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The player won’t be creating any characters from scratch at the start of the game. You’re given a few low level characters at the beginning which you can tailor to your tactics as they gain experience and levels. However, every character comes with a background and character traits which you can’t change, and which sometimes makes characters more or less qualified for certain roles. You’re free to replace your starting retinue with men you hire yourself if you feel that they’d be a better fit.
The worldmap plays in pausable realtime, somewhat similar to Mount & Blade.
Yes, different factions have different strategies and abilities also on the worldmap. The undead, for example, will recruit a portion of all enemies slain in battle as zombies to add to their ranks. Unlike with other factions, undead armies can therefore actually grow from battles, assuming their army wins the engagement.
All armies can in theory set up ambushes and this doesn’t require a special ability. The type of terrain an army is on determines from how far it can be seen – while an army on open plains can be seen from afar, an army in a forest will be spotted only when relatively close. Also, the type of army and faction determines how far it can see – for example, human armies have reduced sight range at night, while undead armies will see just as well. Hiding in a forest, especially at night, then, allows an army to ambush another simply by engaging it without giving the other army enough time to react. The ambush condition will probably determine the starting position of any troops in combat, with the ambushed party starting in a disadvantageous position (i.e. not in battle formation), but we haven’t finalized the details on this yet.
Currently, we don’t have a design for a boss that takes up more than one hex, although we might end up with one later. That said, even bosses that take up only one hex will be clearly recognizable as such, and we already have a boss that, while only taking up one hex, is visually quite a bit larger than common opponents to reflect its physical prowess.