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Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is a Sandbox Action-Strategy RPG developed and published by TaleWorlds Entertainment and Prequel to Mount & Blade: Warband. After a 10-year development period, It was released in Early Access on March 30th, 2020.
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Set in the medieval-inspired continent of Calradia two hundred years before the events of the first game, the player is put in the final days of the doomed Calradic Empire. Without an official heir being declared by the late emperor, the Empire is torn asunder by civil war as three different factions fight to crown their candidate. Taking advantage of its divided state, opportunistic foes gather to tear the Empire apart. Canonically, the Empire falls and is replaced by the factions seen in the original M&B, but the player is free to alter the course of history as they see fit.


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Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord provides the examples of:

  • 24-Hour Armor: While this trope was already averted for NPC lords, in this game it's averted for the player as well, who has a battle outfit and a civilian outfit (both can be changed, but the civilian outfit can only use low-level equipment.)
  • Action Girl:
    • Nothing prevents you from playing as one and unlike Warband, there are no drawbacks to it, either.
    • Unlike in Warband you can't train up any Sword Sisters, but there are quite a few women leading armies for all the factions. Given what characters can get up to this can lead into Dark Action Girl pretty easily.
    • One of the most popular mods allows for recruits and thus troops to be female, with adjustable percentage of how many of them for each unit type, ranging from Smurfette to Amazon Brigade. This lead to a Running Joke of certain units always being mentioned as female, even by people not using the mod.
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  • All There in the Manual: The seemingly-generic towns and villages each have a few lines of flavor text in the encyclopedia, discussing their history and the people who live there. These also include place names for nearby terrain features that are all unlabeled on the main map.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The game features a robust crafting system, allowing players to design all sorts of weird and unique weapons, give them a name, and use them in battle. With Bannerlord featuring dynastic elements (if your character dies, you take over as someone else in your clan), these weapons your character crafted can pass down the generations.
  • Anti-Cavalry: Units specialized in polearms are much better at their job than in Warband, with even a Looter or a Peasant with a pitchfork being able to stop dead in its tracks all but the heaviest cavalry troops.
  • Annoying Arrows: Subverted. Bows are the scariest weapons in the game to be staring down, and every elite archer enemy is considered a formidable opponent.
    • That said, because arrows remain embedded in their targets regardless of the damage they do, warriors who survived a few grazing hits can fight at full strength with a half-dozen arrows sticking out of their chest.
  • Anyone Can Die: Unlike in Warband the player may freely execute enemy lords. Doing so has been indicated by the devs to be a bad idea, with how angry people will get depending on the lord in question; fewer people will weep if you kill a dishonorable piece of crap, but he was still part of the aristocracy and therefore supposed to be above such things. Especially given that (depending on settings) the player's OWN immortality card has been revoked. Wind up a captive of someone you've pissed off and you might find yourself on the executioner's block, and if you don't have anyone in your clan to take over, it's game over.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The Aserai, like their Warband counterparts Sarranid Sultanate, are based on the Arabs and play this trope straight.
  • Armor Is Useless: If the damage isn't slash one, you might just as well be running butt-naked. Unless things are changed during development, there is nearly zero benefit to wear armour. And shields are far more reliable damage buffers anyway.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Difficult to do so but possible, if you hire captured Looters and Bandits as troops. Doing so, however, tanks your army morale as your regular troops don't like working with the same people that used to extort, kill or rob them when they were peasants (unless you invest some points in Roguery). And they're usually crappier than recruits before being upgraded into proper troops.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Running someone over with a horse at top speed does about as much damage to them as punching them despite the vast differences in force.
  • BFS:
    • Two-handed weapons consist predominately of two handed-swords. While they are kept in somewhat realistic proportions, they are still far bigger than any other type of swords, which has an effect of their performance - while they require a lot of momentum to use, when they hit, they hit hard, to the point of One-Hit Kill being a reliable outcome.
    • Using crafting, it is possible to change size of various component making given weapon. While it will bring the obvious drawbacks of doing so, there is nothing preventing you from assembling a one-handed sword with overly long blade (and using already long template in the first place) and specifically install in it a handle from two-handed sword, further enlarged to be longer. Why? Because the most important aspect for a cavalry weapon is its reach, rather than speed or handling - the longer the blade and handle, the easier it is to hit a footman or another cavalryman. All while it's still technically a one-handed sword, so shield can be carried with it.
  • Bilingual Bonus: While most of the place and character names in the game are inspired-by-their-real-world-counterpart-culture gibberish, certain real words have indeed managed to slip in. "Car", as in the Battanian city of Car Banseth, means "fort" in Cornish.
  • Blade on a Stick: Polearms are a separate category of weapons, consisting of anything from simpliest pikes to halberd-type weapons. They deal a crapload of damage, especially when further compounded by momentum of mounted, but are also slow, unwieldy and require a lot of free space to use them at all.
  • Bling of War: Better equipment tends to be far, far fancier and elaborate than the low-tier one. Best exemplified with horse harnesses and armour, since the high tier ones also happen to be the most decorative, too.
    • Generally subverted with Vlandian units and equipment. Given their being based off of the Normans, their gear leans on the comparatively simple-looking side with most of their mid- and higher-tier armor being some kind of chainmail and the heaviest being a coat-of-plate.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Any attack aimed at the head deals extra damage by default. In most cases, this means near-death or instant kill of the target. And there is a variety of perks that further increase "headshot" damage.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Two-handed polearms, especially when focused on slash damage, especially on horseback. They tend to deal damage between 130-180, in a game where your enemies can have at best 120, and 100 HP on average. They deal that damage to everything caught in a sweep, so One-Hit Polykill is a norm. There is nothing strange or weird when player gets over 50 kills with such weapon per battle and things only get sillier if you have few companions armed with those, circling the battlefield and literally mowing down enemy troops.
    • Shields. They are so effective at negating attacks (and protect from incoming projectiles) there are barely any situations where lack of shield is advised. On top of that, the vast majority of them are very primitive kite or basic round-shields, so they even look mundane and uninspiring.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Oh yes. Not only is it a very viable strategy, but only a fool isn't carrying a melee weapon for back-up. Low-tier ranged units usually carry a simple mace or a hatchet, but high-tier ones might be better equipped (and armoured) than your infantry. For added benefit, crosbowmen carry a shield as well, making them extremely effective in a variety of situations.
    • Best shown in the case of Battanian Fian Champions, who use a longbow with the best range and power of any archer unit... and if the survivors of their deadly volleys close in, they just pull out longswords and cut the wounded and decimated foes down. A small army of Fian Champions about fifty strong can easily defeat an enemy army ten times the size without casualties.
  • But Thou Must!: If you get caught on the campaign map by any army and you're by yourself, you have to fight them, surrender, or pay them to leave you alone. You can't just run away, even if you're much faster than they are. Combined with the Chokepoint Geography this can be annoying early on, as you'll have to fight your way through dozens of groups of 4-6 looters if you're going somewhere far away.
  • Call-Forward:
    • One of the Clans that makes up the Khuzait Khanate is the Khergit Clan, who either split or take over from the Khuzaits and press westward, deeper into the crumbling Empire and its successor states, becoming the Khergit Khanate.
    • In a similar fashion, one of the clans of the Aserai is the Banu Sarran clan, the predecessors of the Sarranid Sultanate from Warband. Talking to the head of the Banu Sarran about Nereztes' Folly also provides insight into a major reason the Banu Sarran eventually takes over the Aserai and becomes the Sarranid Sultanate.
      • One of the leaders of the Banu Sarran is named Arwa, calling to mind Arwa the Pearled One of the Sarranids in Warband.
    • The term "Vaegir Guard" is mentioned in the dialogue of a Sturgian companion. The Kingdom of the Vaegirs is also a major faction of the previous games and is based in the same area as Sturgia.
    • Vlandia is evidently the predecessor of the Kingdom of Swadia and by extension the Kingdom of Rhodoks. Its troops specialize in both heavy cavalry, elite spearmen and crossbowmen, the trademarks of both kingdoms.
  • Chokepoint Geography: The map is significantly larger than the Warband map, expanding to new lands to the east and south, and the terrain as a whole (even in the area that matches Warband) is significantly more mountainous to promote this.
  • Civil War: The Calradic Empire that was a prominent part of the original game's backstory is still around, however, it is currently divided into three separate chunks, each of which recognizes a different Emperor depending on who they think has the right to name the Emperor, and each of which wants to conquer the others to establish their succession method.
  • The Clan: Each lord of a faction belongs to a Clan, which is their family; rather than fiefs being assigned to lords, they're instead assigned to Clans. Given that lords can die, either through battle or old age, the holdings remain in the family. The Player is not immune to this; they belong to a Clan of their own, and can gain new family members through marriage and childbirth (your Companions are also said to be part of your Clan).
  • Color-Coded Armies: Soldiers who belong to a faction and wear heraldic armor will all wear the same color, with only the emblem of their leader's clan differing.
    • Vlandia is Red
    • Battania is Green
    • Sturgia is Blue
    • Aserai is Yellow
    • Khuzait is Cyan
    • The Empire is Purplenote 
  • Color-Coded Characters: Unlike the original Mount & Blade and Warband, where every nobleman had a banner that could be radically different from even other nobles of the same faction, every clan has an emblem instead, which is laid over a banner with their faction's primary color.
  • A Commander Is You: Natch, with the following choices:
    • Aserai: Technical. A mix of pikes, spears and javelin-equipped infantry backed by archers, both on foot and mounted. While very flexible and less prone to hard counters, they come with a hetfy price tag for their war horses and don't fare very well against heavier or more-specialized opponents. Tactical flexibility and quickly reading the tide of battle is a must for them.
    • Battania: Rangers. The best archers, good polearms and mobiliy offset by bad cavalry and lame javelin-throwing units, making them easy pickings for horse archers or flanking mounted attackers. Best employed at long range and well-defended sides.
    • Empires: Generalists. Overall a notch above the rest and great defenders thanks to their crossbows, with very high experience and money costs to go with, forcing players to adopt an Elitist mindset until they can pay off a larger army.
    • Khuzait: Gimmick. Almost all their troops are mounted and their horse archers can pulverize almost anything, provided they don't get dismounted or bogged down by infantry or bad terrain. Avoiding sieges, uneven terrain and cramped battlespaces is vital for Khuzaits.
    • Sturgia: Brutes. Heavy troops, slightly less heavy cavalry and lots of axes to crush everything that bounces off their shield walls mitigated by horrible archers, so walk in a straight line and mash everything in sight hoping the enemy is lacking in range. Ironic considering their successors, the Vaegirs, are considered the best foot archers in Warband.
    • Vlandia: Turtles. The bane of siege attackers, cavalry and small armies with their polyvalent polearms, crossbows and heavy armors, but target practice for groups of archers. Quickly neutralizing enemy archers while the cavalry and infantry get skewered on the pike lines is a must.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The game encourages you to be this, considering that, on normal difficulty at least, your character is not at all stronger than most opponents they face, relying on trickery, picking your fights and outplaying your enemies are outright a necessity for survival.
  • Cool, but Inefficient:
    • Thrown weapons by default. There is a very small amount of ammunition you've got, even with bunch of perks that extend it and they aren't some sort of One-Hit Kill weapon class that would justify it. Meaning you've got slower, weaker and very short-ranged bow with 1-8 "arrows" to it that can be easily dodged or blocked. If you miss - and only then - then you can pick up the used weapon, but that requires hunting for it in the thick of the battle. Taken to extreme with certain spear variants, that make so-so close quarters weapon or a single-use throw weapon that, if successfully hitting a target, can't be retrived anymore, leaving you empty-handed.
    • Until lighter variants were allowed to reload while still on horseback, trying to use crossbows while mounted meant you had exactly one shot. And short from dismounting or having a perk that's pretty far down the skill tree, there was no way to reload them.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: All the factions to some extent, meaning the player and the A.I. have to rely on tactics and strategy to tip the odds.
    • Imperial units provide fantastic, well-equipped, versatile heavy infantry and have the best archers after Battania. At the same time, their only access to cavalry is via rare, hard to upgrade elite unit that also requires war horse almost instantly for further upgrades.
    • Sturgians come with reliable infantry in general (especially when going into all-out offensive) and can access decent cavalry, both as elite and regular unit... but their ranged units are some of the worst in the game, on par with militia and low-tier archers of other nations.
    • Vlandians only use crossbows - weapons good for sniping, but lackluster for volley fire that decides the battles. The shorter range, slower rate of fire and terrible grind of low-tier crossbowmen into something that can hit enemies at all makes them lacking in ranged department despite technically being the best damage-dealers.
    • The Khuzaits have really good and easy to access cavalry, thus being able to easily field large light cavalry and mounted archer forces that are perfect for hit and run tactics. That said, their cavalry is mounted on ponies and small horses, which leaves their men less protected from melee troops and their infantry leaves much to be desired, meaning that they can't reliably hold a defensive position and getting caught in a drawn out fight means their horsemen will get shot to pieces by foot archers and picked apart by infantry.
  • Cycle of Hurting:
    • Taking damage causes the damaged character to enter a flinch animation. This flinch animation overrides all others, including attacking and blocking. A character surrounded by weak enemies will often be flinch-locked to death because the constant flinching prevents them from defending themselves in any way.
    • On the grander scale of things, any faction that loses control of any of its major cities will have inadequate resources to fight against the conqueror. So it will lose another city. Now severely weakened, it will lose another one and the remaining rump state will be quickly picked apart by whoever pleases.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: All the way since original Mount & Blade, F4 button was a "cease shooting/free fire" command. Bannerlord kept it all the way until 1.5.5 build, where F4 commands got bundled under F3, along with various other options and thus requiring few extra steps and button presses to stop/start shooting. This was ostentiably done to prevent people from pressing Alt+F4 combination by accident (since Alt highlights location of enemy troops during battles), but received mixed reception due to how ingrained the F4 functions are.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts:
    • While high-tier armour might reduce incoming damage to single digit or even to values below 5, no existing armour is capable of negating damage completely majority of weapons. This means a bunch of mid-tier troopers can take down a heavily armoured foe, despite each of their attacks dealing Scratch Damage, simply because they just won't stop pounding their target until it drops dead, also preventing it from counter-attacks due to never-ending flinching.
    • Participants bring their armour to the tournaments, while being armed with wooden/training weapons, dealing low damage. In the case of a few weapons, like spears, this might lead to an exchange of up to 20-25 blows. Normally, four is more than enough to kill anyone with even the crappiest weapon.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Horseback archery, both in terms of gameplay and game mechanics. At low level of the Bow skill and without bunch of perks, you are lucky to hit targets at all, especially if as a player you lack practice. Once you get the hang of how archery works and the character being 150+ in Bow skill, each arrow can be turned into a guaranteed kill and enemies being utterly unable to retaliate against the Horse Archer, with the number of arrows being the main limiter.
  • Divided We Fall:
    • The Calradic Empire has split into three, each viewing their Emperor as the sole legitimate one, and their succession method as the best. In canon, the Empire will fall; the player can strive to prevent it (or help it do so). Nearly all the factions suffer from the same issue deep down, with only the presence of a strong leader preventing them from tearing themselves up. The trope is even enforced in the gameplay, since the imperial factions are too busy fighting each other to sufficiently defend their outer borders, allowing easy and steady conquest of West by Battania, South by Aserai and Khuzait and North by Khuzait. If player doesn't actively meddle into imperial matters, all three factions are pretty much done within the first decade, even sometimes rendering the main quest moot before it even starts.
    • The Kingdom of Vlandia is, on paper, one of the stronger factions, since they start with a significant amount of territory. However, their clans don't really like each other very much. While they have significant power, they have serious issues bringing their full power to bear, meaning smaller, but more united factions, can counter their punch. In the official Warband lore, once Vlandia becomes Swadia, these issues boil over and result in the southern portion of the realm becoming the Kingdom of Rhodoks.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: While the Nords don't yet have a kingdom on Calradia, they still show up (as of the 1.5.9 patch) as the Skolderbroda mercenaries.
  • Elective Monarchy: The Western and Northern segments of the divided Calradic Empire both want to practice this, of a sort; the issue that divides them is exactly who will be doing the electing. The Northern Empire is led by Senator Lucan, who wants the right to crown the Emperor returned to the Senate, while the Western Empire is led by Garios, who believes the Army should be the one to decide the rights.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: High-tier troops, along with elite recruits and their upgrades, are always wearing better, fancier gear that tends to invoke Bling of War, too. On average, if a tier 4 or higher troops aren't wearing a shiny armour, plumes, exotic animal skin or engraved equipment, something is off.
  • The Emperor: Three, actually, but they all claim to be the only true Emperor, and the Calradic Empire has become divided between them in a civil war that has weakened the Empire against the greed of their neighbors.
  • Escort Mission: The game features a fairly positive example with the Escort Caravan quests: you have to protect a trade caravan as it travels through a few cities. On the bad side, the caravan is usually pretty fragile with only a handful of guards. But it will avoid enemies, take the quickest route to the destination and the reward is usually pretty good especially in the early game.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Would it really be Mount & Blade without them?
    • The Empire: The Empire is three different factions, but all share the same troop tree and culture, inspired by the Roman Empire in both late antiquity and medieval history (sometimes referred to as the Byzantine Empire). Their currently divided state is basically an expy of the Crisis of the Third Century.
      • The unseen Vaegir guards are a clear allusion to the Varangian guards of the later Roman Empire. They are even recruited from Sturgia, which was itself a fantasy counterpart to Kievan Rus where the original Varangian guards came from.
      • The mostly unseen Palaic people seem to be analogous to the non-Latin inhabitants of the Italian peninsula. As the Empire expanded, it absorbed them into its borders, and by the time the game takes place their culture and language has been all but wiped out, the word 'Palaic' even being a name forced on them by their Imperial masters.
    • Aserai Sultanate: The people of the Arabian Peninsula from before the Islamic conquests. Quyaz, their primary city, apparently served as the Carthage to Calradia's Rome.
    • Battanians: The Celtic peoples of Western Europe who opposed the Romans, specifically those of the British Isles (the Irish, Welsh, and Picts), with some influence from the pre-Roman peoples of Thrace as well. There is also influence from the Celts of the later Medieval Era, such as their skilled archers (which the Welsh were known for), heavily Welsh/Gaelic-inspired place names, and wearing tartansnote .
    • Vlandians: The Normans and other Viking states that established themselves throughout Western Europe, pre-William the Conqueror's invasion of the British Isles.
    • Khuzait Khanate: The Huns and other steppe raiders of Late Antiquity, as well as their later equivalents, the Cossacks and Tatars. Also some similarities with the Turks, as they were once nomadic people who conquered parts of the Empire and settled there.
    • Sturgia: The early nations of Kievan Rus and modern-day Russia with a dash of post-Viking era Scandinavia.
    • The three "minor" cultures also have this going on.
      • Nords: As in Warband they represent the Norse of Scandinavia. Their Skolderbroda mercenary faction specifically seems to be a Fantasy Counterpart to the Jomsvikings.
      • Vakken: As forest-dwelling archers (seen in their mercenary faction, the Sons of the Forest) in a rivalry with the Norse/Slav-coded Sturgians, the Vakken seem to a counterpart to the Baltic and Uralic cultures, specifically the Finns.
      • Darshi: The Darshi produce Ghilman, like the historic Turks, and are ruled by a Padishah, a Persian title that was most notably born by both the Ottoman Sultans and the Mughal Emperors.
  • Feuding Families: The Clans of various factions are not necessarily unified; for example, Vlandia is a significantly powerful faction on paper, but is held back by the fact that there are significant tensions between their Clans, keeping them from being organized enough to bring their power against anyone else that well. Creating your own family and diving head-first into the ranks of feuding families is a major part of the game.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Like in Warband, some nobles are outright jerks, feeling nothing about raiding caravans, and like Warband, honorable lords don't like them very much. This only goes so far, though - even if they are an asshole, if you execute them, even the honorable lords will think less of you. However, they won't be quite as angry as if you'd killed someone less deserving of it. They're still a noble, after all.
  • Game Mod: The game already had a thriving mod scene mere days after release, long before the official mod tool was even out.
  • Game Over: Of the lineage of the original game, Warband, and this one, this game is the first to actually allow you to game over. Depending on your settings, your player character may very well die, either in combat, executed by another lord, or just of old age. If you don't have another member of your Clan to take control of, it's game over.
  • Gender Is No Object: Calradia was apparently less sexist in this time period than it would become in Warband. Female nobles are just as active as males, and there are no real penalties or benefits for playing as a male vs. playing as a female.
  • The Goomba: Looters. Next to no armor, battered tools and rocks as weapons and folding like wet paper against even a beginner commander, their only saving grace is that they attack in groups... Groups who avoid you like the plague as soon as you got a few men of your own. A good chunk of the early game is either dodging them until you have some troops or actively hunting them to loot and sell (or dismantle, in the case of weapons) their possessions and ransom the survivors for a pittance.
  • Great Offscreen War: "Neretze's Folly" is the in-universe nickname for a major battle that left the empire in its current state: An alliance of Sturgians, Battanians and Vlandians had declared war against the Empire and its Aserai and Khuzait allies. Under Emperor Neretzes, an effective enough ruler in peacetime but decidedly lacking in skills when it comes to military strategy, the army marched into Battanian lands, culminating in the Battle of Pendraic, wherein the imperials were slaughtered by falxmen and warriors that had ambushed them. Neretzes fell in battle as the imperial camp was stormed by the Sturgians, with the dragon banner lost and only a handful of soldiers escaping to the safety imperial territory. Subsequently, the leader of these soldiers, Arenicos, was declared the new emperor by the senate. Discovering more about Neretzes' Folly is one of the first quests you receive in order to discover more about the lore of the Empire and explore the lands of Calradia.
  • The Hero Dies: Depending on your settings, you can die from anything, in battle, executed, or of mere old age. If you have more family in your Clan, you can take over as that character; if you don't , it's Game Over.
  • The Horde: The Khuzait Khanate, much like their descendants of the original game's time, the Khergits.
  • Horse Archer: Many factions have at least one unit of mounted archers, but their quality, accessability and competence varies greatly. Khuzait is a faction where half of the units are capable horse archers and this makes them very hard to counter, especially with infantry-heavy armies.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Thanks to the crafting system, players can build weapons from various parts that look at best odd, at worse ridiculous when cobbled together. Low-tier polearms are especially subject to this, allowing one to terrorize the battlefields and kill or maul dozens of enemies wielding a polo mallet, an oversized pitchfork or a rake.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The fine steel menavlion is a cheap widely-available Imperial Blade on a Stick that can be acquired minutes into the game. It's also one of the few polearms that can be used on horseback and swung from side to side, and that swing is easily capable of killing anything from bandits to elite troops in one hit while also having a long reach. Only the highest-tier weapons will outperform it in combat.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Your clan can start and send out caravans that will automatically trade with settlements, making you significant wealth.
  • Irony: The Calradic Empire is based on the Roman Empire, but the sum of the three Imperial faction's territories forms a shape reminiscent of Ancient Iran, Rome's most powerful and frequent eastern rival.
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople): Many cities on the northwestern segment of the map have familiar but different names, representing the linguistic drift that will take place in the 200 or so years between the era of Bannerlord and the time of Warband. Praven, for example, is Pravend, Sargoth is Sargot, Uxhal is Ocs Hall, Shariz is Charas, etc.
  • Keystone Army: Subverted most of the time, but played straight during bandit hideout missions. If you go down during one your entire army will disband and you'll be captured, even if every other member of your retinue was still at full health.
  • Lost Roman Legion: Calradic Legion, and played with. The Legion is still around, but due to the decline of the Empire, the lords and Emperor moved away from the system of Legions and adopted a Eastern Roman-style Theme system. A sizable number of Legionnaires felt betrayed and broke away from the Empire, forming the Legion of the Betrayed. They're pretty much nothing but mercenaries now, and will fight for any faction (including the three Imperial factions) who can afford to pay them. Interestingly, despite being set in the Low Middle Ages, the Legion of the Damned's troops are based on the manipular legions of early-to-mid Republican Rome, being divided into inexperienced hastati, the more experienced principes, and the elite triarii spearmen.
  • The Low Middle Ages: Calradia is still in its version of these, compared to the original game's High Middle Ages.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Shields can negate range attacks entirely and block roughtly 19 out of 20 attacks aimed in your general direction, unless you deliberaly misalign your position. This is one of the main reasons why two-handed weapons are usually a bad idea - you're trading away vital protection for minimally bigger damage output.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • The default source of troops are the raw recruits from villages and towns with no armor, a farming implement as a weapon and almost no combat skills to speak of. If they survive a dozen or so battles they can be upgraded into top-tier elite fighters that eat low-tier troops for breakfast.
    • The Imperial Vigla Recruit is the elite unit of the Empire in its baseline form: a poorly trained and poorly equipped, very rare infantry that requires a horse to be upgraded to the also-mediocre Imperial Equite, which then requires a war horse two upgrades later. But it's all well worth the effort, money and care, since the end of the line unit is the Imperial Elite Cataphract, the best cavalry unit in the game. Even the penultimate tier, Imperial Cataphract, is still worth it all.
    • Many types of bandit could be, with the right skills, time, and effort, be upgraded into rare and powerful elite units. This is currently in the process of reworks, given how absurdly potent was the end result of fielding out of the blue an army of over 200 elites.
  • Master of None: Khuzait Tribal Warriors, the entry tier cavalry of the faction, are on paper perfect low tier unit. A rider armed with a bow, spear and a sword, offering great utility. Also included: near non-existing proficiency in any of those weapons, along with barely holding in the saddle. The Tribal Warriors are barely above the skill level of a freshly made player character intended as a horse archer, without the brain of human player. Their only saving grace is how fast they can graduate to higher tier.
  • Meaningful Name: Rhagaea wants for hereditary succession to return, essentially transforming the empire into a kingdom and her name sounds suspiciously similar to the latin for "Queen".
  • Mercenary Units: The game features several minor factions, each of whom can serve as mercenaries for the different major nations. You can be one yourself.
  • Messianic Archetype: The minor faction Embers of the Flames have this in form of Emperor Darusos, a saintly but ineffective teenager that was toppled by his generals. The Embers claim that they are preparing the way for Heaven to bring back Darusos and usher in a new golden age.
  • New Meat: Two distinctive flavours of it. There are the generic recruits of any faction, essentially a peasant levy armed with farming tools - and this is where majority of recruits start as. Then there are the actual farmers, who are even worse, as they have to be upgraded to the recruits first.
  • Non-Idle Rich: While regular troops are average Joes and Janes who want to climb the social ladder at the cost of a dangerous life, noble troops are for the most part petty nobles or children of aristocratic and/or wealthy families who want to do something else than sitting in the lap of luxury.
  • Not the Intended Use: The looters are intended as early game targets and stop being dangerous within minutes, at best disrupting villagers in their supply runs to towns. But since it doesn't matter for experience gain what type or tier was the unit killed by your men, looters turn into a great source of levelling for your trainees. The trick is to deliberately keep your party small, so even if it's full of tier 4 or 5 units, the looters won't even think about running away and rather than having to chase them, they will come straight to you.
  • Off the Rails: Being that this is a prequel, from the moment you start the game, history will almost certainly proceed very differently from how it does in canon.
  • Off with His Head!: The game allows you to execute captured lords - or face such a fate yourself.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Headshots deal bonus damage, which for variety of weapons means ability to kill in a single strike. Doubly so with perks further enhancing bonus damage from headshots.
    • Any weapon that deals 100+ damage, especially when mounted. Not counting small handful of specific perks, troops have 100 HP each, and in most extreme cases, they will have something around 120. Certain two-handed weapons deal 130 and more.
    • Charge and speed in general is accounted for damage. A hit that normally would be non-fatal can be enhanced to deal far greater damage, dropping targets dead. One of the ways to make javelins lethal is to run toward the target.
  • One-Hit Polykill: If the first target is slain, then the sweep movement of the weapon will continue, hitting another one within its reach. This means certain two-handed polearms are mowing enemy troops by the dozen, as they deal enough damage to kill even well-armoured target in single hit. On horseback, long glaive and war razor are some of the most dreaded weapons, since nothing can survive being swept by them, including a three-rank-thick line of heavy infantry with shields pointed in harm's way.
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: It's possible to inflict this on the heirs to the throne of a faction by marrying your family members, or even yourself, to them.
  • Player-Exclusive Mechanic: Inverted. Player character is the only one that can't be a governor. As a result, any perk dedicated to governing towns is virtually useless to player.
  • Prequel: Technically, the game is this to the original title, as it's set 200 years in the past during the last days of the Calradic Empire, part of that game's backstory. Of course, given the sandbox nature of the series, the moment you arrive in the land, history has become yours to change.
  • Pregnant Badass: The devs have indicated that female player characters will not be penalized or limited in any way when they are bearing children, as laying up a player for several months might be realistic, but isn't much fun.
  • Protagonist Title: The Bannerlord is a title that refers to anyone who possesses the lost Imperial banners, which the player becomes as part of the main quest.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Aserai are a confederation of Merchant Cities, and Aserai PCs have a reduced trade penalty and can buy caravans more cheaply.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: Both sides of the trope are in play. The sheer numbers of troops, even when low level, can reliably win battles against far superior foes, simply by overwhelming them. On the other hand, high-tier troops, thanks to combination of their skills and equipment, can easily take few low-tier units without risk of getting slain and are often equipped with some ranged weapons, even if not being a dedicated ranger, further decimating enemy ranks before getting into proper combat.
  • Rare Random Drop: Higher-tier gear of the sort nobles wear is extremely rare loot, even when coming from a defeated army full of high-tier units. Melee weapons can be crafted, but getting top-quality armor, shields, bows or horses is a matter of sheer luck.
    • Roguery, while officially being related, affects only quantity of loot, not quality of it, so raising it means you will only get more of the low-tier gear, not a chance to get more rare items.
    • Shops operate similarly. Due to combination of faulty scripting and a few different mechanics required to work in unison, getting an actual high tier gear, especially armour and saddles, is nigh-impossible, as they are qualified as as a separate tier of items, above the normal 1-6 rating. So even having a highly-prosperous city with the right type of workshops and being in full supply of all the possible resources doesn't guarantee a rare item will be provided.
    • Even the crafting system requires unlocking parts first. Randomly. If you luck out, you will get components for either good gear or at least highly-valuable ones (and thus making unlocking new parts significantly easier) early on. If you don't, it's a grind that makes rising combat skills above 150 to look like a cakewalk.
  • Regime Change: For the first time in the main series, given that Anyone Can Die, factions can and will change rulers without the player pressing a claim, or scripted events. The exact matter of succession is determined by that faction's laws. More interestingly, the player is not limited to being the monarch of their own, created faction; if the laws allow it, the player can take the reins of one of the existing factions.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Each kingdom has some sub-factions that is at odds with them, either by wishing to live as their ancestors did or simply by having an agenda that differs from what the leader wants, mostly for less than savory reasons and/or a refusal to change:
    • Battania:
      • The Wolfskins, young nobles whose chose to live in forests and behave like a pack of beasts.
    • Khuzait:
      • The Karakhergits, nomad bands who refuse to settle down and still live as steppe nomads.
    • Vlandia:
      • The Brotherhood of the Woods, peasants who started Just Like Robin Hood before falling into crime.
      • The Company of the Golden Boar, sellswords who emulate their adventurer and mercenary ancestors.
    • Sturgia:
      • The Forest People, tribals who shun away cities to live as itinerant slash-and-burn farmers deep in the forests.
      • The Lake Rats, shipwreckers and robbers who make a living by running ships aground with false lighthouses.
      • The Skolderbroda, mercenary sailors who live like their Viking-inspired ancestors with some mercenary work on the side.
    • Aserai:
    • Empires:
      • The Eleftheroi, frontiermen made of runaway slaves and debtors.
      • The Embers of the Flame, religious fanatics who worship the "saintly but ineffective" late Emperor Darusos and prepare for his second coming.
      • The Hidden Hand, mobile traders in appearance but organized criminals in reality.
      • The Last Legion, soldiers who refused Arecinos' switch from imperial legions to lord-owned retinues and struck out on their own.
  • Retcon: The region of land called Calradia is significantly expanded (most of the territory still held by the Calradic Empire doesn't even fall on the section of the map that lines up with Warband), and the terrain has been made a lot more mountainous in order to promote more tactical use of the geography (choke points and ambush sites and such). That said, most of the cities that we remember, usually under slightly different but recognizable names (Pravend is the future Praven, Charas is Shariz, etc.) to reflect Warband's 200 years of language drift, are pretty close to where they are in Warband.
  • Skewed Priorities: If a hostile lord is chasing a looter gang before meeting you, they will continue to chase that gang instead of focusing on you. This may allow you to avoid many unwinnable fights by simply letting the lord engage the looters while you slip by him.
  • Storming the Castle: Sieges return, and have been overhauled - no longer is it only a single siege tower or ladder, now it can be by bombardment to make breaches, battering rams, multiple towers and ladders, or any combination thereof. Furthermore, sieges receive a Total War style deployment phase.
  • Succession Crisis: The Calradic Empire is in one of these; by rule, they insist they are not a monarchy, and Emperor is only the most powerful position and succession has been decided by the Emperor nominating an heir, the Senate agreeing that the choice was worthy, and the Army accepting him as Emperor. But as the Empire has lost much of its strength and territory, after the death of Emperor Arenicos, it has divided into three separate factions, each with their own idea for how new Emperors should be crowned.
    • Senator Lucon of the Northern Empire wants the power to crown the Emperor returned to the Senate.
    • Garios of the Western Empire feels that the Army, as the truest representative of the people, should be the ones to acclaim the Emperor.
    • Rhagaea, the Emperor's widow, wants hereditary succession, as her and the Emperor's only child, his daughter Ira, should rule.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence:
    • The main estimate AI uses when deciding if to fight or flight (or even outright chase after) your party is comparison of sizes. This means a rabble of 30 looters will feel confident to attack your 21 men strong party, which consists of your character and 20 tier 6 elite units. That despite the fact party composition is not a secret.
    • Bandit parties at least sometimes surrender. You can forget about such reaction from faction-aligned parties, no matter how big the disparity. A group of less than 40 troops refusing to surrender to your army of over 1000 troops is a norm, forcing a 2-second long auto-resolve battle, because AI simply won't surrender and will call for blood.
    • Played With in case of evenly tied situations. You might run on a party with superior numbers and even comparable quality of troops. AI will be confident in victory and will mock you before the battle, asking to simply surrender already. You can reply with demanding their own surrender and then take them captive after the victorious battle.
  • Surplus Damage Bonus: Any well-executed attack will deal enough damage that it will break through parry or make it impossible to block it with a shield. If combined with proper weapon type and situation, this will not only negate parry, but cause a One-Hit Kill.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Calradic Empire might be ruled by an Emperor, and yes, that person might have complete autocratic authority over them all, but they are NOT a monarchy. Let them repeat that: Not. A. Monarchy.
  • The Theocracy: The backstory of some companions can mention the Kingdom of Truth, a breakaway state from the Empire centered around an apocalyptic cult that shunned merchants, soldiers and nobles and aspired to be a place where all were treated equally under the auspices of the Heavens until the world ended. Initially they were quite successful, drawing many adherents from across Calradia and managing to defeat two Imperial legions that were sent to bring them back into the fold. When their leader died however they became aimless, and were forced to resort to the oppressive measures of their secular neighbors like taxation and conscription just to stay afloat, until the Empire sent a larger army and finally wiped them out.
    • The Embers of the Flame seek to install this and prepare for the return of Emperor Darusos, ushering in a new age. But like so many other rebel movements in Calradia they have been forced to turn to extortion to survive.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The late Emperor Neretzes was an effective enough ruler in that he kept the empire together, but he had no military prowess whatsoever. So, naturally, he sees nothing wrong with personally leading the Empire's latest campaign against the Sturgians, Battanians and Vlandians, and, of course, he gets his head chopped off for his troubles, which kickstarts the plot of the game.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Calradic Empire once controlled much more of the map, stretching all the way west to the coastline; Pravend might have even been their capital. But as their strength has waned, their ability to keep their neighbors at bay has as well, and much of their territory has been lost, and now the Empire has splintered in three. Re-uniting the Empire and taking back their old lands, though, can be a goal of the player.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • Due to a variety of reasons, other lords are fairly incompetent at mustering meaningful armies, instead having dozens of recruit infantry and a token force of better units. And they will keep losing them time and again, forcing another round of recruitment of New Meat. Now you might not be able to affect their army composition if they are outside your clan, but you can invite them to an army and keep fighting manually easy-to-win battles, providing their troops with plentiful experience. This can quickly turn army you're commanding into a Pintsized Powerhouse, since it might be "only" two parties with 250-300 men in total... but those men happen to be all tier 5 and 6 units.
    • Replacing a high-tier units might take hours, so it's usually worth it to use your elite troops as tactically as possible, and not just charge them straight at the enemy lines hoping for the best. That's what the recruits are for.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • Using high-tier archers and especially crossbowmen as melee units. Despite their classification, they have excellent one-handed skill, are decently armed and usually they even carry a shield, while being covered with at least a mail armour. So rather than ordering them to keep their distance and thus end up being swarmed by enemy fodder and not shooting anyway, make them draw swords and sally forth!
    • Depending on the terrain and the type of ranged units used by the other side, it might be better to just charge straight ahead into their line, rather than trying to advance in a shieldwall formation - you will end up with less people dead by virtue of closing the gap faster.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: As part of the events related to Nereztes' Folly, there are two drastically different stances on Vlandians and their switch of sides. Imperials consider them an entire nation of oath-breakers who were sworn to defend the empire, only to betray it in the moment of need, while Vlandians took terrible imperial diplomacy as the final straw that made it justify to go against the Empire, rather than keep being mistreated.
  • Zerg Rush: Even an Elite Army can be swamped by a horde of peasants with sheer numbers on their side.

Alternative Title(s): Mount And Blade 2 Bannerlord

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