Armies and fleets can be assigned stances which improve their movement rate, line of sight, and various attack and defence attributes. Often, there is a trade-off between positive and negative effects. Select an army or fleet and click on the dedicated button at the bottom of the screen to choose one. A force's stance represents how its capabilities change under a number of situations: mustering (recruitment), forced marching, ambushes, raiding on land or at sea, garrisoning settlements, fortifying (setting camp), rowing at double time or patrolling a sea region. Each one has its advantages and drawbacks, costs a number of action points to execute and once entered, the force will stay in that stance until given a different order. It is not possible for an army to enter a stance when on a transport ship at sea, but that transport ship will have it's own stances that can be adopted.
An army ordered to carry out a forced march gets a significant increase in the action points available to it, but is unable to initiate a battle. Furthermore, a marching army has a reduced line of sight, reflecting its focus on the job in hand; the drawback being that it is more susceptible to ambushes. If attacked, all units in a marching army suffer reduced morale to reflect the inherent surprise element. The resultant battle will always be an ambush.
Ambush stance immobilises an army but increases its line of sight and makes it invisible to nearby enemy forces. If undetected, a hidden army can attack any enemy that wanders into its zone of control. The success of such an ambush depends on the quality of the commanders involved and the nature of the surrounding terrain.
When ordered into a raiding stance, your army or fleet draws income from nearby trade routes and settlements. This decreases its upkeep costs, but reduces its defensive capabilities and movement range on the campaign map. The amount of booty gained through raiding is relative to the size of your force and is deducted from the income of the route or settlement in question. Raiding in foreign territory harms diplomatic relations, but isn’t an overt act of war. In dire situations, a force may raid within its own territory, causing a degree of unrest as a result.
By setting camp, your army fortifies itself against attack and defends the surrounding area. Although immobile, a fortified army has greater defensive capabilities, line of sight and reinforcement range. If attacked, it can also deploy fixed defences such as barricades, wooden stakes, spike traps, and, if playing Rome, a temporary fort on the battlefield.
When actively recruiting units into its ranks, an army is said to be "mustering". Whilst in this stance it is immobile and cannot initiate an attack, but can defend and will replenish any losses at a quicker rate. An army cannot muster whilst undertaking a forced march, hiding to ambush or raiding.
By moving an army into a settlement, it becomes part of the garrison. Whilst inside, its units can replenish any losses at a faster rate and, if the settlement is attacked, will have improved morale. A garrisoned army suffers attrition when under siege if occupying a landlocked settlement or a port which is both under siege and blockade.
Double time means the crew of a fleet of ships row twice as fast as they otherwise would. This stance enables them to travel much further within a turn, but means they cannot carry out an attack once they reach their destination until the following turn. There is also a morale penalty as the crew become exhausted, lasting as long as the stance is active.