The story is same, it’s just the costumes which are different. Still the son of the Steppe
Nomad. Still the Blacksmith. Still the generic force with which I’m thrust out of my home.
Still the same snowy wastela… wait, what’s this? Was my biography adhered to, my
Steppe lineage placing me in the middle of the Steppes? Of course, this presents a
quandary; in the Renaissance period I’m supposed to live in, the Steppes are without the
new technology. Hmm.. this could be interesting.
I roam. I harvest the villages of their precious volunteers, and I slay bandits. So far, so
same. This time I’m using my bow a good deal more, and it is a good deal more satisfying,
and, unfortunately, tricky. I’m sure I’ll get it with time. The Steppes give me reason to
pillage and burn, and soon my coffers swell with the ill gotten gains of my labour. I stick
to the outskirts of the friendly armies, making sure I don’t get attacked. I’m such a rotten
It’s ok, though, because I don’t have to deal with my companions constantly bitching behind
my back, because I’ve only got the one. Behustruh, a Steppe warrior like myself, came to me
with little more than the clothes on his back. Ignore that, he came to me with nothing but the
clothes on his back. I gave him a horse, a bow, and enough arrows to send my enemies to
whatever religious underworld my current nationality believes in. I continue my cycle of looting
villages, selling their wares, and finding a new village. There are enough that by the time I’ve
exhausted the last, the first has recuperated. My army grows strong, and stays full, so I decide
to get a little more bold.
The King (or whatever the equivalent of the Steppe people’s is) has laid siege to a nearby castle.
They’ve got a bloody siege tower. This could be most entertaining. I move in, helping
him out, and our archers display such skill that there are no defenders by the time we reach the
walls. Easiest siege I’ve ever had the good fortune to take part in. I would rather like one of those
fire sticks that the soldiers of the Lion Throne have, however.
The next battle is in the open plains. Our ruler against their’s. We have more men, but they are
better equipped. We move in, our horse archers circling their tight formation of armoured pike
men. A few fall, but not enough. I move in to slaughter them with my blade, and my horse crumples
beneath me, a pike through it’s heart. This could be troublesome. Turning, I flee to away from the
fight, eventually finding a horse without a master. With my renewed help, we win the battle and the
Grand Marshal presents me with a trophy. They call it an ‘Elephant Gun’, he tells me.
Whatever magic the magicians of the Lion Throne possess, it is a strong one, and the Elephant Gun
shows itself to be a hellishly effective tool. An armoured knight is killed in one blow by the mammoth
cartridges, but it takes me far too long to reload. I switch back to my bow for a while, preferring
the speed with which I can send my feathered death at the enemy.
Audacity overcomes me, and I attack a caravan in the mountains. The terrain renders my cavalry
useless, and the light in our eyes makes our arrows fly wide. We are overcome, and my army is
slowly defeated. I alone remain, standing at the top of a bluff, the Gun in my hands, picking off the
enemy as they slowly advance. Boom! One crumples. A hasty reload. Boom! Another falls down. Too
many remain. I draw my sword, charge, and am ended.
It has been repeated. The tired cycle of build an army, fight battles and eventually be defeated,
only to repeat the whole thing has not ended. Perhaps that’s not what I am looking for, an end to
all that, but it would seem the obvious answer. My quest shall continue, and I shall find my
entertainment elsewhere. Guns and frills do not become me.
Boredom Mounting, Blades Dulling is a feature where I’m going through the mods for Mount & Blade,
an indie action RPG that features a very diverse battle engine. The first in the series is here.
You can get the game on Steam here or buy it directly here. You can also read up on it here.
The Eagle and the Radiant Cross is a mod for Mount & Blade that places the original game world
several hundred years forward in time, equipping many of the armies with guns after the advent
of gunpowder. As you have read, I started in the Mongol area, which meant no guns for me. I
may as well really had been playing the game as it was intended, but having enemies who were
far more advanced did present an interesting challenge. In the end it was perhaps a little too
difficult to overcome terrain when my entire army was cavalry based.
I did like the mod though, and if you have the game it would be well worth getting, as it’s perhaps
the most extensive mod the game has produced. It features entirely new units, many new weapons
and armour, and, of course, guns, which make some of the battles a little one-sided. You can
download it here, and read up on it here.