Dacian Units


Peasants are reluctant warriors, but barbarian peasants are better fighters than most: hard lives produce hard men. Numbers are useful in all armies, and forcing peasants to fight is one way of getting lots of men in the field quickly and cheaply. They have little tactical sense, and even less willingness to fight - they would rather be defending their own homes than be dragged to a battle they neither care about nor understand. They are, however, experts at reading the land and hiding when there is cover.


Warbands are bound to the service of a strongman or petty village head. They are the basic 'unit' to be found in many barbarian armies. They fight well, as glory and loot are the road to status, but are often difficult to control. They care little for discipline and less for restraint, but they can be relied on to fight, and fight hard. In warfare it is up to each man to prove his own bravery and worth, so the savage charge into the enemy is about as sophisticated as they ever want to be. Each man carries a stabbing spear and a large shield..

Chosen Swordsmen

Chosen swordsmen are the best fighting individuals in their tribe, and armed with the finest swords available. While superbly skilled and extremely tough, they are not naturally inclined to fight as a group. Personal glory and the need to be first amongst the enemy ensure that they are headstrong and ill-disciplined. They are, however, very well equipped with the finest swords that the smiths can make, along with chainmail armour and large shields. They are an intimidating sight for any enemy.

Naked Fanatics

There are warriors among the barbarian ranks whose love of battle is such that they live for little else. Clad only in flimsy loincloths, the fanatics whip themselves into a frenzy by chanting, beating themselves and drinking heavily. In this state they make an unnerving sight on the battlefield! They are best sent into battle en masse, shocking the enemy by a ferocious charge, but they should be kept away from enemy cavalry. They carry just swords and shields and have practically no discipline, but they can cause heavy casualties among most enemies. They fight mostly (if not completely) naked to emphasise their own fierceness and utter lack of fear. Scars and tattoos adorn their skin, and they let their hair grow wild. Only after a kill is their hair cut, often with a sword blade while standing over a freshly dead foe. While their reckless courage is not in doubt, they can lack the cohesion and discipline to adapt to setbacks, breaking and running in confusion when subjected to severe pressure.


Falxmen are used to carve a path into enemy formations. They are superior, but somewhat ill-disciplined warriors who are willing to charge into a fight without orders. They wear no armour, partly as a sign of their bravery and partly because it would interfere with the free swinging of their falxes. A falx can cut a man in two lengthways in the hands of a skilled user. It is a frightening weapon: a curved scythe-like blade on the end of a long handle that is sharpened on the inner curve of the blade. The damage from any blow is done with a pulling motion, meaning that any blow that lands will hack off a limb or decapitate a foe at the least. Historically, this is one of the few weapons that made the Romans change their standardised armour, as they added reinforcing bars to Legionary helmets after encountering falxmen.


Archers were the hunters and lower-class men of the nation drawn into the warhost. They could not afford the expensive armor and other items a true warrior needed, but they were nevertheless a necessary part of the warhost. They could shower an enemy with missile fire to weaken them for the infantry- or soften the enemy up for a rousing cavalry charge.

Chosen Archers

Chosen archers are better equipped than is the norm amongst most factions. Armed with not only a bow but also a sword, they can be used for hand-to-hand combat in a pinch. Their experience in hunting makes them ideal for raining death on their enemies, and it is this (rather than being employed as light infantry) that they ought to be used for.


Used occasionally in battle by various nations, these dogs were deliberately starved to make them all the more fierce (and hungry!). They were trained to target a horse's hamstrings- or a man's throat- and therefore could be used against either infantry or cavalry. Although they were obviously never used on the scale possible in the game, they could be a fairly formidable deterrent to any group of infantry.

Barbarian Cavalry

The light spear-wielding scout cavalry of the barbarians, these cavalrymen are as excitable as their counterparts from any other nation. Due to this, they are not a particularly disciplined force on the battlefield. However, they can be used for scouting, for ambushes, for cutting down fleeing enemy troops, and sometimes even for applying unexpected pressure on an enemy flank.

Noble Cavalry

A few steps up the tribal pecking order, the barbarian cavalry is even more susceptible than Chosen Swordsmen or Barbarian Cavalry to going glory-hunting in the middle of a fight. Their aggressiveness can also be an advantage, though, if they are used correctly. Since they carry spears and shields, they can also be employed against other cavalry.

General's Guard

A bodyguard was, historically speaking, a functional unit, rather than a type of soldier. In the game, however, they are spear-armed shock cavalry, whose success or failure depends to a large extent on the personal characteristics of the general who they are guarding - his effect on their morale, for example, or on their discipline, will play a large role in determining how they fight. They are in all cases excellent troops.


A Ballista is a sinew-powered weapon that looks like an enormous crossbow. It has tremendous range and can skewer files of men with a single bolt. While a Ballista might look like a huge crossbow, its working principles are rather different. The two arms are pushed through ropes made of tough animal sinew. This naturally elastic material is then twisted, and becomes a hugely powerful spring, pulling each arm forwards. The arms are pulled back, creating even more tension, the Ballista is loaded with a missile, and then this is shot at the enemy with considerable force. Providing care is taken to make sure that the two sinew bundles are under the same tension, the Ballista is a very accurate weapon, but because sinew is sensitive to damp a Ballista does not work well in wet weather.


The onager is a catapult jokingly named for the tremendous kick it has when fired at the enemy (an "onager" is a wild ass). This war machine is powered by a twisted spring of animal sinew ropes, the most elastic substance available. The throwing arm is held in tension by the sinews. When pulled back and held by a catch it can fling a boulder with considerable speed and range. This version can be used for reducing stone fortifications, but it can also be used on the battlefield for destroying enemy artillery and harassing troops (although admittedly by killing some of them outright). The onager can also be used to launch incendiary missiles such as fire pots, making it a versatile piece of artillery to any commander.