BLUF: Make sure everyone in your party has a horse; even those who fight on foot.
Hi everybody, I’d like to welcome you to a guide for Mount and Blade: Bannerlord, something I hope will help new players and veterans alike better understand one of the most important mechanics in the game: Party Speed.
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of how Speed works and the various debuffs and buffs you can apply in order to make sure you’re zipping around, as well as a proper explanation as to why Speed is such an important stat within Bannerlord (and really within all Mount and Blade titles, for that matter).
Speed is very important in all installments of Mount and Blade, and Bannerlord is no exception. Hostile groups will run away from you whenever your army is stronger than theirs. Therefore, in order to engage them in battle and win (without losing most of your army), you will need to be faster than your opponent. Conversely, being fast also allows you to run away from fights you’d rather avoid.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the world is a dynamic system that doesn’t wait for you to be ready for it. Cities get conquered, bandit parties gain strength, and people get married – all while you were chasing that pesky group of looters for five days. A friend of mine spent a few years in-game running after bandits and in the meantime the Battanians conquered roughly ninety percent of the map. He could not beat them anymore and decided to start over.
Let’s get into all the factors that can affect your movement speed so you won’t have a doomed game like my friend did.
Base speed is a theoretical 5.00 at maximum and decreases by a flat value of 0.075 per person in your party. This means that a one person party has a base speed of 4.99 compared to 4.25 for a 100 person party. There is nothing you can do to improve this value, but it does mean that large armies are generally slower than small ones.
Cavalry provides the biggest possible bonus to your party’s speed. It is a theoretical +3.00 at maximum, but it decreases slightly the more cavalry you have. If you can (and want to) play with a party of only cavalry you will be the fastest you can possibly be.
Footmen on horses:
This is where it gets interesting. If you have soldiers that fight on foot, such as swordsmen, archers and/or skirmishers, you can increase your party’s speed by having horses in your inventory. The theoretical maximum is +1.50, but it decreases with the amount of footmen in your party similarly to other penalties from party size. This means an army of footmen can be almost as fast as a cavalry army.
There are two types of mounts in Bannerlord: pack horses/camels and riding horses. Only the latter will help your foot troops travel faster. You can recognize a pack horse by the amount of inventory space it gives you. Pack horses provide 100 inventory space while riding horses provide only 20.
Wounded party members:
When more than one fourth of your party members are wounded, your party will slow down. The amount depends on how many wounded there are and how many healthy troops you have. This speed decrease can scale up to a maximum of -0.02 per wounded troop.
A good strategy when you have acquired a castle is to drop any wounded soldiers there and pick up healthy replacements. They will heal in the castle while you’re riding to your next battle. Rinse and repeat to fight many more battles per day and maximize those gains.
Another way to deal with wounded is to just disband wounded recruits. As long as you keep at least one of their type you won’t lose any of their experience. The only downsides to this strategy are the loss of investment (20 gold) of recruiting them, and the fact that you have to ride to a village to get new soldiers for your army. However, the latter can be much faster than waiting for them to heal if you’re in a pinch.
Normally cargo gives a marginal penalty to party speed. At 0.01 per 250 cargo weight it will not have any noticeable effect on your movement unless you’re doing something extreme like gathering all the grain in the world in one place.
When you’re overburdened, however, your speed will drop very rapidly. A stacking speed debuff of 2.0 is applied for every multiple of your maximum carry weight you incur. For example: You on your own can carry 3 bags of grain. If you were to carry 12 bags, your speed would be reduced by 6. This is where the pack horses mentioned earlier come in. Each pack horse gives you 100 extra inventory space, so just getting off your starting horse and walking would remove the debuff and give you space for 13 bags of grain.
The speed debuff caused by prisoners is determined by the amount of prisoners versus the amount of troops you have. It can be between 0.01 and 0.14 per prisoner depending on the relative sizes of both groups. Having too many prisoners creates a huge debuff.
Just like wounded troops, prisoners can be dropped off at a castle or city if you own one. Alternatively you can give them to an allied city that isn’t your in order to gain influence with your kingdom.
Having more animals than people in your party will slow you down as well. The debuff scales down as a linear relationship with the amount of people you have. When you are on your own it gives a debuff of 0.1 per animal, with 10 people this is only 0.01 and with 20 people it’s 0.005. Mounts used for the “Footmen on horses” bonus do not count.
Difficult terrain like forest gives a movement speed debuff of 30%. In some locations it can be faster to steer your party around a forest instead of going straight for your destination. You can move your party around manually with the arrow keys.
Moving at night makes you 25% slower than during the day.
After a battle your party will be significantly slower for about half a day. This means you probably don’t want to attack some bandits when an enemy lord is chasing you.
Since night and forest give the same speed penalty to everyone, including your enemies, you could be better off chasing a hostile party at night. It will reduce the distance you would have to chase them which reduces the chance of running into more hostiles before you catch the first group.
Other than these factors there are some perks that you or your clan scout can take to make your party move a few percent faster, but as the base stats remain low, percentage based bonuses tend not to be real game changers.
All in all, I hope this information will make your experience in Bannerlord more enjoyable, helping to save you valuable time and effort in making your way through the world, slaying bandits and conquering kingdoms of your own.