Mount and Blade: Warband Guides: The Beginnings
When deciding who do you want to be, your initial choices shape your later career. However, most of the skills you obtain are either focused on combat, or “Misc” skills. For example, you could be a decent knight, footman or archer. But on the other hand, you could also kick off as a decent Engineer, Merchant or medic. So in a way, when considering these three propositions, you have to be aware, that it is often a good idea to focus on one path, to best exploit the benefits.
Let us start off by acknowledging one thing.Bandits are often walking pots of gold. There are two reasons for that. Higher levels bandits have decent equipment, but even the prisoners alone are worth plenty of gold. Although a Looter will fetch you a mere 30 coins, a captured Sea Raider will go for over 100 coins. But before you kick off your career of capturing slaves and selling their equipment there are a few things you must be made brutally aware of.
First of all, let us look at the Bandits. At your first levels you will meet two types of bandits. The Looters and Bandits are something your most basic recruits can handle, and they also make perfect practice at your first steps, if you want to improve your combat against weak opponents. They usually lack shields, have pathetic armour, and sometimes have bows, but usually use rocks. In short summary, easy targets. Due to their equipment usually being of horrid quality you are better off capturing them, than killing them. The next step up from that are Forest and Mountain Bandits. Both groups have better equipment, and Forest Bandits are mildly effective archers, but against experienced troops mildly helpless. Their axes are deadly however, while Mountain Bandits usually use hammers or flails, which only knock out your troops, and thus do not kill them. The deadliest foot bandits are Sea Raiders. They appear to be the best fighters of the lot, but also their equipment is staggeringly better than that of their predecessors. Due to this, they are not to be taken lightly, since basic recruits will have a hard time harming them, and due to their throwing axes your frontline could be decimated if you do not have any experienced troops with shields. There are two more groups of bandits. Desert Raiders and Steppes Bandits. The key difference between these two groups is that Steppes Bandits usually use bows on horseback. Desert Raiders use spears to charge into your line, potentially insta-killing your men.
Obviously, each group uses specific equipment. This also means their specific strengths and weaknesses are clear. Sea Raiders are tough, and devastating in close combat. Desert Raiders lack better armour, but their spears could be a problem in the initial charge. Forest Bandits will pepper away at you with arrows, as they advance. Although the bandits will charge in a disorderly manner toward your line, as mentioned before, sometimes you have to charge yourself to reduce damage to your own line. Sometimes specific troop types will fare better, or worse against the bandits. But there is one thing to be aware of when hunting bandits. The bigger your band, the more likely bandits will flee from you. This might not be too much a problem against Mountain or Forest Bandits, but Steppes Bandits and Desert Raiders are very quick, due to being on horseback. As such, you have to invest in one of two things. A warband consisting of almost purely cavalry, or a lot of points invested into Travel related skills. This is also a remedy against smaller bands which can be extremely quick. So, either have a very small quick band, or a band composed of horsemen.