after a couple of tries and playthroughs it seems to me like hacking your way through the game like a brainless meathead is the way to go.
most of the time you only get considerable amounts of renown by killing enemies ... lots of them. especially in the early chapters of the game while the fights are still very easy. fight for the supplies in skogr or run while you still can?
skogr seemed to be a small peaceful village before the dredge came. none of them are warriors or have ever experienced an encounter with the dredge so they are all scared and don't know how to deal with them with ivar being the only exception (rook doesn't know this at that point). in that situation if i was rook i would just tell the people to grab whatever they can and run as fast as they can. after leaving skogr i would try to avoid any dredge and just get this big bunch of peasants, women and children to safety.

but i can't.

if i do i won't get any kills to level up my heroes. and whats worse: i won't get renown to buy supplies. if i don't have supplies my friends and followers die. playing smart and getting to certain points of the game by dodging unnecessary fights is bad. try fighting bellower with 6 lvl2 characters because you don't have more renown.

solution: be aggressive, pick fights whenever you can, charge into battle like a madman, don't let anyone live who opposes you. suddenly you have 3 lvl5 characters in harkon's party and 3 lvl5 heroes in rook's group. "oh", one might say, "that could work." and you don't stop getting renown, because now you can win those harder battles, and you might not need more lvl5 characters to keep going. finally you can spend your renown on supplies and save you friends and followers and even avoid getting poor morale, so the battles are even easier.

i mean it would make sense for hakon and his varl to slay every black-armored figure they see. but rook? i feel like he should be rewarded for being smart and avoiding unnecessary casualties. not punished.

enough of my ranting. what do you guys think?

on a different note:
imagine 2 brothers on a battlefield. one of them rips through the enemies like a reborn achilles but keeping all of his enemies barely alive. the other one just follows and stabs the wounded, defenseless victims until they die. who do you think gains more battle experience? the one that kills or the one that really fights?