All monarchs have a claim to the throne of Calradia. In addition to the player's struggles to become supreme ruler of their own territory, should they wish to do so, they must also compete for the title of King/Queen of Calradia.
Becoming a MonarchEdit
Before you start your own kingdom, make sure you have a lot of renown, either honor or dishonor (depending on your liking and desired relations), and especially, a lot of right to rule. When starting the game, it is best to first be a vassal of another kingdom, and when you are powerful, revolt and start your own kingdom. This gives you a chance to make friends, who will become your vassals. Also, it will give you a fair fight when you start; a level 5 king is not going to be popular or effective.
The first requirement of ascending to the throne is that you cannot be tied to another claimant. In other words, you must not be part of a rebellion or a vassal of one of the current factions. If you already are, there are three ways out: ask to be released from your oath, be denied a fief you requested and dispute the judgment by force, or ask your husband to join you in a rebellion (female characters only). Once you are in this situation, all that is required is to start conquering. You will have to be at war with a faction in order to conquer. Having solved dispute over a fief by force or starting a rebellion will lead to war with the faction you're in. If you're currently not at war or in any faction, you can simply attack a lord or monarch to go to war with the faction; take into consideration that you will lose a lot of relationship points with the monarch, making him your enemy. It is advisable to attack a caravan from the faction you wish to conquer. You will be able to conquer lands of the faction(s) you are at war with. Once you have a castle or city you will be given the opportunity to name your new faction and begin your rule.
Note: You cannot attack the castles or towns of a faction that you do not have a negative relation with. If you attack a lord, village, peasant, or caravan you will lose relation with their faction and will then have the option to besiege castles and towns of that faction.
When you start up your own kingdom, you will be told that a court has been set up in your kingdom's capital. This capital is automatically assigned to the first town you obtained and still possess. If you do not have any towns, the court will be held in the first castle you obtained. The court can be moved at any time, though certain materials are required (Tools and Velvet).
The court is essentially the location where your main affairs are conducted. It is the place where your minister stays, and where vassals go if they wish to join your kingdom. In essence, it is the senate of your kingdom where all decisions are made, from giving fiefs to vassals to choosing a new marshall to conquer foreign lands.
The Minister and Ruling OptionsEdit
As ruler, you have many new options. Your first task is to appoint a minister to look after your lands; this can be a companion, a wife (note that this will upset your vassals!), or even a prominent local (randomly generated NPC). However, it is not advisable to choose the prominent local, as you will be unable to take full advantage of minister features (companions are automatically chosen if you have them in your party). By talking to this minister, you can conduct many different affairs of state. Diplomats can be dispatched to the other factions; performing such actions as declaring war and making attempts to get other monarchs to recognize your legitimacy. Fiefs can be distributed amongst your vassals, and the current marshall and minister can be changed. If you chose the prominent local, you will only have the option to change the marshall and minister.
If you choose one of your companions as minister, you may swap them back into your party at any time. It is common among players to appoint a companion that doesn't get along well in the group as minister, as they will no longer be quarreling with other companions.
Vassals Joining the KingdomEdit
As a ruler you will often find landless lords from other kingdoms in your court, hoping to become your vassal. This can happen at random for the most part, but it is also heavily influenced by their personality, their experience with their last kingdom, your renown, and how many unassigned fiefs you have. You can try to get other nobles to defect to your cause, but do not expect a high success rate; while the nobles may dislike their current ruler, most dislike being branded a traitor even more. Much like recruiting lords for a claimant's cause, trying to get other lords to join your kingdom is heavily dependent on renown, number and location of fiefs, kingdom's total troop size, affection, your charisma, your persuasion level, and mere chance.
You may also grant one of your companions a fief, automatically making them one of your vassals. They will leave your party. While companions can become your most loyal lords, you are also making the choice to remove a customizable, powerful ever-growing troop from your party. On the flipside argument, you will have that powerful companion with another army in the field at your side. Be careful when appointing companions as lords, as two who don't like each other may carry their grudges to the field, allowing one to possibly defect to another kingdom. Also, appointing a commoner hero as a vassal will cause a large, retroactive penalty in relations to most of your current and even future vassals. It is recommended to make someone of noble blood a vassal. However, they will only recruit faction-specific troops (e.g. Matheld will only recruit Nordic units), so if you don't want a vassal recruiting say, Khergits only, and you think it is worth it, appoint a commoner instead.
Relations With Your VassalsEdit
As a ruler of your newly founded kingdom, you will find the game even more challenging. As a vassal, one of your ally lords defecting to an enemy can be a positive thing, allowing you to capture their fiefs and possibly claim them for yourself. When you are king/queen this changes dramatically - you'll need to keep a watch on your vassals' "relation to their liege" (open "notes", go to characters and select the lord). You cannot keep every and all lords happy, as some will like honor while others will dislike honor. You must choose carefully. Even former companions may defect to another kingdom, and with this you lose the fiefs they hold to the kingdom they defect to. However, taking action and preemptively removing the vassal from his post will anger the other lords of your kingdom, so the more lords you have, the harder it becomes to rule your kingdom. When you are at the near-end of the game and have only one or two kingdoms left to conquer, the number of vassals of the rival kingdom(s) will be incredibly high compared to the early start. At this point you must be ready to face armies of 4000+ men, but when done correctly you can easily muster a force of 6000+ men, depending on the number of vassals you have.
Capturing other lords is not recommended, as this will lower relations with these lords and make it harder for you to convert them to your cause. Not all lords like this idea but the majority will thank you, and when you reach +50 relations with a given lord getting them to defect to your side will be fairly easy, but it is also dependent upon the relationship they have with their current liege.
The more vassals you have, the more your vassals will fight amongst themselves, weakening your nation from within. Try to resolve fights amongst your vassals and hold regular feasts to improve your relations with the lords of your realm. Listen to your current lords when giving out new fiefs to your vassals. Each time you give away fiefs your relation with all the lords who disagree with your decision will drop by 1 to 3, and in the long run this can destroy your nation by causing your vassals to defect to your rivals. Since the size of a lord's army is directly proportional to the number and wealth of his fiefs, it can be beneficial to only have a few lords, but give them many lands. This avoids the problem of having lords who are likely to rebel, without sacrificing the strength of your realm too much.
Managing the relationship with your lords is difficult but can be coordinated with a little thought. Giving a lord (not a companion) a fief will increase the relationship with the lord by 10 but reduce your relationship with all other Lords by one or two. If a lord is defeated in battle you will lose one or two relationship with him as well. Giving yourself fiefs gives no negative or positive relationship with any lord.
Certain Lords will lose relationship points faster than others: it is a good idea to give any 'danger' Lords only village fiefs, so that if they defect there is no loss of land, as the village is tied to its castle or town.
Tips and TricksEdit
- Use opportunities! If you find a castle/town with a garrison of around 100 or less, take it! If the faction owning the town is being ripped to shreds by other factions, even better! Know the flow of war, and when factions are weak, use that opportunity to get a head-start on your kingdom. However, you may be at war with two factions as the faction it originally from will declare war to "regain lost territory" (shown below).
- When taking your first settlement, target a location in which the current owner was also the initial owner at the start of the game. This will make other kingdoms less likely to invade you. For example, if you take Sargoth from the Kingdom of Rhodoks, the Rhodoks will retaliate, but the Kingdom of Nords will probably also declare war against you to take their city back or "regain lost territory", leaving you at war with two factions. Also, the Nords are known to declare war to cleave power from another faction.
- There is a chance you can persuade a lord to defect to your kingdom before you actually have any kingdom at all, if you are able to persuade a lord who owns a town, you can defend a +300 garrison town instead of the 0 garrison you get the first time you personally take a town, making the beginning of your kingdom way easier to defend, try to get a lord who owns a strong town, likes you and have very negative relationship with the current liege.
- If you have lords seeking to join your faction whom you don't want to accept (e.g. because their personality makes them more trouble than they are worth), instead of telling them their service is not needed and driving them to another faction, just ignore them, at least until your throne room is so full that you have to talk to some of them to make room for lords you actually want to let into the faction. The more potential enemies you can keep off the field entirely, the better.
Some mods can enhance the experience of owning your own faction. The following are mods that can adjust certain mechanics and features, but do not alter the basic premise.
Having the Diplomacy mod installed is a useful mod, as it makes ruling over your nation far easier.
Mostly, the mod alters your interaction with lords, like the ability to send messengers with various tasks, such as to follow you or meet you at a specified town or castle. But the real impact is the policy; with a correct policy you can automatically gain relations with your vassals, simply because they like being your vassal. You can also set a policy concerning quality versus quantity, resulting in either a greater number of soldiers, or higher quality soldiers in your vassals' parties. When leading them in a campaign, this has a major impact.
TweakMB is an easy-to-use interface which will allow you to tweak certain numeric data -- such as cattle speed/behavior, relation changes, number of bandit spawns, etc. -- in all Mount&Blade games and modules. In this expanse of options, it also allows you to change colors for any kingdom, including the player's faction. If you decide you do not fancy the color red to represent your faction, you may change it easily through TweakMB's interface.