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mercenaries

Mercenaries

Mercenaries are independent troops that any nation can hire for three months by paying a one-off fee of gold.

There are dozens of unique, named mercenary groups in the game, but only a small, random selection will be available at any given time.

Mercenaries always have a commander which usually has troops accompanying them, although there are some mercenary companies with only the leader such as Pak-ur the Ettin and Terminus the Assassin.

Mechanics

To gain control of a company of mercenaries, select a province and hit the Mercenaries button on the strategic overview or press (b). You will see a list of available companies, as well as those already on someone's payroll, which is indicated by that nation's flag. You can only bid on mercenaries if they are free or if they are on their last month of service for a nation.

  • Use the Mod Inspector to determine what each mercenary company includes.

Hiring mercenaries is not immediate; first you need to bid an amount of gold. All groups have a minimum hire fee based on the number/quality of the available troops; this will decrease if the company takes casualties.

At the end of the turn, all nations' bids are compared; whoever bid the most will gain control of the company. A nation bidding on their own mercenary group whose contract is about to expire will have their bid count for double, so it's easier to retain control once you've already hired a group.

Once hired, the mercenary group will appear in the province that was originally selected, ready to receive orders. If an existing contract is renewed, the mercenaries will remain in the province that they moved to/stayed in the previous turn rather than being teleported to the province selected to renew the contract.

National Discounts and Penalties

Some nations have a national discount to acquire certain companies. This lowers the starting bid required to obtain the mercenary company. For example, God's Enforcers are willing to fight for Marignon at a lower price than other nations.

Other nations, like MA Ermor and Lemuria pay a higher initial price to bid on mercenaries. This represents the unwillingness of said mercenaries to fight for those nations.

Disbanding

Mercenary groups are persistent; if they take casualties, those troops do not come back. This can make them cheaper to hire in the future but also reduces how much they bring to the table.

If a mercenary group suffers too many casualties (generally half of the original group size, rounded down) and nobody hires them at the end of their contract, they will disband forever and no longer be available for hire.

Items

Mercenaries will not give away any items that they are equipped with. This applies not only to any items that they have by default, but also any items you equip them with after hiring.

Twiceborn Stealing

If a mercenary leader has any skill in death magic, it is possible to steal them permanently by having them cast Twiceborn. Mercenaries have their home province set to -2 by default but twiceborn resets their home province to wherever they cast it, effectively granting you permanent control over the mercenary. This can be a great way of improving magic diversity, especially with mercenaries like Göte the Circle Master and Urvikel the Troll Shaman.

This does not carry over to any troops in their entourage. Upon becoming twiceborn, any troops over the mercenary leader's normal leadership limit are dumped into the province and can no longer be interacted with, and will disband at the end of the turn due to having no leader. The remainder will continue to follow the mercenary leader but cannot be given to another commander.

If a mercenary is stolen through this method, it can be annoying to have the remainder of their retinue follow them around as the entourage can limit movement. One way to remove them is to kill them off. A safer method is to equip the leader with a Ring of Water Breathing and attempt to move them underwater, selecting the option to leave troops behind that cannot follow. The ring can then be removed, the movement order cancelled, and the units will no longer be under the mercenary's command.

Strategy

Mercenaries can improve early game expansion for nations with a poor starting army or national troops. This cannot be relied upon as other players may be bidding for the mercenaries themselves, but it is always worth checking the mercenary tab in year 0 to see if any are worth hiring. Alternatively, if you are playing a nation with relatively easy expansion you can hire good mercenaries simply to deny them to your less fortunate opponents. Some mage mercenaries have a very low minimum bid and can help with research as well as site searching for magic paths your nation lacks.

In the mid-to-late game mercenaries keep their utility as instant raiders and can be useful bodies as part of a larger army, but generally wane in significance as magic becomes more important for winning major battles. Mercenaries can also be hired directly onto sieges - they won't apply their siege strength on the hiring turn, but it can still be a safe way to add siege strength. Watch out for any mage mercenaries that can forge much-needed magic boosters, as well as good death mages to steal via twiceborn.

Mercenary Companies

Name Units Min. Bid Era Comments
Abhiraja's Archers Abhiraja, Atavi Chieftain
30×Atavi Archer
Gold 120 All
Agyraspides Seleucus, Hoplite Commander
40×Hoplite
Gold 200 All
Arnaud's Archers Arnaud, Captain
30×Archer
Gold 150 Early, Middle
Bernard's Brave Men Bernard the Brave, Captain
30×Pikeneer
Gold 220 All Can use (Double) Line formation, and quite effective at repelling with experience stars and pikes.
Bindar's Mighty Markatas Bindar, Atavi Chieftain
40×Markata Archer
Gold 30 All
Black Bone's Pirates Black Bone, Captain
25×Pirate
Gold 180 All
Brave Breakers Grom Brave Breaker, Captain
30×Heavy Crossbowman
Gold 150 Late
Burelk's City Guard Burelk, Commander
60×Militia
Gold 140 All
Celestial Apostates Bajie, Celestial Servant
10×Celestial Soldier
Gold 350 All Zhu Bajie ditched the Journey to the West and is now selling his services as the leader of several celestial apostates. Celestial Soldiers are quite powerful sacred troops, so this company has extra utility if you've taken a bigger bless and can bring a priest to bless them with.
Dagan, the Renegade Sage Dagan, Sageastral 11
Swordsman
Gold 40 All Dagan has 15 and costs only Gold40 to bid on, so he makes a good research mercenary.
Dante's Stingers Dante, Captain
30×Spearman
Gold 150 All
Durand's Cavalry Durand the Great, Heavy Cavalry
10×Heavy Cavalry
Gold 200 Middle, Late
Elephant Corps Hannibal, War Elephant
War Elephant
Gold 80 All Hannibal, leading… Greek-flavoured War Elephants? Very cheap minimum bid price considering War Elephants cost Gold 100 apiece, and surprise trampling can be devastating for an unprepared early-game army.
Eternal Knights Orion, Eternal Knight
Eternal Knight
Gold 100 Late Orion comes with a Flambeau and an Amulet of Missile Protection.
The Eternal Knights' Flambeaus are all armor-piercing weapons, so they can help take down high prot thugs or elite units. Orion's special Flambeau allows him to cast Holy Pyre, so this company is surprisingly useful against undead/demons too! (An interesting side-effect: Orion's 500 XP gives him several stat buffs, and means he'll displace a Hall of Fame resident the instant he's hired.)
Farstrikers Guillaume, Captain
30×Longbowman
Gold 160 All
Ferdinando's Footman Ferdinando, Captain
30×Swordsman
Gold 160 Middle, Late
Ferrus, the Iron Wizard Ferrus, Adept of the Iron Orderearth 22astral 22random1100%
Mechanical Man
Gold 110 All Ferrus comes with an Amulet of Antimagic.
You can hire him to forge items, such as the Crystal Coin and Crystal Matrix.
Fish Master Sogg Sogg, Hydromancerwater 33
Monster Fish
Gold 120 All Can only be hired and used underwater (while the Monster Fish is still alive).
Can forge you a Robe of the Sea.
Fordo Boggit's Elite Warriors Fordo Boggit, Hoburg Champion
40×Burgmeister Guard
Gold 220 Middle, Late
Fritjof's Archers Fritjof, Captain
20×Archer
Gold 100 Early, Middle
Ghoul Father Yazrid ibn Hassar, High Magusfire 22earth 11astral 22
50×Ghoul
Gold 200 All Yazrid ibn Hassar comes with a Lifelong Protection, making him extra suitable for raiding.
Another mage who can forge crystal items. Will need a pair of Earth Boots to make Crystal Coins, however, and mercenaries don't give items back!
God's Enforcers Guiseppe IV, Inquisitorfire 11holy 22
50×Pikeneer
Gold 600 Middle, Late The third Guiseppe must have taken a break from the mercenary life to start a small business, since Guiseppe IV comes with a swanky new Sceptre of Authority and Crown of Command.
God's Justice Guiseppe II, Inquisitorfire 11holy 22
50×Pikeneer
Gold 400 Middle, Late Somehow running around in the same eras as his own successors and predecessor.
Guifre's Swordsmen 'Sir' Guifre, Captain
30×Swordsman
Gold 180 All
Göte Göte, Circle Masterdeath 22blood 22
20×Bone Fiend
Gold 160 All If you are lucky enough to secure this mercenary, twiceborn him immediately and use him to break into blood!
Günter Blukraft's Sonnenkinder Günter Blukraft, Captain
30×Maceman
Gold 150 All
Hector's Heavy Horsemen Hector Stark, Heavy Cavalry
15×Heavy Cavalry
Gold 220 Middle, Late
Helmut's Sappers Helmut, Master Mason
20×Sapper
Gold 200 All Provides about 150 siege strength.
Hornets Mortada, Captain
40×Heavy Crossbowman
Gold 300 Late
Iron Men Clovis, Captain
40×Swordsman
Gold 300 All
Istana's Warriors Istana, Jade Priestessnature 11holy 11random020%
40×Amazon
Gold 160 All
Knight Errants Sir Perceville, Knight Commander
12×Knight
Gold 200 Middle, Late
Günter Blukraft's Sonnenkinder Günter Blukraft, Captain
30×Maceman
Gold 150 All
Madam Fortuna Madam Fortuna, Fortune Tellerastral 11random1100%
10×Slinger
Gold 40 Late Madam Fortuna comes with a Pendant of Luck.
If she rolls a random you can twiceborn her too!
Magnus's Crossbows Rolf Magnus Captain
20×Crossbowman
Gold 120 Middle, Late
Mamor, the White Wizard Mamor, Adept of the Silver Orderair 22astral 22random1100%
Swordsman
Gold 80 All Mamor comes with Lightweight Scale Mail.
Master Gibur Gibur, Hydromancerwater 33
Water Elemental
Gold 80 All Can forge you a Robe of the Sea.
Melkorka's Green Men Melkorka, Merrow Chieftain
25×Merrow
Gold 150 All
Mighty Pak-ur Pak-ur, Ettin Gold 80 Early Remember that mercenaries do not give items back once you have equipped them, so don't give him anything too valuable! Still, with a bit of gear he will easily be able to handle a normal amount of province defense.
Miguel's Sons Miguel, Captain
20×Heavy Crossbowman
Gold 150 Late
Nergash's Damned Legion Nergash, Necromancerdeath 22
80×Longdead
Gold 240 All Twiceborn for death access.
Obscuro, the Hidden Master Obscuro, Illusionistair 22
Swordsman
Gold 50 All Another potential research mercenary or site searcher. The air access may be useful for forging a few critical pieces of shock-resistant gear.
Otto the Great Otto, Bandar Warrior
75×Vanara Chakram Thrower
Gold 250 Middle Otto comes with a Crown of Command.
Poignant Pikes Salvatore, Captain
40×Pikeneer
Gold 300 Late Can use (Double) Line formation, and quite effective at repelling with experience stars and pikes.
Quickspears Aimery, Captain
20×Spearman
Gold 150 All
Raiders of the Silver Steppe Xenos, Chieftain
20×Raider
Gold 150 Early, Middle Potentially a great buy for the few nations which can awaken their magic tattoos.
Reavers of the Deep Gladd Yog, Ichtyid Lord
50×Ichtyid Warrior
Gold 300 All A good way for land nations to fill in their water provinces.
Rexor's Barbarians Rexor, Barbarian Chief
40×Barbarian
Gold 150 Early, Middle
Rozul's Red Raptors Rozul, Raptor
30×Raptor
Gold 120 All Flight makes this an unusually good sieging force, and 30 flying lances can be an excellent surprise even if they crumple soon after.
Ship Wreckers Y'gologna, Consort
20×War Shambler
Gold 150 All Y'gologna comes with a Sword of Sharpness.
The Ship Wreckers are an excellent mercenary company for the cost, and are worth overbidding during expansion if you need the assistance. Remember that the War Shamblers would normally cost Gold 500 to buy (excluding Y'gologna), so it's worth paying a lot more to make sure you secure the contract. They can also help you get underwater!
Skull Smashers Gryf, Troll
10×Troll
Gold 150 All
Stroumsa's Freaks Stroumsa, War Elephant
50×Foulspawn
Gold 200 All
Swimming Men Pau Pau, Triton Trooper
25×Triton Trooper
Gold 120 All The Swimming Men are unfortunately no good at walking, and can only be hired and operate underwater.
The Archers in White Sanne, Pegasus Rider
20×Amazon
Gold 100 Early, Middle
The Armored Fist of God Guiseppe del Migo, Inquisitorfire 11holy 22
25×Pikeneer
Gold 200 Middle, Late The man himself, running around in the same eras as three generations of his successors.
The Bandar Band Mahapindar, Bandar Commander
20×Bandar Warrior
Gold 150 Middle, Late Another very cost-effective mercenary company.
The Black Fists Sir Edward Blackfist, Captain
20×Maceman
Gold 150 All
The Boar Mage Baratus, Animistnature 22
40×Boar
Gold 160 All N1 indies are plentiful, so having him forge a Staff offers chainable N2 access.
The Bowmen Lothar, Captain
20×Archer
Gold 100 Middle
The Dragon Tamer Choznar, Beast Trainer
Fire Drake
Gold 80 All The drakes Choznar trains are perfectly capable of dousing your enemies in flames, as long as you are able to work around their undisciplined nature.
The Feathered Serpent Omecoatl, Couatlastral 33nature 33holy 22
50×Lizard Warrior
Gold 350 All Can forge you a Moonvine Bracelet.
The Fishermen Sho'guu, Ichtyid Lord
25×Ichtyid
Gold 120 All
The Green Horde Murong Chui, Khan
40×Barbarian Horseman
Gold 300 All Large pillage bonuses can offset the cost surprisingly well, making this a nasty addition to raids in land you won't hold long.
The Lions Louis, Captain
50×Spearman
Gold 350 All
The Lost Legion The Lost One, Star Childastral 11
20×Lobo Guard
Gold 30 All The Lost One would probably be significantly more useful on their own. The Lost One's Lobo Guard escort prevent them from taking stealthy actions and therefore making use of their assassin ability.
The Master Assassin Terminus, Assassin Gold 25 All Terminus brings his own Duskdagger and Robe of Shadows.
The Master Druid Erbum, Woodhenge Druidnature 11holy 11
25×Vine Man
Gold 200 All
The Merry Men Rivaude, Troubadour
30×Archer
Gold 100 Late Like The Lost One, spy/seduction are made unusable by his troops. His low leadership inflicts a morale penalty on the archers.
The Snake Charmer Putin, Horned Serpent
50×Militia
Gold 150 Middle, Late Siege strength and lance fodder only. Even as bait/fodder, beware of HP routs after losing so many troops.
The Wet Ones Napa Tua, Wet One Captain
30×Wet One
Gold 150 All Hire for siege strength only; Wet Ones are extremely poor units and will practically evaporate upon contact with the enemy.
The Whisperer Urvikel, Troll Shamandeath 11nature 11random1100%
50×Vaetti
Gold 300 All Urvikel comes with a Lodestone Amulet and Skull Staff, meaning he is always able to cast Twiceborn. Troll Shamans have ridiculous upkeep, so if you do decide to steal him consider drowning him as soon as possible to turn him into a wight mage and save your treasury.
The Whispering Legion Saladaar, Spectral Magedeath 11random2100%
100%

15×Ghost
Gold 400 All Saladaar is pretty expensive to pick up, but with good randoms can open up a few magic paths. If he rolls the 1/16 chance to become a water 22 then you can boost him with a Water Bracelet and Robe of the Sea to cast Streams from Hades and summon water 33death 33 Kokythiads.
The Wind Lord Tempestus, Wind Masterair 22
30×Sylph
Gold 240 All Tempestus comes with a Crown of Command
Urgek Beast Brother Urgek, Foul Spawn
20×Foul Spawn
Gold 30 All The low minimum bid is matched by the poor quality of Urgek's company. Can be useful as cheap chaff.
Victor's Villains Victor, Villain
10×Villain
Gold 30 All Villains are pretty bad units, and Victor doesn't really come with enough of them to be useful in any way. Maybe hire them with a minimum bid so you can immediately suicide them and replace their slot with a hopefully more useful company. Cheap enough to use as a recruit-anywhere scout, but unfit to take more than 1-2 PD.
William's Boys William, Captain
30×Heavy Crossbowman
Gold 200 Late Even in LA, 17 prot means this unit is likely to play "frontline plus a crossbow" as often as fire support.
Wolfkin Reavers Uttumvirke, Chief
50×Vaetti
Gold 300 All Weak combat units at a surprisingly small Gold 50 discount, but stealth can make them a nice irritant.
mercenaries.txt · Last modified: 2022/04/19 08:21 by wigglefig