A character's level represents the time they have spent training and they class-powers they've mastered with this effort. Class Abilities are those actions, privileges and equipment slots unlocked as your character gains experience and levels up. These privileges are separate from any you might gain through Rank and Position in your local government. Each Class includes a primary a secondary chain of Class Abilities. Primary chains can be accessed by 5 Hero classes and the relative Lord class. Lords can never access the secondary chains, only available to a different 5 of the Hero classes.
In the lives of Secondary Commanders, warfare isn't a choice but a fact of life. Free from the burdens of Lordship and subjects, but still following some internal dream. This team of Heroes each have separate life goals, but they are bound by a basic camaraderie. Thee secondary-commander heroes are not fooled by the explosion of wealth and philosophy that surrounds them. No matter how soft and 'civilized' life may seem, there's always some hungry bastard waiting to stab you and get his share of the good life.
The Soldier has dedicated their entire life to prowess in combat. They often don't wait for life to challenge them but seek challenge with gusto. Every sunrise is another opportunity to train to exhaustion. To improve your sword swing, to practice block and riposte. These hardcore warriors learn every aspect of combat, from swinging swords to gear hauling to cooking hunting your own dinner when the supply chain hasn't caught up.
The Companion spends most of their time among the beautiful but fragile Peers of their settlement. They can be easily mistaken for one the delicate little birds they are quietly defending. These lovely heroes have seen too many kidnapping and assassination attempts (successful or otherwise) to pretend that high-court is safe. Those who attack a Companion and their charges will find much more than they bargained for.
The Mercenary's first goal is making that money. Long ago, the Mercenary may have been an average trader. Then their family's shop was ransacked, or maybe they were part of an ambushed caravan. They learned that no matter how good you are at business, it doesn't matter of some thug can knock you over the head and take it. So they learned to fight and sell that ability like any other commodity.
The Templar has devoted themselves to protecting the meek, the sick and the helpless. They have seen the wide-world for what it is and has seen wickedness that can't be prayed away. Some evil must be driven out with force and flame. Called to a life of religious service, the Templar found their place as the strong protective arm of the church. While they personally seek peace and enlightenment, they know there can be no real peace until the last wicked soul is saved or sent to it's permanent home.
The Forester has never seen their life as particularly violent. The cycle of nature is unfeeling and unchanging. For some life to prosper, other life must die. This happens every season, with every generation of animals and humans. Bears and Lions have as much right to live as the fish and rabbits they eat. The Forester sees very little difference between defending their camp from a wolf and defending their city from invaders. Both enemies are hungry and impartial, only attacking because they think there's better food in your territory.
That's right, one Yeoman. To use this action, first choose a friendly district (if your settlement has a Defense Pact with another, you can pick one of those districts). From this district, you will approach a single unemployed member of the local Yeoman population. After some effort, you can talk this one Yeoman into joining their local garrison. This show of civic pride and duty increases the Security Happiness for a bit, and if you do so in a foreign district you can contribute to the current Standing between settlements.
Patrolling a selected district allows your character to personally pitch into the defense and security of their chosen location. Evil-doers attempting to break laws and harm the people of your protected district will have to face all of your personal wrath. While in your lower levels, this is a brave undertaking that will become trivial as you gain experience and build your personal Army.
You've been around long enough to know weak defenses when you see them. This action is technically only useful of you live in a settlement facing warfare or has decayed due to abandonment. If a district's Defense Rating has been damaged, your sec-commander Hero can start repairs with a small supply of Bricks and Boards. This is not a temporary effect, but you can't repair defenses any higher than their maximum Defense Rating.
The Belt is both decorative and useful. Each Belt, crafted of Pearls and Leather, proclaims that the wearer is one bad mother and doesn't have time for scrubs. When you see another Commander wearing a Belt, you know they put in the time. They practiced every day to get those levels and earn their personal Belt. This accessory improves the Might and Celerity of the wearer, making your character even more powerful than usual.
It's a lot harder to hurt you than it used to be. There are parts of your body scarred enough that you no longer even feel pain there. In combat, you wade through damage like a machine. Units that work in your personal army are awed at the way you soak damage without complaint and aspire to be like you. Your personal units will be able to resist slightly more damage than others as they try to match your impressive Toughness.
Having a close personal Bond with another character causes you to put more of your resources into protecting them. You have become dangerous enough to take a friend or lover's life into your hands and take full responsibility for their defense. This action allows you to place yourself (and your army) between your chosen ally and whatever dangers might threaten them. This functions like an interception.
Got a problem with a particular neighbor? Maybe they've been spreading rumors about you, maybe they cheated you in the market once. Maybe they just looked at you wrong. Perhaps you don't want a public enmity, or maybe they can afford more personal guards than you can fight. The Careful Ambush action allows you to leave your Army behind (noisy as they are) and jump your unfortunate neighbor when they're alone. This allows both characters to fight without their Retinue (armies). One to one. Mano a Mano.
You've learned much in the levels passed. You've seen war and peace, commerce and poverty. You know that soldiers fight on their stomachs and not to face your units toward the rising or setting sun. But what else is there to know? What great pieces of wisdom have been collected by others? Equip a Manual. Your character's access to the military knowledge of the ages will improve their effective Celerity and Management attributes.
Secondary commanders are assumed to lead smaller groups over smaller spaces than Primary commanders. When they dedicate their Army to local forces, they pick a district to protect. This allows these multi-talented heroes to lead local defense without worrying about an entire settlement. Protect District allows you to dedicate your personal Army to the defense of a single district. They don't actually want to do this, since they signed up to be personal body-guards not watchmen, but you can bribe them to do so with Groceries.
Sneak attack is the great 'secret' power of the Secondary Commanders. Not obligated to always conduct warfare from the front with blaring horns, these canny Heroes unlock a completely unite Combat Scenario tree and method of invading foreign Districts. When Sec-Commanders have reached a high enough level, they can trigger and lead the Sneak Attack scenario. If the Sneak Attack is won, the attackers will trigger a Maraud scenario. If lost, the attackers slink back home. A draw from the Sneak Attack will trigger an Impasse scenario.
Achieving this high level as a sec-commander Hero is the only way to get even a single Flag gear slot. This prestigious piece of fabric proclaims loudly where you are in battle (and everywhere else) and makes it easier for your troops (and enemies) to find you. Each beautiful Flag by rank increases your Celerity and Toughness attributes.
You know a few Yeomen who have been practicing fighting in their spare time. Technically all they need is some decent equipment and they could function as a decent local militia force. In times of need, or if you just have the extra Paper, Horses and Steel, you can gather these combat-capable Yeomen and convert them into Guards, Hoplites, Gunners and Longbowmen. Of course, first you have to give them a rousing speech about glorious combat and duty. An amount based on your Management and Fervor will join of with each speech you give.
War may not have filled your every moment, but it has been an integral part of your long life. You have seen many levels and battles and the troops have heard of you far and wide. Convincing Peers to take up arms, risk their lives and go into battle for you is difficult, but you're impressive enough to do it. They don't all have their own gear and part of your persuasion technique includes a lot of Horses, Steel Ingots, and an outright pay-off of Gold Florins. Even so, these Peer troops are better equipped, educated, and trained than their lower-class comrades.
Heroes who unlock the Last Stand have realized that they can be a single fulcrum point in any combat aimed against any settlement under their care. By planting themselves at the gates and resisting any and all challengers, they cause something amazing to happen. Whether it's impressing a god or communing with the earth, some of your Hero's legendary Toughness is imbued into every combat unit in the entire settlement. This action does not use your Health or Magic but stirs up some great percentage bonus without cost. It does take standing out there for a while though.