Mount & Blade

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Mount & Blade is an indie Strategy Game with tactical action and RPG Elements, developed by TaleWorlds Entertainment and published by Paradox Interactive. It is a sandbox-style game, set in the medieval-ish land of Calradia, where you begin with a lame horse, a rusty sword, a bent crossbow, and some tattered rags, and are then expected to impress a king of your choice and conquer the world for him (or whatever else you feel like, really). You can hire mercenaries, train them, trade between cities, fight bandits, and even become a vassal to a lord and be granted a village, castle, or town.

The combat uses a physics engine that determines the speed of a swing, relative to the target, and gives a percentage bonus (or penalty) to the damage of the attack based on its relative speed.

An Updated Rerelease called Warband came out in April 2010, featuring a significantly improved combat model, a revamped single-player campaign with more in-depth political system, new items and locations, and probably the most called-for feature, multiplayer. Released in late 2009 in Eastern Europe and May 2011 in North America and the rest of Europe was With Fire and Sword, effectively a mod for Warband developed by the Ukrainian group Si Ch Studio and Russian Snowberry Connection (former Snowberry Connection). It adds early guns, a historical (fiction) setting, improves town-management and gives more options than just "put a single ladder with room for 1 guy up the wall" in sieges as well as a storyline to follow. On April 19th, 2012 an updated version of the popular mod Mount & Musket was released as official DLC for Warband titled Napoleonic Wars, which takes place, where else, during the Napoleonic Wars.

A proper sequel, entitled Bannerlord is set for future release. Early access by the end of 2019 is possible, but not guaranteed.

Tropes used in Mount & Blade include:
  • Acceptable Breaks From Reality: It might not be very historically correct to have Vikings fighting Mongolian horse archers, but boy is it fun.
  • The Alleged Steed: The one you start with, usually.
  • Anachronism Stew: As far as all the medieval weapons and armour go, they are portrayed very accurately, including their proper names. The only exception to this rule would be that they come from slightly different time periods of The Middle Ages).
    • With the usual exception of the bastard sword, which is a misnomer historians applied to hand-and-a-half longswords. Correctly, all western swords with a two-handed hilt are longswords, with the one-handed base form being considered an arming sword or a short sword.
  • An Axe to Grind: Axes have a bonus against shields and throwing axes are one of the signature weapons of Nord Huscarls.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: Trading goods is one way to make money, and Warband allows investing in personal enterprises.
  • Annoying Arrows: Played straight except for headshots, usually. Though there's still sometimes the amusing sight of one of the tougher units charging on with an arrow sticking out of his eye.
    • Rarer when full damage is enabled; two arrows are usually lethal unless their target is wearing plate armor.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Averted, the limit is based on skills, renown and fiefs held. It's still strangely specific, but at least it's based on something. It's quite hard to actually hit this cap most of the time, as fewer number of powerful units is preferable to masses of weak ones (except during auto-battle)
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted, though with cheaper armor at lower levels you might think this is the case.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores : The various bandits (particularly the Looters and Mountain Bandits), the deserters... and theoretically even you and your own party - if you decide to play as a bunch of bad guys.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Enemy and ally AI is lacking. Riding close by enemies attempting to reach your archers will cause them to either drop their own bows and pull out melee weapons, or turn around and leave their back unshielded, letting your own archers nail them.
  • Ascended Extra: The Khergits were a type of bandit until an update turned them into a proper faction.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: A common occurence with the faction lords, who after all lead armies as part of their job description. Specific levels of asskickery vary between individuals, but most can outfight their own elite troops. If you see someone with distinctive armor riding around the battlefield scything down your troops with an actual scythe, it's probably a lord.
  • Automaton Horses: Horses are basically treated like any other equippable item, never tire, never panic, and are perfectly willing to run headlong into obstacles like walls or trees at full speed unless steered clear by the player. They can be injured in battle, though, and have a chance of becoming lame or dying when they run out of Hit Points. They also have their own AI while not being ridden and will bolt off if hit.
    • Diplomacy, a mini mod included in most mods by default, does however make horses slower as they lose HP.
  • Badass Army: Any force composed of top-level units. They will make hay out of a lord's army.
  • BFS: Obviously, the two-handed swords, but a few weapons used to be way oversized.
  • Being Good Sucks: The benefits of having a high honor are dubious at best. You have to turn down often needed rewards for quests, release valuable prisoners, skip lucrative quests, refrain from beating down on the peasantry, and make enemies of the "dishonorable" nobles across the realm. All to make friends with some "honorable" ones. And prior to Warband, it didn't even properly do that.
    • Honour does have one benefit, namely becoming marshal. If your honour is high enough, a lot of lords will like you enough to vote for you to become marshal without you having had to bother doing a million quests for them, saving you time that can be used to make the money you're missing out on from dishonourable acts by battling, which also trains your men and keeps morale high. The dishonourable lords never go below -3 relation with you no matter how high your honour is either, you need to do other things to make anyone hate you more than that.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Partially averted, partially played straight. It's easy and profitable to do "dishonorable" missions, such as assassinations, kidnappings, and starting wars, with little consequences aside from ticking off the victims. However, dishonorable acts such as pillaging villages or kicking around the local peasantry will draw the ire of the local Lord, who can usually (At least early-on in the game) kick your tail pretty soundly.
    • In Warband, you also have to take into account the opinion of your companions: many come from the peasantry and aren't too fond of watching their kind get murdered and looted, especially as they are supposed to take part in the pillaging.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spears are best used only against cavalry, and most other polearms are best used only by cavalry.
  • Black Cloak: Whenever you sneak into an enemy controlled city, you wear one of these, along with a staff and throwing knives.
  • Boom! Headshot!: Doable with every ranged weapon in the game for double damage.
  • Bow and Sword in Accord: Commonly used by NPCs and the default setup of the player. Useful as there will be situations where getting into melee or standing off at range is inadvisable or even suicidal. NPC archers and crossbowmen always carry melee weapons and sometimes shields, and the highest level ranged attackers can be used as middling infantry in a pinch.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: The face generator allows an impressive array of variations, and the game makes good use of it. In addition, soldiers of the same type will have slightly different equipment, differentiating them further.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Averted, armor looks similar on women as it does to men. However, in training fields and arena melees, men wear knee-length trousers and women wear bikinis.
  • Choice Of Four Weapons: You have four weapon/shield slots to do everything you need done. Ammo costs one of these slots.
  • Contemptible Cover: The reception to the cover's use of not-Aragorn (dubbed "Frodogorn" by the fanbase) and the general blandness of it was ... less than enthusiastic.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Characters become bloodier as they take damage, but their performance is unaffected.
  • Dangerous Deserter: In spades. From a technical point of view, they are very similar to regular groups of bandits, but are often far more numerous and better equipped. They can be a Demonic Spiders style threat early in the game, but become less intimidating after the player levels up considerably and creates his party. Still, large groups of advanced troops (40 nords warriors in full mail armor for instance) remain a threat for a pretty long time.
  • Disc One Nuke: A character with the "Lady in Waiting" background starts with one of the best horses (and the 2nd fastest, losing by only one point of speed) at the cost of a hit to other starting equipment (that is very poor for everyone and will be replaced after your first battle anyways). The Easter Egg "Strange" equipment in Rivacheg and Tihr (and Jelkala, but it is technically inaccessible without edit mode) is pretty handy if you find it early.
  • Disney Death: Neither the player character, the NPCs, nor any of the lords can be killed in battle - they're only knocked unconscious and taken prisoner, and either are ransomed or escape. Your hirelings can be killed, but even then you can learn a surgery skill granting a chance that a soldier who would've been killed will be merely knocked unconscious instead.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Calradia is a sexist land (though it is only briefly touched on before Warband) where even the lords that have been established through dialogue as being just and honorable have no qualms with raiding caravans, burning and plundering villages and attacking helpless traveling farmers, provided they belong to an enemy faction.
    • The Steppe Bandits more so than the actual Khergit lords themselves, as they're always hostile.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: You can find a Ragged Ragged Outfit.
    • Occasionally one may come across a "Strong Strong Bow"
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Lezalit. Ymira points it out if you have both of them in your army.
  • Dronejam: Your own soldiers can and will get in your way in a fight: sieges and the start of battle are the most blatant.
  • Drop the Hammer: In Warband, the Rhodok's array of hammers. They also deal a ridiculous amount of damage and ignore shields completely making them quite popular in multiplayer siege battles for clearing besiegers off ladders or holding of a tide of attackers pouring forth from a siege tower.
    • Hammers also explicitly ignore a certain degree of armor, and the more armor you're wearing, the more armor it ignores. So wearing a full set of extremely expensive plate that even archers have difficulty penetrating means that hammers will do considerably more damage to you than other weapons.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Mostly averted, in that lords will stop asking you to deliver letters for them once you're rich, powerful and famous. Generally. Also averted in the tournaments where, if you defeat enough opponents, you can stay in the game even if you lose.
  • Dummied Out: Firearms and things that were in earlier releases but patched out.
    • They can be brought back by changing a single value in the module.ini file[1].
  • Dungeon Town: Occasionally coming to a town you will find that there's a group of bandits in it, causing you to have to liberate the town.
  • Easter Egg: There's samurai equipment hidden around in hard to spot chests.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted like hell. Troops will become unhappy and eventually desert if they don't have anything to eat. Overworld map speed is brought down by excess weight from loot. The latter can be addressed by keeping extra horses in your inventory that are used as load animals, but having too many horses will negate this effect, allegedly because larger amounts of horses are harder to control.
  • Elective Monarchy: Rhodoks.
  • Endless Game: There is no set victory condition. Unless you select the retirement option (or your save is corrupted), there isn't even a way for the game to end as losing a battle won't kill you, though there still are situations where it's better just to reload or start a new game. It's not until With Fire and Sword that the player character can actually die.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: Villages that changed ownership still produce troops of the faction they originally belonged to, even when that faction no longer exists. When a faction is defeated and its lords disperse, they also retain and are able to recruit troops of their original faction even in service of their new masters.
  • Evil Uncle: King Harlaus of Swadia and King Yaroglek of Vaegir, according to their claimants' stories.
  • The Exile: Endicting a lord from your faction of treason is the only reliable way to put said lord out of play permanently. Other kings can also order exiles for their own lords, but these just join a different faction (hopefully yours) instead.
  • Exposed to the Elements: People wear the same things they always wear even in snow and desert areas.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Every faction is one.
  • Flynning : Brutally averted. The battles are full of realistically rough and hard-hitting swings, stabs and parries.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: With a sufficiently heavy horse, a high Riding skill, and relatively flat terrain, you can simply ride through a throng of enemies instead of around them.
  • Friendly Enemy: If you're in the habit of letting enemy commanders go after battles, you could very well discover that you're on better terms with your enemies than with your allies.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Played straight for melee weapons, averted for ranged weapons.
    • Strangely, averted for all weapons by default in Warband's multiplayer. Since multiplayer is more arcade-like than singleplayer, it's strange this relatively hardcore option would be only available there. Confusingly, many server admins will kick you for accidentally killing your teammates, which raises the question why they don't disable that option if it upsets them so much.
  • Game Breaking Bug: Putting points into your shield skill allows you to raise your shield faster and also increases its coverage (making it 'larger'). But it does this for all shields, yours as well as those carried by other characters. Especially annoying for archer characters, who need to be able to reliably shoot around enemy shields.
    • You may also want to avoid the 'lend companion' requests that lords sometimes make if you have a rebellion in progress. These requests can include the claimant, and if the rebellion then ends while the claimant is away, the whole structure of the faction breaks down.
      • Also in the claimant quests is that if someone other than the rebels finishes off the original faction, the ending is bugged.
  • Game Favored Gender: Goes both ways in different games. In the original, starting as female will give you better skill-point options. In Warband, female characters need far higher reputations to become lords (something companions comment on) and don't recieve a fief with it. Both of these are unintentionally an advantage: The higher requirements mean you aren't spammed with offers (which hurt your influence if you refuse) and the "free" fief gives little income (it will be the poorest one the faction has) but counts against requests for a new one (Any requested fief is effectively guaranteed to you if you are the only lord in the faction with none, even if it's a major city).
  • Geo Effects: Montainous battlefields allow for lots of this. Cavalry units cannot charge up a slope, and ranged units, obviously, cannot shoot through hills. A sound tactic against mostly cavalry armies is to station your troops on the peak of a slope, or behind a river.
  • Game Mod: Many, from historical (Mongolia, ancient Greece, The Wild West, 1200s Europe, WWII China, the Russian Civil War) to fantasy (Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire), to the gang-filled streets of Glasgow or even some original new scenarios expanding the Calradian setting of the vanilla version (from The Low Middle Ages to the far future of Next Sunday A.D.).
    • With Fire and Sword is a non-free mod, which changes the setting to the Khmelnitsky War as described in Polish historical epic Ogniem i Mieczem (the wars with Cossacks, Tatars and Sweden in the second half of 17th century), with storyline based on the novel Black Mace by Alex Trubnikov.
    • Viking Conquest, another non-free mod, moves the setting to Britain and Scandinavia during the Dark Ages and Viking invasions, complete with a "story" mode.
    • Nova Aetas is a Fan Sequel mod set in the vanilla Calradia setting, albeit around the time of its Renaissance. It also extends the map significantly, to the point of having New World and Mayincatec analogues.
  • Gratuitous German: Not the original game, but the sheer amount of Game Mods that attempt to add Germany-based factions or units into the game and fail at properly utilizing German spelling and grammar is astounding.
  • Gray and Grey Morality: No single character in the game is entirely good, at least not by modern moral standards.
    • This even extends to all your companions. Knight in Shining Armor and scholar characters are honorable, but very prejudiced against commoners and foreigners, while commoner characters tend to have rather loose morals when it comes to things like contracts or personal property, and professional soldiers are all Blood Knights.
  • Grid Inventory: And everything takes up one slot regardless of its size or weight, though weight does influence your party's overworld speed.
  • Guns Are Useless: Averted in With Fire And Sword, where guns are extremely powerful: the gun you start the game with will kill most bandit-type enemies in one shot, and getting hit by a gun with your starting armor can easily kill you. The drawback is that they take a very long time to load, even with simple pistol weapons, and if you're on foot, that's a very bad thing (on a horse, you can at least continue to dodge effectively).
  • Hard Head: NPCs and redshirts saved by the surgery skill are knocked unconscious and make a full recovery withing a few hours (days at most) with no lasting effects, even if they got a spear to the gut or an arrow through the eye.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Sword Sisters have what seems to be a 50/50 chance of going into battle without a helmet (the better off to show their flowing hair, presumably). Along with various recruited bandits and Khergit Lancers, they are the only unit type to do so. This makes them predictably vulnerable to arrows to the head.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Shields are immaterial unless the block key is held down, lots of minor discrepancies as well.
    • Sort of fixed in Warband, non-blocking shields will still block arrows, but not the ones that are instant death headshots, the ones that make you buy the shield in the first place.
    • Presumably because if the shield where protecting your head, how would you see?
  • Hit Points: Everyone has em, though sometimes in a very odd way. My horse seems to have a spear through its head, why is it still running around?
    • Your horse probably has great defence stats and can probably have a lot more spears sticking out before it dies.
    • Shields also have hitpoints, after they are exhausted they will break (they are fixed after the battle, but move down a notch on the quality scale).
  • Honor Before Reason: The Rhodoks claimant Lord Kastor of Veluca himself admits that King Graveth is a hero for saving the council from a raiding party, but claims he shouldn't be king because he violated the law against bringing weapons to the council meeting.
  • Horny Vikings: Averted
  • Horse Archer: Most Khergit troops. Building a player character into one is difficult but rewarding.
  • Hydra Problem: Disney Death combined with destroying a faction will become this. When all of a faction's fiefs have been conquered, said faction will be deemed extinct. When this happens, ALL the lords of that faction, excluding the king, will just join a different faction. Considering that for 85% of the game your Right-to-Rule (a hidden stat that dictates how likely you are to recruit lords to your cause) will be well below that of the remaining monarchs, this eventually leads to battles against +15 lords at the same time once enough factions have been defeated.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Attempted aversion, as you can only ever carry at most four weapons on your person. Doesn't quite work, though, since you can still stroll around and fight without any impediment with four pikes (or other such unwieldy items), one in your hands, another glued to your back and the other two presumably tucked neatly up your butt.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Because spears wielded one handed can only thrust, a player armed with a short sword can parry entire groups of spearman's attack by holding block and keeping their back to a wall (or constantly moving back).
    • The Siege maps in Multiplayer take this to extremes with Rhodock Warhammers/Swadian Greatswords instantly killing attackers as they swarm up ladders, or rushing through a fallen sally port only for 2-3 defenders waiting patiently to slay them.
  • Impoverished Patrician: One background choice. It grants you with a banner and slight fame boost (which affects max army size).
  • In-Universe Game Clock: There's an internal game clock, though it only takes a few minutes for a day to pass. Not so much in battle, where time doesn't change no matter how long you fight.
  • Inevitable Tournament: Sort of. The fighting tournaments in the large cities aren't mandatory, but placing bets on yourself and then winning goes a long way towards paying your Redshirt Army's salary.
  • Invisible Wall: All over the place and still characters can occasionally clip through scenery into places they're not supposed to be.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Except if you defend yourself when they revolt.
  • It's Always Spring: Even though the game does have an internal calendar that tracks the days and months going by, seasons never change and for non-player characters the only change for age is an increase to the number on their statistics page. Will be avoided in Bannerlord.
  • Karma Houdini: Roughly every rival lord battling with you. They will come over and fight you with clearly inferior units to your own, just in advantage on numbers, to have their troops slaughtered en masse, but they almost always avoid capture. The player, on the contrary, is always captured if he's defeated.
  • Keep the Reward: An option in quite a few quests. Though it only gets you honor, which is a mixed bag (Lords have a higher default disposition if your character has a similar honor score). [2]
  • Knight in Shining Armor: YOU, if you want. Though you'll find that shiny armor is quite expensive and makes you move at a snail's pace if you get de-horsed
  • Lady Macbeth: A female PC can become this to a noble as a way of gaining power.
  • Lazy Backup: Combine the fact that your side automatically loses if your character is knocked out with the fact that sieges are done in stages and losing at any stage ends the siege unsuccessfully, and you can get into some seriously weird situations where your guys retreat, dragging your unconscious body out of the castle, through the town, up the walls, and down the siege tower ramp, just because you got knocked out by literally the last defender in the last room of the castle. And then they dismantle the tower, so you have to build a new one.
  • Leaked Experience: Normal exp is granted for killing things yourself, and then battle exp is granted for being on the winning side. Battle exp is shared among all members of the army, even if they didn't actually appear on the battlefield. A viable strategy for leveling up troops that are yet too weak to survive actual combat.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Your army's default battle behavior is full-on charge. Depending on the circumstances, this may not be the wisest strategy.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Both averted and played straight. The compass says the sea is to the north, but the companion's little pieces of lore contradict the compass (which does nothing anyways) in terms of what is in what direction (they roundaboutly indicate the sea is in the west). The compass says the permanently snowy part of the map is to the east while the companion's references to direction put it in the north, so the companions are the more reasonable one.
  • Leitmotif: Every musical cue for the Khergits makes use of a single melody. The same for the Nords as well. The Swadian and Rhodok themes have more variation and subtlety and the Vaegirs seem to lack a motif altogether.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Your companions and the various lords and ladies of the five factions.
    • In numbers its 16 companions, 5 kings, 5 claimants to their thrones (with the only female AI fighter that is not a companion or Sword Sister), 20 lords in each of the five factions (make it 100) and a few ladies (who only stay in their castles and give missions but won't fight; about one for every three lords). All of them are named and have a few traits. Warband added another faction with another claimant and ruler, and added about 10 unmarried women to each faction for Male players to romance.
  • Low Fantasy: No magic, monsters or mythical beings to be seen - just regular medieval life in a fictional world with alternate Earth geography and fictional nations, that are very close to the historical ones they were based on...
  • Luck-Based Mission: The arena and tournament matches are this to an extent due to every participants' equipment being randomly assigned. It is possible for the player to be doomed to a loss at the beginning if he is assigned equipment he is not proficient with, or worse, a bow. (Though waiting until someone goes down or, if you're good enough, shooting them down first, before nicking their melee weapon can create an effective bow/melee combo.) Warband helped this a little bit, by allowing players to wield Throwing weapons in the melee and giving archers in the Arenas a tiny dagger.
    • At the beginning of the game, where you start is randomised, so you may have the misfortune of spawning right next to a party of mounted bandits.
    • Any quest that requires you to go outside a town and search for someone (bandits, thieves, particular enemy units to be taken prisoner), since you aren't guaranteed to actually find them.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: With skill, shields are capable of emitting arrow-stopping force fields.
  • Magic Pants : All undressed characters.
  • Magikarp Power: Ymira may seem completely useless, being level 1 and having nothing but a kitchen knife to defend herself. But, precisely because she's level 1 and has very few pre-assigned skill points, with patience she can be trained to be highly effective in any area the player chooses for her.
    • A horse archer PC doesn't really start to work too well until the mid 20s or so, but at that point it can solo entire armies.
  • Mook Chivalry: Entirely averted. Once de-horsed, infantry will frequently swarm you from all sides, sometimes so thickly you can't move. The only defense is to backpedal and hope your shield up until The Cavalry arrive to spread them out a bit.
  • Multiple Choice Past: How you choose your stats.
  • Multi Melee Master: Each weapon proficiency category covers several different types of weapons.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Each NPC companion has two others that they don't get along with, and will eventually make this known to you. If multiple members of the party are antagonistic and/or morale is low, some may eventually leave (take your stuff back before they do).
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Every time you lose a battle, you get taken prisoner and dragged around for a while; however, whenever an NPC Lord loses, he gets away 80% of the time, and then he's nowhere to be seen.
    • When you're incapacitated in battle, your troops immediately retreat and lose morale, no matter how close you are to victory. However, enemy armies will happily continue fighting after their commander receives two arrows to the head and smashes into a tree.
    • While the player must recruit members of his party, AI lords and kings are instantly assigned troops as needed, even though they only occasionally stop at villages to recruit base troops. But at least this cheating goes both ways and also applies to lords allied with the player.
      • Lords get troops based on their fiefs. More fiefs means more troops. Kings, on the other hand, get troops based on the fact that they're kings. So if you manage to defeat a King's sizable personal force (200+ troops), then when they escape, they'll disappear for a few days and show up with their entire force replenished. Particularly devastating if you're trying to take the king's last city, and they keep respawning to smash into your forces.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: You, if your army is sufficiently strong enough. Lords and even Kings will turn and run if they see you getting close (with their status listed as "Running Away from YOURNAME").
  • Nerf: In Warband, horse archer player characters can no longer access an infinite supply of arrows by running to and from their baggage thanks to a patch; you have the arrows you start with and any spares you left in your baggage train. This prevents players from simply picking off entire infantry armies on their lonesome at level one.
    • Also - couched lance damage - a form of attack that in the original M&B would allow a starting player with a half-way decent polearm to solo entire armor-clad armies is much harder to use in Warband
  • No Arc in Archery: Averted. Arrows, bolts, and thrown weapons need to be properly aimed taking into account distance, relative speed and altitude, and weapon arcing (but, oddly enough, not target density). The game's log rates the shot's difficulty if you hit, based on these elements, which impacts the rate you gain experience for ranged weapons.
  • No Stat Atrophy: Averted, characters over a certain age start to lose stats when knocked out. The fan backlash and the speed with which a tweak was found that disables this feature demonstrate just why this trope is an acceptable break from reality.
  • Nominal Importance: Named NPCs are either kings/king claimants or "hero" characters like you: they are knocked out in battle instead of suffering perma-death like nameless NPCs and can be leveled up and equipped much the same way you are.
  • Non-Lethal KO: It's okay that your soldier just had a lance rammed through him by a horseman, thanks to your surgery skill he's only unconscious.
  • Obvious Beta: Justified. TaleWorlds started selling while it was a beta and used that money to fund the rest of the game's development.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: AI Lords will frequently recruit and fully train troops from nowhere, and for a few days after they've been released from capture, no one knows where they are, until they end up at a castle, often one all the way across the map from where they were, with a full complement of troops. One wonders how news travels so fast. Or how every AI Lord knows the location of every other AI Lord of his faction at any time.
  • Omnicidal Neutral: Conquering the entire map as a masterless warlord was the closest you could come to winning the game before Warband.
  • One-Handed Zweihander : Averted with two-handed weapons. Played with in the case of the bastard (hand and a half) sword, which can be wielded in one hand while on horseback, but is always wielded ambidextrously while on foot.
  • One-Man Army: The player character. While getting between more than one enemy is almost always death capture, it is quite effective to run ahead of your army and slaughter enemy troops by hit and run tactics (lightly armoured troops will normally die in one hit), often killing a platoon of enemies before they are in range of your men.
    • This is also sometimes a cause of the Artificial Stupidity, as sometimes the enemy stay in formation and wont dare to fight you until they meet the rest of your army.
    • Its quite possible to kite enemy armies on your own, on foot no less, in Warband provided they have no cavalry, projectiles or good polearms.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The forest at the Rhodok\Swadian border (the "Woods of Ehlerdah") is infested with lots of bandits and deserters in terrain that often works against them (A hilly area against a primarily archer and mounted force when the AI can't understand to put its archers at the top of a hill). It is noted in-game by some companions as being thick with outlaws.
    • The mountainous region at the borders of the Vaegir and Swadian kingdoms also hosts entire droves of bandit bands. These Mountain Bandits are a little hardier though, and also one of the few highwaymen types that use light cavalry units in addition to infantry.
      • Sea Raiders, in Warband, are a large source of good equipment, money AND experience. To elaborate; each Sea Raider is worth about 130 experience points (quite a lot for M&B), they all have good equipment like mail armor, axes, bows, decent shields and helmets allowing the player can farm them for large amount of cash (or keep better items for himself). The downside is that Sea Raiders carry said decent armor and very damaging throwing weapons and some of them even long bows. Careful players can ride around them, dodging projectiles, until they all exhaust their ammo. And the best part: you can do this all by yourself, meaning only you get all the experience and more items can be found after the battle
  • Plot Armor: Any named character can only be captured, not killed. Only Kings (finish a rebellion quest or destroy their faction) and Claimants (Fail a rebellion quest or by destruction of their faction regardless of if they are king) can be removed from play permanently.
  • Power Equals Rarity: Loot will rarely contain items with the highest quality modifiers. Lordly armor and Champion horses are so expensive that even kings apparently can't afford to make much use of them.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: Cavalry dominates most battles without conditions working against them (hills, sieges).
    • Warband's multiplayer sieges remove the siege from being a negative condition; circle round the whole castle and get all the ladders up on the wall or charge through the sally port and butcher anyone in the courtyard.
    • Nord Huscarls take a long time to train, but are by far the best infantry in the game, able to fight greater numbers and win with few if any losses.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Several, notably Baheshtur and Matheld.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Averted though the difference is negligible in the long run. Gender will affect a player's initial stats. However, the female NPCs are oppressed, and the female player character is not beyond some sass from lords early game, somewhat higher requirements for vassalage and no fief upon becoming a vassal, the last of which is actually a blessing in disguise (in gameplay anyways, escaping such is an option for motivations in the background questions at the start of the game).
    • Also there is a huge difference in captured female and male peasants. Male farmers will train up to become mercenaries like the ones commonly hired in taverns who are useful but expensive, while female peasants will become Sword Sisters, a rare but cheap and somewhat fairly powerful mounted unit.
    • Warband has a different method of courtship for each gender (males must woo a lady and convince her guardian to let the marriage take place), while females have to court roaming lords.
  • Quicksand Box: The period between early in the game (when you take on many modest-paying side-quests to amass wealth and gain favor of lords and factions) and late in the game (when you have an army large enough to take over the world or follow a claimant quest) when you basically have very little to do but fight bandits, level-grind, and expand your army up to 10, then to 20, then to 30, to 40, to 50... fight bandits, take all their stuff, sell it at the nearest castle town, repeat, until you have an army of 100 and can start to really do some interesting stuff.
  • Rape, Pillage and Burn: This can be done to villages, and the AI will do it to them frequently.
  • Pretext for War: One mission type is having noble to ask you to find reason to start a war.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The player can recruit troops from all the factions as well as mercenaries to create one big motley crew - and as he can recruit from his own prisoners and those he rescues from the enemy pretty much any unit can end up in the player's service, including bandits and raiders. The companions recruitable include everything from impoverished nobles to petty bandits, including a daughter fleeing from an arranged marriage with no fighting skills whatsoever.
  • Rain of Arrows: Basically what happens if you get enough archers (or crossbowmen), and one of the best tactics you can use if the map permits.
    • Practically the only way to win when defending in multiplayer sieges is to do this for as long as the timer goes, or until some idiot leaves a door open.
  • Rain of Blood: Get a guy in close combat for long enough and they will look like they took a dip in a crimson sea.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: Throwing knives require no skill in throwing to use and take up only one of your four weapon slots (opposed to the two taken up by a bow or crossbow and its ammo) but do poor damage. Their primary use is to give a sword/shield/lance user some range. Many infantry units have a chance at having proper throwing weapons at creation.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: You can get bandits and such into your party if you take them prisoner and then recruit them after dragging them around for a while to crush their morale. This causes a slight moral hit to your party. Alternatively such criminals can join your party if you conquer the castle they are held in. These criminals are perfectly loyal, and are an effective stop-gap to ensure a newly conquered hold has some garrison while grab more troops to station in it.
  • Recurring Traveller: Tavern regulars.
  • Redshirt Army: Your soldiers, as well as the soldiers of every other lord.
    • However, if your soldiers somehow survive long enough to reach their maximum levels they can become the Men of Sherwood.
  • Retcon: A few things, like the black armor and the city of Zendar, got removed in later versions.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Kings and lords actively participate in combat.
    • But as noted above, cannot be killed.
      • You'll still want to aim for them first when you can, they are almost unilaterally the best equipped enemies and so can deliver the most beatdown on your own troops. Mostly. They also have the highest skills, most especially Tactics, which can result in you being badly outmatched if you lack a good tactician of your own.
    • In the Warband standalone expansion, while the kings and lord can still do stuff, they'll mostly participate in feasts... unless they are your enemy - then they'll take their armies and go kick your ass.
  • Ryu and Ken: Swadia and Vaegir share a troop tree layout and wider range of units. Swadia has crossbowmen while the Vaegirs get bowmen, Swadia's cavalry and infantry is better armored but less damaging. The Sarranids added in Warband are somewhere in between but more frequently carry ranged weapons.
  • Save Scumming: Averted, you automatically fail most tasks that have a random component to them for a short amount of time after reloading a save. The game actually takes it farther than that: you will fail even if it's otherwise impossible to do so![3] You will discover this fact at the worst possible moment.
  • Set Swords to Stun: Practice weapons knock opponents out instead of killing them. Mounted sword users can deal non-lethal damage with a pommel strike.
  • Sex Sells: There's really no explanation for this promotional screenshot.
  • Simple Staff: One of the game's basic weapons.
  • Sinister Scythe: A realistic example with war scythes, with a shortened version for ease of use.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: 'Baron' Rolf, Nizar.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Klethi
  • Spiritual Successor: To Sid Meier's Pirates!.
  • Spy Speak: One quest type involves identifying a friendly spy in this manner.
  • Stats Grinding: With weapon proficiency only (you get "free" points on each level up as well). Thankfully it increases rather fast with a decent weapons master skill, and one of the main purposes of arenas is to get this skill up to basic competency. One quirk is that mounted archers build proficiency stupidly quick, as the the increases are based on the supposed difficulty of a shot (How far the target is, how fast you are moveing, bonus for head shots), but fails to account for how easy it is to shoot at a large mob during a full gallop (which you should be doing) and have it hit someone.
  • Sticks to the Back: Most of the larger weapons.
  • Strategy RPG
  • Storming the Castle: The most common method of expanding your territory.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The combat AI will charge into any enemy. Even if COMPLETELY outmatched (IE: Peasants vs Knights) Averted on the overmap, though.
    • Some of the more hilarious parts of this are watching peasants gleefully charge fully-armored swordsmen one-after-another, with the swordsman 1-hit-killing each one. Or heavily-armored footmen trying in vain to chase down horse archers...
    • Finally averted in the Warband extension. Now, enemies will run when their morale is low and when they understand that the battle is lost. Small parties of bandits that you chased will still try to take their chance against large armies rather than just trying to bribe you, tough.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: There's a few spots where water reaches over your character's head (especially in earlier versions) without visibly inconveniencing him or her in any way.
  • Take Your Time: While all non-rebellion quests have a time limit, with the exception of orders given by your faction's marshal, they are all very generous (such as a month to deliver a letter somewhere a day and a half away at most)
    • Apparently even those were too restrictive to some players, as relatively few quests in the expansion have any limit.
    • The record being the wedding "mission", with a time limit of 360 days. Since a wedding require total peace, a feast, and the presence of both the brothered, her father, and you, all this time actually come in handy.
  • The All-Seeing AI: Computer-controlled ranged troops see perfectly through fog, shooting at you long before you get close enough to see them. Fortunately the same applies to your hirelings.
    • Lost track of where the enemies are in battle? Just follow the AI! They know exactly where those last remaining horse archers are. They also know exactly when the final enemy is slain, even if it took place a distance away.
  • The Atoner: Firentis.
  • The Lancer: Bunduk and several of the recruitable hero characters. Literally, since they can become lancers in the classical sense of the word, on horseback of course.
  • There Are No Tents: Averted. You have the option of setting up camp anywhere and anytime on the world map. While camping, you can still engage in some minor actions, like trying to persuade captured bandits to join your party, or reading books. The only downside is, that unlike cities, villages and castles, your camp won't protect you from wandering hordes of bandits (if they're passing by and bump into you).
  • Thriving Ghost Town: Very obvious when you choose to explore a town, castle, or village. Some of the villages look barely enough to house twenty people whereas you can be recruiting a half dozen volunteers from them every day.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The AI will always provide you with endless hilarities by following this trope.
    • Both sides during a multiplayer siege battle will treat a defender who repeatedly opens the sally port door this and will promptly ban the offender for their stupidity/poor sportsmanship. On certain servers such shenanigans might be rewarded with friendly arrows to the back.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Rescued peasant women can fight for your army and rise in rank until they become Sword Sisters, heavy cavalry sporting full plate armour.
  • Token Evil Teammate: It's useful to have some around so you can order them to raid enemy villages without dropping your own reputation.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: A possible quest for each village.
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: The arena is home to some of the dirtiest fighting imaginable. Everything from hitting someone over the head as they spar with someone else to two AI teaming up for a few minutes to go after the player or some other poor unfortunate can be expected. And you will be engaging in it aplenty too.
  • 24-Hour Armor: No matter how high its encumbrance is.
    • Averted with NPC lords, who switch to civvies when resting in a castle or town.
  • Values Dissonance: Deliberately invoked. You're told up front that, as the game is heavily based on the Middle Ages, the most powerful people in Calradia tend to be of noble birth and male. Indeed, in the early stages of the games, most NPC's will treat a female character like a joke. Of course, there's really no penalty for playing as a girl, and in fact there are several achievements that require you to accomplish certain impressive feats with a female character.
  • Vendor Trash: A byproduct of the looting system. Firstly, you can only get things that your opponents wield (Looters will not magically yield plate armor, for example). Secondly, the quality and quantity of loot is determined by your Looting skill (which serves no other purpose). Thirdly, the more troops and companions you have the less loot you get. The net result is that post-battle looting tends to yield dangerously subpar equipment only fit for selling off. You have a much better chance of finding high quality items by using that money to go shopping.
  • Velvet Revolution: High persuade and relations with a kingdom's lords will allow you to convert most lords to your side during a rebellion, leaving you only the capital and current ruler to attack.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Want to level up your allies, but have a battle they aren't going to win on their own? Dismount enemy cavalry and knock down infantry by trampling them to make them easy pickings for your men.
    • Or massacre helpless villagers, loot their homes and steal their cattle.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Sure, you can raid villages, shake down peasants, and cut down farmers for easy money. But it can and WILL draw attention from, at the very least, the local Nobles. And early in the game, a noble with several dozen of the best troops in the game at his side will be more than you can handle! Even later in the game, raiding villages enough will have entire kingdoms ready to attack you on sight!
    • It also takes a while, during which you're helpless, the village is constantly reporting your location to any friendly lord within range, and enemy lords can and will form parties to kick your ass.
    • Villages are also the most common source of recruits. If you make them all hate you and then get your army wiped out...
  • Violation of Common Sense: Jumping down onto the spikes around a castle wall will result in less damage than avoiding the spikes (assuming you don't get stuck in the object).
    • Openning the maingates or the sally port in multiplayer sieges is pretty much this, its generally a foregone conclusion on the Mahdaar Castle map that if the sally port is breached before the final minute, the defenders will lose as the attacker's spawn is right outside it and the besieging side will just keep sending cavalry through in a constant stampede.
  • Wallet of Holding
  • We Buy Anything: Any shop in town will buy any item. So will villages, for that matter (though they usually don't have a lot of money). And book merchants.
  • We Cannot Go on Without You: The battle ends as soon as you are knocked out, no matter how close you are to victory. This doesn't mean you lose, but your men will retreat and lose morale. While you can send your men in to fight without you, this is something you should NEVER do as they are much less effective when unled (an army that can inflict a 10-1 casualty rate on the enemy in a proper battle can easily suffer a 2-1 casualty rate if you use autoresolve for the same battle).
  • Wide Open Sandbox
  • The Wiki Rule: The Mount and Blade Wiki probably isn't actually your premier source for M&B information. The M&B page is one of the most popular sections of StrategyWiki though, despite being fairly incomplete.
  • Wimp Fight: If two AI in the arena spawn with bows next to each other, they will proceed to punch eachother for minimal damage until one is KO or (more likely) someone kicks both their asses.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: A lack of food causes morale penalties and eventually desertion.
  • You All Meet in An Inn: Companions are acquired in taverns.
  • You Will Be Spared: If you let lords go free, they may give you the quick and painless variety.

In addition to the above, Warband also features:[edit | hide | hide all]

  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: An inverted example. The American and European boxarts depict roughly the same scene, but the American boxart has a bunch of bright light added and has a clear sky, with expressions indicating it is set during preparation for battle and is drawn slightly more "realistically". The European art is much darker and stylized, set during battle and has an overcast sky. Rating differences are likely behind this (The ESRB rating is Teen, while the PEGI rating is 16+).
  • Artificial Difficulty: Whereas the original M&B was fairly sensible in this respect, WB has situations where you're arbitrarily denied reinforcements or the use of some of your weapons.
  • Cosmetic Award: The Steam version of WB now has 74 achievements.
  • Cycle of Hurting: An especially outrageous case of this occurs when the player finds himself in a besieged city that has no hope of defending itself. It is impossible to leave the city by stealth or to surrender, the only options available on the city screen are to join the battle or send the troops in on their own. And due to the fact that the developers though it was a good idea to not allow the player to access the main menu during battle, the only thing you can do is throw all your troops in vain at the enemy and then let the enemy knock you out as well. Only after being defeated and captured are you allowed to load a prior saved game.
    • Or you can simply Ctrl+Alt+Delete, and end the game process, and then reload.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Arrows fired from horseback while moving now actually pick up momentum in the direction of the horse's movement, forcing veteran horse archer players to unlearn what they have learned.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: The more Renown a character has, the more difficult it is to increase it further.
    • Even worse, the higher Renown is, the less meaning it has. The biggest reason to increase Renown (to increase your party size) slows as Renown increases, such that you'll eventually need a hundred points to increase party size by one.
  • Game Favored Gender: While the starting stats still favor females, the politics system favors males and up front tells you at character creation that non-noble non-males are the equivalent of a Self-Imposed Challenge.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The shield bug is gone, but is replaced with a forcefield that blocks projectiles as if the shield was up even when it's not.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map : Since the Warband expansion retconned the geography, the game now plays this trope straight to some extent : The sea covers both the north and the west (though the cold area is still to the east).
  • Mook Maker: Bandit parties are now spawned by bandit hideouts, which can be assaulted to temporarily clear an area of banditry.
    • Leaving hideouts alone is a singularly terrible idea: bandits spawn from the hideout based on your party size, and at regular intervals, so that if you leave the area alone for too long, you'll have a dozen groups of 40+ bandits that, when they see you, will gang up on you, resulting in 400+ bandits attacking you!
  • Obvious Beta: Played completely straight with the expansion, down to debugging info and messages in the vein of "this feature is not yet implemented" being shown in the 'final' version. To their credit, though, TW have been cranking out patches at an impressive rate.
  • Perpetual Beta: Two years and a standalone expansion pack later, the developers are still fighting critical issues in the singleplayer campaign.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Averted. Women have pretty much the same stats and gain experience at the same rate as men, but the new political system is heavily geared towards males and women have a pretty hard time climbing the social ladder.
    • Women actually get Renown faster, though, so building a continent conquering army as a woman is actually easier. Males have better chances when they join a faction instead of making their own.
  • Retcon: Calradian geography went through yet another complete overhaul, and all the NPCs act as if the new faction had always been there.
  • Ryu and Ken: The Sarranids have the same troop tree layout as the original 2 factions. Their lighter cavalry and possibility of any unit having a horse make them a Sakura type.
  • Shout-Out: Several achievement names reference Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    • If you happen to get into a bar brawl, drawing a bow in the tavern will result in the tavern keeper shouting "No shooting, no shooting!"
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Enemies can now actually flee the battle, but they'll still try to fight against impossible odds first until they get their noses bloodied.
  • Updated Rerelease: Despite being initially marketed as a stand-alone expansion (and lately even as a full sequel), the game is more of a further development of M&B, albeit with significant improvements in many areas.

In addition to the above, With Fire And Sword provides examples of the following tropes:[edit | hide]

  • Call That a Formation: Units can be arranged to 1-4 deep lines. Suprisingly, Units tend to remain and/or reform the formation unless told to charge.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Grenades introduced in this version of the game look like this. Justified as these kinds of bombs were the first and only available explosives in the time period the game is roughly based.
  • Gender Bender: Putting female clothing on your male character will cause him to sprout breasts.
  • The Musketeer: Avaible as a unit as well as player charater. With some training, your companions also.
  • Obvious Beta: Continuing a TaleWorlds tradition, the initial release sees bugs and absurdities abound and key features missing. It's a little better presented than Warband's initial release was was but it's still clearly incomplete.
  • Poles With Poleaxes: Polish Hussars in all their glory.
  • Shout-Out: The Three Musketeers are mentioned by an NPC. Also, one of the books you can buy (the one handling the power of the state) was written by a certain Armand-Jean du Plessis, duc de Richelieu.
  • Tsarist Russia: Recently reformed with Romavos in power now.

Bannerlord adds the following tropes:[edit | hide]

  1. display_wp_firearms, if you were wondering
  2. i.e., high honor is bad when talking to someone with low honor
  3. For example, if you use the third-party tool TweakMB to give yourself a 100% chance of success, or make it so you always recruit at least one person from villages, you will still fail/find no recruits, respectively