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 Rerelease 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, where else, 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, Deshavi). And the player, if they so choose.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ascended Extra: The Khergits were a type of bandit until an update turned them into a proper faction.
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....
Badass Army: Any force composed of top-level units. They will make hay out of a lord's army.
BFS: Obviously, the two-handed swords, but a few weapons used to be way oversized.
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.
Boom, Headshot: Doable with every ranged weapon in the game for double damage.
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.
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.
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.
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 NPCs, 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.
This counts as Fridge Brilliance: The warfare in the game is meant to emulate that of the Middle Ages, and so, too, are its basic rules. Why kill a major or even minor lord or commander of a large group of battle-ready men when you can capture them and hold them for quite the profitable ransom—the game lets you turn this against the various NPC lords, for that matter, further reinforcing the whole fact that, much like real medieval history, war was little more than a very bloody, exciting, and on occasion potentially fatal game for those in any degree of power. Still, you'd get some scars and even lose some teeth, either way. As for the surgery bonus, it makes sense in context; most deaths in medieval warfare (that weren't from disease or starvation on the march) were from battle wounds that today would be easily treated (rehab's another story entirely). That's right: in the middle ages, if you didn't die from dysentery or left before the fighting actually started, chances were you'd get stabbed or cut, then die because medicine wasn't advanced enough to deal with gangrene or infection. A good real life example of this is Richard the Lionheart; an otherwise routine crossbow bolt to the shoulder became fatal because his surgeons botched the operation, causing gangrene, infection, and then death.
There's a bit of Fridge Logic in the fact that, say, a count trying to assault the walls of a castle and getting shot up by crossbows is consistently knocked unconscious rather than killed. Even if the crossbowmen wanted to knock the count unconscious and hold him for ransom, how could they actually ensure that they don't kill him?
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.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: 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.
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 file*
display_wp_firearms, if you were wondering
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Knight in Shining Armor and scholar characters are honorable, but very prejudiced against commoners and foreigners, while commoner characters tend to have rather loose morals when it comes to things like contracts or personal property, and professional soldiers are all Blood Knights.
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 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.
Presumably because if the shield where protecting your head, how would you see?
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.
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.
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). *
i.e., high honor is bad when talking to someone with low honor
Lady Macbeth: A female PC can become this to a noble as a way of gaining power.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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 alway 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Ryu and Ken: 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.
Save Scumming: 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!*
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
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.
Spy Speak: One quest type involves identifying a friendly spy in this manner.
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.
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 brothered, 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
You Will Be Spared: If you let lords go free, they may give you the quick and painless variety.
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.
Even worse, the higher Renown is, the less meaning it has. The biggest reason to increase Renown (to increase your party size) slows as Renown increases, such that you'll eventually need a hundred points to increase party size by one.
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.
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. 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.
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!
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.
Ryu and Ken: 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.
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!"
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 Rerelease: 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.
In addition to the above, With Fire And Sword provides examples of the following tropes:
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.
Gender Bender: Putting female clothing on your male character will cause him to sprout breasts.
Expy: The party members heroes of the game have the same background as those from Mount & Blade, the same appearance or the same skills. Or all this in the same time.
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.