Settlements can be conquered in Mount and Blade Bannerlord, but they can also revolt against you, so maintaining and learning to increase loyalty is important to keep control of them. If you don’t, settlements have a chance to rebel.
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How to Increase Loyalty in Bannerlord
Loyalty in Bannerlord is effectively a measure of how happy with your rule a settlement is. High loyalty means they are generally happy and will make things easier for you. Low loyalty can mean that the people are suffering and are likely to turn against you. This is why learning to increase loyalty can be crucially important in the long term.
Managing Loyalty Through Culture
If you acquire land through conquest, one of the first interactions you have of loyalty will be through culture.
Settlements that are historically Vlandian do not like Sturgian rulers, for example. This results in a considerable penalty of -3 loyalty per day. Barring any huge issues, Owner Culture hitting you for -3 is the largest penalty you will face when managing settlement loyalty.
As with the given example above, this penalty applies whenever there is a mismatch between local and ruling cultures. The first way to change this is by appointing a governor to the town or castle. If the governor is of the local culture, you will gain a daily increase of +1 to loyalty, helping you deal with the local culture problem somewhat.
You can take another negative penalty here if you mismatch cultures again. So you’ll want to make sure of your decision before appointing anyone, as they can make things worse. You can verify the culture of a companion or family member by clicking on their name in dialogue screens, which will open their in-game wiki page.
While the penalty for a mismatched governor is smaller, adding another -1 on top of the -3 for an owner mismatch can make loyalty very hard to then increase for some Bannerlord players.
With governance out of the way, there are other small ways to manage settlement Loyalty available to you. Towns for example feature a fairground building. Each level of the fairground constructed will increase loyalty by +0.5 daily. This can scale to a maximum of +1.5 daily when all three levels of the fairground are built.
Increasing Loyalty using Policies
There are also considerable boosts to settlement loyalty available in the policy tab. Unfortunately, you will need to either rule or otherwise be part of a Kingdom to make use of these. They are strictly not accessible to rulers with land outside of a declared Kingdom.
The biggest loyalty increase policy in Bannerlord is the Forgiveness of Debts. Enacting it will increase all settlements’ loyalty by +2 per day. This comes at the cost of lowering the total production of those settlements by 5%. This is a considerable penalty, as it applies across the board. The benefit of Forgiveness of Debts is that it offers the fastest improvement to Loyalty in the game that anyone can take up.
Unfortunately, if you are not the ruler of your own Kingdom, this one can be difficult to pass. The AI will often oppose it due to the large negative that it brings. This makes sense as AI doesn’t need the loyalty bonus to manage their lands. The issue arises where foreign expansion begins, which is where you encounter the culture mismatch penalties.
Other loyalty increase policies in Bannerlord are Grazing rights, Imperial Towns, Citizenship, and Trial by Jury. Each of these comes with its own downside, and none are quite as powerful as the Forgiveness of Debts is. Of those, Grazing rights are likely to take second place as the 0.5 daily increase in loyalty comes at a fairly small cost to village growth.
If you’re still struggling with loyalty after employing these policies, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Check for issues such as a bandit hideout nearby, which will reduce loyalty as long as it remains. Improving prosperity and security in a settlement can also help its loyalty improve over the long term.
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