The Mount & Blade series delivers great games that are complex and full of options, but these advantages are not the source of its popularity and longevity. The key to the success of this cycle proved to be its open approach to modifications. In the decade that has passed since the release of the first Mount & Blade production, thousands of alterations were created, more often than not turning the core version upside down and transforming its Medieval-like world into something completely different. On the technical side, the works of TaleWorlds are quite outdated which makes the fans of the series all the more eager to finally see the sequel entitled Bannerlord announced several years ago. Since it’s higly unlikely that the production will see the light of day in the nearest future, let's enjoy what we have at our disposal. That is why we have chosen the hottest modifications for the games released in the Mount & Blade series, which should provide hundreds of hours of fun. Mount & Blade veterans might find something they overlooked, while novice players have a chance to get to know the plethora of possibilities that the series provides.
Before we get to the point, I should mention that I focused on the mods for the most popular installments, namely Mount & Blade and Mount & Blade: Warband. They are presented in no particular order. If you can’t find one of your favorites In the article, don't hesitate to write about it in the comments section.
A word of explanation about the absent titles – I left out the famous mods Mount & Musket: Battalion and Brytenwalda, because both were released commercially as extensions for Mount & Blade: Warband, entitled, respectively, Napoleonic Wars and Viking Conquest. Neither will you find mods for Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword, as this installment has met with a rather cold reception in the modding community.
1776 American Revolution (Warband)
If Assassin's Creed III made you eager to delve deep into the history of the United States, then Gabrilduro's mods for Mount & Blade: Warband are the right choice. As the title suggests, 1776 American Revolution takes us back to the period of the American struggle for independence. It’s a full conversion that replaces the original map with a large expanse of North America and populates the universe with representatives of the various historical factions. The player can choose whether their loyalties lie with the settlers pursuing independence, the British trying to maintain the status quo at all costs, or even Native Americans who consider both warring groups to be two sides of the same (evil) coin. Of course, in addition to completely new locations, items were changed beyond recognition as well, with firearms being the most notable example. All in all, this mod is characterized by great attention to historical authenticity and focus on the adventure-related aspect of the game rather than strategic approach.
The mod is now available in version 1.5, which can still cause problems due to some imperfections, but it is still a good idea to try it out – the more so because the author probably won't develop 1776 American Revolution any further. Speaking of the creator, it is worth mentioning that Gabrilduro has developed other mods in similar settings, namely 1755 Old Frontier (Anglo-French conflict during the Seven Years' War, which is the same period as the one presented in Assassin's Creed: Rogue) and 1860's Old America (the Civil War presented in a spaghetti western style).
- Download 1776 American Revolution (forum TaleWorlds)
Prophesy of Pendor (Mount & Blade / Warband)
If anyone finds the world of Calradia featured in the original Mount & Blade not fantastical enough for their taste, they can easily switch to Pendor – another "never-never land" which doesn’t offer too many characteristic fantasy elements, but is less generic than the pseudo-Medieval universe from the core version of the game. The player assumes the role of a hero foretold by a prophecy to unite the country under his leadership by way of conquering five major kingdoms and defeating minor factions. The authors created quite an extensive universe with culture and mythology designed from scratch; the players familiarize themselves with the lore through dialogues with a number of NPCs. Prophesy of Pendor offers a few impressive elements also in terms of gameplay mechanics: new units with individual development trees, management system of the kingdom, objects that were previously inaccessible, remodeled interface, and many more. Even with the high quality of execution, the discussed mod may deter some gamers due to its considerable difficulty. From the very beginning, the players can encounter strong groups of bandits and adventurers equipped to deal even with quite numerous ranks of the hero.
Prophesy of Pendor is available for owners of both Mount & Blade and Mount & Blade: Warband, but the default "platform" for the mod (focusing more attention of the creators and more eagerly developed) is the latter of these games.
- Download Prophesy of Pendor for Mount & Blade (v3.011)
- Download Prophesy of Pendor for Mount & Blade: Warband (v3.6)
Sword of Damocles (Mount & Blade / Warband)
Contrary to what the title might suggest, this mod doesn’t transfer the setting to the ancient Mediterranean world. Sword of Damocles is one of those modifications that don’t override the map of the world. Calradia remains the theatre of depicted events, but in the described modification, it's just a fraction of the offered universe, enhanced in terms of mechanics and plot. The player assumes the role of a lord from an overseas land, who has managed to flee from his kingdom that fell prey to the mighty Legion, accompanied by just a handful of loyal soldiers. The protagonist arrives in Calradia, knowing that he has a year to unite the continent under his banner and prepare it to repel the great invasion of this aggressive empire. However, the strength of the mod does not rely on its plot. This modification develops the mechanics beyond recognition, turning Mount & Blade into a kingdom simulator with a host of features. The player gains full control over different areas of state management, such as economy, law, religion, infrastructure, diplomacy and intrigue. Considerable changes have also been implemented in the military aspect. In addition, the discussed mod offers a variety of new factions, units, items, minor options (e.g. creation of your own banner), graphical improvements, etc.
The creation of Sword of Damocles was finished more than three years ago, but the last released version marked with number 5.0 is a fully developed and completed project.
- Download Sword of Damocles (Mod DB)
It should be mentioned that the discussed mod is no longer developed, because the authors moved on to create its continuation in Mount & Blade: Warband, entitled Sword of Damocles: Warlords. An equally great modification, it differs substantially from the original Sword of Damocles, e.g. in the fact that instead of the enriched version of Calradia it offers a completely new (though also Medieval-like) world called Ponavosa.
Warsword (Mount & Blade / Warband)
Several weeks ago we published an article listing the many games that were created and produced in the universe of Warhammer – and yet it is only a fraction of the PC offer available for the players, as there is also a variety of mods to choose from. Some of the more prominent examples are Warsword and Warsword Conquest, designed for, respectively, Mount & Blade and Mount & Blade: Warband. In both cases, the premise is the same – Calradia is converted into the Old World, and the original factions are replaced with races known from the Warhammer universe, such as people from different lands, orcs, dwarves and elves (forest, dark and high), as well as vampires, Skaven and Lizardmen. The creators rebuilt the character editor, providing the gamers with the opportunity to play as representatives of each of these races. The mod also offers extensive realm management options, tons of new items and various features to enjoy by the fans of games and books from the Warhammer Fantasy universe, such as the option to recruit Felix and Gotrek to our team.
Warsword and Warsword Conquest are similar in terms of the richness of content, however it’s the mod for Mount & Blade: Warband that turns out to be more recommendable. Although the last released version (May 2014) is marked as beta, Warsword Conquest contains fewer errors, especially after installing a patch of sorts (bug fix). What’s more, the players who still wish to transform Calradia into the Old World in Mount & Blade must deal with installation of the mod that’s a little bit more complicated and the fact that in all probability Warsword will not be further developed in any way, since the last version of this project was released almost five years ago.
- Download Warsword (Mod DB)
- Download Warsword Conquest
Raise your hand if you're Japanese culture enthusiasts who also happen to enjoy Mount & Blade: Warband. If you belong to this group, you should find the mod Gekokujo quite to your liking. The modification transports us to Japan during the Sengoku period which lasted roughly from the second half of the 15th to the second half of the 16th century (historians do not agree on the periodization). The player has the whole country to govern – from the island of Kyushu in the south to Ezo (known today as Hokkaido) in the north. The state is divided between 20 factions: 19 samurai clans and Ikko-Ikki rebels, represented mainly by peasants and monks. Of course, the substitution of the quasi-European Calradia for the Far East brought many changes, not only in terms of available inventory, but also with regard to issues such as site architecture, animation, and even the faces of characters. However, we should keep in mind that although the author took to heart the idea of faithful reconstruction of the historical setting, some solutions might infuriate the more orthodox Japan lovers, as in the case of the use of the title "Lord" instead of the Japanese "Daimyo".
It should also be noted that Gekokujo contains a few minor mods in itself, with Diplomacy (expansion of diplomatic options) and Freelancer (introducing the possibility of entering the service of another lord) being notable examples. The discussed mod is currently available in 3.0. version and although there’s still room for improvement it already offers a lot of fun.
- Download Gekokujo
Anno Domini 1257 (Warband)
If you find yourself glued to Crusader Kings more often than not and dream of becoming the lord whose actions you control, then Anno Domini 1257, the mod for Mount & Blade: Warband, is just the thing for you. It would seem that the substitution of Calradia, which itself resembles our world in the Middle Ages, for the authentic thirteenth-century Europe does not require too much effort. However, if the creators’ ambition is to reconstruct the Old Continent from this period with as much historical accuracy as possible – as is the case here – it is a different thing altogether. Suffice it to say that we can find as many as 42 factions on the new map. Despite some inaccuracies, Anno Domini 1257 is one of the most extensive modifications to the games in the Mount & Blade series, offering plenty of new features (including items prepared from scratch and sea battles and voyage). We can erect castles and other structures, and wage battles not only in Europe but also in the Holy Land – after all, this part of the 13th century was still a period filled with intense Crusades. It is also worth mentioning that various parts of the Old Continent, including the more important cities, castles, etc., were faithfully reconstructed based on historical sources.
Quite recently, the mod has been released in version 1.1 (and right after that, patch 1.11). Despite the relatively low “number” accompanying the title, we are given a complete project that can suck us in for many hours of fun. What’s more, it will be certainly further improved and developed.
- Download Anno Domini 1257
Anno Domini 1257 as such is not available to the users of the core version of Mount & Blade, but modifications made in similar style were also developed for this installment. We can mention such projects as 1257 Edition, Britain 1297 and Rus: XIII Century. However, none of these mods are as impressive and polished as AD 1257.
H.O.T.D. (Mount & Blade / Warband)
Here's one of the craziest mods for Mount & Blade ever made. Its full name – Highschool of the Dead – sounds exactly like the title of a certain manga (which also has an anime adaptation) from 2006. By no means is it a coincidence. Here, Calradia morphs into contemporary Japan that fell victim to the plague of zombies. We are given only four factions to choose from, but the distinction between them is all too clear. They include: the students of the titular school fighting the undead under the command of their teacher, Mr. Shido; the Japanese police forces; the Takagi family mob; and, last but not least, the zombies themselves. Weren't it for the interface, it would be difficult at first glance to associate HOTD with Mount & Blade; in terms of graphics, the mod may not resemble manga or anime, but the locations and character models are dramatically different from what we can experience in the original Calradia. The differences are even more visible thanks to the presence of firearms, cars and other elements typical of the modern world. There's also the addition of humor – another aspect rather unheard of in the works of the TaleWorlds studio.
H.O.T.D. is available in versions for Mount & Blade and Mount & Blade: Warband. The differences between the two editions basically boil down to details, with the exception of the fact that in the latter of said productions the mod supports multiplayer modes. And while the mod itself is far from perfect, those of you who decide to test it must bear in mind that an improved version is unlikely to ever come out – the author left the modding community over a year ago.
- Download H.O.T.D. for Mount & Blade (Mod DB)
- Download H.O.T.D. for Mount & Blade: Warband
The Last Days of the Third Age (Mount & Blade/Warband)
The title seems to be pretty self-explanatory. As indicated in the header, the modification allows the players to take part in the events described in The Lord of the Rings novels. The story arc begins shortly before the war for the Ring breaks out. For some time, the player can travel peacefully and perform tasks until the conflict starts and Middle-earth becomes swarmed with hostile forces. The creators offer nearly 20 political factions representing the main races of Tolkien's world, i.e., humans, elves, dwarves and orcs, divided into various "nations". The essence of the game is to participate in the armed conflict, but nothing stops you from choosing a more "roleplay" approach and focus on quests, contacts with NPCs as well as exploring a variety of fun features. Interestingly enough, the authors have adapted the mechanics to a certain extent to reflect the spirit of Middle-earth; for example, there's no money, and various resources, as well as points of influence and rank points, serve as currency.
The Last Days of the Third Age of Middle Earth (as that is the quite lengthy title of the discussed modification in all its glory) was originally created for Mount & Blade, but eventually was also conversed to support Mount & Blade: Warband. What's interesting is that it wasn’t a separate file package that was published, but rather a small patch that ensured compatibility of the original game with the newer version. The mod is available in version 3.3 and there is nothing to indicate that the next update will appear in the near future. Frankly, there's not much room for improvement here anyway.
- Download The Last Days of the Third Age for Mount & Blade
- Download The Last Days compatibility patch for Mount & Blade: Warband (Mod DB)
Star Wars Conquest (Mount & Blade)
It would seem that substituting Calradia for a "galaxy far, far away" is a mission even more daring than turning Mount & Blade into a manga-style zombie extermination simulator (see H.O.T.D.). Meanwhile, Star Wars Conquest is considered by many to be the best mod to that game ever made. While compared to the previous modifications, the numbers might be less impressive – we are given "only" three factions (Empire, Rebellion and the Hutt Cartel) that have merely several units at their disposal – but the scale of the project and the level of execution are truly something to admire. How do you find the opportunity to visit hundreds of different planets whose graphic elements are unlike anything you've seen in the "core" version? Or the completely modified gameplay mechanics, changed in order to properly reproduce aspects such as space travel, mastery of lightsaber or shooting blasters? In short, Star Wars Conquest is filled to the brim with the atmosphere of the sci-fi cult classic; the quality of the entire product is so impressive that some critics went so far as to say that it puts to shame almost every official game set in the universe created by George Lucas.
Unlike almost all previous mods described in this article, Star Wars Conquest does not have a version supporting Mount & Blade: Warband. What’s more, the modification has not even been completed – the last released version is marked with number 0.9.4, and nothing indicates that this state will change – the creators were sucked in the black hole called real life and no longer work on the project. Nevertheless, Star Wars Conquest is a complete product rife with content, and what's more, it doesn’t seem to have many technical problems. This work is highly recommendable. Well, unless you suffer from an incurable allergy to science fiction...
- Download Star Wars Conquest
To finish up this article, let me give you a word of explanation addressed to those who expected to read about another great mod set in a popular fantasy universe – A Clash of Kings based on A Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones, if you will). I left out this particular work, as we are soon going to publish a larger article revolving around it in the near future.