So, you’ve fired up Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, created your character, and have taken those first baby steps in Calradia. But what comes next?
The game’s tutorial does a good job of teaching new players the basics of Mount & Blade such as traversing the campaign map and engaging in battles. However, there’s plenty that goes unsaid andonce the training wheels are finally pulled away you might feel a little lost.
This guide will help prod you in the right direction. Well, we say “right”, but there’s no wrong way of playing Bannerlord. It’s a sandbox RPG through and through, so we’d actually encourage you to go out there and get a feel for the game’s mechanics first hand.
What to do after the tutorial?
If you’re playing the default campaign module then you’ll reach a point early on where your companion leaves you to go and pursue their own quest.
From here you’re free to go wherever you choose, regardless of which culture your character is aligned to. Just because you hail from Aserai or Sturgia doesn’t mean you have to serve them; you can win favour with any of the game’s six major factions regardless of your origin. Or, if you’d like, you can wander Calradia, plying your trade as a mercenary or becoming a successful merchant.
Rebuilding your Clan
Wherever you decide to go, there are a handful of initial milestones that will help you get a better foothold in the game. Conveniently enough, they’re all bundled into your first post-tutorial quest which can be viewed in your journal.
These goals include raising 1,000 Denars (Calradic currency), having a party size of 20 or more, recruiting at least one companion, and reaching Clan Rank 1. Again, you’re under no obligation to do these, though you’ll likely cross off these objectives naturally anyway:
- You can quickly earn Denars by completing missions (visit settlements, look for quest-givers with a blue exclamation mark) and selling any loot and prisoners you win from battle.
- As your character gains experience, your max party size will increase. Reaching 20 should take no time at all, especially if you are recruiting lowly grunts from nearby villages. Just make sure you have the coin to pay their daily wage while keeping a small stockpile of supplies.
- Companions can be found in the tavern districts of larger cities. They cost several hundred Denars but will become very important later on, capable of carrying out tasks on your behalf. Make sure you periodically improve their equipment and manage their skills.
- To reach Clan Rank 1 requires 50 Renown. This value is a measure of your deeds throughout Calradia and can be earned through completing missions and winning battles. Hunting down looters and bandits is a quick way to grind out some renown.
Once you’ve completed these objectives you should have a nice little warband and some coin in your purse. Here are a couple of suggestions on what to do next.
Serve a kingdom
Up until now you’ve been wandering Calradia as a vagabond, crossing swords with lowly poachers and other miscreants. You will have also run into various clans hailing from the game’s six major factions including Vlandia, Battania, Aserai, Sturgia, the Empire, and the Khuzait Khanate.
Choosing to serve one of these kingdoms is an easy way to get your foot on the ladder. Try and find out more about them – their background, geography, and military units – before making the journey into their territory. Once there you should try and interact with as many of their key characters as possible, picking up quests and building your relations with them.
Soon you’ll be able to offer your services as a mercenary. Notifications will appear to let you know when armies are being mustered, and by tagging along you can get your first taste of Bannerlord’s large scale battles while earning the trust of your allies. Earn enough renown and you can then pledge yourself as a vassal, gradually earning more powers and influence within a faction.
Become a merchant
Locking down a steady income will open plenty of doors in Mount & Blade II. You’ll need funds to recruit, maintain, and train your army, as well as buying new equipment or performing actions such as bribes.
Becoming a merchant doesn’t mean you can’t also pursue your ambitions as a feared mercenary or powerful warlord. However, to get the biggest returns you’ll need to invest a lot of time into hawking goods throughout Calradia.
Whenever you visit a settlement, castle, or city, you can buy and sell goods with the local traders. By hovering over individual items you can see a merchant’s tip, showing how much that commodity is being sold and bought for in other territories. Using this information (which becomes more reliable as you level up your Trade skill) you can load up on goods and then flog them for a profit.
More Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord Guides from TheSixthAxis
For more on Mount & Blade II, check in with our Bannerlord early access review.