|"I will to my lord be true and faithful, and love all which he loves and shun all which he shuns."|
— Anglo-Saxon Oath of Fealty
Medium melee infantry, faster to recruit and with more armour than normal Militia.
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Defensive bonus versus missile infantry.
A relic from a time when Europe was dominated by barbarian tribes and their chieftains, the Feudal Retinue nevertheless remains a powerful infantry unit, although easily outclassed by heavy cavalry in sufficient quantity. They consist of the lesser noblemen of society: vassals and their underlings, who answer as the henchmen to their lord. Due to the feudal system, players will discover that these men are more heavily armoured, and easier to call up when the need strikes as opposed to normal shield bearers. Yet, like shield bearers, they still face the same old enemies: heavy cavalry and heavy infantry, who are now being increasingly equipped with longer arms and armour which is more or less as good as theirs. Nevertheless, like all shield bearers Feudal Retinue are still fast enough on the ground to close in on archers before taking too many losses.
- Quick to Anger; Slow to Flight — Feudal Retinue are fast-training, so you can easily amass an army of them.
- Jack of All Trades — Versatility is key to using Feudal Retinue - they do exceedingly well against archers and possibly siege machines, and can also take on pikemen, the more stronger light infantry units such as the Hibernians or the Slavs, and lancers, but only if they enjoy crushing superiority especially if facing the latter.
If you are playing the Western factions, this unit will undergo 3 different changes, depending on the Age you are in:
Musketeer of the Mercantile Era.
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Musketeer of the Imperial Era.
In the past, the Germanic tribal duchies and other German-influenced factions are often dominated by a professional warrior elite and as such, a pool of highly trained and highly disciplined warriors can be immediately deployed whenever conflict strikes. These men were sworn to serve their leader and thus served in the role of his (or in some cases, her) personal retainers. Examples of these men can be found among the Vikings and the Saxons in England, whose retainers were called thegns (or in England, thingmen), huskarlar or housecarles (literally meaning "servants"). This was more of a reference to their proximity to their lord due to their elite status, as opposed to actually doing menial tasks as normal house servants would, and over time would eventually evolve into the knight of the Middle Ages. These men often had a strong military ethos too: during the battle of Hastings in 1066, the housecarles of Harold Godwinson continued to fight against the Norman forces to the last man, even after their king had been slain.