Military leader

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Choosing a leader in the army leader tab

Military leaders can be placed at the head of armies and navies. Their statistics improve how troops perform in battle. A nation may recruit leaders at any time, though generals and conquistadors cost 50 Military Monarch Points, and admirals and explorers cost 50 Diplomatic monarch points. A leader's skill is dependent on the army or navy tradition at the time they were hired. A male ruler or (for monarchies) the ruler's of-age male heir may become a general. Once a nation is over its leader limit, leaders will cost one additional military power point per month; rulers and heirs are exempt from this limit.

The odds of a General or Admiral dying from combat are fairly low. Most leaders last around 12 years before dying.

Assigning and recalling leaders[edit]

Generals and conquistadors can only be assigned to armies that are not in battle or in hostile territory. The latter includes provinces that are owned, allied, neutral, uncolonized, or where the owner grants military access. Admirals and explorers can only be assigned to fleets that are docked in any port. When assigning leaders to armies and fleets, it is possible to select leaders that are already assigned elsewhere. In this case, the chosen leader will immediately teleport over to lead the currently selected unit regardless of where he was previously located.

The requirement for recalling leaders is ostensibly the same as that for assigning them, although any limitations can be bypassed with leader reassignments. If no unit is available to activate the reassignment from, then using the 'No Leader' button on the general selection screen for the regiment in question.


Leaders are rated on a scale of 0-6 for each of the following skills:

Land leader shock.pngNaval leader shock.png Shock[edit]

The leader's shock ability is added to the dice roll during the shock phase.

Land leader fire.pngNaval leader fire.png Fire[edit]

Like leader shock, leader fire is added to the dice roll during the fire phase.

Land leader maneuver.pngNaval leader maneuver.png Maneuver[edit]

The leader's maneuver affects the movement speed of the army or fleet it is assigned to, as well as affecting fleet positioning for naval battles. Additionally, each point counts as a 5% tradepower bonus when assigned to a fleet that is protecting a trade node.

Land Leader maneuver reduces unit weight by 1 per maneuver point; this can reduce attrition in low supply provinces (but not attrition from sieges or enemy's "attrition for enemies" bonus from ideas). Each point of Land Leader maneuver increases local reinforcement rate by 10%. This only affects recovery in unowned (occupied, ally, subject or enemy) terrain. An army cannot exceed 100% reinforcement rate from bonus maneuver. River and strait crossing penalties can be negated if the attacking general has at least 1 more maneuver than the defending general. An army must have a general to avoid a crossing penalty.

Leader siege.png Siege[edit]

When leading a siege the leader's siege skill will be added to all dice rolls, making sieges go faster. Even with very high army tradition, very few generals have high siege pips, since siege pips are allocated a third as often as other pips (see below for details).

Ideas that improve leaders' abilities[edit]

The following ideas improve new leaders' abilities (up to the usual maximum of 6):

  • land leader fire
Land leader fire.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Offensive idea 3: Superior Firepower
  • Ming idea 7: The Red Cannon
  • Rajput idea 6: Martial Ethos
  • Smolenskian idea 5: Hold The Line
  • Bohemian ambitions
  • Expansion-Quality: The Mining Act
  • land leader shock
Land leader shock.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Manchu traditions
  • Scottish traditions
  • Offensive idea 1: Bayonet Leaders
  • Ajuuraan idea 6: Expelling the Infidel
  • Arawak idea 7: Jungle Warfare
  • Charruan idea 3: Bolas Warfare
  • Horde idea 4: Steppe Leaders
  • Jerusalem idea 5: Crusader Aristocracy
  • Lithuanian idea 1: Warlord Dukes
  • Mexican idea 6: Heroes of the Revolution
  • Shan idea 5: Raiders
  • Tibetan idea 2: Bön Influence.
  • Wallachian idea 5: Legacy of the Impaler
  • Air ambitions
  • Arabian ambitions
  • Manchu ambitions
  • Swedish ambitions
  • Humanist-Quantity: Inspirational Leaders
  • land leader maneuver
Land leader maneuver.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Shawnee ambitions
  • Carib traditions
  • Defensive idea 3: Improved Maneuver
  • Air idea 6: Nomadic Traditions
  • Albanian idea 2: Land of Ambushers
  • Caucasian idea 3: Hit and Run
  • Kazani idea 5: Steppe Warfare
  • Pacific Northwest idea 5: Legacy of Raven
  • Permian idea 5: Warriors of the Taiga
  • Romanian idea 2: Skilled Commanders
  • Tapuian idea 5: The Way of the Jaguar
  • Zaporozhian idea 4: Hit And Run
  • Lithuanian ambitions
  • Quantity-Exploration: Hired Adventurers
  • leader siege
Leader siege.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Nepali idea 7: Envelopment and Blockade
  • Innovative-Offensive: Modern Siege Weapons
  • naval leader fire
Naval leader fire.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Dutch idea 4: Instructie voor de Admiraliteiten
  • Naval idea 3: Naval Cadets
  • Naval-Innovative: The Nautical Education Act
  • naval leader shock
Naval leader shock.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Naval idea 1: Boarding Parties
  • Naval-Religious: Zealous Captains
  • naval leader maneuver
Naval leader maneuver.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Maritime idea 6: Excellent Shipwrights
  • Mogadishan idea 2: Somali sailors
  • Omani idea 6: Skilled Captains
  • Swahili idea 2: Monsoon Season
  • Innovative-Maritime: New Naval Tactics

Formulas for point distribution[edit]

This section is based on actual game code, not experimentation.

Summed up, a pool of points is generated, and then semi-randomly distributed between the different abilities.


First, a pool of points is generated using the following process:

  1. Start with .
  2. chance of +1.
  3. chance of +1.
  4. chance of +1.
  5. chance of +1.
  6. chance of +1.
  7. chance of +1.

Effective tradition is computed as follows:

Leader type Effective tradition

Below is the ranges and mean values for generals at a number of different military traditions:

Tradition Min Max Mean
0% 1 7 4
20% 2 9 5.2
40% 3 11 6.6
60% 4 13 8.2
80% 5 15 10
100% 7 17 12


This pool is then distributed between the different stats.

If the pool is larger than 10, it is reduced by 4, and 1 point added to each ability. Since the maximum pool is 17, this can only happen twice.

Bonuses (see #Ideas that improve leaders' abilities) are then added.

Then, the remaining pool is distributed point by point as follows:

  • If land leader, and which = 0, and siege < 6:
  • Else, if which < 4, and shock < 6:
  • Else, if which < 7, and fire < 6:
  • Else, if maneuver < 6:

If this ends up not assigning the point, a new is generated until the point gets assigned.

Effectively, this means that each point has a 10% chance of being assigned to siege, 30% of shock, and 30% of fire, 30% of maneuver, but when individual abilities are capped the probabilities change:

  • If siege is capped (extremely unlikely), the 10% goes to shock instead
  • If shock is capped, the 30% goes to fire instead
  • If fire is capped, the 30% goes to maneuver instead

Types of leaders[edit]

Ruler generalRuler[edit]

A country's ruler can be turned into a general - in any form of government other than papacy and theocracy, but for males only. A ruler leading troops into battle faces the risk of dying on the battlefield. This can be used to shorten the reign of a bad ruler for a better one, particularly if the country is a monarchy and the heir has decisively better stats (likewise, this can be used to get rid of a bad heir in the hope of a better one). Do note however, monarchies face an additional -1 stability hit if their ruler or heir dies on the battlefield, for a total of -2 stability in the case of the ruler. The chance of a ruler or heir dying in battle is directly proportional to the number of days a battle lasts.[1]

Heir GeneralHeir[edit]

An adult male heir may also be converted into a general, and like its ruler counterpart, also faces the risk of death on the battlefield. Heirs that will die this way will also cause a -1 stability hit upon death. Republics cannot use this option as they have no Heir.


Generals are the ordinary leaders of land armies and give them bonuses, which are based on the general's stats. They cannot explore Terra Incognita.


Only troops lead by a conquistador can enter and explore land provinces classified as "Terra Incognita". A conquistador gets 20% fewer pips (before idea modifiers and similar) than a general.


Admirals are the ordinary leaders of fleets and give them bonuses, which are based, like generals, on the given admiral's stats. They cannot explore Terra Incognita.


Explorers are essentially admirals who can enter and explore sea provinces classified as "Terra Incognita". They will die if their entire exploration fleet succumbs to the sea and all ships sink (without El Dorado) and can conduct Exploration Missions to reveal territory (with El Dorado). An explorer gets 20% fewer pips (before idea modifiers and similar) than an admiral.

Leader upkeep[edit]

All countries have a base value of 1 leader without upkeep. Further free leaders are granted by the following:

Leader(s) without upkeep.png Conditions
+1 for all AI controlled countries
with difficulty set to ‘very easy’ for human players
for embracing Feudalism.png feudalism
as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
as Curia controller
with at least Power Projection.png25 power projection
as Empire rankempire

Ideas and policies:

Leader(s) without upkeep.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Kanem Bornuan traditions
  • Thüringian traditions
  • Innovative idea 7: Formalized Officer Corps
  • Bosnian idea 3: Empower Bosnian Nobility
  • Colonial idea 7: Liberty Heroes
  • Croatian idea 1: Hrvatski Ban
  • Québécois idea 6: Commissions for Noble Sons
  • Ryukyuan idea 7: The Three Mountains
  • Full Aristocracy
  • English ambitions
  • Hungarian ambitions
  • Incan ambitions
  • Kongolese ambitions
  • Kurdish ambitions

Events and estate interactions:

Leader(s) without upkeep.png Event modifier Trigger Duration
+1 Dhimmi Nobles Dhimmi.png Dhimmi estate interaction: Estate interaction 8.png“Promote Dhimmi Nobles” for 30 years.
−1 Reduced Number of Generals Tribes estate event: ‘Demands of the $ESTATE_NOMADIC_TRIBES$
Option: “Agree”.
for 5 years.

Each leader more than the free leaders of a country will cost Military power.png1 military power per month as upkeep. Rulers and heirs that have been turned into generals do not count, and will also never cost any upkeep.


Land warfare ArmyLand unitsDisciplineManpower
Naval warfare NavyNaval unitsSailors
Other concepts Casus belliWar exhaustionMilitary traditionLeadersAlliance