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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, with a full release on PC and consoles scheduled for October 25, 2022.

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.


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.
    • The Sword Sisters return from Warband, and 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.
  • 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.
  • Amazon Brigade:
    • The Sword Sisters are the only Native all-female unit tree that can be found, without mods. All their units use swords and crossbows. That being said, they lack helmets.
    • It is entirely possible to have only female companions, which can do all the jobs needed, even leading the various units.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • An update added the ability for polearm-wielding units (including the player) to brace their polearms against the ground, further increasing their usefulness if gathered together in numbers. Another update added dismounting mechanics, granting certain weapon types ability to simply throw the rider out of the saddle - and forcefully dismounted rider is pretty much dead, even if surviving the strike itself. And polearms excel in this.
  • Anti-Frustration Features
    • Compared to the first game bandits are no longer all the local specialty and instead generic looters show up everywhere on the map. In Warband the lack of this made the desert in particular, but also the steppe plains, near impossible to start out at because the bandits there all had horses with desert bandits being archers. While trouble bandits can still show up each area has much more manageable "rocks and pitchfork" bandits in every area that even a newbie can cut their teeth on without excess problems.
  • 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.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: This comes up in several ways.
    • Depending on Perks, the Steward skill, Clan Tier, and possibly Kingdom Policies, a Player can only have so many troops in their party. While this can be gone over for a brief period, troops will desert at a certain point, unless placed in a party lead by a Companion, or placed in a garrison of a town or castle, preferably one controlled by the Player.
    • In a battle with multiple lords, where the total number of combatants is over a certain amount, a player might only find themselves controlling a handful of their 100+ troops. Good luck getting any kills to get your share of the loot — you'll need it.
  • Armor Is Useless: In the old development builds, Armor was almost completely worthless with how easily arrows punched through. In the release build, things have changed, but not getting hit at all is still preferable, so bring a shield.
  • 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, or at least the Looters are, before being upgraded into proper troops.
  • Artificial Stupidity: When your family members and companions are in tournaments, they'll attack whomever on another team is closest, even if the other person is another family member or companion that's part of the group. In short, don't expect your AI controlled friends and family to "fix" the fight by fighting those who aren't part of the group first, before turning upon each other.
  • 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. Fortunately, latter builds added ability to simply knock footmen on the ground while trotting over them.
  • Badass in Distress: It's possible for the various Lords and Ladies to end up being captured by enemy forces, even if they can lead armies, and take enemies out in one blow. This includes yourself. Luckily, ransoms can be paid, escapes are possible, and it's possible for captors to be bested by a more powerful force.
  • Balance Buff: Spears have been significantly improved for infantry use from the first game, due to always being able to attack from above (meaning that holding the down direction is no longer a reliable way to block spears), the addition of the ability to bash with the shield or the spear's shaft (allowing you to shove away opponents), smarter AI, and the fact that they stop horses much more reliably with a thrust to the chest. It's not enough to prevent spearmen from being slaughtered by other types of infantry, but it prevents them from being completely useless against foot troops.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Variant. In a Tournament, it's possible for a Player and a Companion to face off in the final fight. Regardless of who wins the fight, the player's party still gets the loot.
  • 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.
  • 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, especially if the target lacks decent head protection. 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.
    • Maces. They deal decent damage on their own, but more importantly, they almost completely negate armour, and due to their size, they have better Handling than any weapon of similar damage range. All combined, this allows you to flinch-lock your target and attack again before them, while dealing full damage due to ignoring armour. And in case of two-handed variants, you can spread the pain over everything caught in the swing. Maces are even cheaper than other weapons of the same tier.
    • Recruiting units from all cultures and of all types. This will allow you to have the best Infantry, Archers, Melee Cavalry, and Archer Cavalry. It helps to deal with the Crippling Overspecialization that units of one faction tend to have.
    • Picking a single combat skill and rising it to maybe 150 tops. It might be tempting to spread your skills over few categories and theoretically gain big advantage, but what it really does is generating Master of None and not having those points invested into crucial skills like Steward, Medicine or Leadership, which you want to rise as high as you can.
    • If you're a vassal, and you've just rescued a lot of troops from the enemy — as in, more than you can hold in your party at the moment — Promote one of your Companions that happens to have a decent Steward skill to be a Party Leader, give them the excess troops, then form an army, and call them to said army. Not only does this let you keep those rescued troops, it will also increase your Leadership. Also, you can transfer additional extra troops, and prisoners, to them. Rinse and repeat with a few more companions, and now your army is going to be several hundred strong, all lead by your Companions.
    • Got a ton of low tier loot that you can't sell, and don't want to wear — even as part of a Civilian Outfit for yourself or Companions — go to an Allied vassal and trade with them. This increases your Trade skill, and can boost your reputation with them.
    • If you capture an enemy Lord, release them. This will make them think well of you, as will their clan, and their allies.
    • Militia — despite being weak, they are free, use no food, and come in the form of spearmen and archers. Enough of them can cause plenty of damage to would-be invaders.
  • Boulder Bludgeon: Bags of rocks are used by peasants, looters, and hillmen. They do minimal damage, however, and even with their large stack size and reusability, they're only useful against lightly armored unshielded troops
  • 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, crossbowmen 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.
  • Bows Versus Crossbows:
    • In general, bows tend to be quick to use, while crossbows have a reload time.
    • Vlandia and the Empire units can train into those who use Crossbows, while most others use bows or javelins, for when it comes to ranged troops. That being said, most cavalry archers use bows, as only Gallant Sword Sisters and Imperial Caravan Guards use a mounted Crossbow unit (and only use the weaker Light Crossbow, which is the only crossbow that can be reloaded while on horseback). Of course, most higher tier crossbow users have a shield for protection, while other archers do not use one.
    • Among the players and their Companions and family members, for those on horseback, while there's plenty of bows that can be used, only a Light crossbow can be used on horseback, until a certain perk can be picked up.
  • 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.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: Depending on the area from where most of the player's troops come from, this could happen.
  • 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.
  • Cannon Fodder: Tier 1 troops tend to be this. Cheap to hire, low pay, armed with basic equipment — against a force full of Tier 3+ troops, they'll die in droves.
  • Cherry Tapping:
    • Using a shield, or a punch, or kick, to knock out or kill an enemy can be this, as it's only 2-3 points of damage.
    • Defeating a powerful enemy using nothing but peasants, recruits, looters, militia, and other low-tier troops.
  • 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).
  • Co-Dragons: In many ways, your Companions are this. If your troop types consist of Melee Foot, Foot Archers, Melee Cavalry, and, of course, Cavalry Archers, but you only wish to focus on being a Horse Archer sort, it would be a good idea to recruit Companions who can lead the different troop types. In fact, if one has a Companion that's good with regular bows, and one that's good with crossbows, both can lead separate formations, so that bow infantry and crossbow infantry can benefit from the Companions' perks, especially if they have different perks that can boost the troops' effectiveness further, such as having the one Companion be good with one-handed weapons, and the other be good with two-handed weapons.
  • 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 hefty price tag for their war horses and don't fare very well against heavier or more-specialized opponents, along with having lighter armor and shields. Tactical flexibility and quickly reading the tide of battle is a must for them.
    • Battania: Rangers. The best archers, good polearms, decent skirmishers and mobility offset by terrible cavalry and complete lack of regular archers (Fians are a noble troop), making them easy pickings for horse archers or flanking mounted attackers. If this wasn't enough, their armor is always inferior to other units of same tier. 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. They also lack a general cavalry tree, relying solely on their expensive and slow-to-train nobles for mounted units. (Outside of a cavalry archer unit they get at the end of their archer tree)
    • 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. (Though this is mitigated by them having some of the best shields in the game) 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 are slow across the board (outside of their cavalry trees, one of which is heavy and the other which is pretty close to heavy) and lack access to quicker firing bows for their ranged units. The Vlandians gameplan usually consists of a potent one-two punch of softening the enemy with a hail of crossbow bolts and cleaning up with their heavy cavalry charges, but more maneuverable armies can encircle or ignore their static pike formations to reach their sluggish crossbows while outrunning their heavier cavalry.
  • 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.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The heroes of non-player clans are capable of being governors and providing benefits without being physically present. The player's governors, meanwhile, have to be present in the settlement, making it impossible for them to lead a party or participate in battle.
  • 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 retrieved anymore, leaving you empty-handed. At later levels though, they can destroy shields, possibly killing most units outright, especially with a headshot. The effects of such throws also tends to send the target flying.
    • 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.
    • Battania specialized in skirmishing foot troops... which leaves them with no regular archers, no real heavy infantry and terrible cavalry. As if that weren't enough, they lack armor, regardless of unit tier or type. It is outright advised to ignore native cavalry and hire replacements from just about any of the neighboring nations. Human players tend to just compose armies out of Battanian Fian Champions, which, while easily one of the best units in the game, shows how narrow the specialization of Battania really is.
  • Crutch Character:
    • The Older Brother is this in the Story Mood. Very strong, high leveled — however, parts of the Story will drag him away from the group.
    • It's possible to find Companions that have 70+ in various useful skills. Find one with 70+ in 1-Hand, 2-Hand, and or Polearms, and Athletics — Infantry Commander. Higher Riding skill compared to Athletics — Cavalry Commander. Forgo 2-hand and Polearms in favor of Bow and or Crossbow — Archer Commander, maybe even Horse Archer Commander. High Medicine — Medic. High Steward — Quartermaster. Some are even readily affordable, for not even 500 gold.
  • 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.
  • Dangerous Deserter: It's possible to encounter villages being extorted by deserters. Help out the village to rid them of their troubles.
  • 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.
  • Devious Daggers: In general, throwing daggers tend to be avoided, as they are one of the worst types of throwing weapons. However, as a Tier 1 weapon that's allowed for Civilian usage, they are the only ranged option one can use while wandering around towns and such. With a high enough Throwing skill, headshots are deadly.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: If the player dies in a battle that was ultimately won, the resulting cutscene will depict them being cradled by a clan member or soldier of theirs.
  • 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.
    • Learning how the trebuchet works and aims takes genuine effort from the player, with no in-game mechanics to compensate for their own abilities. But being able to barrage the gate or utterly destroy a tower or create a gap in the wall all on your own is not only immensely satisfying, but can also completely turn the tide of the siege. Similarly, taking out enemy siege equipment while defending is hard, but doable, and can reduce the attackers to only using ladders, which are easily defended against.
  • 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.
  • Emergency Weapon:
    • Carrying a melee weapon is highly encouraged for those who specialize in ranged combat, with all ranged troops having one. Battanian fians add onto this by using a two-handed sword instead, while crossbow troops add a shield instead.
    • Polearm troops will typically have a shorter one-handed weapon, as polearms are practically unusable at close range, especially indoors.
  • 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.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: It isn't too difficult for players from one culture to recruit troops from another. All that is needed is money, as well as the respect of the local leaders of the village/city, often by doing small quests, or by clearing out local bandit hideouts and saving villagers/caravans that come under attack by the bands of brigands. Do these sorts of things, and the way to build up an army can be paved.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • As long as sides A and B aren't actively at war with each other, it's possible for A and B to temporarily team up against side C. This is useful for saving villagers and caravans from bandits.
    • When participating in Tournaments, it's possible for enemy lords to be placed on the same team.
  • 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.
    • There are also prison breaks, which are definitely harder: you and your prisoner of choice have to escape the dungeon of a local keep. While being forced to use civilian gear (your character) and no armour and a lame excuse for a weapon (the prisoner). All while having to fight through 5-8 guards on your way out. If the prisoner goes down, the mission obviously fails, but you still have to fight your way out.
  • Evil Poacher: One quest that can be given is the Army of Poacher's job, where the Player can fight a group of Poachers who are basically low tier archers. Of course, it's possible to Negotiate with them, and get them to change their ways.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Exotic Mount Supremacy. Camels are much, much higher than horses, which simply puts their riders outside the range of the majority of weapons foot soldiers can carry and makes it hard even for enemy cavalry to reach them. At the same time, since their hitbox is shaped differently, they have an uncanny tendency to plough right through a braced line of pikes without suffering any damage, while pikes and other brace-able polearms are normally an effective Anti-Cavalry. For added exotic factor, only Aserai have units mounted on camels and you have to hand-pick them for your companions, too.
  • 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.
  • Fighting Your Friend:
    • Due to Friendly Enemy, it's possible to be in battle against a noble that respects the player, and vice-versa. At the end of the battle, if the player wins, simply let them go to maintain a good relationship.
    • On a downplayed example, should the player have a bunch of Companions with them, and enter a Tournament with them, odds are that some will be on the other teams. In fact, it's even possible for one of the Companions to win, and they will give the prize to the player's party.
  • Foreign Ruling Class: If taking over the world is the player's goal, this will happen. Sometimes trouble will occur. Enacting certain policies — like Forgiveness of Debts — as well as putting Governors that are of the same culture as the locals will mitigate most trouble.
  • 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.
    • Likewise, it's possible to get this sort of treatment yourself. Engage in criminal activities, get a high enough criminal rating, and you won't be allowed into places that you don't own, even those of the faction that you're nominally part of, unless you bribe a guard or sneak in.
  • Friendly Enemy: Despite trying to take over each other's territories, the Nobles tend to be on good terms with each other. This even extends to the Player — release the Noble after the battle, and the Player's reputation with the Noble, and the Noble's family will increase.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Depending on the route they take, the player can start as an unknown, only to go around looting, raiding, pillaging, attacking everyone, and taking the place over.
  • From Zero to Hero: Conversely, it's equally possible to start as an unknown and to go around helping folks, saving villagers and caravans from bandits, delivering goods and supplies, and other such things, which could lead into becoming a ruler of the country.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: It's entirely possible to strip a player and companions down to underwear, and send them into a fight. This is not a good idea for many reasons, especially if certain mods are used.
  • 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.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: There are tournaments that the players, and Nobles, and other named folk, can participate in. Sometimes those that are nominally at war might be in a Neutral city that's holding a tournament, where they might be opponents, or temporary allies.
  • 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.
  • Hammer Hilt: You can strike with your weapon's grip (one-handed/two-handed) or shove with the shaft (polearm) while blocking, as an alternative to kicking. The damage is negligible, however, as it's intended to simply stagger the enemy and break their guard.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: The Sword Sister mercenaries do not wear helmets, no matter what. This is to show off that they are women. The Jawwal minor faction troops also do not wear helmets either, most likely to show off their cool hair. That being said, they, and anyone else not wearing any helmets, like some recently recruited companions, or raw recruits of all sorts, are more susceptible to headshots compared to those wearing some.
  • 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.
  • Hired Guns: The player can enter a Tavern and hire units of the following lines - Hire Spear (which can go into Pikemen or Crossbow users), Sellswords (which can go into macemen or a type of horse archer) and Sword Sisters (Female crossbow users, including a rare crossbow-using version of horse archer). They can also find Caravan Guards here too. Overall, more expensive compared to more normal troops, but useful if one has money and needs the numbers.
  • Home Guard: The militias of settlements act as this. While they're weaker than units of equal tier (due to wearing clothing instead of armor, and using crappy weapons), they don't demand wages, don't starve in sieges, and will assist the garrison in combat so long as the settlement isn't too disloyal. They're also the only proper defense available to villages.
  • 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.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side!: Depending upon the perks, a player with a high roguery score, and a large force, that encounters smaller bandit forces, might see an option where the bandit group asks to join their force.
  • I Have Your Wife:
    • In Story Mode, the Character's younger siblings were abducted. This starts things off.
    • In general, it's possible for Companions and Family Members leading their own parties or caravans to be captured by hostile forces. You can pay a ransom, rescue them yourself, or they might free themselves, or someone else might beat those that took them captive.
    • You yourself can do this to enemy clans by taking Lords and Ladies prisoner.
  • 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 spear 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.
  • Jack of All Trades: Many characters will have a little bit of knowledge in a number of skills, which might be beneficial to troops under their command, if the character in question has at least enough experience in a certain type of fighting style to be worthy of a perk. Tournaments are even a safe place to train up these lesser combat skills. That being said, depending on playstyle, it would be better to, for instance, have 2 Melee Infantry commanders — one being focused on 2-hand and polearms, and the other being focused on 1-hand and throwing. Likewise, for the Archers, have someone focus on Bow skills, while the other focuses on Crossbow Skills (polearm skills can be ignored here, but a Bow-primary unit commander might benefit from 2-handed skill). The same holds true for Melee Cavalry and Archer Cavalry.
  • Javelin Thrower: A number of units use javelins as a ranged weapon, both in terms of cavalry, and infantry. Even the player and their allies can make good use of them.
  • Joke Character: Villagers serve as this, as they're the only tier 0 units, have no skills above 10, lack any decent weapons or armor, and tend to lose even to looters and recruits. And unlike Warband, they upgrade into their faction's recruits instead of mercenaries, so you have no reason to bother with training them. On top of that, you can't even recruit them directly - they only come from rescuing captives from looters and similar.
  • 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.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Bandit forces that are significantly weaker than yours might simply surrender quietly. Some might even ask to join your ranks though.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Militia are weak, rarely get past tier 3, having poor armor for their level, but, while defending your castle — they are free, don't consume food, and come in large groups. They are also either archers or spearmen. Many lords have fallen to these seemingly insignificant troops, especially when a powerful lord is commanding them.
  • 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 roughly 19 out of 20 attacks aimed in your general direction, unless you deliberately 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.
  • Lured into a Trap: This is the point of a Caravan Ambush mission. A Merchant sends a caravan, of about 40 or so units out. The Player waits nearby with 60+ troops. A group of bandits — Mounted Ransackers and Pillagers — about 60 strong attacks the caravan, thinking it to be easy prey, only for the player to assist the caravan. Cue the bandits being beaten.
  • 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.
    • Throwing and throwing weapons are mostly seen as utterly useless. However, if one dedicates their entire build towards them and grinds the skill to unlock the final few perks (including the ultimate one), javelins can one-shot just about anything they hit, pierce through any shield and kill both the mount and its rider in a single hit. The real question is whether one is willing to go to such extreme lengths.
  • 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.
  • Multi-Melee Master: It is very possible to walk around with a one-handed weapon, a shield, a two-handed weapon, and a polearm. Many polearm troops, in particular, will carry a shorter one-handed weapon for close quarters.
  • Multi-Ranged Master: It is possible, though not necessarily practical, to walk around with a crossbow, a bow, and arrows and bolts for both. A more practical form would be using a one-hand or two-hand weapon, a bow or crossbow, ammunition for that, and a stack of javelins.
  • Multinational Team:
    • You can recruit companions from various cultures. Also, you can get troops of various cultures. Khuait troops could be fighting next to Imperial troops, that are next to Sturgians, who are next to Aserai, who are next to Battainians, who are next to Vlandians, who are next to criminal types.
    • The other Lords' and Ladies' forces can be somewhat similar in this regard, especially those that wander between faction territories, or rescue prisoners held by other forces.
  • 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.
  • No Fair Cheating: A Downplayed Trope. Every enemy encounter has at least some ranged capacity, from rocks which hurt a surprising amount for the lowest tier units to dedicated throwing units in armies that don't have archers. This prevents you from simply using your horse or finding some higher geometry to completely avoid any risk by staying just out of reach.
  • No-Gear Level: Combat in cities and castles is a downplayed version of this, as your character and their accompanying heroes will be restricted to civilian equipment, which tends to be weaker than standard combat gear. If they had to sneak into the town, their armor will also be restricted to a weak outfit that barely provides protection. It's particularly bad in prison breaks, as the prisoner being rescued only has a weak outfit and weapon (usually a hammer), and you're forced to deal with guards that have proper combat gear.
  • 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.
    • Ballista, especially the one mounted on the fortress wall, is capable of taking few targets with a single, oversized bolt.
  • One-Man Army: Downplayed Trope with prison breaks, which expect you to use your civilian gear (often with weak armor, as you probably had to sneak into town) to fight 5-6 guards in full combat gear on your way out. To compensate, you usually only face 1-2 guards at a time, and the prisoner being rescued does have a weapon, albeit a very weak one.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All:
    • For player character, it's either Intelligence or Social, and preferably just both. They govern the most important skills in the game, and unlike with other stats, you don't want or even need to specialise in a single skill for Intelligence or Social - you want all of them maxed out.
    • For weapons, swing speed. It doesn't matter how much damage your weapon deals or even what reach or handling it has. If you can strike first, you can cause the target to flinch. If they flinch, they can't attack you, and before they swing their weapon again, you will once more gain an advantage in attack speed. Even a minuscule difference matters, so getting weapons as close to 1 or above is well worth it.
  • 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: Only players are capable of kicking and bashing with their weapons and shields. As such, the perks that improve it are useless on companions.
  • 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. Then there's the forces that use both quality and quantity together, especially those that have a high quantity of high quality units.
  • Rags to Riches:
    • A player can start with almost nothing, to ruling the whole of Calradia.
    • A Tier 1 Recruit could eventually become a Tier 6 Elite soldier.
    • Bandit Troops could potentially become Noble units.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Depending on loot drops, and money, it's possible to be wearing a helmet from one culture, a scarf, cape, or shoulder armor from a second, body armor from a third, gloves or gauntlets from a forth, and footwear from a fifth culture, with this going for both Military and Civilian dress, and then there's the weaponry. This also goes for your companions. Hopefully it's of high quality at any rate.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: Many melee infantry troops will carry javelins or throwing axes, allowing them to skirmish at close range before getting into melee 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.
  • Recruiting the Criminal:
    • Some of the possible Companions that can be hired are criminals.
    • Depending on the player's Roguery level, it's possible to come across a group of criminals that might ask to join them — they could become either additional troops, or prisoners.
  • Recruitment by Rescue: Defeat another force, it's possible to recruit those they once held prisoner into yours for free — until it's time to pay them of course. This is one way to get Militia troops, Peasants, Caravan guards, and Mercenary troops.
  • 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.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Depending on loot and money, it's possible to have a mix of low and high quality gear being worn at the same time — hopefully the body armor and helmet are the ones of higher quality at any rate. This also goes for your companions.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: Only NPCs are capable of being governors. As such, governor perks are useless to the player.
  • Shield Bash: Those with shields equipped can use them to make a weak attack that can potentially stun an enemy.
  • Shot in the Ass: Troops have an actual dying animation for getting shot in the butt, allowing for some amusing kills.
  • Skewed Priorities: If a hostile lord is chasing a bandit 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 bandits 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.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: During night battles, most troops tend to use torches for light. Peasants and recruits tend to use farming implements, including pitchforks. A battle at night with a bunch of peasants and recruits looks like something out of any angry mob scene.
  • The Tourney: Many cities will host Tournaments, where Nobles, and Sellswords, can compete against each other for a prize. Some Tournaments feature team events, while others are one-on-one. They are a good way to get decent armor, weapons, horses, and happen to be a safe place to train the player on how to use other weapons beyond their usual preferred weapons. The player's Companions and Family can also level up their skills here to, especially if the player watches their fights.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: Capture a number of prisoners in battle, haul them around for a while, and some might want to join your forces, getting paid and such. This is the only way to get variety of units, as they can't be recruited normally — some of them are even labelled internally as bandits, but not all.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: A few Variants —
    • The quest "Train Troops for Village" has the player take on "Borrowed Troops" to train up into "Trained Borrowed Troops". Little more than recruits, it's best to use them upon weak foes such as Looters, to teach them a thing or two about fighting, before sending them back to their lord.
    • Peasants that have been rescued from bandits and the like can be trained up into proper forces.
  • Unique Enemy: Bandit Bosses, Poachers, Mounted Pillagers and Mounted Ransackers, only appear during certain situations — Bandit Hideouts for the Bosses, Army of Poachers quest for the Poachers, and Caravan Ambush quest for the Pillagers and Ransackers. On a lesser note are the Armed Traders, Caravan Masters, Caravan Guards and Veteran Caravan Guards, who are generally found in caravans, but are normally not fought against unless one engages in bandit-like activities. Of note — none of the aforementioned units are leveled up from, or into, any other unit.
  • Unwanted Assistance: It is entirely possible for the crews of your own siege engines to end up shelling the same segment of fortification that your siege tower is heading, hitting it along with the soldiers currently using it, or even outright destroying it. Or they make a lucky wall breach right next to the just hauled there tower.
  • 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.
    • Depending upon one's playstyle, it can be worthwhile to rescue villagers and caravans that are attacked by bandits. This gives you a good relationship with whomever they answer to.
    • Sometimes the enemy has prisoners that you can directly recruit into your force. After being a prisoner for who knows how long, they are now free, and can be paid.
  • 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.
    • The best, fastest and most efficient way of befriending lords (or half of the kingdom) is to... be at war against them. Beat them in battle. Then release them. This way you get loads of loot, while also a big, positive modifier to relationship for your mercy. And since they now lack a proper army, it will be trivial to recapture them again and re-release them for further relationship increase, leading to Friendly Enemy.
    • Whenever you hire a companion, your goal is to not level them up. Chances are, they have superb skills in a few different fields already, probably soft-locked by the skill cap. Which should stay that way, as companions steep wages are tied to their level. Unless they are medics or geared towards the governor role, there is no real point to increase their skills any further, allowing to keep the low wages despite having a superior soldier and decent captain in your army.
  • Walking Armory: Each character has 4 weapon slots. These could be filled with a one-handed weapon, a shield, a bow, and a quiver of arrows, or a two-handed weapon, a bow, and two things of arrows, or a one-handed weapon, a shield, a polearm, and a stack of javelins, or some other combination.
  • Walking the Earth: Until you become a lord or a mercenary, you'll spend most of your time wandering around the map, doing all sorts of quests and getting into fights with bandits until you're inevitably forced to move onward in search of more adventures.
  • We Have Reserves: This could happen in a few ways.
    • Be on good terms with local leaders — the more they like the player, the easier it is to get troops from them, especially higher tier ones.
    • Have lots of money to hire mercenaries from the Towns.
    • Have a lot of Prisoners that are ready to join.
    • Have a Perk that allows Bandits to join your force readily.
    • Defeat those hauling around a large number of prisoners, as those prisoners will be willing to join the player.
  • We Win, Because You Didn't:
    • If a defender in a siege, driving the attacker off helps the defender's forces, even if the enemy army still happens to be around.
    • In a tournament, it's possible for a Player to be knocked out of the running. But, if there's a companion, and that companion manages to win in the final battle, the Player's party still gets the loot.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Most of the choosable heraldic emblems are closely based on Real Life ones, and include a chopped-up Chi Rho, a flipped Raven Banner, a Lamb of God sans vexillum, and a suspiciously Ferrari-like rearing horse.
  • 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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