Magic in this world is not comon but not particularly rare either. Anyone can do it with the proper training and dedication but to be truly great at it can take several decades however it's fairly simple to take a two or three-year course ( if you can afford it) and come out with a handful of useful spells. Here are some spells commonly used by combat Wizards. I'm trying to figure out how a medieval Commander would deploy these spells and how that would change the medieval Battlefield.

Note: combat Wizards tend to be on the lower power side a usually only know a handful of common battle spells. Despite this they are still very expensive and most armies cannot afford to have a combat wizard Force larger than 20% of the overall Army.

Common combat wizard spells

Firebolt: fires a 2ft by 2ft ball of fire 120ft in normal weather conditions. 90ft in strong wind and 60 feet or less in very bad weather conditions. The temperature 800 to 3000 F depending on the experience and skill of the caster. ( approximate casting time 30-40 seconds) this spell very little energy can be used several dozen time befor the wizard s to stop and rest.

Ice : the wizard produces a focused beam of what appears to be light that lowers the temperature of everything the beam touches until the object or person has a temperature equal to that of the freezing temperature of water. How fast this happens depends on the temperature of the object. For people it can take up to a minute, however for things that are lower temperature then your average person it can go much faster. Effective range line of sight. Approximate cast time 40-50 seconds this spell is much more taxing and can usually only use less than 10 times before the wizard must stop and rest.

Firecone: produces a cone of fire from The Wizard hands approximately 6 ft wide at its widest point and 12 ft long. 800 to 3000 f depending on the skill of the caster. Approximate casting time 10- 20 seconds. This spell can be used usually around 10 time for the user must stop and rest.

Tornado: a spell that produces a small tornado 10 feet across approximately 150-200 miles per hour that last between 5-15 minutes depending on the strength of the caster. The spell is very tiring and most Combate Wizards cant use it more the five times before stoping to rest.

How would the addition of these spells Change medieval military strategy and would they be worth the price of hiring combat Wizards?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (1) The Middle Ages span one full millennium. The military strategy of the 6th century Roman (= Byzantine) army, the military strategy of the 11th century Norman army and the military strategy of the 14th century English army were not the same, not at all. (2) The effects of a "ball of fire" depend very heavily of what a ball of fire is. Half a cubic meter of hot air will have zero effect on any conceivable enemy soldiers, even if they are naked. (3) In order to estimate whether hiring battle wizards is worthwhile you must tell us how much they are paid, and who (when, where) is hiring them. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 18, 2019 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ ... Not to mention that the Byzantines were actually able to project a "firecone" as described, consisting basically of burning napalm. See Greek fire. It was extremely effective in naval battles. No wizardy was needed, but a good deal of high quality engineering was essential. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 18, 2019 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ Duration of firecone and duration of ice would be useful $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Sep 18, 2019 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ Also the energy ranges of the spells in Joule would go a long way in assessing their effectiveness. The [Atomic Rockets Boom Table](www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/usefultables.php) should be quite useful. $\endgroup$ Sep 18, 2019 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ TBH I think you're trying to solve this problem in the wrong direction. Instead of trying to decide what the limits of the spells are and then figuring out what the effects on your world would be, it makes a lot more sense from a story/worldbuilding perspective to decide what effects on your world you WANT, and set the limits on magic appropriately to make sure they occur. $\endgroup$ Sep 18, 2019 at 16:28

1 Answer 1


Little effect on classical/medieval tactics (they had similar items already)

Firebolt & Firecone (Greek Fire & artillery)

First, I'm ignoring using fire in windy conditions.

As this is one of the main weaknesses of fire as a weapon. Due to the fact that wind could cause the smoke & even the fire itself (if not the spell then the stuff it lite on fire) to turn back at your own army. While rain would prevent you from lighting structures on fire defeating the main purpose. You simply would not use fire in windy or bad weather conditions.


To start with firecone wizards: Greek Fire was a known substance during the classical period which allowed for the first real flamethrowers (though there were thermo-based weapons before this). It was a powerful weapon which could not be put out with water alone (it actually burned on the water).

Now at the 800-2000 degree (F, 1000 C) range - this would not really effect the tactics in use during the periods you proposed as Greek Fire tubes were about this temperature and with much greater ranges1. Again, these were limited due to the fact that they could not be used during bad weather and armies developed tactics to counter it including soaking hides or leather armor in vinegar to prevent ships from burning.

Now most stone melts at 2750 F, so anything over 2000F (1000C) could be a game changer. Destroying naval ships and melting castle walls. Except, the Middle Ages already had a similar game changer in the form of cannons. So it might lead to Bastion or Star forts being developed earlier and other anti-cannon tactics just coming sooner.


Now as to firebolt wizards, we called these grenadiers. And these wizards were great at storing Greek fire in stone, ceramic, or glass jars to then lob firebolts into their enemies2. And again cannons, trebuchets, and catapults were already effective weapons which forced armies to develop tactics to protect their personnel & structures against them.

So again, at the same temperatures as mentioned earlier, the tactics developed against grenadiers & catapults (anti-personnel weapons) would be employed with these. While the tactics developed to protect against trebuchet & cannons (full artillery) would be employed against the other.

Possible high damage but not a lot of effect - Ice

Okay, you hit hypothermia way before your blood freezes and I assume that froze blood would be an unpleasant way to die - presuming that armor doesn't stop it. However, then you've only taken out 10 people per wizard.

The biggest advantage of this would be the fact that it is not effected by weather - meaning you could just snipe people on top of castle walls (in a full storm). Deadly but limited potential. Further, they would just start putting shields in front of themselves, arrow slits, or use other tactics which they had for dart launchers (i.e. catapults).

Destructive today - devastating during classical/medieval period


Hurricane Dorian had sustained winds of 185 mph during its peak - this would be sending a high category hurricane against the enemy. Damage - look at hurricane aftermath or just imagine trying to ride on a horse, in full armor, through one.


1: Haldon, John (2006), ""Greek fire" revisited: recent and current research", in Jeffreys, Elizabeth (ed.), Byzantine Style, Religion and Civilization: In Honour of Sir Steven Runciman, Cambridge University Press, pp. 290–325, ISBN 978-0-521-83445-2

2: Robert James Forbes: "Studies in Ancient Technology," Leiden 1993, ISBN 978-90-04-00621-8, p. 107


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