There are many ways to play the game, all of them respectable, but have you ever wanted to dunk on poor people? Ever seen that next piece of a$$slapping sexy gear and been too poor yourself to afford it? Ever wanted to have the capitalist comeup from your dungscraping origins? Or maybe you are just looking to flex your singleplayer bankaccount on the proles n’ plebs that you talk to. Either way, trading is undeniably the meta and the best get rich quick scheme on the map, it also allows you to power level like a god. This guide can be useful for all players! If you’re a noob and don’t want to get dunked on, welcome! If you’re a pro at combat who wants to learn a thing or two and make a successful side hustle, you too will benefit!
My inspiration for this guide is a short story. I bought Bannerlord a few days ago and was talking to my good friend, let’s call him Greg, about my mountains of cold-hard cash. He wanted to get in on the action, and I told him foolishly, that, “you buy silver at Lycaron and sell it on the coast, easy as that!” After hearing him whine about loosing money, he told me that he bought all of the silver ore (not looking at the price) and sold it enmass at one city.
To any seasoned trader, his decisions were riddled with flaws, but I realized that this poor lil prole trusted my advice, and to some extent, this was my fault.
But no more, I shall clear my name by teaching all of you to be scum bags.
I’m going to split this guide up into parts so as to help all player levels through these tactics, so either skip the parts that don’t apply to you, or skim them for relevant info.
Begginer’s Guide to Not Being a Total Prole
I watched gameplay of this masterpiece of a game, and I was suprised how many streamers made these simple mistakes, so follow my rules and rise above poverty!!!
I will detail character creation after this, but this is useful to those who have already started
Rule 1: Subsistence
Your first goal of Bannerlord is to not suck. This is easily done as the game starts you with a nice purse of 1000 gold. I recommend to quickly hire some basic troops, the imperial plebs from nearby villages will do, and if you want to do a culturally specific army, don’t worry, you can always abandon your hired help next to a bandit camp and imagine them becoming slaves! Isn’t that fun?
Next, you should go to Lycaron (ik this is sounding bad) and if silver ore is less than 150, buy some, and flip it for at least 160 in the southern ports. This is a good way before the markets get blasted by war to make some starting cash (which you will need if you want to become a business Mogul).
Rule 2: Common sense
You buy something for 150, why would you sell it for anything less???
Don’t insta screw yourself and loose all of your money by simply not using your eyes!
Also, always keep enough to pay your men for a week: don’t hurt that morale (and those sweet stewardship levels) by not paying your most valuable assets!
Rule 3: Buy in bulk!
Once you have remade your initial investment, look for some cheap horses. This will be easy in the starting region as there are villages around Poros that farm the beautiful road-apple-dropping money makers that are essential to your profits going through the roof. Buy sumpter horses, mules, or pack camels (whatever is cheapest as I’ve noticed no difference in weight carrying ability) for under 200 gold each (you can find them for under 100 if you’re really stretched). Apply that good ol’ common sense, and don’t bankrupt yourself by setting up your business. (more horses in your herd increases the amount your party can carry, but gives a minor debuff to map speed) 5 or so spare horses are a good starting place. Now, are you ready to double your money?
Go to some villages that produce salt, and buy as much as you can for 25 or lower(20 is the golden price), go to the next town, that isn’t connected to those said villages, and you will probably find that salt sells for 40+. Selling to villages first is also a good strat, as those rural bumpkins will allow you to unload all of the salt for the same price, thus raising your profits!
Go to other regions once the price of salt has dropped below 40, and tank their markets too! Buy more horses to increase profit margins, and rinse n’ repeat!
Rule 4: Get Rich, Ball Out
Look at that, I’m now capitalizing the rules because you are now above a dirty poor prole and deserve some respect and decency. Once you’ve made ~3000-5000 you have graduated with your degree of not being a stupid ♥! Congrats, treat yoself, and proceed to buy some better gear (my favorite is a faster horse) for your hard work!
Addition: Once you have the new gear, kill some looters and get some quick combat levels, along with prisoners (who can be sold in tavern districts, for pithy gold, but good roguery levels) you also obtain some poop tier loot (the armor can be sold, but keep the weapons, trust me) and if you’re lucky (and somebody else wasn’t) you will get FREE extra horses and FREE trade goods.
The jack of all trades master of none? Of course not, Jack of all Trades MASTER OF TRADE is the meta build.
If you really want to plough into trade like a beast, be of Aserai descent (I’ve seen some stuff on forums that the cultures don’t do anything yet, but way-O, get the buffs when the patch comes out ;))
Grab a background that makes you good at trade or horses, horses is good because your build is going to suck at combat; however, being good at horses gives you access to that next level of horses right off the bat, which makes you faster in combat which negates a lot of damage debuffs, as destroying a guy at speed with a spear to his forehead and running away before his friends can even cry about it is op.
Try and get as many trade buffs as possible while also balancing out polearms, horses, and smithing (a lil roguery and archery doesn’t hurt either).
What you want is at least 3 focus points in trade, to allow for the first power levels to matter!
Easy as that!
As you level up, balance your focus points to simply increase your learning cap (and therefore xp caps) for the different skills! You want a high endurance to quickly level horses and smithing, both of which are necessary to meta out levels! Otherwise, apply common sense, don’t level up engineering before you have fiefs or are doing sieges, buff up stewardship to get passive high moral xp buffs, and don’t totally abuse your combat skills, but throw them under the bus at first. With more money you can buy better gear and it eventually evens out!
Supply N’ Demand
As mentioned above, villages give fixed prices; whereas towns are home to intelligent merchants like yourself, who want to steal your money. Subsequently, when you bulk buy in towns, you will see a dip in your profits as you are affecting a market with supply and demand. Villages work in a similar way, but the prices don’t change until after the entire deal is struck.
Abuse this mechanic as much possible. Buy materials in villages for pennies, and sell them in neighboring regions for cold-hard-cash.
Simple as that.
Types of Goods
This is the part of the guide that I give you raw profit margins for my four different types of goods. No they aren’t broken down into agricultural goods, trade goods, etc. That would be silly, no, I give them practical names, such as: luxury goods, durable goods, regional durable goods, and crapfest goods.
So you want to get scammed huh? Learned nothing from the salt trade, huh? Want to trade in wine, oil, and other sexy things? TOUGH LUCK, you can only purchase luxury goods from towns and caravans, thus instantly losing the appeal of sexiness.
Truth is, you can see the largest per-item yield from many of these goods, but there is a much higher risk. I have not bothered to dip into this market as much, because its volatile as hell, because every NPC caravan is trying to push their town’s luxury goods on everybody else.
Sometimes, NPC caravans will con themselves into low prices with these goods, so stop them every once and again and look for some bargains!
Here’s what I know:
Linen: this is by far the most reliable luxury good that I have found. You buy it in some places for lower than 75, then sell for above that same price. Not the craziest profit margins, I’ll admit it, and if you’re buying closer to that threshold you might as well continue salt trading as your profit/unit is roughly the same.
Wine: if you can buy wine for under 100, there are chumps out there who will buy it for more, but the catch is that you have to be predictive of the southern coast traders who go around dumping the stuff on their respective kingdom’s allies.
Velvet: buy this at 175 or lower and horde it for some nice long term profits. Its a rare good, so few merchants will blow this market up. You can sell it easily for over 200, and sometimes over 250. Be warned though, its rarity causes quick fluctuations of price. You will start a deal in a town selling it for over 250, and within a few clicks, you can see your profit margins tank.
Jewelry: this is the masterclass in rarity. Scoop this stuff up for under 200, and eventually you will find somewhere that will buy it for over 400. Not only does that double your investment per unit, but I think its also the highest single item return in the game. If you thought velvet was volatile though… this is an insane man’s game and sometimes profits can be delayed for months.
pottery: gotta be honest. I don’t do pottery often. Try to buy it for under or around 100 and sell it for 150-175+
Tools, Oil, and whatever else I’m forgetting: I don’t know these markets, and every time I’ve tried to make profits here, I normally end up a chump. I religiously ignore these goods, but I’m certain there are ways to make profit on them, I’m just too deep in my dungscraping ways. Add a comment below if you have any ideas, and I will eventually flush out these goods once I have done more experimentation.
Ah Mi Amor. My second favorite category of goods. I call them durable goods because there are always markets for these, plus they are produced by villages, so their prices are relatively stable. You can buy durable goods in almost all corners of the map, and if you have enough baggage space, buying in bulk can make you the richest and happiest capitalist on the continent. Do this as a constant side hustle, and you will be rich in no time!
Grain: grain hurts me and yet, it is a staple of durable goods. Almost all villages make grain, so its sometimes hard to find a market to sell in, but if nothing else, it acts as the staple for all good army diets. Grain is the posterchild of durable goods because if you buy it in bulk, you will double your money: heres how–buy it at or below 10, and then filch it off to starving peasants in war torn lands for over 20. The highest profits are opportunistically placed on the backs of starving plebs, but I see it as money for charity. They wouldn’t eat without it! I’ve seen grain as low as 7, and honestly, buy, buy, buy at that or 8: even without the tide of war, you can often find places that will buy it for 15+, so its an easy 150% profit on investment, if nothing else. But I hate grain. Its dull and boring.
Fish: this is another honest trade that can double/1.5X your cash. Buy for ~10 and sell for over 20. It ain’t much, but it’s honest work. Plus you can find it everywhere that water goes! If nothing else, keep 20 fish in your inventory for that sick food diversity moral buff, which over time ticks levels into stewardship!
Olives: buy for 15-25, sell for 30-40,simple.
Grapes, buy for 10-20, sell for over 30. Ez money.
Salt: this is my baby and if you talk ♥, you will get couch lanced. As mentioned in the beginners guide, buy for ~20, sell for 40 (or more). I’ve seen salt sell for over 60, and you just can’t beat that with other normal durable goods. You can find villages that produce salt in all corners of the map, but they are all on water. Take that, run inland, make money.
Wool: this holds a special place in my heart, as its seemingly everywhere, and can make nice returns. Buy for 35-40 and sell for 45-60.
Flax: don’t sleep on this silky giant of profit. You can find it for under 10 in a lot of villages, and then you sell it for over 10. Sounds dumb with no set profit margins, but let me tell you, you can reliably find this stuff for 8 or even 7 gold, you bulk buy it, and sell it for 14+. Boom, doubled your money again. Always hustle flax. This a rule that I have made myself, and it never disappoints!
Clay: clay isn’t crazy, but I like to pick it up for under 20 and then sell above that same price. Like flax, it shouldn’t be slept on, as even basic profits from a reliable buy price of 15-18 can sell in many places for 25+. I’ve seen it higher than 40 before. Its good, try it for yourself!
Iron ore: if its under 50 say shut up and take my money. You can sell the raw ore for 90+, but refining it in a smithy is the true route to massive profits (my smithing guide will be after I finish this section). Find it in villages at the base of many mountains and mesas!
Regional Durable Goods:
This is it. You’ve made it to trading Nirvana. This is the holy land. These goods are durable, like those above, but have the added bonus of ALWAYS HAVING AMAZING MARKETS.
Holy crap you can do the most with these, so lets jump right in:
Cotton: buy this product of the tundra in the North and Northeast for around 50-60 and reliably sell it in the south for 100+. That easy.
Dates: buy this in the Aserai Sultanate (and in a few other villages near the southern sea) for ~20 and see your money soar with selling it on the mainland for 60-80, in a pinch you can sell it for 50, but why waste those margins????
Silver ore: I am aware that silver is found across the map, but there are regions in the center of the map that poop out tons of silver, buy here for less than 150 (I’ve seen as low as 90) and sell for over 175-200! This trade makes me sick at how much money you can make (or how much trade deficit can be balanced) with this good!
Wood: apart from the Aserai sultanate, pretty much everywhere near some forests makes wood. Why is this regional then? Buy in Battanian Territory or near Sibir for 15-20 and then refine it in a smithy for premium returns!
Fur: this is it. Well done. Buy for as low as 60 to the cap of 120, then sell for 150-250. Gold. Mine.