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Getting married in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord and having children isn't just a fun distraction, it's required if you want to see all your hard work not go to waste. Having children is a core feature of the game because you'll need someone new to play as when your main character dies. And, trust me, that will happen eventually. Even with battlefield deaths disabled, characters get older and will eventually die from old age—it's just not yet clear whether death from old age is working in the Early Access version of Bannerlord right now. But why take that chance when you can be meeting hot singles in your neighborhood, getting hitched, and creating a family?
How to marry in Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord
The first step to getting married and having kids is choosing who you want to marry. Searching through the Heroes section of the Encyclopedia—accessible by shortcut with N—is one way to find a spouse. Try to find someone whose family, parents, or friends are people you want to get along with, and make sure they’re not already married by scrolling down to the Family section of their Encyclopedia page. Once you’ve done that, the process is simple. Here’s a short outline:
- Meet your intended and inform them of your desires.
- Have a successful conversation.
- Wait a while.
- Have another conversation.
- Propose marriage.
- Obtain your new partner’s liege’s approval.
- Congratulations, you’re married.
Woo your Beloved
To get started on marriage, first find your marriage candidate. In the default game you can only choose people of the opposite sex, but there are already mods to fix that if you’d like to choose otherwise. You can open the Encyclopedia, then type their name into the search in order to find their most recent location, shown in the top right corner of the character description window. That should give you a start on tracking them down for a meeting.
Having met your spouse, you’ll tell them "You have something to discuss," and then choose either "I wish to profess to you my most ardent admiration" for ladies or "I notice you have not yet taken a wife" for lords. You can choose either followup option, depending on if you’re the more straightforward type or you like to play it coy. This initiates the first stage of courting. You can then end the conversation and speak with them again, choosing the option "So… I’m glad to have the chance to spend some time together." This will initiate a Charm skill check where you choose dialogue options with different outcomes based on your attributes.
In a Charm skill check, your Charm skill determines which attributes the person you’re talking with will favor. Which attributes apply to which dialogue is listed in parenthesis, with some dialogue options appearing red and some green—this is your charm skill telling you that this dialogue choice is something the person will approve of. These attributes also very likely have higher weights in the chance of success depending on your choice of spouse and their own personality traits.
This can be quite hard, or quite easy, depending on how compatible you are with your chosen spouse. If your chances are really atrociously bad and you’re very attached to this person then reload a previous save, go level up some more, and pump your stats before you do this step. Each dialogue option during one of these challenges will have a percent chance of success next to it—the highest I’ve seen is 94 percent—and a possible chance of instant failure. You have to succeed three times to move forward.
Then you wait a few days, meet your intended again, and pop the question. This will trigger another Charm skill check much like the first one. If you succeed at this second challenge, congratulations: They said yes. Now it's time to get mommy's and daddy's approval.
Convince their Liege
Mommy and daddy, in this case, is actually whoever runs your spouse’s clan. Now all you have to do is dish out a giant pile of gifts, cash, and trade goods to the local authority. Yup, it’s true: In the world of Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord, every leader has absolute authority over who in their clan gets to marry whom, so you need their approval to move forward. That’s good for you. Later, you can use this power to get your children spouses and grow your clan.
Their approval will require fat stacks of cash as a kind of dowry. This uses the barter interface, with your stuff on the right and their stuff on the left. The simplest way to succeed here is simply to offer an ever-larger stack of denars (the currency in Bannerlord), then click yes when the confirmation button turns green. You can also offer trade goods and valuable equipment, which, as far as I can tell, contributes their average cash value to the negotiation. Now, with the dowry paid, the screen goes black for a second and you’re married. (There’s no cutscene for that yet.)
The effect of marriage is that your new spouse, and their entire party, will move into your Clan as a new party. This is simple if your spouse isn’t a warrior. They won’t have a retinue and will either move to a major city of your faction or to a castle or city you own.
If they do have an army, beware that it will be rough on your income as those expenses will be passed on to you. NPCs aren’t great at the economy, either, so they’re probably losing money rather than making it. You can check that by mousing over your income in the main screen, then looking for "Spouse’s party wages" and "Spouse’s party finance help." You might have to meet up with your spouse, hand-pick some of their troops to keep, then disband the rest.
Settle down, start a family
Now that you're married, you probably want some children. This is good, because spouses and kids add new Heroes to your Clan that don’t require the same party slots that Companions use when you recruit them from a tavern.
To start the family-having process, spend some time with your spouse. It’s not clear to anyone at this point, and quite hard to confirm, exactly what triggers pregnancy in Mount & Blade 2. For me, having my spouse in my party for an extended period of time was what did it, which is easy if your spouse is combat-focused. If your spouse isn't good with a sword, go to where they’re staying and pass a week or so on high game speed. That should be enough to start the, uh, process.
Eventually a brightly colored notification, accompanied by a baby’s whine and a drumbeat, will pop up in the bottom right that you—or your spouse—is pregnant. If you miss it you can check a character’s past events in the Encyclopedia. This doesn’t seem to affect anything in-game, for now, other than a few seasons later a baby pops up, joins the Clan, and starts aging. Some players have reported receiving notifications that their spouse is pregnant after the marriage is complete, but without having spent any time with their spouse, so it’s possible that the game doesn’t care about spending time directly with your spouse—or that some players are getting lucky and getting pregnant on their wedding night.
Heirs and Inheritance in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord
Babies shortly become children, who age into teenagers, then adults. Teenagers can start fighting and generally doing hero stuff pretty early, by modern-day standards. So get them into your party and improve their skills as soon as you can. Now that you have a child, if you die, you’ll be able to choose that child as your heir and continue to play as them. You can also choose your spouse as your heir. If your heir is politically weak, isolated, or not the ruler of your Kingdom, consider using your Clan’s Influence to pass the "Feudal Inheritance" law so it’s harder for the ruler to revoke your fiefs.