So I been playing this Battle For Sicily mod for Mount and Blade now.
At first I thought it was crappy 'cause it ain't real intuitive in the beginning and it don't throw any cool junk in yer face and razzle dazzle you right off the bat with dog-riding orcs and samurais and all that.
But once I just sat down and gave it a half hour I got totally sucked into it and now I love it and I'm thinking about screwing around with the source code for it, 'cause the dude who made it is definitely a genius.
And it actually has a lot of cool and fluffy stuff, like models for all different sorts of italian villages and several different types of seige fights (which can get pretty laggy laggy, but nothing a guy who had a guild of two hundred people in EQ can't handle heh).
And it also has an awesome little village-to-seaport ecomonic engine, and although you start out as a shmuck, running a village for your liege lord and collecting taxes, raiding caravans and hunting bandits, eventually you'll end up running yer own province and sacking enemy villages and campaigning against neighboring provinces and you'll have your own minions that'll collect your taxes for you.
So give it a try.
The easiest way to play it is to be a Norman Knight from an Aristocratic background, hook up with Messina ('cause its a seaport, and seaport towns are healthier and wealthier, seaports tend to stabilize your economy), and get a bunch of Norman Knights to go riding around and crushing everybody.
Once you get to Catania you'll have a decent seaport province that you can use to crush the rest of the map with.
Or, you can play it like I do, where you make yourself an Evil Arabian Prince and ride around with a bunch of maniacs in Turbans and a West African Dude from Zanj (who never seems to cheer with the rest of the men when we win a battle), selling french guys into slavery and saying Peace Be Upon You, Brother heh.
They suck compared to the heavy Chainmail armies of the Normans and the Greeks but I like bloody battles where I lose a lot of my guys ahaha.
Trust me, you should try this one.