Mount and Blade: Bannerlord has a large variety of different skills for your character to level up. Some will be helpful for growing your army and taking towns, where others will mostly be for your personal character’s abilities.
This guide will show you some of the methods you can use to level up the Athletics skill. It will look at some of the most common ways to level this skill up, what the skill is useful for and show which perks you should be getting in Athletics to go as fast as possible.
Why Bother Leveling Athletics Anyway?
The athletics skill in Bannerlord isn’t just about how fast your character can move around in battle. There is a large range of reasons you want to get a high athletics level in the game. Even if your build is centered around horseback fighting, there are a great bunch of perks associated with athletics that will help your campaign.
Increasing your athletics skill in Bannerlord will have an effect on the following aspects of the game;
- Your character’s movement speed in battle
- Your party’s movement speed on the main map (on foot)
- Player character’s weight reduction
You might deem these skills useless if you prefer to play while riding a horse, but there are a large amount of perks within the athletics skill that make it well worth leveling up. These can include large bonuses to your troops armor, speed and damage.
How to Level Up Athletics in Bannerlord
To avoid writing too much bloat I’ll get straight into some of the best ways that you can gain athletics experience in the game. I will briefly summarize the best strategies for each point.
- Move around on the main map screen on foot:
- Take your main character off their horse when moving around the main map. This will allow them to passively gain athletics experience whenever you are moving from town to town. As this requires next to no effort, it is one of the best ways to gain experience. You can counter the movement speed loss by having an army full of cavalry.
- Use Ranged Weaponry Like Bows and Thrown
- As your character uses ranged weaponry on foot, they will gain the relative skill for the weapon and also some athletics skill too. This works the same if you are leveling your riding skill. By using a bow on horseback you will gain riding skill. For more athletics experience try to hit enemies from greater distances. (Sieges are great for this)
- Fast Striking With Melee Weapons
- Another great way to earn athletics experience is to strike enemies on foot. You will athletics XP depending on how fast you were moving while swinging a weapon. The best method for gaining Athletics Experience is to equip very light-weight armors and a lightweight weapon with high handling. Now, whilst running at top speed strike down your enemies. This is probably the best active way to gain athletics experience in Bannerlord.
- Putting Points into Endurance and Athletics
- As you level up your character in Bannerlord you will earn focus points to spend on bettering skills and attribute points. This one may seem obvious but I can’t stress it enough. As leveling athletics can be very slow I would recommend you try to put max the amount of focus points into Athletics. By placing the maximum focus points (5) into Athletics, you will gain a 10x experience bonus.
The Best Way To Level Athletics
Really the best thing you can do to gain experience in Athletics quickly is to wear low weight armor and run around in battles striking enemies down with fast weapons. The best is to craft a light two-handed sword and swing it around wildly running as fast as possible. You will generally get 1-2 levels per fight if you are fighting large armies.
Moving Faster With Athletics Perks
As aforementioned, speed isn’t the only reason to level athletics. The athletics skill tree has some of the most wide-use perks in all of the skills. From gaining % bonus on various troop stats to even persuasion chance success, there are so many different bonuses gained from these perks.
As they are all so different the perks you will get will depend completely on your play style. If you have mostly archers, you’ll want to focus on the perks which boost their stats. Foot troops will gain a lot from athletics perks as there are a few different bonuses for them within.
Some of the most notable perks within athletics are;
- Powerful (lvl 100): Increases your melee damage by 4%. Troops in your formation deal 2% more damage.
- Healthy Citizens (lvl 175): Increase your Endurance attribute by 1. Governed settlements gain 1 loyalty per day.
- Well Built (lvl 25): Gain 5% more hit points. Foot troops in your party gain 5% hit points.
My favorite is the Well Built perk. This provides an amazing advantage for how easy it is to obtain. Getting to level 25 in athletics is a fairly simple task and having your entire party’s foot troop gain 5% health is a great advantage. Especially when you are a part of a siege.
Mods to Help Level Athletics
If you aren’t happy with how the vanilla game handles athletics experience gain there is always the option to add mods to your game. There are some mods that simply rebalance the way experience works within the game. One such example is the Leveling Rebalance mod.
This mod will change the way character level and skill levels increase. This provides a fixed amount of experience for a level upgrade rather than the vanilla setting where the levels get harder the higher your character is.
There is another mod known as Configurable Experience Multipliers which allows the player to fine-tune their experience gain. You can double the rate at which your character gains athletics experience for example.