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Status commanding.png A commander is the leader of an army flank.

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

The commander can influence tactics selection via martial skill, Culture, and personality traits.

  • 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.

Combat modifiers[edit]

Combat modifier.png 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.

Leadership traits[edit]

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.png Light Foot Leader light_foot_leader 102 +20% Light Foot Troops 0
Heavy infantry leader.png Heavy Infantry Leader heavy_infantry_leader 103 +20% Heavy Foot Troops 0
Cavalry leader.png Cavalry Leader cavalry_leader 104 +20% Mounted Troops Heroic Countercharge 0
Inspiring leader.png Inspiring Leader inspiring_leader 105 +15% Morale Damage
+15% Morale Defence
Inspired Defense
Religious Fervour
Trickster.png Trickster trickster 106 +30% Experimentality Clever Ambush 0
Organizer.png Organizer organizer 107 +20% Movement Speed
+10% Retreat
Timid Advance 0
Defensive leader.png Defender defensive_leader 108 -10% Damage
+25% Defence
Inspired Defense 13
Experimenter.png Direct Leader experimenter 109 +20% Leading the Center 0
Flanker.png Flanker flanker 110 +20% Flanker 0
Aggressive leader.png Aggressive Leader aggressive_leader 111 +10% Damage
-10% Defence
+25% Persuit Heroic Countercharge
Reckless Charge
Siege leader.png Siege Leader siege_leader 112 +40% Siege 0
Flat terrain leader.png Flat Terrain Expert flat_terrain_leader 126 +20% Plains
+20% Farmlands
+20% Steppe
Rough terrain leader.png Rough Terrain Expert rough_terrain_leader 127 +20% Forest
+20% Hills
Mountain terrain leader.png Mountain Expert mountain_terrain_leader 128 +20% Mountains 0
Desert terrain leader.png Desert Expert desert_terrain_leader 129 +20% Desert 0
Holy warrior.png Holy Warrior holy_Warrior 130 +30% Damage Against Religious Enemies 0
Unyielding leader.png Unyielding unyielding_leader 131 +10 Defence
+20% Morale Defence
Narrow flank leader.png Battlefield Terrain Master narrow_flank_leader 158 +50% Narrow Flank 0
War elephant leader.png War Elephant Leader war_elephant_leader 174 +20% War Elephants +20% Morale Damage 10
Jungle terrain leader.png Jungle Expert jungle_terrain_leader 174 +20% Jungle 0
Winter soldier.png Winter Soldier winter_soldier 177 +4 Winter Supply
+50% Winter Combat

Personality traits[edit]

  • Patient  adds to defense
  • Brave  adds to morale defense
  • ...

Lifestyle traits[edit]

The following lifestyle traits have commander modifiers:

Name Combat modifiers
Game master.png Game Master +30% Narrow Flank
Strategist.png Strategist +20% Defence
Hunter.png Hunter +20% Pursuit
Administrator.png Administrator +10% Movement Speed
Architect.png Architect +10% Siege
Impaler.png 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 .

Give your armies exercise. Contribute to allies' wars, help neighbors fight off heretic uprisings, raid, or fight raiders. Force realms to become your tributaries, then offer to join their wars.

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.

CombatCombat tacticsCommandersRaiding