Mount & Blade 2’s Calradic Empire bring the might of heavy cavalry and combined arms

Update, February 16: The second feature on Mount & Blade II’s Calradic Empire gets into the nitty-gritty of their armies.

Last week, developers TaleWorlds detailed the politics and history behind the Calradic Empire in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, and now they’re revealing what to expect from the faction’s troops and unique features, so you have a better idea of what to expect from your role in and around the faction.

Find out about the Aserai clans that rule Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’s southern deserts.

The Empire draws on the Byzantine resurgence of the ninth to eleventh centuries, most notably the armoured cavalry know as the cataphracts. These mounted warriors ride into battle with lance, sabre, and mace in hand.

In-game, the mix of heavy cavalry, spearmen, and skirmishers give the Empire a strong focus on combined arms, letting you make tactical experiments thanks to an improved morale system. Charging cataphracts into enemy flanks, for example, might add a shock effect thanks to large numbers of enemies going down at once. These units feature slightly anachronistic two-handed kontos lances for extra reach against enemies.

With some inspiration from the Romans, the Calradic Empire has a strong focus on its central cities, with their advanced economic development being shown off by the number of workshops it features and defensive strength displayed by three levels of outer walls.

Regional variations in the Empire will be shown mostly through minor factions, with border areas represented by frontiersmen who take on some of the characteristics of the tribal warriors they often battle. Cossack-inspired Eleftheroi populate the south and east as colonies of fugitives and other independents. There’s also a clan of Nord guardsmen who make their living as mercenaries.

You’ll likely start your journey in the outer kingdoms, but rising to power means eventually confronting the Empire at its center. Whether that means riding to conquer it or making your fame from within is up to you.

Original story, February 9: The latest Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord dev blog goes into one of the game’s most important factions – the Calradic Empire. The blog looks at the recent past of the Calradic Empire and explains the events that led to its current civil war.

According to the dev blog, the Caldroi were one of many tribes living in the hills between the southern sea and the Battanian woods. However, over time, they forced their neighbours into a confederation of city-states.

The Caldroi had no kings, as the tradition of monarchy was banned. Instead there was an assembly of free citizens, a permanently-sitting senate of elders and, when necessary, an emperor.

However, those in power grew greedy. The emperors stopped retiring from their position of power when the need for them ended and the senators began building great estates in conquered lands. Without a stable monarchy in place, finding an heir to the emperor typically fell to whoever he chose as his successor. “But this did not always happen smoothly, and then the succession was settled on the battlefield of a civil war”, the post says.

The Empire is based on Greco-Roman traditions, drawing inspiration from how their “rules of succession were never set in stone.”

This is the first part of two dev blogs devoted to the Empire, focussing on its history. The second part is due next week.