Some ideas for adding flavor and balance to Sturgia's Troop Tree

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So I've been brainstorming a few ideas with the purpose of buffing Sturgia's place in the current faction singleplayer meta, since most agree they're at the bottom, as well as giving them some more historical flavor and uniqueness from the other factions. I also include a few ideas that have been suggested before with a few additions of my own added to them.


First we'll start with their basic recruit, and for a nation as sparse as Sturgia filled with sea raiders, especially compared to other faction's recruits Sturgia doesn't have anything special. By having less armor than most other recruits and one of the weaker weapon selections, they're the weakest recruits tied with Vlandia. I think they need some spice added to them, in my opinion something like a stack of fishing harpoons, or broken fishing harpoons would catapult them into being some of the best recruits thanks to the added utility of a decent ranged option, especially en mass.

Moving on, their tier 2, 3 & 4 melee units aside from the line breaker are also barely average partly due to their poor attacking speed and habit of using spears when in direct melee combat and getting overrun. Their final infantry is also only average, getting beaten by Imperial Legionnaires but maybe with these other changes that can be overlooked. The Heavy Spearman and Axemen also don't really feel warranted being two separate units and the faction would likely be improved if their strengths were combined into one unit.


The main topic however I want to get into is the idea of adding another "noble tree" to Sturgia that's primarily Viking Rus, and adding another option to the current noble tree. I say noble in quotations because I wouldn't want this to share a pool with the current noble units, that'd kind of defeat the purpose, moreover I want this tree to be an addition to the current trees for Sturgia so they have even more unit variety.

For now my idea only has 2 branches, an infantry unit and a cavalry unit but that should be enough variety when taking into account everything the faction has. This new Nordic tree would also be what sea Raiders could be upgraded into, giving a bit more flavor to the faction.


For the sake of variety and to truly give Sturgia the best infantry, bringing back the Huscarl with this extra troop tree, and maybe even adding it to the existing noble line as an alternative option to the Druzhina. They'd get a good shield, great-axe, throwing weapons and some one-handed weapon to fill out that last slot. Basically Warband Huscarls but period appropriate and much more rare. This also has the side benefit of allowing Sturgia to fully upgrade a noble line without horses, which can be tough to get in the frozen north where traveling between towns takes a while.


Another Idea I had was for this separate troop line to also have the horse raider line of units, vikings were known to bargain for horses and the raider moniker also fits them perfectly. They'd split off at tier 4 and you'll be given a choice between the Huscarl line of troops or the raider line of troops However since Nords will be less likely to recruit they should be given better stats, armor and equipment to compensate. Even as they are now they're quite weak and don't really last long enough to properly pressure enemy forces before your infantry engage, which should be this unit's main focus.

As you might've noticed I suggested giving the Huscarl to the existing noble troop tree and to this extra Nord troop tree, which I think would be a neat feature. Having both trees be given access to this one unit allows a Sturgian player to field even more infantry if they wanted, or use one tree for Huscarls and the other for their cavalry depending on what they like. I personally enjoy the freedom it gives and feel as though it'd be a fun, unique aspect of the faction.


I have ideas for what could be the new common line of Sturgian cavalry using horse archers that'd branch off the current woodsmen, however since horse archers obviously use bows that would leave the woodsman in an odd place. They're meant to be a stop-gap before Sturgia receives access to their mediocre archers, further cementing how mediocre they are. However without javelin cav in this proposed tree to also possibly upgrade into, it feels weird having the Sturgian Recruit upgrade to a spear thrower unit, who then can only upgrade into archers.

I propose a new Woodsman loadout that would more seamlessly upgrade into the next troops and also possibly be more accurate to life. I think the woodsman should spawn with a bow and a long hunting spear, like those used for boars. With this loadout they woodsman is now a very versatile tier 2 unit that can pepper far away enemies with their weak bow and poke at cavalry with their spear. They'd still be quite poorly armored however so they need to keep a distance and can't afford to charge into combat.

On another note an upgrade to the current archers of Sturgia would be quite nice as I believe they're far too weak, even if they're supposed to be the worst archers in the game.

https://imgur.com/a/AFG01QJ
I'll preface this last idea with this historical art of Kievan mounted troops

Another new addition to their common tree I thought of would be a lancer type light cav or a horse archer, or both. Their loadout would include a bow, one quiver, a sword and spear. Maybe a shield instead of a sword if they prove to not be durable enough which can be possible. They'd occupy the same space the raider does on the current tree and fulfill the same function as the raider, but be more capable at it. I know a lot of the factions already have horse archers in their common troop tree so I think maybe leaning into the light cavalry aspect may be preferred but like I said in horse raider section, Sturgia needs a way to soften up their enemy before the infantry engages.

Overall Sturgia's cavalry should be nicely rounded with a light skirmisher, heavy shock cav and heavy skirmisher. Perhaps not the most historical make-up but cavalry was mostly supplied by the nobility at this time.

That's about it for my ideas on what could be done to Sturgia, a lot could be considered outlandish and I'd doubt if even any idea somehow got into the game, but I enjoy the process of brainstorming new additions to games I like such as Bannerlord. As a side not I'd also really enjoy it if Sturgia regained its bonus movement on snowy terrain since it's quite useful for actually moving around the north, maybe make it close to 50% actually.
 

AxiosXiphos

Sergeant Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
Strangely enough Huscarls still exist in the game - you can find them in the encyclopaedia. In the MP Beta sturgia had a much more 'Nordic' overall theme. Part of me wonders if they are planning to add a proper Nordic faction at some point for DLC and wanted to keep the two separate as much as possible.
 
I think some of the suggestions are good, IIRC the Sturgians are modeled more after the Kievan Rus, where Warband's (and maybe the Nord culture group in Bannerlord) were definitely modeled on Scandinavian vikings. While they were similar, they were also different in the way they conducted warfare for the most part, where Vikings were largely a raiding force and the Kievan Rus were a blend of raiding and pitched battles - having to adopt different tactics to fight Turkic tribes in the South, Tatars and Slavs in the East, more Baltic Slavs, West Europeans, and Vikings in the West and North.

To that end, their current composition more or less makes sense, I do agree more axe/mace/sword sidearms are needed and overall AI and spear performance needs to be improved: either allowing the AI to "choke up" on their spears for close quarters or swap immediately to shorter weapons when the enemy is closer. The Noble Line is more or less accurate, though I agree it can be split for infantry and melee cavalry, as the druzhina included both nobles and boyars (mounted), and boyar scions who were typically bodyguards similar to housecarls.

I think the skirmisher / jav cavalry is a bit misplaced, until Bannerlord gets a representation of culturally-aligned auxiliaries (or the Sturgians get a better Minor Faction to represent Slavs or Pechenegs) that ranged cav doesn't fit them. There is some historical evidence that the Druzhina did have horse archers, but much later, and could've been from integrated Pechenegs that fought with the Kievan Rus before they got stomped by the Byzantines and the Mongols. Given that, you could make the argument to have a 2-branch Noble line for Ranged and Melee Noble Cav, and bring in the housecarls / boyar scions into the regular line in place of the Hardened Brigands and such.
 

McDadden

Recruit
I won't bother looking it back up to add the link, but I made a very similar post to this a few months ago. It seemed that many were resistant to such an idea because they felt it would imbalance the game. This would probably be true due to the auto calc heavily favoring cav units.
I wholeheartedly agree that the sturgians should have a huscarl like unit. I wish they had over 200 one handed and athletics and wreck other infantry the way fians have that in archery and two handed.

I'm personally not as concerned about historical context about fictional nations, but I get where yall are coming from. There is no denying that the sturgian units need another re work.
 

Moton

Squire
I won't bother looking it back up to add the link, but I made a very similar post to this a few months ago. It seemed that many were resistant to such an idea because they felt it would imbalance the game. This would probably be true due to the auto calc heavily favoring cav units.
I wholeheartedly agree that the sturgians should have a huscarl like unit. I wish they had over 200 one handed and athletics and wreck other infantry the way fians have that in archery and two handed.

I'm personally not as concerned about historical context about fictional nations, but I get where yall are coming from. There is no denying that the sturgian units need another re work.

Why cant they simply give the Huscarlds the same value as cav in autocalc to simply even it out.
 

Ulfhedinn

Sergeant
With the development of the minor viking faction, I think it's interesting to make Sturgia a more slavic faction. My proposal:

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Code:
T1                                                                 Sturgian Recruit

T2                                    Sturgian Tribesman                                     Varyag Tribesman         Sturgian Otroki   

T3              Sturgian Warrior                              Sturgian Bowman                Varyag Warrior           Sturgian Druzhinnik   

T4 Sturgian V. Warrior   Sturgian Charger        Sturgian V. Bowman    Sturgian Vsadnik      Varyag V. Warrior        Sturgian V. Druzhinnik      

T5 Sturgian C. Warrior   Sturgian Line Breaker   Sturgian Marksman                           Varyag Guardsman         Sturgian Boyar

T6                                                                                                                    Sturgian Bogatyr

TIER 1
  • Sturgian Recruit:
    Novice slavic unit, they use low-level equipment, more kite shields and no swords.
TIER 2
  • Sturgian Tribesman:
    Light slavic infantry unit, they use mostly kite shields and most are spearmen.

  • Varyag Tribesman:
    Light viking infantry unit, they use round shields and most are spearmen.

  • Sturgian Otroki:
    Medium infantry of young slavic nobles, they use mostly kite shields and are better equipped.

TIER 3
  • Sturgian Warrior:
    Medium slavic infantry unit, they use mostly kite shields and the presence of axes and sabers is more common.

  • Sturgian Bowman:
    Light slavic ranged infantry, they use short bows.

  • Varyag Warrior:
    Medium viking infantry unit, they use round shields and the presence of axes and swords is more common.

  • Sturgian Druzhinnik:
    Heavy slavic noble cavalry, they use mostly kite shields and are better equipped.

TIER 4
  • Sturgian Veteran Warrior:
    Veteran slavic infantry unit, they use mostly kite shields and better quality equipment.

  • Sturgian Charger:
    Shock slavic infantry unit, they don't use shields and fight with two-handed weapons.

  • Sturgian Veteran Bowman:
    Veteran slavic ranged infantry, they use short bows and better quality equipment.

  • Sturgian Vsadnik:
    Slavic ranged cavalry, they use short bows and good quality equipment.

  • Varyag Veteran Warrior:
    Veteran viking infantry unit, they use round shields and better quality equipment.

  • Sturgian Veteran Druzhinnik:
    Veteran slavic noble cavalry, they use mostly kite shields and are much better equipped.

TIER 5
  • Sturgian Chosen Warrior:
    The best slavic infantry unit, they use mostly kite shields and good quality equipment.

  • Sturgian Line Breaker:
    The best shock slavic infantry unit, they don't use shields and fight with good quality equipment.

  • Sturgian Marksman:
    The best ranged slavic infantry unit, they use short bows and good quality equipment

  • Varyag Guardsman:
    The best viking infantry unit, they use round shields and good quality equipment. Most also have two-handed axes.

  • Sturgian Boyar:
    Elite slavic noble cavalry, they use only kite shields and wears the best equipment.

TIER 6
  • Sturgian Bogatyr:
    The most skilled slavic noble cavalry, they use only kite shields and wears the best equipment

STURGIAN​
bccbbeb38cd09451276cb83ddd6d998b.jpg
VARYAG (viking settlers)​
3a3f1a814778d6939c6037cc42a306e7.jpg

With this roster I have the following results:
- Separation between slavs and norses (also emphasizing the difference in equipment).
- A much larger presence of slavs, replacing the noble troops as well (aim of a more slavic Sturgia).
- Addition of melee cavalry (noble) for tier 3 onwards, and ranged cavalry (commom) for tier 4.
- A more balanced roster with good line, shock, ranged and cavalry units.
 

Rush09

Regular
I don't think it's wrong to associate Nords with Sturgians even though Sturgians are not Nords. Raganvad is a Nord and according to him, it was his grandfather that saved the Sturgians from the Empire. I don't think its crazy if Sturgians had some Nord units with them to represent that.
 

Ulfhedinn

Sergeant
I don't think it's wrong to associate Nords with Sturgians even though Sturgians are not Nords. Raganvad is a Nord and according to him, it was his grandfather that saved the Sturgians from the Empire. I don't think its crazy if Sturgians had some Nord units with them to represent that.

Not at all! That's why there are still Norsemen on the unit roster, as well as nobles (characters).
My proposal was just to make Sturgia more slavic, and that brings us more options of units:

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0c0783710e4b8af80368bd952d5d9069.jpg

oleg-yolchiev-6.jpg

russian_infantry_by_ameeeeba_dah0q5l-fullview.jpg
 
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anoddhermit

Sergeant
First we'll start with their basic recruit, and for a nation as sparse as Sturgia filled with sea raiders, especially compared to other faction's recruits Sturgia doesn't have anything special. By having less armor than most other recruits and one of the weaker weapon selections, they're the weakest recruits tied with Vlandia. I think they need some spice added to them, in my opinion something like a stack of fishing harpoons, or broken fishing harpoons would catapult them into being some of the best recruits thanks to the added utility of a decent ranged option, especially en mass.

Sturgian recruits are in the middle, really. Mainly they have no dud weapons like pitchforks, but also no swinging two handers or polearms like Sledgehammers and Scythes. Weapons make a way bigger impact than minor variances in armor.

Overal recruit balance is more like this: Battania >>> Khuzait >> Sturgia > Aserai > Imperial > Vlandia

The disparity between Battania and Khuzait over the other four is much bigger than the variations within the other four.

If anything, Sturgia's recruits could use helmet pieces of some kind. Most factions have light head armor and they don't. They could also add some kind of two handed weapon with a bit more damage to their mix. They'd then match Khuzait more, but it'd warrant a slight buff to the other recruits who'd be lacking.

Moving on, their tier 2, 3 & 4 melee units aside from the line breaker are also barely average partly due to their poor attacking speed and habit of using spears when in direct melee combat and getting overrun. Their final infantry is also only average, getting beaten by Imperial Legionnaires but maybe with these other changes that can be overlooked. The Heavy Spearman and Axemen also don't really feel warranted being two separate units and the faction would likely be improved if their strengths were combined into one unit.

They share most of this with Battania except Battania is worse with no good T5, basically, but some of this is more AI problems than the units themselves. Effectively, infantry units should never try to use their throwing weapons as melee weapons the way they are now, since all of them have better melee weapons. Only if they had dedicated units loaded with all throwing weapons would it ever be good for them to use the alternative fire mode. Using hold fire is a necessity just to stop their poor AI from suiciding with javelin pokes. Plus spears are terrible.

Infantry really need a crouching or kneeling feature as well, so that your lines can crouch to allow throwing units to maximize their potential.


The main topic however I want to get into is the idea of adding another "noble tree" to Sturgia that's primarily Viking Rus, and adding another option to the current noble tree. I say noble in quotations because I wouldn't want this to share a pool with the current noble units, that'd kind of defeat the purpose, moreover I want this tree to be an addition to the current trees for Sturgia so they have even more unit variety.

They'd have to do this for every faction. Which I'm not against, but I think there are simpler fixes for Sturgia for now - The main thing is they need better archer units, and their mid tier infantry could use more durability. Archers also likely need a nerf overall, but in the current state having bad archers is especially crippling since they're generally very strong.
 
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Rush09

Regular
Not at all! That's why there are still Norsemen on the unit roster, as well as nobles (characters).
My proposal was just to make Sturgia more slavic, and that brings us more options of units:
Oh no, I did like your suggestions. Brings more diversity to the Sturgian roster.

Either through adding more Nord units or implementing a similarly idea to yours, the Sturgians need something to help them against their neighbors.
 
I'm glad to see the discussion this thread has brought, it seems the problems about sturgia mostly revolve around the poor AI when it comes to melee and throwing weapons, cavarly being super OP in auto-resolve as well as having low power archers in an archer meta. These can be fixed with changes to the overall mechanics of bannerlord.

The rest of the problems are interesting to see, and I didn't expect to see news of an actual Viking faction in development, which could help to supplement the Sturgians. That or they can overshadow the Sturgians even more, but that's up for time to decide. I also didn't expect to see the Sturgian recruits actually be considered Mid-tier, but it makes sense, they're just surrounded by the two factions which have high tier recruits.

Y'know I'm considering making a mod that differentiates Peasants from tier 1 recruits since I find they're far too similar. Would primarily be an upgrade to all existing recruit units, although the caveat is that upgrading low tier troops is already a bit weak since high tier troops aren't that much better, so it may be a good idea to save this mod idea for when that problem is fixed first.
 

Reiksmarshal

Sergeant Knight at Arms
WBWF&SNWVC
I would prefer they stay Rus/slavic rather than being turned into Nord type troops. The Nords will most likely be added into the game as a unique faction at a later time as the culture is listed in the game files.
 
I would prefer they stay Rus/slavic rather than being turned into Nord type troops. The Nords will most likely be added into the game as a unique faction at a later time as the culture is listed in the game files.
+1 here too. I'd much prefer more cultures, kingdoms and an expanding map. There are a handful of cultures outside of Nord called out - I hope it's for expansions / DLC and not just for the Minor Factions.

Outside of Sturgia, I think all of the factions need to have their troop trees revisited, we're missing T7s (they have a UI Icon for it) and a lot of the nobles lines and cultural meta / real-world influence does not make sense for cultures like Sturgia, Battania (too much cav), Empire (not enough cav, but have crossbows? wtf)
 

McDadden

Recruit
A lot of these issues have been touched on in other posts, but the community seems mostly agreed on them. Archers are way too powerful. Autocalc (and thus the majority of battles taking place) favor horse factions too heavily. Unit rosters still need work. More factions are needed or the current ones need more impact.
To keep with the OP, I've tried playing as Sturgia and it was really hard for me. The interesting mechanic with their faction is you can have lots of good infantry and naturally acquire good cavalry while levelling them up. The other good thing about their cavalry is they are also decent on foot so you're not really handicapped when it comes to sieges. Not a long list of pros, but it's something
 
Just give Sturgian recruits a crappy round shield in some of their loadouts. We already have shields exactly for that in game, and it would make them far more unique than another 2hander recruit. I've done it myself with my own mod and the result has been pleasing. Gives them the unique spot of being the most survivable recruit compared to everyone else.

If you are going to give Sturgia an extra noble unit, you'll have to do the same for every other faction. Which is also what I've done with my mod, and I am rather content with the result.

I think the best way to express the idea of 'bad archers' is not really in straight up making them bad, but making them uncommon. I would give them the Aserai treatment and restrict their archers to t4 and t5. And even then, I would give them all shields. They will not be capable of a long ranged skirmish, but the added protection gives them a unique spot as an infantryman with a bow, rather than a pure archer. That way they're good for something, even if they suck at their job. Sturgia needs a weakness of some sort, and I reckon being mediocre at range is a good one. Of course, I'd nerf archers too.
 

AxiosXiphos

Sergeant Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
I'd very much like to see multiple upgrade paths for noble troops. Sturgia seems like the most obvious one as heavy cavalry aren't really their forte; but I can think of plenty of other options for all 6 cultures.
 

Occyfel

Veteran
A light cavalry/cavalry archer sounds neat, wouldn't be as good as khuzait cav archers but still a decent skirmishing force.
 

danEN

Knight at Arms
WBM&BWF&SNWVC
Not sure if anyone's ever mentioned it but they could be more like those snowmen vikings the nords from mountain blade warbands
 
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