All leaders are recruited using the Domestic Leaders interface. All leaders are mortal; only kings and other rulers can die in battle, but all leaders will die of old age. There are four types of military leaders:
Generals & Admirals
Generals and Admirals are recruited using:
- 1 diplomat
- ~50 ducats, depending on your Tradition and current number of generals (very poor countries may pay as little as 5 ducats)
- up to 20% Army Tradition (Generals) or Naval Tradition (Admirals). The higher a nation's Military Tradition, the better stats the leaders are likely to have.
To assign a General or Admiral to an army or navy, select the unit and click on the (No Leader) line just below the unit's name. Navies must be in port; armies must be in a province that you control or have a diplomatic right to move through. While you can't select or change leaders in enemy territory, you can shift units between stacks. Nations with a king (see Forms of Government), can convert him to a general. Queens and Regency Councils cannot lead an army. Unlike other leaders, kings can die in battle, and cause a 1 stability loss if they die.
Conquistadors & Explorers
Conquistadors are a type of leader that is capable of leading a land army into terra incognita. Unlike the explorer, who can only discover oceans and coastal provinces, the conquistador can march deep into the interior of a continent. The Conquistador also reduces the attrition an army suffers, relative to the movement skill. The prerequisites to recruit a conquistador or explorer to service are:
- Quest for the New World national idea
- 1 free colonist in the colonist pool (instead of a diplomat)
- ~50 ducats; the actual cost depends on the number of leaders already in your service (very poor countries may pay as little as 5 ducats)
- up to 20% Army or Naval tradition
Leader Skill Levels
The following equation gives an approximation of the total skills a new leader will have, based on tradition:
Tradition/5 - 2 = Fire + Shock + Maneuver + Siege
Fire, Shock, Maneuver, and Siege are capped at 6. Siege is capped at 1 before modifiers are applied. Note that the skills possessed by leaders will also be affected by slider positions and other modifiers, but that these bonuses do not allow skills to go above the official limits. Given the modifiers in the vanilla game the highest Siege you will get is 3 (1 random+1.25 from Defensive policy+1 from Engineer Corps National Idea).
The various leader skills operate as follows:
Fire and Shock values: These are added to the fire and shock factors for attack and defense of the units they are commanding. Note that this only affects casualties; leaders have no direct impact on morale during combat.
Siege Value: This is added to the hidden die roll used for adjudicating siege progress. It can be considered equivalent to reducing the fortress level of the besieged city by this value. For example, a siege value of 1 would effectively make a level 2 fort more or less equivalent to a level 1 fort, though with more defenders.
Manoeuvre Value: This is added to the speed of forces that the leader commands. It is also subtracted from the army size (in thousands) in order to evaluate the effects of attrition. For Explorers, high manoeuvre increases the chance to discover unknown coastal provinces when entering a seazone.