This guide will teach you many of the ways of making enough money to start your own kingdom in A Clash of Kings 7.1 for Mount and Blade: Warband.
Intro to Money: Why You Need $?
In ACOK, I find the limiting factor in success is primarily income. You need money to pay your troops, buy new ones, buy food, buy armor for your poor pathetic companions, and ultimately to buy Champion Plated Warhorses for your elite lvl 50 companions. For me, going bankrupt ends in me reverting to a previous save. I personally found ACOK to be EXTREMELY difficult in the early game, and that's one every easy mode (1/4 damage, 1/2 damage to allies, poor AI combat, etc.).
In this guide, I will teach you about many of the ways to make money in ACOK in order to be successful and dominate Westeros and Essos.
If you have a character you like from a previous build of ACOK, go ahead and import. I won't judge you.
If you're new to the game, then I will do my best to advise character creation to make the game (slightly) easier.
Once you create your bearded, scarred, big-nosed lump of brawn (or Bronn ;), you need to create a backstory and stats. The most important stat to me is STRENGTH. That means you were the son of a noble, a noble in training, a squire, and you're setting out for personal revenge (I think). Your starting strength should be ~11, riding should be 5, and you get a horse.
When investing starting stats, max out strength. Next, max out melee strike damage. After that, shield (up to 3 eventually). The rest (a point or two) maybe athletics so you can run backwards without falling over as often.
Starting Out: A Hat, a Coat, and a Sword
So now you have your backstory and a horse. Great! Now get mobbed by bandits while you have low armor. As a default, I suggest stabbing the head when you have a weak weapon and a better-armored enemy.
Talk to the merchant, get a pile of quests, and wish him well. Promptly ignore the quests unless you're suicidal. Check the tavern before you leave the Weeping Town and grab Brynden Storm. He'll be your medic. Create a new battle group called "Non-combat" or something, and at the beginning of every battle, tell him to retreat. That way, after the battle, more of your troops will be alive (surgery trait) and you'll get health back. Plan on putting Maron, Berenger, and Arratos into the non-combat group. Saathos and Serol if you can tolerate their rebelliousness also shouldn't fight.
With your starting money, you need enough armor and a weapon to win tournaments. Make sure you have enough strength for any given weapon. Halberd is my favorite (reach and piercing damage), two-handed mace is find (blunt damage), or you can actually get by with your starting shield and a slightly better sword (arming sword) if you're ok with stabbing people in the head.
For armor, you want the best value. Pig/sallet/armet helmets (55 armor), plated gauntlets (15?), and plated boots (16 armor?) are good value. For body armor, something like plated chainmail is fine. Buy body armor last so you don't overspend.
Your starting shield is good enough. You want to hit first anyways.
Chapter 1: Bandits and Tournaments
There are a few ways of making money early, but only one good one.
You could fight bandits, escaped slaves, outlaws, etc. Make sure you save first and having enough soldiers to win. Early fights when you have bad stats and no money are difficult. I advise against this.
Missions pay terribly. You might travel to 15 different villages to collect 4-5 cattle and you get paid in wool. I advise against this.
Selling your body isn't bad. If you want to go join Tywin Lannister's retinue, go for it. While you're in retinue, you can't access your companions, but they cloth you and pay you a bit. It's fine, it's safe.
The way to make money is tournaments. All tournaments are now one-on-one pools, and you often lose a battle and still win the tournament. If you bet the full $500 on yourself, you can make $6500 when you win, plus $200 for winning, PLUS sometimes a weapon or a horse or EVEN MORE money. Again, this is per tournament. Talk to the arena guy during the daytime to find out where tournaments are. Avoid mean-spirited people along the way, and fight in tournaments. If you keep losing, read the next paragraph.
After you win a tournament, you have a little bit of money. Keep traveling between tournaments, and check each tavern for companions. In tournaments, you'll be fighting your companions. So if you have 7 companions, you'll only be fighting your poor companions if you're a jerk, take their weapons away before the fight. You're a bad person. Really, you should win anyways because of their low starting stats.
As you make money and accumulate companions, it's OK to take the occasional battle with bandits. Use their looted gear to equip your companions. As your combat capable companions (not Brynden, etc.) gain experience, they can become your best troops. Garrett, Lyneria, Titus, and Roderick are archers. All others can be trained as heavy cavalry. Ideally, I give them war mace, shield, and a two-handed mace for fighting on foot, but don't spend much money on them.
When you have >10k gold (so basically 2 tournaments), go to Chapter 2.
Chapter 2: A Machine for Capitalist Pigs
Ever heard how you need to have money to make money? That's about to come into play.
In each town, you can build one (1) productive enterprise. Talk to the guild master, and as long as you didn't do anything STUPID, he'll let you invest. Again, in ACOK 7.1, relation of 0 is enough to build.
Go to King's Landing, and build a Velvet factory for 10k. You can look at the different prices, but this should be a safe-ish investment. The guild master should predict ~500/month. If there's a better offer you can take it, but Velvet is usually fine.
Once you have your first factory, you have an income. Congratulations! You can now afford to pay your companions and feed them uncooked wheat. Hey, one step at a time right?
Keep traveling between towns and fight in tournaments. In each town in Westeros, build the best-paying factory/enterprise. It's often velvet. Just pay top dollar for whatever pays the most. I'll pay 10k for 500/month before I'll pay 5k for 400/month. It's a long game, and enterprises are relatively reliable. They'll make you enough money to cover feeding your army and upkeep for a cheap army.
Once you have a productive enterprise in almost every town (literally every town), go to Chapter 3. You want every single town covered because later, when you're at war, you won't get money from businesses in enemy towns.
Chapter 3: Battle on a Budget
Now you should be makings at least 5k/month from your enterprises. You can start recruiting an army. You want to hit >100 troops with >20 heavy knights and still make 1-2k profit/month.
Army recruitment involves some personal preference, but I'll give you my thoughts and rationale. I spent my first 10h of ACOK 6.2 fighting the Reach and getting my ♥ kicked. I couldn't get through their heavy armor. Most troops in the game have Strike of 2 and non-armor-piercing weapons. They can't get through Reachman armor either. Therefore, I recruit from the Reach.
First, get ~20 Reachman pikes for small skirmishes. At the beginning of a battle, enemy cavalry will charge. Fight them off with your companions. If you just go around killing horses and let your companions finish off the dehorsed enemy, that's fine. Once they're no longer a threat, use the pikes to hold the enemy infantry while you and your companion cavalry go around the flank and crush the archers. Once the archers are gone, help out your pikemen. If you don't think your pikes will last that long, flank and save the pikemen first, archers second.
Upgrade your pikes slowly all the way to heavy reachman knights. Again, 20 is a good starting number if you can pay them. Group them with your companions and make a strong heavy cavalry force.
Once your have ~30 melee units, it's ok to make some Reachman crossbows. They have enough armor and armor-piercing weapons to fight enemy archers and weak unshielded enemy troops. 10-20 crossbows max, and don't rely on them.
If you want archers, Westerland archers are easily accessible and good enough. Generally, Westerlands have very average troops in all categories, and their archers are good enough.
Once you have an army of around >100 with >20 heavy reachman knights and can pay everybody, go to Chapter 4.
If for some reason you don't like juggling your army or don't have enough enterprise income, you could ultimately go around with just the 20 heavy reachman knights and do OK in Chapter 4, but a bigger army is better.
As you play, you'll be leveling up and leveling your companions and army. Here's what I do:
Strength to 30. Max out Strike damage at 10. Shield to 3 so you can use the best shields.
Then: charisma to 12 or 15 and leadership to save money. Prisoner holding too.
Also, agility and intelligence to ~12 for athletics, master weapon, and Trainer.
Note: You can get agility and intelligence from random events. Run from bears for intelligence (in the game, not IRL. Bears will catch you and eat you because they're faster than you. Shout loudly at bears with your arms up and looking scary). If you trip, regain your balance for agility (safer IRL than running from bears).
If you're patient, wait for events for all agility and intelligence. However, intelligence helps you level up faster, so a few points in intelligence after max strength might be valuable.
Trainer is useful because you will always be the highest-level character, so you can train more effectively than anyone else.
As previously stated, archers are Titus, Roderick, Lyneria, and Garrett. Max out damage with 30 strength / 10 power draw and buy better bows (masterwork dragonbow bow with large bag of bogekin arrows in Essos is best, but a longbow and some extra arrows is a good start). No horses.
Anyone else who is fighting:
Stats: Strength to 30, Strike to 10, shield to 3, riding to at least 3/maybe 5, weapon master to 3/5, then agility and each one should specialize to looting / foraging / agility traits.
- Two-handed weapon: at least a 2-handed axe, at best a two-handed mace (44b damage!).
- One-handed weapon: at least an arming sword, at best a Heavy War Mace (the weird Essos spikey thing that does piercing damage).
- Shield: At least literally anything that can be used while mounted, at best a Reinforced Heraldric Steel Heater Shield (the cooler-looking one, but they both have the same stats).
- Horse: At least: Palfrey. At Best: Champion Plated Warhorse (not realistic for a long time).
- Armor: At least: chainmail, mail gauntlets/boots, mid-30's helmet like the open-faced sallet. Best: pig-faced helm, plate gauntlets/boots, plated chainmail (don't waste all your money on Full Plate for companions for a long time).
- Brynden: Intelligence. All medical abilities.
- Arratos: Intelligence. Engineer, won't matter for a while. 30 intelligence, engineer, then other intel abilities.
- Maron: Intelligence. Path-finding/tactics, then maybe another.
- Berenger: Trader. 30 charisma and 10 trade before anything else.
- Saathos: don't recruit him yet, but ultimately Persuation.
- Serol: don't recruit him yet, but ultimately Persuation.
Brynden will be busy with ACOK SOM (School of Medicine), but Maron and Arratos will have extra ability points in addition to their dedicated rolls. Path-finding and tactics are critical for battles and running from scary armies. More tactics = more of your soldiers and fewer enemies on field at once. It's OK to have both Maron and Arratos get tactics and path-finding because those are the most important, but make sure at least one of them covers the other intelligence skills (like tracking). Saathos and Serol don't play well with others. By Chapter 11, you'll have so much money you can bribe them to stay with you if you really want them.
- You: Heavy armor (the heaviest available), heavy horse, max melee damage, steel shield, and a bit of leadership/inventory.
- Companions: Heavy melee cavalry on a budget, max damage output, 1-2 agility party skills, and archers get Power Draw instead of Power Strike. Companion archers can be terrifying with 10 Power Draw and Masterwork Dragonbone Bows.
- Army: 20 Heavy Reachman knights, and >80 other guys. Arrow fodder/replacements, and also a larger army means you'll fight fewer enemies/wave.
Chapter 4: Essos is Rich
With your army, head to Essos. You've probably been here for tournaments, but now with your army you can hang out. First, pillage the Dothraki and Slaver Camps. Make sure your companions are equipped and troops are fed, then sell the rest. Make ~2k/ raid, and you won't upset anybody.
Westeros enterprises should cover upkeep, so the rest is profit. Once you have 20-30k gold (or sooner if you'd like), you can join the Gold Goblet trade. Buy low and sell high. I've bought at 100 and sold at 8000 before. Aim for buy <1000 and sell >2000. Buy at Pentos sometimes, and sell at Tyrosh frequently, but the prices vary. Don't be afraid to stay a night and observe prices. This is where Berenger is critical to improve your profits. Couldn't find Berenger? Fine, use Maron. No Maron either? Maybe Saathos, idk. You should have at least 3 trade skill from somebody. 6-7 skill is better.
So now you should be wandering around Essos, killing Dothraki and Slavers for food and buying/selling those Gold Goblets for gobs of gold. What should you do with all that money? Don't dump it all on equipment for your companions, no matter how tempting. You should get full plate and the best weapon (balanced halberd on foot, Heavy War Mace on horse, or some people like those heavy 2-handed axes on horseback), companions get plated chainmail and maces and discounted everything else.
Instead, take your money to Chapter 5.
Chapter 5: Compound Interest is the Most Powerful Force in the Universe
Take your pillage winnings all the way to the bank. Literally. The Iron Bank of Braavos. Keep 20-30k gold to invest in goblets, maybe another 20-30k gold for any impulse purchases, and put the rest in the bank. You make 2%/week. That's a stupid amount of money. And the money makes money on its own. You can be out buying prettier armor and color-coordinating horses for your companions and the money will sit there getting fatter.
Keep pillagings Essos and trading goblets until you have $1M in the bank. Yes, I said a million. It'll happen pretty quickly. Maybe $2M, but $1M should be enough for a while. Once you have a million in the bank and 100k gold on your person, move on to chapter 6.
Chapter 6: Cry Havok! And Let Slip the Dogs of War
With your newfound wealth, build your army to 200 men with 40-50 heavy knights. Make sure the heavy knights are listed first in field battles, and you should be able to crush most armies.
Now you want to make money from a town. For that, you need to conquer a town. It's wise to start conquering for someone else. By now, "Aegon" (#spoiler) should have invaded. I like to join him. It's fun, trust me. Get everyone to like you, do favors, rescue lords, defeat enemy armies running around, etc. Get popular.
Now that's you're a Targaryen, do any final changes to your army for a siege. You have 200 men, 50 HEAVY knights, companions with heavy plate armor and two-handed maces (if not, buy them, trust me). The rest of your army you have choices. I would get at least 40 Westerland archers and the rest can be Stormlander Hammerman (or Ironborn Household Guards, or Dragonstone Halberdiers), but Reachman generic pikes are fine for now. You'll be attacking a town.
Aegon should be at war with the Reach, the Stormlands, and/or the Westerlands. If not, give him time. It won't take long. Now, pick a target in the Reach. It needs to be accessible by ladder, because by the time you build towers, the entire Reach army will fight you (you CAN win 200 men vs 2k, but it's not easy). Anyways, pick Tumbleton or Ashford, because they're profitable AND close to the Targaryen other holdings. The Weeping Town is also a legit target, but with less room for expansion. For hard most, Take Hull from Stannis Baratheon.
Once you pick your target (probably Ashford, I'll bet 1M gold), clear out any nearby armies then open your army composition menu ('p'). Put the archers at the top (companion archers in the archer group), then companions (separate group), then Heavy Knights (cavalry group), non-combat at the bottom, and infantry in the middle. Build ladders using Arratos' engineering skill. Fight disease by hiring maesters with all that gold. Have your camp set on fire and reload a previous save (it's OK).
In battle, have everyone follow you and cease fire. Stop at a good arrow range where you can see many target enemy soldiers, then tell your archers to hold their position and open fire. Stand behind your archers with the rest of your army. Once the enemy archers are thinned out, you can advance. You go first (you have the best shield), tell your companions to charge, cavalry to follow you, and infantry either follow or stay. You and your companions can break through armor, so head up the ladder and start chopping with that Balanced Halberd I keep telling you to buy. You can let a few companions go first, then still reach through with your halberd and still get kills. Eventually, you should kill the enemy faster than replacements can show up. Press the attack, and tell your cavalry to "Charge" once you reach some open space. If you get stuck, you might have to flank around with either your cavalry or your companions to attack the rear of the enemy blob. I frequently jump down from a wall on my own, run around the back, and chop through 30 enemy guys until I reach my army so they can follow me again.
If you there is open space into the walls (meaning you didn't attack Ashford, shame on you), you can bring your archers to the top of the walls to fire down on the enemy. Westerland longbowmen are fine for this.
Eventually, you'll have a town. Say you want to keep it. Run around telling all the other lords you want that town. Tell Aegon. You'll probably get it if the lords like you. Congratulations! Chapter 7 has some closing thoughts.
Chapter 7: Where Do We Go Now? Where Do We Go?
Now you have a town of your own! You might make 100k gold/week from that town. It varies wildly. I don't understand those mechanics. Ask someone else.
You can keep fighting for Aegon and take more towns, but he'll limit you eventually. While you're a Targaryen, get Elite Targaryen archers. They wreck medium-armored troops.
Keep fighting, and start releasing captured lords sometimes, and you'll gain honor and right to rule (I think). With enough honor, lords will have 100 relation with you before they even meet you! Starting your own kingdom is now an option.
If you're not sure about starting your own kingdom, you can take a town on your own, declare independence, hold the town for 24 hours, then give up and run away back to Aegon and beg for forgiveness. Why 24 hours? Because if you hold certain towns for 24hours (most of the Reach, especially), you can steal a Valaryian steel sword! (Also Dawn at Starfall)
Whether you have your own kingdom or not, it's generally good to hold ~3 towns, maybe 1 castle, and maybe 2 villages. The villages you can max relations and restock troops. Castles give +50 troop capacity. Towns get money. Too many holdings increase corruption and become financially unstable. Holding Braavos is helpful because you can safely visit the bank. If you want to be extra safe about founding your own kingdom, stay with Aegon until you have 1M in hand in 5M in the bank. That's 100k/month in interest!