There are five factions in Mount&Blade, while Warband added a sixth. They are constantly at war, trying to take over each other's territory and fiefs. They will never conquer a whole faction without the help of the player.
Each faction is distinguished by a different style of army; some have excellent infantry, others excellent archers or cavalry, or a combination of these units.
Each faction has a monarch and his vassals, as well as a claimant to the throne who waits for someone (the player) to champion their cause. The claimants can be found in random town keeps, and you can ask a traveller for their location for 30 denars. Claimants will never be found in a town belonging to the faction for which they are the claimant. For example, Prince Valdym the Bastard will never be found in a keep belonging to Kingdom of Vaegirs.
The player can join a faction, start a rebellion, or create their own faction. In the original game, a player who has created a faction cannot have lords at their service. A player-created faction is regarded as a rebel faction, and the player, as the sole lord, is forced to protect and expand the entire kingdom. This is not the case in Warband, as a player may assign companions as vassals and convince rival lords to defect.
A faction will be eliminated a few days after all of their territory has been conquered and all of their armies have been defeated. If a faction has had all of its territory conquered but then regains a fief, the time until elimination will be reset, and the vassals of that faction will be able to start recruiting again.
The factions present at the start of the game are listed below. For more information on each, go to their respective pages.
Mount & Blade Factions
|Khergit Khanate||Sanjar Khan||Dustum Khan||Purple||South||Horse-Archers & Light Cavalry|
|Kingdom of Nords||King Ragnar||Lethwin Far-Seeker||Yellow||North||Infantry|
|Kingdom of Rhodoks||King Graveth||Lord Kastor of Veluca||Cyan||Southwest||Spearmen & Crossbowmen|
|Kingdom of Swadia||King Harlaus||Lady Isolla of Suno||Orange||Central||Heavy Cavalry|
|Kingdom of Vaegirs||King Yaroglek||Prince Valdym the Bastard||Green||Northeast||Archers|
|Khergit Khanate||Sanjar Khan||Dustum Khan||Purple||Southeast||Horse-Archers|
|Kingdom of Nords||King Ragnar||Lethwin Far-Seeker||Cyan||North||Infantry|
|Kingdom of Rhodoks||King Graveth||Lord Kastor of Veluca||Green||Southwest||Spearmen & Crossbowmen|
|Kingdom of Swadia||King Harlaus||Lady Isolla of Suno||Orange||West-Central||Heavy Cavalry|
|Kingdom of Vaegirs||King Yaroglek||Prince Valdym the Bastard||Tan||Northeast||Archers|
|Sarranid Sultanate||Sultan Hakim||Arwa the Pearled One||Yellow||South||Cavalry & Light archers|
Creating your own Kingdom
|Mount&Blade Factions — Khergits • Nords • Rhodoks • Swadians • Vaegirs|
|Warband Factions — Khergits • Nords • Rhodoks • Sarranids • Swadians • Vaegirs|
|With Fire & Sword Nations — Cossacks • Crimeans • Muscovites • Polish • Swedes|
|Napoleonic Wars Factions — Austria • France • Prussia • Russia • United Kingdom|
|Viking Conquest Cultures — Anglo-Saxons • Britons • Frisians • Gaels • Norsemen • Picts|
|Bannerlord Factions — Aserai • Battanians • Khuzaits • Northern Empire • Southern Empire • Sturgians • Western Empire • Vlandians|