In Imperator Mercenary armies are always present, spread out over the map, using their own banner and the unit graphics of the local culture. As long as a mercenary army is not hired by anyone it will also not count towards the supply limit in the city they are located. Mercenary armies all have their own General, to whom all the troops are loyal.
At times Mercenary groups played a decisive part in conflicts, as did their tendency to abandon an employer that could not pay them.
Mercenary Overview Screen
Here you can at all times see what Mercenaries exist (sorted by Proximity) and who has hired them. It also displays the monthly cost of employing each Mercenary group.
Hiring a Mercenary regiment comes at a one time cost of 50 Military Power, but also obliges you to pay their upkeep for the duration of their employment (at a rate 400% more expensive than what one of your own armies would cost).
Hiring the army immediately brings it under your control, but does not move it to your territory. Instead, hired mercenary armies hired outside of your territory will begin in a state of exile, so they can be brought to your territory to then be used in whatever conflict you intend.
Any Mercenary company in diplomatic range can be hired, but their high upkeep means that hiring an army far from your conflict could get expensive as you would be paying their upkeep from the day they are hired.
Once no longer exiled, the mercenary army will act as any other army under your control, except for the fact that you cannot remove its leader, or remove any units. They will use your military bonuses, you can alter their deployment and their military tactics.
As with any army you can also disband a mercenary army at any time it is not in battle. Their increased upkeep cost will however also mean that disbanding them can be quite costly.
Once disbanded the mercenary army will again be considered available for hire, and it will begin its journey back to its home location.
Mercenaries are not only known for how useful they were to their employers. Men like Pyrrhus and, in his youth, Agathocles, also made names for themselves as Mercenary captains when their prospects at home looked bleak.
Succession and Monarchies is something we will talk more about later but it is possible for the Mercenary company list to be supplemented by characters from the wider game world, such as disenfranchised heirs.
Last of all, should you not be able to pay your mercenaries you may find that this makes them quite unhappy. Among the various possible events that can happen as a result from a negative treasury (as mentioned in the diary on Economy) is that mercenaries might offer to join the opposing side in an ongoing war.
What we call unit-abilities in Imperator can be one of three categories:
- Create New Unit - Allows you to create a new unit and transfer cohorts/ships to it, or back.
- Consolidate - Merges cohorts of the same type, and then disbands empty cohorts.
- Detach Siege - Leaves behind a large enough force to siege or occupy the current city.
- Split Half - Splits the Unit in Half
- Recruit To - Opens up the recruit window, so you can recruit cohorts/ships directly to this unit. They will automatically march and merge to this unit.
- Disband - For when you don’t want that unit anymore.
Please be aware that cohorts that are loyal to its commanders will not be possible to reorganise away from that commander.
- Select Objective - Can Select an Objective for this unit, and it will perform it without further input from you. More details in a later development diary.
- Allow Attachment - Allow other nations units to attach to this one.
- Cavalry Skirmish - Trades Defense for Offense on Light Cavalry and Camels.
- Phalanx - Slower movement for armies, while heavy infantry defence is much stronger.
- Padma Vyuha - Slower movement for heavy infantry defence and archer offence
- Unit Reorganisation - Double Maintenance and Slow movement speed, but unit reinforcing and morale recovery is much faster. Without using this, units recover slower than in previous games.
- Force March - Heavier Attrition and No morale recovery while moving much faster.
Some of these are unlocked by different military traditions, and some of them are always available, and some toggles have a small military power cost.
- Attach/Detach to Unit - Attach/Detach to another unit present in the city.
- Shattered Retreat - Gives the order for the unit to perform a shattered retreat. This is handy if you want to save the remnants of your army trapped deep in enemy territory, or when you are cut off by hostile Forts.
- Construct Border Fort - Creates a colony in an unowned city that is adjacent to one of your own cities, adding 1 freeman pop of your culture and a fort for military power.
- Desecrate Holy Site - Spend religious power in another nations capital to reduce their omen power for a long time.
- Raise Levies - Spend Military Power to get more cohorts to your unit.
- Military Colonies - Spend Military Power to create a freeman pop of your culture/religion in the current city.
- Raid City - Spend Military Power to get gold and manpower from an enemy city. It is possible to do this when you have taken control over hostile territory, giving you money and manpower, while hurting that province in growth, output and commerce for 5 years.
- Build Road - Spend Military Power to build a road towards the next city the army moves to. This is the cheapest and fastest way to build roads in the game.
Some of these are unlocked by different military traditions, and some of them are always available.
A constant factor in warfare are the non-combat related losses in a conflict. Armies moving through hostile territory, or just areas unable to support them in general, will often suffer as many, often more, than ones directly involved in combat.
In Imperator locations will have a supply limit (shown as a value next to the cauldron in the screenshot above), which is the size of army that the land can support without suffering attrition. Base Attrition is shown by the Skull in the province interface above.
Weather and hostile terrain can also directly increase attrition of present armies. An army in a desert city will always suffer 1% attrition from it, as will armies in locations with harsh winter. Together with the mountain passes, roads and other features of the map this means that you will have to pay closer attention to the map when on campaign. Minimum attrition means that an unsafe route might be more punishing than what you are used to.
The automatic path-finding will prefer shorter movement times and low attrition when possible, but at times you might want to cross that desert to reach the battlefield you want.