Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

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Luke Danger

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LukeDanger

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About this mod

Troop Overhaul mod that aims to better reflect how medieval armies were often a mixture of levies, professional men-at-arms, and the noble elite, while aiming to ensure none of the three become obsolete.

Requirements
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Changelogs
Overview and Introduction

A persistent problem in Mount & Blade is that after a certain point the first few tiers become irrelevant other than as a stepping stone to more elite troops. In turn, this furthered a snowball effect as the losers were stuck with hopelessly outclassed recruits and levies against coat-of-plates or lamellar armor wearing murderblenders. The introduction of Common and Noble recruits did little to change this as common troops still became high-quality Tier V units while the noble troops only got one tier over them. Especially for the player, a mob of peasants with pitchforks would become a very well armed and armored fighting force capable of mauling through the enemy quite quickly.

De Re Militari is an attempt to rectify that, taking full advantage of Adonnay’s Troop Changer to enable multiple smaller troop trees that reflect different kinds of troops. In turn, these trees have hard limits based on how reasonable it would be for the irregulars to get their hands on such equipment. These smaller troop trees ensure that players can still upgrade their troops and get some choice in composition, without having to path every unit from the humble peasant as in Warband. 

Broadly speaking, the common troop tree is broken up between an Irregular and a Regular tree. The Irregular tree contains various levies, conscripts, and other moderately equipped part-time soldiers, who end at either Tier II or Tier III, and make up the bulk of common recruits. Regulars are the actual career fighters of an army, beginning at Tier II and ending at either Tier III or Tier IV - and note that their Tier III is generally superior to an Irregular Tier III unit as well. Finally, Nobles begin at Tier III and end at Tier VI, following the same rules as elite recruits normally do. Some factions play with this, particularly the Khuzaits who have their own system to reflect their focus on cavalry.

These different troop trees also serve to allow different cultures to stand out in their strengths, while adding further depth to army composition. While every culture has at the very least a bulk infantry option in their irregulars and one foot archer somewhere in their common trees, everything else is fair game. This should encourage more differences in play style depending on your army, and also further emphasize the thematic strengths of the factions and limit how much they play the same.

To TLDR the above, De Re Militari is a troop overhaul mod that aims to strip out the elite armies typical of Mount & Blade and create a greater sense of the mixed quality that medieval armies had in their composition, highlighted with these four points:

  1. To better reflect the historical levies and part-time irregulars that made up the bulk of medieval armies, while also allowing the professional regulars and noble elite to stand out without obsoleting any of them.
  2. To give each faction a more distinct identity within this framework, creating a thematic asymmetry of unit quality between factions.
  3. To avoid overloading the player with excessive options or stages that add nothing but additional clutter to building and assessing army strength.
  4. To still give players some choice in their troop upgrades even with the limitations of the smaller trees, while maintaining the above.

For your benefit, I have included several PDFs in the module folder itself in the form of a manual, and will also upload them as articles. These are primarily primers for each faction to help illustrate the mindset of each unit and the faction as a whole, as well as commentary at the end of each faction on the design process or areas I feel needed a bit more explanation that did not fit elsewhere. It is not required to read these play the mod, but it will hopefully answer some questions of design that you might have. If you have a question about the mod, I would suggest checking the manual first.

Overall, this mod should provide a considerably different experience from the vanilla game simply in how armies are composed and how you handle recruitment.


Compatibility

Requirement: You must download Adonnay’s Troop Changer and place it above De Re Militari in order to play this mod. Both files should be below the Native files. ATC is necessary as it allows for the recruitment of Regular unit options. If you only see a faction's irregular units in villages, this means that ATC did not load properly.
Note that as of DRM 2.0, you should disable the EnableCustomTemplates function in ATC, as otherwise it will spawn additional units into parties based on recruitment and upgrade them in a way unintended by the balance of the module. Disabling it will also be necessary for the Minor Factions. A screenshot of the file section in question is in "General Information".
If you are only seeing T2 and above recruits rather than the irregular recruits for each faction, check in ATC Settings the "LevelRecruitsUpToTier" value - it should be set to zero rather than 1 due to a minor issue that ATC has.

Requirement: The  Realistic Battle Mod is now a requirement for intended functionality of De Re Militari, specifically its Combat Module for the revised and much more consistent item quality. DRM is technically playable without RBM and is not a requirement in Bannerlord, but I make no promises to how balance will come out without RBM installed.
Note that RBM's Troop Overhaul is not really compatible with DRM as they handle most of the same functions, though this is less "will cause a crash" and more "may interact weirdly at certain points", and I generally don't use it since DRM covers most of the functions it has. I also do not use the spear tweaks that RBM uses, and balance accordingly, though it should be compatible with DRM (it just might make spearmen much better in close quarters)

This mod modifies the spculture and partyTemplate XML files to ensure that none of the vanilla units* show up in-game during normal gameplay. Note that certain quests may spawn particular units from vanilla, but these have been left in-game to maximize compatibility as Bannerlord is still in early access.
*Except conspiracy quest units, as detailed in the FAQ below

This mod does not make use of any other mods for items besides the Realistic Battle Mod's revisions to the vanilla items. You may use item mods with De Re Militari, but the items will not appear on troops unless you modify the files accordingly.

Because this is a full-game overhaul, other troop mods are not intended to be used in conjunction with DRM. That said as long as they do not touch the culture or party templates of the main factions, it should be compatible. Mods that change bandits or the main faction party templates will likely not be compatible and I did not design DRM with that in mind, but you are free to give it a try.

Betas - As of 1.5.6 Beta, I have decided against supporting a beta-specific version of DRM going forward. Betas are often unstable and TaleWorlds makes numerous changes to them during their life cycle before rotating to a stable version, as they are TaleWorlds' way of testing new features. The mod itself should function in a beta, but if TaleWorlds changes something like the spculture file then that may cause issues when using DRM.
Please inform me if there is an issue (and that it is DRM specific, not an issue with a dependent module such as ATC) with as much bug-report information as you can (I would recommend the Better Exception Window to gather it) so that I can plan ahead, but it will not be a priority for me to update a beta-compatible version.

Specific Mods:
Freelancer - Technically speaking, DRM is compatible with Freelancer. However, Freelancer will lock players into serving as an Irregular. To sidestep this, I have created a Compatibility Submod under "Optional Files", which adds the necessary setup for a custom Freelancer tree for those playing with DRM, which takes you from a T2 Irregular to a T5 elite unit over four steps.
Installation is simple - install DRM, download the submod, activate the DRM Freelancer submod after DRM proper in the load order (in order to override DRM's culture file), then play as normal. Upon enlisting in a lord's army, you will be a "Freelancer" unit of the lord's culture.
Note however that in order to function, I needed to replace the basic troops of each culture with the Freelancer.
-- This does not affect DRM's core functions as ATC will override this.
-- However, basic "Freelancer" unit will be spawned by the bait caravan during the "Caravan Ambush" quest
-- More importantly, this means that lords will ask for Freelancer units in "[Lord] Needs Garrison Troops in [Castle]" quests. If you install this patch, the latter quest should be considered broken and unwinnable save by cheating yourself the units using console commands.
-- When installed, this submodule will not show any new units because I hid them in the Encyclopedia for the sake of minimizing clutter. When you enlist, you should begin as a "[Culture] Freelancer". If you see these units showing up in villages, that means that the game is resorting to the default basic/noble troops and you have an ATC error.

If you are not playing with Freelancer, then I would recommend skipping the submod entirely as it adds nothing of value and may cause issues.


FAQ

Q: What is the split for Irregular/Regular/Noble troops?
Slightly varies by faction, but generally Irregular troops will make up somewhere between 60% and 70% of “Basic”/Common recruits, Regulars will make up the rest, and Nobles currently do not split but are only recruited via sufficiently influential notables. In the case of semi-regulars, the ratios will adjust accordingly.
Note that due to casualties, attrition, and chance involved with spawning that these ratios will vary in individual parties.

Q: Why do some trees have their tiers end earlier than maximum for that type? Doesn’t that make them less effective and make the branches less attractive?
Yes and no. It does indicate less potential, but at the same time I think it is also a way to be more honest about the weaknesses of a faction or where a unit has achieved a ‘good enough’ status for its role in that faction.
Do not overlook them, however. They may not be the absolute best in their field, but they will usually be effective within their context.

Q: Are the troop trees meant to improve the realism of Bannerlord?
I would say that the goal was “Thematic Realism” - grounded in realism but with liberties taken for thematic or technical reasons. Mount & Blade has always been anachronistic, after all.

Q: Does this mean balance is left to suffer?
That probably depends on what you mean by balance, but generally speaking I have aimed to try and balance things within the theme of the mod. Elite units are powerful, but correspondingly rare and you will need to get the necessary support from notables in order to mass them. Accordingly, irregulars are cheap, easy to get, and easy to train up with the right skills but there will be a ceiling on their ability to improve. 

Q: Why is there no [X] in a faction?
That would depend on what [X] is, but in general I tried to avoid cramming as many unit types as possible into a single faction to avoid unnecessary clutter. Vlandia may be an elite crossbow faction, but do they really need noble crossbowmen as an alternative to their Knights?

Q: And female troops?
No dedicated troop trees, though I would recommend the Treeless Female Troops mod as it achieves the same goal without any clutter. Set to percentages that you feel best.

Q: There are some blank XML files in the module. Why?
The Items and Crafting Templates were part of the Chael Nad’ra ATC example mod that I used as a reference to make sure I had the function of ATC working first. I left them in for my own use in the future and as a courtesy to those who might want to add a few items into the mod for their own use.

Q: Can I make my own units to use with this mod?
Yes! You may add your own troops (or equipment) to the files and then adjust the ATC Configuration file as necessary for them to show up. If you really want something like Vlandian Longbowmen, this is a good way to add it and ATC already has documentation on how to do this.
However, once you start modding the files I am not responsible for any crashes or other issues, so you do this at your own risk.
Furthermore, if you would like to release a submod I would ask that you do me the courtesy of reaching out to me first.

Q: Will recruits change based on who owns a settlement?
As of DRM 2.0, no. Aserai occupied Khuzait settlements will still produce Khuzait units, and this applies to all factions. However, you can adjust this if you wish by tweaking the ATC configuration file in your download.

Q: Is this it, or are further additions planned?
As of DRM 2.0, most of what I have wanted to implement has been added to the module, though there are a few things I still want to update and now have an avenue on.

Q: Is there anything I should keep in mind when reporting a bug?
The more information you can provide about it, the better. Vague bug reports are effectively useless, but ones with detail I can better identify the issue and give feedback as to what the cause may be or if it is even a bug with DRM.
Note that I take no responsibility for any crashes that occur as a result of you modding the files to your own preferences. I may provide advice if asked, but I will not fix it.

Q: How long is the turnaround time on bugfixes?
That depends entirely on the bugfix. Major game-breaking things I will look to release a hotfix for if I can find one. Minor things that are annoying but can be worked around (or could be beneficial to a player) I will usually leave to be part of a larger update, if I have one in the works.
Note that if I request more information such as a call stack from Better Exception Window and I do not hear back from you within one week, I will close the bug report.

Q: These Conspiracy quests are kicking my rear! Can you replace the parties?
Given that this is a TaleWorlds main quest function, for now I am NOT going to implement a revamp of the Stop Conspiracy party rosters. Once the game is released in full, I will revisit this. In the meantime, I would recommend only bringing your best troops to raid their hideouts and bring an army to fight large raiding parties. Most elite units should have enough armor to go toe-to-toe in melee and bring enough armor-piercing to negate their own.
Alternatively, you can just skip the main quest entirely. You won’t ever have to contend with Conspiracy units at all in that case, and frankly the Main Quest is not very well implemented anyways. And with Sandbox Mode added in Bannerlord’s 1.5.9 update, you don’t even need to fuss about it in the first place!



Special Thanks:
-- Adonnay for his Troop Changer which is the foundation of this mod and it would not have been possible without it.
-- Philozoraptor for the Realistic Battle Mod, which I fully recommend people play.
-- All those who played and especially those who left feedback on Levy Captain, as that proved most valuable for making this mod.
-- Those who have supported DRM and provided feedback and advice to it. This is a constant effort to improve, one made possible by feedback.
-- DrunkenFrenchman for his XML Inventory Export - this was a godsend for and allowed me to make more diverse kits easily and quickly to help minimize the ‘clone army’ issue further without having to constantly search the items list.
-- PolishMartyr for all the help and idea bounceback when I was working on Levy Captain and for checking me on this.
-- OldManHustle and his Helmet Hair Cover Tweaks - fully recommended and made putting together the loadouts less of an eyesore. RBM now features this as part of its item overhaul.
-- Modbrowse both for an initial solution to a bandit issue I was having in the early mod and the impetus to make this mod a reality (both courtesy of his More Troops mod)