Mount and Blade: Warband is a game where you pretend to be a knight and hit poor people with a sword. You are an adventurer in the land of Calradia, where kingdoms are always fighting each other and peasants are always being looted, murdered or otherwise bandited. There are castles to siege, criminals to hunt, wenches to backhand, and other medieval themed good times.
It's a "sandbox" game, which is code for the game not having a plot or a story. I generally don't enjoy sandbox-type games, but rel was bugging me to buy it and kill people with a mace online; also it was 8$ on a steam sale because it's old. I could have bought eight hamburgers with that money, but I felt it was better spent pretending to be a knight.
this is pretty much the kind of thing that happens
Part 1: Welcome to Swadia
The first step in starting my adventure was creating a character. There were some options that allowed me to choose my backstory. I chose to be an "impoverished noble" so I could boss people around with my divine right. I then chose to be a squire as my profession so I could learn useful things like riding a horse and sword fighting. Then I was told to choose my reason for adventuring; I chose REVENGE in all capitals. Basically, I ended up choosing the first option on every list.
I was then presented with a character sheet where I could add a few numbers to increase my skills and such. I put all my attribute points in agility because it governs how well you ride a horse and swing a sword. I then put two points in Prisoner Management so I could sell people as slaves and show everyone my divine right as a lordly noble prisoner manager. I put two points in Trainer to help train my army and the remaining point in Shield because shields are good at stopping sharp things from going through my face.
This is what my character sheet ended up looking like:
not the brightest
After finishing my character sheet, the game then allowed me to customize my appearance. I chose to have long, black hair and the best looking of the available faces, which was not as easy of a choice as you might think. There were options to change my facial features, but most of them fucked up my face in a comical or horrific manner, so I left them alone. Then I had a choice of which kingdom to start out in. I chose the Kingdom of Swadia because I like their cavalry and because their untrained infantry use ranged weapons. They also have some wealth which helps raise prices when I sell dead people's gear to the store. I won't be trading very much because I am a knight and commerce is for dirty, slovenly peasants. I also moved the difficulty sliders as far as they would go to the difficult side.
Being finished with my character creation, the game put me in the city of Praven where I was promptly attacked on a deserted street by a bandit for an introductory, hand-holding, starting tutorial quest. I pushed my rusty sword through his dirty bandit throat and then a merchant invited me to his house where he complained about his brother being kidnapped by bandits. He wanted me to hire some people and find the secret bandit hideout where all the bandits lived. Being a heroic knightly person, I naturally accepted his quest.
I left the city on my horse and rode around to the nearby villages where I hired some peasant laborers as footmen. I couldn't exactly afford to equip them or even train them to use that imaginary equipment, so most of them were wielding clubs, using boards for shields, and wearing wool "armor."
Now that I had a band of 7 or 8 fighting peasants, I set out to find the bandits. I found a small group of looters lurking about outside a village, so I chased them down to put them to the sword. There was a short battle, but I had twice as many people and they were mostly dirty hobos. Some of them didn't even have shirts or shoes. I claimed a green hobo hat as my trophy and led my party to the hidden hobo camp.
a hobo, seen here "guarding" your mom
The hobos had no sentries or watchmen, so they were unprepared for my elite peasant squad's attack. We dispatched the beggars with some minor injuries. I was struck in the arm by a filthy hobo blade, but no permanent damage was done and I did not catch the hobo flu. The merchant's brother was rescued and I returned to the merchant to collect my reward.
While I was gone, the merchant had found another quest for me. He believed the watch captain was responsible for letting the bandits into the city and was organizing a band of concerned citizens to bring him to justice. Naturally, he wanted me to lead them in combat. While he prepared the people for action, I stopped by the market to buy a leather helm and a shield that wasn't made out of boards or tied together with a rope. I was ready and I told the merchant so.
We moved out of the tavern into the street, where townsfolk concealed clubs and knives. I spotted a bandit, unsheathed my sword, and the fighting began. Some of the watchmen joined in on our side, and the battle was quickly over. My sword arm was literally covered in blood.
The corrupt watch captain was hung, the merchant was happy, and I was well paid for my dispensing of justice. Even the king was pleased, I heard, with our display of vigilantism. My quest was done, so I spent some time looking at the city a little closer. I learned there was a tournament being held, so naturally I enrolled myself in the next round. The tournament of Praven is always horseback jousting, generally in a grand melee with several teams of 3-4 people fighting each other.
Fighting with a lance on horseback really has nothing to do with your personal skills as a fighter. It's more based on how well you can ride your horse to make sure your attacks land. Even though I was only Level 1, I was confident I could do well by using hit and run tactics. I would simply have to stay on my horse.
i feel this picture is a pretty good summary
The tournament began in the round of 64. The first round was myself with a team of 3 other lancers, in the arena with three other teams of four, a 4v4v4v4. I used my teammates and the other team's fighters to hold the enemy in place while I rode around picking off targets. I tried to eliminate the fighters engaged directly with my team whenever I could so that we would have a numerical advantage at the end of the fight. Eventually my team was victorious, and we moved on to the round of 32.
In the round of 32, we were split into 4 teams of 2. My partner went down quickly, so I tried to stay around the edge of the arena and knock down stragglers or those unaware of my presence. Again I was the victor. The round of 16 was very similar, and I won that too. The round of 8 was a 1v1v1v1. This time, it didn't go well for me. I was trapped at the beginning of the battle by two lancers who proceeded to poke me relentlessly. I tried to fend them off with my shield, but the third lancer rode up behind me and knocked me unconscious. Even though I didn't win the tournament, I was still pleased with how well I did.
please call a doctor
With the bandit incident and the tournament under my belt, I felt renowned enough to speak to King Harlaus. I saw him riding outside Praven with an army, so I introduced myself and asked if he had any tasks I could perform. He informed me that there was, indeed, a task I could perform. The famed bandit lord Sigmar the Valorous had evaded capture by the goodly forces of the land and it would be up to me to track him down and bring him to justice. He was reported to be hiding near Random Peasant Village 52 (I can't remember the actual name, just play along), so I saddled my horse and set out down the road to Random Peasant Village 52.
my name's king harlaus, bro
Along the way, I stopped at some other peasant villages where I bought some bread, cabbage, and fruit to feed my hardened peasant warriors. I also recruited some more peasants who I planned to train as my infantry. The road to Random Peasant Village 52 was not particularly long and I arrived there around sunset. I rode into the village center alone and looked around the town for suspicious characters. I saw a cabbage patch that was particularly suspicious, but my investigation turned up nothing. As I rode through town, I saw an increasing amount of nothing. I began to wonder if I was in the right place when I noticed a strange shack, possibly an outhouse, at the edge of town.
a highly suspicious shack
As I investigated more closely, I saw a "Nervous Man" trembling behind the shack, clearly hiding something. I announced myself as a knightly dispenser of justice and questioned him about his identity. He assured me he wasn't a famed bandit lord and was innocent of any crimes. I told him that if he was so innocent, he should drop his sword. This didn't seem like a good idea to him, because he said something like ARR MATEY YE'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE ARRHARRHARRR and charged my horse.
Fortunately, I was quite ready for this turn of events and had my shield ready and sword drawn. His blade thudded against my shield and I tried to strike him down, but he easily parried the blow. He swung again and nicked my horse. I used the opportunity to deliver a glancing blow and get my horse moving so I could approach the battle from a more favorable angle. I circled around and tried to bring my horse to a gallop while I readied my sword. Sigmar took up a stance with his sword behind him, prepared to trade blows. As my horse brought us together, we both made our attacks. He struck my horse full in the flank and I struck him down with a powerful blow to his side. I had brought Sigmar the Valorous to justice.
I returned to Praven and presented Sigmar's severed head to King Harlaus. He was pleased with me and presented me with the reward money. I used it to pay my soldier's wages and purchase myself some mail mittens. Being well armored is the key to surviving battles.
i swear i wasnt making that up
The next thing the king wanted me to do was collect taxes from the unruly peasants in Random Peasant Village 52. Apparently they hadn't paid on time and had given some sob story about droughts or cabbages or some other peasant nonsense. I would hear none of it. I rode back out to Random Peasant Village 52 and demanded the king's taxes. They grumbled, but eventually paid up. I rode back to town with large money bags and the king gave me a fifth of the cash, which ended up being around 500 dollars.
My third task was to deliver a letter to Count Soandso near the city of Dhirim. This was a much longer trip than the previous one. I stopped at the villages along the way to recruit troops and also picked up a little grain to eat because it was cheap. By the time I made it to Dhirim, I had around 50 "soldiers" in my group. The count was respectful and accepted the letter graciously.
nice castle, did you make it yourself?
I returned to Praven to seek out the king, but he had no more tasks for me at the present time. Although I eventually wanted to become a lord of Swadia, I still needed much better personal equipment if I was to ever face a real army in combat. I decided I would travel to the Kingdom of Nords where the famed Sea Raiders terrorized the villagers. I would hunt them down to bring some peace and justice to the land, as well as pick up some real armor for myself and some cash.
yeah, its pretty far away
On my way to Tihr, a major city in the kingdom of the Nords, I met a fellow named Marnid in a tavern. He told me that he was a trader, but his caravan had been raided and his goods stolen. He was looking for a band of adventurers to travel with to make some cash. I graciously accepted him into my party.
Heroes are different from normal troops in a few ways. The first is that I can choose what equipment they wear and how they level up. The second is that heroes can never die in combat, they can only become wounded and unconscious. I like Marnid because he starts off at Level 1 and has a high Intelligence score. He isn't a particularly good fighter, but that's okay with me because I'll be having him in the party mostly for his skills. I'm going to give him a little Agility and the Power Draw skill so he can use a decent bow, and then I'll try to keep him in the back if we have a combat situation. Then he'll learn Path-finding so our party moves at a decent speed and raise his INT as much as possible.
This is Marnid's character sheet:
marnid, you dress like a girl
The story will continue next week when I'll be exploring the Kingdom of Nords, looking for adventure, battle, and other knightly things. Feel free to leave your questions or comments.
don't be such a wimple, you can wait until next time