The first choice you have to make in Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord is your faction culture. It’s an important choice, as it affects your character’s background story and history.
If you choose one faction you can still go and fight for another faction, so it’s not as important of a choice as you might think. The one thing to pay attention to is the buff your faction gives. This guide takes an in-depth look at each faction and the buffs they give, so you can decide what will complement your playstyle best.
“The Vlandians are the descendants of adventurers from the west who lived under the Empire for centuries before forming an independent kingdom. With the decline of imperial authority, they have evolved into a well organised feudal society led by a cast of warlike nobles who prefer to fight with spears and lances on horseback.”
- Vlandians buff: 20% more upgrade XP to troops from battles.
The Vlandians have one of the strongest buffs in the game. Your army will immediately have an XP advantage over the other armies, and your buff will be useful throughout the entire game.
“Sturgians are the descendants of the foreign tribes of northern Calradia. As the empire expanded into their cold forests, they found that a ready market for the luxurious furs of woodland animals whom they traditionally hunted and trapped. Sturgian chieftains became princes, vying for pre-eminence with the help of Nord mercenaries who migrated into their realm. They are good hunters and wanderers, travelling far in search of opportunities both for trade and for plunder.”
- Sturgeon buff: 20% less speed penalty from the snow.
You can move a lot quicker in snowy areas of the map, mostly found up north. It is a pretty useful buff but only for a particular area of the map, so overall it’s not great.
“The Calradian Empire is in decline. Even before the murder of the Emperor Arenicos, the once united realm was torn by political rivalries. Today, those factions are in open war. Yet Calradians endure. They are technologically more advanced than their neighbors and their mastery of engineering is not just evident in their aqueducts, beautiful architecture and massive city walls. It also makes them experts in siege warfare.”
- Empire buff: 20% construction speed bonus to town projects, wall repairs, and siege engines.
Empire is one of the most popular factions in Bannerlord. Their buff allows you to easily take over towns and castles and repair them quickly to help you sustain them.
“The Aserai are the inhabitants of the Nahhas desert, a mixture of nomadic bedouin and settled oasis farmers. They are famous for their horsemanship and their knowledge of the learning of many lands, especially medicine, gained from lying on some of the continent’s most lucrative trade routes. Each clan is fiercely proud of its lineage and often jealous of the others, but when united by a charismatic leader, they become a major force in the south.”
- Aserai buff: Caravans are 30% cheaper to build. 10% less trade penalty.
Aserai is another faction with a great buff, allowing you to benefit from trade much more than others. If you plan to roleplay as a merchant, this buff will net you some serious monetary gains. One benefit of having a lot of money is you can easily build armies.
“The Khuzait confederation of steppe tribes used to live a nomadic life, but have recently settled in the eastern frontier of the Empire and are slowly transitioning into an agrarian society with permanent town centers. Despite this, they still retain many aspects of their nomadic life, including their affinity with horses. They are masters of mounted archery, shooting and then galloping out of reach.”
- Khuzaits buff: 10% extra speed bonus for horsemen on the campaign map.
An extra movement speed bonus for your horseman will complement you nicely if this is how you plan to build your army. You will easily be able to win most battles purely through maneuvering better.
“The Battanians still remember the olden days when the woods stretched across northern Calradia, and the Empire and its cities had yet to violate their sanctity. The fierce warriors remain loyal to their traditional ways. They paint their faces when going to battle and even their noblemen prefer to fight on foot while using great axes and two-handed swords with deadly efficiency.”
- Battanians buff: Forests give 10% less speed penalty to parties
There are many forests all over the campaign map, so having 10% less speed penalty gives a nice advantage. Overall, there are better buffs that will benefit you all the time instead of just in a small percentage of situations.
Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord Best Factions
So what are the best factions? There are three that are very strong: Vlandians, Empire, and Aserai. What you want to choose will come down to your play style. If you want to go for a trading style, Aserai is the best. If you want to conquer the whole map, Empire is the best. If you want an overall strong army throughout the whole game, Vlandians is likely the best.
Next, we’ll need to pick the best family heritage for our Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord character.