The Franks (now known as the French) are a Western European civilization that conquered and inhabited modern day France, which was previously known as Gaul. They are primarily an offensive civilization, although they possess a few defensive perks as well. Their unique unit is the Throwing Axeman, who deal hand damage at range (their attacks deal damage according to 'armor', not pierce armor). Throwing axes were more popular than bows in the densely forested parts of northern Europe from whence the Franks came from, and they even take their name from their throwing axe, the Francisca. Their Castle Age unique technology, Bearded Axe, reflect this by giving their Throwing Axemen more range. The Frankish King Charlemagne started the tradition of using armored cavalry who became known as knights, and Frankish Knights fight valiantly with more HP and longer line of sight. This tradition also spawned the concept of Chivalry (codes of knights), represented by the technology of the same name which boosts Stables' working speed. Castles dot France, and the Franks have cheaper Castles to better emulate this. Finally, no castle with a knight as its lord is complete without peasant labor, and thus, Frankish farms upgrade technologies for free.
The Franks are a straightforward cavalry civilization, with a very strong cavalry and lots of Castles for defense. The Franks' infantry line is full, excluding the Eagle line units, with all the infantry Barracks and Blacksmith upgrades available. The Archery Range is one of the Frank's weakest points; while their Cavalry Archers do benefit from the civilization bonus giving them 20% more HP, they lack Arbalest and the following technologies: Thumb Ring, Parthian Tactics, Bracer and Ring Archer Armor. The Stable is very strong. Thanks to the Franks' 20%+ HP bonus for cavalry and their +2 line of sight bonus for the Knight line, the Franks have the best Paladins in the game. Additionally, all Blacksmith upgrades are available. However, the Franks lack the Hussar upgrade for the Scout Line and they do not have access to Camels either. The Franks lack Bloodlines, but this is somewhat negated by their 20%+ HP bonus for cavalry. The Frank's Siege Workshop is average, as they lack both the Siege Onager and the Siege Ram. Due to the fact that Castles are 25% cheaper, the Franks can build Castles for a more effective defensive system and to obtain map control. Their unique unit: the Throwing Axeman is a cheap short ranged infantry unit that does melee damage with bonus against buildings. The Dock has all but the Elite Cannon Galleon available, nevertheless is worth noting that the lack of Bracer is a big negative for Franks' Galleons. The Franks get farms upgrade for free and foragers work +25% faster, rendering a fine economy, which is critical, since creating and upgrading cavalry units takes a lot of resources from the economy. Given that they can research Squires starting in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten, their infantry move faster. The Franks are countered by the Saracens and Indians in particular, because of their powerful anti-cavalry Camels. The Franks make a great civilization against civilizations like the Vikings, who do not have Camels or Halberdiers.
Charlemagne - (2 April 742 – 28 January 814), numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774 and Emperor of the Romans from 800. He united much of Europe during the early Middle Ages. He was the first recognised emperor in western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire.
Charles VI - called the Beloved (French: le Bien-Aimé) and the Mad (French: le Fol or le Fou), was King of France from 1380 to his death.
Charles Martel - (c. 686 – 22 October 741) was a Frankish statesman and military leader who as Duke and Prince of the Franks and Mayor of the Palace, was de facto ruler of Francia from 718 until his death. The son of the Frankish statesman Pepin of Herstal and a noblewoman named Alpaida, Charles successfully asserted his claims to power as successor to his father as the power behind the throne in Frankish politics. Continuing and building on his father's work, he restored centralized government in Francia and began the series of military campaigns that re-established the Franks as the undisputed masters of all Gaul.
Charles the Bold - baptised Charles Martin, was Duke of Burgundy from 1467 to 1477. He was the last Duke of Burgundy from the House of Valois and is sometimes also known as Charles the Rash.
Constable Richemont - known as the Justicier and as Arthur de Richemont, was Lord of Parthenay and titular Count (Earl) of Richmond in England and for eleven months at the very end of his life, Duke of Brittany and Count of Montfort after inheriting those titles upon the death of his nephew.
Jean Dunois of Orleans - an illegitimate son of Louis I, Duke of Orléans, by Mariette d'Enghien. His nickname, the "Bastard of Orléans" (bâtard d'Orléans), was a term of respect, since it acknowledged him as a first cousin to the king and acting head of a cadet branch of the royal family during his half-brother's captivity.
King Philip I - called the Amorous, was King of the Franks from 1060 to his death.
Louis IX - commonly known as Saint Louis, was King of France and a canonized saint.
Louis XI - called "Louis the Prudent" (French: le Prudent), was a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 1461 to 1483.
Pepin the Short - was the King of the Franks from 751 until his death. He was the first of the Carolingians to become king.
Philip II Augustus - was King of France from 1180 to 1223, a member of the House of Capet.
Philip the Good - was Duke of Burgundy as Philip III from 1419 until his death.
Raymond, Prince of Antioch - Raymond of Poitiers (c. 1115 – 29 June 1149) was Prince of Antioch from 1136 to 1149.
Roland - was a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne who became one of the principal figures in the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. The historical Roland was military governor of the Breton March, responsible for defending Francia's frontier against the Bretons. His only historical attestation is in Einhard's Vita Karoli Magni, which notes he was part of the Frankish rearguard killed by rebellious Basques in Iberia at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.