There’s an historic, established custom of people tales that includes outlaw heroes. In Britain we now have Hereward the Wake and Robin Hood. The US has Davy Crockett and Wyatt Earp. And in China there’s a whole style of writing, referred to as Youxia (actually ‘wandering vigilante’), dedicated to tales about males who journey the land writing wrongs and defending the weak. However is it attainable to stay this manner in Mount & Blade 2? To eschew the feudal trappings of land and energy in favour of a life spent dwelling on the highway, combating injustice? Sure. To roam the forests, ready to strike out in opposition to the wealthy, lazy, and highly effective? Additionally sure, however to a lesser extent. And solely after a lot of preparation.

The primary a part of our journey begins with the start of our hero. Bannerlord’s character creation provides a neat twist on the quantity crunching of normal RPGS. As a substitute of constructing a hero, I create a backstory. Step one is selecting your homeland. I decide Battania, a clan-based tradition from the heavily-forested northwest nook of the map. I really feel like I will be spending a major period of time chasing bandits—or, equally doubtless, fleeing lordly retribution—so the woodland terrain buffs the faction offers may show helpful. When issues get spicy I can leg it again to the closest thicket.

I spend a while tinkering with my hero, attempting to craft an inspiring chief, however, truthfully, it feels pressured. It is a people story. I ought to put my religion in future. What right have I—a gentle, human man, sitting at a PC—to create a frontrunner who will change the destiny of total continents? I determine true heroes aren’t designed; they’re auto-generated. I give myself three rolls of the randomisation cube. The primary one resembles a racist sausage roll; the second is so boring I can not even bear in mind him. It is my final roll. I’ve to stay with the outcome, no matter occurs. The die is cast, and apparently I will be taking part in as a husky automobile park attendant from a Robin Hood-themed household attraction. I am undecided I might comply with him to the ticket machine, not to mention battle, however the fates have chosen.

Pennant settlement

(Picture credit score: TaleWorlds)

My hero’s origin story determines his ability set. As an Englishman, the concept of outlaws is inextricably linked to bows, so I lean in the direction of decisions that can enhance his ranged combating. I buff his driving expertise, too, since I anticipate he’ll be operating away rather a lot. I additionally want a banner. I would like a picture that can strike terror into the hearts of evildoers. One thing that claims ‘justice, tempered with mercy’. As a substitute, I get distracted mid-creation and select a smiley pink fish on a teal background. I really feel just like the ignominy of being defeated by a frontrunner whose pennant resembles the signal for a gentrified chippie shall be a further punishment. The ultimate selection is his identify. The game suggests Mengus, a title that feels like a Greek phrase for the divot above your bumhole, and who am I to argue? Mengus Cromm rides, the world trembles.

Truly, the world must wait. As a result of whereas Mengus Cromm is certainly driving, he is driving alone. Bannerlord begins me off with sufficient cash to recruit a decent-sized stack of troopers, however I really feel some reluctance to encompass myself with mercenary warriors. As a substitute, I recruit a small band and spend a while bothering outlaws to hone their expertise. If I am sincere, this does not really feel magnificently heroic. It is like I am studying to cage struggle by kicking homeless individuals whereas they sleep. However Mengus of Clan Cromm has a better goal, and his military wants the apply. And anyway, in the event that they did not need to be chased throughout the map by heroes they should not have referred to as themselves looters.

Clan social gathering

I win just a few battles and realise I have to refine my self-imposed guidelines to actually get a way of who Mengus is. To start with: Mengus would not take prisoners. At the very least, he would not until they’re value one thing. I realise this reads like he murders everybody he captures, however this is not the case. Captives are launched as a result of dragging them across the map slows me down. My one concession is that I determine to recruit my first captive, nearly like I am pinning a bit of my kid’s art work to the fridge. His ascension by means of my merry band’s ranks shall be a reminder of my humble origins and of Mengus’ legendary benevolence.

When my troops begin to stage up, I determine to deal with ranged fight. There are just a few causes for this. Firstly, it feels extra outlaw-y. Secondly, I am a stinking coward. Years of taking part in Whole Struggle as Dwarfs and the English have left me obsessive about the concept of thinning the enemy’s ranks lengthy earlier than they attain my line. If the battle ends with out anybody having to swing a sword, even higher. Sadly, I really feel like Mengus himself is the weakest hyperlink in my in any other case flawless battle plan. After I’m not shooting my very own males within the arse I am sending arrows harmlessly crusing above enemy heads. My new, less-heroic plan is to attend till my troops interact, discover a good secure flank and hearth arrows into the fleshiest a part of the enemy line. Hopefully they depart that bit out of the folks songs.

Grain and thunder

(Picture credit score: TaleWorlds)

It is round now that I make some choices about the kind of work Mengus does. He is not a base mercenary. He solely takes jobs which are morally enriching. Defending determined villagers from roaming brigands is okay; delivering sheep for a service provider isn’t. Accepting these quests from village leaders signifies that I’ve obtained sufficient coin to improve my outlaw band, purchase horses, and stockpile provisions. This additionally leads me to a different choice about my clan: I would like them to be deliciously plump. Mengus, apparently, likes to feast. I make certain we have at all times obtained grain, fish, butter, olives and beer. We’d stay like vagabonds, however we eat like lords.

I spend the subsequent few days taking honourable quests and chasing bandits across the map like a terrier after a squirrel. Retailers thank me for preserving the roads secure after I go to the cities. Maybe not the intention of my noble deeds, however a helpful byproduct nonetheless. Not all my quests are profitable, although. I agree to coach some troops for an imperilled village, however my archers are actually so good that my new recruits barely get the prospect to attach pitchfork to bandit flesh. It takes weeks for them to stage up, and by the point I ship them again I really feel like I am returning a damaged kettle exterior of the guarantee interval.

I additionally get swayed by a traditional ‘rescue my daughter’ quest—Mengus is a sucker for a damsel in misery—nevertheless it seems that she was simply fleeing from her overbearing father, Haretheos of Tarcutis. I determine to do the noble factor: I let her escape to stay along with her new husband, whereas I run away from any penalties and flee to a distinct province. I wasn’t planning on going again to Tarcutis anyway.

There’s turmoil on the horizon, although. Horny turmoil, in a heavy mail coif.

It is round now that I discover myself in a tough place. My merry band is small however well-trained. Robust sufficient to deal with most bandit gangs, however nonetheless too weak to assault the fats, content material service provider caravans that waddle throughout the land. So, so as to collect sufficient coin to develop my forces, I make an trade out of looting the looters. I spend days harvesting criminals and promoting their gear to cities and villages. If I can double this up with quests to seek out bandits, even higher. Mengus is all about effectivity. After weeks of chaos, combating, and feasting, I’ve sufficient gold to amass a small however harmful power. I purchase stacks of horses to extend my velocity—so I can chase down much more bandits—and I begin to be ok with my place on this planet.

There’s turmoil on the horizon, although. Horny turmoil, in a heavy mail coif. I meet the lady who may sooner or later turn into the love of Mengus’ life. For causes past my understanding, Megenhelda of the Dey Tihr intervenes in a struggle in opposition to a hilariously small group of bandits, bringing her eighty-three robust military to a battle in opposition to 5 robbers. It is brutal. I can barely see where the enemy is amid all of the allied troops. And, apparently, nothing enflames Mengus’ passion like a vulgar show of martial energy. He’s smitten. Extra importantly, this proximity offers Mengus a chance to attempt his legendary allure on a member of the aristocracy. If a lowborn hero romancing a wealthy woman is not the stuff of people legend, I do not know what’s. We discuss all of the stuff Megenhelda is into: generosity, mercy, valour and a cheeky little bit of roguery. Probably the most astounding factor about all of that is that it goes alarmingly nicely. We promise to satisfy once more.

Forest in peace

(Picture credit score: TaleWorlds)

One of many many cool issues about Bannerlord’s intricate, reactive world is that I can lookup Megenhelda within the game’s encyclopaedia—basically like creeping on her Instagram—and discover out who her buddies and enemies are. A secondary plan, then, begins to type. I will discover out who she hates essentially the most and construct a military large enough to trouble them. Or, extra precisely, discover out who her weakest enemy is and snap at their heels like an aggressive canine. It seems that she has a grudge in opposition to a minor faction referred to as the Brotherhood of the Woods. They’re like a darkish mirror of my very personal warband: a gaggle who began off robbing the wealthy to present to the poor earlier than turning to theft, violence, and extortion. They’re considerably extra highly effective than me, but when I can gnaw away at their forces then Megenhelda may discover me.

The girl Mengus fancies is mildly impressed by my heroism.

I handle to seek out one of many leaders of the Brotherhood armies, remoted and alone. But it surely’s dangerous. Their power is over twice the scale of mine—59 troopers to my measly 26. However the excellent news is that they are poorly skilled, not as nicely fed, and, not like me, their captain is not invigorated by his love for a rich stranger. I take the excessive floor, line up my troops, and let Guldrimand of the Brotherhood come to me. 

It is a bloodbath. Guldrimand falls earlier than he reaches my line and my ranged troops annihilate his forces. My infantry barely has time to have interaction. My mighty pony falls in the course of the battle, however I escape in any other case unscathed. I earn my first huge victory, killing or injuring all of their military and solely dropping one soldier myself. It is a victory that earns me a fats slab of renown in addition to a severe morale enhance to my military. I seize Guldrimand, who I can ransom for a meaty 1,000 gold.

Crucial factor, nonetheless, is that the encompassing cities and villages are safer now, and that the woman Mengus barely fancies is mildly impressed by my heroism. There is a grim irony within the first rich lord I ransom being a heroic outlaw who went rotten, nevertheless it’s a lesson that Mengus of Clan Cromm will not quickly neglect. You die a hero, or stay lengthy sufficient to get captured by a attractive Battanian peasant desirous to impress a lady he is solely met as soon as. Sit the fuck down, Ivanhoe. There is a new people hero on the town.