I have always been touched by PoP's premise. A land rife with conflict, it's people having been made to endure centuries of disease, injustice, war, death, and destruction. They only await the arrival of the prophesied Hero/Heroine of Madigan who will unify the land and restore much needed peace and prosperity to its denizens. Incidentally, you are this hero. Will you succeed in fulfilling the prophesy? Or will you simply be a hapless adventurer already with denars in the negative at day 90 simply because you decided to take that one town at day 20 or you're walking around with 200 Hero Adventurers that you can't support having only gained them through sheer luck. Sure maintaining Pendor's status quo is hilarious and fun (gameplay-wise) lemme spoil just a bit and remind you that Mountain Blade is a open-ended sandbox game and thus, so is PoP and its "special events"
Basic Tips for the Powerplayer Edit
- Always plan ahead: Before every game you must have already planned what you will be doing in the playthrough. You could ask yourself these questions: 1.) What kingdom/pretender will I be swearing vassalage to? 2.) Where would my personal fiefs/capital would be? (i suggest Ethos-Laria because both towns are adjacent to each other, have huge hinterlands, and Laria has free border patrol if you've got good relations with the Noldor) 3.) When will I start wrecking Pendor up? 4.) How will I be doing this? 5.) Why am I playing this game?
- Don't jump in Realistic Mode if you're new. Mountain Blade is a dynamic game that will throw a lot of possible scenarios at you. Quicksaving and reloading will be a central part of the new player's experience in the festering, war-torn reality that is Pendor. Otherwise, they would just be spending a lot of time in it as part of some Uniqiue Spawn's slave train and whining on the wiki and the forums about the 5th consecutive time Maltise or some other Quallis Goldmine escaped their clutches.
- Learn to kite everything: You can't fight Wolfbode and his 1000-man army but that 1200-strong Sarleon army you led him to that was supposed to be sieging Poinsbruck most certainly can. (After this Ulric would be like Octavian: asking where his armies went)
- Travel light and bring your friends: The player, most of the time (even when they are supreme king of pendor), should only be travelling with companions and troops you get from prisoner stacks and the tavern slavers (omen seekers, cheap squires that would be upgraded to adventurers/knights, etc.) Your party should be around 20 in strength. This allows the player to do the following important aspects of powerplaying: 1.) Being Tourney Champ Knight-Mercantilist of Pendor 2.) Kiting Unique Spawns 3.) Pwning Pendor as whole 4.) Preventing being part of slave trains
- Be a real Paparazzi: ALWAYS ask for rumors. WHEREVER you go ask for rumors. Ask the tavernkeep, ask the slaver, ask the smelly vagrant in the corner, barge in Ulric's hall and ask him and his stewards for "news and events" (fancy term for rumors), loom like a ghost closely to ongoing campaigns simply to ask the warring lords for rumors (even right before a battle!). These will cause minor faction armies and unique spawns to appear on the map. Sometimes even during receiving a rumor you'll be seeing the a prompt that the rumor's subject has spawned somewhere on Pendor!. Rumors should constitute the majority of travel plans alongside Tourney Champ Knight-Capitalist. The rumors are also important for the early-game quallis gem
- Be prepared to have your character build into an archer: Sword and board and lance by the time you build up to 2h + bow character is only utility: Sword and board would only be good if you want to get rid of a strong archer line fast. And lances are only good if you want to do high burst but low DPS damage which is a death sentence when fighting hordes and hordes of enemies. Bows are and have always been OP in mountainblade. once you have a good bow, good powerdraw and 350 something bow proficiency, you'll be glad to notice the work has paid off with deaths logging at your screen everytime you release the drawstring.
- By the end of the game, Pendor must be turned into a smoldering battlefield in your quest to obtain as much quallis gems as possible
Starting a Playthrough Edit
For character creation I would suggest creating a character with good starting Looting skill. Looting is essential to item upgrading most especially for your companions (do not buy them equipment) and you while on the early stages. Having a Looting skill of 6-7 would most likely net you a good sword or armor when you kill some rogue knights/cobra warriors. Beyond this, I would simply suggest to look at Ralyks' existing Starting Guide existing on this wikia.
Early Game Edit
During the early game you should focus on making money, getting renown and being The Spectre that is Haunting Pendor. These are to be done concurrent each other
To Make Money: I would suggest building up some capital. The typical trade routes the Mercantilist of Pendor could follow are the "Javiksholm to Avendor" flax route or the "Senderfall to Everywhere that Doubles the Price of Iron" Iron Route. You can also buy dirt cheap Dates from Singal and sell them for double at Sarleon. Once you have enough go get a new enterprise as soon as possible. The only surely highly profitable enterprise I know of however is an oil press in Ethos as I haven't exactly figured out the mathematics of Pendor's economy. Continue doing Mercantilist of Pendor: trading and buying enterprises and killing some bandits along the way. Once you get enough renown, you'll be graduating from Mercantilist of Pendor to Tourney Champ Capitalist of Pendor and you'll be seeing your denars rise in the tens of thousands. If you're confident enough and lucky enough to have found a masterwork sledgehammer or doom mace, go don your cape and be the Slavemaster of Justice: The hero Pendor doesn't need but deserves. Get used to tournaments and trading as you will be doing this for the rest of the game.
Getting Renown: follow the basic Native formula for early game renown: fighting. Here is where your high looting skill will be valuable as you will notice that fighting bandits, barbarians and vanskerries will usually mean an item upgrade for your party. As you have been asking rumors the entire time you will notice that Pendor will be elbow-deep in enemy armies. This makes it likelier for them to encounter Kingdom armies or even other minor faction armies. Whenever you see a fight, join the side you think you can get to win. If you're fighting a unique spawn always ensure imprisoning them with savescumming (high prisoner management for Realistic) and take what you want from them. Much like in making money, tournaments are also good sources of renown.
Being the Spectre that is Haunting Pendor: as you are nothing but an unknown migrant from Barclay you better take advantage of this position especially in the purpose of elevating yourself. as you roam pendor you'll sometimes find lords in prison. free them. this nets you a relationship boost (with both lord and faction) and honor. if possible ask beforehand their wives or mothers to be their champion, allowing you free these lords with an additional denar reward alongside the relationship boost and honor.
gearing yourself - you make sure to peek in every market you pass by. you never know, you might get the much coveted netherworld charger (500 horse hp ensures you'll be on horseback forever) or a Doom Mace in a dark alley in distant Nal Tar. defeat unique spawns by kiting as early as possible from the moment they spawn. use the gems for elixirs. in fact i would suggest only raising INT at level up and only raising the other stats through gem elixir. you wouldn't need that ruby rune greatsword or ruby rune bow this early in the game and with so weak a character, if you're really hankerin for gear just go get some runeswords and noldor bows from quigfen in laria. also don't forget to boost your map speed a bit by purchasing a few lame sumpter/saddle horses that you might find in your travels. these horses are dirt cheap and map speed is proportional to how many horses you have in your inventory regardless of the quality
while waiting for the markets of pendor to reset and the rumors to renew i suggest doing quests for the villages bound to what you set out to be your future fiefs and capitals. for example i do the quests for villages around ethos and laria as they will always be my future fiefs. this will be useful as you would have an endless supply of recruits just sitting around your fief later in the game. you could also go start relation farming especially for noldor though i would suggest kiting their unique spawns to death first to get their CHKO equipment. Beyond this you can farm noldor relations.
Don't forget to build your desired companion combination. any would do but i suggest one that doesn't have Roland in it as I turn roland into a lord (AND HE IS THE BEST ONE). If you're inclined to get some early Right to Rule go hire the companions not part of the combination and tell them to get you some, not too high though (20) for swearing vassalage, then dismiss them the moment they come back.
and of course to allow a little bit of romance go learn the poems (preferably while reading a skillbook) and ask the poets about every possible spouse in pendor. for male characters people would suggest Hamida Bibi but remember that her dad Hamid is a douchebag while the other dads Godric or Fairhair are breddy cool guys
Middle Game Edit
By this time you must already be in possession of hundreds of thousands of denars (they will only be spent for trading capital, netherworld chargers, Quigfen's shop), enough relations with the Noldor to start Quigfen's quest, have acceptably good equipment and your INT slaves must have their party skills in the 6+ range. Now before you go wandering off swearing vassalage I suggest doing Quigfen's Quest and gaining access to Elacrai.
The jatu army that you need to beat in Quigfen's quest can only be attacked by YOU. That means you won't be able to kite it to another army. You would have to fight it on your lonesome. Now I know you'll be saying "But how are we supposed to defeat it with our 20-man party setup that you said we should follow?" to which I reply that I won't even suggest fighting it with a handcrafted 200-man party as that would be a waste of time and resources. The spawned jatu army does not recuperate its losses, so you will be beating them with Attrition.
Attrition is only viable to the commander who has a surplus of troops. While your motley band of adventurers might suggest otherwise, the player character also has a surplus of troops: they wander Pendor with yokes on their necks and chains on their wrists. That is right, they are the Prisoner Stacks/Slave Trains.
By this time deep in the powerplaying game you must stop seeing minor factions armies as dangerous waves of death and destruction and instead as Achievement farms and, for current purposes, as quick sources of soldiers. Go kite them to their enemies, beat them and go recruit as much of their prisoners as you can support (by now your allowed party size should have been at least 100.) You will find yourself liberating farmers, nubile women on the cusp of adulthood, young fresh-faced squires, prisoners-of-war eager to get back home to their families and they will be thanking you for their liberation by allowing you to send them to their deaths crashing against a jatu cavalry charge. Repeat until the jatu army is all dead. To reduce deaths and lessen the number of times you have to rescue prisoner stacks you can go kite the army into a map cell near a body of water and go tell your troops to hold where appropriate. Be careful not to end up as prisoner for the jatu army like your soldiers used to be, though.
Once you finish the quest from now on you must be present in Elacrai anytime on the first 4 days of every month and win their tournaments. The rewards are magnificent but their value depends on the player. When your character is strong enough and you can stomach the effort of replaying an entire noldor tournament you'll be finding yourself reloading (if you're not in Realistic mode) everytime the tournament gave you another lousy elven longsword.
Being in a faction
If you have high enough renown (900+) and enough Honor (gained from tournaments and prison breaks i told you about earlier) go on then and swear vassalage. I suggest Ulric as he is generous and will always allow you to take new fiefs or constantly offer you the Marshal position the moment your controversy reaches zero. For those rooting for Ethos-Laria as I suggested I also suggest Ulric because that gives you the casus belli to take Ethos and that there's always a chance that Ulric will lose Laria to the other factions giving you the opportunity to take it for yourself.
In all likeliness your liege will give you a village as fief. Go improve your relations with it by doing quests and succeeding in doing the heartbeat quests. It is also suggested to go train the village elder and improve his skillset as they will improve relation, allow you to build better village improvements and allow you and the village to succeed more in general. But do not forget as the future king of pendor that this is just one village among the many that by now you should have had relations in the 60+ range already.
As you or a friendly lord would be probably be instated as marshal go around and win some victories for your faction. You would want your faction to succeed as this would net you a gain of honor, renown, right to rule (as marshal) and relations with the good lords. As a non-marshal lord you could help by giving the marshal the good targets, telling him to assault once the siege machines are finished or by kiting armies (to divide them, to mislead them, to divert them away from or to your marshal). As a marshal you should generally be spending your time blitzkrieging enemy towns and castles with your 10 Engineering skill INT slaves, leading your marshaled army to farm Quallis Gems and winning decisive battles. Remember to free the upstanding and good-natured lords when you capture them after a battle but do whatever you want with the other lord-types.
Initially the goal for your conquering in the name of your faction should be towards getting the personal fiefs you decided at the start of the game to be keeping. Only ask for these fiefs and don't go asking the King/Queen to give you every fief the faction takes. Once you have these fiefs I suggest immediately fortifying them with enough soldiers and training their stewards. Once you decide to go rogue these fiefs would be central to your independent kingdom's continued survival. You should also consider eliminating or at least severely weakening at max one major faction in the name of your liege as this removes both a potential AND a potent enemy once you declare yourself to be the Hero/Heroine of Madigan and be sure to to have that eliminated faction's leader in prison until further notice. Of course this venture would make your current liege stronger as his kingdom would have more fiefs but this gain in strength is nominal in contrast to the strength of an entire major faction you just wiped off the face of the map.
Late game Edit
By the time you have high renown (should be more than any faction leader's), have fortified capitals (600+ men), have enough Right to Rule (60+), have high relations with the good lords, around 800k denars, good honor and a spouse (very important) you should be ready to declare an independent kingdom. To rebel from your liege you must basically whine and moan and cry when they refuse to give you what you would want: another fief. This would happen when you've been receiving too much blessings from them which would happen when you "request that the fief be awarded to you" everytime the faction conquers a fief. Eventually your liege and their lords would be wary of you having too much land and power within the realm and send you an outright refusal the next time you request another fief. When you get this go select the option to declare independence and get ready for a slog. Before you do this, however, I suggest knowing how to do this strategically and the importance of the stats I mentioned at the start of this section.
The Importance of High Renown, Honor and Right to Rule
In regards to these three stats PoP would follow Native's formula. Renown is useful as a vassal allowing you surefire ways to receiving the Marshal position and being a general big-boss of your faction. Honor is a huge factor in your relations with the "good" lords the importance of which would be explained later. Also mind that a high honor will net you a useful achievement.
A high Right to Rule is critical to your mental health. If you have a respectable enough Right to Rule, by the time you declare independence, the other factions would refrain from declaring war on thus you allowing you to worry only about fighting the faction you declared independence from. Warfare in Pendor is best experienced on one front and one front ONLY, regardless of how big your war machine is. If fighting on more than one front you'll be finding yourself in the following exemplary scenarios
1. Cancelling a siege to defend yourself from another
2. Losing Javiksholm the moment you took Janos
3. Failing to take Rane from Ravenstern because your sieging army is ragged from fighting a Sarleon stack
If you don't have enough Right to Rule simply gain more by sending Companions to get them or being marshal and winning wars.
The Importance of Fortified Capitals
Your continued existence as an independent faction would rely on the general health of your capitals. Having fortified capitals would confer these advantages: 1.) Enemy armies would think twice about attacking them yet alone assaulting them 2.) A safe, healthy fortified capital would give revenue and thus slow down bleeding your denars.
The Importance of Friendly Good Lords
A king cannot run the entire country by himself. He would need help. The human body would need hands. If you have to have hands, might as well make them good hands.
Being friends with a good lord ensures you a loyal servant that would bow to your whim as much as possible. Also, high relations with a good lord from another faction would allow you to more easily persuade them to defect to your own. Remember however that as they are "good" lords they are also "good" to their current lieges making them ironbound to their lieges. But once you get a good lord to your faction they will stay with you forever. I mentioned before that I suggest eliminating 1 faction because this causes that faction's good lords to transfer to a faction they're not loyal to, allowing you to persuade them to defect to your faction much more easily.
The Importance of Denars
An absurdly high treasury might seem excessive but this would mean that you'll be safe in the fact that you have a huge insurance to fall back to in case everything gets messed up, a possibility that is very achievable in Realistic mode. A lot of denars would be great if you're still upgrading your CKHO or if you need mercs or in the simple fact that you won't have them in the negative after just a few months of rulership.
The Importance of a Spouse
A spouse gives free relations with their family (for ex. Hamida Bibi's large family) and a good candidate for minister. In the case of female player characters, instead of disbanding troops to cut costs you could just give these troops to your husband (especially if he owns a castle/town) and would surely help you as this man and his demesne would be devoted to you and your ventures.
Being a Traitor Strategically
Plan out where you will carve out your neophyte faction. At this point you should already have set the blueprints on where you would be holding your rebellion. A good starting territory is EVERY SINGLE FIEF from your supercapital fief complex to an adjacent town and this territory must hold borders to at most the one faction and the faction you will rebel from. An example would be this:
- Own Ethos and Laria as vassal of Ulric
- As marshal of Sarleon and if at war with Empire: take Cez and every castle between it and Laria
- Initially ask for Cez and always ask for the other castles you took (this is Ulric we're talking about, he'll probably grant all but one)
- The moment Ulric refuses, (regretfully) betray him and declare independence
At the end of this you'll be owning most of the geographical south of the entire continent of Pendor with a border to Empire's Janos and a border to Sarleon. The Empire won't be at war with you but will be at war with Sarleon forcing them to fight two wars thus ensuring your survival of this initial war for independence.
War for Independence
To survive this war you would need armies and you would need victories. To get the former I would suggest personally owning towns initially and immediately establish KHO chapters in them. After which go elevate a good-natured commoner companion to nobility. Give your newly annointed lord a huge part of your kingdom's land (for example I gave Adonja Cez and all the castles and villages in its peninsular vicinity) because this would allow them to field huge armies and be a powerful guardian and overseer in your place. I would then suggest that you elevate Sir Roland to lordship as he would be a good lord, has a Knight of the Dawn retinue, and would have 1000 renown just like other elevated companions giving you a very loyal and very strong vassal then give him a lot of adjacent castles (for example in my game he owns all the castles between Laria and Almerra Castle). Go persuade a lot of lords to defect into your kingdom as soon as possible and give them land but remember this:
In relation to giving fiefs I would have you remember these rules: 1.) All you would ever need is your supercapital fief complex: your adjacent towns and castles between them. The rest could be given to vassals. 2.) Your lords must be good lord-types as this allows you to carve large and powerful portions out of Pendor for them with no fear of rebellion. 3.) A lord's fiefs must be adjacent to each other: e.g, The lord you gave Nal Tar must not also own Poinsbruck but instead he must have a fief complex of his own. This renders their recruitment and fief protection easier. Plus, you would know where to find them when you need them.
You can also supplement your army by hiring a merc company. A merc company would ask for a signing fee of 10k and their surviving members would ask for an exorbitant amount of wages every week. You should hire a merc company right after paying your weekly wages so that will give you a week to use them to the utmost This is perfect as this would serve as a fine timeframe to achieve this war's goal and that of other wars: Winning.
Winning the War for Independence
In the case of this particular war you won't need to wipe them off the map completely. Remember that this faction could possibly be occupying extra land you gained for it in your tenure as marshal thus giving it extra men and resources. Eliminating them would take too much time. The goal of this war is signing a very beneficial truce: one wherein you have already taken a lot of fiefs from them before they even realize to sue for peace.
To do this, especially if you hired mercs like I suggested, you should be waging Blitzkrieg: "Lightning War." You should be marshal and go gather your armies to take as much territory as you can without creating a new border beyond the two you have already. You should always be on the move and continually beating armies and taking territory. Remember not to give those new fiefs to lords yet or taking them for yourself as there would be ample time to allocate them later. Before your next weekly wages time comes up fire your mercenaries, end your campaign and let your vassals to do as they please. If you were fast enough and strategic enough, by this time you would have done enough damage to sue for peace and if not simply repeat another Weekly Blitzkrieg. Let them approach you for a truce on their own but in the meanwhile you can continue your rampage or go off and do what you want.
The War for Dominance
During or after the War of Independence the other faction bordering you will most likely declare war on you. You should be thankful as this is the last free casus belli you'll ever get. This war calls for complete elimination. Do Weekly Blietzkrieg with the difference here is that you will not stop. You will never dismiss your marshalled army until this faction owns no more fiefs on the map and its faction leader in your prison (important.) Before your merc company asks for their weekly wages dismiss them and you can choose to continue on with one less army or go get another merc back in your capital with your lords in tow. You will not accept a truce until all their fiefs are yours. To avoid losing honor and right to rule for refusing a truce simply savescum an earlier save as AI suing for a ceasefire is randomly scheduled thus allowing you to savescum and postpone a suing for truce indefinitely. You'll notice after winning this war that you'll be overlord of a huge portion of Pendor and, in time, the rest of it subject to your will with a little bit of diligence and patience.
As was said before it is highly recommended that you fight on only one front and take on factions one at a time. The general goal for your wars should be avoiding losing a single fief to the enemy factions while unfairly getting theirs by the handful. Weekly Blitzkrieg works for this as conquering fast means the indecisive AI marshal has to factor the lost fiefs in his calculations. He'll be cancelling his sieges or segue his marshalled army away from a target into another, wasting time and effort. The pinnacle of Weekly Blitzkrieg however is constantly raising an enemy marshal's controversy to the point that the marshal keeps getting replaced leaving the enemy faction crippled.
[to be continued]
During and Beyond... Edit
About Knighthood Orders
While you can rely on your faction's base troops, Knighthood Orders offer distinct advantages.
- Having a chapter of an order located in your fiefs would spawn them periodically in the fiefs free of cost. Basically this allows you great troops for your own perusal. Personally I leave them at my fiefs as elite siege defenders as the only armies I would only ever need come from liberated prisoner stacks/slave trains.
- Progressing the rank quests rewards you with good equipment, honor (useful for Chevalier of Pendor achievement), and renown.
- Becoming the Grandmaster of a Knighthood Order gives you an achievement with a useful reward and a castle with useful NPCs. One of them upgrades your equipment quality which should be immediately used to upgrade what could possibly be the best headgear in the game: The Pendor King Helmet
- Founding a Custom Knighthood Order allows you to build a personalized army. Equipping your knights with Doom Maces will give you a roving band of chivalric slavers (very profitable) or fully buff them to get your own versions of Noldor Twilight Knights
Each player would have their own preferences of Knighthood Orders but in the purpose of powerplaying it won't really matter as long as you become a Grandmaster of an existing order and have founded also a CHKO of your own. It is actually preferable to have the widest plethora of Knighthood Orders in your domain both in the present and in the future and have good relations with most of them as this would mean they would help you in your battles instead of attacking your peasants willy-nilly.
An example KHO setup: My Ethos didn't spawn a chapter so I put a chapterless order there (ex. Gryphons or Radiant Cross, the order that was supposed to be there) and I relocated the Clarion Call from my Laria and put my slaver CKHO there. I have helped the other orders before so I have acceptable relations with them (just 1 is fine) and setting them up immediately in new fiefs I take then giving them to vassals. I am the Grandmaster of Knights of the Dawn (I did it for Roland and Astraea) thus, having Eventide the only order that has negative relations with me which makes sense as it takes being a general douchebag to please them.
The Importance of Imprisoning Enemy Faction Leaders
Notice that i've been prompting people to imprison enemy faction leaders. This is very important as they give good denars when they're ransomed and more importantly they give good equipment. A faction leader would offer a piece of equipment when their faction is close to defeat. These pieces of equipment are good substitutes of Gem weapons. Bahadur Khan's bow is good training wheels for Archery, Ulric has the strongest lance and watch how your arm breaks the sound barrier swinging Imperator's sword at good One-Handed skill.