Too powerful to fight looters, not powerful enough to take a settlement.

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That depends on your preferred play style and goals. Assuming you want to become a powerful noble or even a ruler...

Well, I'd recommend joining a kingdom (ideally one without any homeless clans---that way you're guaranteed to get the next fief they take and you can always "donate it" if you don't like it so you're near-guaranteed to be granted the next fief) and piggy-backing off of whatever your peers get up to. Once you're independently powerful enough, you might consider secession and independence, or you might just stick with your kingdom and try to become the clan head voted to be the next monarch in the election that takes place after the current ruler dies.

If you'd rather try the "hardcore" approach of creating your own country immediately, I'd recommend building an economic empire first and then begin subsidizing your own clan parties so you have the groundwork for an army once you do take a city and declare yourself a kingdom (can't formally organize an army unless you're part of an official kingdom).

As for taking cities... I recommend using Trebuchets to break the walls. If you put the Trebuchets in reserve the moment they're complete and then spawn them all when the fourth one's done, you'll maximize demolition per second and minimize the amount of time necessary to do this. I prefer this approach, despite the risk it entails of enemy units/armies reinforcing the target city, because once the siege battle begins it's just a simple matter of rushing the holes in the wall and steamrolling to victory with minimal allied casualties. More conventional methods are considerably bloodier, which means having fewer ready troops to staff and defend your acquisition.
 
You could also try being a mercenary, mercenaries and Vlandian ones make a ridiculous amount of money. Being a mercenary for a few months or years would probably keep you well-funded for when you decide to start a kingdom.
 

VVL99

Regular
The developer added the ability to capture the first fief, there is the easiest one without a siege, the fief immediately goes to you.
To do this, you need to find a siege and when the besiegers are attacked, you must attack the fief and it will immediately be yours.

Either wait for the fief to move back and forth and then there will be very few defenders in it, or stand in front of the fief during the siege and wait for the capture, if the capturing army is weaker, it will withdraw and the fief will be empty.

There is another way to reduce capture losses to almost zero, even if there are many defenders in the city.
 
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The developer added the ability to capture the first fief, there is the easiest one without a siege, the fief immediately goes to you.
To do this, you need to find a siege and when the besiegers are attacked, you must attack the fief and it will immediately be yours.

Either wait for the fief to move back and forth and then there will be very few defenders in it, or stand in front of the fief during the siege and wait for the capture, if the capturing army is weaker, it will withdraw and the fief will be empty.

There is another way to reduce capture losses to almost zero, even if there are many defenders in the city.
That sounds like bugusing, shattering the immersion.
 

VVL99

Regular
Also, at the risk of an uprising, the militia does not participate in the defense, and if the city is starving, then the garrison is injured, i.e. there will be no defenders.

That sounds like bugusing, shattering the immersion.
THIS is a mechanic introduced by the developer, you can use any method that interests you.
 
That sounds like bugusing, shattering the immersion.
I think he's describing something like this;

When the army besieging a fief is attacked the conclusion of the battle determines fief ownership (which is why, if you want the advantage of a city's ramparts and other defensible aspects, you have to "beak in" rather than just attack the army outside) so if you just so happen to be right outside the city once the battle's concluded, the defenders (if they won) will be scarce in number and can be stormed with ladders alone (meaning, no time needed to set up siege weapons) while if the attackers won there's a brief window where you can just auto-battle a city with 0 defenders because the attackers have yet to enter the city and staff it. Note: I'm not sure how Militia work in this regard because I have had the rare siege where they didn't participate and, after the siege was won for the attacking side, all the Militia went to the attacker so it wasn't actually undefended, so it may have something to do with town loyalty as the person above me described.

I've never tried "fief stealing" while the victorious besieging army is just about to enter but it could work and be situationally effective.

I absolutely DO NOT recommend starting a faction with contested territory around the middle portions of Calradia, however, since you'll be in the center of the fighting and likely invaded by multiple neighboring countries. Ideally, you should establish yourself in a corner. Alternatively, make it so the faction you're rebelling against is the only one adjacent to your territories to minimize the likelihood of other kingdoms invading you.
 

Madijeis

Sergeant
WBNW
If you don't like being subservient to a kingdom, become a bandit king: intercept and destroy caravans, eventually build up numbers by forming armies with parties lead by your companions, becoming a roving horde destroying everything in its path
 
If you don't like being subservient to a kingdom, become a bandit king: intercept and destroy caravans, eventually build up numbers by forming armies with parties lead by your companions, becoming a roving horde destroying everything in its path
Sound awesome, but wouldn't that mean going into war with every faction on the world with no place to sell loot and constantly being hunted by armys way bigger than mine?
 
Yes, it would be shooting yourself in the foot in the long run so I'd recommend trying that as a mercenary since you'd be "legally" allowed to do bandit things but without the long term penalties (and if you release captured nobles, their clans will like you, which makes poaching them down the line much easier). But that's mainly if your ultimate objective is establishing a country and unification; if your goal is merely to make yourself rich as a free agent, you can make it work by terrorizing one faction while ignoring the rest. Still, being a mercenary would be a "safer" way to achieve the same goals. It could make a fun self-imposed challenge though. I know a YouTuber, "Halcylion," has a series called "Bandit Ballads" where he does a very hardcore playthrough as a bandit that's the enemy of the world and it is indeed very difficult but also very interesting to see how he gets his head above water.
 

Ananda_The_Destroyer

Grandmaster Knight
You can take a fief if you really want to. Retreat all your troops in the siege battle and the infantry will come out and you can solo them with horse archery, then retreat and do it again until no infantry is left, then just put ranged in front of ladders and they shoot down the defenders. Downsides are: Take a long time to build siege camp with a small party, so enemies may come and attack you (not problem if you can just kill them) and garrison may attack you if your party is small, but again not a problem but boon if you can kill them easier in open battle.
 
You can take a fief if you really want to. Retreat all your troops in the siege battle and the infantry will come out and you can solo them with horse archery, then retreat and do it again until no infantry is left, then just put ranged in front of ladders and they shoot down the defenders. Downsides are: Take a long time to build siege camp with a small party, so enemies may come and attack you (not problem if you can just kill them) and garrison may attack you if your party is small, but again not a problem but boon if you can kill them easier in open battle.
That's crazy! I must say that's some extremely skillful playing, I'd have neither thought of that nor dared to try it myself lol. Still, I gotta wonder if it's a good idea strategically since you'd need a large enough army to not only defend the acquisition but expand from there. I suppose. if you're wealthy enough, you could just buy peace with your neighbors (haven't tried for myself to determine viability) and go from there, though...

I might want to try this at some point in the future, especially with a character based around combat skills rather than leading armies... talk about quality over quantity lol.
 

Ananda_The_Destroyer

Grandmaster Knight
That's crazy! I must say that's some extremely skillful playing, I'd have neither thought of that nor dared to try it myself lol. Still, I gotta wonder if it's a good idea strategically since you'd need a large enough army to not only defend the acquisition but expand from there. I suppose. if you're wealthy enough, you could just buy peace with your neighbors (haven't tried for myself to determine viability) and go from there, though...

I might want to try this at some point in the future, especially with a character based around combat skills rather than leading armies... talk about quality over quantity lol.
I would say it's not a good idea strategically in any recent version (due to loyalty and security) but, it is possible if you also have some money, to pay for peace after you capture a fief, usually 200k is enough, but it can vary. You can even repeat this proses but the payment for peace can go up if you attack them again too soon. Or, you can do this to a rebel town instead. I would say just focusing on getting to rank 4 first and then starting a normal faction after taking a fief (or getting them as a vassal on the way) is a better idea, but people sometimes want to do it earlier or differently and it is possible.
 
I would say it's not a good idea strategically in any recent version (due to loyalty and security) but, it is possible if you also have some money, to pay for peace after you capture a fief, usually 200k is enough, but it can vary. You can even repeat this proses but the payment for peace can go up if you attack them again too soon. Or, you can do this to a rebel town instead. I would say just focusing on getting to rank 4 first and then starting a normal faction after taking a fief (or getting them as a vassal on the way) is a better idea, but people sometimes want to do it earlier or differently and it is possible.
Yeah, my gut tells me the safest path is likely the smartest, but not necessarily the most efficient. After all, especially with hard games like Bannerlord, I'm most inclined to take whatever my brain considers the safest path and treat it as the smartest. Like, spend 5-10 years as a free merchant making money without really risking my life or person even though you could probably make just as much money in 1 year as a successful mercenary because it's safer and requires less skill or courage from me. Then, if I want to start a faction, join whoever looks weak enough that I could make a difference without turning them into a superpower but solid enough that I'm not competing with homeless nobles for a section of Calradia, and then spending years ignoring whatever's going on in my faction stacking high quality troops and grinding a nest egg before seceding and declaring myself a country. It's my natural inclination but I'm not so conceded as to think it's necessarily the smartest way to go lol, just likely a lot safer than trying to go for broke as a free agent and risking being the enemy of the world when you're only a one-city potentate with more guts than glory.

Still, that doesn't diminish the impressiveness of your demonstration and I think I could make it work strategically if I'm patient enough to really set it up. Like, I think if I'm going to do it as a combat-oriented character (a real Lu Bu type of character) then it'd probably be, ironically, after growing a large reserve of denars and once a securable corner, like Revyl, Ostican, or Husn Fulq, etc., is sufficiently vulnerable, I'd try my luck at it.

At the moment (once the beta patch is no longer a beta patch and on PS4, I mean) I'm thinking for my second playthrough I'll attempt to create a kingdom "the hard way," tempered with the perk of being able to buy fiefs (because I really want to play as some kind of financial overlord this time around) so I'll not only build a nest egg and buy my way into royalty but also have all the arms and high tier troops I need to secure the corner long enough to pass the laws I'd like, poach a few clans, and secure a proper kingdom.
 
I've joined Vlandia.

My plan is:
1. Build up relationships
2. Get a huge army
3. Get a lot of money
4. Get a Castle or ideally a Town as a Vasall

5. Provoke war with everyone to weaken Vlandia
6. Leave the wartorn Vlandia with my Castle and Create 🐗BOAR KINGDOM🐗
6,5. Recruit the Company of the Golden Boar and Wolfskins for my kingdom
7. Slowly conquer the wartorn Vlandia
 
Also, if you use mods, install "No Bandits No Cry" mod. You can adjust the number of bandits, so your development is faster and more loot.

And looters are pretty much harmless, you can attract them following you, and they go only a few man at times against your troops, who can easily defeat them, if you have some bowmen.
 
Also, if you use mods, install "No Bandits No Cry" mod. You can adjust the number of bandits, so your development is faster and more loot.

And looters are pretty much harmless, you can attract them following you, and they go only a few man at times against your troops, who can easily defeat them, if you have some bowmen.
Looters are pretty tough
 
Looters are pretty tough
Not my experience. Even caravans defeat looter parties 3 x bigger.

You can lose some recruits to them, but if the troops, even if seriously outmanned, are higher than tier 2, your losses are rare. Late game they are absolutely rubbish, I have over 100 size looter bands and none of my troops die. Forest bandits are more dangerous, if they come with 100 men, you can lose some troops. Sea raiders, too.
 
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