On TV, witches often wear skimpy, impractical outfits when going into a fight. This is done for fanservice reasons, so I wanted a way to make this sensible. Witches perform magic by drawing in energy from the natural world and focusing it into a spell using their own mana reserves. There are attack and defensive spells, which stay activated depending on their mana reserves. The more powerful the spell, the longer it takes to activate. This could be anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes. For a spell to be successful, a witch must be close to the area in which it is to be performed, forcing them to take part in battle on the front lines. However, witches cannot wear heavy armor, because they must absorb mana through the skin, which must be exposed during the process. Armor disrupts the process, forcing them to wear light clothing.

This is problematic because it leaves them vulnerable to attack without the armor to protect themselves. Needing soldiers to protect a valuable asset in the midst of combat so it can be used limits its value. It's like having to protect a powerful and slow moving tank that doesn't have the shielding it needs for defense. My first idea was having the witch make a defensive shield around them. However, as it would depend on their mana reserves, this would deplete them fairly quickly, leading us back to square one.

What would be the best way to protect these mage if they are so vulnerable ?

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    $\begingroup$ This is your own question Why do witches have non-magical bodyguards? in reverse. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2019 at 14:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ VTC OT:POB. All answers are equally correct (From the help center, "avoid asking subjective questions where every answer is equally valid"). And @Renan has a point, you've already answered this question by virtue of asking the former. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Apr 13, 2019 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ traditionally witches do their most powerful stuff naked... the skimpy outfits were for tv. $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Apr 13, 2019 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ Witches can use a defensive armor spell. $\endgroup$
    – CWallach
    Apr 13, 2019 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Kilisi Not to mention it gets cold out there in the winter! $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2019 at 18:22

17 Answers 17


Shield Bearers

One way your witches can be protected is to be surrounded by shield bearers. These were often employed by the wealthy to be able to fight without risking themselves being hurt drastically in combat. They were not soldiers or combatants, they were more similar to squires, their only job was to hold a shield and move around their liege to protect them.

Your witches may have shield bearers who function in the same way, unskilled people who run around the witch protecting her. This way skilled fighters are not being ‘wasted’ on protecting a witch when they could be fighting instead.


The witch may carry a physical shield herself. This would allow her some protection whilst she prepared her armour spell. You would likely want a large centre grip shield to do this (so it can easily cover the witch and be projected outwards). If the witch needs both hands, you may instead opt for a strapped shield. In any case, i would recommend the Kite shield.

If a traditional shield seems out of place, there is also the Pavise. This was a shield that was designed to stand on the ground and protect an archer or crossbowman so that they could reload and fire without needing to stand out in the open. Your witches might employ a pavise for similar reasons, to protect them whilst they cast their spells.

enter image description here https://www.pinterest.com/musasji/pavise/

Inspired by Willk’s comment:

I like the idea of a witch pavise. It would be a corpse, minimally animated so as to move to intercept missiles with its own flesh. If you got close, it would look at you and maybe its mouth would move. Don't touch it.

Rather than only using these animated corpses to throw themselves in front of projectiles (such as spells, arrows or rocks), you could have them throw themselves onto the enemy or their weapons. Having disposable body guards who do not fear death can be a huge advantage:

  • They can use their bodies to block weapons (you can’t swing a sword if a corpse has skewered themselves onto it)

  • Can overwhelm, pin down or distract an opponent (preventing them from attacking and allowing you to fire into the crowd risk-free)

  • They do not require skilled soldiers and the fallen can be used to your advantage

  • Can be used as shield bearers rather than needing a squire or the like. If you had enough, they could form a shield wall or a testudo around the witch.

If your witches had access to this magic, they could use the undead to effectively protect them, they may not even need the armour spell if theres enough of them.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I like the idea of a witch pavise. It would be a corpse, minimally animated so as to move to intercept missiles with its own flesh. If you got close, it would look at you and maybe its mouth would move. Don't touch it. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Apr 13, 2019 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ Thats a fun idea, and you’ve inspired another. I will add this to my answer and build upon it. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2019 at 17:54

Needing soldiers to protect a valuable asset in the midst of combat so it can be used limits its value.

Definitely not, at least in absolute terms. That's the exact concept used with naval squads, where several smaller ships are there just to protect the aircraft carrier, where

Lacking the firepower of other warships, carriers by themselves are considered vulnerable to attack by other ships, aircraft, submarines, or missiles. Therefore, an aircraft carrier is generally accompanied by a number of other ships to provide protection for the relatively unwieldy carrier, to carry supplies and perform other support services, and to provide additional offensive capabilities. The resulting group of ships is often termed a battle group, carrier group, carrier battle group or carrier strike group.

which is your very same situation, just not involving a skimpy dressed woman.

Surround your witch with soldiers to defend her, and let her do her magic.

If the magic is only about putting a paper cone on the head of the enemies, well, yes, you are just wasting some good soldiers. If the magic is equivalent in its effects to a tactical nuke, a handful of dead soldiers are surely a worth price to pay.

  • 15
    $\begingroup$ Actually the point is exactly correct. The screening force does diminish the carrier's strategic utility, as it makes the overall task force more expensive, and limits the number of carriers which can be deployed (given a fixed total budget). The question then becomes, "Do the extra costs outweigh the utility of the carrier?" In this case, the answer is no. For witches, the answer is maybe. Depends on how much protection they need, and how powerful their results are. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2019 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ @WhatRoughBeast, you are right, I made it clear in the edit $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Apr 13, 2019 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ This also applies to tanks. I just read With the Old Breed, and he talks about how the army regularly lost tanks to suicide attackers carrying mines because they didn't deploy with riflemen to shoot the suicide attackers. The marines would have the tank to shoot the heavier targets riflemen couldn't take out and riflemen to protect the tank from smaller, more agile targets. $\endgroup$
    – user39548
    Apr 13, 2019 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ In fact, it applies to most military operations throughout history. Witches are probably similar to artillery, and that was always rather vulnerable in itself and relied on a defensive line ahead of it, whether it was archers or later cannons. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Apr 13, 2019 at 20:06
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    $\begingroup$ Siege weapons come to mind as well. Vulnerable on their own, can do a hell of a lot of damage at long range, probably relatively inaccurate, slow to charge up $\endgroup$
    – Nacht
    Apr 14, 2019 at 5:06

Individual armor is not enough. Someone will come up and whack the witch with a hammer. She will have to run and dodge and will not be able to complete her spell.

Fortunately, in addition to going around in the buff, typical witches have another quality useful for you.

Witches fly. witches on a broomstick, Goya source

Your witches will circle the battlefield. Their motion is their protection. Additionally, they will be hard to see - witches will prefer to act at night and might wear dark clothes or black body paint to camouflage them against the sky. Or a simple glamour might be a lot less costly of mana that full hammer proof deflector shields. The moving witch might appear as a bat, or a nighthawk.


It's often better to play to strengths than compensate for weaknesses.

Given their vulnerability to conventional arms, the most sensible thing would be to have witches function off the front line and instead put them in settings where they have the advantage - ambushes, espionage, and scouting - or as healers and enchanters where they aren't directly at risk.

If it isn't mandatory that they be slinging thunderbolts: ambushed supply convoys, destroyed bridges, blighted crops, and stronger, healthier troops are worth just as much, if not more.

That said, depending on how many witches are available in a given force, having them work in units might be effective. Dividing spellcasting duties among multiple witches eases the individual load on their capacity , but it does also depend on having access to enough witches to do so.

Alternatively, since the issue with armor is that it impedes the ability to draw in mana from their surroundings, finding a material that conducts magical energy would be the most direct workaround. Your witches seem to be stationary while casting, so mobility isn't as much of an issue as far as protective designs go - a (magic) iron maiden might do fine.

Finally, alteration magic: humans are soft, bears and dinosaurs less so.


I got to thinking that maybe there is a reason that witches wear such odd clothes. Maybe they have an actual need to be recognized as witches. Unusual and impractical clothing with bright colors and maybe some shiny stuff would help with that. Nobody who is not a witch would wear something like that on a battlefield.

So maybe the answer is simply that nobody shoots at people they recognize as a witch. Witches stand enough apart from ordinary soldiers and clearly visible so that they do not get shot accidentally. I mean bombs and artillery still happen but it is war. And you can have rules about when not to use imprecise weapons and when not to use witches that minimize overlap.

But why would nobody shoot at a witch that is casting on attack spell for the enemy?

Witches are simply too valuable. Valuable enough that there is a treaty that sets rules of war regarding when to use them and bans shooting at them as long as the rules are followed. This would require that the witches are really valuable during peace and very rare. Right bloodline, chosen by a familiar spirit, long apprenticeship... And a relatively stable society so that people actually care about less prosperity after the war is over.

So it would simply be sound economics not to kill witches. The enemy would just kill your witches to retaliate and then post-war everybody would laugh at how poor idiots who killed their access to magic for small tactical edge are.

Witches are magical. Anyone who kills a witch gets cursed. Basically witches do magic by mediating the power of spirits and when a witch is killed that allows the spirits to attack the guilty parties directly without having a mortal conduit limiting their power or moderating their wrath. Alternately powerful witches might simply have cast a powerful ritual magic to protect witches from angry people with fixation on bonfires. Or both of the above.

So being clearly visible would actually be a rule motivated by protecting common soldiers that otherwise might accidentally kill a witch and get eaten by a demon. That then eats anyone regardless of which army they belong to within few miles for desert. I mean why not now that it got free access to the material plane and all?

Witches are holy. There might simply be deep religious reasons not to kill witches. A witch is a bridge between the mortal realm and the spiritual realms. Or a maker of bridges maybe? In Latin that would be "pontifex" or to use more modern English form a pontiff. A witch is basically a holy person by definition.

Incidentally, people might be confused because many religions ban witchcraft and even magic entirely but this is actually bit of a red herring. In that context "witchcraft" specifically means "using magic for evil purposes" and "magic" is about dealing with "evil spirits". Or simply spirits that do not serve the will of God. Priests and holy men still would do things indistinguishable from witchcraft or magic but it would be called something else because they are not using it for evil purposes and are borrowing the power of godly spirits.

So it would be entirely possible for what is a "witch" in context of modern entertainment to be considered holy by fictitious form of Christianity or even Islam. But they'd probably call them something else and be very very clear about where the power is coming from.

The reasons are not mutually exclusive and can be combined and mixed. And probably should be. "Holy" pretty much means "mess with it and you will be cursed", so if the witches were protected by a curse, people would treat them as holy, anyway. And religious dogma and secular rules would follow.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think this holds up to the reality of war. Archers don't aim at witches or anyone else. Artchers fire at a 45 degree angle in the are in enough numbers that someone will be hit when they eventually come down. The need to aim into the air to get max distance removes the ability to aim, and even when enemy is so close that you can fire directly at them it takes too long to aim and is usually better to focus on firing fast in the general area, there are enough people that someone will probably be hit. Thus a witch being anywhere remotely close to where archers want to hit is in danger $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Sep 13, 2019 at 19:22

Your witches can absorb ambient magic through their skin.

But having clothing in the way impedes this. Thus, they have a trade off between higher durability and higher magic reserves. Some witches may be particularly good at dodging or maintaining defensive spells, meaning they can afford to be naked allowing them to absorb more ambient magic to maintain their defence. Other witches may prefer to armour up completely, fire off a single spell and then be just like every other muggle schmuck in the battle. Most find a comfortable midpoint.

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    $\begingroup$ This offers an explanation for why the witches may not wear armour but it does not answer the question. The OP is asking how they could be protected whilst wearing limited armour, your answer ignores the fact that they must both wear limited clothing and still be protected. Its related to the question but this answer side-steps it rather than actually answering it. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2019 at 18:38
  • $\begingroup$ @LiamMorris's right. This doesn't answer the question - but it's a cool idea, that "energy" is absorbed from the environment through the skin. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Apr 14, 2019 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ Simply add the next step to this answer. Magic. Having more skin on show allows for sufficient mana absorption to create magical armour in addition to offence. Offence might be "cheaper" than defensive magic, which is why the armour trade off works. See Trudi Canavan's The Novice, particularly the arena fight at the end for discussion on the amount of magic required for different offensive/defensive strategies. $\endgroup$
    – Jontia
    Jul 18, 2019 at 16:22

The School of Battle Magic

Something else to note is that if magic is a long-established thing in the world, then battle magic will be an established thing at some point in the history of the craft. There will almost certainly be witches that specialize in this kind of thing, as well as more scholarly types that sit back and study this field. Commanders and military strategists will consider their use in combat and their power as a strategic asset.

Tactics will develop based on the rules that are allowed to be bent in your magical practice as well as based on discoveries that have been made in the magical arts. We might be grounded in modern military theory and the treaties and conventions of our reality, but in your world those can and likely will be different.

Some things will remain the same, but others will be different just because of magic. Witches might be the equivalent of artillery, but they are not large and clunky equipment -- they are a living soldier and smaller and more fragile than a large cannon. This and more are things that will be considered when dealing with how to deploy a witch, and consequently how to protect them once deployed.


Unless this is the first battles where this is a thing, or you are just a random caster on a battlefield, Battle Witches will be trained to be on a battlefield and in a mass combat overall. They may not have as much to immediately worry about as they are not in the very front of the fracas, but they will have been taught the basics of their craft.

Even something as simple as martial arts, either unarmed or designed around their primary focus, can save a life and might even be incorporated into the discipline of Battle Magic. Using movement as the focus for gathering the appropriate magical energy likewise can prevent the caster from being a literal sitting duck.

This might also be how some train their apprentices in the craft of Battle Magic -- by being the core shield maidens of the primary witch, possibly in conjunction with more mundane soldiers/guards, they learn to rely on their body for defense and to not just rely on their magic.


Given time to evolve, even the spells are going to be different than their civilian counterparts. While the casting time may not be a factor that they can change, using motion to create the flows and shapes needed to enact the power. Even something as simple as capitalizing on the sacrifice of the witch's guards in her defense to help empower the spell faster could be integrated into this craft.

Not to say that being a guard to a witch is a one time duty with a 100% mortality rate, but that should a guard go down, a witch trained enough in the art could harness that fallen soldier's fading lifeforce into the spell to give it a power boost in some manner. The guard might be assigned so that should they all be killed and the witch live, the spell will have enough power to be launched regardless of casting time remaining. Whether doing so is advised is another matter entirely.

I would also expect the components of some battle magics to change over the course of research, trial and error, and just plain luck. All the dribbly candles and ominous chanting and octograms might be good show and good for civilian magic, but if all you need is a couple of sticks and an egg to do the same spell then that's going to be a lot more practical and usable in the chaos of combat.


As in this case, witches absorb the power through their skin, the answer by Kyyshak is a start of this idea.

It could be as simple as a witch not being able to direct absorbed mana fast enough at a scandalous level of (un)dress. The powerful and/or skilled might be about to work in nothing but woad made from the blood of a magical creature, but a battle witch on her first mission might be able to do her job in a one piece chest armour and a leather skirt. The exposed arms and legs represent the limit to the power they can channel at once and the armour functions both as a limiter to make sure there is no terrible side effects of overchannelling and as actual armour for defensive purposed.

This could inevitably lead to clothing (or a lack thereof) being a marker of capacity, as well as those wearing misleading amounts of clothing to disguise their true power. Another interesting possibility is the premise of tear-away clothes for an emergency power boost.

Mission Profile

The answer by tinpact touches on the idea and it would be something that a military commander would almost certainly take into account when deploying the witchy artillery. This opens up protections in a different ways -- physical barriers and distance by hiding at the edge of a forest overlooking a supple run in darker clothes to hide themselves through camouflage as one way to protect a witch preparing an ambush.

If a witch was protecting a supply run, they might be hidden inside a moving cart, but mostly stationary themselves, holding a protective spell over it and the convoy, capitalizing on the idea that they aren't moving but their platform is. In this case, it is partially security through obscurity -- they will be hidden in the load and look just like another supply cart, as well as guarded by the typical guards that are guarding the caravan anyways.

Different mission profiles aside from being mystical artillery and casting the spells that make the peoples fall down will open up different avenues for protecting the witch themselves.


That might depend on which medium you are using - film and gaming rely very much on visuals so some sort of intuitive element control (a bit like waterbending) could look greater than just some glowing sphere of an energy field.

Element / weapon binding

A witch doesn’t wear a lot of armor but she carries a hose filled with water (from a sacred spring), or whatever element she masters. Or maybe she can melt the blade of her Athame or her sword by one spell. In that case the blade could either immediately cool back into solid metal in when striking, or just stay hot, cauterizing the wounds of an opponent like a lightsaber.
She doesn’t have to swing that weapon by hand; instead it reacts intuitively and shape-shifting on missiles or blade strokes with her superhuman speed. Sometimes spread to a broad, very thin shield, against several arrows, a shot gun or salt, sometimes a pointed, sharp blade to strike back.
A protection that only ever covers as much of her as needed, and only for so long. Maybe the floating shield even moves directly on/around the shape of her body (again, great visuals).
Older, more powerful witches are able to do that completely on their own, even with several weapons, while lesser witches need to be protected by apprentices: While the older (lesser) witches cast the more complicated magic for the battle, their apprentices protect them with simple elemental/combat magic.

The spellsword

Building on that thought you could introduce, that some witches work a whole life on a hex, creating a so-called spellsword:

It starts with a basic chant that establishes if a certain magic word is spoken or a certain move or finger posture is used,

  • the water the witch/wizard carries or the enchanted piece of jewelry melts into the shape of a blade or
  • the actual sword becomes fluid or
  • the magic weapon just appears out of nowhere.

Technically this is less of a spell and more of a curse: Performing one single action (eg. touching the cursed gold) causes a bigger magic response (eg. the statues come to live and try to kill you) without performing a long magic spell at this very moment, instead the magic was cast ahead, waiting for the trigger.

More charms are added to the magic over time to define the shape and characteristics of this weapon.
Imagine it a bit like writing computer code: Layer on layer of routines and features are added over time working on it (shape-shifting, fight moves) but you only need that one "codeword" spell to start the whole "program" respectively call the weapon into being.
Additionally while practicing with it, not only the witch/wizard is learning how to use the weapon, but teaches the charm how to react to her/his movements and habits (like a self-learning program). So that in the end, a well woven and trained spellsword will be as useful and independent as the cloak of Doctor Strange.

Maybe the word is only needed to be said out loud once (you can't keep a magic spell secret by shouting it out aloud in every battle): If the spellsword has accepted a witch as its new mistress, she can conjure it out of shere will.

The swords reflect the habits and characters and experiences of their masters - handeling a several millenia old khopesh of an ancient egyptian magic priestess requires different handling from calling upon Excalibur...

Those spells are extremely powerful as one simple word calls out some of the most advanced weapons ever created so they are kept secret and some dark wizards or inquisitors will torture witches, hoping to discover one of those words in their lifetime.
And if a young witch is very lucky, she might inherit the spell by her mistress' deathbed to go on, working and training with it, adding her own layers of charms...

This could lead to some very interesting relationships - imagine the young witch has already started creating her own sword spell which is not that advanced yet. And then inherits an old, very powerfull spell. And those two weapons just can't stand each other...
(cf. the shadow animals in Nevernight)


I think in an army witches should be placed in the center. With this everything seems to fit together better.

  • There would be no need to assign soldiers to defend the witches because they are already surrounded by the entire army.
  • As you mentioned distance to the spell's target is a factor. This way the witches will be close to the battle.
  • Being close to the battle, witches are able to counter enemy heroes. By heroes I mean the fighters that are stronger than the other soldiers and it would take a lot for the allied army to take them down.
  • Ally hero shielding. In general being more active on the battle field.
  • This can provoke many tactics. Witches being the most influencing factor, battles can be about defeating enemy witches. If the enemy tries to reach the witches, thewitches in turn make it difficult and exhaustive for them, giving a value and role to the allied soldiers.

Of course if the witches can fly, I think Willk's answer is the best one.

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Tolkien offers an alternative option (albeit unintentionally) in the Uruk-Hai armies:

Half an armor suit

Witches can wear the front half of a set of fullplate (chestplate, helmet, chaps), without the backplate. Tolkiens orks did this to save weight and discourage running away (and in doing so exposing your exposed back), but your witches can do it to find the middle-ground you want: The witch is fully protected from the front by what is (effectively) full-plate, but the back is completely exposed (barring perhaps her underwear), to absorb mana with


There is a saying, that the best defence is a good offence. Perhaps defensive magics are expensive, but if these witches specialize in casting offensive spells extremely rapidly, or perhaps they have area-affecting magics, and in addition train and use magic to enhance their senses, then sending soldiers after a witch would be similar to asking soldiers in WWI to charge a machine gun - it can be done successfully, but at a terrible cost in the lives of the soldiers.

If a witch is so offensively powerful, and armour only reduces their effectiveness, then logically witches should not be armoured, and should overcome their apparent vulnerability by being someone whom it would be suicidal to attack.


Witches which have skimpy clothing can be cumbersome to rationalize properly. You could counter it by using any of the following methods:

1) A rare relic such as a staff or an amulet which has special properties embedded into it. Then all you have to do is create a force field-based amulet which can withstand certain amounts of magic types to a certain extent.

2) Change the dynamics of how witches fight. Try to flesh them out as glass canons which have high mobility and rely on sneak attacks to fight their opponents instead of a standoff.

3) Create different divisional classes of witches ( offensive and defensive ) and here both the classes need to have a symbiotic relationship in order to have better chemistry

4) Witches can deploy creatures which can aid and assist them in fights and can also provide defense or cast minor spells for the witch

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the forum Kaustubh J, great first post. When you have a moment take the tour and read-up in the help center about how we work. Enjoy the forum. $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2019 at 16:46

Perhaps there is another reason witches go around unclothed?

In peacetime, they are sexually attractive and signalling availability, so powerful men compete to be their husbands or companions, providing witches with food, shelter, protection and companionship. In war, this extends to the husband/companion being essentially a personal bodyguard, and if he is high ranking enough, a company of trained men at arms to assist in the protection (the witch can be encircled by knights if the husband/companion is high ranking enough).

On the other side, there is a competing set of drives: kill the witch because she is dangerous, but also capture the witch because she is sexually attractive and desirable for her powers. Battles may devolve to Homeretic contests between champions seeking to claim the witch for their own (once the witch has depleted her powers and it is safe to do so), much like the Greek and Trojan heroes fought to claim the body and armour of the fallen.

This might also influence how witches themselves fight on the battlefield. They might seek to simply neutralize high ranking people, so if the battle goes the wrong way, they might be able to replace the vanquished protector with a new (and obviously more desirable) one. Witches might actually not be fighting according to the tactical battle plans laid out by the Marshal or Constable. Do they fight to protect their current companions, to gain better companions, fight each other to retain their own companions, or gang up and eliminate the lesser lords in order to become the harem of the greatest protector? They have the power to influence the battle for their own purposes, so simply using them to mow down the opposing mooks on the field may not be of any interest to them at all.

And of course in a society like that, the men might begin to suspect the reasons that wars are starting might not even have anything to do with their own social, economic or political goals, but rather as a selection mechanism for witches to get the best husbands (although they might not be able to conceptualize it in those terms).

Looking at the problem actually provides the ability to change the usual fantasy tropes and make for really interesting stories.

  • $\begingroup$ Some very interesting & intriguing geopoesy in this answer! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 12, 2019 at 15:03

Perhaps I have been playing too much Skyrim, but would it be possible to place permanent defensive spells to your witch's clothing or jewelry prior to the battle?

This would not be a complete solution, but could supplement other methods, such as shield bearers or bodyguards, so there would be fewer needed.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You can never play too much Skyrim, i have around 5000 hours played. Although, saying that, when walking i have stopped dead in my tracks several times when a jogger is coming towards me as i think they are going to hand me a letter. You can imagine my confusion when they keep running past, only for me to realise I'm not playing the game. $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2019 at 21:40

It's quite simple really Certain Magical spells can be used to make invisible magic armor harder then any other armor and completely weightless. Having this armor renders wearing other types of armor unnecessary and frees the witches to wear whatever they want.


You've already got a ton of real-world historical examples of how to protect vulnerable unarmored troops from a wide variety of cultures and eras -- just read up on all the ways that armies protected their vulnerable lightly-armored archers.


Ok, I read some answers and I think there are a few more methods I can add or expand.

"Sisters of battle"

Who says witches has to stay alone? Lets say, in battle, all the witches forms covens. 3 witch group. One for long range defence, blocking arrows, redirecting explosives and poison etc... Other is for close range assault. Butchering or frying or doing some magical bad thing to whoever comes close.

Final one, is the guarded one. She is guarded from pretty much any sudden attacks. She can do whatever she wants/circumstance needs.

"But "Where" is the witch really?"

Lets say some witches on the relatively back side, creates illusions to mess up enemy troops and effectively cloaks the front-liner witch, giving her chance to reposition, run, or hide among the chaos. Maybe every witch channels some part of a one giant illusion spell that messes up every soldiers minds and those areas get stronger near the witches so... no one even wants to try to kill a witch.

Maybe the witch was in the area that siege weapons blasted a few minutes ago. You would think that area is empty, but invisible witch with talent for fire, is standing there.

You can expand this idea as, a mist only your people can see through.

"Skimpy cloth is strong, alive and angry."

Imagine her cape, her long scarf,or whatever skimpy but long clothing or dress she wears is actually a living creature that can block arrows, hard to kill, and can chop off heads, cut off hands, quick to act and just feeds on witch's magic power. Since, witch literally wears nothing but the creature, she can gather enough mana to feed the creature for the day before battle, and continue casting.

This flesh was burrowed anyways...

Maybe the women you see as witches, are souls of witches possessing unfortunate, or willing (up to you, the writer) women and there are more than enough backups at the back of the warzone. So, killing one of these girls is a waste of time due to killing a literal mage is really hard, and resource consuming while they can just... come back in a few minutes. So you will now see long distance magic battles where witches themselves are fighting among each other and warriors are fighting among each other.

Wrong weapon of choice, buddy.

Maybe, to really kill a witch, you must be a witch. Or something similar. And since you can't truly kill a witch, they just come back and attack again. Incapacitationg one would, create its own challanges. So, you need to cut open a path towards the witch and let your witch finish the job. Hard work really.

Now it s a magic duel, and magic duels rarely require full metal armors.

So war tactics hugely revolves around witches now.

And some witches can hide among the soldiers, drop the heavy armor in the blink of an eye, use her "partial" immortality to dish out some truly heavy damage.


Let witches ride armored horses. Heck... armored wolves. Let them be mobile, hard to hit, easy repositioning, and gives them a good chance to carried to safety if everything else fails.

Maybe an armored horseman is carrying the witch with the same horse. Magic + swordsmanship, mobile, armored. Scary.

Siege towers?

Witches are basically like a siege engine. So lets treat them as one. Build a freakin siege tower, or some other armored moving thing witches can stand on before the battle. And put the witch on them, carry them with the help of these armored platforms with wheels. Let the witches cast, and be protected from attacks with the equipment.

But I don't want to. I would never hurt this witch.

Charms, seduction, or similar mind spells messing with soldiers, causing them to simply not want to hurt witches. Mabe lowering their fighting spirit, or creating fear, paranoia, insanity that making them turn against each other.


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