This is a guide on how you as an individual leader of a party can defeat armies that outnumber you 10 to 1. Simply put, in Bannerlord it quantity will inevitably trump quality in open field battles as health and armor values are toned down quite a bit. Despite this, I have learned about some interesting things that the AI does which you can use to your advantage, along with some other tips and tricks that may or may not work later down the line.
Guide to Fight Against Larger Factions
This section will be very short. These tactics do not require an specific comp or units. Generally speaking you do want more infantry than ranged and more ranged than cavalry however. In terms of quality, try to at least aim for tier two units with minimal recruits. In the end, you still have to fight battles but at a much lower danger to yourself and your party.
The Army on the March
If you have formed faction armies or joined them, you have probably noticed that in terms of food, there isn't a whole lot to go around. For some reason the AI, doesn't stock up on food even when they have ample money and resources. This is the main thing that the AI does that I exploit. Usually it does not become a problem for them when in singular parties, but in large armies it does.
So in order to use this to your advantage you must first identify a large enemy army and confirm a couple of things:
- How fast is the enemy party? Make sure that you have a higher base movement speed than they do. Try to aim at least 0.2 faster to give yourself breathing room for rough terrain.
- How much food do you have? Do not make the same mistake the AI does. If you are actively fighting other factions it means that you should be making a decent amount of money by now and maybe have a couple of fiefs, so there is no excuse not to stock up on lots of food. Tip: Buy food at villages in order to save money. Village prices are the same as their connected towns but they do not raise or lower the prices due to demand (AKA the less there is of something in a town, the more expensive it is to buy and sell).
And that's the only two things you need to know, once you have confirmed that you have a good amount of food, and are faster than the army you may start the plan.
First you must try and aggro the enemy army by inching towards them until they start chasing you. You must then move away, but maintain a distance that is close enough that they do not stop aggroing on you. Lead them on a wild goose chase and after a few days, you may notice that their numbers will start to drop. Hovering over the army will let you see that there are wounded members in their parties. Why are they wounded though? Starvation.
The enemy army will start losing dozens of men to starvation every day they do not have food. This will happen until the army inevitably disbands into the multiple lord parties. Now this is where you must identify which parties have taken the most losses and then hunt them down. Not only have you just stopped that army from doing anything productive, but have also dealt large amounts of damage to their retinues which you can capitalize on.
Note: Do not underestimate party's strength.
To Kill or not to Kill
When you capture lords from a larger faction there is an opportunity to kill them. A question is why/if you should do it?
From a strategic/tactical point of view, killing them grants you an advantage. It means one less roving army to raid your lands and join enemy armies. However, one must consider the downsides in the social category. Before killing a lord, remember that their clan will absolutely despise you along with their friends which may include notables in villages and towns. Having that negative relationship can mean that some notables will never allow you to recruit their troops. Lords who were friends will also hate you as well, even if they are part of different factions. One thing to gain out of this analysis is this: Go big or go home.
The lowest relationship you can have is -100 and executing someone is going to drag you down somewhere along the lines of -75. So if you decide to execute one person from a faction/clan, there is no real reason not to execute everyone else.
Note: Mercenary Clans is a different story, you may execute them in one war against faction A and mercenary clan and faction A will hate you. The mercenary clan will always hate you for this. If they join faction B and you execute them, then faction B will start to hate you as well. Unless you want to execute another faction or really want to kill that mercenary clan then pay attention to what faction they are apart of.
Now you may ask why relationship matters with other clans and simply put, it may not at all. However if they ever do join your kingdom or faction, then they will have a tendency to not vote with you in kingdom decisions. making acquiring fiefs very difficult sometimes.
In conclusion, do not take half measures. Either kill none of them or all of them. In the case of this guide where the enemy faction is typically larger, killing is probably the way you want to go.