This is a guide on how to recruit an army in Mount and Blade from basic soldiers to hero characters. It also explains how to train your troops up and what commands are available to you on the battlefield to get the best from your forces in combat.
This article is part of a series on Mount and Blade. To start at the beginning of the guide, check out the Guide to Mount and Blade. The rest of the series can be found at the end of this article.
There are various hero characters that you can recruit spread across Calradia. These characters have personalities, back stories and they can be upgraded and equipped in the same way that you are. You’ll find them lurking in taverns and while some will join up for free, others will want a payment of some kind. You should be careful about which characters you recruit because it is easy to upset the balance of your party and personality clashes will lead to moaning and arguments in your party and have a negative effect on morale.
It is always a good idea to recruit a few heroes. These characters are the same as you in that they cannot be killed on the field of battle, only knocked unconscious, and they have the potential to be tougher than basic soldiers and to serve your cause in other ways.
Recruiting an Army
You can recruit men for a small fee by entering any village and selecting the Recruit Volunteers option. Each man you recruit from a village will be an untrained raw recruit, they will cost you 10 gold each and they will be poorly equipped and fairly useless in battle.
You can also recruit trained troops from taverns in towns. You’ll often find small parties of trained mercenaries willing to join your cause but they will generally demand a substantial fee for their services.
Training your Army
You can train up your men via the trainer skill . When one of your soldiers can be upgraded you will receive a message notifying you and you can upgrade them on the party screen. You don’t even need to train your men yourself as you could find a hero character with some training capability and hire him, or develop one of your hero characters to have more training skill. Your troops will of course also improve by getting real battle experience, if they survive!
Commanding your Army
Your troops are not always the brightest bunch in the world and they have a fairly direct approach to combat on the battlefield so there are some useful keyboard commands you can employ to get the best out of them.
Firstly the numbers allow you to select various groups within your army or your whole army quickly.
- Entire Army – selects the whole army
- Infantry – any troops on foot who don’t have a bow or crossbow
- Archers – selects any troops with bows or crossbows
- Cavalry – selects all mounted troops
- Invert – if you selected archers and then hit 5 it would select everyone else except your archers
When it comes to issuing actual orders the F keys are the place to go. Here is a list.
- F1 – Hold – orders your troops to hold your current position
- F2 – Follow – orders your troops to follow you
- F3 – Charge – orders your troops to attack
- F4 – Mount/Dismount – orders your troops to dismount or if pressed again to mount any spare horses nearby
- F5 – Hold Fire/Fire at Will – orders your troops to hold their fire or if pressed again to fire at will
- F6 – Advance Ten Paces – orders your troops to advance ten paces
- F7 – Fall Back Ten Paces – orders your troops to fall back ten paces
- F8 – Stand Closer – orders your troops to bunch up together
- F9 – Spread Out – orders your troops to move apart
- F11 – Blunt Weapons – orders your troops to use blunt weapons only (useful if you want to capture rather than kill enemies)