In Heroes & Villains, you can recruit ship captains and city governors to your cause.
Captains improve your ships' performance, and can use their abilities to turn the tide of battle. You can outflank enemy ships, cripple engines, create smokescreens, and more. Some captains also have unnatural powers that let them control the weather, confuse your enemies, or even raise the dead.
Governors can be assigned to cities to reduce unrest and increase productivity. Some of them can also issue temporary edicts such as declaring martial law, hosting a masked ball, or using the citizens for gruesome experiments. Others can get rid of monsters or pirates for you. All for a price.
Captains and governors react to events and your actions. A peace-loving governor may quit if he sees you commit one too many war crimes, whereas a researcher can gain experience from dissecting the monsters you kill. As time goes on they can change - for better or worse - and a few of them can become famous enough to re-unite the warring city-states, providing a new path to victory.
As for your crew, assuming they don't get killed in battle, they can gain experience, especially if trained by a suitable commander.
Finally, your realm can become entangled in various incidents that require you to determine - or guess at - what your opponents will do. Are they willing to risk war over a trade dispute? Is that charming nobleman an asset or a spy? Is your governor's clever plan going to work? Are you willing to accept the help of heretics?
The character art is created by Samma van Klaarbergen, and the DLC features several new pieces of music by Curtis Schweitzer.
The DLC will release on Steam, itch and GOG sometime in 2023, cost $8.99, and you can wishlist it on Steam now.