Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord: Differences between sandbox and campaign explained

 As you've probably already noticed, in the main menu of Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord you can find a campaign and a sandbox mode. But which of the two modes is the right one for you and what distinguishes them from each other? In this guide, we will look at the differences in detail.

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord: Differences between sandbox and campaign explained

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord is a massive sandbox role-playing game that can provide you with dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of gameplay. Of course, it's all the more important for you to know whether you want to get started in the campaign or in sandbox mode.


Basically, the two modes differ only in a few, albeit not insignificant, details. So you start both in the campaign and in sandbox mode on Calradia - a world map that is ruled by eight factions. You can accept quests in villages, cities or from armies, you have to increase your clan rank and you can eventually work your way up to become a mercenary, vassal, or independent ruler with your own realm. The basic gaming experience remains the same in both modes.

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3 differences between campaign and sandbox

In a nutshell: If you've played Mount & Blade: Warband, you know what to expect in Bannerlord's sandbox mode. But so that you know exactly what you are doing without in which mode, we list the individual points for you:

  1. Main Quests: While you follow a main storyline in the campaign, it's completely absent in sandbox mode. So you don't have to ask the noble generals about Calradia's history, find the parts of the dragon banner and put them together, or complete any other main quests. Instead, you are free from the start and can do whatever you want. However, keep in mind that you have almost infinite time to complete the quests in the campaign anyway.
  2. Family: In the campaign, you have two brothers who expand your clan with their wives. You can take them all with you as companions, level them up on their own, or let them lead their own troops. So you have quite a considerable clan strength, which is taken from you in sandbox mode. Since there is no story in the sandbox, you have no family. Of course, you are allowed to marry and have children in both modes.
  3. Age: In sandbox mode, you can freely choose your age when creating your character: whether you want to start as a 20, 30, 40, or 50-year-old character is up to you. The higher your starting age, the more attributes and focus points you get. However, as you get older, your risk of dying also increases. You can potentially die of old age from the age of 48 - even if the chance is still very small. If you choose a female character, you can no longer bring children into the world from the age of 50.
If you're looking for some help deciding, we'd generally recommend the campaign mode. Four additional family members who can serve as commanders, caravan leaders, or companions are a big bonus that you don't have in sandbox mode. Although some quests in the campaign can be considered annoying, the time frame for the fulfillment is usually quite generous. But if you can't do anything with the missions, you shouldn't torture yourself and instead use the sandbox.

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