After the disappointing With Fire and Sword, I went back to Warband, the previous expansion for Mount and Blade. With the benefit of a fair amount of patching, it is devoid of any crippling issues and one of my favorite games in the recent past. It was only last week that I realized I had a way to write about Warband in a relatively fresh manner.
I could create a female character.
After the jump, the fairer sex
Choice is one of the things I absolutely love about gaming. Give me choices that have a meaningful impact on the world around me or the way things will play out, and that will likely help to draw me in to the experience. Any entry in the Mount and Blade series offers this sort of kingmaking power at some point in the emerging narrative of any given playthrough, provided the player is persistent enough and doesn’t get chewed up by every group of three bandits that he or she runs into.
I have no idea if this choice will have any significant influence on the way this excursion will unfold. Having never played as a female character, largely since it was added in Warband as a feature and a lot of my time with the franchise is from the original, it is reasonable to assume that the marriage mechanic will be considerably different. Instead of needing to woo an eligible lady and get the permission of her noble relatives to marry (or to elope, if that’s the player’s style), this time it will most likely have me choosing from an array of bachelor lords and gaining additional influence in a faction by doing so. This is a bridge that will be crossed when (or if) it is reached.
First, here is a short biography of my character based on the character creation process. Alice Dunois was born into a family of warriors, her father having been a veteran in the army of a distant land. Raised into a culture of warfare, Alice picked up some tricks from her father and demonstrated considerable aptitude with a bow before his untimely death. Seeing the promise she had shown, and recalling the great strength of her father before her, a local noble recruited Alice to serve as a page. Learning more of the sword and of inspiring leadership, Alice nonetheless became disillusioned with the trivialities of the court and abandoned service to the nobles in favor of becoming a game poacher. Stealing furs and other materials from royal game preserves eventually earned her the ire of the very lords she had once served, and in such a manner Alice was exiled from her homeland. Now she has arrived in Calradia and seeks to start a new life, although a sense of bitterness at her treatment in the past still resides within her.
The above is determined by a series of questions asked as you create a new character. Your answers determine your starting stats and equipment. In this playthrough, I intend to try a number of things I have yet to attempt with any degree of success. First, I will play a horse archer character almost exclusively. In the past when using bows, they have always been a support weapon, but now it will be my primary means of inflicting damage. Second, I will be starting in the Kingdom of Rhodoks. Each kingdom in this game, which are all fictional, has a set of military units modeled after a region’s actual military forces from medieval times. The Rhodoks, for example, are hard to pin down but are seen as an amalgamation of Italian and Mediterranean troops, and so they are very infantry heavy and have excellent crossbowmen. Since I typically prefer to have large cavalry contingents, depriving me of their use will seriously change the way I have to play. Third, I will be playing in ironman mode as I don’t trust my willpower to avoid save scumming, so I will prevent the game from saving without exiting.
I may add further stipulations as I start, but all of these changes from my comfort zone should keep me on my toes and keep this a little more interesting. With that said, let’s get on with it.
Tomorrow: here I go again on my own
(Click here for the previous Mount & Blade entry)
Otagan, known to some as Jared, hails from the frozen wastelands of North Dakota. He is temporarily based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he works for a major banking institution that shall remain nameless to protect the innocent.