading yourself and just build up your skills as a soldier. Do well in your fights and you can upgrade through the classes and gear.
- Distinguished Service: Do you have those few troops that have been with you from the beginning and survived crazy odds? Well now you can promote them to companions as long as they have proven themselves as great fighters in your army.
I hope you enjoyed my list of 15 tips and tricks for Mount and Blade: Bannerlord. Do you have any great tips that I forgot to mention here? Leave a comment below to help out the next person coming along searching for help in Calradia.