Note that some of the featured factions will not be included in the first release. These previews will be divided by factional groupings similar to Rome 2's style. Reposted from TWC team member Lord Giovanni.
Migrations: +5 population growth per turn
Old Gods: -4 Religious conversion penalty
The Mongol Horde
Empire Beyond the Horizon: +7500 income per turn
Yassa Law: -30% Public Order Penalty from foreign religions
Overawing Conquerors : -25% Resistance to Conquest
A storm is brewing in the eastern skies of Western Eurasia. An invasion more terrible than any other that these lands have ever seen is inbound. The Mongols are coming.
Though the Mongol presence in this part of the world is negligible at present, this region is but the frontier of a Mongol-forged empire that stretches east all the way to the Pacific Ocean. With the wealthy lands of China securely under its control, the Mongol Empire can use its impressive imperial revenue to continue funding its conquests.
The first object of Mongolian expansion in central Asia will be the Khwarezmid Sultanate. Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongols, had hoped to enter into trade relations with them and gain the riches of Persia, but the Khwarezmids have executed the Mongol envoys. Such despicable conduct towards those who should enjoy diplomatic immunity has riled Genghis Khan's wrath, and he has called his horde to war and glorious conquest. The Khan's new Khara-Kitan subjects have suffered at the hands of the Khwarezmids for decades, and so this campaign will be an excellent means to gain the assured loyalty of the Khara-Kitai. With Persia subdued, the Mongols will have the power to conquer their way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Though the Tengriist Mongols are looking to expand their empire into realms dominated by jealous monotheistic religions, their government system will help their advance. The Yassa Law of the Mongols lays out a very simple code of laws that apply to all subjects of the Mongol Empire, regardless of station or religion. Thus, life under the Mongol Empire is easier than other states for religious minorities. That being said, those nations and peoples that resist the Mongols are made examples of in infamously grisly fashions, and this greatly adds to the terrifying reputation of the Mongols. That reputation has become the fearsome vanguard of their armies.
The heart of Mongol armies is their cavalry. The Mongols are arguably the finest horsemen in the world, and their mobile tactics are simply unparalleled. The feudal heavy cavalry of their foes will be simply unprepared to deal with the swift and merciless tactics of the Mongols. The strength of the Mongols is not restricted to the open field. Thanks to Chinese technology and engineers, Mongol siegecraft is awe-inspiring, and their catapults can fire missiles filled with a substance called "gunpowder".
Terrified tales and wild rumors have heralded the arrival of the Mongols. Soon the nations of Europe and the Muslim world will find the terrible truth behind those rumors.
The Cuman Confederacy
Tribal Units: -15% Upkeep for all non-mercenary units
Born in the Saddle: +1 XP for all cavalry recruits
Mamluk Markets: +50% Wealth from Slaves
The Cumans are a Turkic nomadic people who have occupied the shifting realm north of the Black and Caspian Seas for centuries. Unlike their Turkic cousins, the Seljuks, the Cumans have retained their ancestral religion, based on influences from Tengriism. The lands dominated by their confederation of clans and tribes is called Cumania, where the ancestral nomadic Cuman way of life has stood the test of time. The Cumans on the lower Don River have had to deal with encroaching attacks from the Kievan Rus, but the Slavic invaders have been hurled back every time. Most recently, a major offensive by the Russian prince Igor Svayatslavich ended in his capture, and the massacre of his forces in a ferocious battle.
The Cumans have earned a reputation for valor in battle not only against the Kievan Rus, but further afield. The realm with the greatest interest in the Cumans is the Ayyubid Sultanate to the south. The Ayyubid sultan has created a personal corps of Cuman warriors known as the Mamluks, and has sought to ever enlarge his new private army. Ayyubid merchants are willing to pay exorbitant fees for Cuman slaves to send back to Cairo, and so trade in slaves has made the Cuman khans very wealthy. This wealth has been used to great effect in equipping their noble retinues to a very high standard.
The khans and their warriors will need to make good use of their high-quality troops. With the advance of the Mongol Empire, it is only a matter of time before these new invaders will seek to absorb the Cuman khans as they did the Khara-Kitai. Fortunately for the Cumans, they are well-versed in mobile cavalry tactics themselves, and as such will fare better against the Mongols than most. All the same, it will take a valiant and resourceful leader to stop the juggernaut of the Mongol Horde and retain the independence of his people.
Tenacious Defenders: +20% Morale when fighting in own territory
Baltic Warriors: +2 XP ranks for all light and medium infantry recruits
Human Sacrifice: Public order bonus each time battle captives are executed, depending on the number (+1 min, +4 max)
Occupying the dark and deep forests on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea, the pagan Pruteni tribe is one of the last vestiges of the paganism that once held sway over the whole of the continent of Europe. The gods they worship are forbidding and bloodthirsty, and demand as much from their followers. Human sacrifice is common among the Pruteni, and it is all the more efficacious when the victims are soldiers captured in battle. The Pruteni have often launched raids into the lands of the monotheistic peoples surrounding them to gain victims for their bloody rites.
The Pruteni people draw strength from their beliefs, but their ways of war have been influenced by their dark forests. Such difficult terrain favors the use of light and irregular forces, and as such the Pruteni excel in their use. Fighting for death or glory in battle, the warriors of the Pruteni can fight with a ferocity that other peoples have simply forgotten. Any force that seeks to claim the lands of the Pruteni will find only death- either on the battlefield, or on the sacrificial altar.
While Pruteni society is strengthened by such bloody-mindedness, the peoples that surround them have been roused to anger. Seeking to eradicate the old gods and stop the attacks on their people, peoples such as the Poles or Danes will no doubt try to expand their realms at the Pruteni's expense. Perhaps it should be the Pruteni that claim new lands. The peoples that surround them have grown weak, and it is time to reclaim Europe from the grip of monotheism under which it has languished for far too long.