Everything to do with Australia's most watched thoroughbred horse race, the Melbourne Cup. Discuss how to pick the winning horse, talk about Melbourne Cup Quinella/Exacta examples, Trifecta Systems, First 4 betting strategies or even simply who you are going to bet on, or have bet on in the past. You will also find posts on past winners of the Melbourne Cup, track potential future runners, form guide, tips, sweeps, the latest odds and more. The Melbourne Cup deserves its own Subreddit!
Today i have a confession to make: i'm a little bit of a minmaxer. And honestly, i think that's a pretty desirable trait in a DM. The minmaxer knows the rules, and exploits them to maximum efficiency.
"But wait, what does that have to do with spell use in society?" - someone, probably.
Well, the thing is that humans are absolutely all about minmaxing. There's a rule in the universe that reads "gas expands when hot", and suddenly we have steam engines (or something like that, i'm a political scientist not an engineer). A rule says 1+1 = 2, and suddenly we have calculus, computers and all kinds of digital stuff that runs on math. Sound is energy? Let's convert that shit into electricity, run it through a wire and turn it back into sound on the other side.
Bruh. Science is just minmaxing the laws of nature. Humanity in real life is just a big bunch of munchkins, and it should be no different in your setting.
is why minmaxing magic usage is something societies as a whole would do, specially with some notable spells. Today i will go in depth on how and why each of these notable mentions has a huge impact on a fantasy society.
We'll go from lowest level to highest, keeping in mind that the lower level a spell the more common it should be to find someone who has it, so often a level 2-3 spell will have more impact than a level 9 spell.
Repair anything in one minute. Your axe lost its edge? Tore your shirt? Just have someone Mend it.
Someone out there is crying "but wait! Not every village has a wizard!" and while that is true, keep in mind any High Elf knows a cantrip, as can any Variant Human.
A single "mender" could replace a lot of the work a smith, woodworker or seamstress does, freeing their time to only work on making new things rather than repair old ones.
Clean anything in six seconds. Committed axe murders until the axe got blunt, and now there's blood everywhere? Dog shit on your pillow out of spite? Someone walked all over the living room with muddy boots? Just Prestidigitate it away.
This may look like a small thing, but its actually huge when you apply it to laundry. Before washing machines were a thing housewives had to spend several hours a week washing them manually, and with Prestidigitation you can just hire someone to get it done in a few minutes.
A single "magic cleaner" can attend to several dozen homes, if not hundreds, thus freeing several hours of the time of dozens of women.
Fun fact: there's an interesting theory that says feminism only existed because of laundry machines and similar devices. Women found themselves having more free time, which they used to read and socialize. Educated women with more contacts made for easy organization of political movements, and the fact men were now able to do "the women's work" by pushing a button meant men were less opposed to losing their housewives' labor. Having specialized menders and magic cleaners could cause a comparable revolution in a fantasy setting, and help explain why women have a similar standing to men even in combat occupations such as adventuring.
Healing in general (1st-2nd level).
This one is fairly obvious. A commoner has 4 hit points, that means just about any spell is a full heal to the average person. That means most cuts, stab wounds, etc. can be solved by the resident cleric. Even broken bones that would leave you in bed for months can be solved in a matter of seconds as soon as the holy man arrives.
But that's nothing compared to the ability to cure diseases. While the only spell that can cure diseases is Lesser Restoration, which is second level, a paladin can do it much more easily with just a Lay on Hands. This means if one or two people catch a disease it can just be eradicated with a touch.
However doing that comes with a cost. If everyone is instantly expunged of illness, the populace does not build up their immune systems. Regular disease becomes less common, sure, but whenever it is reintroduced (by, say, immigrants or contact with less civilized humanoids) it can spread like wildfire, afflicting people so fast that no amount of healers will have the magic juice to deal with it.
Diseases become rare, plagues become common.
Continual Flame (2nd).
Ok, this one is a topic i love and could easily be its own post.
There's an article called "Why the Falling Cost of Light Matters", which goes in detail about how man went from chopping wood for fire, to using animal fat for candles, then other oils, whale oil, kerosene, then finally incandescent light bulbs, and more recently LED lights. Each of these leaps is orders of grandeur more efficient than the previous one, to the point that the cost of light today is about 500,000 times cheaper than it was for for a caveman. And until the early 1900s the only way mankind knew of making light was to set things on fire.
Continual Flame on the other hand allows you to turn 50gp worth of rubies and a 2nd level spell slot into a torch that burns forever. In a society that spends 60 hours of labor to be able to generate 140 minutes of light, this is a huge game changer.
This single spell, which i am 99% sure was just created as an excuse for why the dungeon is lit despite going for centuries without maintenance, allows you to have things like public lighting. Even if you only add a new "torchpost" every other week or month sooner or later you'll be left with a neatly lit city, specially if the city has had thousands of years in which to gather the rubies and light them up.
And because the demand of rubies becomes so important, consider how governments would react. Lighting the streets is a public service, if its strategically relevant to make the city safer at night, would that not warrant some restrictions on ruby sales? Perhaps even banning the use of rubies in jewelry?
Trivia: John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in history, gained his wealth selling kerosene. Kerosene at the time was used to light lamps. Gasoline was invented much later, when Rockefeller tasked a bunch of scientists to come up with a use for some byproducts of the kerosene production. This illustrates how much money is to be had in the lighting industry, and you could even have your own Rockefeller ruby baron in your game. I shall call him... Dohn J. Stonebreaker. Perfect name for a mining entrepreneur.
Whether the ruby trade ends up a monopoly under the direct supervision of the king or a free market, do keep in mind that Continual Flame is by far the most efficient way of creating light.
Gentle Repose (2nd).
Cast it on a corpse, and it stays preserved for 10 days.
This has many potential uses, from preserving foodstuffs (hey, some rare meats are expensive enough to warrant it) to keeping the bodies of old rulers preserved. Even if a ruler died of old age and cannot be resurrected, the body could be kept "fresh" out of respect/ceremony. Besides, it keeps the corpse from becoming undead.
Ok, this one is mostly a gag. While the spell can
be used by officials to make official announcements to the populace, such as new laws or important news, i like to just use it for spam. I mean, its a ritual spell that writes a message on the sky; what else would people use it for?
Imagine you show up in a city, and there's half a dozen clouds reading "buy at X, we have what you need", "get your farming supplies over at Joe's store" or "vote Y for the city council".
The possibilities are endless, and there's no way the players can expect it. Just keep in mind that by RAW the spell can only do words, meaning no images. No Patrick, "8===D" is not a word.
Zone of Truth (2nd).
This one is too obvious. Put all suspects of a crime into a ZoT, wait a couple minutes to make sure they fail the save, then ask each one if he did it. Sure its not a perfect system, things like the Ring of Mind Shielding still exist, but it's got a better chance of getting the right guy than most medieval justice systems. And probably more than a few contemporary ones. All while taking only a fraction of the time.
More importantly, with all the average crimes being handled instantly, the guards and investigators have more time to properly investigate the more unusual crimes that might actually involve a Thought Shield, Ring of Mind Shielding or a level 17 Mastermind.
There is a human rights argument against messing with people's minds in any way, which is why this may not be practiced in every kingdom. But there are definitely some more lawful societies that would use ZoT on just about every crime.
Why swear to speak the truth and nothing but the truth when you can just stand in a zone of truth?
Another interesting use for ZoT is oaths. When someone is appointed into an office, gets to a high rank in the military or a guild, just put them in a ZoT while they make their oath to stand for the organization's values and yadda yadda. Of course they can be corrupted later on, but at least you make sure they're honest when they are sworn in.
Sending is busted in so many ways.
The more "vanilla" use of it is to just communicate over long distances. We all know that information is important, and that sometimes getting information a whole day ahead
can lead to a 40% return on a massive two-year investment. Being able to know of invasions, monsters, disasters, etc. without waiting days or weeks for a courier can be vital for the survival of a nation. Another notable example is that one dude
who ran super fast for a while to be the first to tell his side of a recent event.
But the real broken thing here is... Sending can Send to any creature, on any plane; the only restriction being "with which you are familiar". In D&D dead people just get sent to one of the afterlife planes, meaning that talking to your dead grandfather would be as simple as Sending to him. Settling inheritance disputes was never easier!
Before moving on to the next point let me ask you something: Is a cleric familiar with his god? Is a warlock familiar with his patron?
Speak With Dead (3rd).
Much like Sending, this lets you easily settle disputes. Is the senate/council arguing over a controversial topic? Just ask the beloved hero or ruler from 200 years ago what he thinks on the subject. As long his skeleton still has a jaw (or if he has been kept in Gentle Repose), he can answer.
This can also be used to ask people who killed them, except murderers also know this. Plan on killing someone? Accidentally killed someone? Make sure to inutilize the jaw. Its either that, being so stealthy the victim can't identify you, or being caught.
Note on spell availability.
Oh boy. No world-altering 4th level spells for some reason, and suddenly we're playing with the big boys now.
Spells up to 3rd level are what I'd consider "somewhat accessible", and can be arranged for a fee even for regular citizens. For instance the vanilla Priest statblock (MM348) is a 5th level cleric, and the standard vanilla Druid (MM346) a 4th level druid.
Spells of 5th level onward will be considered something only the top 1% is able to afford, or large organizations such as guilds, temples or government.
I was originally going to put Dream along with Sending and Telepathy as "long range communication", but decided against it due to each of them having unique uses.
And when it comes to Dream, it has the unique ability of allowing you to put your 8 hours of sleep to good use. A tutor could hire someone to cast Dream on him, thus allowing him to teach his student for 8 hours at any distance. This is a way you could even access hermits that live in the middle of nowhere or in secluded monasteries. Very wealthy families or rulers would be willing to pay a good amount of money to make sure their heirs get that extra bit of education.
Its like online classes, but while you sleep!
Another interesting use is for cheating. Know a princess or queen you like? She likes you back? Her dad put 400 trained soldiers between you? No problemo! Just find a 9th level Bard, Warlock or Wizard, but who am i kidding, of course it'll be a bard. And that bard is probably you. Now you have 8 hours to do whatever you want, and no physical evidence will be left.
Raise Dead (5th).
Few things matter more in life than death. And the ability to resurrect people has a huge impact on society. The impact is so huge that this topic needs topics of its own.
First, diamond monopoly. Remember what i said about how Continual Flame would lead to controlled ruby sales due to its strategic value? This is the same principle, but a hundred times stronger. Resurrection is a huge strategic resource. It makes assassinations harder, can be used to bring back your officials or highest level soldiers over and over during a war, etc. This means more authoritarian regimes would do everything within their power to control the supply and stock of diamonds. Which in turn means if anyone wants to have someone resurrected, even in times of peace, they'll need to call in a favor, do a quest, grease some hands...
Second, resurrection insurance. People hate risks. That's why insurance is such a huge industry, taking up about 15% of the US GDP. People insure their cars, houses... even their lives. Resurrection just means "life insurance" is taken more literally. This makes even more sense when you consider how expensive resurrection is: nobody can afford it in one go, but if you pay a little every month or year you can save up enough to have it done when the need arises.
This is generally incompatible with the idea of a State-run monopoly over diamonds, but that just means different countries within a setting can take different approaches.
To make things easier, i even used some microeconomics to make a sheet in my personal random generators
to calculate the price of such a service. Just head to the "Insurance" tab and fill in the information relative to your setting.
With actual life insurance resurrection can cost as little as 5gp a year for humans or 8sp a year for elves, making resurrection way more affordable than it looks.
Also, do you know why pirates wore a single gold earring? It was so that if your body washes up on the shore whoever finds it can use the money to arrange a proper burial. Sure there's a risk of the finder taking it and walking away, but the pirates did it anyway. With resurrection in play, might as well just wear a diamond earring instead and hope the finder is nice enough to bring you back.
I got so carried away with the whole insurance thing i almost forgot: the possibility of resurrection also changes how murders are committed.
If you want someone dead but resurrection exists, you have to remove the vital organs. Decapitation would be far more common. Sure resurrection is still possible, but it requires higher level spells or Reincarnate, which has... quirks.
As a result it should be very obvious when someone was killed by accident or an overreaction, and when someone was specifically out to kill the victim.
This one is somewhat obvious, in that everyone and their mother knows it helps finding people. But who needs finding? Well, that would be those who are hiding.
The main use i see for this spell, by far, is locating escaped criminals. Just collect a sample of hair or blood when arresting someone (or shipping them to hard labor which is way smarter), and if they escape you'll be almost guaranteed to successfully scry on them.
A similar concept to this is seen in the Dragon Age series. If you're a mage the paladins keep a sample of your blood in something called a phylactery, and that can be used to track you down. There's even a quest or two about mages trying to destroy their phylacteries before escaping.
Similarly, if you plan a jailbreak it would be highly beneficial to destroy the blood/hair sample first. As a matter of fact i can even see a thieves guild hiring a low level party to take out the sample while the professional infiltrators get the prisoner out. Keep in mind both events must be done at the same time, otherwise the guards will just collect a new sample or would have already taken it to the wizard.
But guards aren't the only ones with resources. A loan shark could keep blood samples of his debtors, a mobster can keep one of those who owe him favors, etc. And the blood is ceremoniously returned only when the debt is fully paid.
Teleportation Circle (5th), Transport Via Plants (6th).
In other words, long range teleportation. This is such a huge thing that it is hard to properly explain how important it is.
Teleportation Circle creates a 10ft. circle, and everyone has one round to get in and appear on the target location. Assuming 30ft. movement that means you can get 192 people through, which is a lot of potential merchants going across any distance. Or 672 people dashing.
Math note: A 30ft radius square around a 10ft. diameter square, minus the 4 original squares. Or [(6*2+2)^2]-4 squares of 5ft. each. Hence 192 people.
Getting hundreds of merchants, workers, soldiers, etc. across any distance is nothing to scoff at. In fact, it could help explain why PHB item prices are so standardized: Arbitrage
is so easy and cheap that price differences across multiple markets become negligible. Unless of course countries start setting up tax collectors outside of the permanent teleportation circles in order to charge tariffs.
Transport Via Plants does something very similar but it requires 5ft of movement to go through, which means less people can be teleported. On the other hand it doesn't burn 50gp and can take you to any tree the druid is familiar with, making it nearly impossible for tax collectors to be waiting on the other side. Unfortunately druids tend to be a lot less willing to aid smugglers, so your best bet might be a bard using spells that don't belong to his list.
With these methods of long range teleportation not only does trade get easier, but it also becomes possible to colonize or inhabit far away places. For instance if someone finds a gold mine in the antarctic you could set up a mine and bring food and other supplies via teleportation.
Major Image (6th level slot).
Major Image is a 3rd level spell that creates an illusion over a 20ft cube, complete with image, sound, smell and temperature. When cast with a 6th level slot or higher, it lasts indefinitely.
That my friends, is a huge spell. Why get the world's best painter to decorate the ceiling of your cathedral when you can just get an illusion made in six seconds?
The uses for decorating large buildings is already good, but remember: we're not restricted to sight.
Cast this on a room and it'll always be cool and smell nice. Inns would love that, as would anyone who always sleeps or works in the same room. Desert cities have never been so chill.
You can even use an illusion to make the front of your shop seem flashier, while hollering on loop to bring customers in.
The only limit to this spell is your imagination, though I'm pretty sure it was originally made just to hide secret passages.
Trivia: the ki-rin (VGM163) can cast Major Image as a 6th level spell, at will. It's probably meant to give them fabulous lairs yet all it takes is someone doing the holy horsey a big favor, and it could enchant the whole city in a few hours. Shiniest city on the planet, always at a nice temperature and with a fragrance of lilac, gooseberries or whatever you want.
Spend 12 hours and 1500gp worth of ruby dust, and get a clone of yourself. Notably, each caster can only have one simulacrum, regardless of who the person he cloned is.
How this changes the world? By allowing the rich and powerful to be in two places at once. Kings now have a perfect impersonator who thinks just like them. A wealthy banker can run two branches of his company. Etc.
This makes life much easier, but also competes with Continual Flame over resources.
It also gives "go fuck yourself" a whole new meaning, making the sentence a valid Suggestion.
If there's one spell i despise, its Clone.
Wizard-only preemptive resurrection. Touch spell, costs 1.000gp worth of diamonds each time, takes 120 days to come into effect, and creates a copy of the creature that the soul occupies if the original dies. Oh, and the copy can be made younger
Why is it so despicable? Because it makes people effectively immortal. Accidents and assassinations just get you sent to the clone, and old age can be forever delayed because you keep going back to younger versions of yourself. Being a touch spell means the wizard can cast it on anyone he wants.
In other words: high level wizards, and only wizards, get to make anyone immortal.
That means wizards will inevitably rule any world in which this spell exists.
Think about it. Rulers want to live forever. Wizards can make you live forever. Wizards want other stuff, which you must give them if you want to continue being Cloned. Rulers who refuse this deal eventually die, rulers who accept stick around forever. Natural selection makes it so that eventually the only rulers left are those who sold their soul to wizards. Figuratively, i hope.
The fact that there are only a handful of wizards out there who are high enough level to cast the spell means its easier for them organize and/or form a cartel or union (cartels/unions are easier to maintain the fewer suppliers are involved).
This leads to a dystopian scenario where mages rule, kings are authoritarian pawns and nobody else has a say in anything. Honestly it would make for a fun campaign in and of itself, but unless that's specifically what you're going for it'll just derail everything else.
Oh, and Clone also means any and all liches are absolute idiots. Liches are people who turned themselves into undead abominations in order to gain eternal life at the cost of having to feed on souls. They're all able to cast 9th level wizard spells, so why not just cast an 8th level one and keep undeath away? Saves you the trouble of going after souls, and you keep the ability to enjoy food or a day in the sun.
Your own 30ft. room of nothingness. Perfect place for storage and a DM's nightmare given how once players have access to it they'll just start looting furniture and such. Oh the horror.
But alas, infinite storage is not the reason this is a broken spell. No sir.
Remember: you can access someone else's demiplane. That means a caster in city 1 can put things into a demiplane, and a caster in city 2 can pull them out of any surface.
But wait, there's more! There's nothing anywhere saying you can't have two doors to the same demiplane open at once. Now you're effectively opening a portal between two places, which stays open for a whole hour.
But wait, there's even more! Anyone from any plane can open a door to your neat little demiplane. Now we can get multiple casters from multiple planes connecting all of those places, for one hour. Sure this is a very expensive thing to do since you're having to coordinate multiple high level individuals in different planes, but the payoff is just as high. We're talking about potential integration between the most varied markets imaginable, few things in the multiverse are more valuable or profitable. Its a do-it-yourself Sigil.
One little plot hook i like about demiplanes is abandoned/inactive ones. Old wizard/warlock died, and nobody knows how to access his demiplanes. Because he's at least level 15 you just know
there's some good stuff in there, but nobody can get to it. Now the players have to find a journal, diary, stored memory or any other way of knowing enough about the demiplane to access it.
True Polymorph (9th).
True Polymorph. The spell that can turn any race into any other race, or object. And vice-versa. You can go full fairy godmother and turn mice into horses. For a spell that can change anything about one's body it would not be an unusual ruling to say it can change one's sex. At the very least it can turn a man into a chair, and the chair into a woman (or vice-versa of course).
But honestly, that's just the tip of the True Polymorph iceberg. Just read this more carefully:
> You transform the creature into a different creature, the creature into a nonmagical object, or the object into a creature
This means you can turn a rock or twig into a human. A fully functional human with, as far as the rules go, a soul. You can create life
But wait, there's more! Nothing there says you have to turn the target into a known
creature on an existing
creature. The narcissist bard wants to create a whole race of people who look like him? True Polymorph. A player wants to play a weird ass homebrew race and you have no idea how it would fit into the setting? True Polymorph. Wizard needs a way to quickly populate a kingdom and doesn't want to wait decades for the subjects to grow up? True Polymorph. Warlock must provide his patron 100 souls in order to free his own? True Polymorph. The sorcerer wants to do something cool? Fuck that guy, sorcerers don't get any of the fun high level spells; True Poly is available to literally every arcane caster but the sorcerer.
Note: what good is Twinned Spell if all the high level twinnable spells have been specifically made unavailable to sorcerers?
Do keep in mind however that this brings a whole new discussion on human rights. Does a table have rights? Does it have rights after being turned into a living thing? If it had an owner, is it now a slave? Your country will need so many new laws, just to deal with this one spell.
People often say that high level wizards are deities for all intents and purposes. This is the utmost proof of that. Clerics don't get to create life out of thin air, wizards do. The cleric worships a deity, the wizard is
Intelligent creatures not only can game the system, but it is entirely in character for them to do so. I'll even argue that if humanoids don't use magic to improve their lives when it's available, you're pushing the suspension of disbelief.
With this post i hope to have helped you make more complex and realistic societies, as well as provide a few interesting and unusual plot hooks
Lastly, as much as i hate comment begging i must admit i am eager to see what spells other players think can completely change the world. Because at the end of the day we all know that extra d6 damage is not what causes empires to rise and fall, its the utility spells that make the best stories.
Edit: Added spell level to all spells, and would like to thank u/kaul_field
for helping with finishing touches and being overall a great mod.
Bannerlord is a great game that is currently plagued by some serious issues, from glitches and bugs to simply not bothering to explain its own mechanics. Without any mitigation or forewarning, these little problems can really snowball and ruin your experience. I've compiled this list of tips and tricks to help other players get around some of these problems and also to maximise your fun while the game remains in early access.
I've separated everything up into categories so that you don't have to dig through too much to get to the stuff you're interested in. Also, stuff that's relevant to new players only is marked with a [NP]
in front of it, so you can skip that if you already know the basics.
Edit: Wow, I hit the 40000 character limit so now I have to add more tips as comments instead!
How Stats, Skills and Perks work [NP]
Your character's progression consists of increasing stats, skills, focus, perks and levels. Stats
govern your base aptitude in a set of three skills. For example, the Vigor stat affects your aptitude with one-handed, two-handed and polearm skills. Skills
represent your ability with that particular skill. For example, the Bow skill affects your aim with the bow and the Steward skill directly affects how many members you can have in your party. Perks
are essentially special abilities that are awarded at specific skill levels, e.g. 25, 50, 75 and 100. Sometimes you will get to choose between two perk options. Make sure you check whether a perk is implemented before you choose that perk! (See paragraph below) Lastly, focus points
allow you to increase your max skill level with a skill and also provide an exp multiplier, making you gain skill points faster. Note that if you try to train a skill that's reached its limit, it will grow very slowly and eventually stop growing altogether. Thus, you need a constant investment of both stats and focus points to max out a skill. Since your stat and focus points are limited, I suggest you prioritize only a few skills to max out, and accept that the rest will never be fully completed. [NP] In the character creation screen, the various skills are grouped by stats
(in bold, above the individual skills) and each specific skill can have up to 5 focus points assigned (the vertical bars). Each skill you can learn is limited to a max number which is determined by the combination of stat and focus points you have for that skill. With full focus (5 bars), you will need about 6-8 stat points in a skill to allow you to completely max it out. Furthermore, the perks available for each skill are only partially implemented
. This means that investing points into some skills is currently useless. To see which perks are implemented, I recommend using a site like https://www.bannerlordperks.com
. At the time of writing this post, the entire "Cunning" stat has zero perks implemented
, making it virtually useless to you. If you're new, I highly recommend getting points in Social, Vigor and Endurance. Social (specifically the charm skill) allows you to convince nobles to marry/join you more easily and improves your troops' morale (leadership skill). Vigor is your basic melee combat stat, which you will use a lot in the early game and especially in the arena. Lastly, endurance allows you to improve your movement speed (riding/athletics) and is necessary for smithing (skill), which is a really useful mechanic that I highly recommend you try. Another good choice is Control, if you wish to be a ranged character.
So how does leveling work in Bannerlord? Well here's what the Skills screen looks like using the character (C) menu
Using skills with slowly increase your ability with them. The more focus points you have in a skill, the faster it's skill points will go up.
Furthermore, your character will gain "exp" every time he/she gains skill points. Or more accurately, exp in this game IS skill points
. That is to say, training the various skills is the only way to level up. NOT killing enemies, as you might have first thought. This means you can level up just by trading, smithing, running around, or leading armies. You don't even need to fight simulated battles mostly, though doing so will award you with tactics points and some combat skill points. Every level you gain will award you with either a stat point, a focus point, or both. You can spend these points to increase the relevant stat or skill focus bar. When you have points to assign, they will show up on your character screen.
In the earlier screenshot
is your NPC brother who you always start with, though his name and appearance is randomized. Because I chose the "assign perks myself" option, I can choose his perks right away (represented by little numbered shield icons next to his skills that tell you how many perks are available to choose). You'll note that to the left and right of the "Skills" table there are weird icons with the number 0 next to them. The left number represents stat points to assign, and the right number is focus points. Your new character will start with 1 free focus point to assign. To assign a focus point, select the desired skill and click the "+" sign. REMEMBER: No choices will be saved unless you click "Done", and you can revert all changes made so far by clicking the curved arrow between "Done" and "Cancel". To assign perks, click on the shield icons in the banner in the middle of the skill page and a popup will appear.
Click on the perk you wish to choose - again making sure it's actually implemented first - and then when finished click "Done" to finalize your choices. Don't forget that you can use the left/right arrows to assign skills and perks for your NPCs too!
One more thing about perks. The "Governor" perks DO NOT APPLY to your character
, because you can't be the governor of any of your cities/castles. Thus, don't pick governor perks for your main hero unless they also come with side-abilities that you want.
Starting the Game and the Main Storyline [NP]
The various factions
each come with a special ability. You can use all troops from all factions, so don't worry about being shoehorned into any particular troop type by your choices. Instead, focus on the ability you'll get. Not all abilities are made equal and not all factions are equal either. Currently, the Khuzait faction is kind of OP due to the AI being too dumb to figure out how to handle horse archers
, so select them for an easier early-game. Vlandia gets bonus troop exp, which means you can promote veteran troops faster than others. Empire skills are building-focused, which means you need to own fiefs to really gain any benefit from using them. Sturgia are... faster in snow. Also their troops are supposedly weaker than normal (this will eventually change), so pick Sturgia if you're a masochist. Battania are kind of situational with their forest boost (so maybe don't pick them either), and Aserai get trading bonuses, so pick them if you want to be a merchant or just like money. [NP]
Clicking the various family options will show you the potential change in stat points and focus points that you will gain for that choice. You will have about 7 different choices to make before your character is ready to play. Try to pick choices which focus on your ideal stats and skills while minimizing the other ones. Here's a sample character I generated using the stats I recommended earlier.
Don't worry too much about making perfect choices here, since you will gain many more stat and focus points throughout your game too. Plus, you'll use most
of the stats/skills at one point or another. After this, your brother will ask if you want to do the tutorial. The tutorial only
teaches you how to fight, so if you already know that you can skip it.
If you follow the story you will play through a storyline quest for a while until you've rescued your siblings and experienced the execution mechanic in action. Then you will have to chase down a bunch of clan leaders and lie to two special characters who will never interact with you again once you've made your final choice. However, and this is something I want to emphasize heavily: You do NOT need to make a choice about what to do with the dragon banner immediately.
In fact, I strongly recommend you do NOT make a decision until you're very well situated in the game
. Why? Because it starts a doomsday timer that you cannot slow down or affect in any way, and when it runs out 3 factions will declare war on you all at once and try to grind your entire faction into the dust. Instead, forget about the story quest and just enjoy the game at that point until you are extra powerful and ready to take on the world. Once you succeed at that quest I'm pretty sure you win the game, and if you start it before you're ready you'll be in for a world of hurt.
The Campaign Map
The game has a really useful feature called the "Encyclopedia". Press 'N' to open it when in the campaign screen. If you want to track down a notable figure, you can search their name or clan in the search bar and it will tell you where they were last seen. Anytime you speak to another noble or visit a settlement, town or castle, it will update the rumours of where that noble was seen most recently. This will allow you to track down anyone with ease. You can also see if they were taken prisoner, got pregnant, or switched allegiances recently. Furthermore, you can use the Encyclopedia to check nobles' relations with you or each other, allowing you to single out the nobles who hate their liege and are ripe for conversion to your kingdom. You can also use the encyclopedia to check troop upgrade paths, details about cities/settlements, and info on minor factions, who are like secret clans that you can recruit if you choose to be your own kingdom. All in all, it's incredibly useful for planning your next move.
There's a circle next to city/settlement names in the overworld and the encyclopedia. Clicking that circle "bookmarks" the city/settlement, which means you can easily find it on the map. Clicking it again removes the bookmark. [NP]
If you hover over any of the symbols at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen
, you can get detailed info on how the values are calculated. The symbols are, from left to right, money, influence, HP, troops, food and morale. The money icon will show you your daily income vs daily expenses. Influence will show your influence gain/loss over time. HP is your own health and recovery rate. Troops shows what troops you have in your army. Food shows how much food you have and morale shows what's affecting the mood of your soldiers. Using these icons helps you figure out what you need to do to make their values go up instead of down.
Against minor enemies like looters, it's usually relatively safe to use "Send Troops" instead of going in there yourself. You won't gain tactics skill from this, but your troops will gain all the exp instantly instead of spending 5 minutes fighting first. [NP]
You can issue commands to your troops by using the F keys. F1 is the movement menu, F2 is the direction menu, F3 is the formation menu, F4 is whether or not to use ranged weapons, F5 is mount/dismount for cavalry, F6 enables AI control, and F7 allows you to split your groups up and assign the split members to other groups. (e.g. split infantry and assign half to "heavy infantry"). You can also use the number keys (i.e. 1,2,3 etc) to select specific groups of troops to give orders to. 1 is infantry, 2 is archers, 3 is melee cavalry etc. Any non-mapped number selects all troops. This allows you to have fine-grained control during combat. HOWEVER for the most part the numbers and relative experience of the two armies is the deciding factor in how a battle goes. Sometimes you can use the terrain to your advantage, but mostly your tactics will do very little to actually affect the battle's outcome, especially in sieges where taking control of the AI will completely break their ability to use siege equipment and attack or defend properly.
Some basic strategies for manually commanding troops during simulated battles are as follows:
- The lazy way: Immediately press 0 and then F6 at the start of a battle. Your troops will do their own thing and you can just run/ride around increasing your combat skills without having to worry about managing battles.
- The terrain way: Place infantry in front of your archers and put your archers on high ground. The archers will pick off lots of enemy troops before their infantry get close enough to do any damage, and your infantry will protect the archers when the troops finally do arrive.
- The big brain way: Research your opponents' army composition and culture by riding close (but not too close!) to their army to scout them. For example, Sturgians generally will have lots of shield infantry while Battania will have a lot of ranged folks. Figure out the counter infantry type (e.g. for shielded infantry it's heavy 2-handed weapon infantry. For heavy 2-handed infantry it's archers. For cavalry it's spear-throwers. For archers it's cavalry, etc) and fill your army with those units. Engage in wholesale slaughter. Note: This works best when you have a fief garrison you can switch veteran troops in and out of, because rookies get rekt even with a "type" advantage.
- The OP way: Get just zillions of horse archers, select them at the start of the battle and press F6. The horse archers will run up to the enemy, fill them with arrows, then run away again and repeat. Currently there's no really effective AI counter to this and they will just bleed troops while you sit there wondering why you're even there.
- The "No 'I' in team" way: If you're helping another noble in combat, their troops will automatically be on F6 mode. And you can't do anything about it, either. If you don't want their troops to get completely wiped out, it's best to set yours to AI mode (0 then F6) too. Otherwise they WILL charge the enemy archer wall with their 15 sturgian recruits...
- The "Actually, my troops are more valuable" way: Conversely, if you are helping a noble but don't actually need their troops to win (i.e. you have a huge numbers advantage), don't auto send your troops and use whatever your usual strat is. They'll get wiped out but at least you won't lose your precious troops!
You can cheese simulated battles by abusing the "Retreat" command. Hold "Tab" to bring up the stats menu, and press middle mouse button to get your cursor back. Then you can click "Retreat" to teleport your entire army safely out of the battle. Then you can restart the battle with the number of troops remaining from before, but both armies are placed far away from each other again. Combine this with a lot of archers, and you can whittle the enemy numbers down before they reach your army and then simply retreat and start over again until the odds are solidly in your favour. This lets you overcome basically any odds so long as you ensure your opponent takes more losses than you do each time.
Levelling up your troops can be tricky as the experience system isn't very clear as to what gives the best troop exp. However, the following things seem to work fairly well: * Some of the Leadership perks grant lots of free exp over time. In particular, Raise the Meek will rapidly turn all of your lowest-level troops into higher-level ones over time, and the level 225 one, Companions, basically gives you the Vlandian empire troop exp bonus, which stacks with actually being Vlandian * Steamrolling fat groups of looters using "Send Troops" is relatively safe and usually awards a handful of troop upgrades each time * Beating nobles' armies when you have about a 2:1 ratio of your troops to theirs is also usually pretty safe and the higher-level troops they have with them yield much more exp * Winning a siege will be extremely costly in terms of deaths, but the troops who survive will gain tons of experience. Defending a siege will be less costly due to having the home turf advantage, but it's harder to engineer those to occur * Doing hideout raids and taking along a group of only archers is a great way to level up those 9 archers, so long as you don't aggro the entire hideout at once. Just make sure you use F4 frequently to enable/disable "Fire at will" or they WILL try to shoot bandits at the other end of the map and summon the wrath of god down on you * Keep your troop morale high by buying lots of different varieties of food. I'm not sure if morale is fully implemented yet, but you won't have the awkward issue of your troops all running from a difficult battle at least
Building your Clan [NP] Your clan has a ranking in the clan screen (press L), shown at the top right. Earning renown increases this ranking, and every new level adds more soldiers to your armies and other useful clan perks to your arsenal. Max clan rank is 6, but you won't get there for a very long time. The easiest way to gain renown is through winning large battles, so battling lots will quickly raise that renown score.
The game doesn't tell you this anywhere, but you can have your family join your party by visiting them in whatever city they are hiding in and talking to them (or left-clicking their portrait in that city). Your brother in particular is basically a veteran soldier right from the start of the game, so adding him to your party will give you a huge early-game boost. His high steward score also increases your party size by a lot, so having him around lets you field more soldiers until your own steward score catches up. Later on, set him up as governor of your best city/settlement to give it a huge boost.
You can recruit companions at taverns in major cities. Not all companions are created equally, so I recommend using a companion guide to figure out which ones have skills that you want. You can also manually check their skills by right clicking the character's portrait from the city screen or searching them in the encyclopedia. That way you'll know what they are good and bad at before you go through the long dialogue with them. I personally find the tacticians/stewards most valuable as you can make them lead armies for you (more on that in a bit), and the ones with high trade are helpful because you can create caravans with them for bonus income during peacetime. You can only recruit your clan level +1 companions at a time, (e.g. 2 at clan level 1). This means you should be very picky about who you hire.
If you have joined a kingdom (or started your own), you can persuade other factions' nobles to betray their current faction and join yours. For this you need three things: High charm, luck and money. Save your game. Speak to the noble and say you have something to discuss. Ask about their liege. This will lead to a skill challenge where you have to get 4 successes in 4 attempts (either 100% successes or at least 1 critical success). This is entirely RNG, so choose the highest % options and pray. Or load back a lot. If they hate their monarch you'll have a very high chance of succeeding in at least 1 of the 4 challenges. Once you've successfully convinced them, you then need to bribe them. The bribe usually is about 100k denars, but can go all the way to more than a million denars if they own lots of land (because your team gets the fiefs too when they convert). Unless you're insanely rich, use the encyclopedia to find the poorest, most disenfranchised nobles and you'll discover that you might be able to pay them even a single denar and they'll happily convert. Beware, others can convert YOUR allies too, so try to make sure you give every noble at least one castle to keep them happy and on your side. Also if you save a lot and see the message that a noble has left your kingdom, you can load back and often they won't leave the second time.
If you release a noble whom you beat in combat instead of taking them prisoner, you will get a 6-7 point relationship increase with everyone in that noble's clan. Doing this is an excellent way to butter them up for future conversion to your kingdom.
Convert the head of a clan to your kingdom and their entire clan will also convert along with them!
You can use your influence points to put policies in place that suit you before adding others to the clan. In the Kingdom menu (K), you can go to the policy tab and scroll through the various policies there. Basically, most policies either benefit only the ruler, benefit only the vassals, or adjust your kingdom's rates (e.g. tax rate and growth rate). If you're going to start your own kingdom, take this chance to vote in all the royalty-favouring policies before you add people who disagree with you. Conversely, if you're a vassal, you want to add more vassals to the clan and THEN vote in all the vassal-favouring policies. Both of these strategies will not only increase your influence gain rate, but also make it much harder for a rogue AI to steal powecities from you later on in the game. It will also prevent you from getting disliked by other nobles from voting against their wishes since they won't even be in your kingdom yet.
As a male character, you can marry a noble to have her join your clan. I'm not sure if it's the reverse situation for female heroes or not (i.e. you join their clan). This provides two main benefits. One, you gain another party member to bring along in battle, and two, you can make babies (heirs) who will inherit your stuff if/when your character dies. If you end up playing for enough time you can also eventually add those heirs to your party once they've grown up enough. To woo a noble, simply profess your love to them then return and visit them a few times. You'll have to pass charm checks to woo them properly, so as always, save beforehand! Eventually they'll tell you to talk to the clan leader, and then you'll barter for their hand in marriage. Usually it's pretty cheap.
Kingdom/Clan Management Did you know that war declarations can be avoided (by sort of cheating)? If you save often and then suddenly get war declared on you (or by your kingdom on someone else), just load back to that save. It's a (low) random chance for war to be declared so there's a strong likelihood that the next time you get to that point in time literally nothing will happen. This allows you to avoid all wars that you don't want! Since the game AI is so bad right now, sometimes this is the only way to save your kingdom from utter annihilation.
You can equip the companions in your party with awesome gear too! This took me 40 hours to realize, but on the Inventory (I) or trade screens, there are arrows at the top that let you select a different character to equip. This works with the Character (C) screen too, allowing you to assign perks or stats/skills to your companions.
In your clan management screen (L), under the parties tab, you can assign your companions to various roles within your party. Generally, this causes the game to act as if your own skill with that particular role is the same level as the assigned companion. For example, if you assign a companion with 80 medicine skill as surgeon, the game will cause you and your troops to heal as if you had 80 medicine skill. Keep in mind that if you don't assign a party member to a role then you will gain the exp for doing that role. In other words, it's a trade-off between gaining free experience and having your party be more effective on the campaign map. The one role in your party you definitely don't want to assign a companion to is Quartermaster, because that trains the Steward skill which you want to raise as high as possible.
You can create separate parties under your clan management screen's "Parties" tab. This allows you to send companions off to raise armies and gain exp all on their own without your intervention. You can also assign them to their own personal role within that party (even the Quartermaster role!) for bonus exp and it won't affect your own exp. Parties have three major benefits that make them very useful. Firstly, they will recruit their own troops for you! The max party size is dependent on the companion's steward skill and your clan rank. This means that with enough time you can create an allied party that's virtually equal in size to your own army. Secondly, those parties can be summoned to your army on a whim (click the flag icon down the bottom right of the screen - you must be in a kingdom to do this) and it costs 0 influence! Thirdly, the parties automatically will go around fighting battles for you and increasing your own influence and reputation. I highly recommend creating at least a few parties. There's a few downsides to be aware of, however. Firstly, you pay all the troop wages for the other parties. This can get VERY expensive if you're not at war and constantly defeating armies for money. Secondly, like any roaming entity, your companions can get attacked and captured by enemy armies. If that happens, you have to wait for them to escape or be ransomed and then track them down in whichever city they end up in to reclaim your companion. This can be very annoying. Lastly, if you're a vassal, your liege can actually summon your companions to their army, thereby using your hard-earned troops for their own personal gain! That's the price of being a vassal though.
Sometimes you cannot assign roles to party members through the clan screen. This tends to happen if you assign a companion to a role and they die in battle. If this happens, instead select them in the party screen (P) and talk to them. You can assign them roles from the conversation menu instead.
Making Money [NP] In the early-game you will find the tournaments in city arenas to be almost impossible to win. However, with the power of save/load and determination, you can win big in tournaments by betting on yourself every round. If you win the tournament, not only will you get a sweet prize but you will also be several thousand denars richer. At least until your reputation catches up to you and they start offering less and less money for your bets.
The best way to make money in Bannerlord is smithing (once you've unlocked enough recipes and have about 140 smithing skill). Early on, the stuff you produce is worthless, but as you start making tier 4 and higher weapons you will discover combinations that create weapons work up to 100k denars in value! Make a handful of these and you can go around from city to city, buying up all the expensive armor while still walking away with 20k+ more denars each time. There are many guides to smithing that can be found elsewhere, but here's a few minor tips:
- Try not to sell anything you make that's worth less than 10k denars. Otherwise you will encounter these items as arena prizes which will generally make it harder to get the rare arena prizes (e.g. special horses and armour). Instead, smelt it down.
- 2h swords and javelins seem to be a great money maker once you hit T4+
- Smelt the weapons you loot from battles if you need the materials for smithing. Even worthless rusty iron spathas can be broken down into huge amounts of valuable materials.
- No matter how many days pass from traveling, none of that will allow you to be able to smelt again once you've hit the limit. This means that even if you come back 3 months later, if you haven't rested in any villages or settlements in that time, you will not be able to continue smelting. You MUST click "Wait here for a while" and just sit around for a day or so to get all of your smithing stamina back.
- Weapons worth 100k make decent bribes for bringing nobles over to your side, but expect about a 30% value loss when using them this way. If you just straight up give them money it's cheaper overall.
- Smithed weapons are not necessarily better than the ones you can buy. Sometimes they will be, but smithing mostly gives you the ability to trade off damage types and attack speed on weapons. For example, you can increase a sword's length and swing damage but it will reduce it's swing speed and thrust. In other words, smithing is useful for making very specialized weapons, but not for making some OP magical sword of head-lopping.
The second-best way to make money is by thrashing other nobles in combat. If you're at war, target every enemy noble you see whom you can easily beat and trounce them. Not only do you get money and items for beating them, you can also ransom them at taverns for even more money. You also get money when you capture cities in sieges. Naturally, when you're at peace, you'll find it much harder to make money this way.
You can purchase workshops in cities and have them produce goods for a small profit (around 75-125 denars per day). It generally costs about 13k denars to buy a workshop, so it won't become profitable for approximately 140 days. Because of this, if you wish to use workshops you should select cities which you are unlikely to be at war with for a long time (e.g. your own faction's cities!). After all, if you end up at war with a faction, all of your workshops in that faction are stolen from you. To buy a workshop you must physically walk around town. If you hold alt you will see three semi-random workshops throughout the city (e.g. wine press, brewery, smithy). If you walk to one of these shops during the day you will find NPCs loitering around nearby called "Shop Worker". Talk to the shop worker and tell them you want to purchase the workshop.
To decide which workshops to build in which city, examine the fiefs which feed into that city. You can also use a workshop guide, but I find these aren't always correct due to frequent patches. The bottom line is this: Pick a city which has at least one source of workshop materials (e.g. grain, sheep, hardwood) in its settlements. More than one source is even better. Next, buy a workshop and select the type that uses that material. For example, grain is used by breweries, and wood is used by a wood workshop etc. Then, you wait. You can check the workshop's profitability from the clan tab (L), but remember, don't expect it to become super profitable anytime soon. These are long-term investments.
Another way to make money is caravans. Caravans are more profitable than workshops, but come with significant risk, especially if you're at war with anyone. Basically, you assign a companion to manage a caravan (which costs 15000-25000 denars to make depending on the troops you assign), and the caravan will travel from city to city buying and selling goods. Companions with high Trade skills are essential here. While travelling, the caravans can be attacked by looters, bandits, and worst, enemy armies. If the caravan is captured, you'll have to go rescue your companion or wait for them to be released. Then you'll have to spend another 15-25k to get the caravan going again. Basically, don't do this if you're a warmonger. Anyway, to form a caravan, talk to any merchant in a city and choose the "I want to form a caravan in this city" option. Caravans will net you varying amounts of money, and the income will not be every day, but in my experience they are more profitable than workshops and much more annoying to keep track of.
If you have a high trade skill, instead of making caravans you can be a caravan. Load up on sumpter horses which increase your max load, and then use trade rumours (talk to civilians hanging out in town markets) to determine the best places to buy and sell stuff. Buy low, travel, sell high. If you make 30 denars per sale and sell 100 trade items, that's 3k of profit. If you make 100 denars per sale, that's 30k profit! Again, keep in mind that cities generally only keep 20k-30k denars on them at a time, so if you take too many goods you will not be able to sell them all.
Siege Warfare Holding the alt key highlights both important people and weapons that are lying around. You can use this during sieges to replenish ranged ammo and locate nearby interactible things.
You can use the siege weapons that your army/city has built. This will train your throwing skill and also open some neat opportunities. For example, you can use catapults to smash siege towers! It takes 4 hits to achieve but boy is it worth it!
Catapults and trebuchets can be aimed left and right but also have a red gauge on the side which affects the distance that your shots travel. You can change this bar using W/S to choose how close or far to shoot. Generally you want the distance to be less than half the red bar because your targets are a lot closer than the range on the siege engines.
When defending a city you will notice piles of rocks (called merlons) lying around upstairs in the gatehouse. You can take these rocks and drop them on enemy troops for massive damage (400+). You can also use them to smash the battering ram with a few good throws, thereby protecting your gates.
You can place your troops before a siege by pressing the numbers (e.g. 1 for infantry) and then clicking where you want them to go. However they just run back to where the AI would have put them anyway, so it's not worth it right now. But someday it might actually work as intended!
Is the castle you were staying in being beseiged by overwhelming numbers? You can sally forth to attack, use archers to pick some troops off, and then retreat from battle before their enormous army starts hacking your party apart. Repeat this about a dozen times and you'll have a much more manageable enemy to fight, with very few casualties on your side. For the love of god though save before you try this. Also note that, due to a bug, when you sally out of the castle you'll be plonked onto the overworld map when you retreat and won't be able to get back in without sacrificing troops.
- Save often. Make multiple save files so that you can jump back in time up to half a year if need be. Sometimes bad decisions (e.g. a war with a much stronger faction) take a long time to bite you in the ass.
- Buy lots of (non-sumpter) horses. As long as you have at least a 1:1 horse to troop ratio, your campaign movement speed will be hugely increased, allowing you to chase and catch foes must more easily.
- Although the tutorial teaches you to buy grain, don't just buy grain. Instead, buy even amounts of every food you can find. That means grain, dates, beer, cheese, butter, oil, meat, fish etc. This will do two things: Grant you huge amounts of Quartermaster exp every day, and also keep your troop morale maxed out, meaning they won't run like cowards from a difficult fight
- If you can get your leadership to 125, you can unlock the "Disciplinarian" perk. This allows you to promote bandits into regular military units, which at the minimum makes them as useful as recruits. Some bandits, however, can become very powerful military units, such as bushwhackers, freebooters and forest bandits turning into the much-beloved Battanian Fian Champions!
THINGS NOT TO DO
- Don't give anyone the dragon banner before you're ready to fight the whole world. That also applies to founding your own kingdom by completing the relevant quest.
- Don't put companions in the Quartermaster role of your party. Otherwise you deprive yourself of an easy way to gain Steward exp, which increases your troop size.
- Don't buy workshops in cities you plan on warring with anytime soon, because once war is declared you automatically lose those workshops.
- Don't make caravans if you want to go to war a lot. The enemy nobles will target your caravans mercilessly.
- Don't leave siege weapons you've built out in the open to get destroyed one by one. Instead, click on the weapon immediately once it's finished and choose "Send to reserve". Once you have 4 weapons built, place them all simultaneously and watch the mayhem unfold!
- Don't fight battles where your army strengths are similar (unless it's really important to do so e.g. you're defending your own fiefs against a siege). You will lose a lot of good troops this way, and if you instead fight easy battles you'll get way more rewards with way less casualties in the long run.
- Don't execute nobles unless you want to make the game harder on yourself. They breed like rabbits and everyone hates you when you execute someone. Plus there's a good chance they'll execute you too if they capture you in a fight after that. Releasing other nobles grants the most benefit to you by far, even if it's not as satisfying.
And... that's it for now! I'm sure I forgot some tips but I'll edit them in as I remember. At the very least it should open up some new gameplay avenues for some people, and maybe make things a little less stupid for others. If you made it to the end of this very long post: well done!
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