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The first time you ever step foot into the universe within Mount & Blade, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices available to you. You're going to find yourself asking which faction is the best, how should I place my skills, what's the best way to make money, and so much more. There's no doubt in anyone's mind that a beginner needs some direction to get their bearings, because the land of Calradia will chew you up and spit you out without second thought without it.
So without further ado, let's get into the first choice you're going to have to make in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord—selecting the best culture to adhere to.
Which Culture Is the Best Culture?
In Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, there are six different cultures to choose from. Each of these six different cultures offer you two passive perks and one passive debuff that will follow you throughout the game. You need to make sure you choose the best culture to adhere to because there is no option to alter this choice after the game starts.
Pick the Vlandians’ Culture
You will never find me straying from the Vlandians culture, and that is because the Vlandians culture is the best culture in Bannerlord.
Their boons and banes are pictured above, but I'll list them here as well:
- 10% production bonus to villages that are bound to castles
- 5% more renown from battles, 15% more income while serving as a mercenary
- Recruiting lords to armies costs 20% more influence
The reason that the boons and banes from this culture are so necessary to any playthrough of Bannerlord—why the Vlandians culture is the best culture—is because it offers a financial and influential leg up all throughout the game. The other cultures available to you will not offer you anywhere near the level of usefulness as the Vlandians, because the Vlandians culture comes into play with almost any interaction you have in the game.
Now that you know which culture to adhere to, you need to know how to select your character's background story.
Choosing the Proper Backstory
In order to establish yourself well in Calradia, you're going to need to be able to survive long enough to do so. Surviving long enough to establish yourself, being that proverbial Bannerlord, will require you to make a few tough decisions on your backstory. Luckily, I know exactly what skills you should pick to give yourself some breathing room.
The backstory you need to choose is as follows:
- Family: Hunters
- Early Childhood: Your skill with horses
- Adolescence: Hunted small game
- Youth: Trained with cavalry
- Young adulthood: Defeated an enemy in battle
- Age: 20
What these choices do is allow you to play as a ranged character who can ride horses, and that's an irreplaceable set of skills in battle. Your utmost goal is to survive, and these skills will see to it that you survive long enough to build up other necessary skills. Learn to play ranged, maneuver cavalry, and avoid danger, and I promise you'll be doing fine.
Now onto some finer nuances: Weapon suggestions.
The Best Weapon Choices
Though there are some who will argue with me—wrongly, as bold as they are—that the best weapons in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord are pretty cut and dry.
Here's what your equipped weapons should look like, generally speaking:
Plain and simple, these are the best weapons you can have in Mount & Blade II. The reason these are the best weapons is because with the crossbow you can remain at the longest range possible, keeping yourself out of battle, and the mace allows you a blunt instrument with which to take prisoners. Always make blunt weaponry a focus in your playthrough, because prisoners are the only resource in the game that you will come across in every single fight and interaction.
Having brought up prisoners, it's time to discuss the best way to make money in Bannerlord: Taking and selling prisoners.
Prisoners Are the Best Source of Income Early-Game
To close out this article, I want to tell you the all-important secret to making money early-game in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord.
The best way to make money early-game is to equip you and your men with blunt weapons and take all the prisoners you can carry. There is no shortage of bandits and raiders out there, and as you grow in renown, you'll be able to hold more and more prisoners worth increasingly large amounts of coin. Don't give up on blunt weapons in favor of higher damage, either. Stick with blunt weapons because prisoners will always be a viable income source throughout your travels.
One big disclaimer here, though, do not take lords and ladies that you defeat in battle as prisoners. The damage to your reputation, your relationship with other lords and ladies, and the tiny ransom offered are not worth it!
Other than taking prisoners, make sure that you are doing every petty quest given out by notables in towns and cities.
Good luck out there!
© 2022 Kyler J Falk