Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

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.

Permissions and credits
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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 III and ending at either Tier IV or V. Finally, Nobles begin at Tier III and end at Tier VI, following the same rules as elite recruits normally do.

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 written articles as manuals to help with understanding the units available and similar changes. 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 to see if it is already explained.

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


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 4.2.3, DRM now includes a configuration file that will overwrite ATC's. This means that you no longer need to set the file yourself, though keep in mind that if you want to tweak one of the ATC settings you need to do it in DRM instead of ATC's files.

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 this will cause some units to spawn without shields or ammunition as DRM now uses RBM specific items rather than vanilla ones adapted by RBM.
RBM Combat Module must be loaded before DRM in order to function properly. If you are getting a crash with DRM and RBM Combat together, it probably means you tried to load RBM after DRM. Load RBM before DRM to avoid crashing.
Note that RBM comes with a unit overhaul as part of its combat module. DRM should overwrite this and it should not cause any issues, but if it does you can disable it within RBM's configuration files.

Soft Requirement: Better Pikes is not a hard requirement, but it is necessary for pikemen such as Battania's to work as intended. You can run DRM without it, but pike units such as Battanian Clan Warriors will most likely try to use their sidearms against enemy infantry instead of their pikes. Currently I have no recommended settings for it, but this may change during further testing.

General Compatibility Notes:
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 and its own special mods. 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-scale troop 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.

DRM-specific betas simply means that I am testing a new paradigm that is enough of a change that I don't want to make it the only version until I am happy with it. If a file is labeled as a 'DRM Beta', it only means it is a beta branch for DRM, not that it specifically supports Bannerlord's beta versions.

Specific Mods:
Freelancer - NOTE: No longer supported by its author.

Serve as Soldier - Technically compatible, but until DRM's units are added by the mod author you need to copy the text within the spoiler box below into the Additional_Troops.xml in the Serve as Soldier Module Data folder.

Changing Cultures - Can result in vanilla troops spawning when cultures shift in settlements. Use at own risk.

Calradia Expanded and Calradia Expanded Kingdoms
--- It should function with standard Calradia Expanded as it just adds settlements, so long as ATC and DRM are loaded after CE.
--- Calradia Expanded Kingdoms may fall under 'technically compatible' if you load DRM afterwards, but because CEK adds a ton of new factions and cultures any overwrite by DRM would run into the completely different paradigm. I am not currently interested in making a compatibility patch at this time due to the sheer workload required to create and then maintain it. I am fully willing to support anyone who wishes to make a compatibility patch themselves, however.

My Little Warband
--- Thankfully not a pony mod, despite the name. It works with DRM based on user feedback, though balance is in your own hands in terms of how you outfit the units you make with it as it does not do the Regulars/Irregulars/Nobles split but rather the vanilla standard/elite split.

Calradia at War
--- Compatible, though the units are balanced differently there. Balbor has been kind enough to make a compatibility patch for CAW and DRM.

Balanced Tournament Armor
--- As of 3.1.2, DRM has been set up to integrate it by default. The fix should not change anything else, but if you see a "[Culture] Fighter" in any party besides the Caravan Ambush or see it in recruitment pools, check your ATC install as the unit should not show up at all otherwise, though it should also phase out into irregulars if it does persist.
--- Note that I built the compatibility when it was only the T1 armors and wanting to standardize the kit rather than the high variety that T1 units in DRM have, hence the "[Culture] Fighter" units. I would advise leaving it at Tier I accordingly.

Calradia Factions Enhanced (CFE)
--- This is a full troop overhaul that covers many similar things to DRM, so the two mods are not compatible as one will overwrite the other and are also built on different balance paradigms.


Q Will there be Beta build compatibility?
Ultimately I have chosen not to support any of Bannerlord's beta builds with DRM. This is primarily a matter of keeping the urgency of updating DRM down and to only have one version of the file to maintain.
The reason for this is that, especially when I'm playing Bannerlord, is that I'd need to disable all my mods, load the beta version, load the beta version of the dependent mods if necessary, make the changes, and then once I'm good set everything back... only to repeat the process if TW changes something in the beta build.
If you like playing the latest and greatest beta version, by all means go for it! DRM usually only breaks when TW changes how troops, parties, or cultures are specified in the XML files, otherwise it can usually work once the mods it depends on are updated to the beta.

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.
[Note: in the DRM beta, this has been changed.]

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: 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 3.1.0, yes. Cross-factional units have been implemented, though there are a few gaps where it will default to 'more irregulars and fewer regulars for the invader'. These can range from regional auxiliaries (or using Imperial infrastructure to field such yourself as the invader), local cultures being reasserted to break down the existing hold, or even just the invader's units. See 'Cross-Factional Units' in the articles section for details.
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 4.0.3, most of what I have wanted to implement has been added to the module. Future updates are more about refinement than anything, or taking advantages of changes to Bannerlord that were previously not feasible.

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 is 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: Conspiracy Quests still use vanilla units. Are there plans to mod them?
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)
-- OrderWithoutPower for Better Pikes.