Bartering for prisoners in Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord has made a return to the series. Players of the earlier games will remember that it used to be a great money-maker to engage in small skirmishes, capture as many foes as possible, and ransom them off to a third-party faction in wartime to fund the war effort. Playing factions in Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord against each other is a very important part of political maneuvering, so get used to it.
There is a bit of randomness involved, as the injured on the losing side have a chance to be taken prisoner, and yes the player can be captured too. The general idea here is to find and engage an enemy army and take captives. You have to win the battle of course, and the injured soldiers on the losing team can be captured. Bandit camps are also a good source of captives, but hunting them down relies on fast-moving armies, so small cavalry forces may work best. Although for this approach to work, you need to be adept at combat and able to inflict many injuries without killing too many enemies.
Once you have your prisoners, head to any Castle on the map. At the start of the game, you have limited funds and access to faction settlements and will have to deal with the slavers and traders from your own starting faction. Once you’ve picked through the potential captives, head to the town of your choice. Keep in mind that it needs to be a major settlement, like a faction capital, as only these larger towns spawn the NPCs willing to trade people for Denar.
Click the option for “Go to the tavern district”, and then once loaded into the area, select the option to ransom prisoners. This is the best approach for most captured enemies, although there is one notable exception. As you move up the ladder of power, you will start drawing lords, kings and other commanders into battles. If you have taken a leader, or noble, captive, hold onto them for a better price. Feel free to shop the higher-value targets around for the best possible sale. Yes I know, it sounds really reprehensible, but it’s the way the world of Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord works.
One final tip, if you do have a high-level ruler captured, you might want to try conversing with them or their faction. There’s a possibility of using them as a bargaining chip to end a war, gain new territory or even recruit them to your side. Making a friend out of an enemy is a powerful weapon indeed.