From Ex illis wiki
Heroes are powerful individuals, with more skills and prestige than regular soldiers and who inspire to their peers. The presence of special Characters can drastically change the way units act on the battlefield.
In Ex illis, Characters always accompany a unit (called Retinue) and are forced to move with it. Since the Hero and his/her Retinue have to move together, if the Hero performs any action not including a movement, his/her Retinue will not be able to move for that turn and will be limited to actions which do not include a movement component (shooting, defending or simply waiting).
Ex illis is a game in which units are supported by a Hero and not the other way around. A typical Hero has the power of 2 or 3 miniatures but is worth 4 or 5 of them in terms of points. The difference lies in the support brought by the Hero to the unit by his/her special rules and leadership. For a Hero to be worthy, you will need to make these two last aspects profitable.
- See also: complete list of Heroic Powers
When a Hero joins an army, he gives it a special rule called Heroic Power. Every Hero has his/her own Heroic Power. For example, the Decurion's Avenger rule allows him to progressively increase his Weapon Damage as the Decurion loses Retinue members.
In a detailed Army View, you can see that a special rule affects the unit when the symbol of a shield appears on the army’s page. You can move your cursor over this icon to see the rules applied to your army. However, if the Hero falls in combat, the Retinue stops benefiting from the Hero’s Heroic Power.
Tip: Heroic Powers are an excellent way of increasing your units’ abilities. Think about placing a Marrenne with Longbowmen so they can shoot without tiring or placing a Dismounted Baneret with your Billmen unit to turn it into a Hero killer squad!
- See also: complete List of Factions
Each character fights for a particular cause whether it is for the re-establishment of the Inquisition, for his/her country’s glory or even to fill the coffers a mercenary company. This cause is represented by the Faction to which the Character belongs. The coat of arms shown on the Character’s image corresponds to the Faction. The Faction of a character drives 3 major aspects of its gameplay:
- The Hero's Motives, granted as a Leadership bonus or penalty to the Retinue;
- The Faction rules applied if the Hero becomes General;
- The additional costs involved in promoting this Hero to the rank of General.
In the Hero view, a box explains the Faction’s particularities. If the Character has several Factions possible, you can change the Faction by clicking on his/her coat of arms or on the button “Change Faction”.
In the Faction view, you can see all the Factions to which the Character can belong. Changing the Faction is a long-term choice (just like the specialisation choice for example) and can only be changed a limited number of times, so take your time before going into this aspect of the gameplay!
Units can support the cause for which the Hero is fighting or not. This atmosphere of agreement (or disapproval) between the unit and its leader is called Leadership and ensues directly from the Hero’s Faction.
Every Hero has Motives (reasons for fighting) and each unit has Affinities (feeling of belonging to a certain cause). The Leadership that comes out of it is the result of all of the Hero’s Motives multiplied by all of his/her Retinue’s Affinities. This Leadership is a bonus or a penalty which is directly applied to the unit’s Morale.
All Heroes have a Basic Motive representing their natural charisma. Almost all units will benefit from this basic value. Thus, even if the Hero and the unit have nothing in common, a slight Leadership bonus will still be added.
In most cases, the Hero gives a morale bonus which will be used as a tampon to allow the unit to take more blows before fleeing. However, if the Hero and his/her unit are particularly incompatible, the unit can start with a morale penalty which will affect its performance. In some extreme cases, the disagreement can even push a unit to refuse to fight.
On the other hand, a unit that is very compatible with its Hero will start the fight Confident and will benefit from a bonus to hit its opponents. However, make sure your unit does not become Presumptuous and forgets to take its opponent seriously! Many generals have made this mistake and have lost their lives for it.
You can also personalise your army even more by promoting one of your Heros to the rank of General of your army. The army General is a more experienced leader and is harder to kill. To represent this, a General has a 25% HP bonus.
When designating a specific Hero to lead your troops, the whole army takes his/her Faction. For example, your army will not simply be an army of mercenaries anymore, but an army of the English Crown! This advanced function is optional and recommended only after playing a few games of Ex illis beforehand. Make sure that you master the game’s basics before going further.
To choose a General, click on your Hero’s figure. A crown will appear in the screen to show his/her new status and the Hero’s coat of arms will be shown in the Faction’s frame. Choosing a General has an impact on four of the game’s aspects:
- This Hero's Leadership is applied to all units in the army;
- His/her Faction's Faction rules are applied;
- The Hero gains a 50% HP bonus;
- A promotion cost might have to be paid.
When a General is chosen, it is not the Retinue but all miniatures in the army that are affected by the Character’s Leadership. Depending on the chosen Faction, a few units will be particularly motivated to follow your General while others might refuse to fight! You can review the each troop’s morale by moving your cursor over the morale icon. If a unit receives a Hero’s influence in addition to that of the General, the average of both is worked out.
Tip: If you wish to integrate a unit to an army with which it does not get along well, think of placing your unit with a Hero it trusts. The Hero’s Leadership could convince the unit to join the army’s ranks.
Faction rules are a second aspect brought by a General. These rules are different from Heroic Powers which benefit only the Retinue. Factions rules are applied to the whole army, but only when the Hero becomes General. You can see them in the Faction box. Moreover, when you choose a General for your army, a coat-of-arms symbol appears under each unit affected by his/her rules.
In general, Faction rules can modify the cost of certain units or even turn them into special units. They can also modify certain unit’s statistics or add new effects during the battle. Certain Factions are easier to play than others due to their Leadership and special rules. A promotion cost might have to be paid when becoming General to counterbalance this fact.
The system of Generals is flexible and allows you to drastically change your style of play from game to game. If a Faction becomes too difficult to play, do not hesitate to nominate a different General for a certain period of time (the starter kit gives you two) or even to simply play mercenaries. Once you will have a better control over certain skills or have acquired new specialisations, it will always be possible to come back to your first Factions by trying new strategies.
Certain Characters in the Ex illis universe, such as William Wallace, can also join your army’s ranks. Their prestige and power can add to your strategies. Named Characters are set in time, i.e. they do not gain experience or specialisation as they fight. They are who they are. It is not a problem in itself since their statistics and skills are often impressive to start with.
It is possible to play a Character in a low-level game. However, in order to respect the predominance that these Characters can have over their peers, they are always played to the maximum level allowed by the game (without exceeding their personal maximum level). Thus, William Wallace, a Character level 40, will be played at level 10 in a Common game, level 20 in a Grand game and so on.