- "From horseback, these Yeomen bring death across the battlefield to where it's needed most."
- —The veteran peasants of Bretonnia.
Many knights are dismissive of their achievements, arguing that the term "elite peasant warrior" is nothing more than an oxymoron. However, whilst it is true that the nobility are far better equipped, the Yeomen are almost as skilled as Knights Errant, and they take justified pride in their martial abilities. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of Yeomen are dedicated professionals because it is their dedication that has distinguished themselves from the mass of Men-at-Arms around them. Yeomen, in return, receive mounts and are used for scouting missions that are unsuited to knights, such as missions that give little glory but far more risk.[1a]
As they hold such privileged positions as head gaolers and militia Serjeants, to become a yeoman is the highest rank to which a peasant can aspire. It takes many years of dedicated service for a man-at-arms to be promoted into a Yeoman, and even then only an act of bravery on the battlefield will guarantee his ascension. Though no peasant may ride a Bretonnian Warhorse into battle, favoured Yeomen are permitted to ride to battle on draught horses. Such troops will often scout ahead of the main army and keep the knights informed of enemy movements — a dangerous task, and one which earns no honour, so it is a task that the nobility believe is best performed by peasants.[2a]
All men-at-arms dream of one day becoming a yeoman, possibly because of the folk stories that tell of Yeomen being raised to knighthood after performing a great service or some brave deed to a Lord or liege. The real truth is that it is almost unheard of for a peasant to be elevated in this way, for the nobility have no wish to sully their ranks with low-born commoners.[2a]
- "It's bloody work, but it beats breaking your back in the fields."
- —Anonymous Yeoman.
Yeomen are often better disciplined than their newly knighted counterparts, having at least seen a battle and whetted their weapons.[3a]
Some yeomen have taken up sword and shield and become knights errant, using their skills to eventually earn knighthood and renown, so long as they can keep their low birth a secret.[3a]
Yeomen and knights have a strange relationship. Yeomen are peasants, of course, so they should defer to the knights, who are noble-born. But both are warriors, and on the battlefield it is often the yeoman who steps up and defeats a foe while the knight is hampered by codes of conduct. As a result, most knights have a grudging respect for yeomen, and allow them a level of familiarity otherwise unseen between the classes. However, this does not extend beyond the battlefield - a yeoman can shout at a knight and most knights will not take offence, recognising a warning or rebuke from a fellow combatant and putting the comment to good use, whereas outside of battle, the same comment may result in the yeoman’s death.[3a]
Yeomen take no vows and have no code of conduct, so they can do whatever it takes to accomplish their tasks and come out alive. This also means they can scavenge corpses, so yeomen often help themselves to the weapons, armour, and money of fallen foes. They consider this their due, since they are not paid much and often have only what equipment they can buy or scrounge for themselves.[3a]
Because of their own low birth, yeomen understand other peasants far better than knights do, and can use this to their advantage. A smart yeoman makes friends with the soldiers and men-at-arms around him, knowing these men will then help him if he needs aid.[3a]
- Geoffrey Whistler - A Yeoman known for his size and strength, along with a habit of whistling cheerful tunes as he kills in battle.
- Heinrich Jakersdorf - A veteran Yeoman Sergeant of Imperial ancestry.
- Wardens of Montfort - A famed regiment of bow-wielding Yeomen.
- 1: Knights of the Grail (Fantasy Roleplay)
- 1a: pg. 101
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (6th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 54
- 3: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Career Compendium
- 3a: pg. 234
- 4: Total War: Warhammer