A stack being led by a Commander can fight in a directed manner, and can also abstain from fighting. An unled stack in contact with non-allied forces will auto-attack.Erf-b1-p040a
Commanders are popped via a single mechanism: the Ruler chooses to pop a commander expecting a warlord (as this is nearly always the result) but may rarely receive a caster instead. A side generally receives one caster in its first few warlords, but after that casters become quite rare.
The term Commander is used in two separate ways. The actual rank of Commander indicates that a unit has the ability to lead a stack in combat. All such units, including Casters, Warlords, and Chief Warlords, are periodically called Commander by their associates and superiors as a title. The exception would be Rulers, who can lead troops and are therefore Commanders, but whose higher rank and title would prevent anyone ever calling them "Commander."
In Klog #4Erf-b1-p040a, Parson states, 'any unit with leadership ability is called a "Commander" or "Warlord".' In Klog #10Erf-b1-p084a, Parson states that 'Only Warlords have leadership.' This presents two conflicting statements about the same subject. There are multiple resolutions to this problem.
Warlords are called "Commander" periodically. Parson is speaking only of Warlords in Klog #4, but due to his inexperience with titles he has confused the term "Commander" used as a title with that of the official rank of "Commander". Resolution: There never was a rank of Commander separate from Warlord.
Parson gained new knowledge between Klog #4 and Klog #10 that clarified the situation. This is similar to the "Rations pop at dawn" situation. Commanders do not have leadership because Klog #10 is correcting incorrect information in Klog #4. Commanders can lead stacks, but do not actually have the Leadership natural ability.
"Only Warlords have leadership" has been taken out of context. The full quote is, "He told me that Casters are Commanders, and can lead stacks, but they almost never do. Casters are too rare and valuable to risk, and they give no leadership bonus to the stack anyway. Only Warlords have leadership.
Makes sense. Except for certain exceptions. Like, say... the bonus those golems get if they're led by a Dirtamancer. Or the huge one to Uncroaked units being led by a Croakamancer(!)."
In context, the conflicting statement is sandwiched between two statements about Leadership bonuses. It is stated that Commanders, Casters included, can perform leadership functions despite having a leadership of 0. From that knowledge, it follows that Only Warlords confer a leadership bonus to troops that they lead. Rob may have intended "Only Warlords have leadership" to be synonymous with this statement. Commanders have Leadership, but with a bonus of 0.
There is no conflict of terminology. When it says '"Commanders" or "Warlord[s]"' have Leadership, it's not naming two unit types with Leadership, but giving two alternate names for the same unit type. That should be the end of it, but to clarify further:
"Commander" is a blanket term for any unit that can lead a stack, including Warlords, who have Leadership, and Casters, who don't.
In Klog #4, when Parson says any unit with Leadership is called a "Commander" or "Warlord," he is correct. Every Warlord has Leadership and can also be called "Commander." However, he does not realize that Casters, who have no Leadership, can also be called "Commander." In Klog #10, he learns that Casters are Commanders too, which amends his previous knowledge. He learns that though both Warlords and Casters are Commanders, only Warlords have Leadership. (And only Casters cast spells. This is the key difference between the two types of Commander, though there may be others).
Duty is one of the three effects of Natural Thinkamancy (besides Obedience and Loyalty) that a Ruler exerts on all his subjects. Duty affects Commanders only. Has greater effect on Warlords, and greatest on Chief Warlords. (And therefore the least effect on Casters.) Duty requires Commanders to use their own initiative in the service of the Ruler. Another effect of Duty is that Commanders cannot withhold information and cannot conspire against the Ruler.Erf-b1-p084a
Commander as Position
When Parson is summoned, Wanda refers to him, seemingly from habit, as "Commander." However, Stanley then corrects her, saying, "I haven't made him a Commander yet."Erf-b1-p019 (Then, after renaming himself Tool, Stanley officially names Parson Chief Warlord).
This leads to the inference, you are popped (or summoned, or promoted) as a Warlord or Caster. That's what you are. Commander is a position that you may fill at the behest of your Ruler. So, theoretically, when a Warlord pops, the Ruler can decline to make him a Commander. This might make it impossible for him to lead Stacks of that Side's troops, in essence making that Warlord a solo act.
The only possible motivation I can see is fear of treason or incompetence from a Warlord with low Duty, Loyalty, or Obedience. It also brings into question the regular references of Barbarian Warlord Jillian Zamussels as "Commander," but that's explainable by a)her commanding the Gwiffons in her stack, and b) being her own Ruler, and therefore able to "name" herself Commander.
Use as a Title
The word "Commander" is often used as a title to address Warlords and, less frequently, Casters. In this sense, the words "Warlord" and "Commander" seem to be used almost interchangeably, although Commander seems to express more respect, and is perhaps more formal.
Incidents of Use of Titles
Commander as title:
- Stanley addresses Wanda as CommanderErf-b1-p017
- Wanda addresses Parson as Commander Erf-b1-p019
- Jillian addresses Webinar as CommanderErf-b1-p050
- Ansom addresses Jillian as CommanderErf-b1-p056Erf-b1-p056Erf-b1-p073Erf-b1-p080
- Jaclyn addresses Jillian as Commander Erf-b1-p066
Warlord as title: