A simple and easy to follow guide.
Other Mount & Blade: Warband Guides:
- Basic and Improved Infantry Melee.
- Prophesy of Pendor Guide.
- Guide to Soloing.
- Kingdom of Nords Guide.
As soon as you launch the game, the main menu presents you with several options. These are:
- New Game: Starts a brand new campaign game.
- Load Game: Loads up a previously saved game.
- Quick Battle: Set up a quick skirmish. Can be useful to practice without worrying about losing your troops in campaign.
- Options: Modify options to make the game work better on your machine. You can also change certain functions to make the game easier or harder.
Since this is most likely your first time playing, you'll want to hit New Game, unless you want to try out the Quick Battle stuff. Either one is fine, not like I can stop you.
When you click New Game, you are greeted with a couple options to start customizing your character. These options are Male and Female. Males tend to have an easier time in the game, as all the requirements to gain fiefs are low (only about 150 renown I believe). However, playing as a woman leads to more interesting games. Women have an easier time finding a spouse, as they don't have to worry about learning poems or getting on the father/brother's good side. As a result, the choice comes down to what you want. Do you want to be a male knight and earn glory the easy way, or do you want to be a knock off Xena, Warrior Princess, and make your own mark? Your call.
The next few options are for starting stats prior to seeing your character sheet. What each option does exactly is beyond me, but there are other guides that explain what each option does. When you see your character sheet, there are 4 attributes. Strength, Agility, Intelligence, and Charisma.
Strength is a measure of...strength. Kinda straightforward. It increases your health as well as allowing you to raise your Ironflesh and all the power stats (Strike, Draw, throw), increasing the amount of damage you can take and how much you can throw back at whoever decided it was a good idea to poke you with a spear.
Agility is all about movement, and it affects all associated skills. Basically, if you move while doing it, it's probably agility based. The big ones you need to worry about are Acrobatics and, if you want a horse, Riding. Acrobatics increases your on foot running speed, and acrobatics allows you to ride non-trash horses.
Intelligence means you're a smart boi, and all skills that may involve some thinking beyond "stab that" or "shoot that" fall into this, includign Inventory Management, Path-Finding, and Wound Treatment. Inventory management gives you more slots to hold stuff in, pathfinding bootst your movement speed on the map, and wound treatment helps you heal faster if you get hurt. You also get a boost to engineer, which means you build siege equiptment faster. Very good choice.
Charisma allows you to have more troops and get better deals in trades. That's about it.
And So, Your Story Begins
Right before you start the game, you can pick where you want to start. You can start in Praven, or you can start in the wrong town. Once you start playing, you'll be attacked by a bandit. scroll up on the mouse wheel to pull out your crossbow and do it again to pull your sword out. You also have a shield. Use what you have to murder the bandit (he probably had a family, you heartless bastard), and a man will run up to you. This is the merchant of [insert town here] (that better be Praven), and he has a job for you. Talk to him in his home and for the love of God, take his quest. It's a decent tutorial and it'll walk you through some of the basics of the overworld map, and other things. However, we'll follow his questline, and not the tutorial stuff. You can read, right?
When you hit tab and leave his house, run to the nearby villages and recruit volunteers. You only need 5, but who said you couldn't have 10 or 12? After that, go to the town you started in and go to the tavern. Talk to the merchant and he'll tell you to go find a group of bandits and learn where their hideout is. There are only 4 of them, and your starting weapons are good enough to make short work of them. Now, go to the hideout and kill everyone there. The merchant's brother will thank you, and you can take all the loot the bandits had. This is good for some extra beginning cash, but they also have better armor that you can take. Go back to the tavern and talk to the merchant. he will pay you about 200 denars, but he has one more thing for you to do. He wants you to help clear out the bandits in the town. Accept this and kill bandits (you know the drill at this point). Once you're done, you'll go back to his house and get paid again (I think), and your respect in the town will go up. This means the town likes you. This is good.
And now, finally, it's time to do your own thing.
You may notice that I mentioned getting extra money. Everything in this game has a price. Companions? have to pay Denars to hire them. Better troops? Pay to upgrade. Better armor? You get it by now. Hotel? Trivago.
There are many options for making money. One is killing bandits and selling their loot, but you really don't make much like that. You could raid a village, but then a kingdom will dislike you, and you may be attacked by a lord of a kingdom. Save the raiding for later. That leaves 3 ways to make easy money, and 2 of them don't require thinking. These are as follows:
- Trading: Buy crap from one town, sell crap to another.
- Bounties: Chaotic Neutral never felt so good.
- Collecting a lord's taxes (and then stealing said money): Rob the rich, who are exploiting the poor, to make yourself rich.
I'll go into detail on each method in the following sections.
Armor, Weapons, Horses, and Supply
Armies need two things to function in this game, food and money. Money is simple, just sell stuff. Food however must be purchased or stolen from defeated enemies/looted villages. Keep an eye on how much food you have, as you don't want to run out halfway through a siege. Trust me, I know how bad it is. Meat spoils quickly, but dried meat and sausages will keep until they run out. So does bread, cheese, and butter.
Armor keeps you from dying immediately. The best armor in the game is plate armor, but it is prohibitivly expensive. If heavy armor isn't quite your style, find what you like, and try not to die. Helmets, boots, and gloves also count as armor. Experiment to find the best combinations for your build.
Weapons make your enemies die faster. Each weapon type has its own pros and cons, but it all boils down to what you want to use. I personally use the GodWar Cleaver, but you can do whatever you want
Horses are...well...horses. You can buy them to make yourself a cavalaryman/woman/whatever.
Trade is vital in Calradia, and you can profit from that simple fact. This is the harder of the 3 options, as it does require some time to find where you can sell something and make the most profit. Now, when I say trade, I mean goods like Ale, Wine, Furs, Velvet, Spices. All expensive stuff. The saying "buy low, sell high" is key here. Find something like that at a low price (<500 Denars is optimal) that people want. Next, go to a town and go to the marketplace. Don't sell your stuff just yet though. You may not get the best deal there. There chould be an option to check prices with the locals. Do that. Please, do that. Don't run around to every major town in the game just to sell one bolt of cloth. When you find where the best deals are, go there and sell it. Congratulations, you've made money. Now, do it until you hate yourself.
Bounties are a lot easier than trading. Get the quest, stab the guy, get money. Simple. You can get bounties by asking a lord if they need anything done. You'll know it's a bounty mission when they mention that they need [name] of [place?] killed. The bounty is 300 denars. Hey, I said it was easy, not that it made you instantely rich. He'll also say where he may be hiding out. This is a village, at least, everytime I've gotten one, it's been a village. Go to the village and find someone called "Nervous Man" Talk to him, then stab him to death like the cold, heartless animal you are. Your relationship with the village will go down. Turns out people don't like it when you walk up and shank a guy to death. Who knew? Go back to the lord who gave you the bounty and tell him that it's done. You can either take the money, or you can refuse it, saying that it's blood money. I don't know what happens if your refuse the money, so that says a lot about me, doesn't it?
Do you have dreams of being an IRS tax collector? If so, boy, do I have some news for you. Collecting taxes is the easiest way to make a lot of money quickly, but there are a couple downsides. You first get the quest to collect taxes by asking a lord if he needs help with anything. They will ask you to collect taxes from one of their fiefs. Villages are the most common, but I once got a quest to collect taxes from a town, so it is possible to see a town for this.
Once you have the quest, go to the specified place and click the button to start collecting taxes. At some point, you'll get an option to either keep collecting the same tax rate, or cut the rate in half. Taking the first option could prompt a peasent rebellion that you have to put down without using your sword, bow, axe, cleaver, or whatever else you have. You'll instead be given a stick. Fear the stick. After you finish, your standing in the village will go down. I don't know what happens if you cut the tax rate in half, so again, what does that say about me?
Once this is done, you have to make a choice. You can either go back to the lord, in which case he'll let you keep 1/5 of the amount collected, or you can keep it for yourself. The upside to the second option is obvious. More money is good. Of course, now you can't do any more missions for that lord, as you'll have to turn in all that money before you can do another job.
Renown, Because You Need It
Renown is vital to getting anywhere in this game. You need it in order to become a mercenary, and then a lord. You earn renown in battle, and you get more depending on how outnumbered you are. Keep in mind that you have to WIN that battle. You also earn renown through quests, though you're better off fighting battles to get renown, as you do end up with more that way.
Once you have enough renown, you can be a mercenary for a kingdom. You become a mercenary after talking to a lord and asking if he needs anything done. He will mention that [insert king here] is looking for mercenaries to fight in his wars. If you accept, you will become a mercenary, earning money based on the both the number and quality of your army.
Note: It isn't a huge sum of money
Alright, now you're a mercenary. Now what? Remember, you're entitled to fight this king's wars, which means you are enemies with whichever kingdom your lord is at war with. This means you can't go to their towns without sneaking in, you'll be pursued by enemy lords, and enemy villages will not allow you to recruit until the end of the war.
This lasts for 60 days. In those 60 days, you'd better get your renown up as fast as possible, which means winning battles and doing jobs for allied lords. Do this for long enough, and you'll get your renown up high enough to become a full lord.
Once you have enough renown (150 for men, 700 for women), you can ask to become a vassal of the king. You must ask the king directly, as no other lord can do this. This can be difficult, as the king can be anywhere on the map. Once you find the king, ask to become his vassal and take the oath. As soon as you do, you'll be granted a fief, which is the poorest village in the kingdom. This village also tends to still be on fire, if you're in the middle of a war. Your mercenary payments end, and you can now get taxes from your fiefs directly.
Fiefs (What a Fun Word to Say)
A fief is the name given to any village, castle, or town in the game that a lord can control. They generate weekly income, which you automatically collect. Villages generate the least, and town generate the most. However, each fief must be protected from enemy attack. In the case of towns and castles, you can station a garrison of your own troops to protect in the case of a siege. Villages however are a different story. You cannot station a garrison in a village, and they can be raided, resulting in a loss of income from the village for the week. This can be devestating early in the game, so your first priority is to protect your village from whatever may want to raid it.
Along with defending a fief, you can also improve them. Improvements can buff a fief's loyalty to you, keep prisoners from breaking out, generate more money, or alert you if an enemy force is on the way. These take time and money to build. Their time to build is based on your engineering skill. Once they are built, they are permanent. In your first village, start building a messenger post to alert you if an enemy is near your village long before they attack. Then, you should build the mill to increase revenue. After that, do what you want with the village.
Expanding Your Power
Now that you're a lord with a stable income, now you can start to expand your influence. First, I reccomend getting close to your king, which you can use to get more fiefs. Next, go capture an enemy castle or two, and garrison them. If you're awarded these castles, garrison them and use them as a springboard to attack an enemy town. Note that towns will have garrisons in excess of 300 men, not to mention the army(ies) of enemy lord(s) inside them. Be ready for a tough fight. Once you have a town, garrison it immediately. You don't want to lose the town you lost half your army taking, now don't you? During this phase, you'll want to get better armor and weapons.
Which you're off slaughtering all who stand in your way, you may end up taking a liking to a certain noblewoman. Of course, you can't just marry her outright if you're a man, and you can't even marry a woman as a woman (sorry ladies). As a man in this game, you need to court the lady of your choice. First, find a town with a feast going on. Odds are a tournament is going on. Try your best to win this tournament. Next, dedicate your win to your favored lady by telling her this. Now, tell her that you are her "most ardent admirer". She will either like this, causing your relationship with her to go up, or she'll be creeped out, and you'll lose relationship with her. Nonetheless, you can still go see her, but only when her nurse (caretaker, she isn't dying of plaguebolAIDS) sends you a letter. In the time between meetings, get her father to like you so you can see her whenever you want. You also want to learn poetry, because if there's one thing the ladies in this game like more than watching you slap men with wooden sticks until they fall over, it's poetry. You can ask her at each meeting if you two have a future together. If she has another lord courting her, go track that man down and duel him. Only one man can poke your lady, and you'll be damned if it's Lord Limpdick. After a while of seeing your lady, you can ask her to marry you, but make certain her father approves of this action, or you'll find your in-laws a lot less welcoming.
For a woman, find a nice, hunky lord, and ask to mary him. Simple.
After a while, you'll find that there are no other kingdoms left on the map. Congratulations, you've reached the end of the game. This is it, there is nothing else. All that remains are bandits, but are they really a threat to you anymore? Now, you can do a thing that you may regret, but you may find it works well for you.
Founding Your Own Kingdom
Right after you've defeated every other enemy kingdom in the game, you may find that you're bored. Or perhaps you want to try this in another game. In either case, you need to rebel against your lord, declare your independence, and take over that kingdom, becoming king/queen in the process. This is NOT easy, as you need a huge amount of money and the support of many of the lords in the kingdom you want to usurp. You can also make your companions lords, but they will no longer be able to enter your party. Besiege enemy towns and castles, and win the war. Become the supreme lord. Sit upon your Golden Throne and smile at your works. Rule as you see fit. Meme on your enemies. You've earned this seat. Now start a new game and go do it again. And have fun.