Barbarians are a type of Unit. They do not belong to any Capital Side and are not Natural Allies. They are wholly independent, acting on their own. However, Barbarians can join and leave Alliances. All Barbarians move first in the Natural Turn order. Though Barbarians are not officially a single side, all Barbarians move simultaneously.
Barbarian units fulfill the classic roles of wild or "rampaging" monsters, and mercenaries.
Barbarians must rely on mercenary work or hard labor (such as farming, mining or hunting) to pay their upkeep, or forage for provisions. Having no city to call home, a Barbarian Warlord has a purse in lieu of a treasury,Erf-b1-p083 and must take care to manage this small budget well to maintain any units under his command. Without a purse to store Shmuckers to pay for Rations, an unled Barbarian must hunt wildlife for provisions. It is said that Barbarian commanders pay the upkeep of any units in their stack at the start of their turn from their purse.
Barbarian commanders seem to have a cap in how many units they may personally keep. When Wanda became a barbarian, her field army of five hundred de-popped and she was left with only her personal stack of 9 units, counting herself.IPTSF Text 26 This could either be interpreted that a croakamancer of her level could only maintain 8 units as a barbarian commander, or that she could only maintain one stack.
Barbarian units may be created in three ways:
- Units that are in the field may become Barbarians when their Capital falls, but a Ruler lives. (Note: Heirs can become Rulers if the Ruler falls with the capital.)
- Many types of units pop randomly in the wild as Barbarians, though this is rare.WoT-6051503
- Casters can become Barbarians if they are sent to the Magic Kingdom before their Side falls.Erf-b1-p102
Becoming a Formal Side
If a Ruler or an heir that turned into a Barbarian Warlord claims the old or a new capital site, that Warlord may rebuild the city, either restoring their original Side or becoming the ruler of a new Side.Erf-b1-p079Erf-b1-p083Erf-b1-p099
The following is a list of known Barbarian Units:
- Jillian Zamussels and her gwiffons made up all or a part of the 19 Barbarians in the Royal Crown Coalition during the Battle for Gobwin Knob. Since the Intermission, Jillian has re-established Faq as a side.
- Vanna, Jeftichew, Bowie and Spenser were casters for Unaroyal before its dissolution. They currently reside in the Magic Kingdom.
- Janis is a long-term denizen of the Magic Kingdom.
- The Lady Wanda Firebaugh became a Barbarian after the fall of Goodminton along with her horse and a stack of Uncroaked.
Many of the mechanics of Barbarians becoming a Capital Side are as yet unclear. It is not currently known what factors control whether a former Ruler or Heir can choose between forming a new Side or restoring an old one. Faq was 'restored' as a new side with the last turn in the region, despite having been a fairly old side before that, but Jillian may not have chosen to restore Faq in anything but name, to which she defaulted after considering another possible name. However, given her preferred tactical style honed by long experience as a Barbarian commander, an earlier turn might have been a compelling advantage if it had been available to her, suggesting it was not despite rebuilding her former side on it's former site. It is possible that a Side may only be restored by claiming a former Capital. It is also unknown whether all former Units of that Side regain their former allegiance, or only those accompanying the Ruler. Finally, there's still no conclusive evidence as to whether a Barbarian warlord who has never been a Ruler or an Heir is able to start a Side in this way at all. Examples of this may not considered definitive canon or may not definitively involve non-heirs.
It is true that when Faq was reconstituted that Wanda did not immediately change allegiance from Gobwin Knob to Faq, so the issue of "regaining their former allegiance", if it occurs, would only apply to barbarians. Marie also remained a barbarian (possibly along with other former members of Faq's court), but this could have been due to the same factors that prevented Faq from being considered contiguous for purposes of turn order.
It is unclear how different groups interact with each other. We know that a Barbarian Warlord can lead a small group of units, paying for their upkeep from his purse, and likely purchasing new ones from the same (as Natural Allies do). However, the ramifications of two separate stacks of Barbarians are pure speculation. Will they fight? Can they ally & stack together? Do they need Warlords to do that?
It is stated on the Erfworld Mechanics page that Non-Barbarian units without a side do not take turns, and are frozen in place (either inside their hex, or completely unaware of their surroundings) until engaged. This mechanic refers to units that are within a city hex when their side's capital falls but their Ruler lives.