Ignored Expert: In his backstory, he told his last employer that the tower he was working on would collapse if he cut corners, but the latter insisted on doing things his own way. Then the tower collapsed, killing the employer to boot.
Cultured Badass: He's quite eloquent for a steppe nomad and has high Intelligence when you first recruit him.
Feuding Families: Took up being a mercenary because he sought to continue his family's feud against the Khan's wishes.
Horse Archer: As befitting his heritage as a Khergit noble, he starts out with high levels in Horse Archery.
Proud Warrior Race Guy: He believes that the Khergits' decision to settle down and tie themselves to cities and the comforts of civilization will make them weak and easy prey for the next wave of conquerors from the steppes.
A would-be horse thief who enjoys plundering innocents. Also a Khergit, but quite different from Baheshtur.
The Rustler: He's in trouble because someone else in the town you meet him in accused him of being a horse thief. He insists that it was just an honest mistake, and the horse closely resembled his own.
Those Two Guys: For a long time when the game was in beta, he and Marnid were the only recruitable companions.
A former Rhodok sharpshooter turned mercenary and wandering drunkard.
Working Class Hero: Even if promoted to a vassal and given a fief, he insists on being called 'Tribune'. He also dislikes raiding villages and, if chosen as a herald to gain Right to Rule, he'll claim you'll protect the rights of the commoners.
A woman who was sold into marriage, kidnapped by bandit, but is now a free woman.
An honorable knight, attempting to find redemption.
Accidental Murder: Killed his brother in a drunken rage when they were quarreling over the same woman.
The Atoner: The reason he joins your party is to help atone for killing his brother.
Blue Blood: He's from a noble house in Suno, whose lords seem to consider themselves a cut above even other Swadian nobility.
Knight in Shining Armor: He sees delivering justice to Calradia as part of his process of atonement and doesn't like dishonorable actions such as robbing villages.
A skilled surgeon.
Combat Medic: Not too fond of violence, but you can make him one.
Ignored Expert: He mentions in his backstory that one of his patients died from fevers after the family refused to give him the medication Jeremus recommended, which was "a tincture of willow bark". Willow bark is the base ingredient of aspirin.
Christmas Cake: Is a middle aged, unmarried female. She shows interest in Bunduk.
Joke Character: Kinda sorta. The only useful skill she has is "Inventory Management", which is of no use, since she's a follower and not a leader.
The Silverstag mod averts this. It adds several special abilities (granting some passive bonus to the party) to hirable companions. Katrin has one which is calcultaed from her Inventory Management, which makes her automatically resupply the ammunitions of the allied units.
In the lastest builds following the addition of the party roles and traits systems, she is now the best possible Supply Master in the game, With her Chef trait double the duration of spoiling foods allowing them to actually be useful, vastly improving the morale bonus from foods, and her ridiculous +7 Inventory management means her personal inventory is large enough to literally carry a massive army's worth of food from the moment you pick her up. Can also make a decent quartermaster as well if she's given some trade skill but Marnid is still the best for that role.
A sociopathic girl who needs to get out of town - fast.
Token Evil Teammate: This wiki article about hirable heroes includes a guide suggesting two companions setup (built accordingly to their mutual like-dislike relations): one for early game, one for latter in the campaign. The early party is especially made of heroes not relucting to raid villages or caravans (which is an easy way to gain money in early parts of a campaign), the second includes more honourable heroes who dislike those actions. Despite her background and not disliking raid actions, she appears in the suggestions of "good" party members.
The Strategist: Notably, he chooses a strategy nearly identical to generally-accepted "best" army composition.
A brilliant merchant.
Intrepid Merchant: He's apparently been all over for trading. He is also the best trader in the game, at first.
Magikarp Power: Starts at level 1 with terrible equipment and mediocre abilities outside of intelligence. If you're willing to invest in him, he can surpass Artimenner or Jeremus as an engineer or a medic
Those Two Guys: For a long time when the game was in beta, he and Borcha were the only recruitable companions.
A Nord widow looking to reclaim her rightful lands from her opportunistic brother-in-law.
Action Girl: She's very proficient with a wide array of weapons and has points in Athletics and Power Strike.
Affirmative Action Girl: Calradia is a sexist land, remember? She was basically shafted by her brother-in-law for being a woman, in fact, despite having apparently proven herself to be her husband's equal in all matters.
Battle Couple: With Nizar. She also formed one with her husband in the backstory.
Blood Knight: Face battle with relish and dislikes retreating.
Magikarp Power: Starts at level 1 with terrible equipment and mediocre abilities outside of intelligence. If you're willing to invest in her, she can surpass Artimenner or Jeremus as an engineer or a medic.
Runaway FiancÚ: She's on the run from an arranged marriage with a man she's disgusted by.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: She basically becomes a mercenary to demonstrate she can take care of herself and because it's sounds fun, with hardly a clue as to what that really entails.
Achilles' Heel: Harlaus is a highly competent opponent in battle, but his equipment is heavy and cumbersome. Chances are he will be taken down by an archer/fast melee character or be thrown from his horse and ganged up on by a group of soldiers.
Badass Grandpa: One of oldest monarchs. However, his high level and high tier equipment make him one of the most dangerous.
Fat Bastard: A reputation Harlaus developed due to his tendency to hold feasts at improper times, including when he's under siege. In reality, it's a uniform AI behavior applied to all Monarchs to try and keep vassal relations above water, Swadia just gets hit with these because they have to fight on multiple fronts.
It's All About Me: If you are allied with Swadia, be prepared to see "King Harlaus has decided to give the fief of [Town/Castle/Village] to King Harlaus" A LOT.
Mighty Glacier: The single hardest opponent to kill in the entire game, he has the best armor possible, a good sword, and shield, luckily, he's a bit of a Stone Wall, since he doesn't have a lance.
Screw the War, We're Partying!: Memetically infamous for this, as he will often call all of the lords together for feasts, even when the enemy breaks in the doors and starts running rampant. This is a bit unjustified since it's a uniform AI Monarch behavior, one that's *caused* by the enemy gaining ground, and is a desperate attempt to keep vassal relations functional enough to wage war. Swadia just gets hit with this *a lot* because it has to fight on multiple fronts against multiple enemies.
Stay in the Kitchen: While all other rulers have logical, if a bit selfish, reasons for denying or not acknowledging a claimant's right to the throne, Harlaus' reason is only that "She is a woman, and would not rule well," and gives no other reasons.
Evil Uncle: According to his claimant even though they are technically cousins; definitely had one for a father.
Asskicking Equals Authority: Claims that this is the inevitable result of Khergit inheritance laws, and that he saved the Khergits a bloody civil war by simply making the stronger brother (himself) king.
The Usurper: Arwa claims he illegally usurped the throne from her. Hakim counters that he has the better claim, since he's from a noble family while Arwa is just an adopted slave girl.
Lady Isolla of Suno
Action Girl: Starts at a high level, and even if she isn't given different equipment to replace her noble clothes dagger, she will take out several high level troops before being knocked unconscious.
Noble Fugitive: Exiled from the Kingdom of Swadia by virtue of being a rival claimant to the throne.
Prince Valdym the Bastard
Heroic Bastard: Invoked but subverted. The illegitimacy charge was malicious slander by The Usurper. Everyone including the latter's son- who is also the standing monarch and Valdym's rival for the throne- seems to disregard it.
Noble Fugitive: Exiled from the Kingdom of Vaegirs by virtue of being a rival claimant to the throne.
Lord Kastor of Veluca
Elective Monarchy: Claims that King Graveth's holding the electors hostage for their votes renders him an illegitimate monarch.
Noble Fugitive: Exiled from the Kingdom of Rhodoks by virtue of being a rival claimant to the throne.
Badass Bookworm: Ragnar claims he is an unfit leader as he is a scholar and not a warrior. You can help him prove Ragnar otherwise.
Gentleman and a Scholar: Spent his early life as a scholar rather than a warrior, by contrast with the typical Nord lifestyle.
Noble Fugitive: Exiled from the Kingdom of Nords by virtue of being a rival claimant to the throne.
Noble Fugitive: Exiled from the Khergit Khanate by virtue of being a rival claimant to the throne.
Arwa the Pearled One
Action Girl: She's a very combat-capable character in her own right.
Femme Fatale: According to Hakim, she used her feminine wiles to exert control over the realm. Arwa herself claimed it was her superior intellect and managerial skills that gave her the throne. Though those are not necessarily exclusive.
Noble Fugitive: Exiled from the Sarranid Sultanate by virtue of being a rival claimant to the throne.
Rags to Royalty: Went from being a slave in the old Sultan's household to being ruler of the Sarranids herself... until she was deposed by her nephew Hakim.