Let’s address the most important thing first. This Bannerlord workshop guide will teach you how to set up and operate the most productive workshop possible. There is no such thing as the “best workshop” in Bannerlord.
The reason for that is that workshops work differently in Bannerlord than they do in Warband. In Warband, you almost exclusively always went for a velvet weavery and dye works. In Bannerlord, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
How Workshops Work in Bannerlord
Workshops in Bannerlord work similarly to Productive Enterprises in Warband. At its core, it’s the basic product creation model. A raw good goes in and a produced good comes out. Simple right?
Well. Not exactly. You see, that worked in Warband because its economic system was rudimentary at best. Bannerlord’s economic system is anything but simple, which is why Bannerlord workshop guides won’t simply tell you “This is the best workshop.”
What the best workshop ends up being is a combination of multiple factors, of which Geography, Supply and Demand, and general Prosperity are the most important ones. Let’s start with the first one.
You Have to Select the Right Geography
Settlements in Bannerlord have villages that are attached to them. This is one of the facts you will have to consider when creating a kingdom in Bannerlord. The reason this is important is because villages produce certain goods that they sell locally.
Take Quyaz in the image above for example. The villages around Quyaz produce Flax, Olives, and Fish. This tells me that there will likely be an abundance of these produce in Quyaz’s market. I.e. I should open a workshop that can utilize these resources.
In other words. There’s no point in opening a Smithy or a Jewler, as they will have to rely solely on passing caravans to acquire the raw materials they need to produce their wares.
Supply and Demand
Just like in real life, Bannerlord has a supply and demand system. To produce a certain ware, you need someone to supply you the raw materials you need to produce said ware. In the modern world, we have trucks and freights to do that. In Bannerlord, that task falls to the peasantry and the caravans.
And, just like in real life. Accidents can happen while on the road. Caravans get raided by hostile parties. Peasants get exported by bandits. Or, worst of all. Villages get raided. All of these can disrupt the supply of raw resources coming into your settlements.
Even the best factions in Bannerlord suffer from this plague, as banditry is rampant all across Calradia.
Settlement Prosperity is the Best Indicator to Look For
Before purchasing a workshop, look at the settlement’s prosperity. This is the best indicator if your workshop will be profitable or not. A high prosperity means that there’s a lot of trade going on and resources are being bought and sold constantly.
Those are about the most ideal conditions that you can hope for. Any Bannerlord workshop guide that tells you otherwise is lying to you. Ideally, you should always open workshops in settlements that have over 4000 prosperity.
How to Acquire Your First Workshop
Again, similar to real life. If you want to open a workshop in Bannerlord, you’re going to have to have a certain amount of capital saved in the bank. Workshops cost between 15.000 – 25.000 coins each. Nothing major, but definitely a sizable amount if you’re starting out.
When starting out, don’t stress yourself about making a lot of money. Instead, prioritize farming Renown first, then you can focus on acquiring workshops. I’d even recommend getting married before you start worrying about workshops.
Once you’ve finally set the conditions, it’s time to acquire the capital for your conglomerate. Raiding villages is a good way to get a lot of money. However, winning major battles and selling prisoners is even better. The loot acquired off of battlefields is usually worth between 20k – 100k. Which is more than enough coin.
Which Workshops Tend to Be the Most Profitable?
In my experience, the most profitable workshop types are Linen Weaveries, Olive Presses, Velvet Weaveries, and Silversmiths. The resources they produce tend to sell for the most profit. However, the caveat to that is that they produce relatively little as a result.
The other workshop types take cheaper resources and produce more products in the end, but, the final products usually sell for less as well. Always monitor your workshops. If you see that a workshop isn’t productive, sell it and buy another one in a more prosperous city.