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Wizards have developed a Grasp-at-a Distance spell. It has numerous uses in everyday life of course but the Emperor (may he live forever) wants it to be deployed as a weapon of war.

Spell operation

  1. A wizard (but no-one else) can grasp objects at a distance. Both hands (and other body-parts) can be used, as in normal life. Whatever body-part is used, full skin contact is required, so no gloves, etc.
  2. Suppose my ale is across the room - I can reach out my hand and make a grasping motion. If I am accurate enough, it feels to me precisely as though I am holding the glass in my hand.
  3. If I maintain the grasp and lift the glass, an observer will see it floating in exact synchrony with my hand - apparently in mid air.

Limitations

(a) If I pull the grasped object towards me, it will only move as my arm moves. In other words I can't pull it all the way. I have to bring it in arm-length stages. The simplest way is to alternate hands. It looks rather as though I am hauling on a rope. Eventually the object will be near enough to actually grasp it normally.

(b) I can't 'grasp' a red-hot or sharp object without injuring myself. The effect is exactly as though I was really touching it.

(c) I only have my normal strength so I can't 'grasp' and lift a weight that I wouldn't normally be able to lift. Most wizards are not at all muscly and non-wizards (e.g. warriors) cannot use the spell.

(d) I can break a fragile item precisely the way I could if I was holding it normally - the object will interact with items close to itself. My hand will interact with items close to me and objects near the object (via forces transmitted through the grasped object).

(e) In most cases the wizard must be able to see the object being grasped in order to correctly and accurately locate it - this is the most difficult skill to master because your distant 'hand' is invisible. In theory someone who can play piano blindfold could play it at a considerable distance by first locating the piano and then finding the correct keys by touch even if they were too far away to be discerned individually.

(f) If the wizard grasps at a distance and someone else grasps the object normally, they won't feel each other's hands but will experience the forces. Thus a weedy wizard couldn't wrestle a sword away from a strong warrior who was holding the weapon firmly but the opposite would be the case.

Question

Non-fatal tests have been performed with the Emperor's own soldiers who weren't pre-warned. They soon learned to keep a tight hold on their weapons or strap them into their scabbards when not in use. They also learned to keep an eye on any obvious hand-movements by the wizards.

So - How can weedy wizards use their Grasp-at-a-Distance spell as an effective long-term weapon against powerful warriors?

Note

There are hundreds of warriors on each side in this battle but only ten wizards on the Emperor's side. They all know the spell. The other side has no wizards but a slight advantage in foot-soldier numbers.

Edits in response to comments

(1) No change in leverage. Just make sure you are standing on a firm surface and the area around you is clear. (2) No penalty for distance. In theory you could grope around blindly behind objects such as castle walls. However mind you don't accidentally grab something dangerous. (3) Eye contact is only needed to locate the object and that is the main problem. Trying to grasp a small object at a mile away could be tricky. That's why I mentioned the piano. It's easier to grasp the piano first and then slide your hand until you find the keys.

UPDATE

I forgot to mention that the interaction must be a 'grasp'. Merely a punch won't work - you have to grab onto the object. Also you are limited as to how much of you can be projected. At the current state of development, it's about equivalent to two arms or one leg. If you can't grasp with your toes then this last will be useless to you.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Apr 23 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ If you feel a wizard grabbing your sword in its scabbard, can you use a dagger to hurt his hand by hitting the handle? $\endgroup$ – Argemione Apr 23 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Argemione - Yes, but where do you get the dagger from? I'm not sure what you mean by, "hitting the handle". If you have 'grabbed' a dagger from somewhere, then you have to get it to the right place in stages. You can't move it more than an arm's length at a time. Observers would see a dagger moving on its own - they could shout a warning. Then you could stab him or his hand. He will just see a dagger moving on its own. However if he has been warned or sees the dagger coming then he has a chance to wrestle it away from you. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Apr 23 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ No, sorry - I mean can the warrior use a dagger to hurt the (somewhat invisible) hand of the wizard? $\endgroup$ – Argemione Apr 23 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Argemione - Ah, I see. If the warrior hits the handle of the dagger with enormous force, yes, he could knock the dagger out of the wizard's hand. That might cause bruising to the wizard's hand or damage to the wizard's wrist tendons. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Apr 23 at 12:39

17 Answers 17

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Communications

The classic answer to the question of "what modern invention would turn the tide added to a medieval / ancient army?" is "radio". This spell can work as short range, all weather undetectable battlefield communications. Whether the transmitting wizard is manipulating a quill on parchment, chalk on a blackboard or a "morse key", they can pass short but detailed messages instantaneously and accurately without revealing their position to the enemy forces. This increase in command and control capability will give the Emperor's forces an overwhelming advantage in combat.

Communications jamming

On the flipside, the Emperor's enemies will be communicating using flags, bugles and/or runners whenever they are outside of shouting range. The wizards can interfere with all of these - by grasping the top end of a flag the wizard can wave it around when it should not, trying to blow a bugle becomes interesting when someone keeps smacking the end of it or pinching the bugler's nose unexpectedly and runners are easy to impede in all sorts of ways whether they are on foot or horseback. (Tripping, undoing fastenings, spooking horses - endless fun possibilities.)

While the wizards could be used for other activities (sabotage in rear areas etc), the command and control functions above can be conducted while keeping the wizards well-guarded and outside of missile range (ie protected from enemy action). Given that the Emperor only has ten wizards, keeping them from harm while maximising their effectiveness against the enemy is crucial.

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  • $\begingroup$ a morse key, or just a glove! $\endgroup$ – Jasen Apr 21 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ Great idea! It never occurred to me to do messaging and disrupt the enemy's communications. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Apr 21 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ Following the spell description, it is really only a fair weather with excellent visibility benefit. Any other conditions would make seeing the target to be altered or communicated with just terrible. $\endgroup$ – user2617804 Apr 22 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ @user2617804 hence the "morse key" option - in poor visibility the wizard can "feel" their way to a key and tap messages in code when nothing else will work. If visibility is so degraded that the wizard can't see anything then the spell can't be used for any purpose. $\endgroup$ – KerrAvon2055 Apr 22 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ Worth noting is if there's a set location for communicating to, the wizard can likely learn to find it even when they can't see it. They know, say, there's a small drum in an alcove kept clear of hazardous things 1000 feet over there, so they can get the general location and feel around to find the drum and then tap it. $\endgroup$ – Andon Apr 22 at 20:44
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Traps

Being able to move things from a distance would give the art of trap-making and -springing much more flexibility, because you wouldn't have to figure out how to set it off without endangering yourself in the process. Simply stand at a distance and "PULL THE LEVER, KRONK!"

Step 1: Set up a trap with a trigger. Step 2: Wait until the enemy is over/under it. Step 3: Pull the rope/lever/whatever from afar. Step 4: Voila! The enemy is in a pit, or under your falling rack of spikes, or beneath the pile of boulders you just dumped on them.

Traps are a classic tool of the wimp against the muscleman. They don't require you to overpower your enemy, just be more clever than they are.

I initially posted this as a comment, because it's a fairly simple reply to what may be a more complex question, but there you go...

I wanted draw some traps for fun... So I did. Hope you enjoy. enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting suggestion. I suppose I wonder if an enemy is going to knowingly walk under racks of spikes or boulders. Wouldn't they just go around? Also this is an army of hundreds so you'd only get a few of them. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Apr 20 at 21:12
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, Chasly, but you didn't mention where that army is. Walking through a ravine or defile with the hollywood-esque barrage of stones waiting from above, needing only a gentle push from a magic user watching from behind the next ridge. (I'd give you +2 for the Kronk reference! Love that show. But, alas, I'm stuck with +1.) $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 20 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ Dang... I mean... dang... I'd give you another +1 for the illustrated guide and yet another just for "armored beefcakes" if I could. :-) $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 20 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ ...just realized I typoed an extra "a" into "tarantula". Yet another win for my dyslexia! Oh well. :/ $\endgroup$ – MarielS Apr 21 at 0:36
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the Grimtooth-esque trap design. $\endgroup$ – asgallant Apr 22 at 22:11
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BEHOLD THE GREAT WIZARD MOE!

Moe doing what he does best: abusing brother stooges http://mentalfloss.com/article/550053/facts-about-the-three-stooges

The Moe Howard skill set is perfectly suited for this spell. Among the Moe Moves that Grasp-At-A-Distance would make so much more effective:

1: Eyeball grasp. Most effective in this bunch but variety is the spice of life.

2: Double nostril grasp.

3: Ear pull.

4: Titty twister. Best vs the bare chested warrior types.

5: Moe's got your tongue!

6: Hair pull. Useful against hair showing on any part of an adversaries body.

7: Package grabbage. Self explanatory.

8: Last but not least: WEDGIE FEVER!

Stooge magic will keep the king happy and keep your adversaries on their toes - especially #8.

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    $\begingroup$ You're gonna kill me, Will. "Will K's Death by Laughter syndrome." indications include forehead bruises from bouncing off the monitor while laughing, chest pain from heaving giggles, shortness of breath (yup, giggles), and overt concern from coworkers and family who all wonder what will happen when the laughing stops, because it might mean I'm dead. Let's call it, Ridibundus Willinus Interitio disease. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 20 at 23:47
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    $\begingroup$ My idea was plain old strangulation, but this is more fun - and requires less strength. On the other hand, your enemy can't wrestle you while you're squeezing his neck, so even strangulation shouldn't be hard to pull off. $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Apr 21 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnDvorak Darth Vader power! $\endgroup$ – MarielS Apr 21 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ I believe this was first called out in the TMNT cartoon as the mystical art of Cur'lee.... $\endgroup$ – nijineko Apr 22 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ If you grow out your fingernails, the eye-poke could be devastating. Especially if you do it to several targets in succession, then have the warriors swoop in and finish them off. $\endgroup$ – Grollo Apr 23 at 6:43
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Daggers

What you’ve essentially done is given melee weapons a huge boost in their reach. If you don’t know, reach is one of the most important factors in melee combat, if my spear can reach you before your sword can reach me, i’m almost always going to win (obviously it depends on what armour you’re wearing and how skilled you are, i’m just talking generally here).

With this in mind, daggers will likely be the weapon of choice for these wizards. The reason being is that a dagger is just as effective as a sword or a spear for killing someone. The only problem is that, because you’re opponent will always be able to outreach you, daggers are not often used in Medieval-style combat. However, the major exception to this is against armoured opponents.

If an opponent is wearing full steel plate, they are extremely hard to kill, you either need blunt force (such as that from a a war hammer or poleaxe) or you need to stab in between the openings. The one place you can guarantee will always be exposed is the eye slits, you can’t have armour in front of your eyes or you wont be able to see. Knights often carried daggers to stab them through these eye slits, killing their opponent. Knives or daggers were used rather than swords as, being smaller, they are much easier to aim with and are typically narrower, making it easier for them to slide in.

Your wizards would likely use daggers in the same way, slipping them into the eye slits of fully armoured opponents to kill them. You could also use this against people who are not wearing full plate, in this case you can go for the face (especially if wearing an open face helmet), the neck or the back of the knees where the tendons and arteries are. A stab to any of those places could easily be lethal.

Hammers

You may instead use hammers, use your magic to swing it and deal a lot of blunt force damage. It would also be easier to hit someone in the head than to try and slide a dagger into their eye slits, especially from afar. You could also use it to disarm or knock people off their feet. A simpler version would be to just drop a rock on them.

Grappling

You may also use the magic to pull opponents to the ground, using magic simply pull their leg as they walk or pull their shoulders back and down. If a solider falls on the battlefield, he is likely dead, especially if wearing full steel plate. The enemy will quickly be able to kill him whilst he is vulnerable and can’t adequately fight back. This could be used in the battlefield to great effect, the wizards pull, the soldiers stab.

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    $\begingroup$ A dagger would be hilarious were it not for the arms-length limitation. Can you imagine some dagger suddenly shanking everyone from behind? The average soldier would wet himself trying to get away. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 20 at 23:49
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    $\begingroup$ I like the idea of a hammer - imagine a warrior holds a hammer for the wizard at the top of a castle wall. Wizard grabs it then (looking out an arrow slit to aim) starts slamming this down on knight after knight of the other army. Damage bonus from gravity acceleration + speed boost of someone actively pulling down = world of hurt. Plus you'd get the "what the F*?! just happened to Fred?!" as a hammer falls from the sky then jerks upwards for the 2nd pass. Someone grabs it or it gets stuck? "Hey, Warrior! Hold out another hammer!" $\endgroup$ – JGreenwell Apr 21 at 0:33
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH I think you have missed a line in the question, the limitation is it can only move an arms length distance at a time, like if you were pulling a rope. The dagger could still be pushed and pulled long distances, you would just need to push it away several times. $\endgroup$ – Liam Morris Apr 21 at 6:33
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    $\begingroup$ Oooh, that's right! Suddenly the dagger magic becomes a dance of death! I like it! $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 21 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ I'm thinking of Yondu's remote-control arrow from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies - you could basically do that, only with regular arrows, and more than one of them. If they grab it and break it, you can just pick up another arrow. Have them team up with archers to get arrows close to where they need to go, and have the wizards control them from there. $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Apr 22 at 3:47
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Instant Death

According to your guidelines, line of sight is only actually necessary for precision work: you can do things by feel in a pinch, "behind castle walls", if necessary. Excellent!

When you cast the grasp spell, a magical version of your hand appears in a place previously occupied by matter, in this case, air. At that point, one of three things must happen:

  1. That matter appears inside of your own physical hand, in which case casting this spell is just a really fast way to die of an air embolism. I'll disregard this one.
  2. That matter is displaced by your hand, and disturbed as normal when your hand moves.
    1. That matter is temporarily 'ignored' until your hand begins to move around, at which point the matter it touches is manipulated as regular matter would be.

If 2, you just cast the grasp spell inside of their skull, and their brain tissues get displaced instantaneously, killing them horribly. If 3, you cast the grasp spell inside of their skull, and, uh, grasp, with the same results as 2.

After a dozen foot soldiers drop dead within a few seconds with blood and brain tissue running out of their facial orifices, the rest of their friends will probably turn and run.

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  • $\begingroup$ As I understand it, the magical hand has regular (except transposed) collisions with the intended object, and no collisions with anything else. Still works great if you decide to play with somebody's heart. Literally play with. $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Apr 21 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ This answer reminds me of smbc-comics.com/comic/2006-06-08 $\endgroup$ – Shufflepants Apr 22 at 21:25
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Get your wizards some training in the oriental type fighting styles.

Then teach them how the Monkey Steals The Peach.

enter image description here

Do it to the enemy warriors, their horses/camels/elephants, etc.

In the case of geldings or mares, do it to the reins, or loosen the girth straps, etc. (not sure how mid-ages saddles were done). Same if enemy is using women warriors - attack the infrastructure and what is carrying them.

There will be panic and mayhem, the fighting ability of the enemy will be drastically decreased, and then your foot soldiers can wade in and finish 'em off.

To attack encampments at night simply grab a handy torch and drop it on a tent, etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's a very elaborate way of saying 'crush their balls'. $\endgroup$ – LukeG Apr 22 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ Same if enemy is using women warriors Huh? What are you referring to here? $\endgroup$ – Azor Ahai Apr 22 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ @AzorAhai attack the horses, etc. Additionally, women can suffer greatly to a hard kick right in the crotch - pelvic bones, lots of nerves, etc. Not quite as bad for a man (ie, no crushed/ruptured testes, etc) but enough to take 'em out of the fight. $\endgroup$ – ivanivan Apr 23 at 0:41
  • $\begingroup$ @LukeG - yeah but I've been waiting for an excuse to post the pic and use the phrase for a very very long time. $\endgroup$ – ivanivan Apr 23 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ I just don't understand what's different about women and men riding horses here $\endgroup$ – Azor Ahai Apr 23 at 15:11
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Your wizards will suddenly be required to attend physical training with the rest of the soldiers, to maximise their strength and thus the effectiveness of their ability.

Hidden needle / Fallen arrow stab

It's not just soldiers' own weapons that can be used against them, but anything pointy near them, including arrows that missed them, and the needles we left on the ground / catapulted over earlier (or indeed, passed over in a reverse-rope push style).

The danger these present is small against an alert target, in daylight. But at night, these smaller weapons will be hard to spot until they're literally (literally literally, not metaphorically literally) in your eyes.

And keeping alert against the constant threat of sudden stabbings will take an emotional and mental toll on the enemy.

Sabotage / Screwing with them

Little stuff... moving things round. Knocking over lamps. Pulling their hair. Ripping their maps, spilling their food, opening their bags so stuff falls out...

Not likely to be lethal (unless they don't spot a knocked over lamp), but will mess with their mental state, reducing morale, and leaving them vulnerable to stabbings or just regular soldiers in battle.

Paratroops

3 wizards can probably lift a regular soldier? From your description, they can work together to lift him with this spell. So let's lift him up and carry him over and drop him on the enemy :)

Traps

... or they could drop a rock or tree on the enemy. It's super hard to spot a branch 10m up in the forest isn't actually attached to a tree until it falls on you.

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If you can bring item to you (via "rope-pulling") I suspect you can push items away from you via rope-pushing motion. For example, you can then sneak near enemy's camp, lit an oil-lantern, and move it near flammable items, such as straw heaps. Then you would release the lamp, likely causing fire.

More precise but less efficient way to deal damage is to move large boulder over watch's head, and then release the grasp, hence knocking sentry unconscious.

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    $\begingroup$ Ever try pushing a rope? $\endgroup$ – ivanivan Apr 21 at 2:29
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    $\begingroup$ @ivanivan The user was referring to the motion, not the physical pulling of the rope, as stated in the question. Also, you can absolutely push a rope, all you need is a pulley and a weight on the other end. True at that point the weight is pulling the rope down, but every pull is a push in the opposite direction and vice versa. $\endgroup$ – Liam Morris Apr 21 at 7:01
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    $\begingroup$ Pushing a rope is easy when you can reach the far end. $\endgroup$ – James Mason Apr 21 at 23:02
  • $\begingroup$ @JamesMason "pushing a rope from the other end": I believe that is called "pulling". lolz $\endgroup$ – Alsee Apr 27 at 21:29
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There are a few interesting ideas around force multiplication.

Teamwork

With enough practice, all ten wizards should be able to grab the same item and move it at the same time. This could be used to create an "invisible catapult", but it could also be used to accelerate smaller objects (like spears or plumbata) to unexpectedly high velocities. Imagine Yondu's arrow from Guardians of the Galaxy. They all pick up an iron spike and hurl it into an enemy. Then pick it up and hurl it into another. Then another. Scary.

Or, even scarier, they could all pick up the biggest guy in the heaviest armor and use him has a wrecking ball.

Mass Driver

Another option is for single wizards to "rethrow" items that are already in motion. Have a burly normal soldier get a really heavy spear moving, then the wizard keeps "grabbing and throwing" it during flight. This increases the range, velocity, and accuracy of the throw.

Drunken Master

A very cinematic setup would be pairing each wizard with one or three capable normal warriors for fighting in small groups. The wizard's job is simply to upset the balance of whomever the warriors are fighting. Bumping shields, tripping feet, pulling hair, etc. A full scale battle would probably be too chaotic for this technique to make a huge difference, but in small groups it would be devastating. Imagine trying to defend yourself from a swordsman while the invisible man is practicing his judo moves on you.

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    $\begingroup$ "pick up the biggest guy in the heaviest armor and use him has a wrecking ball." - for extra insult, find a way to turn the mage hand into a transceiver that turns your enemy's plate armor into a loudspeaker - and then play Miley Cyrus music over it. $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Apr 21 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ Ooh - that'll teach me to read all answers before commenting - I just mentioned Yondu's arrow in a comment above. Oh well, great minds I guess... $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Apr 22 at 3:49
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Here's a fun one...

The most powerful warriors are not merely iron clad brutes carrying swords and maces, they are kings of other realms, leaders, challengers to the throne. Yes they are skilled and strong in melee combat, but they are also the leaders of many others. Simply killing them with your magic would make for a martyr, a call to arms for your enemies.

So keep things on the down low. Don't use your magic for war, don't throw around your military weight with your new found forces. When an opposing leader (Let's call him Larry) is causing you trouble, send a diplomat, talk peace.

Meanwhile... every night when Larry sleeps in his castle he hears strange scratching noises from the walls, the doors, under the bed. He hasn't slept in days, he barely eats any more. Larry is sure people in his court are our to get him, his room was ransacked yesterday while he was on a hunt. The safest room in the castle, ripped apart. It must be one of his closest, most trusted. Who can he turn to? Who can he trust?

Do you offer Larry your help, save him from his treacherous court, offer him the chance to join forces, let his kingdom reign under your banner? Or do you let him go slowly insane, as his kingdom falls apart and rumours of curses swirl.

The true power of your wizards is never going to be in their hands, it is in their minds.

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    $\begingroup$ I think we have to assume that Larry and his court are magically literate, so their conclusion will be "Some damn wizard playing tricks." $\endgroup$ – Paul Johnson Apr 23 at 9:42
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First some training: get the wizards strengthening their hands, arms, and core so that they can grab more securely, and pull and manipulate larger objects. Their arms should all be strong like Popeye's. Then train them in dexterity with the world's best jugglers so that they can easily throw an item remotely, and grab it again with another hand, thereby allowing them to make an object travel quickly through the air.

Then split them into two forces:

Battlefield Disruption (Stranglers, Disarmers, Deconstructors)

These wizards will position themselves at distant vantage points before and during a battle, using whatever vision-enhancers are available (spyglasses, crystal balls, scrying). Their job before a battle is to systematically disrupt the enemy's camp: knocking down tents, throwing lanterns into haystacks, making swords come to life, releasing horses, etc. Whenever a commanding officer can be identified from afar, they become the prime targets for strangulation.

Once the battle begins, they will do much of the same disruption, focusing on spooking the calvary, pulling down (and choking) commanders, and undoing armor. Their tactic will be to stab, punch, pull, and strangle as quickly as possible and then move on to the next person or horse.

Covert Accident-Orchestration

The second group will be tasked with infiltrating the enemy's towns and cities, and getting as close to the leadership as possible. Then they will wait for the perfect opportunities to trigger "Final Destination" accidents. A small push on a noble who's at the top of a staircase, disconnect a chandelier while the royal family is underneath, tip over a candle during a feast, trip the lords during important meetings. Bonus if they can also spread rumors of a curse on the enemy's leadership, helping to removing their support among the nobles and people. Of course if they can get into a good vantage point that allows their hands to stay hidden, it's always helpful to engage in some remote strangulation.

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  • $\begingroup$ Both methods won't work for very long for enemies that are not terminally stupid and clueless about magic. There are only 10 wizards. Wasting them on the task of pinching and pranking soldiers far away will only get them attrited; as the OP said, if by chance you grab a blade or a torch you will get severely injured, and the soldiers in the camp will make sure there are plenty torches around. As for the "prankbotage" mission, the same will be compounded by their being exposed in enemy territory; guards will quickly round up suspects who stay within sight and twist their hands around. $\endgroup$ – Ralf B Jul 26 at 20:38
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Wait until the enemy army sets up camp for the night, then sneak poison into the food supplies - there a probably a number of large pots with stews being prepared to dish out. It doesn't even have to be particularly sophisticated: The most basic method would be to wait until the main cooking is done, and the stew is just keeping warm, and slip some raw chicken in.

The next day, your main army storms the camp while the enemy is "indisposed". Done carefully, the actions of your wizards will go entirely unnoticed, and you can reuse the same tactics again in following campaigns.

If your wizards need to sneak closer to or into the camp to achieve these goals... Well, tapping someone on the shoulder makes for a good distraction. Your wizards are now ninja.

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Pull your enemies' sleeves to get them to slap each other, and start hilarious fights amongst themselves. Tie their shoe laces together just before they charge at your ranks. Turn their helmets around in the middle of a fight. etc, etc.

Be sure to play funny old British music as the battle rages on.

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Many of the other answers focus on individual attacks, which when only dealing with a small number of soldiers is fine, but might be too slow to noticeably affect the battle. I think focusing on tactics that affect more than one soldier, or hinder the enemy commander or messengers will be more effective against an army.

Death From Above

Have your wizard pick up the heaviest rock they can and slowly bring it to hover in the air above a chosen target or group (enemy commander or messengers). If they don't notice it, you've just dropped a heavy weight from hundreds of feet in the air on top of their head.

If there is no single target, just have the wizards pick groups of enemies at random and drop the rocks, it's likely that it will hit someone.

Fear tactics

If they notice the rock, they'll have to keep moving to avoid it being dropped on their heads. This will at minimum prove a distraction for the enemy leader(s) and most likely also keep one or more scouts out of the battle (someone has to watch the rock and find out where it's going). With 10 wizards, the enemy commander (and strategists) might very well spend the entire battle avoiding being crushed by rocks, preventing them from meaningfully contributing to the battle.

This is still effective without a commander to target, since it will prevent groups of enemy soldiers from creating or maintaining a formation that isn't constantly moving.

Bombs away

This tactic is extra effective if your side has access to gunpowder or other chemical/alchemical explosives.

Light in the eyes

Another effective technique (if it's sunny) is to take a shiny piece of metal and use it to bounce sunlight directly into the eyes of the enemy soldiers. This will function as both a distraction and an easy way to blind the enemy soldiers at a critical point in the fight.


Edit: Additional ideas

Flint and Steel

See if your wizards can discreetly get flint and steel (or some other kind of fire starter) across the battle field. Then have them set to work attempting to light anything flammable such as wagons, barrels, torches, tents, or food supplies. They might not get many before people notice, but the effect will range from "distracting a few soldiers" to "distracting a lot of soldiers and burning a lot of enemy supplies".

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There are many ways, as others already pointed out, but simplest is just "going to your foe's throat"... literally. Just choke him with your "extended" hands.

If you like bloodshed, you can grab your foe's dagger and stab him with it. Variations on theme are endless.

If you want to be more "creative" (and avoid letting out you are doing something "strange") you can let a normal battle progres and have magicians to "disturb" foes grabbing hands (or putting a finger in eyes, or tripping, or...) in topic moments, that would be enough to give your warriors a huge advantage.

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This idea works only if a wizard can grab moving object precisely: multi-stage weapons. Example: medieval napalm: Make a catapult, put a barrel with a lot of fuel inside, some tinder on it, and target area above enemy forces. During flight, have a wizard unlock the barrel and use the tinder to immolate spilling fuel.

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Wizards being in short supply, it would be best done as a terror weapon.

  • Using more time, grasp a shoelace from an empty boot, and strangle the guard. Not sure if it's best to strangle them dead or just unconscious.

    • Have two men anchor the wizard. Have him seek to pull men off the wall.

    • tip the boiling oil bucket early.

    • Start from your lines and dump the head of a soldier into the castle well.

Can I grasp something inside another something? E.g. Can a grab a glass in a room with a closed door? I can't pull the glass through the door, but does the grasp work? Does the object feel grasped? Can I only grab things that have room for my hand around them? (Possibility for different ability levels here)

  • These would allow me to reach into the enemy general's chest and pinch his aorta closed, pinch his esophagus, render someone speechless by holding his vocal cords. Or just clapping my hand over a face and keeping the guy from breathing.

  • Do other wizards have a scrying spell? E.g. can another wizard run a magic mirror that lets you see closer what you are trying to do?

    • If you are looking through a spyglass, does this give you better vision? (Larry Niven's Gil Hamilton was telekinetic, but it was limited to anything his arm could reach. But he could reach through a 2 way telecomm link. Imagine someone grabbing your beard though a skype call.)

A good part of making this work would be getting stuff in place for the wizard to use later, and getting a destination set up with 'feelable' landmarks. A covert operative wizard may have a team of 20-60 people working together. Wizard is unlikely to be head of team.


Suppose that you can set up a skrying link between two mirrors. Now two wizards working together: Each carries a mirror and a something. The usual, trade off from hand to hand, but one holds his mirror where it has a view of the other's work. Yeah. There's 2 mirrors and 2 daggers floating about. Suspicious.

The mirror doesn't have to be very big. The dagger can be made of enchanted glass, and very hard to see.

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protected by L.Dutch Apr 21 at 3:29

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