Generals and admirals are used to command armies and fleets in battle. Their attributes influence the effectiveness with which their army or fleet fights, including their morale, so if one is killed in battle the shock of his death affects his troops and can cause them to waver or even rout. Generals and admirals can acquire skills, character traits, and household members or objects that affect their performance as they gain experience in battle and increase in rank, as well as cursus honorum offices to convey additional bonuses. Recruit a general or admiral by selecting a settlement and then clicking on the raise army or raise fleet button. Available candidates are displayed there. Select one and then click on the raise army or raise fleet button to hire him and begin mustering a force.
On the campaign map a general’s rank - represented by the stars to the left of his character details panel - indicate his experience in the field and define his command ability when auto-resolving battles. If the general also holds a cursus honorum office the effects of his position increase in line with his rank. On the battlefield the general uses his rank to further boost the morale of his men, so the more stars the general has, the higher the morale of nearby troops.
The general has a huge influence on his army’s fortunes in battle, not least because the abilities at his disposal can turn the tide in their favour. You can unlock generals’ abilities and develop them in-line with skills and experience, sometimes upgrading them to become stronger or affect more units. There are three attributes that unlock different categories of general’s ability: "Warrior", which is unlocked by high zeal; "Commander", which become available when authority is high; "Strategist", which is dependent on high cunning. As a general or admiral improves each of his three attributes, he will progressively unlock further abilities.