I have played this mod countles hours now and suddenly the idea of writing a small guide struck me so here it goes
I am sorry for any mistyping and grammar errors in my english as it is not my native language and my keyboard is set up for gaming so it does not have the typical letters often used in different languages.Part 1: Character creation
There are many ways to play this mod and some might be better than others but i will explain how i build for lategame and explain how some of the skills work.
when it comes to the part where you choose your background story it really does not matter that much but you should go for being a noble and a merchant if you have the patience to have a relaxed early game.StatsStrenght:
Strenght increases your health with 1 point for every point spent in this attribute and is required for power draw, power strike and power throw starting with 9 points in strenght is enough as you can get 3 points into powerdraw if you are the archertype and it will let you use some better bows earlier on since you are pretty much stuck with a hunting bow or a simple short bow if you have only 1 or 2 points in power draw.Agility:
Agility is required for weapon mastery, riding, shield, athletic, looting and horse archery.
of these skills i suggest you put 3 points in riding and later on as you level up you can put some more points into horse archery. leave the others at 0 as you dont really benefit that much of them.Intelligence:
Int is the attribute that is probably most tempting to pick as it gives you 1 extra skill point per attribute point and i often find myself focusing on int to get as high training and pathfinding skill as possible.
I reccomend that you focus this attribute and level up training and pathfinding as they are the 2 skills that really makes a difference late game.Charisma:
Charisma increases your party size by 2 for every point spent in this attribute and it does make a difference lategame when you have like 30+.
It also governs the skill trading, prison management, leadership and persuasion.
12 would be a nice start as it gives you 4 leadership and persuasion, trading should be something like 5 or 7 if you picked merchant options on the background check.Skills
I will explain some of the skills i use a lot on my own char or leaving for my companions, you can also check http://mountandblade.wikia.com/wiki/Skills
for more information about skills.Ironflesh:
Really makes a difference but is only a skill i level up when i have no other skills to focus on but if you are the tournament type then i strongly reccoment you put some points in it as it can change the outcome in tournaments PoP and save you for at least 10 attempts if you are of the ones that save and try over and over again everytime there is a tournament.Power strike:
Every point in power strike increases your damage with melee weapons by 8%. pretty simple actualy and is not a prerequisite to use any weapons i know of so only spend points in this if you are going for a pure melee character.Power throw:
i cant belive anyone would ever want to use throwing weapons over bows but if there are some then they already know more than me about it so this field i just leave alonePower draw:
power draw is the important skill if you want to go for bows as its required for about every bow ingame and the better bows are available at 7+ so this is where i focus. the ruby rune bow requires 7.
Another thing about power draw is that every point in it increases your damage with a bow by 12% but it depends on the PD required by the bow. If you have a bow that requires 2 points in powerdraw you can only benefit of a maximum of 6 points in powerdraw as only 4 points above the bow level are counted. a bow that requires 2 PD will give you a maximum of 72% no matter if you have more than 6 points in powerdraw. but a bow that requires 6 PD can benefit of 10 points in powerdraw and give you a full 122% bonus to damageRiding:
This skill increases the speed of your horse and its ability to turn but the main reason you want this upgraded to 5-7 late game is because of the noldor horses that are no doubt the best ingame.Looting:
I usualy let one companion focus on agility and looting to make more money as it (as far as i know and have experienced) increases not the amount of loot but the quality of the loot that drops.Trainer:
This is one of the most important skills for the maincharacter as you will be the one most likely to get above level 40 then be able to train those lvl 40 troops to their next tier. Adventurers to Hero adventurers and such. it is also a pretty nice skill to have at lvl 3-4 at the beginning as the few troops you start with can much more quickly become used for battle instead of just having them running around as bait while you snipe the enemies down.
Lategame you will have this at lvl 10 and along with some companions you can very quickly train a full army of recruits into a army of top tier troops.
It says leader skill but every troop benefits from the training skill of both you and the companions(as long as you or the companions have higher level than the tropps that will be trained)Pathfinding:
I try max this on my own character as well as regularily upgrading it on some of the companions it really makes a big difference on the travelspeed on the map and lategame it will be the difference between 2.0 and 5.8 runspeed with a 450 size army.Inventory management:
important skill as you get much more space to pick up loot and store goods for trading, every point increases inventory space by 6Wound treatment:
This skill heals the party while you are traveling or camping at the map and its enough having one companion level this up.Surgery:
This is a important skill for the lategame. i usualy leave it to 2 companions to level it up and end up having a 10-15% death ratio lategame and that really makes a difference when you are on a campaign and have your own kingdom. focus this along with a companionFirst aid:
have 1 companion focus this as it increases the hp you regain between every combat stage(large battles, sieges and such that are played over several stages)Persuasion:
Persuasion is used to persuade lords to join your kingdom and to prevent companions from leaving so this is a must have skill.Prisoner management:
Put 3-4 points into this that should be more than enough for the entire game as its relatively easy to sell prisoners in PoP.Leadership:
The most important skill and the one you should be focusing on as it increases the party size by 10 for every point spent and also has a huge impact on the morale of your troops. Lategame you can have about 240 troops with only 1 food type if you got rank 10 leadership without having your troops going low on morale.Trade:
Gives you a lot more for selling items and giving you a discount when buying items. a very nice skill to have to make money lategame
This should give you an idea how the major skills work and wich ones to focus on but there are also some skills that a completly useless weapon mastery being 1 of them, the only thing it does is increasing the rate you gain weapon proficiency and increasing the maximum limit you can spend wepon proficiency points on a weapon skill. But there will be hundreds of battles and you will have no problem at all leveling weapon proficiencies without this skillPlaying the game!
I will spend a lot of time writing this guide and it does not really matter if anyone ever reads it but i hope maybe a couple of newbies read it and get a better understanding of the game :p
I will update it with more info as i play and come up with additional ideas as they pop up
Also i would like to remind you this is the way to game for lategame and having a stable economy wich allows you to support large armies and in general just be a good commander.
I start of by doing the starting quest to save the brother/daughter of a merchant and from there i spend hours trading and fighting some lesser bands of robbers and such for xp.
Trading: i spend a lot of time trading as it is a great way of making huge profits early game and i dont think you can make more any other way.
Goods that you should focus are Iron from sarendal or whatever the name of the ravenstern city was as you often can get it from below 100 and up to a 150 and then sell in most other towns for 300+ each so you can easily make some quick denars here as it can be sold in the nearby ravenstern towns for full profit most of the time.
Salt from singal to sarleon is another quick trade route that quickly increases your account, and there are also a couple other dshar towns that can have extremly cheap salt (ive seen it once being sold for 36 denars) that can be sold for 300+ in most cities on the map.
Savikholm often has Flax that can be sold ad avendor with a profit of 250 each and that can give you a quick 3-5k profit depending on the amount of flax available. (current game i am at day 114 and still level 1 :p)
I spend entire early game trading around and building enterprises in all towns wich gives me a steady income of 400-700 denars from every town on the map and i think there are something like 17 towns total so that alone would pay for a good midgame army of 200+
Another thing i will mention is that every time you visit a town, speak to everybody (tavern keepers, slavers, travellers) as they can start events that spawn on the map, and often the slavers can give you a real bargain for some good troops. ( would you say no to a knight of the dawn for 500 denars?) and the travelers can give you treasure maps to chests in towns that often contain loot that can be sold for several thousands (ive once earned 17k on a map that i paid 200 denars for). and also there is a chance you get a map to a outdoor red brotherhood treasure site that has a qualis gem for you the first time you get it and thats priceless
So try to remember that everytime you are in a town as it can boost your economy or army but quite a lot
it only costs 10 denars everytime you ask
Also ive read on other forums that having horses in your inventory makes you travel faster on the outdoor map with heavy goods in your inventory but that is not something i can confirm.Companions:
i try to gather all companions i can have without having them fighting eachother and i usualy start of by recruiting Lethaldiran wich is a noldor guy at level 45 and early game he really makes a difference by killing half the enemy forces before they even reach your group. he is also quite a warbeast in closecombat and no doubt the best pure fighter of all the companions.
I get ansen as the int type companion and focus int only on him skilling surgery, first aid and wound treatment, also some points in training whenever possible.
you should check out http://popmod.wetpaint.com/page/The+Companion+Bubble
to check with heroes that goes along and wich ones that most likely will cause quite a mess in your army. i usualy start of by getting lethaldiran and then pick every second hero away from him and getting ansen and sir rayne from the small circle. Mid game:
Now is perhaps the time to move on to the mid game where you should now have a good economy and a stable income from enterprises and its a good time to choose a faction to join and my advice is to go either empire or ravenstern as they have pretty safe towns and castles (ravenstern only has 1 other faction at its border).
So you now start fighting other factions and you should always follow your Marshal whenever he asks for you and do any other quests he gives you to gain a small relation increase with him. Capturing Lords:
Whenever you fight other lords you may have a chance to capture him and its very tempting to take him prisoner and ransom him for a 4-15k denars but really it pays of much more if you let him go instead as it gives you better relations with the lords you capture and you also get 3 honor for each lord you let go. and honor is important because as it increases it decreases the prestige cost of honor troops that you will no doubt be getting a lot of lategame.
It also increases the relation with other honorable lords so that when you get like 300+ honor your friendlist suddenly contains half the lords on the map because you have let every lord free after battle they are all most likely at 100 relation when you reach lategame.
So you should just be patient and keep fighting lords and releasing them to build honor and relations. the more time you spend easier it will be late game when you start your own kingdom. ( persuading lords with 100 relation to join your kingdom really is nice as lords with 100 relation to you always stay at 100 wether they get fiefs or not or lose battles)
you should try to get town before you get a castle so just say no to any castles that you might be rewarded from your king in order to have the chance of getting a town later on. once you have a town you can start thinking of declaring pendor and go rogue king.
you should have easily have a army of 250 top tier tropps at the end of mid game and that will allow you to siege weak castles that might have just been taken from your own faction completly on your own since they usualy only have like 100 garrisoned troops to defend. and from there its easy to declare pendor. Late game!
At this point you would want to declare independent and start your own kingdom and if you have spent enough time battling lords in the mid game you should have no problems persuading some lords since most of the lords you have fought now have a max relation to you.
ONLY recruit lords that have maximum relation to join your kingdom as you wont have to worry about their relation to you dropping over time due to not getting fiefs or they are losing battles.
If you have followed my setup of companions you should now go search for Sir Roland in a tavern and recruiti him to your party, then make sure you have max happiness in your army so that he have a 100 relation to you then you give him a fief and he becomes a very strong lord for you that will always be happy with you.
This is the result of having high honor and letting enemy lords go after you defeat them in battle and it really makes the late game a lot easier.
It can be tempting to recruit any lord that wants to join your empire but i highly reccomend that you only recruit those that have a max relation to you and instead focus on having few lords and give the strongest of them most of the castles and other fiefs you capture so that they can easily support armies that have like 200-400 troops.
Whenever your faction is at peace with the other factions you should take advantage of it to do some trading and filling up your vault so that you have some reserves for the next war that no doubt is just around the corner. and also you should try to upgrade your honor troop quality as much as you can afford to make them really dominate the battlefields.
When it comes to selecting a marshall you should just leave it alone during periods of peace and instead making yourself marshall whenever you plan to go on the offensive in a war, do not make any of your lords a marshal as the ai tend to be rather dumb at making decisions and very often they initiate sieges only to abandon it as soon as someone is laying waste to a fief on the other side of the map.( this happens pretty much all the time) so it is better to be the marshal yourself and do the sieges having no concerns about the villages(really, why bother with a village when you can go totaly on a rampage and take a town and a couple of castles before ending your campaign?)
I think that sums up what i have had on my mind so far but i will edit and update it when i get some more spare time and hopefully this can turn out to be a easy to understand and read guide.