Dragonsworn are usually motivated, not by a desire to loyally serve the present Dragon, but by the hope of glory or profit. Often, the Dragonsworn are merely rioting peasants (or at least viewed as such by the authorities), and as a result clash frequently with the armed forces of whatever nation they arise in. Historically, however, False Dragons have often found themselves at the head of large armies of Dragonsworn. Usually fighting in ad hoc groups of various sizes, Dragonsworn have a reputation for being fanatical, but are poor soldiers, as they lack training and discipline.
In The Great Hunt, where Rand al'Thor fought above the city of Falme, word spread rapidly. Soon hundreds of bands roamed the countryside of Tarabon and Arad Doman, after swearing to the Lord Dragon. By the time of the events related in The Shadow Rising, the Dragonsworn had grown numerous enough to be called armies, and were found fighting against the armies of the King of Tarabon.
Unlike some of the False Dragons, Rand has not attempted to command or organise armies of Dragonsworn, and indeed is reluctant to associate with them, preferring to rely on the Aiel soldiers, Asha'man and Aes Sedai under his command, and the armies of the nations under his control at the time. As a result, the Dragonsworn are poorly organised and poorly led, and make no positive contribution to Rand's war effort. Many of them, in fact, are little better than thieves and brigands, a nuisance and a threat in the areas they operate in. The exception to this trend is the Legion of the Dragon, a powerful and well-trained force containing soldiers from many nations, and commanded by the renowned general Davram Bashere. The Legion, however, is not generally described as Dragonsworn.
The most powerful and best-organised force of Dragonsworn in the later books is that under the control of the self-proclaimed Prophet Masema Dagar. While hardly comparable to a professional army in organisation and tactics, it has the advantage of large numbers and fanatical devotion to its commander. Masema's Dragonsworn have raided many unwalled towns and farming districts in Ghealdan, Amadicia and Altara, as they are easily able to defeat local militias and small bands of men-at-arms. For a time, having even beaten the royal forces, Masema and his Dragonsworn had de facto control of Ghealdan.