Last updated on April 15th, 2020
Mount & Blade 2 Bannerlord can be a very challenging game, and there is a steep learning curve, especially at the beginning. Even players who are veterans of Mount and Blade: Warband may find themselves in the deep end, so we’ve decided to put together a series of guides, showing you a few things that might just make getting started, that much easier for you. In this Conquering in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord Getting Started Guide Part 3, we will go over joining a kingdom, building an army, taking your first settlement, and more.
Conquering in Mount and Blade 2 Bannerlord: Getting Started Guide Part 3
If you have followed our Part One and Part Two of our Getting Started Guide, you will have probably formed a medium sized party, and secured a steady income. If your business is thriving, and your money is starting to build up, it’s best to move on up in the world of Calradia. Be prepared for some major decisions and intense battles, for the time for blood and tears is nigh!
Joining a Kingdom
There is a deep lore behind the factions, involving a long history of wars and betrayal. At the start of the game the Empire is split up into three smaller kingdoms, the Northern Empire, Southern Empire and Western Empire. While the other five kingdoms (Vlandia, Battania, Sturgia, Khuzait Khanate and Aserai) try to use the opportunity to expand their lands and resources, or just to seek out revenge. The wars between the Factions in the game are generated and not scripted, meaning that there are countless possible outcomes for the war without the player’s influence. That’s why the decision to join a certain faction will be heavily swayed by the status of your current playthrough. For some scenarios, the faction you wish to join might not exist by the time you seek them out, or they may have been just reduced to rabbles.
I’d suggest joining a faction which has a chance for expansion. One that’s able to conquer castles and towns, so you have a chance of getting one or the other for yourself. You will also need to have a positive standing with the faction, or at least with some of its nobles, because it will be easier to steer the vote for the owner of the newly conquered territories, towards yourself.
Be warned that you may lose some of your investments if the faction you join is at war with the faction where you established your workshops.
How to Join a Faction
You need to talk to the Faction Leader, and ask him to pledge your sword. If you are well renowned, he will be happy to take you, and he will ask you to repeat an oath after him, then it will be done. You can find the Faction leader patrolling around their capital, leading armies into battles, or executing sieges. If you have a hard time tracking him down, you might need to open the in-game encyclopedia to find the faction leader. It will tell you where on the map he was last seen.
When joining a faction and landless, you will get a daily gold sum labeled as “King’s Support”. This stacks with your daily business profit, allowing you to fund a larger party and stronger troops, while still turning a profit.
Fighting in a War
Sooner or later, your kingdom will declare war on another, and all the lords of the other faction will turn hostile. That’s why you need the largest and strongest party you can afford, and here you will find some of the most dangerous enemies.
On the right side of the screen, you will get prompts for armies formed by the king or the lords of the kingdom. These consist of several parties of many lords, and once you find them, you have two options, either Join the Army or Follow the Army.
Join the Army
In the case that you join an army, and your numbers are added to theirs, the army leader is the one who decides where you will go, as well as what to do with your men. Whether he will lay siege upon another settlement, defend one of his own, or engage with an enemy army on the battlefield is up to his discretion. Make sure to bring enough food with you, plus some extra, because you will end up sharing your food with any party who runs low. Sharing food improves your relationship with that particular party.
You don’t really have much of a choice when to comes to army movement, as on the battlefield, your troops merge with the whole battalion. Usually you only have a chance to control one division of the ally forces (either Cavalry left flank, Cavalry right flank, Cavalry archers, Infantry or Archers). It is normally the higher ranking officers that will get to pick first, and their choices will be locked out for you, which may leave you with only one or two to choose from.
Battle Orders & Tactics
Once the battle starts, an army leader will issue some general commands, as well as direct commands for your division. Depending on the specific division you lead, these commands could vary, and executing them at the right time usually proves useful.
If the Cavalry is split into flanks, and you will control one flank, always expect the leader to issue a flank command. You can do this by ordering the cavalry to follow you, move to the side, and turn towards the enemy. When you are sure that spear and pike men of the enemy side are going to engage with the melee units, move to the archers, and order your cavalry to charge. Once the charge is complete, move out, order cavalry to follow you, and repeat.
Other divisions make use of different tactics, such as cavalry archers where you can ruin the enemy’s plan to flank yours, by circling around their cavalry and shooting their mounts down. Another way is by ordering your archers to scatter, then fall back to keep shooting while keeping their distance from the charging enemy infantry. There are many situations, each reflecting the pure brilliance of the strategy side of Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, so be sure to make good use of it.
Depending on the maximum troops allowed on the battlefield (from gameplay options), enemies and allies will keep battling in waves, and tactics will keep evolving, until all troops of one side have been killed, wounded, or have fled.
Follow the Army
Following the Army is rather interesting, instead of joining the army and being under command of the army leader, you can just follow the army around, until they are engaged in battle, only then you can go and join the battle to their aid. That way, your party will stay independent of the army, and you have full control of all your troops in battle. You can use this option to minimize casualties in your party, by letting allies take the heat while your troops stay back shooting at their leisure. Or when you want to add the element of surprise, targeting that enemy’s specific strategy.
But beware of ally fall back orders, as you might be charging an enemy and they will suddenly leave your troops all alone. That might wipe out your entire party, if you are not careful.
If your allies are outnumbered and your aid helps to save them from a dire situation, your relation with the army leader and marshals will increase noticeably.
Either way, if your faction army keeps winning and you are with them, you will grow your “Influence”. This is another important currency that is vital to gain good outcomes in your favor for every decision in the kingdom
Gaining Your First Settlement
Whether you plan to stay in your faction or create your own kingdom at endgame, you need to start with getting land, castles, and towns. The easiest way is to get fiefs is to conquer them, with the help of your faction. You need to check all armies of your kingdom, and join the one going to siege a castle or town.
How Siege Works
Sieges have 3 main phases, and if you are on the offensive side, you don’t have control over any troops but yourself.
First Phase: Building Siege Weapons.
This phase occurs on the world map, your camera will be locked on your siege camp and the settlement you are besieging. There is also a bar that indicates just how much progress is made for each siege weapon. Attacking armies will build towers and rams. Defending armies will build ballistas on the walls of the settlement.
In this phase, your engineering skill will come in handy, or the skill of your dedicated engineer in your party. You will need to take part of any siege if you want to improve this particular skill.
Second Phase: Deploying Troops and Siege Weapons.
Once your army’s leaders are satisfied with the siege weapons built, and decide it’s time for an attack, you will receive a prompt to join the attack. This takes you into a long loading screen, and then you are presented with a gorgeous overview of the entire castle and outskirts. Here you are given very little choice, as all you can do is take a deep breath and place each siege weapon in one of the few spots presented to you.
This is a tactical view, which you will not get again during the siege, so you best take mental notes about where you can do the most damage to your enemies. Here you will be able to identify the weakest point, how to quickly get on top of a tower if you are an archer, and much more. It’s one of these moments where Bannerlord shows its qualities in visuals, as well as gameplay. Castle sieges are not new to the Mount & Blade games, but in Bannerlord they are more polished, expanded, and have better AI. You have a chance to contemplate here, and put your siege towers in a proper place, before things get intense in the next phase.
Third Phase: The Assault!
Press “Begin Battle” , the camera will pan down to your character, and the siege assault will begin. Troops operate the siege towers and rams, moving towards the walls. Enemy archers will rain arrows upon them, and some will die. Other troops will replace them, and keep pushing towards the walls. Your army archers will move behind fences to try bring down enemy archers, but the enemy has the height advantage and can deal more damage.
If you are an archer yourself, you can make a huge difference here, by choosing your spot wisely, aiming truly, and making every arrow count. If you are on horseback, don’t dismount yet, the horse gives you a little bit of elevation and a better angle to aim. Stop the horse and keep shooting archers from both sides until your lads breach the gate, then proceed to place ladders.
Once done, switch your focus towards the defending infantry who will engage your troops over the walls. You will have a great bulk of enemies ripe for headshots, shoot once and evaluate your aim. If your arrows fall short, you need to aim higher, over their heads. If there are some lords defending the castle with their heavy infantry, chances are their first line are heavily armored troops, and it will take your infantry some time to take them down.
This is a dangerous spot to be in because your side will try to hinder the opposition by climbing ladders, they will easily be exposed to the enemy archers. However, most armored troops have their heads exposed with a lighter helmet, so you can bring down a least a few troops, and that makes all the difference. You may need a bigger quiver for more arrows here, or even bring more than one quiver, if you are going full archer.
The Final Push
When allies establish safe spots on the walls, this will be a good indicator to get over the walls yourself. Dismount, and rush towards the ladder, as allies tend to make space for you to cross. Draw your shield, climb the walls, and the find the quickest path to the towers (recall their position from the previous phase).
The towers have either dead archers with quivers thrown on the ground for you to replenish your own (Press left-Alt to highlight them), or arrow stands which enemy archers have used to refill their own quivers. Once restocked, you can choose a high point and shoot down the remaining resistance.
If all goes well, victory will be yours, and your faction will have taken the castle from the enemy. Now politics will play its course, and you will get a chance to take the castle as your own.
Swaying the Vote in Your Favor
Before the adrenaline in your veins subsides after the intense battle, you will get a prompt on the right side of the screen, saying the castle has been taken, and it’s time to decide who takes ownership. If you think you deserve it after all the work you’ve put in, but after pressing the prompt, it takes you to the kingdom panel to find the vote is not going in your favor, don’t despair as you still have a chance to grab this sweet castle.
You can simply spend Influence to get the new fief, just choose yourself in the vote screen and spend 50 points to influence the vote. Usually 50 is enough if you have some lords in the faction who like you, but if you find 100% support against you, you probably need more Influence spent to persuade them. If your Influence is not enough, and there’s no one on your side, you have to pass this vote and wait for another siege or settlement to take. But if everything goes well, congratulations are in order, you have got your first settlement, and have a huge step up in the world.
This wraps up our Conquering Guide for Bannerlord of our starter series, and in our next guide, we will be covering how to mange the settlements you’ve gained. Stay tuned for more guides for Mount & Blade 2 Bannerlord, as we plan on sharing more in the upcoming weeks. In the mean time, be sure to drop by the Mount & Blade 2 Bannerlord wiki for all the latest info, and check our Part One and Part Two of the this guide.