Has there been any attempt to model units that are either in part or completely of a character class? I’m thinking anti-undead squads of clerics (likely beefed up with a protective layer of silver-spear wielding light or heavy infantry), stealthy explorer/Elven ranger longbow men, heavy infantry-protected mage units (about a dozen primarily 1st level mages defended by over a hundred heavy infantry escort to help bring their 1st level spells like sleep and burning hands to bear), etc. I’m not just talking about normal mixed units or heros, but units in which a significant number of normally too-low-level-to-be-heros come together in numbers that make their unique class abilities significant despite their level.
It seems like this might require individualized rulings for it to work, considering all the possible combinations and difficulty in raising the proper number of individuals, but if you are fighting an army of undead cleric-squad would be certainly obtained, if possible.
I also was thinking of having a “squad-cleric” or “squad mage”, but I’m not sure how it would play or if it would slow down the game to have a one-shot ability (like a turn undead or 1st level spell) on almost every unit.
The only attempt I have made is with regard to Veteran units, which consist of 1st level fighters.
For the most part, you can get a sense of what a unit of, say, 3rd level fighters would be like by examining the characteristics of Bugbears. Units of mid-to-high level creatures are very powerful. They are also consequently rare. A unit of 3rd level fighters would be a super-elite organization.
Higher level fighters are pretty well modeled with the existing rules for making units. I am more interested with classes that have significantly different abilities, like turn undead, low-level casting, etc. I don’t think there are existing rules for a unit containing a significant number of clerics attempting a coordinated turn undead attack.
Now that I think about it. The two things that would probably be most significant in terms of class abilities would be turn undead and low-level casting. Low level casters are ignored until they reach hero levels in the existing rules, but I think that a unit with a few 1st level casters could be quite powerful, especially if coordinated. A handful of sleep spells cast by 1st level apprentice mages, coordinated with an attack could turn a horde of orcs into a soft target. I could see military groups being quite eager to snatch up even weak mages with the right spell.
You can find rules for turning undead in the Heroes section under special powers. They should be capable of handling exactly what you are describing. I've used them for this purpose myself.
The easiest way to handle mages is to simply assign a unit "x" number of sleep spells per battle. It can use them during any combat round in which it stands fast and does not take damage prior to its activation. (This is how I've handled it on the rare occasions where massed groups of low-level casters have been assembled). This ignores the likelihood that the mages would die to bowfire, etc., which of course is relatively likely.