Siege battles are indeed very cool.
So I have my own castle and am independent from all of the kingdoms. After using ingenuity and brawn to secure it, I was a bit at a loss at what to do next. My army was around 70, so I spent some time investing in infrastructure and building up the garrison to about 120 (not including militia). After that, it isn’t like I had the army to assault a kingdom, and I didn’t really want to swear vassalage to a kingdom, although I think that is the only way to participate in wars again.
Then I started to notice these clans running around that aren’t attached to Kingdoms. I started with the Hidden Hand, a mafia-like group that runs around the southern bit of the Empire. The Encyclopedia said they had 4 nobles attached, so I just attacked one and after winning executed the lord. 1 down, 3 to go. I used the gossip intel on their last seen location to run around and hunt down the rest of the hidden hand and eventually wiped out the whole clan. I’ve since done it to another clan too.
I am not sure how all these executions are affecting my standing in the world, the character profile says I have -2 honour but I am not sure what that impacts.
Anyway, all this killing got me to the next clan level to get a party size of 100, and was more fun than hunting bandits.