There are a total of 18 Skills and over 250 perks in Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord, all of which bring their own unique flavor to your warband. Every single king, queen, peasant, and soldier makes use of the same skills as you do, making this guide useful not just for you, but also for understanding your companions and hirelings attributes.
When creating your own character, it may be tempting to be great at everything. However, some skills are more useful than others, especially since Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord is set in Calradia during a time of great strife where war, battle, and banditry is common; improving combat related skills is crucial in order to succeed early on. Thankfully, any gaps in your skills can be remedied with the right companions.
Attribute Points & Focus Points
Skills can be increased by gaining experience to it by performing related actions. You can gain increased experience to a specific set of skills by assigning Attribute Points and Focus Points.
Attribute points are assigned during character creation and for every three levels you will gain 1 Attribute point.
Focus points are earned every time you level up and are used to improve your learning speed for a specific skill.
If you wish to be a Conan the Barbarian type, you may need to put Attribute points into Vigor for increased Two Handed skill and points into Endurance to improve Athletics and Riding for mobility.
If you would prefer to be a Robin Hood type of character it may be better to invest Attributes into Control and Cunning for improved training in Bow and Roguery.
In order to use Attribute points, you need to click on the corresponding box on the left side of your Character page, then press the plus symbol within the window that pops up.
To assign a Focus point to a skill, you need to click on a specific skill and then click the plus symbol at the bottom of the character page. Make sure to click the green ‘Done’ button to save your changes.
|Vigor allows you to improve all your melee combat skills.
|Control focuses on all your ranged combat skills with bows and throwing weapons.
|Endurance increases your stamina and speed for physical activities, such as running and riding.
|Cunning is all about planning and strategies. This attribute will help with navigation and tactics in battle and otherwise.
|The Social skills helps to motivate and lead your army as well as improve trading and communication with other Lords.
|Intelligence helps with making your settlements prosper, keeping your army healthy and making sure you keep the advantage during sieges.
The logic behind Skill Points
Skills directly translate to the power of a given character, as improving skills is how a character levels up. For example, in order to level up from level 15 to level 16 you will have to earn 80 skill points in any skill. Leveling up also improves your ability to increase skills faster with additional Attribute points and Focus points.
Skills show how proficient a character is at a specific task, with a combination of skills painting what type of character they are.
A character with 200 riding and 200 bow skill would most likely translate to them being a horse archer, capable of galloping around while peppering enemies with accurate arrow fire.
Some skills also act as a barrier to better equipment, such as better bows or faster and stronger horses to ride on.
The more points you have assigned to a skill, the better you are at that specified action. For example, a skill level of 45 in One Handed gives you an additional +3.2% weapon speed and +6.8% weapon damage, and a One Handed skill level of 95 will increase speed and damage by +6.7% and +14.3% respectively.
The bonus stats from skills are incremental and are made even better with the addition of perks.
Depending on your perk choices, you can improve these numbers as well. Perks such as ‘Edge Placement 1’ and ‘Raider 1’ will give you an additional +4% Weapon Damage and a +4% Weapon Speed bonus on top of the main skill improvements.
Also, One Handed skill level of 95 translates to your character swinging the sword 10% faster and doing nearly 20% more damage, allowing them to dispatch enemies quicker or overwhelm a single target with a flurry of blows.
Alongside statistical bonuses, high skill levels unlock special abilities via perks such as deflecting arrows or using any type of bow on a horse.
Different skill types explained
For simplicity, skills can be divided into three overall categories: combat skills, tactical and support skills, and strategic and economic skills.
These skills directly increase your fighting power and proficiency with a specific weapon type.
This category consists of the following skills: One Handed, Two Handed, Polearm, Bow, Crossbow, Throwing, Riding, and Athletics.
Combat skills are straightforward, being direct and providing a cumulative increase in personal combat power. This applies to everyone that engages in battle, including you, your troops as well as your enemies.
Tactical & Support Skills
Tactical and support skills enhance your party passively and improve overall party strength.
These skills include Leadership, Tactics, Medicine, Steward, and Engineering.
Utilizing the mentioned skills will provide party-wide bonuses, such as improving party sizes with Steward, or preventing deaths in the party with Medicine.
Tactical skills also allow you to build siege engines faster in sieges, enabling you to take settlements much faster. However, in order to benefit from Tactical skills, you will need to assign a role to that character.
Strategic & Economic Skills
The rest of the skills can be categorized as strategic and economic skills which can make your life easier outside of combat.
These skills consist of Smithing, Scouting, Roguery, Charm, and Trade.
This is subset of skills becomes especially important once you get into the late-game and have your own kingdom, settlements and relations with other lords to manage.
Skills explained & how to increase them
Most skills are simple to level up, while some are a bit more complicated to understand. We put together a simple overview below on how to improve all the skills efficiently.
One Handed Two Handed & Polearm
One Handed improves single-handed weapon handling and damage with perks also improving shields.
Two Handed improves two-handed weapon handling and damage, with perks that give you raw damage and spreading terror among your foes.
Polearms improve the use of any weapon that has a wooden shaft, like spears and lances. It increases speed and damage with perks that focus on horseback strikes.
All these three melee combat skills can be improved by hitting enemies with them. Improve (VIG) and invest Focus points on the skill(s) you prefer.
Bow skill improves archery, both on foot and on horseback with each level improving your draw speed, making you shoot faster. With the perks you can also improve other archers in the party.
Making difficult shots like long range hits and headshots with bows will give you bonus experience, but missing shots will give you nothing. Improve (CTR) to get an experience multiplier in this skill.
Crossbow skill and its perks greatly improve the reload speed with a crossbow, which is vital for efficiency.
The key to improving this skill is shooting crossbows accurately at a distance. It can be hard to get started as the crossbow weapon itself has steep requirements to use, both skill and money wise.
It is extremely rare to get a crossbow as a drop from enemies, so the best way to acquire it is to purchase it with denars.
The minimum requirement for a basic crossbow purchased from a store is a Crossbow skill level of 20.
This can be achieved by attending Vlandian tournaments (Sargot, Jaculan, Galend, Pravend, Ocs Hall).
Tournaments are not efficient in the long-term experience wise, as you only get to kill a one or two enemies if you’re lucky. This is why you should only grind this method up to Crossbow level 20.
Similar to the normal Bow skill, you need to improve (CTR) to get experience faster.
Throwing skill improves speed, damage, and accuracy with throwing weapons. The perks from this skill improve overall performance with throwing weapons and give extra munitions to start with.
Due to limited ammunition and accuracy difficulty, it may be useful to train with throwing knives to start off, as they are faster to throw, more accurate, and have the most ammunition.
Once you improve your throwing efficiency, you can move to the more deadly, harder to handle throwing weapons.
You can carry multiple bags of throwing weapons by assigning them into more than one of the three weapon slots.
In order to gain experience faster, you need to improve the (CTR) attribute.
Riding skill increases the speed of your mount in battle. The higher your riding level is, the better mounts you can equip.
The riding skill has perks that enable the use of big bows and crossbows while riding, as well as speed and handling improvements.
This skill can be improved by riding any kind of horse/camel both in battle and on the map.
Charging at enemies while on horseback also gives bonus experience. For the experience multiplier, improve (END).
Athletics increases the maximum running speed, utilizing perks that make you a bit tougher and even enable you to knock foes down with kicks.
Leveling up Athletics is similar to the Riding skill, just without the horse. When the battle starts, you have to dismount your horse and fight on your feet to gain Athletics experience.
In order to gain experience while travelling, you will need to un-equip your mount and walk around the map in your boots. This will slow you down a bit but it’s definitely the easiest way to level up this skill. For the added multiplier you should improve (END).
Smithing unlocks better quality parts to craft your own weapons with. This becomes especially important in the end-game when you can’t find any better weapons from merchants and settlements.
Smelting weapons, crafting components, and making anything in the Smithy will give you experience towards Smithing
Good way to get a lot of Smithing experience fast, is to Smelt wooden weapons to get more hardwood, which in turn can be converted into charcoal for some free experience.
Improve (END) for faster leveling.
Scouting increases your detection radius on the map, allowing you to spot everything at longer distances.
Scouting perks increase your movement speed on the world map.
In order to gain experience in Scouting, start off by setting yourself the role of a ‘Scout’ within your Clan. This role can be assigned on the clan page (open with the ‘L‘ key).
Once that’s done, start roaming the map in search for Bandit Hideouts and and once you get close enough to one, you Scouting should increase.
Marching through difficult terrain, such as dense forests, mountainous rocky coasts also give experience points.
Improve (CNG) to level up your Scouting faster.
Tactics improves the auto-resolved battles results and decreases the losses you take from retreating.
Perks drastically increase the damage of your troops in auto-resolved battles and provide army improvements.
Attacking looters and using the ‘Send troops’ option to automatically resolve the battle is the most safe and reliable way to improve Tactics.
Alternatively, personally fighting in battles while at a tactical disadvantage (against larger armies) also gives you good experience. Tactical advantages are judged based on the colored bar at the top of the screen during battle.
Improve the experience multiplier with the Cunning (CNG) attribute.
Roguery skill increases the amount of loot you receive after a battle.
A great way to improve this skill is attacking trade caravans, which yields moderate experience.
An easier, less reliable way is to increase Roguery is to collect as many prisoner as possible and sell them to the ransom broker in a tavern.
Bribing guards is a good option If your renown is not high enough and you are not a lord. This can be done by entering a town’s keep, which will often give you a choice to bribe a guard in order to get inside.
Improve Cunning (CNG) for an experience multiplier and thus faster level-ups.
Charm increases the amount of relations you gain from improving relations with any lord.
Increasing Charm can be done by negotiating with lords by ‘proposing a deal’ as well as trading anything will give you decent experience.
Finishing quests for people also improves your Charm as you improve relations with people.
In order to get an experience multiplier for Charm, you need to add attribute points into (SOC).
Leadership adds more morale to your army, making them less likely to run away from danger. Leadership perks will passively increase the experience multiplier for your troops.
Assembling armies and leading them is the most reliable way to gain Leadership, however this is only available if you are a part of a kingdom.
You can form armies in the Kingdom tab (open with the ‘K‘ key) and select which lords you wish to join your army.
The more parties they are in your army, the more experience you will gain.
Leadership is difficult difficult and expensive skill to increase and will need a hefty investment of money, time, and Focus Points.
However, it’s a very useful skill to improve so you can leader a greater army and level up captured troops within your army, like Forest Bandits.
Adding lords into your army can be expensive influence wise. A great way to add additional parties into your army for extra experience, is to form Clan parties in the clan tab and to add them into your army.
Make sure to improve the Charm (SOC) attribute for faster experience gains.
Higher Trade skill makes buying things cheaper and selling items more profitable. This is important when you have a huge army and many settlements to take care of, as the wages keep increasing accordingly.
The simplest and fastest way to earn Trading skill levels is to buy low and sell high. An example of such a trade would be buying a bunch of clay for 12 denars and selling clay at another town for 20-30 denars each.
Owning Caravans also provides you with passive experience, however Caravans have become less profitable in the later updates to the game, making the initial investment a pain to deal with.
Similar to leadership, improve Charm (SOC) for the experience multiplier.
A clan member assigned as a Quartermaster who has a high Steward skill will make your maximum party size larger.
Having ‘Quartermaster’ as your clan role and maintaining morale over 50 will passively increase your stewardship.
Later on you can spend time upgrading settlements to give you modest experience.
Intelligence (INT) will allow for the experience increase for the Steward skill.
A clan Surgeon with high Medicine skill will reduce the time it takes for wounded party members to recover.
The skill also increases the chance of troops only being wounded, instead of killed in battle, which is extremely useful.
The skill can be improved by being a clan Surgeon in the clan tab.
Having wounded party members heal from their injuries will passively increase your experience, which can be done fast by resting in towns.
Adding points to (INT) will help you gain Medicine experience faster.
A clan Engineer builds siege weapons faster with higher levels in Engineering, allowing you to shoot first and attack walls days earlier.
Perks from Engineering unlock better siege weapons and defenses.
You only gain experience if you have set an ‘Engineer’ as your clan role, then building siege weapons, both when attacking and defending settlements.
In order to make progression faster, improve the (INT) attribute.
Advanced Skill Improvement Tips & Tricks
This section will highlight some helpful tips for various skills, such as priorities and alternative solutions. Some skills are very hard to level-up reliably and quickly, but can easily be solved by hiring companions to fill those roles and leaving you free to become a stronger warrior.
Skills that you should delegate to companions for maximum efficiency are Medicine, Scouting, Engineering.
Medicine is the easiest skill to increase through your companions as 33% of companions in taverns will most likely be healers, allowing you to hire someone who has a base Medicine skill between 60 and 100+ giving you an advantage straight off the bat. Assigning those companions as the clan Surgeon will solve most of your medical problems.
Scouts are also easy to find and recruit, but also have an added bonus of being excellent leaders for their own parties in your clan/kingdom. Typically companions with the name such as “Horsethief” and “Frostbeard” will have high Scouting. Make sure to assign one of them as the dedicated scout for your Clan.
Due to the siege nature of Engineering, it is not something you can train right away and will take a considerable amount of time to get going. Thus hiring an engineer from a tavern will give you a big step up instead of trying to get good at it yourself.
In order to siege castles efficiently, you should form large armies with the other Lords in your Kingdom and have them join you in the Siege. This will also reduce the amount of losses for your own army, as casualties will be split between you and your allies armies.