[Top 10] Battle Brothers Best Backgrounds That Are Great

Train your Farmhands into burly men of war

Which backgrounds should I recruit from to get decent troops in Battle Brothers?

If you want your men to survive their trials and tribulations in Battle Brothers, you’ll need to hire a wide variety of men from different backgrounds. The past of your soldier will determine what kind of skills he starts with, though there is a degree of randomness that also means even a humble peasant might become a great warrior if he starts with good stats.

Here are listed some of the most convenient (and simply best) backgrounds you can hire over the course of your adventure.

10. Farmhand

He may look humble, but if you're lucky he'll serve you well

In the early game, you’ll often be visiting small rural villages to pick up missions and cheap provisions. You might also want to pick up a cheap Farmhand or two to add to your wannabe army.

Farmhands typically come with good Health and Fatigue stats but tend to be lacking somewhat in Resolve and Melee Defence. However, you do still have a chance of getting good Melee Attack and Melee Defence, and/or talent stars in these skills.

A farmhand with decent base Attack and Defence stats plus some talent stars in these skills can be a very solid recruit for a cheap price.


  • Cheap to recruit.
  • Plentiful in small farming villages.
  • Ideal early game.
  • Good base health and stamina stats.
  • Can still be talented in Melee Attack and Defence.
  • Low wages.


  • Not elite troops to begin with by any means.
  • Usually not as strong late in the game compared to characters with more expensive military backgrounds.
  • Useless later in the game if they start with poor Melee Attack and Defence stats.

9. Fisherman

Teach a fisherman to wield a sword and he'll have Crowns for life...

While you’re visiting small villages in the early game, it’s almost inevitable you’re going to wander past some large coastal cities too. These can be a good place to offload gear for a good price and you might also want to check the recruiting pool for Fishermen. Like Farmhands, these hard-working men provide a good pool of potential mercenaries with reasonable base stats..


  • Cheap to hire.
  • Good stamina.
  • Appear in large numbers in big coastal cities.
  • Reasonable potential to have good stats.
  • Often come with a free net, a one-use weapon to snare enemies.
  • Potentially talented in Melee Attack and Defence.
  • Low wages.


  • You usually get what you pay for.
  • As with other cheap backgrounds, you may need to hire many men before you find someone with good stats.
  • Hiring poor recruits can drain finances early in the game.

8. Poacher

If you can shoot a deer you can shoot a man

If Farmers and Fishermen are good cheap candidates for your front line, Poachers are the rough equivalent for ranged weapon recruits.

Poachers will typically have mediocre-to-good ranged Ranged attack Attack skill and mediocre melee Melee attack Attack skill to begin with. This can make them a good basis for a “Hybrid”; a back-line mercenary who can use polearms and close combat weapons, but also swap to a ranged weapon.

However, for purely ranged offensive stats, the more expensive Hunter and Sellsword backgrounds can be a good deal better. The Poacher remains a humble option for your early or mid-game ranged recruits.


  • Reasonably cheap.
  • Easier to find in forest villages and near Hunting Cabins than Hunters.
  • Ideal early game.
  • Reasonable basic ranged stats on average.
  • Can sometimes still be talented in Melee Attack and Defence.


  • Suffers from being a weak “Jack-of-all-trades”.
  • Not as strong as more specialised backgrounds.
  • Sometimes don’t even have very good ranged skills.
  • Often too weak to bother with later in the game, when you want stronger new recruits as standard.

7. Brawler/Militia

Militiamen look almost professional!

Brawlers can often be found in the large cities. These burly fellows have a pretty good chance of starting with reasonable Melee Attack and Melee Defence stats, making them another solid choice for your front line.

However, it’s worth being aware that Brawlers can start trouble in towns at random, damaging your reputation. This can be cancelled out by having a Monk on your team who can calm the Brawler down.

In addition to this, a levelled-up Brawler may offer to train your new recruits in another random dialogue event. This can be quite useful, though usually it results in the addition of a few points in Melee Attack and some temporary injuries.

There is also an event in which your Brawler enters a fighting competition. This is worth being weary of – taking part can involve in horrible permanent injuries to your character, so choose wisely if he is a good recruit.

Militia are similarly skilled to Brawlers but lack the negative events and are more expensive. They are another good choice for a mid-game or early mid-game mercenary recruit. You can often recruit Militia from towns that have a Militia Barracks outside.


  • Cheap and quite often reasonably skilled in basic combat skills for the price.
  • Quite common in cities.
  • Especially attractive choice in the early game.
  • No particularly negative stats, including likely reasonable base Fatigue and Resolve.
  • Brawlers can trigger events where they train your new recruits.
  • Low wages.


  • Still a cheap background with mediocre stats at times.
  • Brawlers can cause a few negative random events in towns.
  • Usually not as strong late in the game compared to characters with more expensive military backgrounds.
  • If you get unlucky, they may have underwhelming stats and poor resolve. Try hiring and firing several.

6. Bastards/Adventurous Nobles/Disowned Nobles

He knows nothing, allegedly

As was common in the Middle Ages, the name is referring to this man’s parentage rather than his personality. Bastards can be pretty good recruits due to their ties to the nobility; you can often expect them to have some basic melee attack and defence skills, more-so than the usual peasants, Brawlers and other cheap-as-dirt recruits.

In many ways, the Bastard is a middle-of-the-road background, offering slightly more skill on average for slightly more expense.

This background is useful for another reason, however. Have a Bastard in your company for long enough, and there is a chance the Noble Houses will send an Assassin to kill him. If you play your cards right in this event you might be able to keep both men for a hefty sum of gold, and the resulting Assassin recruit can be quite good.

Adventurous Nobles and Disowned Nobles are essentially like slightly more expensive, slightly better-on-average skilled Bastards. They can also be very useful hires in the mid-game, though Nobles do not offer the same event chain that leads to the Assassin recruit.


  • Often good bang-for-buck as a recruit of medium expense.
  • Quite common in large fortifiedlarge, fortified citadels.
  • Usually reasonable base stats, poor Resolve, but can be very powerful frontl line fighters if they have talent stars in combat skills.
  • Not many negative events associated with this background.
  • Can attract an Assassin recruit randomly.
  • Can start at Level 1-3, at random. ThusT they can be a good quick replacement if a veteran soldier dies.


  • Middle-of-the-road stats most of the time.
  • Quite expensive to hire, so poor stats can be disappointing.
  • Unless you get good skill rolls and some useful talents, often not particularly excellent as a recruit for any one specific role.
  • Resolve can be low on Disowned Nobles and Adventurous Nobles can argue with other soldiers from lowborn backgrounds.

5.  Monk

Who says a holy man can't crack heads?

Monks are available in towns that have Temples. Their physical stats, like Fatigue, Health and Initiative are normally mediocre, but they are actually very useful recruits in moderation.

This is because Monks typically have high Resolve, the stat that measures “bravery” of a mercenary. High Resolve can be powerful against enemies such as Geists, which can make your men flee in terror mid-battle. When given the company battle standard, the standard bearer increases the Resolve of all nearby men based off a percentage of his own Resolve value.

A Monk with high Resolve is a great recruit for a “Sergeant” or “Bannerman." When given the Rally skill, you can stave off the effects of bad morale effectively.

Additionally, Monks can be extremely useful in many random events. They can calm down two Hedge Knights fighting one another (if you happen to recruit several in one playthrough) as well as cancelling out Brawlers starting fights in town. Several events involving arguments or debates can also be solved with a Monk to get yourself better rewards or eliminate risks.


  • Quite cheap.
  • Found reliably around Temples.
  • Good base Resolve.
  • Potentially excellent as a Bannerman used to rally the troops.
  • Can still be talented in Melee Attack and Defence if you get lucky.
  • Fixes many bad random events for you and gives you some benefits in these events.


  • Usually not brilliant stats for combat.
  • Usually not as strong late in the game compared to characters with more expensive military backgrounds.
  • Later in the game, Bannermen can be less relevant.

4.  Hunter

Like Poachers but better

What do you do when you need a character proficient with ranged weapons, but Poachers just aren’t good enough? In this case, you need a Hunter.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, can be found in settlements with Hunting Cabins, though they are never present anywhere else unless a Hunting Season event is on in the town.

A little on pricey side at around 1,000-2,000 Crowns, Hunters nonetheless are one of the best backgrounds in the game for Ranged Attack skill, meaning that they are an excellent choice for your next archer, thrower, or crossbowman.


  • The best pure Ranged Attack skill background in the game.
  • Predictably found in towns with Hunter Cabins.
  • Can make for excellent archers, throwers, or crossbowmen.


  • Too expensive to be practical very early in the game.
  • Usually not particularly good at Melee Attack or Defence.
  • Archers and ranged units can be less useful than melee units in some of the most challenging fights in the game.

3. Sellsword

You get what you pay for

In Battle Brothers you are running a company of sellswords…so it makes sense you might want to hire a Sellsword! These tough mercenaries are found in large, wealthy fortress citadels and can be picked up for a pretty penny.

They can excel in close combat stats, often start levelled up to some extent and can even have good Ranged Attack skill too. This can make them very solid frontline or versatile backline troops.

They come with a downside, though. They’re very expensive to hire at 2,200 to 4,000 Crowns, you can still get unlucky with some mediocre stats on them, and they demand a high daily wage. Sellswords also have a good chance to have the Greedy trait and have several events that make them demand more money or even threaten to leave you for more cash elsewhere. You’ll need a Paymaster retinue member (Blazing Deserts DLC) to prevent these events.


  • Typically possess good-to-excellent stats.
  • Can be built into great melee troops, good ranged troops, or even a combo of both.
  • Can come with reasonably good equipment, such as expensive weapons or chainmail.
  • No great statistical weaknesses.


  • Expensive to hire.
  • Demand a very high daily wage.
  • Sometimes lack specialisation.
  • Have a lot of negative cash-related events, unless you have a Paymaster in your Retinue.

2. Swordmaster/Retired Soldier

Beware an old man in a profession where men die young

At large cities with a military barracks, you can sometimes find Swordmasters and Retired Soldiers for hire.

Swordmasters are older men who were legends with a blade back in the day, but now they’re past their prime. Nonetheless these fellows can make extremely good recruits, though their skills really don’t come cheap.

Swordmasters have the potential to start with extremely good Melee Attack and Melee Defence skills right from being hired, but their HP and Fatigue stats are slightly weaker on account of their age. After levelling up, Swordmasters can reach an extremely high Melee Attack stat, making them very useful damage dealing soldiers.

Additionally, Swordmasters offer several positive random event dialogue options and no negative ones. They have one big drawback; they will eventually gain the “Old” stat after levelling up several times. This reduces their HP, Fatigue and Initative but gives a bonus to Resolve. This can be cured permanently by using a magical waterskin; this item can only be obtained once in game, from the “Grotesque Tree”, a location found randomly in the wilderness.

Fill a waterskin rather than drinking from the water near the tree, and you’ll be able to restore a Swordmaster’s youth…or cure any permanent injuries one of your men might have picked up.

Retired Soldiers are essentially cheaper Swordmasters with poorer starting stats. They don’t gain “Old”, which is something of a bonus, but their poorer stats offset this. They can still be very useful and capable mid-to-late game recruits.


  • Very good Melee Attack skills, decent overall stats.
  • Excellent for niche frontline builds (i.e. an armour piercing Duellist-skilled character).
  • Useful right from being hired.
  • Interact positively in random events.


  • Swordmasters will eventually get old and lose some stats.
  • Expensive to recruit.
  • Quite poor HP and Fatigue stats given the expense.
  • Demand a fairly high wage.
  • Not always easy to find in the recruiting pool.

1. Hedge Knight

One of Game of Thrones’ most iconic and scary characters was Gregor Clegane; “The Mountain”. Hedge Knights are essentially Battle Brothers’ equivalent; towering, imposing and vicious knights who roam the land and bow to no Noble house.

The most expensive recruits in the game, Hedge Knights are worth the cost. They’ll typically already come equipped with an expensive and deadly weapon and their own armour. Blessed with excellent overall starting stats, they often join your company already levelled up slightly and possess great growth potential.

Overall, they are ideal late-game recruits for your frontline.

There are some drawbacks, though. Hedge Knights can cause trouble in towns and will also fight each other if you have several in your company – they can even end up killing each other! To stop this, you’ll need a Monk in your gang too.


  • Start with their own decent armour and equipment.
  • Excellent base line frontline troop stats on average.
  • No real weaknesses in stats.
  • Offer several positive outcomes in events.
  • Fantastic scope for development into premium quality late game warriors.


  • Unbelievably expensive. Expect to pay at least 10,000 Crowns.
  • For their expense, you could still get unlucky and get stats that are not as good as they could be, such as Talent stars on less useful stats.
  • Several negative events are associated with them if you don’t have a Monk in the company.
  • Will fight with each other.
  • Can be hard to find, check large Noble House citadels.

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Matt was first gleefully introduced to gaming when he beat his Dad at Tekken. Whether it's wearing sunglasses at night in Deus Ex or cursing hit chances in XCOM, it's been his hobby ever since.
Gamer Since: 1995
Currently Playing: Battle Brothers
Top 3 Favorite Games:System Shock 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, XCOM: Enemy Unknown