The Freelancer mod for Mount and Blade Warband allowed players to step away from being a major player in the game's world by being a rank-and-file soldier instead. Now, a new version of this mod is in development for Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord, and players can once again choose to be a follower instead of a leader.
Released yesterday by "bloctheworkerbloc," the Freelancer mod (which Bloc named after the old mod so as not to confuse people with new names,) allows weaker players (under clan level 2 and no owned settlements) to enlist with a lord or lady to serve as a soldier in their army. During that time, you'll use the equipment of your average NPC recruit and wear your lord's colors and banner, making their friends your friends and their enemies your enemies. Killing enemies on the battlefield will help you rise through the ranks, getting better gear, higher daily wages, and more fame. All of these can be useful when you become strong and notable enough to take destiny into your own hands.
Currently, the Mount and Blade II Freelancer mod is in an early state of development, so don't be surprised to see the occasional bug or feature in need of rebalancing. Near the bottom of the mod's page, Bloc mentions that some of the things they hope to add include scenes where you can interact with your fellow soldiers, random events where you can improve yourself, and the ability to stage an internal army rebellion and run off with some of the soldiers. However, these all depend on how much free time Bloc has as well as the popularity of the mod.
Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord can be purchased on Steam. The Freelancer mod for that game can be found here on Nexus Mods.