Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord has been around for a little while now, but its enormous popularity has been maintained by one very exciting thing: mods.
At this early stage, there are naturally limits on what can be effectively modded without causing players a headache. The Bannerlord launcher has an integrated mod selection and sorting screen, and TaleWorlds have indicated on their forum that they expect modding to get easier and more powerful over time as more elements of the base game are nailed down.
But modders have already made some changes. The near-inevitable overhauls and reskins and unofficial expansions are a long way off, but many generous players are already sharing the fruits of their work to alter Bannerlords the way they think it should be. Here’s a selection of the best ones so far.
Best Mount and Blade 2 Bannerlord mods
Our best Mount and Blade 2 Bannerlord mods guide will show you all of the best mods in the game so far.
We’ve added a couple of mods made since that do interesting things, but we’d love to hear about other great mods for the game. If your favourite mod is not featured in this guide, sound off in the comments below and we will take a look at it.
Main words by Sin Vega. Additional words by Dave Irwin
Our first tip is one you can mod yourself. Assuming you’ve installed the game in the default location, go to “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Mount & Blade II Bannerlord\Modules\Native\Videos” and delete both the files in there. Bannerlords will now skip the logo videos at the start of the game, which over time will save more than enough of your precious mortality to let you listen to Jareth instead. There. Isn’t that better?
The rest of these mods should be downloaded and then unzipped to “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Mount & Blade II Bannerlord\Modules”. They can then be activated from the Bannerlords launcher. If any of them ask you to overwrite a file, be sure to back it up first in case the mod messes something up.
Holy hell this needs to be incorporated into the game immediately. Ordinarily, when you encounter any party on the world map, Bannerlord loads a full 3D scene where you talk to them face to face. In the vast majority of cases, your conversation will last a few seconds at most, then you’ll be taken back to the main map. Often, you’ll then have to load another 3D scene in order to fight a battle. These loading screens are slow, irritating, and completely unnecessary.
Fast Dialogue skips them entirely. Instead of opening the conversation, it loads the standard blue actions menu on the left of the screen, and adds the option “converse”, plus any other relevant actions like attacking or simply leaving. It’s a small thing that’s already saved Sin a heap of time and actually changed the way we play. I’m not longer avoiding lots of smaller fights simply to get out of having to sit through back to back loading screens. You absolutely should have this mod installed.
Warband players can generally be divided into three categories: those who are surprised and disappointed that Bannerlord has removed automated directional blocking, those who either didn’t use it or don’t mind its removal but are reasonable, mature people about it, and those who are the reason most game forums are a screeching toilet of insecure dullards.
Auto block is the one lower difficulty feature of Warband we’ve used, and we’re glad to see it modded back in. With this mod, that system is ported to Bannerlord. You still need to block, and pay attention to enemy movements, but it’s far less fussy. Right clicking with a weapon out will block an incoming attack, automatically choosing the right direction. Unless the enemy changes that direction (or your relative positions shift enough for their weapon to hit anyway), in which case you must block again. The one downside is you can’t toggle it on or off without restarting the game, but that’s a very minor quibble indeed.
Perhaps you wish to bark your orders like an armchair general, rather than fiddle around with the rather clumsy army command controls? If so, then the Screamerlord mod lets you yell your commands to each squad with the use of a microphone. It works really well in general, though it does struggle if you have quite a quiet voice.
A word of warning though: this mod uses a third party app called VoiceAttack. You’ll get 20 voice commands if you use the free version, but will have to splash some cash to get up to 80 voice commands in the Premium version. The Screamerlord mod page points out what is included with the free version, but here is the summary from the mod’s creator “Leto”:
“Contains 20 commands for unlimited free trial users. It contains the essentials, but I’ve removed some of the more circumstantial ones like ‘facing direction’, ‘dismounting’, ‘transfer’ that you’ll never use. Overall, this is the recommended version for most people. If money is not a thing, the full version has more features and is easier to use; while full users will be able to use partial commands eg. “Infantry” or “charge” separately, free users will need to chain commands together, e.g. “Infantry charge”. This means you’ll need to speak both the unit selected and the action continuously. The alternative would be for me to only allow partial commands; I found chain commands to be more useful when you’re in a hurry.”
A wide ranging collection of small tweaks whose cumulative affect is already quite substantial. Renown gains from battle are doubled, tournament rewards are greater, food production is higher to make sieges tougher and AI less likely to domino the whole map overnight. XP gains for troops are higher all round, you can smith more items per day, and the game in general should feel pacier and less grindy, particularly early on.
Bannerlord Tweaks also comes with an in-game menu with full tooltips that lets you enable or disable specific features, and tweak them to the exact values you want. This is impressive work, especially for a brand new game.
Its creator, “mildeww” has also been dutifully updating the mod every day to keep up with Taleworlds’s own daily patching. They’re also rather transparent, reporting which files are involved with specific tweaks as they go, in the interests of aiding the modding community in general. Exemplary behaviour that deserves recognition.
The two of these work fine together, and were among the most stable of mods we’ve tested. Both of them add more sliders to the character creation screen, allowing you to further alter your character’s appearance.
Detailed Character Creation is more basic, offering only a couple of sliders. But this includes the most dramatic: ageing. Yes, this means that THE BABY OPTION IS BACK. You can also look more aged and weary, a bit tubbier, hencher, or skinnier. Babies aside, none of the changes are dramatic and you can’t create any abominations. It’s a welcome addition, integrated perfectly.
Full Body Sliders is more comprehensive, offering more body-part specific sliders and slightly more extreme changes. Again these are nothing drastic or ridiculous, and indeed I’ve been able to create some refreshingly normal looking people. The downside with FBS is that it’s not modular, and overwrites two files in the base game. It’s unlikely but not impossible this will cause problems in future updates, so you should back those files up before installing (the mod’s page specifies where to find them).
As a bonus, Detailed Character also lets you rename any named NPC through their encyclopedia page, and FBS lets you alter their appearance.
Another quick and simple but potentially tedium-saving mod. Cultured Start lets you start in one of several cities dotted about the map (or a random one). This means that you no longer start at the training ground in the dead centre of the most boring part of the map, surrounded by imperial dorks. It saves you from doing the same start you always do, stuck hiring the same soldiers and probably riding for several days to get where you want.
Bannerlord isn’t bad for gender representation by any means (gangsters in particular seem very matriarchal for some reason), but it’s vanishingly rare to see a sword sister, and women in general don’t seem to appear among the rank and file. Mixed Gender Troops adds women versions of all the fighting units to the game, with identical stats and equipment (the vanilla game already does a great job with unisex armours so this shouldn’t be an issue).
It works great, and like Bannerlord Tweaks above, includes a clear and comprehensive customisation menu that lets you set a specific gender ratio (default is 50:50), set a naming convention for the new troops, and even exclude specific cultures and factions from these egalitarian practices. Do you want your Battanians to field mostly women, but not the Vlandians? A few simple clicks will do it.
This mod removes the sex check, letting you flirt with and get married to any noble, even if they’re the same sex as your player character. It doesn’t allow you to marry everyone in the game, but there are a lot more eligible bachelors/bachelorettes to choose from. These are the only restrictions after applying the mod:
- Your partner must be in the correct age range. The default is 18-40 for men and 18-35 for women, though you can alter this in the config file.
- Your partner must be unmarried.
- Your partner must be a noble, but not the leader of their faction. This sadly includes Rhagaea.
- Your partner cannot be related to you by three generations.
Very simple tweaks. Both games reduce the travel speed of certain parties on the world map. Slow Down is arguably the lesser, since it only affects caravans, but that might be all you want. Slow Looters, meanwhile, can be set to affect multiple types (and not just looters – it’s a likely candidate for a name change, so bookmark it if you’re interested). The latter, however, requires manually editing an xml file to the values you want.
That’s an easy thing to do, but it is a step up in hassle. Either way, reducing the speed of some of these groups is a big help, especially given how excruciatingly slow Bannerlord is to increase your athletics and riding skills. Caravans in particular are absurdly fast.
The first caravan escort job Sin took on was a farce as the people she was hired to protect immediately raced off into the sunset at twice the speed of anything else she’d seen. Two months later Sin got a notification that they’d died, but she said they had a good run. Plus the merchant should really have caught on that something wasn’t right when she went back to him two days later, and he told her how relieved he was to know she was out there protecting his caravan.
This one is potentially super cheaty, as it lets you set all your skills and even perks to whatever number you like. You can also do the same with NPCs, so your spearman sidekick could become a talented medic, or your stabber a horse archer. Or you could give all the kings zero for athletics, then shoot their horse and lead them around the whole battlefield in a big circle while giggling.
The obvious use for it is to simply bypass some of the early game tedium, or practice with high level weapons skills to see how they handle, and thus whether it’s worth your time training them up. But we’re counting it as a mod because it also opens up opportunities for players like me, who like to set up challenge or roleplaying or simply messing about characters. You can expect to see us writing about some of those in future, thanks to this mod.
Using it is quite simple. Right click on your character in the party screen. This takes you to their encyclopedia entry, where buttons have appeared that let you export or import that character to a text file in your “My Documents” folder. Editing that file lets you change skill values directly, as well as add or delete gold. You can even gain perks out of order this way, without activating lower-level ones first, for extra customisation.
Note that your overall level appears to be calculated automatically from your various skill points, which we’re moderately sure affects the spawning size of NPC armies.
That’s your lot for now. Bannerlord is still in early access of course, and as it’s still relatively early days it’s best to be cautious with modding, particularly as campaigns can last for many, many hours. Some combinations of mods will likely fail to work together, and future patches to the game itself may render others inoperable or obsolete.
However, Sin tested the majority of the mods back when the game first entered Early Access and found them stable and unlikely to cause major issues. Indeed, several actually improve the performance of the game. But all the same, as a rule, it’s best not to activate or switch mods mid-game, and even if you’re not using mods you should be keeping backup saves. Should you install mods that ask to overwrite anything, you should back those files up first, and if you’re trying loads of mods, do yourself a favour and keep notes on what you’ve changed and why.
With all that said, Bannerlords’ future looks bright, and modders look like they’re raring to go to town on it. We’ll be keeping an eye on the scene, but please go ahead and share anything cool you’ve found with each other. If you’re looking for other guides for Mount and Blade Bannerlord 2, you can check them out in the list below: