Bandits and hideouts overhaul: a breath of fresh air into the bandit underworld

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The Bowman

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M&BWBWF&SNWVC
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Introduction:
I've played the Mount&Blade series since 2007, and I can safely come to the conclusion that banditry is one of the most inaccessible, artificial and lacking features in the game. Sadly, this approach seems to have been ported over to Bannerlord, and the only logical thing we can do right now is to suggest more substantial changes while we still can at this stage in the game development.

The issues:
1. Bandit population. Bannerlord seems to have introduced a more dynamic kingdom simulation, which means that the player and kingdom AI parties (lords, villagers, caravans and garrisons) need special input to grow in size or spawn. When any of the kingdom AI parties are attacked or destroyed, there are immediate consequences in the whole simulation: villagers getting killed means they cannot supply a town with food/resources; destroyed caravans cause a disruption in supply, while a defeated/bankrupt lord party means less security. Once destroyed/bankrupt, all the aforementioned parties need to be recreated or grown step by step. Even worse for lord parties, the amount of troops that one can recruit from any given location is limited, which means they need time to regain their strength. Bandits, on the other hand, don't play by this ruleset, and the reason is simple: they seem to spawn out of thin air over and over again and disrupt the kingdom simulation in an artificial way. They don't need to recruit new troops; they don't need to care about relations with notables; they don't have a general population number which you can control over time. They just spawn, and that's the whole issue: there is no way you or the AI can possibly control this factor. In the end, any effort to make a region more safe for villagers or caravans is futile.
2. Bandit party size. In one of the feedback threads, mexxico pretty confirmed that bandit party size is bound by player level. Thus, as you level up, bandit parties will be bigger. Such a mechanic, while also proving that bandits have next to no simulation at all, brings two problems: 1. The AI lords will have a harder time dealing with them late game, simply because the player has a high level. 2. Villagers and caravans will have lower chances of survival in battles against bandits for the same exact reason, which in turn will hit the global economy harder.
3. Bandits don't starve or go bankrupt. Settlements starve, lords pay wages, go bankrupt, suffer of hunger and desertion, towns lose prosperity to a plethora of factors, but bandits are immune to everything. They don't pay wages, they don't starve, the don't have deserters and they never go bankrupt. This is unfair to the kingdom AI and the player too, because all the kingdom/player parties have to manage food and finances to survive and grow. It is especially frustrating to have your caravan destroyed to a bandit attack, knowing that you paid for its troops, while the bandits did not, and you precisely know that if you defeat that bandit party, a new one will spawn out of thin air anyway.
4. Hideouts are very lackluster and the player can't interact with them. As of now, all you can do is destroy them, hoping that there will be less bandits for a while. We don't know whether the bandit parties are stashing stolen goods in hideouts; we don't know whether they have some hidden recruiting mechanic in there; all in all, they are pretty obscure to the player. You can't enter them to deal with bandits, recruit bandit troops, buy stolen goods, find bandit notables etc. It feels like a big opportunity missed.
5. Town gangs and campaign bandit parties seem to have no link at all. This is probably another issue in the 'missed opportunities' department. I'm not aware of any mechanic that links town gangs with the other bandits you can find on the campaign map. They don't influence one another, and it feels like they live in totally different worlds.

The solution: Bandits need a simulation of their own.
Just like the kingdom AI, bandits need to be affected by the same mechanics in the game world. Their number, quality, wealth and spawn chance needs to be affected by a number of factors that are logical and comprehensible for the player. In practice this would mean:
1. Bandits should not spawn out of thin air anymore. Instead, their spawn chance and number could be determined by a formula which takes in account settlement population; prosperity; food stocks and opportunistic events near said settlements, such as lootable battlefields. Therefore, a combination these factors would determine the chance and number of bandit parties spawning from a settlement (If TaleWorlds wants to make things more complex, settlements could lose a percentage of their hearths when bandits spawn, which would mean that some people in said settlement abandoned their previous activity and chose a bandit life).
Example 1: Two lords fight near Tevea, which is a very poor village and the people are starving. After the battle ends, the village would spawn some looter parties. Looter party size would depend on how big the battle was.
Example 2: Car Banseth is a poor town and has issues with food supply. As result, forest bandit parties would spawn to poach or ambush villagers and caravans.
2. Bandit parties need to be persistent. Just like any other AI party in the game world, bandit parties could be led by distinct, randomly generated NPCs, who are in charge of party finances, food supplies recruitment and upgrades. The possibilities are endless here:
- When a bandit party is first spawned, the game could generate a bandit hero (i.e Borcha the Looter) and a number of Tier 1 bandit troops;
- The party would need to maintain itself by stealing from villages, attacking villages/caravans. Therefore, the party requires food and money;
- If Borcha the Looter manages to defeat a villager party, he would be able to upgrade his troops to the next tier or recruit new bandit troops from poor villages or hideouts.
- If Borcha the Looter is captured, he can be ransomed to the Ransom Broker or to any Gang Leader for money. Executing him would lead to a relation loss with the gang leaders he is friends with.
3. Bandits need to be integrated in the game economy. After Borcha the Looter defeated the villager party, he can sell the stolen goods to a gang leader in the closest town. These goods would eventually make their way to the market. The more deals a gang leader has with bandit parties, the more powerful he becomes in his town. In turn, Borcha the Looter may have the opportunity to recruit more troops from the said gang leaders, just like AI lords do. These dealings can also open opportunities for player quests (i.e Kidnapping, ransoms, protection money and all the bandit things).
4. Hideouts need to be expanded and opened to the player. Hideouts are safe havens for bandits and should give them opportunities to grow:
- Bandit parties may sell and buy goods at the hideouts;
- Interact with bandit notables and recruit troops from them;
- Train and upgrade their troops;
- Garrison there if an imminent threat is around;
Players should also have the opportunity to interact with the hideouts in the same way as bandits do, after building relations with bandit notables in towns.
Example: Klethi the Goat owns a hideout near Phycaon. If the player increases his relations with her, she would offer him access with the bandits stationed in her hideout for troop recruitment, sales of stolen goods etc.

Too long didn't read version: Bandits are their own kingdom; each party is led by a NPC who interacts with the world economy and gang leaders in towns; they don't spawn out of thin air and they have to maintain and upgrade themselves like lord parties.

Indeed, adding such complex mechanics would require a lot of testing, balancing and retuning of the game economy, but it's nothing an Alpha branch couldn't handle. I might have had other ideas, but I'll add them later as I remember them. :razz:
 

GitiUsir

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I agree with everything and I like your ideas, it would be a good improvement to the game. Let me add just one or two stupid jokes I hope you don't mind.
In the end, any effort to make a region more safe for villagers or caravans is futile.
I think that's the point of a M&B game. You can't defend your lands because any lord can raid any village most of the time. If you imprison them they escape. If you defeat them they respawn. If you execute them well, I guess new lords will be created. Resistance is futile they don't want you to make progress.

In real medieval world bandits would be outlaws, outcasts, rebels, displaceds, deserters.... those who can't live in the system. They would live in those areas far from the armed arm of the law. The real bandits would be the noble lords. You wouldn't take a step in their lands if they didn't allow it. You would pay rights of way, taxes to your cargos and your profits... You would pay for protection against the very real threat to your life and property: them.
 

Pythagoras

Regular
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Awesome thoughts and great solutions to this old problem!

M&B has many flaws, most of which are obviously due to the lack of actual thought put into the creative process. They never thought about "what makes sense?" or "how could we use the historical model to improve the game and to balance it properly?". There are no streets, troop recruitment is horrible (i mean, you can only recruit from gang leaders, wtf?), you can move your party freely through every kingdom, there are not even borders. Combat and tactics is pointless, because you can control even less than in the privious titles. They could have done all of that easily, but instead they stuck to the same old model that brought them so many fans. Maybe they fear to loose some, if they make it more complex or more immersive? Game price shows what direction they want to take, and that doesn't seem to be the one we long time M&B fans want, but what the mass wants - and that is a superficial, easy, arcade action game with lots of "diversity", auto-block, cool light and sound effects in combat and as little as possible thoughts put into it while playing it.

So sadly I gave up hope, that Bannerlord will become what most of us hoped for and i think they will never implement such important changes to the game. Everything seems to be artificially elongating the game, and bandits are the biggest part in that.
 

James the fair

Recruit
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1. Bandits should not spawn out of thin air anymore. Instead, their spawn chance and number could be determined by a formula which takes in account settlement population; prosperity; food stocks and opportunistic events near said settlements, such as lootable battlefields.
I agree with what you say on this thread, but this quote I highlighted above here what you suggested will be enough to change how the way bandit parties spawn, and I wish the developers would do this one especially.
 

Dogmeat

Recruit
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just on modding table side - each culture has its own bandit defaults and rebels that are empty for all the major factions from what i see. Could be a way to create more cultural regionalism banditry

<xs:attribute name="rebels_party_template" type="xs:string" use="optional" />
<xs:attribute name="bandit_bandit" type="xs:string" use="optional" />
<xs:attribute name="bandit_chief" type="xs:string" use="optional" />
<xs:attribute name="bandit_raider" type="xs:string" use="optional" />
<xs:attribute name="bandit_boss" type="xs:string" use="optional" />

and i agree bandits immediately looked to me to have a heap of potential and a good tight faction and place for me to start modding Bannerlord for the first time
 
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LouisVanGaal

Recruit
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4. Hideouts are very lackluster and the player can't interact with them. As of now, all you can do is destroy them, hoping that there will be less bandits for a while. We don't know whether the bandit parties are stashing stolen goods in hideouts; we don't know whether they have some hidden recruiting mechanic in there; all in all, they are pretty obscure to the player. You can't enter them to deal with bandits, recruit bandit troops, buy stolen goods, find bandit notables etc. It feels like a big opportunity missed.
I always think that there should be more than one way to interact with bandit hideouts. I suggest that if you level up enough on Roguery Perk,you should be given an option to enter any hideout to do some trading or even recruitment.