Surrender, retreat, and overcoming the enemy without casualties

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Master Knight
One of the many problems with Bannerlord is that a lot of troops die in combat, and as a corollary of that, battles are a zero-sum game. You either win one or you lose one, and if you lose, pretty much all your troops are gone, either dead or captured. This is neither historical, nor all that much fun(In my opinion), because it forces the game to go out of its way to compensate for all the deaths with giving the defeated lords a high chance to escape captivity, as well as free troops so they can go and replenish, only to then go at you again, and lose, and come again, and repeat over and over.
What I believe would be a sound way to overcome this problem would be to introduce what the thread topic mentions, surrender and retreat.

1. As we all know, currently in bannerlord all party leaders are either suicidal madmen, or psychotically brave, in that they never surrender, no matter the odds (save for tiny groups of looters). What I would suggest is to allow for the clashing parties to come to an agreement.
- One scenario would be the surrender of the weaker party, in which case the stronger party would have two options: let the opponent go conditionally, or take them prisoner. If you allow the enemy to go free, you will gain a big relationship boon, as well as the party's promise to retreat into their land for X number of days, and not engage in hostilities against your side. As far as I know, something like this is already possible to implement, as I saw a mod that makes lords act differently depending on their relations with you, as well as one that adds a factor of fear (soundly defeated enemies are afraid of engaging you in battle and wont raid your fiefs for a set number of days)
The other option is to take them prisoner, but in this situation you're not allowed to execute the surrendering leader(or you can, but at a heavier than normal penalty, including lowering your own party's morale), and some of the troops of the surrendering party will disperse, or, preferably, go back home to perhaps bolster the garrison of the closest settlement.
- In case the two sides are roughly evenly matched, you could come to an agreement to not waste your soldiers' lives and go your separate ways, perhaps with some small monetary concessions, or with an exchange of prisoners. In this case the AI lord would not attack your party for a day or two, and you attacking them would lead, again, to loss of reputation and party morale.

2. Retreat. Currently battles pretty much always involve the destruction of the losing side. Sometimes some stragglers of the defeated side manage to flee the battlefield, but by and large that factor is completely negligible, and a defeated army is usually completely gone. I believe that this should not be the case. Troops that start fleeing should get a speed boost during the battle (preferably involving dropping their weapons and shield if they're completely shattered and can't get back to fighting) and if they manage to escape, they should form a new party, with improved travel speed that would go back to their settlements and bolster the garrisons. What's more, I believe that a percentage of wounded enemies should also manage to escape, instead of 100% of wounded enemies becoming prisoners.

A common factor I'd like to see in both of the above points is the idea of troops and parties playing defensively after defeat, staing alive and either bolstering garrisons or sticking to their territory to recover. Currently lords are a bit too focused on attacking the enemies, often ignoring their own territory being threatened.

What inspired these ideas was a video that Schola Gladiatoria just released (
) where one of the points was that in war, be it modern or ancient, the vast majority of the fighting people involved stay alive. That combat casualty rates of wars are generally much lower than one would expect. This made me think, that in bannerlord this is completely different, with the casualty rates actually being extremely high. From my experience on the losing side roughly 40% of soldiers involved a battle die, with a similar amount getting captured and becoming prisoners, and a negligible amount managing to escape. (usually around 10-15%, but they just disappear afterwards anyway). On the winning side it depends, usually player parties have much lower casualty rates due to fielding much higher quality units. But for the AI the casualties are very high even on the winning side as well.

So, what do you guys think? Would less bloodshed make the gameplay more interesting and engaging, or are a bloodbaths in every battle, as well as suicidal leaders good things after all?
Yeah this is something that has bothered me about mount & blade; these total victories/defeats.

It’s annoying that as a much smaller party, I often don’t have much of a chance against a much larger party.

historically, smaller and more mobile armies - if well commanded - could harass and inflict significant casualties on a large army. Even if the small force wasn’t able to achieve a complete victory, they could often dissuade the enemy from continuing their campaign.

It would be nice to be able to do hit and run tactics, without the whole; leave some of your men behind to cover your retreat and honour decrease.


Master Knight
It would be nice to be able to do hit and run tactics, without the whole; leave some of your men behind to cover your retreat and honour decrease.
I wholeheartedly agree, however there's a small problem when you involve the player. Say, you've got a party of nothing but horse archers. Given your mobility, you are able to kite the enemy pretty well, only having to really engage the enemy cavalry that chases you, but if you manage to get rid of them, you can have a field day. However, you're limited by your troops' ammo count. But if you could simply retreat with no further casualties, you'd be able to come in, shoot all your ammo, run away, and then reengage until all the enemies are finally dead.
While something like this should be a viable option, I think some losses to your troops would be necessary so that it wouldn't be easily exploitable.

But the general idea of hit and run tactics I very much do like.


I totally agree. I think exploits and imbalance is mitigatable while the general idea is there. I'm only a bit concerned about how the game works. Because the battles seems to be more a isolated contained scene. But what's more, a open dynamic battle can also enable vast tactical potential.

I kinda regard the zero-sum as one of the major problems of Mount & Blade. It also limits war to become actual war. Every battle becomes mean itself rather than tool, which also makes battle to easily become repetitive.


For now there are only two options.

Either accept that a battlefield defeat will result in a total wipe out and rebuild from scratch. Which isn't fun and not historical.

Or use cheese tactics, reloads to never ever suffer a defeat.

I personally use the first option, but I bet most players go for the second one.
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