They initially occupy Dacia and Tribus Iazyges, but quickly expand into Macedonian and Thracian territory.
They have typical units of a barbarian force, but have the semi-unique ability to recruit onagers and the unique ability (within barbarians) to recruit ballistae, giving them a huge advantage in siege warfare.
In their military as well, the Dacians are different from the normal Barbarian faction.
The basic unit of a Dacian army is a band of Falxmen, more powerful (and more expensive) than either axemen or swordsmen, these heavy infantry stand Dacian commanders in good stead against most other infantrymen. There is no second tier "Chosen Falxmen", instead the Dacians receive the standard Chosen Swordsmen available across most barbarian factions. These Falxmen wield a weapon which has the distinction of being the only weapon for which the standard legionary armour was changed, by adding strengthening bars to the helmets.
Peasants are reluctant warriors, but barbarian peasants are better fighters than most: hard lives produce hard men. Numbers are useful in all armies, and forcing peasants to fight is one way of getting lots of men in the field quickly and cheaply. They have little tactical sense, and even less willingness to fight - they would rather be defending their own homes than be dragged to a battle they neither care about nor understand. They are, however, experts at reading the land and hiding when there is cover.
Warbands are bound to the service of a strongman or petty village head. They are the basic 'unit' to be found in many barbarian armies. They fight well, as glory and loot are the road to status, but are often difficult to control. They care little for discipline and less for restraint, but they can be relied on to fight, and fight hard. In warfare it is up to each man to prove his own bravery and worth, so the savage charge into the enemy is about as sophisticated as they ever want to be!
Each man carries a stabbing spear and a large shield.
Chosen swordsmen are the best fighting individuals in their tribe, and armed with the finest swords available.
While superbly skilled and extremely tough, they are not naturally inclined to fight as a group. Personal glory and the need to be first amongst the enemy ensure that they are headstrong and ill-disciplined. They are, however, very well equipped with the finest swords that the smiths can make, along with chainmail armour and large shields. They are an intimidating sight for any enemy.
There are warriors among the barbarian ranks whose love of battle is such that they live for little else. Clad only in flimsy loincloths, the fanatics whip themselves into a frenzy by chanting, beating themselves and drinking heavily. In this state they make an unnerving sight on the battlefield! They are best sent into battle en masse, shocking the enemy by a ferocious charge, but they should be kept away from enemy cavalry.
They carry just swords and shields and have practically no discipline, but they can cause heavy casualties among most enemies. They fight mostly (if not completely) naked to emphasise their own fierceness and utter lack of fear. Scars and tattoos adorn their skin, and they let their hair grow wild. Only after a kill is their hair cut, often with a sword blade while standing over a freshly dead foe.
While their reckless courage is not in doubt, they can lack the cohesion and discipline to adapt to setbacks, breaking and running in confusion when subjected to severe pressure.
Falxmen are used to carve a path into enemy formations. They are superior, but somewhat ill-disciplined warriors who are willing to charge into a fight without orders. They wear no armour, partly as a sign of their bravery and partly because it would interfere with the free swinging of their falxes.
A falx can cut a man in two lengthways in the hands of a skilled user. It is a frightening weapon: a curved scythe-like blade on the end of a long handle that is sharpened on the inner curve of the blade. The damage from any blow is done with a pulling motion, meaning that any blow that lands will hack off a limb or decapitate a foe at the least. Historically, this is one of the few weapons that made the Romans change their standardised armour, as they added reinforcing bars to Legionary helmets after encountering falxmen.
Archer warbands are used to harass and break up enemy formations, so that other warriors can then get in amongst their enemies. The members of the warband are lightly armed and equipped, relying more on speed as a protection from foes. Any archers caught in the open by cavalry will be in trouble unless they can withdraw to more favourable ground or behind a shield wall of friendly warriors.
Their bows have a short range, but each warrior carries a good selection of hunting and war arrows, designed to cause massive bleeding and pierce armour respectively. Their choice of missile is matched to the nature of the target.
These archers are at their best in wooded country, where their superior stalking skills learned on the hunt can be put to use.
Chosen archers are highly prized for their superior skills in war. They are the best archers available to barbarian warlords. They are all, as might be expected, excellent bowmen, fleet of foot and expert hunters. They are given the best bows available to their people, and are also equipped with good swords and chainmail armour too. This equipment means that they can do more than just defend themselves in hand-to-hand combat. They can, when required, act as light infantry. Their presence on a battlefield is always useful, as they have the flexibility to be both archers and infantry and do a good job in both tasks.
Warhounds are bred for a savage nature and great size, but then hunting men is only a little more dangerous than hunting wild boar! The beasts are muscular and powerful. Originally bred for hunting large prey, they are now trained to hunt and attack men. Warhounds are usually unleashed on an enemy to break a line and unnerve opponents. Few men are able to stand steadily in the face of a snarling and partially-starved beast. The dogs are trained to bite and hold on, dragging down their human targets, and hamstringing horses.
Their handlers are brave, foolhardy and not easily intimidated: many have fingers, hands or even chunks of limbs missing!
Barbarian cavalry are lightly armoured and carry spears and shields. They are best used as scouts and in pursuit of fleeing enemies, and ride sturdy, sure-footed ponies with a good turn of speed. Like many barbarian warriors, however, they can lack battle-discipline and be over-keen to enter battle against worthy opponents. Honour and standing come from fighting, and sometimes the urge for glory overwhelms good sense! These men are all good fighters, but find organised, formal warfare goes against the grain. They are unlikely to be very effective against steady infantry unless attacking from an unexpected direction.
Noble cavalry are an elite in society as well as war, and fight bravely to justify their status. This can lead them to be headstrong, and difficult to restrain before a fight, as personal glory gained in battle is the only true measure of nobility. Their war gear of spears, shields and good chainmail is the very finest that can be provided.
They are best used to break weakened enemy formations, fight against other cavalry and pursue fleeing enemies. While they are brave men and superb horsemen, they lack the cohesion of more 'civilized' cavalry, and may not be as effective in a hand-to-hand fight. Shock and initial impact are their main weapons.
A barbarian warlord surrounds himself with fierce warriors as a personal guard. These spear-armed cavalry are an elite reserve for use in a moment of crisis.
Every warlord commands by right of personal courage as much as tactical skill, and must prove himself in battle. He and his guards are equipped as cavalry with spears, leather armour and shields so that they can dash to any point on the battlefield. The warlord can inspire his men to greater efforts just by his presence, and also has enough men to be a significant force should the need arise.
A Ballista is a sinew-powered weapon that looks like an enormous crossbow. It has tremendous range and can skewer files of men with a single bolt!
While a Ballista might look like a huge crossbow, its working principles are rather different. The two arms are pushed through ropes made of tough animal sinew. This naturally elastic material is then twisted, and becomes a hugely powerful spring, pulling each arm forwards. The arms are pulled back, creating even more tension, the Ballista is loaded with a missile, and then this is shot at the enemy with considerable force.
Providing care is taken to make sure that the two sinew bundles are under the same tension, the Ballista is a very accurate weapon, but because sinew is sensitive to damp a Ballista does not work well in wet weather.
The onager is a catapult jokingly named for the tremendous kick it has when fired at the enemy (an "onager" is a wild ass). This war machine is powered by a twisted spring of animal sinew ropes, the most elastic substance available.
The throwing arm is held in tension by the sinews. When pulled back and held by a catch it can fling a boulder with considerable speed and range. This version can be used for reducing stone fortifications, but it can also be used on the battlefield for destroying enemy artillery and harassing troops (although admittedly by killing some of them outright).
The onager can also be used to launch incendiary missiles such as fire pots, making it a versatile piece of artillery to any commander.