As fantastic as Crusader Kings III is, and as much as it lets you do as the ruler of a medieval dynasty, the nature of the game has meant that war itself has always been a bit distant. You can raise your armies and tell them where to go, but never directly lead the troops into battle. Until now.
Crusader Blade is a mod that lets you directly control any battles taking place in the game by literally using a whole other video game to do it. That game is medieval combat title Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, and in the simplest sense possible, the mod works by pausing CKIII at the time of a battle, switching over to Mount & Blade so you can resolve it, then switching back again.
Here’s a video of the mod in action so you can see it yourself:
God damn this is impressive. It’s one thing that the mod works like this at all, but the way it integrates with CKIII to both set battles up and then resolve their numbers at the end is really something else.
Battles in CKIII can sometimes involve tens of thousands of combatants, especially once large empires are clashing, or you’re involved in a crusade. And Mount & Blade, as big as it is relative to its multiplayer combat competition, can only support a few thousand units on-screen at once.
So it takes a proportional approach to its unit representation. The mod looks at the size and composition of both armies before they enter a battle, and takes note of the mix of quality as well. It then crunches the numbers and keeps the percentages the same, so while your CKIII army of 10,000 might only be represented here by 1,000 men, the mix of archers and cavalry will be the same.
As will the casualties at the other end of the battle, with every kill made in Mount and Blade tallied then represented in Crusader Kings III on the way out, applying them once again as percentages of the total force. So if you lost 6% of your archers in the Mount & Blade battle, 6% of your archers in Crusader Kings III will now be gone, even if the total numbers are of course different.
You can download the mod here.