My biggest problems with Mount and Blade outside of technical "how to land shots" type stuff in no particular order:
- Once I build an army I can't feed/pay them because I'm broke
- When I lose a fight I spend the next hour going 1v100 and being taken prisoner over and over again.
- When I try to rebuild an army I'm ambushed over and over and over before I can even get any troops trained
Those problems were all given solutions which I have been trying out in my most recent campaign staring Coward McRunsaway. Turns out you can buy businesses in cities and they will make money for you passively. That's a strong start. As soon as I had 2500 denars I purchased a brewery in a city and it makes me a little under 200 denars a week. I've been trying to save up for other businesses, but it's been very difficult. Prisoners take time to offload and without a high prisoner management skill you're stuck spending a ton of time to make very little money. The more time I waste running around looking for a ransom broker the more food my army eats. I have been bumping up my prisoner management, but I don't use blunt weapons, so I've been kinda handicapping myself a bit. I'm looking for a good 1hb weapon now. Also, I got lucky and was asked to be a mercenary for the Rhodoks very early and have been a mercenary a long long time paying for about half of everything I need. I break even some weeks and lose a lot on others depending on how many troops I have and what I've done that week, but it's a very different experience than being in the negatives until everyone deserts.
I also found out the very simple "trick" of just right clicking a friendly lord with a huge army and pressing "accompany." That means if there's a fight, it's going to be with my army and his army. So, when I've found myself with dwindling numbers of good troops I just linger with a big, well equipped army and play backup. Before this campaign I never had a lot of success finding specific lords I needed to find. This time I decided I'd just do everything I can to find who I needed to find. Turns out, when there is a war going on a lot of the lords stick together. That means if you find a lord with a big army moving towards the enemy there's a great chance you'll find the rest of the lords in the field. The only trouble I'm still having is finding the first lord when I'm summoned to fight in a war. I've only failed that quest once so far, but it's frustrating because I started looking where they said he was right away and couldn't find him. I need better tracking skill... but I spent all those points on a follower I ended up dismissing and now I'm back to not being able to see useful tracks.
Another very lucky situation of my current game is that we took over a lot of Swadian land, so I can train Swadian Knights. I kept hearing how strong they are, but I couldn't believe it when I saw it. I only have 5, but they account for half the kills on the battlefield and don't suffer when they are dismounted either. I also added in some Mamlukes from some Sarranid villages we have control over. That frees me up to make all my Rhodok soldiers into sharpshooters and make the most of my people's strengths. I still struggle vs horse archers, but having both Sarranid and Swadian calvary means at least someone can keep up with them. The Mamlukes have the added benefit of using blunt weapons, so more prisoners!
Basically, I've been "successful" enough to keep playing. I've never had a game go longer than 100 days without having a million horrific problems so this game being almost 300 days and not really that bad is a great start!
Thanks again to /r/mountandblade for giving me the boost I needed to actually keep on truckin in Mount and Blade: Warband!