A military unit represents a small band of approximately 20 skilled soldiers. The military unit could be as few as a dozen elite warriors or it could be as many as a hundred regular soldiers.
If a player does not select a downtime option for their military unit, then the unit defaults to paid work. A new player who starts with a military unit always receives this random result; it is not possible to choose an action for your unit before you attend your first event.
A military unit can engage in paid work. This happens automatically if the owner does not select any other option. The unit has an equal chance of gaining herbs, ingots or measures, money, or mana crystals as a result of this action - as if it were an appropriate resource of equivalent level.
The most common form of paid work is guard duty (protecting a business, safeguarding a caravan, or working as hired muscle, for example), but it might also represent raiding barbarian strongholds, or adventuring in the wild places of the Empire. You are free to roleplay the details of this paid work as you wish, as it does not have an impact on the ongoing campaign. Despite the name, you do not need to roleplay that the materials your military unit produces are actual payment - they can just as easily represent loot claimed from defeated opponents.
Supporting an Army
A normal Imperial army has an effective fighting force equivalent to 5000 soldiers who are trained soldiers. When the skills and experience of a military unit are combined with a campaign army, or fortification, they improve the effective fighting force of the army by the equivalent of 100 soldiers.
Military units lack the deep logistical support that is the backbone of the Imperial armies and without which it is impossible to operate in large numbers. As a result it is not possible for military units to work together independently of an Imperial army. If you wish your military unit to take part in a military campaign, it can only do so by being attached to an Imperial army or an Imperial fortification.
Defending a Fortification
If there is a fortification in a region, then military units assigned to defend that fortification are automatically assumed to patrol the area, seeking out enemy forces and other threats. This improves the defensive strength of the fortification, by the equivalent of 100 soldiers. The units will also help to prevent barbarian raids, bandit attacks and similar threats where these are taking place.
Assisting a Special Project
Military units can be assigned to assist with a special project. The most common examples are the spy networks found in territories like Liathaven. In most cases, the degree of success depends on the total strength of the military units assigned to support the project - a single military unit is not normally sufficient.
Military units that are supporting an army, defending a fortification or assisting with a special project do not automatically earn wealth. Instead they may receive a share of the Imperial Guerdon, a bursary set up by the Imperial Senate to recompense commanders of military units for their support. A military unit with only receive a share of the Guerdon if the army, fortification or project they are assigned to is Imperial in nature; a character who assigns their military unit to help a foreign army, fortification, or project will not receive the Guerdon.
The value of the Imperial Guerdon is divided between each captain whose military unit supports an army in proportion to the effective strength of their military unit. The Senate may vote to increase or decrease the size of this fund. The Quartermaster General of the Imperial Armies has the power to exclude any or all armies, fortifications, and special projects from the Guerdon. If they do so, then a character who supports them will receive nothing for doing so.
A military unit can be upgraded using mithril obtained from the Imperial Bourse. Each time a military unit is upgraded, the effective fighting force of the unit is increased by 20. This means a 20% increase in returns from paid work, and a similar proportional increase in the share of the bursary assigned to the military unit if it supports an army or fortification.
To upgrade a military unit requires Imperial wains of mithril equal to the level the military unit is being upgraded to. So the first upgrade of a starting level 1 military unit costs 2 Imperial wains of mithril, from 2 to 3 costs 3 Imperial wains, etc.
A military unit cannot be diversified.