Hired forces

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Hired forces are predefined armies which may be temporarily controlled by hiring them with  Gold. Hired forces cannot be used to raid. There are two types of hired forces, each one with its own tab in the Military menu.


A screenshot of the mercenaries screen.

Mercenaries are armies that can be hired by rulers for 3 years. The gold cost is paid upon hiring the Mercenaries and there is no additional cost associated with hiring them, but at the end of the 3 years, they will leave if their contract is not extended. Extending a contract for 3 years has the same cost as initially hiring the army.

Each culture generates between one and three mercenary companies depending on the number of counties of that culture, with each additional company being bigger and more expensive than the previous one. They will pick a county of their culture as their headquarters and will be available to be hired by anyone with capital within diplomatic range of that county. Range between Mercenary armies come with one or more specific men-at-arms regiments and will also contain a number of knights. Mercenary regiments reinforce 3 times faster than regular regiments.

Rulers are allowed to go into debt up to 2 years in order to hire mercenaries.

Mercenary company Levies Regiments Knights Cultural regiment chance
1st 400 1 2 50%
2nd 800 2 3 66%
3rd 1200 3 4 80%

Mercenary armies select a name based on their culture, as shown in the table below.

Culture/Culture group Name(s)
Default Culture adjective Band of location
Akan group Ashanti Band, Company of the Volta, Followers of Akwei
Arabic group Mamluks
Bedouin Wanderers, Company of location
Mashriqi Sarkans of location, Company of the Oasis, Desert Brethren
Egyptian Host of the Nile, Keepers of the Lighthouse
Maghrebi Union of Swords, Army of the Senator
Andalusian Almogavars of location, Mawali Band, Treasurers of location
Baltic group Baltic Band, Riders of the Coast, Company of the Deeplands
Butr Army of the Crossing, location Band, Riders of the Mountains
Baranis Followers from location, Company of location
Burman group Arakan Band, Company of the Valley
Burmese Company of the Irrawaddy, Burmese Host
Mon Sadhuim Company, Mon Host
Byzantine group Manglabites, Ten Thousand
Greek Varangian Guard, Herules, Hoplites of location
Georgian Veterans of Chaldia
Central African group Sahelian Band, Company of the Chad, Company of the Gambra, Followers of Bayajida, Followers of Sundiata
Pictish Woad Raiders
Welsh Lawgoch's Followers, Band of the Horn
Breton Company of Bretons
Cornish Bodyguards of Gwendolen
Saxon Teutonic Brotherhood, Saxon Steelbearers, Hansa Guard, Sons of Widukind
Franconian Great Company, Franconian Company, Thuringian Blades, Rhenish Band, New Franks
Swabian Swabian Band, Alsace Fighters, Alemannic Sellswords, Helvetic Guard
Bavarian Bavarian Band, Austrian Company, Tyrol Warriors, Styrian Panthers
Dutch Company of the Brabançon Wolf, Flemish Band, Company of the False-Earl
German Great Company, Veterans of the Marches, Swiss Guard
Dravidian group Velaikkarar of location, Company of the Tiger, Tungabhadra Gang, Dreamers of the Jog, Company of the Ghats, Guards of Rama Setu, Terrors of Tamilakam, Company of the Koyil
Ethiopian Ge'ezan Company, Tigrayit Band
Nubian Noba Company, Kushite Band, Company of Meroe
Welayta Company of the Leopard, Gondershe Band, Guardians of Almnara
Daju Army of the Crossing, Beja Place Band, Riders of the Mountains
East Slavic Kievan Band, Varangian Host, Raiders of Caspia, Company of Rus, Followers of Oleg
French Tard-Venus de location, Band of location, Routiers of location, location Band
Norman Band of the Black Monk, Iron Arm's Company, Normans of Drengot
Occitan Routiers of the Archpriest, Host of the Viscount, Marchers of Wasconia
Irish Band of Kerns, Madhmann's Company, Company of Shield and Scian
Gaelic Gallowglasses, Redshanks
Iberian group Almogavars of location, Almogavars of location
Basque Navarrese Company
Castilian Slaughterers, Band of the Brigand Emperor
Catalan Great Catalan Company
Portuguese Count's Exiles
Galician Slaughterers, Band of the Brigand Emperor
Asturleonese Slaughterers, Band of the Brigand Emperor
Aragonese Slaughterers, Band of the Brigand Emperor
Indo-Aryan group Tigers of location, Apabhranśa Band
Bengali Company of the Delta, Bengal Host
Oriya Oryia Band, Company of Odisha
Hindustani Company of Many Colors, Hindustani Band, Company of the Ganges
Gujarati Company of the Great Rann, Band of the Nilgai, Company of the Stone Anchor
Punjabi Company of the Punjab, Host of Sangala
Rajput Rajaputra Band, Company of the Exile, Followers of the Priest King
Sindhi Company of the Dead Men, Harappan Band
Marathi Company of Four Kings, Servants of the Vatandar, Badami Companions
Kashmiri Company of Kashmir, Host of Kashmir
Sinhala Company of the Staff, Rice Grain Band
Iranian Ghilman, Warriors of Zaranj, location Cataphracts
Persian Band of Medes, Immortals of location
Sogdian Company of Sogdiana, Sogdian Warriors
Tocharian Band of Tókharoi
Kurdish Band of Sermaj
Afghan Khorasani Band, Company of Shahids
Baloch Company of Makran, Westwards Band
Daylamite Daylamite Company, Band of Sermaj
Khwarezmian Company of Khwarezm, Khwarezmian Warriors
Tajik Company of Bukhara, Dehqan Warriors
Latin group Company of the Bull
Italian Company of the Star, Black Band, Italian Condottiere Band
Cisalpine Company of Saint George, Company of the Star, Company of the Hat, Company of the Rose, Cisalpine Condottiere Band
Sardinian Sardinian Band
Sicilian Sicilian Condottiere Band, Sicilian Band
Lombard Longbeard Band
Magyar group Band of the Fields, Band of the Arrow Rain, Company of the Saint
Mongolic group Location Horde, Army Under the Sky, Riders of Mongol location, True Khan's Faithful, Company of the Yurt, Steppe Dancer's Band, Chastisement of location, Band of the Father, Company of the Goad
North Germanic group Thinglith, Army of Kylfingar, Company of Jarl Landless, Huscarls of the Sea, Band of Firesmoke, Queen's Hird
Swedish Göta Band
Norwegian Birchers of location
Danish Border Reaver's Band
Sahelian group Sahelian Band, Company of Awkar, Followers of Kayamagha
Senegambian group Sahelian Band, Company of the Gambra, Followers of Sundiata
Somali Company of the Leopard, Gondershe Band, Guardians of Almnara
Beja Army of the Crossing, Beja Place Band, Riders of the Mountains
Afar Company of the Leopard, Gondershe Band, Guardians of Almnara
South Slavic group Stratioti of location, Wayfarers of location, Band of location Stratioti
Bosnian Bitter-Winter Band, Knéževi of the Road, Forest Wolves
Serbian Allemannic Guard
Vlach Sheperds of the Romans
Bulgarian Company of the Skull Cup, Brothers of Bayan
Turkic group Location Horde, Army Under the Sky, Turkic Riders of location, True Khan's Faithful, Company of the Yurt, Steppe Dancer's Band, Chastisement of location, Band of the Father, Company of the Goad
West African Sahelian Band, Company of the Gambra, Followers of Sundiata
English White Company, Hawkwood's Band
Anglo-Saxon Retinue of Hengist, Wake's Guard, Band of Horsa
Scots Border Reivers, Warband of the Great Hall, Company of the King's Son
West Slavic group Companions of the Woods
Pomeranian Oder Free Company, Company of the Dog
Czech Free Lances of Brandýs, Army of the Ore, Company of the Cruel Hand
Polish Drużynan Host, Free Company of the Pospolite
Polabian Band of the Fallen Knez, Company of the Stout Horse
Slovien Freelances of Velehrad, Army of Morava Bend, Company of the Faithbearers
Yoruba group Yoruba Band, Company of the Niger, Followers of Oduduwa

Holy orders[edit]

Holy orders are independent military organizations that work to defend and expand the influence of their faith. Each holy order has a  Duke rank title.

Rulers can create a holy order via the Found Holy Order decision. The decision costs and then requires the ruler making the decision to choose an owned castle or city holding as the order's headquarters. The designated headquarters title is leased and may be revoked at any time by the title holder and revoking a grandmaster's last lease will destroy the holy order. When a holy order is created the ruler who created it will become its Patron and the order's grandmaster will belong to its faith and culture.

Rulers of a holy order's faith may hire them if they are at war with a faith considered Hostile or Evil, regardless of casus belli. A ruler may only have one holy order hired at a time. Hiring holy orders costs  Piety unless the ruler is the order's Patron, scaling on the maximum amount of Levies and Regiments the holy order has. Holy orders remain hired for as long as their employer is at war with someone of another faith.

Holy orders have 500  Levies, 2  Knights and 2 Regiments. Each Holding they own provides an additional Regiment and 200  Levies and every two Holdings they own provide an additional  Knight. Their Men-at-Arms do not gain bonuses from the buildings in its Holdings, but rather from their employer's buildings.


The first king or emperor upwards in the liege hierarchy of the holy order's headquarters is their patron. It is possible for a holy order to have no patron if no such ruler exists.

Patrons of a holy order may hire them at no cost, as long as they belong to the same faith. They may also take any leased holdings from the order. A Ruler that is a Patron of a holy order may get events that allows them to grant holdings to the new holy order. If a Patron takes a loan from the order and does not repay it, the Order may choose a holding it wants (usually a city) and demand that it be leased to them.

If a holy order is hired by another character, its Patron can repay their employer the  Piety hiring cost to hire the holy order. This option is not available in multiplayer if the holy order is hired by another human player.

As Patron and not a Liege, the Holdings that the holy orders have leased will give neither taxes nor levies to their Patron.

When you raise a holy order, they spawn at the oldest existing army assembly point in your realm.


It is often advantageous to establish a holy order or become one's Patron as soon as possible if you border hostile or evil religions. It acts as a free army in holy wars unless rented by another ruler. They can grow quite large on their own with no oversight by the player, sometimes snowballing into a 5-6k heavy infantry stack by 1044.

Although you have to be at war with a hostile or evil ruler to raise them, they can fight armies of your faith in other wars. One strategy is to maintain one province minors of a hostile or evil religion on your border, so you can declare a holy war against a weak ruler at will. In a war against a ruler of your faith, you can declare a holy war against the one province minor, raise the holy order, and use them in the war against your stronger opponent.


All members of a holy order, including its grandmaster, gain the  Order Member trait. Rulers may also use the Ask to Take Vows interaction to send courtiers to a holy order, as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Has none of the following traits:
    •  Devoted
    •  Order Member
    •  Excommunicated
    •  Incapable
  • Is not your Court Chaplain.
  • The faith has a holy order whose leader is not a rival of the ruler
  • Is adult
  • Is not imprisoned
  • The faith's View on Gender doctrine allows the prospective member's gender to serve as commanders or knights
  • Has a martial education

If the courtier accepts, the ruler will lose Piety while the courtier gains a level of devotion.

Note that sending characters to a holy order is available even if the faith doesn't have the Monasticism Tenet.

Losing titles[edit]

If a holy order's headquarters is lost, the holy order will select a new owned holding to fulfil the role, with a preference for holdings within the current patron's realm. However, if the holy order loses its last holding, it will be disbanded.


Characters CharactersAttributesTraitsResourcesLifestyleDynastyCultureInnovationsModifiers
Realm & Governance VassalsCouncilCourtSchemesGovernmentLawsDecisionsTitlesBaronyCounty
Warfare WarfareCasus belliAllianceArmyHired forces
Faith ReligionFaithDoctrinesTenets
Meta ModdingPatchesDownloadable contentDeveloper diariesAchievementsJargon