Since the wait for Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord seems to be taking until the heat death of the universe, it is up to us to find our own Mount and Blade fixes. But, what about when the base game is starting to get a bit stale? Well, then you can turn to mods. There are a wealth of Mount and Blade: Warband mods out there and here I'm going to run down some of the most interesting. I've played around with all of these some and a bunch of others, trying to find the best Mount and Blade: Warband mods out there to make the wait for Bannerlord more tolerable.
There are several Mount and Blade: Warband Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire mods out there, but for my money, the best single player one is Clash of Kings. Other ones have more lag and lack the features and functionality of Clash of Kings, which are considerable. Featuring the entire world, it sets you down in it during the eponymous book, which predominantly features the War of the Five Kings who you can join on any side and fight with. One really nice thing here is the interface for Clash of Kings is perhaps the best I've seen in Mount and Blade as far as options and ways to manipulate it go.
While other mods have a lot to offer, I have to admit that Persino is a personal favorite. I have a soft spot for fantasy and for mounting a killer wolf or dragon and charging over enemy soldiers as I can do here. Other games lack that, and the mixture of Dwarfs, Elves, Giants and Humans create a useful fantasy setting that has some very interesting factions and troop lines. The minor factions play a big role here, and it even includes a conqueror who comes partway through the game with huge armies, tossing things into disarray and becoming a major faction.
Gekokujo is a mod that takes you to historic Japan, where samurai fight across battlefields alongside many other troops. As one might expect, it features a different troop tree and equipment that emphasize some different aspects (don't expect to see shields) among its many changes. Beyond its strong theme and units, the strongest things that Gekokujo does to differentiate itself are its map and faction amounts. Having a long, narrow map rather than the traditional style of map based on Calderia creates a significantly different experience in trying to traverse the world. Additionally, rather than the typical 5–7 or so factions, Gekokujo features over 20 factions as its showing of the Sengoku period, which also changes things up.
Prophesy of Pendor is one of the better-known mods for Mount and Blade: Warband and for good reason: It's really good. That said, Prophesy of Pendor is also really hard and not recommended for new players. Prophesy has a lot of unique and different things about it, including the ability to create your own knighthood order, a lot of weird factions, as well as a rich world to explore. One of the standout things about Pendor is the amount of detail that goes into the world building of the low-fantasy realm, including the number of events, quests, goals, and more you can find.
The Last Days of the Third Age is one of the most interesting mods because it fundamentally shifts how you play the game in many ways. Set in the Lord of the Ring’s Third Age of Mankind, the mod has you as part of one of the factions in the days before the War of the Ring. While that is generally split by race, those familiar with the books (which is what this draws on for material, not the Peter Jackson films) may know that the races sometimes have separate factions inside them, which is represented as well. The big change here though is you aren’t gathering money in a traditional sense or trying to build your own lordship; instead, you are advancing ranks in the factions you decide. You do this by performing quests and killing enemies, which will have the faction give you some of their exclusive currency—dwarf bucks are not redeemable in Elfland, as that is your social as well as economical reputation you're trading on.
Like The Last Days of the Third Age, Nova Aetas changes some of your fundamental presumptions about Mount and Blade. While Last Days of the Third Age does it with the world at the brink of war, Nova Aetas instead takes the world to a more advanced time and puts greater focus on society. This isn't The Sims Medieval, but there is a focus on social position and more jobs like craftsmanship, logging, and the like that makes for a different experience as you rise through the ranks. It combines this with a unique setting for Mount and Blade: Calradia several hundred years in the future with new factions and some higher-quality assets. Raising the social ladder is a fun and different challenge, and there is still plenty of Mount and Blade here with new units and battles to fight that make this mod worth checking out.
Floris and Floris Evolved
I’m grouping these together as Evolved is essentially a continuation of Floris. They are mod packs that group together a lot of different things like tournament overhauls, diplomacy, freelancer, and a lot of smaller fixes and mods that work quite well. It’s definitely still Caldera and has a lot of what you expect but a much greater diversity of units, of trade routes, and of options in how you handle things in and out of battle. This is one of the defining mods for Mount and Blade: Warband, and you’ll see people use it as the base for others.
Created by the same modder, these mods implement many of the same ideas. 1257AD Enhanced Edition improves the old 1257AD mod with many new additions. Set in the historical time mentioned, 1257AD Enhanced Edition is a fun mod with a lot of interesting features that can be played pretty bug-free and with the Enhanced Edition, which adds in things like KAOS Political Kit as well as a ton of flexibility. Native Enhanced Edition also implements the additions to native Mount and Blade: Warband, but I’ve found that it is still buggy by a good amount. That said, it is in active development, and it's one to watch as a rival to Floris as an overhauled native experience.
Brytenwalda Repolished is the latest and final update to the famous Brytenwalda mod, which takes and puts Mount and Blade: Warband into England with the Celts, Brits, Scots and more fighting over the area. The mod debuted many features that would come to show up in the Viking Conquest DLC–no real surprise given that the team that made this mod was hired to make that. That makes this mod a bit of an oddity as it lacks the story of Viking Conquest, and some of the stuff is a bit different due to the different theme, but it’s worth checking out. If you like it, make sure to check out Viking Conquest with its additions to the formula and story.
A number of mods explore the Calradian Empire and the era that existed before it, but Last Breath is my favorite. It shakes up the map significantly by adding new factions and challenging your conceptions of where things are and where they should be—like the addition of Zendar in the picture above. They also get a bit playful by showing some of the cities we know as little villages, a fun way to show the fact that this is a good while back, while some of those future cities are at this point nothing more than villages. It adds new troop trees, a lot of good quality-of-life features, tactics, some strong visuals for areas like cities, and more. Finally, the size of the Calradian Empire at the start and having many of the factions at war with it shakes up the gameplay experience and typical flow.
Those are some of my favorite Mount and Blade: Warband mods, and they've helped keep me interested in the game over the years while we continue our never-ending vigil for Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord. I didn't get into every mod (not even close!)—some like NativeSP and Diplomacy are closer to the vanilla experience, which can be nice to check out, and there are options for almost anything out there it seems these days.
So let me ask you, what are your favorite mods? Let us know and we can talk about them all!