Mount & Blade 2

Hunting in Bannerlord

Content of the article: "Hunting in Bannerlord"

It could be that I come from the rural western US, but I seriously want to go hunting in Bannerlord. And not for yet another sorry band of looters or bandits. I want to go hunting for wild game, deer, elk, wild boar, pheasants, maybe just a rabbit or two. And before you call me cruel, it would be quite in-keeping with the time period, and you would be doing it for the exact same reasons for which people have always hunted. And where does killing an animal rank in terms of cruelty when compared to killing an actual human being?

First, hunting provides a way to put food on the table, as well as animal skins for clothing, etc. In an unregulated wilderness this would be as natural as gathering water or making shelter, but in a medieval world, hunting rights would often be limited to only the nobility. Which brings up the aspect of poaching, a subject just brimming with story potential. It would be awesome to have your character start out as a simple poacher, gradually improving their skill as a hunter, but constantly on the lookout for game wardens.

Second, hunting was a way of honing your skill for war. Slaughtering one group of looters after another for experience doesn't rank terribly high on what I would consider historically accurate. Slaughter on that scale just doesn't make sense, for no other reason than that the population couldn't possibly support it. So, why not instead allow us to improve our skills doing something that people actually did for both sport and survival? Which sounds more fitting: Dropping a deer with a well-placed arrow so that my party doesn't starve, or loosing volley after volley to decimate a band of fleeing beggars who didn't even want to fight in the first place?

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Third, hunting was a way of making social connections. Poachers hunted in secrecy, but for the nobility, going hunting was like heading out to the golf course. It would be an interesting dialogue option to be able to ask a noble to join you on a hunt, rather than yet another board-game. Add in quests, intrigue, and maybe an option for karma to come full-circle for that dirt-bag Caladog…

Fourth, sometimes you might actually be the prey. This is where it could really get interesting. Remember all those pesky bands of looters that occasionally band together to take down a larger party? What if those were wolves instead. Imagine travelling through a war-torn region in the dead of winter, chasing off a few wolf-packs here and there, until suddenly they all band together and come at you in droves. In our safe, modern world we have grown accustomed to the idea that wolves tend to avoid people at all costs, but this wasn't always the case. In a world without modern firearms, in a region littered with fresh corpses from an ongoing war, it could be a completely different story. Also, imagine coming into a settlement to find that a particularly savage predator has been picking off stragglers at the edge of the village. You follow the bear tracks to its den, and everyone looks to you expectantly.

Now, it wouldn't really make sense to have herds of deer running across the map like bandits or peasants, and then to have them all line up and charge you once you finally caught up to them. They aren't humans, and shouldn't act like them. A wolf-pack might act similar to a band of looters, but not deer. Instead, make it more like a bandit camp, where you spot an ideal hunting location while travelling. Then you go into the actual scenario, where you have to spot them and approach without being seen or they will immediately turn and flee. It could be possible to use tactics and corner them, which is often what they would do for wild boar, with the final kill being with a spear or even a sword. Larger predators would be more solitary, but in areas only accessible by you and maybe a few companions.

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Anyway, I think it would be awesome for the game to move away from forcing you to kill hundreds, if not thousands, just so that you can reach the next level. Instead offer more realistic and diverse methods of honing your skill, stuff that you can grind without feeling like a mass-murderer. That way, when you actually do get a kill it's a lot more meaningful and significant.


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