Seeing my battle brothers level up and perfect their skills (or alternatively accumulate injuries and become cripples) has evoked the wish inside me to do the same for my player character, the poor ex-sergeant who took an arrow to the lung(?).
Now, I understand that my player character has no place on a battlefield. Not only is he currently injured, one single well-aimed goblin arrow could end the game in turn 1, and it would be more frustrating than anything else. Also, officers are meant to organize the battle, not kill every single brigant themselves.
But, just as Bertram the shepherd levels up as he makes his first steps into the life of a frontline mercenary, my character finds himself saddled with a broken company (level 1) and should proceed to gain experience leading his men until he is the legendary captain we all know he is destined to be (level 10).
Victories, quests, discoveries etc. could grant the main character experience. For every (hard-earned) new level he could get a perk point to invest into skills which help the company as a whole. Low-tier examples could be rather boring reductions to food/tool consumption, increase to movement speed (everywhere/hills/swamps etc.) on the world map, a small boost to the men’s resolve, better negotiation and the like.
Later he might be able to unlock powerfull abilities: “An eye for talent” could show the aptitudes of potential recruits, or the total amount of stars they have, to avoid a “hire and fire” approach. “Constant vigilance” could make every brother with a shield start with it raised at no stamina cost (no more goblin firing squad turn 1). I can also imagine a variety of orders to control the flow of battle (concentrating fire on a single target, forming a defensive line, maybe an “Oh s***” ability to evacuate a crippled brother before his turn starts and he bleeds to death with no chance to help [“with great determination you charge onto the field and make straight for Hans, who is losing a copious amount of blood and swaying unsteadily. With barely a glance at the culprit, a massive orc warrior, you drag him from the filed to dress his wounds”]).
While the company gains a lot of renown and money, it currently can be changed upside-down within two or three battles, with the entire roster dead and replaced. I would wish for it to have some determining characteristics, some surviving tradition or element, apart from a fancy standard. If it makes me feel like my main character is something other than a mere spectator (and different to the character from the last game), all the better.
If such a suggestion has already been made, I heartily apologize.