... [H]is face disappeared behind the protective mask. That was three strips of steel that came to a point just below his nose, and it gave him a bird-of-prey look ...
— S. M. Stirling, Dies the Fire
Heavy cavalry unit that is cheaper to produce but with a poorer attack than normal knights.
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Kitted out with axes, maces, shield, and armour, these men pass for heavy cavalry for those historically with no knightly tradition in the Castle Age. Although they cost far less metal to recruit, these men however have a slight attack penalty and in battle against other heavy cavalry, especially Byzantine-styled cataphracts, they may deal very little damage.
Thus, unless desperate, you are well advised to perhaps stick to a combination of infantry and light cavalry during the Castle Age. Fortunately, the other units of these factions — militia and melee units — should be able to round out whatever handicaps these nations have. Like Russian cavalry, Retinue Cavalry have one half of their ramp cost eliminated, so you can train these men in large groups in which they will be most effective.
- Tin Soldiers — As these units cost less in metal, you will discover that you can recycle the metal saved for other projects, most notably heavy infantry and fortifications. Although they don't hit as hard as normal knights are bound to do, their lower cost makes them still worthwhile as a unit.
- The More The Merrier — Retinue Cavalry are meant to be used in large groups, given their lower cost in metal.
- Shiny Happy People Holding Spears — Like all heavy cavalry, Retinue Cavalrymen are fairly slow, but still fast enough to chase and hunt down lightly-armed infantry, and also are the bane of light or medium cavalry. Their main weakness is in being swarmed — or being force-fed into a grinder of spearwalls, such as those at Kortrijk.
Most Barbarian factions that you meet in Rise of Chivalry don't train knights, preferring instead to raise Retinue Cavalry.
Islamic Retinue Cavalrymen
This unit's TYPENAME parameter is titled "GERHARD", in honour of Gerhard III (1293-1340), count of Holstein-Rendburg and one-time ruler of Denmark. His seal depicted a figure upon which was based the appearance of this unit.
Ironically, this unit is the only Norse unit that has a horned helmet, and is also the weakest unit for the Norse.
By the onset of the Intermediate Middle Ages, the use and power of cavalry were making themselves more extensively felt throughout the Old World, most notably embodied in the form of the spirit of chivalry, in which dedicated bands of warriors served as both soldier and governor: the miles or knightly class, which was drilled to perfection to live, fight and die in the saddle. Although the mediaeval knight dominated much of Europe's mediaeval history, there were vast areas in the world where heavy cavalry continued to be used but did not always reach the same standards or numbers as the European knight, for a variety of reasons: either there was a lack of proper terrain for true heavy cavalry to fight in (such as Wales, Scandinavia, or the Middle East), or there was simply a lack of proper horses to go by (such as in post-Tang China).