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.
- 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 each affect their own flank in battle
- Secondary leaders within the same flank have effects on their own sub units
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.
Commander modifiers are based on character traits and 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.
Characters with the most successful martial education, Brilliant strategist , start with a free one leadership trait. Leadership traits can be gained after battles, through the War focus, or via a favor event. A character can have at most two leadership traits.
|Name||Command||ID||Units||Casualty and morale||Terrain||Other modifiers||Combat Tactics||Cost|
|Light Foot Leader||light_foot_leader||102||+20% Light Foot Troops||0|
|Heavy Infantry Leader||heavy_infantry_leader||103||+20% Heavy Foot Troops||0|
|Cavalry Leader||cavalry_leader||104||+20% Mounted Troops||Heroic Countercharge||0|
|Inspiring Leader||inspiring_leader||105|| +15% Morale Damage
+15% Morale Defence
| Inspired Defense
|Trickster||trickster||106||+30% Experimentality||Clever Ambush||0|
|Organizer||organizer||107|| +20% Movement Speed
|Defender||defensive_leader||108|| -10% Damage
|Direct Leader||experimenter||109||+20% Leading the Center||0|
|Aggressive Leader||aggressive_leader||111|| +10% Damage
|+25% Persuit|| Heroic Countercharge
|Siege Leader||siege_leader||112||+40% Siege||0|
|Flat Terrain Expert||flat_terrain_leader||126|| +20% Plains
|Rough Terrain Expert||rough_terrain_leader||127|| +20% Forest
|Mountain Expert||mountain_terrain_leader||128||+20% Mountains||0|
|Desert Expert||desert_terrain_leader||129||+20% Desert||0|
|Holy Warrior||holy_Warrior||130||+30% Damage Against Religious Enemies||0|
|Unyielding||unyielding_leader||131|| +10 Defence
+20% Morale Defence
|Battlefield Terrain Master||narrow_flank_leader||158||+50% Narrow Flank||0|
|War Elephant Leader||war_elephant_leader||174||+20% War Elephants||+20% Morale Damage||10|
|Jungle Expert||jungle_terrain_leader||174||+20% Jungle||0|
|Winter Soldier||winter_soldier||177|| +4 Winter Supply
+50% Winter Combat
- Patient adds to defense
- Brave adds to morale defense
The following lifestyle traits have commander modifiers:
|Game Master||+30% Narrow Flank|
|Administrator||+10% Movement Speed|
|Impaler||+10% Morale Damage|
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 Direct 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 Inspiring leader , Cruel , and War elephant leader
- Morale defense is increased by Inspiring leader , 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.
Match culture and traits with flank composition: For example, a flank of heavy infantry retinues will benefit from a Heavy infantry leader who can use the North Germanic culture-specific tactic. You may wish to put all your retinues on a single flank (with levies at least defending the other flanks) to maximize the effect.
Let new commanders practice. Let them lead flanks in less important battles while your best commanders are safely at home. Or, let them lead sub-units. 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.