Mount and Blade: we’re going to war

, | Game diaries

After last week’s Debacle at Senuzgda, it was necessary to take a trip around the world on a quest for personal growth. Without gaining valuable combat and weapon experience, I was not going to be able to fulfill my goals, as my capture and subsequent imprisonment had made painfully clear. My ultimate goal is to become either a lord with some land directly to my name or the wife of a lord who already possesses land, which would allow me to use his domain as my own.

First, though, I need to get in the good graces of the kingdom. That means doing work for Rhodok lords.

After the jump: oh joy.

I won’t belabor you, the reader, with the details of these exploits. In the grand scheme of things, these quests are rarely interesting and serve as the barrier to entry for the real meat of the game. Only after you actively take up arms for a particular kingdom do you get to experience the massive field battles and sieges that truly define Mount and Blade. Until then, and in an entirely reasonable fashion, a particular kingdom will not take you on board until you have earned enough renown or favor with its lords to demonstrate that you are worthy of their time, money and, most importantly, land.

I find myself running around the Kingdom of Rhodoks, destroying regional bandit strongholds, hunting down murderers, collecting taxes and even murdering the occasional merchant in cold blood because he had the audacity to demand a lord pay him back. I believe I mentioned that Alice isn’t big on the whole “honor” thing a few entries back. I do turn down the lords that ask me to rescue a relative of theirs from enemy castles, since I know better than that. Any missions to train soldiers for the lords’ armies are refused as well, since I’m having enough trouble keeping my own soldiers alive to bother training any more. Also noteworthy is that about half of the Rhodok lords I meet make snide remarks about the fact that my character is a woman, but I hold my tongue in all cases since I can’t afford to make enemies of the lords I plan to work for and be comrades with in the near future.

Not yet, at least.

I also set up two enterprises in cities. This is a new feature in Warband that requires great expense but can reap great rewards over time. Basically, every town has bits of land that you can purchase and use to establish production of a particular good. It behooves you to visit many towns and find places where raw materials are cheap for a particular item and to build the appropriate factory there. My first one goes in the Sarranid city of Ahmerrad, which is one of the biggest iron-producing towns in the game. My enterprise there costs 3500 denars, will make iron into tools, and generates me a profit of about 600 denars a week. My 50 man army’s maintenance is at about 500 denars a week, so this is a huge boost to my efforts, even though the maintenance will continue to go up as my soldiers become more experienced and demand more money. I build an oil press in the Rhodok town of Veluca to convert olives to oil, as well, which cost 4500 denars to set up and generates about 500 denars a week. This money will all be necessary once everything goes south in the very near future. Speaking of going south, I head to Jelkala to talk to King Graveth.

Once you have put yourself in the good graces of those that matter in a realm, you have two options regarding service to them. First, you can become a mercenary captain. This effectively makes you an arm of the military of your faction. A captain has no land and no title, but is called upon to participate in the campaigns of the kingdom and to contribute to sieges and army movements in times of war. There is a stipend paid by the kingdom to help support your army and to pay wages, but this is never enough and must be augmented with looting or other more legitimate activities like investing in factories or participating in tournaments in order to keep your soldiers content.

If your renown is high enough and you have the personal favor of the king, then you have the ability to ask him to make you a lord in his kingdom. This would come with a small fief (usually the poorest village in the kingdom) if I were a male. However, as King Graveth indicated to me that while he would be glad to have me on board as a lord/lady in his kingdom, he would not be able to give me land as I am a woman. He says something about everyone else getting upset at the very idea of it or similar nonsense.

I’ll be a mercenary, then. Riding under the Rhodok banner, renown within the realm will pour in once others hear of my glorious exploits and contributions to the well-being of the kingdom. I sign my soul away for a one month contract, only for the Rhodoks to make peace with Swadia (the people who captured me last week) and to declare war on the Sarranids. If you are unfamiliar with the game world, the Sarranids are the game’s equivalent of the Arab world, and they share a hotly contested border with the Rhodoks. In my experience, the two factions spend a great deal of time at war, and now this time is proving to be no exception. I am immediately summoned by Lord Raichs, the marshal of the Kingdom, to join him in his campaign against the Sarranids.

We ride to join his forces near the border. Things are about to get interesting once again.

Tomorrow: death on the steppes
Click here for the previous Mount and 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.