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A unit of 8 Vileins
  • Cannon fodder
  • Abilities based on morale
  • Can be surprisingly efficient

Vileins are units of light infantry, peasants armed with spears (or farming tools) who wear crude gambeson armour. They are among the cheapest units to field in the game and can fit into almost any army. They should not be expected to win many fights, but can play alternate and indirect roles in the army adequately.

Special Rules

  • Cowards: Unless acting as a Retinue, this unit cannot charge unengaged enemies.
  • Generic: Basic Leadership of allied Heroes is increased by 50% toward this unit.


Story Notes

A vilein's point of view

A vilein is a type of serf: a peasant bound to the land under feudal law. Unlike some other form of serfdom, vileins possess a legal entity which in turn provides them with a (limited) number of rights. On the battlefield, vileins are usually summoned through levies as a last-resort force. Ill-trained and ill-equipped, a vilein unit does not usually do well in battle, which reinforces their master’s belief in their inadequacy.

Vileins are particularly common in French armies where a strict feudal culture nourishes the idea that knights are the only acceptable warriors on the battlefield. In the absence of professional infantry, French nobles have to rely on their cheapest and most commonly available resources: the peasants working their lands. Usually brought to war against their will, the vileins’ prospects on the battlefield are dim at best, if not quite grim. Because of this, they tend to rout early on in a fight, potentially causing panic in the ranks of allied troops.

If a vilein can flee to a city and live there for a full year, he is freed from serfdom. But life in the city is very unsettling for someone who has known nothing but his farming village. Consequently, many of them turn to crime to survive: hence the contemporary meaning of the word ‘villain’.

Gameplay Summary

One of the chief roles of the Vilein is to act as an unlikely bodyguard by diluting enemy attacks in a melee in order to protect more expensive units (that is: everyone else!). With a decent Aggressiveness for their point value, Vileins have a relatively high chance of becoming the target of enemy attacks. A general should always be glad when a Vilein takes a hit instead of the soft and costly mage beside him.

The Vilein’s inefficiency in combat does not come so much from a lack of Strength or Hit Points, but from low dexterity (difficulty in hitting or avoiding skilled enemies) and a strong tendency to Rout. Playing the Vileins properly means learning to control morale efficiently. The Vileins have access to different special actions based on their current morale state, and are noticeably more efficient in the Confident state. Commanded by the right leader, they can become surprisingly effective!

The last, more subtle role of Vileins is to act as melee support. The unit can serve as excellent bait to draw out an impetuous enemy (like the Franc Chevalers). They can charge into a melee and change the fight direction to set up a flank for an ally... or even try to flank themselves to offset their usual inaccuracy.


Statistics Highlights
Very cheap
Poor Accuracy
Decent physical stats
Very sensitive to morale
Resistance to Earth
Weakness to Fire

Main Article: Stats


Main melee weapon

Secondary melee weapon

Ranged Weapon










Granted Skills
Jab - level 1 Stand - level 1 Prepare - level 1
Confident morale state only. A drastically more accurate attack. Defensive Stance. Neutral morale state only. Sets a charge reaction with high priority. Defensive Stance. Shaky morale state only. Miniatures perform a powerful death strike if defeated.
Courage - level 5 Double Attack - level 10
Confident or overconfident morale state. A charge disregarding the Cowards special rule. Shaky morale state only. Each miniature attacks twice, but with a considerable Accuracy penalty.

Mastery Skills
Sow - level 15 Taunt - level 15 Run Away - level 15
Defensive Stance. Not usable while Shaky. Victims of this charge reaction lose a small ratio of their maximum life over 3 turns. Defensive Stance. Confident or Overconfident morale state only. The unit draws more attacks to itself. The Vileins leave close combat and cannot be cut down by enemies.

Final Skills
Repel - level 30 Brace - level 30 Hold - level 30
Passive Skill. Higher retaliate chances while maintaining a Stance. Passive Skill. Toughness bonus while maintaining a Stance. Passive Skill. Less sensitive to morale while maintaining a Stance.

Vileins' Skill Tree

Related Articles

Would you like to add a unit of Vileins to your army? Get one from one of the following boxes:

The Ex illis Starter Kit

The Vilein assembly instructions