Characters are eligible to lead flanks if they are the ruler, the marshal, or have the minor title of "commander". Barons can grant the "commander" title to 1 character; counts to 2; dukes to 4; kings to 6 and emperors to 8. Hindu characters must be of the right caste before they can become commanders.
When you raise levies, flank leaders are chosen randomly from among your commanders, marshal, and self (if not a child or busy). Flank leaders can be reassigned manually as long as the army is not busy in combat.
Every point in martial attribute increases the damage of a flank by 5%.
- The leader of the center's skill is used to determine the entire army's attrition, march speed, siege speed and siege events.
- The flank leaders only affect their own flank when the combat starts; secondary leaders within the same flank have effects on their own sub units (secondary leaders will still get the Crusader trait if they go to the crusade target).
Main article: Tactics
- A high martial skill makes good tactics more likely and bad tactics less likely. The important thresholds here are 8, 12, and 16:
- below 8 martial skill is a terrible commander; some very harmful "bad" tactics become more likely - you are better off with no commander at all.
- between 8 and 11 is a decent commander
- between 12 to 15 is a good commander
- above 16 martial is a great commander
- Culture enables some exclusive tactics,
- Good/bad personality traits allow some good/bad tactics.
- Leadership traits, for instance defensive leader gives +10% defence and -20% damage.
- Some personality traits, for instance brave gives +10% morale defence.
The values are then scaled by the commander martial skill:
- A beneficial impact is multiplied by (1 + 0.05*commander martial); this can go arbitrarily high. For instance x1.5 at 10 martial and x2 at 20 martial.
- A negative impact is multiplied by (1 - 0.05*commander martial), and is completely negated when leader martial is 20 or greater.
Commanders may be wounded , maimed , made incapable , or killed during battle.
Commanders may be captured when a battle is lost.
Invite skillful commanders from other courts.
Take advantage of conditional traits. Traits such as Holy warrior , Winter soldier , and terrain expertise are very powerful when triggered.
Improve your kill advantage:
- Offense is increased by Inspiring leader (center flank only) and Aggressive leader
- Defense is increased by Patient , Defensive leader , and Unyielding leader
Improve your morale advantage by combining a kill advantage with morale multipliers:
- Morale offense is increased by cruel , Inspiring leader , war elephant leader
- Morale defense is increased by brave and Holy warrior . Craven is bad for morale defense.
Save morale-specific advantage for close battles. When you're clearly losing, you should order your army to retreat immediately (by right-clicking a destination). When you're clearly winning, you might prefer to deal less morale damage per kill, so the battle is more decisive and you spend less time chasing the enemy.
Let new commanders practice in less important battles. Your best commanders will live longer. Your fresh commanders can gain brave/craven or patient/wroth, which are each useful in some situations. More importantly, they can gain leadership traits, including:
- Terrain specialization appropriate for the location
- Winter soldier if the location is experiencing winter
- Holy warrior if Zealous .
Encourage vassals to offer commander training. Each "playable" vassal with 12+ martial skill and a leadership trait will occasionally offer to train your commanders in exchange for a favor. You must have at least 3 commanders with 6+ martial skill and without leadership traits. Holy warrior does not count in this event. If the vassal has multiple leadership traits, only the first trait is taught.