Most Dominions 3 games start with each aspiring pretender's kingdom controlling one or just a few provinces; the remaining provinces are neutral.
Just because a province is neutral, however, does not mean that it is undefended. Each province has a population type; this influences both what troops can be recruited locally (and these will be the only troops recruitable there, until a fortress is constructed to allow recruiting 'national' troops, or a magic site is found that provides other troop types), and what troops are likely to be found fiercely defending their autonomy. A province that offers human feudal troops, for instance, is likely to be defended by a mixed force of human longbowmen, heavy cavalry, and heavy infantry.
There are, of course, exceptions. These tend to be highly interesting provinces. :D In addition, should the force be missing or seemingly highly depleted, this may also be a curiosity...
Some forces are much stronger than others. Their territories may make interesting buffer zones, especially for nations with stealth, flight or other abilities that let them bypass them. Keep in mind, however, that your opponents could be doing the same to you, and that you can't patrol to detect enemy spies in a province that you don't control.
Independent forces behave differently than normal AI-controlled sides. For instance, they are passive; they do not recruit additional troops, patrol, build buildings, invade neighbors, or so forth. The province defense of an independent province is normally zero -- this means that their army is not backed by 'free' militia that respawn until province control changes. If broken in battle and they retreat, they vaporize completely.
This passivity and lack of province defense does mean that casualties inflicted on them are essentially permanent. In addition, they lack the free commander of the province defense, which means that it is possible to assassinate -all- their commanders in a province. In this case, their leaderless force will break the next time they are in battle.
Only passive factors such as certain random events will replace any losses.
Passive Effects and Random Events
They are affected by random events; however, as Independents, events that cause independent forces to appear augment their forces rather than force battle.
They are affected by any magical sites that have an impact on all units in the province.
They are also affected by any passive effects of magical items. It has been known to happen that an independent commander starts with an item that automatically summons a free demon every turn...
Population Type and Terrain
Many Indy types are only found in certain terrain. You can often anticipate the exact type via the scout report.
|Plains Forest Mountain Waste Swamp Cave farmland coastal sea deep-sea|
|Pop Type||P||F||M||W||S||C||f||c||s||d||Recruitable Units / Scouts See...||Magic Paths|
|Amazon, crystal||*||Amazon Archer, Pegasus rider, Crystal Priestess, Crystal Sorceress||H1+50%S+10%A A1S1+10%S|
|Amazon, garnet||*||Amazon Warrior, Gryphon rider, Garnet Priestess, Garnet Sorceress||H1+50%B+10%F F1B1+10%B|
|Amazon, jade||*||*||Amazon Warrior, Jade Maiden, Jade Priestess, Jade Sorceress||N1H1+20%W W1N1+25%WEDN|
|Amazon, onyx||*||Amazon Warrior, Nightmare, Onyx Priestess, Onyx Sorceress||H2+50%D+10%E E1D1+50%D|
|Atavi||*||Markata, Atavi Archer, Atavi Infantry, Atavi Chieftain||-|
|Bakemono x2||*||Bakemono-sho (club / yari), Bakemono Chief||-|
|Barbarians||*||*||*||Barbarian (maul / greatsword), Barbarian Chief||-|
|Cataphracts, EA/MA||(EA/MA only) Light Infantry, Light Cavalry, Cataphract, Mounted Commander, Priest||H1|
|Cavemen||*||*||Caveman, Caveman Champion||-|
|Elephants||*||Slinger, Heavy Infantry, Elephant, Commander, Priest||H1|
|Fir Bolg||Fir Bolg Militia / Slinger / Warrior, Fir Bolg Champion||-|
|Hoburg, EA||*||(EA only) Hoburg Militia, Hoburg Priest, Horticulturalist||H1+10%N N1+20%WE|
|Hoburg, MA/LA||*||(MA/LA only) Hoburg Militia, Burgmeister Guard, Hoburg Crossbow, Hoburg Champion||-|
|Hoburg, LA||*||(LA only) Hoburg Militia, Burgmeister Guard, Hoburg Crossbow, Hog Knight, Hoburg Champion, Hoburg Priest, Horticulturalist||H1+10%N N1+20%WE|
|Hvy Inf, Hvy Cavalry  x3||*||Heavy Infantry, Heavy Cavalry, Mounted Commander, Priest, (Scout MA/LA only)||H1|
|Hvy Cavalry, X-Bow ||*||(MA/LA only) Crossbowman, Heavy Cavalry, Mounted Commander, Priest, Scout||H1|
|Ichtyids||*||*||Ichtyid, Ichtyid Warrior, Ichtyid Lord||-|
|Kappa||*||Kappa, Kappa Chief||-|
|Ko-Oni||*||Ko-Oni, Demon Priest||H1+10%FAED|
|Lizards||*||*||Lizard Warrior, Shaman||N1S1|
|Lt Inf, Hvy Inf, X-Bow  x3||(all MA/LA only) Light Infantry, Heavy Infantry, Crossbowman, Commander, Priest||H1|
|Militia, Hvy Inf, Archer  x3||Militia, Archer, Heavy Infantry, Commander, Priest, (Scout)||H1|
|Militia, Lt Inf, Archer  x3||Militia, Archer, Lt Infantry, Commander, Priest, (Scout)||H1|
|Militia, Lt Inf, Hvy Inf  x3||Militia, Lt Infantry, Hvy Infantry, Commander, Priest, (Scout)||H1|
|Militia, Lt Cav, Hvy Cav  x3||*||Light Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry, Mounted Commander, Priest, (Scout MA/LA only)||H1|
|Militia, Long bow, Knight ||*||(MA/LA only) Militia, Longbowman, Knight, Knight Commander, Priest||H1|
|Mermen||*||*||Merman, Merman Captain||-|
|Pale Ones, EA||*||(EA only) Pale One, Pale One Commander||-|
|Raptors||*||Raptor, Harab Seraph||D1|
|Shamblers||*||Atlantian Militia, Shambler, Shambler Chief||-|
|Slingers||*||Slinger, Commander (special)||-|
|Tribe, bear||*||*||*||Bear Tribe Warrior (2 types), Bear Tribe Shaman||N1+10%E|
|Tribe, deer||*||*||Deer Tribe Archer / Warrior, Deer Tribe Shaman||N1+10%A|
|Tribe, horse||*||Horse tribe Calvary, Horse Tribe Chief||-|
|Tribe, jaguar||*||*||Jaguar Tribe Slinger / Warrior, Jaguar Tribe Priest||N1H1+10%FWSB|
|Tribe, lion||*||*||*||Lion tribe Archer / Warrior, Lion Tribe Witch Doctor||N1+10%FEDN|
|Tribe, toad||*||Toad Tribe Warrior, Toad Tribe Shaman||W1+10%N|
|Tribe, wolf||*||*||*||*||Wolf Tribe Archer / Warrior, Wolf Tribe Shaman||N1+10%D|
|Tritons||*||*||Triton (dagger), Triton Lord||-|
|Tritons||*||*||Triton (dagger / spear), Triton Guard, Triton Lord||-|
|Tritons||*||*||Triton Guard, Triton Trooper, Triton Lord||-|
|Triton Knights||*||*||Triton Guard, Triton Trooper, Triton Knight, Triton Lord||-|
|Tritons, Amber Clan||*||*||Amber Clan Triton / Guard, Amber Clan Priest / Mage||H1, W2F1+10%N|
|Shark Knight||*||*||Triton Guard, Triton Trooper, Shark Knight, Triton Lord||-|
|Vaettir||*||Vaetti, Wolf Rider, Troll, Chief||-|
|Woodsmen||*||*||Woodsman Blowpipe, Woodsman, Druid (special)||N1H1|
4 possible types, available in all Eras. Amazonian foot-soldiers all have Mapmove 2, their mounted-troops are all sacred and their magi can bring path diversification, which makes them quite useful to have:
- They're typically found in clear terrain and are all proficient archers.
- Amazon archers (Short bow, Dagger, Leather) Att 11 Def 11 Prec 12 - high precision archers!
- Pegasus Riders (Light lance, Hoof, Short bow, Leather cuirass, Buckler, Flying, sacred) Att 12 Def 19 Prot 7 MapMv 3 - sacred flying mounted archers!
- Crystal Priestess (H1 +50%S +10%A, Short bow, Leather cuirass, sacred)
- Crystal Sorceress (A1S1 +10%S, Short bow)
- Inhabiting the wastelands, they all have Waste Survival skills. Their foot troops and casters also have Fire Resistance 100.
- Amazon warriors (Spear, Scale mail, Shield) Att 12 Def 14 Prot 11
- Gryphon Riders (Light lance, Claw, Bite, Scale mail, Shield, Flying, sacred) Att 13 Def 17 Prot 11/7 MapMv 3 - sacred flying riders!
- Garnet Priestess (H1 +50%B +10%F, Spear, Leather cuirass, sacred) Prot 7
- Garnet Sorceress (F1B1 +10%B, Spear)
- More magical than the other three tribes, they prefer forests or swamps and all have Forest Survival skills. Their casters carry highly defensive Snake Staffs, which are poisonous and grant Poison Resistance 100.
- Amazon warriors (Spear, Scale mail, Shield) Att 11 Def 13 Prot 11
- Jade Maidens (Light lance, Bite, Scale mail, Shield, sacred) Att 12 Def 16 Prot 10/8 - ride large sacred lizards into battle!
- Jade Priestess (N1H1 +20%W, Snake staff, Leather cuirass, sacred)
- Jade Sorceress (W1N1 +25%WEDN, Snake staff)
- Most heavily armored of the amazon tribes. They can be found in mountains and all have the Mountain Survival skill.
- Amazon warriors (Spear, Chain mail, Shield) Att 11 Def 13 Prot 12
- Nightmares (Light lance, Hoof, Chain mail, Shield, Fear-0, sacred) Att 12 Def 16 Prot 12 - sacred mounts with fear aura!
- Onyx Priestess (H2 +50%D +10%E, Quarterstaff, Leather cuirass, sacred)
- Onyx Sorceress (E1D1 +50%D, Quarterstaff)
These are the same Atavi apes from Bandar Log and found only in forest. Most noteworthy for their Stealth and Forest Survival, they are all Animals with low morale and low MR.
- Markata (Sticks & stones, club) - markata are not stealthy.
- Atavi Archers (Short bow, dagger)
- Atavi Infantry (Sticks & stones, mace, buckler)
- Atavi Chieftain (Sticks & stones, falchion, iron cap, buckler)
All Barbarians are MM-2 heavy-hitters with 2-handed weapons and above-average strength, but only wear leather armor and have sub-par morale & MR. They all have a Pillage Bonus, plus Mountain and Wasteland Survival skills.
- Barbarian (Maul, full leather armor) Att 10 Def 8 Prot 6
- Barbarian (Great Sword, full leather armor) Att 11 Def 11 Prot 6
- Barbarian Chief (Great Sword, leather armor, berserker, leader 10) Att 12 Def 11 Prot 6
Just in case you really wanted giant, underequipped humanoids. Basic Cavemen have Fire Resistance 50, Cold Resistance 50, Wasteland and Mountain Survival, and Darkvision 50; they wield Great Clubs, and while their lack of equipment leaves their resource cost low, their not-quite-giant stats leave them demanding large piles of that shiny gold stuff. Caveman Champions are similar, but they managed to pick up Furs armor from somewhere.
Found only in forests and swamps, woodsmen have one of 3 types of druidic leaders: Druids, Bloodhenge Druids or Ice Druids. Woodsmen troops all have both Stealthy and Forest Survival skills.
- By far the most common of the three leader types, all have the Stealthy and Forest Survival traits.
- Woodsman (Short Bow, dagger, leather cuirass)
- Woodsman (Blowpipe, dagger, leather cuirass)
- Druid (N1H1, Quarterstaff, sacred) - will cast Barkskin, Heal, Strength of Giants, Sleep.
- Bloodhenge Druid
- Quite rare, there are no searchable bloodhenge druid sites and no way to recruit them (they can be captured via mind-control, charm, etc.). Once conquered, the province yields only normal woodsmen/druid recruits.
- Woodsman (Blowpipe, dagger, leather cuirass)
- Dark Vines (3x AP tentacles, mindless, magic being, poison resistant 100) - 126 hp, very high morale & MR, AP attacks.
- Bloodhenge Druid (N1B2) & Blood Slaves - will cast Barkskin, Poison Touch, Sleep Cloud, Agony, Sabbath Master, Sabbath Slave, Blood Rain, Resist Poison (blood spells expend blood slaves). Blood henge druids are not stealthy.
- Ice Druid
- Very rare.
- Ice Druid (W2H1) - will cast Breath of Winter, Numbness, Dust to Dust, Cold Bolt, Cold Blast.
Found in farmland, in times of war these tiny folk can recruit small (size-1) but stealthy troops. Sadly, they are all MM-1 and provided with equally tiny weaponry. Hoburg generally have low hp, strength and morale, but high MR and defense. They work best when combined with Size-4 or -5 troops, as they can "fill in" the square and fight between their legs.
- EA only
- Hoburg Militia (stick, leather cuirass, leather cap) - stealthy low-cost, low-resource squishy meatsheild.
- Hoburg Priest (H1 +10%N, stick, leather cuirass) - stealthy, sacred
- Horticulturalist (N1 +20%WE, stick, leather cuirass) - stealthy
- armored Hoburg in these ages have no stealth ability.
- Hoburg Militia (stick, leather cuirass, leather cap) - stealthy
- Burgmeister Guard (Mace, Iron Cap, Plate Cuirass, Shield)
- Hoburg Crossbow (Crossbow, Dagger, Iron Cap, Leather Cuirass)
- Hoburg Champion (Short Sword, Iron Cap, Plate Cuirass, Shield)
- LA only
- Same as MA/LA, but with the following additional recruits.
- Hog Knight (Short Sword, Iron Cap, Plate Cuirass, Shield) - Size 2, MM-2
- Hog Knight Commander (Short Sword, Iron Cap, Plate Cuirass, Shield) - Size 2, MM-2
- Hoburg Priest (H1 +10%N) - stealthy, sacred
- Horticulturalist (N1 +20%WE) - stealthy
- Bear Tribe
- Bear tribesmen combine Mountain and Forest Survival with increased Hit Points and Strength. Their Warriors get to choose between a Spear/Javelin combo or a Hatchet. The Bear Tribe Shaman packs N1 +10%E, and adds Wasteland to its Survival talents; oddly, it is sacred, but has no Holy skill.
- Deer Tribe
- Deer tribesmen couple Wasteland and Forest Survival with increased Defence Skill. Their Warriors hold the front (poorly) with Spears and Javelins, while the Archers back them up with Short Bows. The Deer Tribe Shaman gets N1 +10%A, and also gets Mountain Survival; it is sacred, but has no Holy skill.
- Horse Tribe
- Horse tribesmen, obviously, ride their totemic horses into battle. The troop-level Horse Tribe Cavalry packs Spears and Short Bows offensively, and adds a Buckler and lots of leather armor on the defense. Horse Tribe Chiefs are essentially identical - which makes them much better at the light cavalry role than the default Mounted Commander/Light Cavalry combination.
- Jaguar Tribe
- Jaguar tribesmen might well be considered escapees from the Mictlan, and all have Forest Survival. Their preference is for Slings and Hide Shields, saving the armor for the actual Warriors. Jaguar Tribe Priests have N1H1 +10%(FWSB).
- Lion Tribe
- Lion tribesmen draw inspiration from the Impi of Zulu fame, and their troops have mapmove 3 instead of the usual 2. Neither the Archer (Short Bow) nor the Warrior (Spear/Javelin) bother with armor, however. The Lion Tribe Witch Doctor gets N1 +10%(FEDN) and Forest Survival, but a penalty to its research ability.
- Wolf Tribe
- Wolf tribesmen take heart at their totemic namesake's ability to adapt and survive anywhere, and all have Wasteland, Mountain, and Forest Survival. The Archer opts for a Short Bow, while the Warrior prefers twin Daggers. The Wolf Tribe Shaman gets N1 +10%D, and is sacred without having any Holy magic.
- Bakemono: There are 2 different versions of this pop-type, armed either with club, or club & yari.
- Hvy Inf, Hvy Cavalry: There are 3 different versions of this pop-type, each version equipped slightly differently, though the heaviest armored version is only available in MA/LA and includes a Scout.
- Hvy Cavalry, X-Bow: Only available in MA/LA.
- Lt Inf, Hvy Inf, X-Bow: There are 3 different versions of this pop-type, each version equipped slightly differently. All only available in MA/LA.
- Militia, Archer, Hvy Inf: There are 3 different versions of this pop-type, each version equipped slightly differently. Only the one w/ chainmail Hvy Inf allows recruitment of scouts.
- Militia, Archer, Lt Inf: There are 3 different versions of this pop-type, each version equipped slightly differently, but only one allows recruitment of scouts.
- Militia, Lt Inf, Hvy Inf: There are 3 different versions of this pop-type, each version equipped slightly differently, but only one allows recruitment of scouts.
- Militia, Lt Cav, Hvy Cav: There are 3 different versions of this pop-type, each version equipped slightly differently, though the heaviest armored version is only available in MA/LA and includes a Scout.
- Militia, Longbow, Knight: Only available in MA/LA.
- Slingers: The default pop-type in provinces defended only by easter-egg indies, such as Great Mother, Vampires, etc.
- Woodsmen: There is a random chance Woodsmen will be led instead by Blood Henge Druids or Frost Druids