More Companion variety and functionality in vanilla Bannerlord

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Sergeant Knight
While Companions in Bannerlord have many more functionalities compared to Warband, one of the things that bugs pretty much everyone that plays vanilla singleplayer in Bannerlord about the companions is how long it takes for companions to level up their skills (as well as the lack of flavour/personality, but I won't be focusing on that subject in this discussion). I want the option for the game to let the players customize the death chance in battle, but the near glacial speed of levelling up companion skills would render death too annoying. While the decrease in the average level of companions has benefitted their level up speed, therefore their customisability which lets them level up the desired skills faster, all companions feel basically the same.

What I will be suggesting is basically 3-fold:

1) Spawn companions in 3 archetype templates; Keep the archetype templates of companions that already exist in the game, spawn them in their current levels in the recruitment pool and increase their recruitment costs by 100%. These companions would have tier 2-3 equipment at recruitment.

Add only a handful (1 male & 1 female for each culture should be fine) of companions that spawn in the game at the low levels between 1-4 having a maximum skill level of 40 in 3 skills (between 5-20 in other skills depending on RNG) to the recruitment pool, they would cost what it costs now to recruit companions and would make up 10% of the possible recruitment pool. They would give very little immediate value to the party but would have the highest potential. These companions would only be equipped clothing and tier 1 civilian weapons like daggers at recruitment.

And finally, add a few (again 1M & 1F for each culture) companions that spawn at the high levels of 24-28 with 2-3 skills that surpass 200 with 5 attribute points at that skill category (at least one Vigor/Control/Endurance skill over 200, and at least one Cunning/Social/Intelligence skill over 200, if the RNGesus blessed them, they would have a randomly chosen third skill over 200), hired at 10x the regular recruitment prices making up 10% of the recruitment pool of companions. These expensive companions would bring immediate value but they would level up very rarely. These companions would be equipped with culture-matching tier 4-5 equipment at recruitment.

2) Separate companions by social status; make the cheapest class of companions nobles 0% of the time, the "regular" companions that we currently have be nobles 10% of the time & make the most expensive companions be nobles 80% of the time. Promoting noble companions to lords would give +10 relations with clan leaders in your faction that have the honourable trait (+20 relation for Honour trait level 2) whereas promoting commoner companions (the companions with the highest potentials) would give a -10 relation with honourable lords (-20 for Honour level 2).

3) Finally, we should have the ability to ask one of our companions to marry us by passing the equivalent of the 2nd chat check for marriage with lords/ladies after having them for at least 42 days in our employment. This would give the players easy access to marriage but deny them of the bonus relationship points with the clan leader of the spouse & more importantly the valuable equipment the lord/lady most likely has. Not to mention the immersion the player gains of being able to marry companions makes you care more about them. If the player is a vassal, marrying a commoner noble could decrease relations with each clan leader in the same faction by -10 regardless of leader traits.
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