Mount & Blade is an indie Strategy Game with tactical action andRPG Elements, developed by TaleWorlds Entertainment and published by Paradox Interactive. It is a sandbox-style game, set in the medieval-ish land of Calradia, where you begin with a lame horse, a rusty sword, a bent crossbow, and some tattered rags, and are then expected to impress a king of your choice and conquer the world for him (or whatever else you feel like, really). You can hire mercenaries, train them, trade between cities, fight bandits, and even become a vassal to a lord and be granted a village, castle, or town.The combat uses a physics engine that determines the speed of a swing, relative to the target, and gives a percentage bonus (or penalty) to the damage of the attack based on its relative speed.An Updated Re-release called Warband came out in April 2010, featuring a significantly improved combat model, a revamped single-player campaign with more in-depth political system, new items and locations, and probably the most called-for feature, multiplayer. Released in late 2009 in Eastern Europe and May 2011 in North America and the rest of Europe was With Fire and Sword, effectively a mod for Warband developed by the Ukrainian group SiCh Studio and Russian Snowberry Connection (former Snowberry Connection). It adds early guns, a historical (fiction) setting, improves town-management and gives more options than just "put a single ladder with room for 1 guy up the wall" in sieges as well as a storyline to follow. On April 19th, 2012, an updated version of the popular mod Mount & Musket was released as official DLC for Warband, titled Napoleonic Wars, which takes place, of course, during the Napoleonic Wars. A proper sequel with a full engine overhaul is also in the early stages.
Actually Four Mooks / Party in My Pocket: The game does this on the worldmap, but the actual number of troops + prisoners is displayed alongside the sprite, and as you get closer, you can see the number and type of troops in each party. The exact same system is applied to each of the parties ingame, including the player's one.
Action Girl: Lady Isolla of Suno, Arwa the Pearled One, and a few of the companions (Ymira, Klethi, Deshavi, Katrin, Matheld). And the player, if they so choose.
Adventure-Friendly World: The constant wars between the various kingdoms create opportunities for wandering adventurers to make a name for themselves, and the bandits that pop up in the absence of any effective police force (because most of the kingdoms' resources are going into fighting the wars) ensures there are plenty of targets for guilt-free looting and level-grinding.
The Alleged Steed: The one you start with, usually. The description given lists it as "swaybacked," implying old age, overuse, or injury in its past life (or any combination of the three).
Amusing Injuries: Can occur when your character or your horse is impaled with a lot of arrows and thrown weapons. Nothing like riding a horse that has five thrown spears sticking out of it, while your character becomes a human pincushion with multiple arrows sticking out.
With the usual exception of the bastard sword, which is a misnomer historians applied to hand-and-a-half longswords. Correctly, all western swords with a two-handed hilt are longswords, with the one-handed base form being considered an arming sword or a short sword.
An Entrepreneur Is You: Players can set up enterprises such as breweries, ironworks and oil-presses in cities which, if done right can considerably offset the costs of their warbands.
Appeal to Force: King Graveth won the Rhodok election by coming in armed and announcing that there was a Swadian raiding party that was coming to kill the electoral council, and that he'd only defend them if they elected him immediately. Graveth lauds this; he despises the patricians of the towns and considers their democracy a sham.
An Axe to Grind: Axes have a bonus against shields and throwing axes are one of the signature weapons of Nord Huscarls.
An Entrepreneur Is You: Trading goods is one way to make money, and Warband allows investing in personal enterprises.
Animal Motifs: Each kingdom has a particular beast sign in their menu. Swadians have the lion, Rhodoks the bear, Vaegirs a snow leopard, Khergits a wolf, Nords a raven and the Sarranids have a falcon.
Annoying Arrows: Played straight except for headshots, usually. Though there's still sometimes the amusing sight of one of the tougher units charging on with an arrow sticking out of his eye. Hey, at least the flinching animation can interrupt the attack animation of an incoming cavalier and save your life.
Rarer when full damage is enabled; two arrows are usually lethal unless their target is wearing plate armor.
Still played straight for the player, in that they'll never actually kill you (outside of With Fire and Sword, anyway). Then again, neither does anything else.
Horses can take quite an amount of punishment, sometimes needing 3 arrows to the head before dropping.
Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Averted, the limit is based on skills and renown. It's still strangely specific, but at least it's based on something.
Armor Is Useless: Averted, though with cheaper armor at lower levels you might think this is the case.
Armor of Invincibility: In game combination of Iron Greaves or Plate Boots, Gauntlets, and (especially) Plate Armor and a Winged Great Helmet. Though many favor substituting the last one for a Great Helmet because of its' nearly-as-high protection, cheaper cost, and less likelihood of screwing with ranged shots. Not activated in the base game is Black Armor, which fit this trope so much it was Dummied Out. Though it was later re-imagined and re-imported into With Fire & Sword.
Artificial Stupidity: Enemy and ally AI is lacking. Riding close by enemies attempting to reach your archers will cause them to either drop their own bows and pull out melee weapons, or turn around and leave their back unshielded, letting your own archers nail them.
The chance of archers shooting you in the back, or the guarantee of a guy on a horse stabbing you in the back? Smarter then you think...until they realize your cavalry forces suddenly show up en masse behind them because they were too distracted by you.
Note that they still do this even if you have a tower shield pasted to your back, falling back into stupidity.
Played straight if you auto-resolve a battle. Unless you outnumber the enemy group vastly, you're going to suffer quite a few casualties on your side, including supposedly "elite" troops. You're almost always better off just jumping into the battle, and if you don't really feel like fighting, just hang back and watch your guys slaughter the enemy forces, especially if they're mostly low level units.
Also played straight if you use the cheat to let the computer takeover your character. While interesting to watch, your character then becomes incredibly stupid and can barely hold his own against peasants. Which is odd considering how competent they usually control the cavalry forces, both yours and the enemy's.
Ascended Extra: The Khergits were a type of bandit until an update turned them into a proper faction.
For example, if the enemy is holding up their shield, you can attempt to circle around them and hit them from behind so long as you're not the only target around them.
If they're heavily armored but not wearing a helmet, a head strike will do massive damage, and with a strong enough weapon, can One-Hit Kill them.
When approaching an enemy formation you're better off picking at their flanks rather than a headlong rush in the middle of them.
You can also raid enemy villages to weaken their economy, deny them building up their armies for a while, and loot things. Occasionally this will force the enemy to attack you in an attempt to save their village.
Authority Equals Asskicking: A common occurence with the faction lords, who after all lead armies as part of their job description. Specific levels of asskickery vary between individuals, but most can outfight their own elite troops. If you see someone with distinctive armor riding around the battlefield scything down your troops with an actual scythe, it's probably a lord.
Of course, them being so distinct (and you not actually being bound by any rules of chivalry until after the battle, what with being a player character out to win,) this lets the player home in on them quite easily; especially if the Lord has already suffered several defeats in a row and is leading an army of recruits. It's not hard to single out the one guy in full heraldric platemail on a horse amongst an army of barely-trained militiamen on foot with spears! (Cue the player's bag of bodkin arrows.)
Automaton Horses: Horses are basically treated like any other equippable item, never tire, never panic, and are perfectly willing to run headlong into obstacles like walls or trees at full speed unless steered clear by the player. They can be injured in battle, though, and have a chance of becoming lame or dying when they run out of Hit Points. They also have their own AI while not being ridden and will bolt off if hit.
As of Warband, warriors with long spears or pikes (you can tell which will serve this function—they can't be used on horseback, and compare the image of that to that of the soldier type in question; also some mods call such arms a "pike" or such troops a "pikeman") can and will cause your horse (or an AI horse for that matter) to rear back and stop on a dime, if they are pointing it at you and/or stabbing it forwards, or at the very least, you're riding head-on at said person(s). One can only imagine how well this barely-noticed change in mechanics could serve in multiplayer....
Any spear-like weapon has that effect in Warband, not just pikes...the pikes are just REALLY long, so it gives more room to work with. Also any spear or lance can be foot-couched by pressing X while unmounted. This causes tremendously magnified damage to any unit who runs into the tip while couched...not quite as OP as a mounted Couched lance, but way more then you'll likely do otherwise (greatly increases the speed-based damage bonus), and can even take out a charger in 1 hit, if they're coming at full speed.
Badass Army: Any force composed of top-level units. They will make hay out of a lord's army. You can even wipe out several hundred men with your tiny force of 50-90 elite units, especially if they're mounted or waiting for the enemy atop a nice, tall wall.
BFS: Obviously, the two-handed swords, but a few weapons used to be way oversized.
The Sword of War is the longest non-polearm in the game, needless to say, it's a very big sword.
Being Good Sucks: The benefits of having a high honor are dubious at best. You have to turn down often needed rewards for quests, release valuable prisoners, skip lucrative quests, refrain from beating down on the peasantry, and make enemies of the "dishonorable" nobles across the realm. All to make friends with some "honorable" ones. And prior to Warband, it didn't even properly do that.
Honour does have one benefit, namely becoming marshal. If your honour is high enough, a lot of lords will like you enough to vote for you to become marshal without you having had to bother doing a million quests for them, saving you time that can be used to make the money you're missing out on from dishonourable acts by battling, which also trains your men and keeps morale high. The dishonourable lords never go below -3 relation with you no matter how high your honour is either, you need to do other things to make anyone hate you more than that.
Being Evil Sucks: Partially averted, partially played straight. It's easy and profitable to do "dishonorable" missions, such as assassinations, kidnappings, and starting wars, with little consequences aside from ticking off the victims. However, dishonorable acts such as pillaging villages or kicking around the local peasantry will draw the ire of the local Lord, who can usually (At least early-on in the game) kick your tail pretty soundly.
In Warband, you also have to take into account the opinion of your companions: many come from the peasantry and aren't too fond of watching their kind get murdered and looted, especially as they are supposed to take part in the pillaging.
Blade on a Stick: Spears are best used only against cavalry, and most other polearms are best used only by cavalry.
Black Cloak: Whenever you sneak into an enemy controlled city, you wear one of these, along with a staff and throwing knives.
Black Knight: Patched out, but they used to roam around with the best armor in the game and having a cadre of followers. Unfortunately, this made them crazy dangerous even to lords and kings, which threw off world balance rather fast.
Boom, Headshot: Doable with every ranged weapon in the game for double damage.
Hunting down bandits and deserters for loot may be more fun, but if you're looking to turn a consistent profit or support a larger force, commodities trading and enterprises are much more reliable sources of income.
That said, the "trash mobs" are a better source of exp for your units rather than using the training field. Sure, they could get killed, but you get much better exp killing bandits and you can get loot as well, and prisoners if you knock enough of them out. And the units that survive repeated fights can get promoted to better units faster.
Mounted players using a polearm may get into the habit of using the "couched lance" charge attack as much as possible. However, you're usually better off just doing a drive-by stabbing, as a regular attack can sometimes do enough damage to kill enemy units, especially low level or weakly armored ones. And simply attacking with it can be faster than waiting for the couched lance cooldown.
Bow and Sword in Accord: Commonly used by NPCs and the default setup of the player. Useful as there will be situations where getting into melee or standing off at range is inadvisable or even suicidal. NPC archers and crossbowmen always carry melee weapons and sometimes shields, and the highest level ranged attackers can be used as middling infantry in a pinch.
Boxed Crook: You can recruit captured looters, bandits, and their ilk into your warband. Since they tend to be lower-tier troops and take quite a bit of extra effort to level up compared to recruits and mercenaries, they're often useful for little more than cheap cannon fodder to preserve the rest of your army.
Also, while the basic units (Looters, etc) are extremely cheap (1 gold per unit per week), their advanced levels (Mountain Bandit, Forest Bandit, etc) are extremely expensive (up to 35 gold per unit per week), and separated by a mere one level of advancement, making them impractical to level and Overrated And Underleveled if you bother with it.
Cast of Snowflakes: The face generator allows an impressive array of variations, and the game makes good use of it. In addition, soldiers of the same type will have slightly different equipment, differentiating them further.
Chainmail Bikini: Averted, armor looks similar on women as it does to men. However, in training fields and arena melees, men wear knee-length trousers and women wear bikinis.
Civil War: You can be involved in one if you support one of the claimants against the current leader of the faction. The war goes on until you either decide to stop supporting them, or you takeover all of the rival's castles and towns. And should the claimant win, they become the new faction leader.
A Commander Is You: Pick (and mix, if you have the patience) units from a choice of different factions:
Swadians: Balanced, Elitists. (Most powerful Heavy Cavalry and overall balanced force)
Rhodoks: Technical, elitists. (Most powerful Defensive force in the game. But requires carefully organized formations of their Sergeants and Sharpshooters to excel (which is why the computer controlled Rhodoks tend to get rolled easily when not defending castles). Sergeants counter heavy cavalry (spears) and keep arrows and melee(huge shields and heavy armor)away from the sharpshooters, who kill everything else easily. Slower then a pack of huscarls or swadian knights at winning, but basically unstoppable with no real weaknesses if used properly).
Nords: Brute force, elitists, huscarl specialists
Khergits: Rangers, horse archer specialist
Vaegirs: Rangers, technical (their top-tier infantry and cavalry are shock units and lose in prolonged melee)
Sarranids (Warband): Technical; the faction requires a fundamentally different mindset from the othersnote They tend to have light armor on their melee units, and less range on their ranged units, but as a whole, they hit much harder and tend to move somewhat faster than other factions. That being said, they tend to eschew horses (with the exception of high level units), so calvary is a uncommon. They are extremely powerful if used carefully, but easily overwhelmed if not..
Continuing Is Painful: Just escaped capture? Well, you can try not reloading a save, but you will have likely lost valuable and rare equipment, a sizable chunk of money, and all of your soldiers and companions. And your companions could be waiting for you in any tavern on all of Calradia.
Doubles as The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, as while other lords spend a sizeable amount of time in captivity as well, immediately upon becoming free they regain their entire army and do not have any disadvantages.
Cosmetically Different Sides: Generally averted, but when a Sarannid Mameluke force and a Swadian Knight one charge into eachother, it becomes apparently they have practically the exact same stats with Sarannids being slightly lighter armored and faster and Swadians being heavier armored and slower, That is to say, a Sarranid Mameluke will get somewhere one second before a Swadian Knight and said Knight will take one more wind gust to take down.
Crippling Overspecialization: The Khergits are an all-cavalry faction. They're amazingly powerful in the field, but they suffer horribly in siege warfare...and siege battles are the most difficult and the most important battles in the game.
Dangerous Deserter: In spades. From a technical point of view, they are very similar to regular groups of bandits, but are often far more numerous and better equipped. They can be a Demonic Spiders style threat early in the game, but become less intimidating after the player levels up considerably and creates his party. Still, large groups of advanced troops (40 nords warriors in full mail armor for instance) remain a threat for a pretty long time.
Disc One Nuke: A character with the "Lady in Waiting" background starts with one of the best horses (and the 2nd fastest, losing by only one point of speed) at the cost of a hit to other starting equipment (that is very poor for everyone and will be replaced after your first battle anyways). The Easter Egg "Strange" equipment in Rivacheg and Tihr (and Jelkala, but it is technically inaccessible without edit mode) is pretty handy if you find it early.
Disney Death: Neither the player character, the namedNPCs, nor any of the lords can be killed in battle - they're only knocked unconscious and taken prisoner, and either are ransomed or escape. Your hirelings can be killed, but even then you can learn a surgery skill granting a chance that a soldier who would've been killed will be merely knocked unconscious instead.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: Calradia is a sexist land (though it is only briefly touched on before Warband) where even the lords that have been established through dialogue as being just and honorable have no qualms with raiding caravans, burning and plundering villages and attacking helpless traveling farmers, provided they belong to an enemy faction.
The Steppe Bandits more so than the actual Khergit lords themselves, as they're always hostile.
Subverted at times depending on your companions, who may have reservations about raiding villages or killing defenseless farmers (in part due to either coming from similar backgrounds or knowing them personally).
Drop the Hammer: In Warband, the Rhodok's array of hammers. They also deal a ridiculous amount of damage and ignore shields completely making them quite popular in multiplayer siege battles for clearing besiegers off ladders or holding of a tide of attackers pouring forth from a siege tower.
Hammers also explicitly ignore a certain degree of armor, and the more armor you're wearing, the more armor it ignores. So wearing a full set of extremely expensive plate that even archers have difficulty penetrating means that hammers will do considerably more damage to you than other weapons.
Mostly averted, in that lords will stop asking you to deliver letters for them once you're rich, powerful and famous. Generally. Also averted in the tournaments where, if you defeat enough opponents, you can stay in the game even if you lose.
Can be played straight if you take over a fort or city, and then don't get to keep it if you ask for it. While you usually get dibs if you conquered it, especially by yourself, once in a while your faction leader will reward the town/fort to someone other than you.
Dummied Out: Firearms and things that were in earlier releases but patched out.
They can be brought back by changing a single value in the module.ini filenote display_wp_firearms, if you were wondering. Same with the black knight armor, though the Black Knights themselves are still out.
Dungeon Town: Occasionally coming to a town you will find that there's a group of bandits in it, causing you to have to liberate the town.
Easter Egg: There's samurai equipment hidden around in hard to spot chests.
Easy Logistics: Averted like hell. Troops will become unhappy and eventually desert if they don't have anything to eat. Overworld map speed is brought down by excess weight from loot. The latter can be addressed by keeping extra horses in your inventory that are used as load animals, but having too many horses will negate this effect, allegedly because larger amounts of horses are harder to control. Also, wages and unit promotion primes, which at the end game add up to a hefty amount.
There is a mod for Warband, named ''Rigale'', which goal is to bring this trope's aversion Up to Eleven. For example, troops become tired if they march outside for too long without resting, either in a camp or in a town; building a camp needs wood logs (number proportional to party's size). Also, using ammunition on the battlefield really consumes then. Another features is the necessity to have several different food items in the inventory, or the troops will quickly become sick of dysentry.
Enemy Exchange Program: Villages that changed ownership still produce troops of the faction they originally belonged to, even when that faction no longer exists. When a faction is defeated and its lords disperse, they also retain and are able to recruit troops of their original faction even in service of their new masters.
When a lord is awarded a fief or fortress that is not originally from its faction, their armies become mixed.
An Entrepreneur Is You: Aside from all the money you pull in from plunder and rewards, you can also fund enterprises like flour mills, breweries, and smithies to make a little extra cash on the side.
Evil Uncle: King Harlaus of Swadia and King Yaroglek of Vaegir, according to their claimants' stories.
The Exile: Endicting a lord from your faction of treason is the only reliable way to put said lord out of play permanently. Other kings can also order exiles for their own lords, but these just join a different faction (hopefully yours) instead.
Failure Is the Only Option: Sometimes, a hero from your party, displeased by your actions or other heroes he can't deal with, will leave, saying he enjoyed the travels and company but now want to lead his own life. It's guaranteed to fail. Whenever you meet them again, they'll always tell you what they tried didn't work, that they miss the time where they were working for you and want to join back. It doesn't mean they won't leave later and fail again.
While not made as explicit, the Old Calradian Empire has strong hints of both Imperial Rome and Byzantine Rome...and everyone wants a piece of its legacy.
Of course, mods which expand the Calradian setting in other eras / places (example: the Sword of Damocles dyptich) add new factions which usually fit the trope or alters the default ones. For example, The Red Wars, Calradia 1903note more or less the Calradian equivalent of the worldwars, after their own communist Russian Revolution - all six native factions remained there in a 20th century flavour, with slighlty altered names: Nordic Union, Swazi Reich, Rhodokian Socialist Workers Union, United Vaegir Federation, Peoples Republic of the Khergit, Sarranid Islamic Confederation has the 1903's Vaegir as USSR expies (with Lenin statues, red flags, and hammer-sickles) and the Swadian as German Reich (including eagles and swastikas).
First-Person Ghost: Averted. You can see your arms, legs, and torso during first-person view. Even when you die.
Fluorescent Footprints: A variation — in the world map, tracks of NPC parties are depicted as bright arrows, giving more information on the party leaving the tracks on mouse-over (the information available depends on your or your highest-skilled party member's tracking skill).
Flynning: Averted. The battles are full of realistically rough and hard-hitting swings, stabs and parries.
Foe-Tossing Charge: With a sufficiently heavy horse, a high Riding skill, and relatively flat terrain, you can simply ride through a throng of enemies instead of around them.
Zig-Zagged. Charging the enemy (especially alone where you don't have to worry about enemies) is a great way to disrupt the discipline of the enemy, since you will stun the ones you hit and draw a lot of aggro, thereby giving your hirlings the upper hand. But doing it is also just about the fastest way to get yourself killed if you screw up, since hitting enemies will slow you down. If you lose your momentum, the enemy will swarm and trap you, making escape extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Friendly Enemy: If you're in the habit of letting enemy commanders go after battles, you could very well discover that you're on better terms with your enemies than with your allies.
Strangely, averted for all weapons by default in Warband's multiplayer. Since multiplayer is more arcade-like than singleplayer, it's strange this relatively hardcore option would be only available there. Confusingly, many server admins will kick you for accidentally killing your teammates, which raises the question why they don't disable that option if it upsets them so much.
Full-Circle Revolution: In the backstory. The Rhodoks threw out the Swadians and decided that they were done with nobility, but soon local strongmen built castles, started collecting taxes and tolls and called themselves lords. By the time of the game, even the Elective Monarchy is now won by force of arms instead of the will of the electors.
Game-Breaking Bug: Putting points into your shield skill allows you to raise your shield faster and also increases its coverage (making it 'larger'). But it does this for all shields, yours as well as those carried by other characters. Especially annoying for archer characters, who need to be able to reliably shoot around enemy shields.
You may also want to avoid the 'lend companion' requests that lords sometimes make if you have a rebellion in progress. These requests can include the claimant, and if the rebellion then ends while the claimant is away, the whole structure of the faction breaks down.
Also in the claimant quests is that if someone other than the rebels finishes off the original faction, the ending is bugged.
Accidentally fall onto a rock while fighting bandit camps? Your now completely helpless unless you are an archer because said rock makes you permanently considered falling (You have the falling animation but don't go down) and thus cannot control yourself.
Game-Favored Gender: Goes both ways in different games. In the original, starting as female will give you better skill-point options. In Warband, female characters need far higher reputations to become lords and don't receive a fief with it - which is severely detrimental when becoming a lord is required to access the later game.
Sword of Damocles and Sword of Damocles: Warlords are two parallel mods. The first expands the setting by adding several factions and an invasion of Calradia from a Roman-like army. The second is set forty years latter and involves the factions (the original and the new ones) occupying a continent which has been colonized between the two games.
Prophesy Of Pendor is a Nintendo Hardmod, set in an original universe, and consisting in uniting the whole map by eliminating all factions (rival kingdoms and wandering bandits parties), except the Noldors, who need to be befriended.
Lots of New Companions adds about hundred new companions, new skill books, more advanced fief / kingdom management options, and knighthood orders as minifactions.
The Wedding Dance is set in a new map with new factions (although it is still called "Calradia"), in which the player character is a sibling of the legitimate ruler of the whole Calradia (the empress being actually a companion in the player character's party). The goal is still to conquest the whole continent, with the addition of wedding (the player character spouse becomes a party member), Siege Engines, and war chariots in open battles.
Freelancer adds a feature allowing the player character to joins any lord's army as a single unspecific soldier, and eventually being promoted after enough battles (following the default units tree).
With Fire and Sword is a non-free mod, which changes the setting to the Khmelnitsky War as described in Polish historical epic Ogniem i Mieczem (the wars with Cossacks, Tatars and Sweden in the second half of 17th century), with storyline based on the novel Black Mace by Alex Trubnikov.
The Floris Mod Pack, which incorporates a number of different mods (including Freelancer mentioned above) to overhaul the game and add new features, items, character interactions, and options for an expanded troop tree, better AI (for both your army and your foes), and additional enterprises.
Gang Up on the Human: Zigzagged. During actual fights, they will only specifically go after you if you're attacking them and are the closest target. Otherwise the enemy will go after whichever one of your own men is closest to them. Played straight in the sense that your towns will often get raided, especially by lords who don't like you very much. Even if it's on the other side of the map.
Gender Bender: Gender from the neck-down is altered by what armor is being worn. Also appears in some Fantasy mods (men with female voices) as an unintended consequence of the way the game handles the genders.
To be more explicit, the game allows to have up to sixteen different genders, which represent some physical and visual differences. For example, in the Phantasy Calradia mod mentionned above, male Orcs, female Orcs, male Drows, female Drows, male Dwarves, female Dwarves, etc are technically specific genders. The issue with the customized gender is that their members are considered as female by the game informations (which doesn't prevent the game to give them actual ladies as wives). It becomes especially weird if the mod is set in a non-original universe. For example, in Star Wars Conquest, Chewbacca and Yoda are female.
Geo Effects: Mountainous battlefields allow for lots of this. Cavalry units cannot charge up a slope, and ranged units, obviously, cannot shoot through hills. A sound tactic against mostly cavalry armies is to station your troops on the peak of a slope, or behind a river.
One particular build for skilled players in multiplayer: The biggest polearm/hammer your money can buy, and absolutely nothing else. The wind behind a crossbow bolt will kill you, but until then you can easily outrun everyone while everyone that even comes by gets threshed by whatever you picked.
Any light cavalry with guns qualify, being fast and deadly.
The Goomba: Looters. Their sticks and knives barely do any damage even to crappy armor, and they're woefully inaccurate with the rocks they throw. A single swing of pretty much anything tends to be enough to kill them. Finally, they tend to be pretty slow on the overmap, so, combined with the above, lets you get some early levels and money by soloing these guys and selling what little they have in nearby towns.
Gratuitous German: Not the original game, but the sheer amount of Game Mods that attempt to add Germany-based factions or units into the game and fail at properly utilizing German spelling and grammar is astounding.
Gray and Grey Morality: No single character in the game is entirely good, at least not by modern moral standards.
This even extends to all your companions. Lords are generally overbearing and look down on anyone else, scholars are to a man, constantly insulting anyone who isn't another Scholar and argue with eachother over differing views, peasants are very loose with morals, and professional soldiers tend towards the type that enjoy it.
The playable characters in Custom Battle mode are, according to their backstories, mostly criminals or greedy sellswords.
Claimants to the throne have each their story about why they should be kings. The current kings, however, also have their side of the story and their reasons. It's up to the player to decide which story is worth more.
Grid Inventory: And everything takes up one slot regardless of its size or weight.
Guns Are Useless: Averted in With Fire And Sword, where guns are extremely powerful: the gun you start the game with will kill most bandit-type enemies in one shot, and getting hit by a gun with your starting armor can easily kill you. The drawback is that they take a very long time to load, even with simple pistol weapons, and if you're on foot, that's a very bad thing (on a horse, you can at least continue to dodge effectively).
On the other hand, especially early on, said guns can also be rather inaccurate; it's possible to miss a bandit at point blank range. But even as you gain firearms experience and better weapons down the line, there's still the chance that not every bullet would reach its mark, making every shot count.
Hard-Coded Hostility: The game has major factions which can be joined by the player and a faction of several kinds of bandits and deserters, who are always hostile to the player and the major factions.
Hard Head: NPCs and redshirts saved by the surgery skill are knocked unconscious and make a full recovery within a few hours (days at most) with no lasting effects, even if they got a spear to the gut or an arrow through the eye.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Sword Sisters have what seems to be a 50/50 chance of going into battle without a helmet (the better off to show their flowing hair, presumably). Along with various recruited bandits and Khergit Lancers, they are the only unit type to do so. This makes them predictably vulnerable to arrows to the head.
Hitbox Dissonance: Shields are immaterial unless the block key is held down, lots of minor discrepancies as well.
Sort of fixed in Warband, non-blocking shields will still block arrows, but not the ones that are instant death headshots, the ones that make you buy the shield in the first place.
Hit Points: Everyone has em, though sometimes in a very odd way. My horse seems to have a spear through its head, why is it still running around?
Your horse probably has great defence stats and can probably have a lot more spears sticking out before it dies.
Shields also have hitpoints, after they are exhausted they will break (they are fixed after the battle, but move down a notch on the quality scale).
Honor Before Reason: The Rhodoks claimant Lord Kastor of Veluca himself admits that King Graveth is a hero for saving the council from a raiding party, but claims he shouldn't be king because he violated the law against bringing weapons to the council meeting.
Of course, he might well have organized said raid himself...
Horse Archer: Most Khergit troops. Building a player character into one is difficult but rewarding.
Hydra Problem: Disney Death combined with destroying a faction will become this. When all of a faction's fiefs have been conquered, said faction will be deemed extinct. When this happens, ALL the lords of that faction, excluding the king, will just join a different faction. Considering that for 85% of the game your Right-to-Rule (a hidden stat that dictates how likely you are to recruit lords to your cause) will be well below that of the remaining monarchs, this eventually leads to battles against +15 lords at the same time once enough factions have been defeated.
Hyperspace Arsenal: Attempted aversion, as you can only ever carry at most four weapons on your person. Doesn't quite work, though, since you can still stroll around and fight without any impediment with four pikes (or other such unwieldy items), one in your hands, another glued to your back and the other two presumably tucked neatly up your butt.
Implausible Fencing Powers: Because spears wielded one handed can only thrust, a player armed with a short sword can parry entire groups of spearman's attack by holding block and keeping their back to a wall (or constantly moving back).
The Siege maps in Multiplayer take this to extremes with Rhodock Warhammers/Swadian Greatswords instantly killing attackers as they swarm up ladders, or rushing through a fallen sally port only for 2-3 defenders waiting patiently to slay them.
Impoverished Patrician: One background choice. It grants you with a banner and slight fame boost (which affects max army size).
In-Universe Game Clock: There's an internal game clock, though it only takes a few minutes for a day to pass. Not so much in battle, where time doesn't change no matter how long you fight.
Inevitable Tournament: Sort of. The fighting tournaments in the large cities aren't mandatory, but placing bets on yourself and then winning goes a long way towards paying your Redshirt Army's salary.
Instant Death Radius: A sufficiently strong player character with a sufficiently long polearm can do this, offing beelines of enemy infantry without them landing a single hit. Not as easy to perform in cramped melees, such as in sieges.
In the Back: While it does not give you extra damagenote Some mods do implement bonus damage, though, hitting people from behind goes a long way in improving your kill count. For the arenafighters, for example, it works wonders.
It's Up to You: The NPC factions will never gain much territory on their own. Either they'll be defeated by an enemy force, or they just lose interest and don't bother taking more than one fort. This means that you'll end up having to do the bulk of the work if you want to conquer other countries.
Invisible Wall: All over the place and still characters can occasionally clip through scenery into places they're not supposed to be.
It's Always Spring: Even though the game does have an internal calendar that tracks the days and months going by, seasons never change.
The Juggernaut: Full-plated knights on Charger horses can quickly turn into these if you don't have pikes. They can live through almost anything below a headshot with a siege crossbow, the horses are even tougher, and they can charge straight through a clog of warriors without losing speed, while swinging a large weapon into anyone they missed.
Karma Houdini: Roughly every rival lord battling with you. They will come over and fight you with clearly inferior units to your own, just in advantage on numbers, to have their troops slaughtered en masse, but they almost always avoid capture. The player, on the contrary, is always captured if he's defeated.
Keep the Reward: An option in quite a few quests. Though it only gets you honor, which is a mixed bag (Lords have a higher default disposition if your character has a similar honor score). note i.e., high honor is bad when talking to someone with low honor
Most of the quests that give you a choice in reward, especially if you got them from a village, don't give very big monetary rewards. They do, however, give increased relations, and letting the villagers keep the reward, increases the relations even more. This is essential to keeping a large and well trained army, as higher relation villages give 5x as many troops, often times two or three ranks higher (which is just about the gap between Redshirt Amy and just strong enough to not get killed.
Played straight during sieges, especially if it's the last fort/town the enemy has. Since unlike a field battle there's nowhere for the defenders to run to they will literally fight to the death to stop the attackers from taking over.
Can also be invoked during a field battle should you be the last person standing and are facing off against a much more numerous foe. You can usually take quite a few soldiers out yourself before they're likely to overwhelm and defeat you, especially if they have a lot of archers or mounted units.
Lazy Backup: Combine the fact that your side automatically loses if your character is knocked out with the fact that sieges are done in stages and losing at any stage ends the siege unsuccessfully, and you can get into some seriously weird situations where your guys retreat, dragging your unconscious body out of the castle, through the town, up the walls, and down the siege tower ramp, just because you got knocked out by literally the last defender in the last room of the castle. And then they dismantle the tower, so you have to build a new one.
Warband and With Fire and Sword avert this. Getting KO'd in any battle, even single phase battles, causes it to auto-resolve based on the remaining troops on both sides. You only get captured if your army is completely defeated. You might still lose due to the auto-resolve being a $%#^, but it at least can be construed as your troops being demoralized and fighting worse then normal and it at least eliminates the chance that a single defender will hold a castle against an entire army just because the leader was KO'd.
Leaked Experience: Normal exp is granted for killing things yourself, and then battle exp is granted for being on the winning side. Battle exp is shared among all members of the army, even if they didn't actually appear on the battlefield. A viable strategy for leveling up troops that are yet too weak to survive actual combat.
Leeroy Jenkins: Your army's default battle behavior is full-on charge. Depending on the circumstances, this may not be the wisest strategy. Some lords will also do this as well, sometimes foolhardily charging headlong into your units, all by himself if he's the only mounted unit you're fighting against.
Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Both averted and played straight. The compass says the sea is to the north, but the companion's little pieces of lore contradict the compass (which does nothing anyways) in terms of what is in what direction (they roundaboutly indicate the sea is in the west). The compass says the permanently snowy part of the map is to the east while the companion's references to direction put it in the north, so the companions are the more reasonable one.
Leitmotif: Every musical cue for the Khergits makes use of a single melody. The same for the Nords as well. The Swadian and Rhodok themes have more variation and subtlety and the Vaegirs seem to lack a motif altogether.
Lightning Bruiser: High level cavalry units in general fit this trope. They have high amounts of hp and defense, and while on a horse are much faster than foot soldiers. And the ones equipped with a lance can often 1-shot almost any unit, including your own character if they're on the receiving end of one.
In numbers its 16 companions, 5 kings, 5 claimants to their thrones (with the only female AI fighter that is not a companion or Sword Sister), 20 lords in each of the five factions (make it 100) and a few ladies (who only stay in their castles and give missions but won't fight; about one for every three lords). All of them are named and have a few traits. Warband added another faction with another claimant and ruler, and added about 10 unmarried women to each faction for Male players to romance.
The Lots of New Companions mod turns this trope Up to Eleven: it adds hundreds of new companions, including weak fighters with highest level party skills, strong fighters with low party / leadership skills, and balanced fighters intended to be promoted as vassales.
Low Fantasy: A bit of an edge case, as the only real "fantastic" element is the Constructed World the games take place in. Despite the lack of magic, it otherwise fits the trope quite well.
Luck-Based Mission: The arena and tournament matches are this to an extent due to every participants' equipment being randomly assigned. It is possible for the player to be doomed to a loss at the beginning if he is assigned equipment he is not proficient with, or worse, a bow. (Though waiting until someone goes down or, if you're good enough, shooting them down first, before nicking their melee weapon can create an effective bow/melee combo.) Warband helped this a little bit, by allowing players to wield Throwing weapons in the melee and giving archers in the Arenas a tiny dagger.
At the beginning of the game, where you start is randomised, so you may have the misfortune of spawning right next to a party of mounted bandits.
Any quest that requires you to go outside a town and search for someone (bandits, thieves, particular enemy units to be taken prisoner), since you aren't guaranteed to actually find them. While they are somewhere on the map, asking NPC's for help usually won't get you much initially, since said bandits also move around on the map and will run from your big army once you find them.
And it really helps to be lucky enough that the AI doesn't decide to gang up on you. Which it will. Even if all five spawns have to charge across the entire damn field to do it.
Magikarp Power: Ymira may seem completely useless, being level 1 and having nothing but a kitchen knife to defend herself. But, precisely because she's level 1 and has very few pre-assigned skill points, with patience she can be trained to be highly effective in any area the player chooses for her.
A horse archer PC doesn't really start to work too well until the mid 20s or so, but at that point it can solo entire armies.
With time, denars, experience, luck and a couple levels on Surgery, any recruit will turn into a fearsome ultimate tier unit that can go toe to toe with all but the mightiest of lords, as well as solo squads of lesser units.
Marathon Level: Sieges, or field battles that happen with hundreds of soldiers. A single battle can drag on for hours. Oh, and if enough soldiers remain on each side, another round ensues, with no opportunity to save or even quit to the desktop in between.
Medieval European Fantasy: Every kingdom in the game is broadly based on at least one culture that would have been familiar to medieval Europe. The Fantasy Counterpart Culture entry has the specifics.
Men Are the Expendable Gender: Played straight for the most part, as the vast majority of armies are comprised of men. Averted with female villagers you can rescue, as they can become a decent fighting force if you can level them up to sword sisters.
Mighty Glacier: Anyone on foot with heavy armor. They could get outrun by a limping turtle, but getting close is asking to get your face splattered by a big damn weapon, and they shrug off anything that isn't just as big.
Mook Chivalry: Entirely averted. Once de-horsed, infantry will frequently swarm you from all sides, sometimes so thickly you can't move. The only defense is to backpedal and hope your shield up until The Cavalry arrive to spread them out a bit.
Can often lead to Big Damn Heroes moments as you try to hold until your infantry arrive to reinforce you.
Morale Mechanic: Morale affects how aggressively your army fights and reduces the chance of your troops deserting, and is decided by a number of factors, including your leadership skill, how many battles you've won, what types of food you give as rations, which companions you hire and whether or not you're at war with the faction a particular unit associates with.
Moveset Clone: Swadia and Vaegir share a troop tree layout and wider range of units. Swadia has crossbowmen while the Vaegirs get bowmen, Swadia's cavalry and infantry is better armored but less damaging. However, the similarities end there, and their tactics are completely different (Swadia is the Jack of All Stats faction, while the Vaegirs are GlassSpeedsters.
In Warband, the Sarranids also share the Swadian/Vaegir pattern of promotion.
Mounted Combat: Some soldiers have horses, which they will ride into combat and fight from the back of. So can the player.
Multi-Melee Master: Each weapon proficiency category covers several different types of weapons.
Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Each NPC companion has two others that they don't get along with, and will eventually make this known to you. If multiple members of the party are antagonistic and/or morale is low, some may eventually leave (take your stuff back before they do).
Warband adds another layer of complexity in the system: each party member dislikes a specific party member (causing a progressive drop in morale) if he/she serves as an emissary to support rights of the player to reach the throne. Note that this relation targets someone with which he/she has usually a neutral relation and is described as the emissary using a particular argument that offends that character's sensibilities.
With Fire and Sword has an even more complex system of relations inside the party: some party members like one other, some like two others, some dislike only one, some others dislike two or even three, and those feelings are not always reciprocal (there is even the example of Ingri-Algidras: Ingri dislikes Algidras but Algidras likes Ingri).
My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Every time you lose a battle, you get taken prisoner and dragged around for a while; however, whenever an NPC Lord loses, he gets away 80% of the time, and then he's nowhere to be seen.
When you're incapacitated in battle, your troops immediately retreat and lose morale, no matter how close you are to victory. However, enemy armies will happily continue fighting after their commander receives two arrows to the head and smashes into a tree.
While the player must recruit members of his party, AI lords and kings are instantly assigned troops as needed, even though they only occasionally stop at villages to recruit base troops. But at least this cheating goes both ways and also applies to lords allied with the player.
Lords get troops based on their fiefs. More fiefs means more troops. Kings, on the other hand, get troops based on the fact that they're kings. So if you manage to defeat a King's sizable personal force (200+ troops), then when they escape, they'll disappear for a few days and show up with their entire force replenished. Particularly devastating if you're trying to take the king's last city, and they keep respawning to smash into your forces.
Nerf: Horse archer player characters can no longer access an infinite supply of arrows by running to and from their baggage thanks to a patch; you have the arrows you start with and any spares you left in your baggage train. This prevents players from simply picking off entire infantry armies on their lonesome at level one.
Of course there's nothing to stop you from picking up your (or their ammo) ammo off the ground or pulling it out of enemy corpses to re-use (only gun ammo can't be recovered). It's basically the only way to make un-modded thrown weapons viable as a ranged option, due to their tiny stack sizes.
Also - couched lance damage - a form of attack that in the original M&B would allow a starting player with a half-way decent polearm to solo entire armor-clad armies was sadly remved from Warband.
Not removed from Warband, just made more difficult to achieve. The player has to manually aim the lance whereas aiming was automatic in the original.
No Arc in Archery: Averted. Arrows, bolts, and thrown weapons need to be properly aimed taking into account distance, relative speed and altitude, and weapon arcing. The game's log rates the shot's difficulty if you hit, based on these elements.
The arc is much, much more pronounced in third person view, to the point that you have to aim well over the head to hit someone at point blank range.
No Stat Atrophy: Averted, characters over a certain age start to lose stats when knocked out. The fan backlash and the speed with which a tweak was found that disables this feature demonstrate just why this trope is an acceptable break from reality.
Nominal Importance: Named NPCs are either kings/king claimants or "hero" characters like you: they are knocked out in battle instead of suffering perma-death like nameless NPCs and can be leveled up and equipped much the same way you are.
Non-Lethal K.O.: It's okay that your soldier just had a lance rammed through him by a horseman, thanks to your surgery skill he's only unconscious. Justified with blunt weapons, which are designed to knock the enemy out rather than kill them, making them useful for taking captives.
Obvious Beta: Justified. TaleWorlds started selling while it was a beta and used that money to fund the rest of the game's development.
Offscreen Teleportation: AI Lords will frequently recruit and fully train troops from nowhere, and for a few days after they've been released from capture, no one knows where they are, until they end up at a castle, often one all the way across the map from where they were, with a full complement of troops. One wonders how news travels so fast. Or how every AI Lord knows the location of every other AI Lord of his faction at any time.
Omnicidal Neutral: Conquering the entire map as a masterless warlord was the closest you could come to winning the game before Warband.
One-Handed Zweihänder: Averted with two-handed weapons. Played with in the case of the bastard (hand and a half) sword, which can be wielded in one hand while on horseback, but is always wielded ambidextrously while on foot.
One-Man Army: The player character. While getting between more than one enemy is almost always death capture, it is quite effective to run ahead of your army and slaughter enemy troops by hit and run tactics (lightly armoured troops will normally die in one hit), often killing a platoon of enemies before they are in range of your men.
This is also sometimes a cause of the Artificial Stupidity, as sometimes the enemy stay in formation and wont dare to fight you until they meet the rest of your army.
Its quite possible to kite enemy armies on your own, on foot no less, in Warband provided they have no cavalry, projectiles or good polearms.
One Stat to Rule Them All: Intelligence. Not only does it cover the majority of the game's most useful skills, but every point in it also grants twice the usual amount of skill points.
Orchestral Bombing: A part of what makes Napoleonic Wars so epic is the ability of direct dozens of colourfully uniformed soldiers to storm the enemy while Van Beethoven's Ode To Joy, Dvorak's the 4th Movement of the New World Symphony, Grieg's In The Hall Of The Mountain King, or Vivaldi's Summer, just to name a few, blast out of the speakers. It may be Anachronism Stew, but damn does it set the mood.
Peninsula of Power Leveling: The forest at the Rhodok/Swadian border (the "Woods of Ehlerdah") is infested with lots of bandits and deserters in terrain that often works against them (A hilly area against a primarily archer and mounted force when the AI can't understand to put its archers at the top of a hill). It is noted in-game by some companions as being thick with outlaws.
The mountainous region at the borders of the Vaegir and Swadian kingdoms also hosts entire droves of bandit bands. These Mountain Bandits are a little hardier though, and also one of the few highwaymen types that use light cavalry units in addition to infantry.
Sea Raiders, in Warband, are a large source of good equipment, money AND experience. To elaborate: each Sea Raider is worth about 130 experience points (quite a lot for M&B), they all have good equipment like mail armor, axes, bows, decent shields and helmets allowing the player can farm them for large amount of cash (or keep better items for himself). The downside is that Sea Raiders carry said decent armor and very damaging throwing weapons and some of them even long bows. Careful players can ride around them, dodging projectiles, until they all exhaust their ammo. And the best part: you can do this all by yourself, meaning only you get all the experience and more items can be found after the battle
Padded Sumo Gameplay: K.O. eachother's horses in a jousting tournament? You might as well try to kill the other guy by starvation.
Or drop your blunted practice lance and resort to old-fashioned fisticuffs, something the other guy is not smart enough to do. Then again, he's also not smart enough to swing the damn thing side-to-side and bludgeon you upside the head with what is effectively a stout tree branch. (But yet again, neither are you.)
Plot Armor: Any named character can only be captured, not killed. Only Kings (finish a rebellion quest) and Claimants (Fail a rebellion quest or by defeating the usurper's kingdom) can be removed from play permanently.
Power Equals Rarity: Loot will rarely contain items with the highest quality modifiers. Lordly armor and Champion horses are so expensive that even kings apparently can't afford to make much use of them.
Pretext for War: One mission type is having a noble ask you to find reason to start a war.
Warband's multiplayer sieges remove the siege from being a negative condition; circle round the whole castle and get all the ladders up on the wall or charge through the sally port and butcher anyone in the courtyard.
Nord Huscarls take a long time to train, but are by far the best infantry in the game, able to fight greater numbers and win with few if any losses.
Purely Aesthetic Gender: Very slightly averted, in that gender will affect a player's initial stats. However, the female NPCs are oppressed, and the female player character is not (in gameplay anyways, escaping such is an option for motivations in the background questions at the start of the game).
Also there is a huge difference in captured female and male peasants. Male farmers will train up to become mercenaries like the ones commonly hired in taverns who are useful but expensive, while female peasants will become Sword Sisters, a rare but cheap and fairly powerful mounted unit.
Warband has a different method of courtship for each gender (males must woo a lady and convince her guardian to let the marriage take place), while females have to court roaming lords.
Quicksand Box: The period between early in the game (when you take on many modest-paying side-quests to amass wealth and gain favor of lords and factions) and late in the game (when you have an army large enough to take over the world or follow a claimant quest) when you basically have very little to do but fight bandits, level-grind, and expand your army up to 10, then to 20, then to 30, to 40, to 50... fight bandits, take all their stuff, sell it at the nearest castle town, repeat, until you have an army of 100 and can start to really do some interesting stuff.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The player can recruit troops from all the factions as well as mercenaries to create one big motley crew - and as he can recruit from his own prisoners and those he rescues from the enemy pretty much any unit can end up in the player's service, including bandits and raiders. The companions recruitable include everything from impoverished nobles to petty bandits, including a daughter fleeing from an arranged marriage with no fighting skills whatsoever.
Rain of Arrows: Basically what happens if you get enough archers (or crossbowmen), and one of the best tactics you can use if the map permits.
Practically the only way to win when defending in multiplayer sieges is to do this for as long as the timer goes, or until some idiot leaves a door open.
Rain of Blood: Get a guy in close combat for long enough and they will look like they took a dip in a crimson sea.
Ranged Emergency Weapon: Throwing knives require no skill in throwing to use and take up only one of your four weapon slots (opposed to the two taken up by a bow or crossbow and its ammo) but do poor damage. Their primary use is to give a sword/shield/lance user some range. Many infantry units have a chance at having proper throwing weapons at creation.
Recruiting the Criminal: You can get bandits and such into your party if you take them prisoner and then recruit them after dragging them around for a while to crush their morale.
You'll still want to aim for them first when you can, they are almost unilaterally the best equipped enemies and so can deliver the most beatdown on your own troops. Mostly. They also have the highest skills, most especially Tactics, which can result in you being badly outmatched if you lack a good tactician of your own.
In the Warband standalone expansion, while the kings and lord can still do stuff, they'll mostly participate in feasts... unless they are your enemy - then they'll take their armies and go kick your ass.
Averted, you automatically fail most tasks that have a random component to them for a short amount of time after reloading a save. The game actually takes it farther than that: you will fail even if it's otherwise impossible to do so!note For example, if you use the third-party tool TweakMB to give yourself a 100% chance of success, or make it so you always recruit at least one person from villages, you will still fail/find no recruits, respectively You will discover this fact at the worst possible moment.
That said however, it can be played straight with sieges and battles where you're not sure about the outcome. If you save prior to a fight, and lose, or suffer a Pyrrhic Victory in which you lose a lot of men to win the battle/siege, you can reload and try again.
Screw the War, We're Partying: As of Warband, the aristocracy will often call for feasts in the middle of a war when they would much better spend it on the field of battle. King Harlaus in particular has gained a reputation as a party dude with the fandom, which is used as the reasoning for why Swadia tends to get eaten up by its surrounding nations despite having high-quality game-breaking units.
Set Swords to Stun: Practice weapons knock opponents out instead of killing them. Mounted sword users can deal non-lethal damage with a pommel strike. Also, a handful of weapons like spears or poleaxes have one way of attacking that is nonlethal (as long as it deals blunt damage its fair game).
Sex Sells: There's really no explanation for this◊ promotional screenshot.
The Siege: Occurs anytime a castle or town is assaulted by an enemy force. Or you're assaulting theirs.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Companions that leave will also leave with whatever gear they had on them. So if you don't want to lose it, strip them of it before kicking them out of your party.
Spy Speak: One quest type involves identifying a friendly spy in this manner.
The Squadette: Captured / rescued female peasants can fight in your army and eventually become Sword Sisters once fully leveled.
Stat Grinding: With weapon proficiency only (you get "free" points on each level up as well). Thankfully it increases rather fast with a decent weapons master skill, and one of the main purposes of arenas is to get this skill up to basic competency. One quirk is that mounted archers build proficiency stupidly quick, as the the increases are based on the supposed difficulty of a shot (How far the target is, how fast you are moveing, bonus for head shots), but fails to account for how easy it is to hit shoot as a large mob during a full gallop (which you should be doing) and have it hit someone.
Suicidal Overconfidence: The combat AI will charge into any enemy. Even if COMPLETELY outmatched (IE: Peasants vs Knights) Averted on the overmap, though, unless they vastly outnumber your army size. In which case the trope is played straight, as your ten high level cavalry units and yourself will probably wipe out those forty looters pretty quickly.
Some of the more hilarious parts of this are watching peasants gleefully charge fully-armored swordsmen one-after-another, with the swordsman 1-hit-killing each one. Or heavily-armored footmen trying in vain to chase down horse archers...
Finally averted in the Warband extension. Now, enemies will run when their morale is low and when they understand that the battle is lost. Small parties of bandits that you chased will still try to take their chance against large armies rather than just trying to bribe you, tough.
Super Not-Drowning Skills: There's a few spots where water reaches over your character's head (especially in earlier versions) without visibly inconveniencing him or her in any way.
Take Your Time: While all non-rebellion quests have a time limit, with the exception of orders given by your faction's marshal, they are all very generous (such as a month to deliver a letter somewhere a day and a half away at most)
Apparently even those were too restrictive to some players, as relatively few quests in the expansion have any limit.
The record being the wedding "mission", with a time limit of 360 days. Since a wedding require total peace, a feast, and the presence of both the betrothed, her father, and you, all this time actually come in handy.
The All-Seeing A.I.: Computer-controlled ranged troops see perfectly through fog, shooting at you long before you get close enough to see them. Fortunately the same applies to your hirelings.
Lost track of where the enemies are in battle? Just follow the AI! They know exactly where those last remaining horse archers are. They also know exactly when the final enemy is slain, even if it took place a distance away.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: As stated above in the Continuing Is Painful entry, other lords do not lose anything after being captured, avoid being captured 70% of the time, and are all equipped with some of highest level equipment (even the the most minor lords are armed to the teeth). They also recover their armies rather quickly even if you wiped it out just moments earlier. Granted, they're not always high level units, but they also don't have to walk around to various villages to recruit.
The Lancer: Bunduk and several of the recruitable hero characters. Literally, since they can become lancers in the classical sense of the word, on horseback of course.
There Are No Tents: Averted. You have the option of setting up camp anywhere and anytime on the world map. While camping, you can still engage in some minor actions, like trying to persuade captured bandits to join your party, or reading books. The only downside is, that unlike cities, villages and castles, your camp won't protect you from wandering hordes of bandits (if they're passing by and bump into you).
Thriving Ghost Town: Very obvious when you choose to explore a town, castle, or village. Some of the villages look barely enough to house twenty people whereas you can be recruiting a half dozen volunteers from them every day. A village with nearly max disposition can offer 70+ recruits with frightening regularity.
Too Dumb to Live: The AI will always provide you with endless hilarities by following this trope.
Both sides during a multiplayer siege battle will treat a defender who repeatedly opens the sally port door this and will promptly ban the offender for their stupidity/poor sportsmanship. On certain servers such shenanigans might be rewarded with friendly arrows to the back.
Took a Level in Badass: Rescued peasant women can fight for your army and rise in rank until they become Sword Sisters, heavy cavalry sporting full plate armour.
Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: The arena is home to some of the dirtiest fighting imaginable. Everything from hitting someone over the head as they spar with someone else to two AI teaming up for a few minutes to go after the player or some other poor unfortunate can be expected. And you will be engaging in it aplenty too.
Averted with NPC lords, who switch to civvies when resting in a castle or town.
The player character will also take off his helm and weapons while visiting.
Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: Persuade is used for about two, three quests in the whole game and even there only has a limited impact. It does have some use for keeping many companions though, as you can persuade companions who want to leave because of others to stay.
It's more useful on certain NPCs, since you can send them on diplomatic missions to other Lords to butter them up about you and make it easier to earn Fiefs or recruit them should you form your own nation.
Values Dissonance: Deliberately invoked. You're told up front that, as the game is heavily based on the Middle Ages, the most powerful people in Calradia tend to be of noble birth and male. Indeed, in the early stages of the games, most NPC's will treat a female character like a joke. Of course, there's really no penalty for playing as a girl, and in fact there are several achievements that require you to accomplish certain impressive feats with a female character.
The Vamp: According to Hakim Sultan, Arwa the Pearled One is this; a woman who seized power in the Sarranid Sultanate by charming the old Sultan, Ayzar. Arwa claims it was more her managerial skill.
Vendor Trash: A byproduct of the looting system. Firstly, you can only get things that your opponents wield (Looters will not magically yield plate armor, for example). Secondly, the quality and quantity of loot is determined by your Looting skill (which serves no other purpose). Thirdly, the more troops and companions you have the less loot you get. The net result is that post-battle looting tends to yield dangerously subpar equipment only fit for selling off. You have a much better chance of finding high quality items by using that money to go shopping.
Velvet Revolution: High persuade and relations with a kingdom's lords will allow you to convert most lords to your side during a rebellion, leaving you only the capital and current ruler to attack.
Vestigial Empire: At some point in the distant past, all of Calradia was united under a single empire. It's long since broken up, but some people still remember their ancestors' roles within that empire fondly. And, of course, the whole reason that all the factions are fighting in the first place is because each monarch wants to reforge the empire in their own image.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Want to level up your allies, but have a battle they aren't going to win on their own? Dismount enemy cavalry and knock down infantry by trampling them to make them easy pickings for your men.
Or massacre helpless villagers, loot their homes and steal their cattle.
Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Sure, you can raid villages, shake down peasants, and cut down farmers for easy money. But it can and WILL draw attention from, at the very least, the local Nobles. And early in the game, a noble with several dozen of the best troops in the game at his side will be more than you can handle! Even later in the game, raiding villages enough will have entire kingdoms ready to attack you on sight!
It also takes a while, during which you're helpless, the village is constantly reporting your location to any friendly lord within range, and enemy lords can and will form parties to kick your ass.
Villages are also the most common source of recruits. If you make them all hate you and then get your army wiped out...
Openning the maingates or the sally port in multiplayer sieges is pretty much this, its generally a foregone conclusion on the Mahdaar Castle map that if the sally port is breached before the final minute, the defenders will lose as the attacker's spawn is right outside it and the besieging side will just keep sending cavalry through in a constant stampede.
We Buy Anything: Any shop in town will buy any item. So will villages, for that matter (though they usually don't have a lot of money). And book merchants.
We Cannot Go On Without You: The battle ends as soon as you are knocked out, no matter how close you are to victory. This doesn't mean you lose, but your men will retreat and lose morale. While you can send your men in to fight without you, this is something you should NEVER do as they are much less effective when unled (an army that can inflict a 10-1 casualty rate on the enemy in a proper battle can easily suffer a 2-1 casualty rate if you use autoresolve for the same battle).
The Wiki Rule: The Mount and Blade Wiki probably isn't actually your premier source for M&B information. The M&B page is one of the most popular sections of StrategyWiki though, despite being fairly incomplete.
Wimp Fight: If two AI in the arena spawn with bows next to each other, they will proceed to punch eachother for minimal damage until one is KO or (more likely) someone kicks both their asses.
Releasing an enemy lord that you just defeated will earn you honor, and most lords will raise their reputation with you. However, some will see this as an insult and releasing them will actually make them hate you more. A high reputation with an enemy lord will sometimes allow you to avoid a fight with them at the cost of a small reputation hit with them. But it's very useful if you're outmatched and are simply trying to get back to friendly territory.
Averted with the player character being defeated; they will always be dragged around as a prisoner.
You Will Be Spared: If you let lords go free, they may give you the quick and painless variety.
Zerg Rush: Swadia's main advantage is their overwhelming numbers, with a sizeable number of cavalry attacking the enemy first, followed by an extremely large number of ground troops that gang up on soldiers.
Rebel factions deal with this a lot. Chances are lords won't join the Rebels until dozens of in-game days after the faction is created, and players will have to risk being ambushed to meet with lords to convince them. If the player wants to capture castles and towns without help they should be prepared to turn tail and run or crank the battle difficulty down when a large group of soldiers comes to stop them or take back their areas.
In addition to the above, Warband also features:
American Kirby Is Hardcore: An inverted example. The American and European boxarts depict roughly the same scene, but the American boxart has a bunch of bright light added and has a clear sky, with expressions indicating it is set during preparation for battle and is drawn slightly more "realistically". The European art is much darker and stylized, set during battle and has an overcast sky. Rating differences are likely behind this (The ESRB rating is Teen, while the PEGI rating is 16+).
Artificial Difficulty: Whereas the original M&B was fairly sensible in this respect, WB has situations where you're arbitrarily denied reinforcements or the use of some of your weapons.
Cycle of Hurting: An especially outrageous case of this occurs when the player finds himself in a besieged city that has no hope of defending itself. It is impossible to leave the city by stealth or to surrender, the only options available on the city screen are to join the battle or send the troops in on their own. And due to the fact that the developers though it was a good idea to not allow the player to access the main menu during battle, the only thing you can do is throw all your troops in vain at the enemy and then let the enemy knock you out as well. Only after being defeated and captured are you allowed to load a prior saved game.
Or you can simply Ctrl+Alt+Delete, and end the game process, and then reload.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Arrows fired from horseback while moving now actually pick up momentum in the direction of the horse's movement, forcing veteran horse archer players to unlearn what they have learned.
Diminishing Returns for Balance: It can seem that gaining renown at higher levels/troop sizes can be difficult. However, if you fight a much larger army with a smaller one, and win, you can still gain a lot of renown, and the bigger the difference in size the better. This works even if you're by yourself or with a very small party, and get attacked by a group of say, 40 bandits. However, keep in mind that unless you're using high level units and utilizing them where they work best, such as cavalry in an open field battle without hills or a river, it can be difficult to fight off a larger force. Hence why winning with a smaller group earns you bigger renown.
Game-Favored Gender: While the starting stats still favor females, the politics system favors males and up front tells you at character creation that non-noble non-males are the equivalent of a Self-Imposed Challenge.
This extends into the plot, with the two female Claimants both having sexism as a major part of denying their claim to their thrones. Hakim in particular has little more excuse for why Arwa is unfit to rule than "Women are evil seducers who are too incompetent to run the Sultanate, and the previous ruler either had more kindness than sense to name Arwa his successor, was seduced and deceived by her, or possibly both."
Hero of Another Story : The popular Floris Expanded Mod Pack, which includes a variety of quality of life and variety mods, includes the titular companion Floris, who literally has his own story. He starts just shy of level 30, already clad in endgame tier armor. He is Duke of Holland, owns the Floris King franchise of dining halls, and one of his assignments involves him travelling to Dhirim to check on the development of his autobiographic theatre play. His signup fee is 20000 denars, which is the in-universe equivalent of three king ransoms. And if you request him to go on a mission to support you as King of Calradia, he strongly implies he has already beaten you to the punch.
Hitbox Dissonance: The shield bug is gone, but is replaced with a forcefield that blocks projectiles as if the shield was up even when it's not.
Jeanne d'Archétype: The Lots of New Companions mod includes a companion named Joan, who is an obvious Calradian Jeanne d'Arc: not only she is an Action Girl wearing a plate armour, but she also gave her support to the player character after a divine revelation that he is the rightful ruler of Calradia, and she has been especially designed by the modder to be promoted as a marshall.
Left-Justified Fantasy Map : Since the Warband expansion retconned the geography, the game now plays this trope straight to some extent : The sea covers both the north and the west (though the cold area is still to the east).
Mook Maker: Bandit parties are now spawned by bandit hideouts, which can be assaulted to temporarily clear an area of banditry.
Leaving hideouts alone is a singularly terrible idea: bandits spawn from the hideout based on your party size, and at regular intervals, so that if you leave the area alone for too long, you'll have a dozen groups of 40+ bandits that, when they see you, will gang up on you, resulting in 400+ bandits attacking you!
Moveset Clone: The Sarranids have the same troop tree layout as the original 2 factions, with Vaegir-style archers, elite light infantry, and heavily-armored Mamluke Cavalry who are a direct answer to the Swadian Knight. Their unique tactics make for a Sakura-type.
Obvious Beta: Played completely straight with the expansion, down to debugging info and messages in the vein of "this feature is not yet implemented" being shown in the 'final' version. To their credit, though, TW have been cranking out patches at an impressive rate.
Perpetual Beta: Two years and a standalone expansion pack later, the developers are still fighting critical issues in the singleplayer campaign.
Purely Aesthetic Gender: Averted. Women have pretty much the same stats and gain experience at the same rate as men, but the new political system is heavily geared towards males and women have a pretty hard time climbing the social ladder.
Women actually get Renown faster, though, so building a continent conquering army as a woman is actually easier. Males have better chances when they join a faction instead of making their own.
Retcon: Calradian geography went through yet another complete overhaul, and all the NPCs act as if the new faction had always been there.
Right in Front of Me: If you start your own faction, you can ask various town Guild Master's about your own foreign relation policies, and they will give criticism about their king, evidently without realizing you are the king.
Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Enemy forces that have low morale will attempt to escape from the battlefield. They will also no longer put up any resistance, so if you're quick enough you can kill a few of them before they can all escape.
If you happen to get into a bar brawl, drawing a bow in the tavern will result in the tavern keeper shouting "No shooting, no shooting!"
One of the Sarranid villages is Rushdigh, named after this guy.
Simple Staff: One of the weapons you can use in melee is the humble quarterstaff.
Suicidal Overconfidence: Enemies can now actually flee the battle, but they'll still try to fight against impossible odds first until they get their noses bloodied.
Updated Re-release: Despite being initially marketed as a stand-alone expansion (and lately even as a full sequel), the game is more of a further development of M&B, albeit with significant improvements in many areas.
Walking the Earth: You'll probably spend most of your time in the field, looking for enemy warbands to defeat.
That being said, elite soldiers as well as a properly managed character and companions can quickly invert this trope, pounding down masses of deathly accurate fire.
Base on Wheels: When you have enough men, you can order your army to construct a wagon fort to provide you protection if attacked at the cost of maneuverability and speed. It can even be rolled along with you as you move on the world map, albeit at a far slower pace than the norm.
Blown Across the Room: A decent bodyshot with a pistol can send a bandit corpse flying a foot or two, and it goes up from there until some routed brigand gets shot in the back with one of the bigger muskets and gets sent flying forward like he was hit by a car.
Now fixed. Enemy soldiers usually slump down and ragdoll reasonably.
Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards/Praetorian Guard: King Jan Kashmir of Poland heavily relies on German Imperial soldiers so supplement his native soldiers, and they cut a villainous figure if you are fighting against Poland and later even if you are playing for Poland, when King Jan reacts to an attempted uprising by using them and more allied armies from the German Emperor to try and overthrow Poland's republican institutions and create an absolute regime. Karl X of Sweden also uses considerable amounts of Scottish soldiers, but they are not a discrete Praetorian Guard or as uniformly antagonistic.
Call That A Formation: Units can be arranged to 1-4 deep lines. Suprisingly, Units tend to remain and/or reform the formation unless told to charge.
Cartoon Bomb: Grenades introduced in this version of the game look like this. Justified as these kinds of bombs were the first and only available explosives in the time period the game is roughly based.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Tons, and as a mercenary you can indulge in it as well even though it might not be the most prudent choice> in addition, Every single one of the three main story quests features you being betrayed in some fashion by an ally. The Polish-Lithuanian quest probably tops the list because *almost every single plot-important Commonwealth character will betray you*, including one who is *actually the good guy.*
Day of the Jackboot: Attempted by King Jan Kashmir of Poland in the penultimate missions of The Deluge questline, on *his own government* nonetheless.
Drop the Hammer: The plot quest for the Cossack faction involves looking for a unique mace (the "Black Mace"). When discovered, it happens to be one of the most powerful one-handed weapon of the game.
Eagle Squadron: Prominently featured for almost every faction. The Kingdom of Sweden employs vast numbers of Scottish soldiers and commanders as well as the leader of Brandenburg, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth receives considerable support from the Imperial army, and the Crimean Khanate is propped up by expeditionary forces of its' Ottoman Liege. Note that while the Poles can recruit Scottish soldiers and the Swedes can recruit Germans, those are highly limited and not likely to feature them heavily.
The Horde: The Cossacks and Crimeans/Ta(r)tars both fit to greater or lesser degrees, but unlike most cases these are played realistically. If you deal with them in any great detail, you will see that they are a lot more than raiding barbarians.
More Dakka: Most battles tend to begin with every single musketeer firing off their first shot at once. In the bigger ones, this first salvo tends to be a wall of bullets that takes down an entire line of soldiers.
The Musketeer: Avaible as a unit as well as player charater. With some training, your companions also.
Obvious Beta: Continuing a TaleWorlds tradition, the initial release sees bugs and absurdities abound and key features missing. It's a little better presented than Warband's initial release was was but it's still clearly incomplete.
Pistol-Whipping: Doesn't do much damage, but it can be done by switching to melee mode while using a firearm. Muskets do have a bit of range like this, and pistols themselves are surprisingly quick to swing, so you're not completely defenseless.
Quick Draw: One of the big advantages of pistols. Sure, they take a little while to reload, but once reloaded they're fast to aim, letting you put a bullet on someone's kidney before they've even gotten a proper backswing.
Swedes With Cool Plates: The Swedish army in its' heyday of glory. Fresh from the Thirty Years' War with experienced commanders and solid troops from Sweden, Finland, and Scotland. Also equipped with heavier armor than most factions and some of the best gunpowder in the game, it can be a fire-spitting armored bulldozer. Heroes fighting for Poland in The Deluge quest are well advised to run from fights you don't have to get into.
Sword of Plot Advancement: The Black Mace is the subject at the center of the fittingly-named "Secret of the Black Mace" Cossack storyline, which revolves around you and several others trying to discover it. When you actually do find it, it averts a typical cliche of this trope by being the Infinity+1 Sword of all the melee weapons in the game.
The Hero Dies: Your hero always ends up dead at the end of The Deluge questline; the only difference is how it happens and what you leave behind. At the most extreme case, this happens in the quest's "golden ending" at the hands of a single assassin after you've conquered the entire map. Because apparently someone who is functionally immortal in the game, has cut their teeth fighting the Badass Army of Sweden and spreading an empire from Siberia to Prussia can die suddenly at the hands of an assassin you would probably be able to beat down in actual gameplay.
Too Awesome to Use: Grenades. They're expensive as all hell and don't refill like bullets or arrows do, but they hurt more than anything else in the game in a big radius, so even without skillpoints in grenade throwing you can wipe out several troops with just one. If you're willing to spend points in it, though, the radius starts getting seriously big, so you can soften up a siege/wagon fort considerably, if not wipe it out completely in the latter case.
Ultimate Blacksmith: The Weapon-Master, Armor Master, and Horse Master guilds/craftsmen that can be found in the town square of forts or cities. If you are willing to pay through the nose, they can guarantee you the finest kinds of equipment in the game save for the Black Mace. Somewhat subverted in that the items you buy cannot have modifiers, which means that versions of the same equipment available from random marketplace spawns can be superior; it's just that they are 'random' while the guilds offer you guaranteed quality at a guaranteed time.