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I am playing a female character and have fought a long time with the Kingdom of the Nords against Swadia, which resulted in them having only a few castles left.

Now I am trying to help the female Claimant on the Throne. I have captured 1 Castle of Swadia, which has a good position since a lot of Nord Castles are between it and the remains of the Kingdom of Swadia.

Capturing the remaining Castles seems to be very difficult, since my army's max size can be around 90, but all swadian Lords have around 200-400 Men in their Armies. And Swadia has still many lords, I think it is around 7 or 8. And they often group up on me, which makes me fight more than 600 men with my 70-90 men, depending on the current state.

Restricting the Number of men in battle at once is not an option since you still have to fight the rest in a second battle and if you loose some in the first battle, the second one can still go ill.

What is the best late game strategy to win against these lords and/or capturing their castles?

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Get the top upgrade mercenaries on foot, something with blades in them... they destroy anything that moves. I've gone with only 150 of them against an army of a king that had 500, the first 100 are good units the rest are mostly farmers and low leveled recruits... and we won :p –  Lyrion Mar 29 '12 at 6:21
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@Lyrion you mean hired blades. They are probably the best merc troops you can hire, much better value than the merc calvary. –  z ' Mar 29 '12 at 13:35
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@yx. Yep you are right, hired blades! They are indeed alot better then the cavalry. I think they are the best troops you can have, highest lvl wise and such. (Maybe men at arms are better) . Anyway, the point is tho an army you see running around doesn't exist mainly out the maxed ones, but mostly out of canon fodder, so making sure your army is created out of lean mean killing machines, can break the enemy even if they outnumber you with alot. –  Lyrion Mar 29 '12 at 13:40
    
it depends on the composition, if its 600 units made up out of multiple lords, then it'll have more higher tiered units than a single king with 400. I've beaten a king before with just 25 units (all the companions + 1 each of mounted troops) because all he had was tier 1 units and peasants. –  z ' Mar 29 '12 at 13:44

8 Answers 8

up vote 8 down vote accepted

You may have decided to support the claimant a bit early. There's really not much you can do when all you have are 90 units with 1 lord vs 600 and 9 lords unless your party's stats (like surgery/first aid) are super high already.

Here are some tips that may help you out:

  1. A max army size of 90 means that you don't have enough Renown and Leadership. A good army size to have when declaring for a claimant is at minimum of 150. Next time you should try to boost your renown (by taking fewer units into battle against a higher number of enemies). Having a renown of 1500 to 2000 is probably a minimum before striking out on your own. Also, put more points into leadership/charisma.

  2. Try to build up relationships with the lords of the faction your claimant is from (capturing and releasing them repeatedly will gain you relationships fairly quickly as well as improving your honor). If you do that, you can visit their lords while they are in their castles and persuade them to join your cause. This will increase your holdings and lords without having to fight them. Since you'll always be the marshall of your faction, you can then ask your lords to join you in battle.

  3. Use only high tier units and play to their strengths. For the Nords, their best units is huscarls, but they aren't mounted so suffer when fighting in the open. Your best bet is to fight in moutnaineous terrain and tell all your units to hold out on top of a hill. This will drastically slow any mounted units heading at you, giving your huscarls plenty of time to throw their axes for tons of damage.

  4. Try to wait until there's a war between Swadia and someone else, when their leaders are distracted, go in and take their territory. Also, wait until you see Swadia conquer a city, this is the best time to go and take that city from them as it won't be heavily defended.

  5. There are also some really cheap tricks you can do to take a castle without any losses, but that requires you to get some rhodok sharpshooters first. Just tell them to use their melee weapons and defend at the start of a castle battle. They'll be nearly invincible when hiding behind their board shields. Then wait until the enemy runs out of missiles, then tell them to open fire. After your guys run out of missiles, retreat, and repeat.

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Or you could set the game to easy, limit the number of units in battle to as few as the game will allow, and kill them all yourself like a boss. –  kotekzot Mar 28 '12 at 16:09
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@kotekzot even on easy a swarm of archers can whittle away your health until you die –  z ' Mar 28 '12 at 16:20
    
A good shield should see you mostly unharmed to melee range, though it doesn't hurt to have a hero with some first aid skills. –  kotekzot Mar 28 '12 at 17:14
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I just have to add, with tactic #5, careful positioning on the ladder and a long melee weapon will allow you to poke the enemies to death (VERY SLOWLY), just make sure there are no more missile guys left before you attempt it. –  z ' Mar 29 '12 at 15:19
    
Just so you know: I was successful and I have helped the Claimant on the throne. Afterwards I married one of the lords, defected and took Swadia in one big sweep and made my own Kingdom of Metal :D. –  user12190 Apr 22 '12 at 11:08

My strategy so far has been to get as many of the companions as i can and max one of each stat on different ones (the party skills only of course, and research the noble companions. best tog ear them for being a Lord rather than party member). 10 in wound treatment, surgery, first aid, trainer and path finding makes your downtime very...short.

for troops i follow the 'specialist' builds

  • Infantry: Nord Huscarls (best melee, even over hired blades. Also has thrown weapons to whittle away the enemy ranks before the even clash.)

  • Archers: Rhodok Sharpshooters and Nord Vet archers. I mix and match because I feel rhodoks while powerful in ranged combat, they cannot move and fire and their melee skills kind of stink. The nord vets are better at melee defense if cavalry happen to get through.

  • Cavalry: mix of merc cav, Saranid horsemen/mamlukes and swadian Knights/MAA. (While very expensive to upkeep, a completely cavalry army of this mix offers very good NON-SIEGE victory. Never bring cavalry to a siege, they will die or be incapacitated quickly compared to hired blades and huscarls.

From what i have read/seen this is what i consider the troops usefulness for (best to worst)

Infantry

  • Nord huscarls
  • Rhodok/Hired Blades
  • Swadian
  • Vaegir/sarranid
  • Khergit (no true infantry past 2nd upgrade so... yeah)

Archers (not horse-archers)

  • Rhodok Sharps/Vaegir Marks
  • Swadian sharps/merc crossbowmen
  • Nord/sarrandid
  • Khergit (non ponies, again no ground troops past upgrade 2)

Cavalry (melee)

  • Swadian Knights/ Sarranid Mameluke (Knights have better armor/hp, Mameluke have better weapons/manuever/speed/dmg)
  • Mercenary Cavalry/slaverchief (the entire line is pretty awesome, more later) Vagir kngihts/Khergit Lancers (refer to top, repalce swadia with vaegir and sarranid with Khergit)
  • Nords don't like ponies apparently.

Cavalry (archers)

  • Khergit
  • No one else has the moving, hand-eye coordination.

I think a companion sums it up (lezalit maybe?)

  • Nord flank
  • rhodok line
  • vaegir archers
  • swadian cavalry
  • khergit pony-archers hit and run.

Sieges

For sieges I have everyone hold their fire, and station my archers behind my huscarls (if I bring archers, sometimes i don't). I then go up the ramp/siege tower behind the second rank of huscarls (so I'm in the third 'set' to hit the walls). I then jump down and get to the opposite wall of the castle/town (if there is an opposite wall) and have the archers hold that position so they can pepper the enemy with arrows from behind. I then sit back and keep enemies off my archers.

My personal skills priority list

  1. Riding to 5
  2. Leadership 10 (dat paycheck shrinker)
  3. prisoner management 5 (explained later)
  4. invo manage 5 (explained later)
  5. then I alternate points into Ironflesh/shield/powerstrike/powerdraw/weaponmaster

Prisoner Management

Doesn't matter if you are on your own, helping g a claimant or helping a faction having a central garrison is your first goal.

Go for a city that is fairly secluded (wercheg is my favorite) or a city that is VERY easy to get to (Dhirim or Suno for example) and build your prison tower. Start filling your barracks with Highlevel troops and use the city as a storage closet for your cavalry if you are going on a siege spree.

Get as many of the Manhunter line as you can (I usually stop at 50-100, they are pretty spendy) and add a small mix of other cav units too. Use this as your main "field engagment" force. Capture as many enemies as you can hold and barracks them in this city.

When you get a certain troop PAST what you can carry for prisoners, put ALL of your troops into the barracks and grab that troops set out. Set camp recruit them (if they accept) then IMMEDIATELY barracks them. DO NOT grab your old crew back out yet, unless they have better than "below average" morale as you risk losing some to desertion. Grab any over that and go find looter/bandits AND SLAUGHTER THEM until your morale is back to average/below average on the troops in your city.

If you get too low on cash you can also sell these prisoners as an 'emergency bank account' :)

Then go back about your business.

**

Inventory Management

**

Inventory management is a MUST if you are going to be holding a large number of troops for any period of time.

I set my Inventory (going to call it bags from now on, just faster) up with my food/alternate weapons at the bottom so i don't accidentally sell it.

When looting the enemy after a battle i ONLY pick up items worth at least 200 gold (until i get my bags full). when my bags are full and I'm on my way to a friendly (or neutral) city to sell I still battle (morale is important, so are prisoners if I can get my hand on em) I will start replacing low value, nonfood/alternate weapon items with higher value gear, starting at the lowest value and replacing my way up.

SO in essence inventory priority:

  • food/secondary weaps for me and party

High value items

  1. Horses/tradegoods, they both sell very well usually.
  2. Armor usually sells at an acceptable rate over weapons.
  3. Weapons (thrown too, but not arrows/bolts)
  4. ammo because it's usually the lower value battle-loot

Honor vs Dishonor

I usually don't worry about honor before I get to around 750-1250 renown. Keeping your army outfitted/paid/upgraded is more important then moral feelings and as such should be your first concern. When you finally start warring with other factions (be it by yourself, helping a claimant or a faction) you can keep attacking caravans that ARE on the enemy side but almost always let enemy lords go (inc faction with them usually). I only keep kings for ransom, or if I'm doing a 'capture an enemy lord' quest I will not release my next captured lord. It will make it so you have more enemies to train your troops off of (enemy lords keep recruiting when you release them) but also makes defending your realm a more challenging objective.

A word of advice, do not try to persuade lords to defect until you have a VERY high relationship with them, I have a game I enabled cheats on (and import/exported my character for max stats). She has 109 relation with Jarl Olaf but he just refused her attmpt to defect to Swadia (he is mad at ragnar, mad at most of the jarls and loved my reason he should defect. he also fealt safer among my faction than his own).

Types of Engagements

General Engagements Army(ies) vs Army(ies) on a random battlefield. You will be in A LOT of these. . Reasons to battle in general engagements:

  • Morale. Morale is raised every time you win a battle that required even half an effort. No reward for going 200 vs 3 enemies.

  • Relation. Saving villagers/caravans from enemies or bandits increases your faction with that realm.

  • Money. Battlefield loot is pretty valuable and often yields upgrades for your companions. Never buy your companions gear unless you have the cash. give them hand-me-downs or downgrades from you.
  • Experience for you, your companions and your troops. Avoid getting into long drawn-out battles if you do not have a companion with surgery at 10 (increased chance that fatally struck troops will be incapacitated instead)

Reasons to AVOID battles:

  • Losing results in morale lost, cash lost, companions are lost, items lost. Losing battles becomes VERY costly.
  • troops WILL die unless its an absolutely unfair battle. or you have maxed surgery.
  • Companions lose morale and start to whine if you lose or lose to many troops in a victory.

Sieges Offenders vs Defenders in a castle or town setting. Defenders will come out only if they have TRIPLE the offenders troop number. very useful if you have max level troops and they have mainly low level troops. otherwise, HAVE FUN STORMING THE CASTLE!

Average Castle garrison WITHOUT an occupying lord(s) is roughly 80-200. Average City garrison WITHOUT occupying lord(s) is roughly 200-450.

expect a large range of troop levels, from recruits to Specialists.

Reasons to besiege:

  • New territory for your faction
  • Release prisoners (lords or troops). released troops can be recruited.
  • Make trade routes safer if you at war with a faction but not one on the other side. Caravans that reach their destination inc prosperity.
  • Fiefs Fiefs Fiefs!

Reasons NOT to besiege:

  • Storming a castle is very costly, in terms of time AND money/troops. You lose food while waiting to build ladders/towers and are vulnerable to being counter-attacked/surrounded.
  • Storming a City is the same as above, but even-more so.
  • The lord you are taking it from will, for some unknown reason, NOT LIKE YOU!
  • a freshly taken city/castle by an NPC lord is rarely left with a sizable defending force, leaving you to do it or left it to be counter-sieged.
  • messes with prosperity A LOT if you/your faction raided the villages nearby, leaving you an economic mess.

Hope some of that helps you. That's all from my personal experience playing for over 300 hour or my own personal summary of what I have read from other sources/the wiki.

Also, try making friends with enemy lords. at the cost of some relationship points some of them will agree to avoid the battle, making it so the other lords have to catch up to you if they still want to fight.

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Cavalry is the way to go. I have taken armies of 60-80 Swadian knights against forces numbering 1200+. Take down all the enemy lords in the first round, then you can just sit back and watch your knights clear the field will often no casualties whatsoever. Knights are still pretty decent when taking castles - but I find that I can support them with a good bow and a large pack of arrows. Shooting the archers off the walls as they try to plink your troops makes a huge difference.

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Get Hired blades. and kill Bandits and others to get Manhunters. Belive me Manhunters at thier best (Slave Chief) and Women peasant at their Best (Sword sister) are great just like Hired blade (best of Peasent).

Both these three don't belong to any Faction, so fight any without fear of them running away.

Don't go for Stats, I have fought hundreds Sword sister and Hired blade in Tournament and believe me they are toughest to kill. (They got improved Ai ...i think. ofcourse i dont know)

(78 hired blades + 59 Swadian Knight + 34 Slave Chief + 31 Sword Sister + me + 6 companions with good armour) vs. (King Harlaus 846 Troops + 2 other Lords troop).

Result : I won, with just 5 injured and 2 deaths.

(78 hired blades + 55 Swadian Knight + 33 Slave Chief + 31 Sword Sister + me + 6 companions with good armour) vs. (Count Delingard had about 9 other Counts with him, total of 1145 -damn he was marshal and guess what, my father in law)

Result : I won, with 9 deaths and 38 injured. (more injury becuz Jeremus had +10 surgery)

Both battles on Fields.

Ofcourse, it was easiest setting.

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Get Swadian/Vaegir Knights. I am with the Kingdom of Vaegirs and I still use Swadian Knights because I have never been at war with the Swadians.

I have only 95 troops, but I am unstoppable because I have 36 Merc/Cavalry and around 21 Hired blade, and 10 Vaegir Knights and other Troops. I have about 3/4 of my Army (However small it may be) Cavalry because there is less chance of them getting injured/killed because they are on horseback. Hired blades are also very good, Under those awesome Great helmets (I have one) They are actually very strong and look very intimidating with their armour!

Just the other Day, I fought against a Count from the Kingdom of Rhodoks and he had 125 troops verses my 95 and I demolished his troops in less than 3 minutes just because of all my cavalry! (The only bad thing is I was battling him in the Mountains. Because I have Jamiche Castle and that is in Southern Mountains, and it was really hard to maneuver)

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Swadian Knights are the best units, even against Swadians. On the hardest difficulty, I usually can kill enemies that have armies ten times the size of mine. Adding some Nord Housecarls when attacking fortresses is a good idea as well. I only use Archers to defend my towns and castles. While attacking fortresses, I destroy enemy ranged units by myself using Masterwork War Bow with two bags of arrows. After you breach the ladders, most of the garrison should be destroyed.

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Two words. Nord Huscarls. Best at attacking castles because of their shields and their strength. Best at defense of castles because they can throw axes at the enemy as they come. Real fun to watch enemy recruits get cut down while I defend.

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Go to the config men when starting up the game. Turn cheats on. Go into a fight and press CTRL F4. (Must button spam if large amount of enemies).

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I don't think that just turning on cheats is a valid solution. –  Frank Feb 13 '13 at 13:29
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I don't see why cheats shouldn't be a valid answer. There's no harm in answers on Arqade covering all potential options, is there? Isn't that kind of the point? –  DwarfSlice Jan 7 at 17:07
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