Mount and Blade:Warband – Story time

I’m debating whether to keep a running blog account of my Mount and Blade game. Part of me thinks it would be interesting, and also a good way to cover what I like about the game without doing a ten page ‘review’ post. On the other hand, maybe it would make for some boring blogging? I mean in-game stories about MMOs (especially the “I’m not in Empire anymore” sandbox ones) are one thing; they are virtual worlds and unexpected and interesting stuff (hopefully) happens, but single-player games are different. Bet you won’t believe how my Dragon Age/Onyxia game ended! Whelps for you as well? Hmmm. M&B:W though is a single-player sandbox, so now what?

I’ll give it a shot, and if it’s not working out, I’ll stop. Feel free to suggest how to improve on this, or what you might like to read. With that said, on to the game.

I never finished my initial game (130 in-game days played), but I did experience enough that I feel like a second go-around will be different enough to make it worthwhile. I’m still clueless on how things work once you really rise in power, but I’m comfortable enough with the beginning and middle to feel like I’m not going to totally screw myself over. Plus with the few mods I’ve installed, I feel like a fresh start is the way to go.

I decided to start in Nord lands, since they are in the top-left corner of the map and are more protected than right-in-the-middle Swadia. I also like the idea of an army full of Viking-like melee units. I decided not to start as a noble, just to see what the journey is like to get to that status. Finally, I made a rough plan on which companions I want to keep around, and how exactly the various party-based skills are going to be spread around.

After completing the starting merchant quest line, I went around for a bit collecting recruits from the local villages. I also participated in a tournament, but with my character being so fresh, I only advanced a few rounds before getting knocked out. The real killer was archery, as I was doing next to no damage and that was after missing most of my shots.

The first quest I accepted was from King Ragnar himself, to collect taxes from his city. Once this was done, I was sitting on just over 7000 dinars. Instead of going back to the king, I used this seed money to buy up some local goods and went on a little trip around the world, visiting various cities to not only buy/sell for profit, but also to drop in to their taverns and find some companions. After seeing much of the world, I had collected some companions and made some good money, so it was time to return to Nord lands and go about becoming a lord.

Turning in the king’s taxes earned me a bit of favor with him, but not nearly enough for him to accept me as a vassal. Being a peasant, I was also not able to access the local feast to chat it up with the other lords. Since I was not officially aligned with a nation, my only ‘enemies’ were bandits, and unfortunately most of them traveled faster than my party, making it impossible for me to chase them down and fight them to earn some renown. Chicken/egg here.

I tried to help some of the local villages with their problems, but doing peasant work was not getting me very far in terms of status, and the few fights I was able to get into were very slowly getting me where I wanted to be. I cut down my party to just over 20 men, including companions, and this along with some training increased our travel speed enough to hunt down the local raiders. After a few tough fights, my little band was shaping up and we were finally earning some decent money, along with picking up some better equipment.

The tipping point came when a local lord, upset that the Nords were at war, wanted me to attack a Sarranid town or caravan, place evidence that it was the Nords, and hopefully start a war. While the journey was long, I finally tracked down a Sarranid trade caravan and helped myself to their goods (over the dead bodies of the guards). The local lord was very pleased with my success, and this combined with a tournament win earned me enough renown to become an official vassal of the Nords. Success!

As soon as I joined the kingdom and accepted rule over a poor little village, the Sarranids declared war on us. I wonder why…

The Marshal of the land sent out the call, and eager to prove my place, I hastily accepted. We traveled across Swadia to lay siege to a Sarranid castle, our army a solid 400+ men strong between seven lords. We made a quick stop at a village (to pillage it), and then it was on to the castle. After a few days of siege, the battle for the castle itself broke out, and while I went down on the final push (one too many arrows in my chest will do that), the siege was a success and our kingdom was one castle stronger.

After quickly resting up, I noticed one of our lords was locked in battle with two Sarranid lords, with things looking grim. I rushed over to help, but even with my band of 40ish men, the odds were still against us (120 vs 190). It also did not help that I was leading a band of peasant and not knights. Still, the first battle, while bloody, went our way. We had killed or wounded 150 of their men, at the cost of 90 of our own. Round two looked promising, as 30 vs 40 was much better than 120 vs 190. Or so I thought. Very quickly I noticed that their 40 were mostly highly-trained units, while we were left with pitchforks and rocks. It was a slaughter, and I was the last man to go down, taken off my horse by a very angry mob.

With that battle lost, and our other allies no-where in sight, I was captured and taken to a local castle, where after a few days I was able to escape. Unfortunately many of my companions are still sitting in the dungeon, and I’ve so far only been able to re-connect with two of them. Beaten, I returned home to Nord lands and began to rebuild my army.

As I did so, the Vaegirs, our neighbors to the west, declared war on us.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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23 Responses to Mount and Blade:Warband – Story time

  1. Cupp221 says:

    Keep it coming! After reading of your times in M&B, you’ve convinced me to start playing again. I’m going to check out the mod pack you mentioned in your previous posts and see how I like them.

    It really is a wonderfully addicting and satisfying game.

  2. Saucelah says:

    Syncaine outlines a novel.

    As for feedback, I enjoyed the read. Not sure if it will elicit many comments (I say as I write a comment), but if entertaining a few readers is your goal, you succeeded with me. I also read the Darkfall PvP stories though I rarely comment on them.

    You sold me on the game as well. Will be my next purchase, someday.

  3. Saucelah says:

    Oh, and more detail on battles.

    • SynCaine says:

      Ok will do. Trying to find a good length for these, as they can get wordy real quick.

      I’m not as worried about comment number as I am about general interest. I know people like the DF stories even though they don’t get comments, just was not sure about M&B. So far so good though.

  4. Cupp221 says:

    Also maybe offer up some strategies and trade routes that you’ve found. I always would buy iron from the Nords and sell to the Sarranids for quick money.

    In mounted battle, I would always pick a 1 handed sword with a long reach and no ability to thrust. That way, I could just line up a group of enemies on foot and make passes at them on my horse, hitting them with my swings and not accidentally thrusting with the sword. Also, picking a horse with a good ability to turn is very important for getting back into the battle quickly.

    I should probably try out a lance in battle sometime, come to think of it…

    • SynCaine says:

      The lance is crazy damage (one-shots if the speed is right) but tough to line up initially, plus it’s one hit and then you have to travel again to reset it. Good for that initial burst, but then you either keep moving or you switch to something else.

      Currently my guy has a 1h sword, shield, lance, and javelins. Nothing beats someone running at you only to get a huge javelin in the dome.

      • Mig says:

        You can cheese up the combat rather easily by just riding a fast horse and using a lance. I won countless battles by just ordering my troops to stay put while the enemy chased me in circles as I killed them one by one.

        • SynCaine says:

          Archers will kill you if you try that (assuming you have the AI up).

        • Mig says:

          I do not remember what difficulty I played on, but after the first charge when I would take out their leader the unit would break ranks to chase me. I then stayed at the fringe of the archer’s range until they ran out of arrows.

        • SynCaine says:

          I guess it depends who you are facing, and how many units they have. Although, waiting for every archer to fire off 30+ shots would be very zzzz.

          But yea, if you have the AI up, and don’t do the less player/unit damage thing, I still don’t know if that would work, because even a few guys on mounts could chase you down and cause trouble.

        • Torcano says:

          Well if you didn’t change it the difficulty sliders all start at “Easiest”, which might explain things.

          And it seems like you probably aren’t facing large armies of higher end troops or at least armies with a variety of troops yet.

          When you face a force with 30 archers, 30 knights, and the rest infantry how are you going to use either of your 2 cheese tactics?

          But anyway, personally I don’t see where the fun in that would be anyway.

        • SynCaine says:

          Battle size is, IMO, the biggest factor. If you leave it set to 30, you can dominate. If you bump it to 150 (or higher with mods), big battles become more about tactics (unit positioning) than about one guy going around butchering (though you do that as well).

          That’s part of the fun though, all the layers.

  5. Ludo says:

    What I love about games like M&B is that they feature a lot of complexity under the hood – it’s there if you want to dig deeper.

    Reading their manual is a total eye opener – there’s a lot of little obscure rules and mechanics that open things up for a seasoned player.

    For example:

    Over-world travel speed: The larger the party the slower it will move, but more importantly, your party only travels as fast as the slowest unit. So if you have ANY foot soldiers – including a companion without a horse, your speed is cut down drastically. If you prefer your companions to fight dismounted, just keep a horse equipped for travel speed sake and, once in a battle, order them to dismount.

    The bulk and weight of your inventory slows you down as well – a lesser known mechanic can help mitigate this: buy two cheap saddle horses and keep them in your inventory. These horses act as pack animals and help carry your goods/loot and reduces the speed penalty a little.

    • Torcano says:

      To add to your last point, I read that you can also keep mounted prisoners with your party and they factor into the speed the same as mounted troops would.

      Are you sure that its purely “as slowest unit”? From what I’ve seen, it is a combination of: number of troops, how many are mounted/dismounted, and also the types of troops apart from whether mounted.

      It seems like while foot troops slow you down, having mounted troops can offset this to some degree.

  6. Sleepysam says:

    FWIW, these are a nice and easy read.

  7. Jordan says:

    Man this game sounds deep…sheesh.

    I wonder how many different ways there are to progress in the game though. Like the story you tell here, will the king always reach out to you fairly early and give you this same quest and that’s how you get going etc…or was that just one of many different things that “could” happen to help you progress early?

    Are there dungeons? Special weapons you could find? Any kinds of mobs other than human/animal? Or is it strictly a 100% “realistic” medieval setting?

    This sounds like the kind of game i could get lost in if it’s as “sandboxy” as it appears from your posts. Sadly, while loving these kinds of games my schedule really doesn’t permit me to play them. If i continue to like what i read on here however it may be worth a download and maybe play 30 minutes here and an hour there whenever i can.

    • Kyir says:

      There are, unfortunately, none of those things.

      Well, there are “special” weapons in that sometimes weapon shops have rare weapons, but they’re not magical or anything.

      Bet there’s a mod for it though.

      • Torcano says:

        Well I would imagine that all of those things and more exist actually, M&B has one of the craziest mod communities around.

        But about just the base game, what you should know is that it is 100% historically based when it comes to the setting. So no magic, whatsoever, at all.

        Its a fictional world, but the technology and society are based purely from medieval history. So yes, 100% strictly medieval setting.

        But, the mods for this game are very, very easy to use and there are lots of them for everything you could imagine.

        p.s.

        While technically there aren’t “special” weapons (and by special you probably mean Magical, as opposed to say, bazookas or LMGs), for your intents and purposes they exist.

        They don’t have a “+1”, but basically any game with tons of loot and weapons is going to have different effectiveness levels. For example, if in one game you have a +1 and +2 sword, in M&B you have a “Chipped Heavy Bastard Sword” and a “Masterwork Bastard Sword”.

        The difference is in M&B weapons have different variables like speed, weight, length, and plain-old damage that are ALL factored into its effectiveness.

        Anyway, if wanting special weapons really means “getting better weapons in loot” then yes, the game has them.

        If however you wanted a nice glowy skin for a weapon, thats mod-territory.

  8. Jezebeau says:

    Adding horses to your inventory is another way to increase your speed. Also, with enough reputation from slaughtering bandits, you can gain a fiefdom without running annoying errands for nobles.

  9. ben says:

    Really making me regret that my computer dropped out at the credit card stage on impulse and i didnt persist to get this game when it was 60% off. Sounds like good fun.

  10. Kyir says:

    Swadian Knights should be in all battles.

    All of them.

  11. danny says:

    Get a companion with high trainer skill It really helps

  12. The Son says:

    ever since i was a child, i wanted a medieval combat simulator game, and this game really pushes all my buttons, well, along with Chivalry:Medieval Warfare, this one being better, though. and yeah, i never cared much for the role playing part, so i just exported the character and messed with his stats, although always careful to keep it interesting. i started with the kingdom of swadia, and now i’m a little warlord, with its’ own castle and two villages and everything.

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