A band of Deserters.

Deserters are a special kind of bandits. The biggest difference between them and usual brigands is that Deserters are far more organized, use better strategy, and have much better equipment. This is because their gangs mainly consist of regular faction troops, sometimes appearing in big groups of high-tier units.

Deserters are soldiers who have left their kingdoms to live as "free brothers". The player can encounter them anywhere, but they are more common in border regions where conflicts have occurred. They usually come in medium sized parties of a single troop type, e.g. 20 Swadian Militia. Due to the higher quality of the troops in their parties, deserters are often more hostile than similarly sized parties of Looters, and will usually drop much better equipment than other bandit-type parties. At early levels, low to mid tier infantry Deserters are good targets, provided you are mounted and have a lance. Most Deserters will lack any kind of ranged attack or weapons long enough to counter a solitary rider gradually tearing away at their flanks. A particularly skilled player, even early in the game, may choose to attack higher tier infantry or even cavalry, as enemy riders often cannot compete with the superior maneuverability of a human rider.

As Deserters will always be made up exclusively of a single troop type, unless they have freed prisoners from another party, specific strategies can usually be devised on how one wishes to deal with them. Infantry and archers can usually be trampled by groups of cavalry with little worry, while heavy cavalry should usually be lured or chased into favorable terrain before they are engaged to minimize friendly casualties.

If they encounter the player, they will demand some amount of money and if not paid, they will attack. The price is based on a percentage of the player's current balance in their inventory.

Deserters will never be basic recruits or top tier troops, always stopping at the second to last tier of a faction's troop tree. The apparent exceptions are Khergit Lancers and Nord Veteran Archers, which are not the highest level troops available to the Khergit Khanate or the Kingdom of Nords, but are instead the strongest melee and ranged units they respectively have at their disposal (Khergit Veteran Horse Archers and Nord Huscarls are the actual highest tier troops of these factions).

Bandit Troops
Mount&BladeLooterSteppe BanditForest BanditMountain BanditSea RaiderDeserters
WarbandBanditBrigandDesert BanditTaiga Bandit
With Fire & SwordLooterBanditBrigandTatar RaiderRebel
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