In this fantasy world magic users are called rankers are graded into three grades:

1,soldier grade (Anyone with a magic weapon can become one.)

2,champion grade (requires years of training, only one in a thousand can reach this level)

3,general grade (Very very rare. A nation will be super power if it can have more than hundred general grade rankers.)

Anyone above this power level will not be participating directly in battles, (like nuclear deterrent). This group will not be relevant to the question, just mentioning for completeness.

So, the gun technology was fairly undeveloped due to availability of magic.

-No Automatic reload.

-No precise sniping etc.,

A soldier grade ranker is similar to ancient warriors on earth with slightly powerful cold weapons. Mostly they will be killed if he/she meets a gun wielding enemy as rankers don't use guns (as they will be obsolete in later stages).

A Champion grade ranker can use powerful magics and can kill a gun wielding enemy before the bullet is fired. But even they will be in trouble if they meet a gun wielding enemy battalion. In front of hundreds of bullets, they cannot do much individually. At most they will kill tens of enemies before dying.

General grade rankers have domains of their own and can easily stop large number of projectiles as long as they don't contain large amount of energy (like a cannon shell). Of course, they have limits and will be defeated if you keep on sending human waves against them. However, it would take thousands of soldiers to kill a single General grade ranker.

Now my question is: What will be the composition and deployment patterns of troops in such a scenario?

Assume that:

Cost of arming a soldier with gun is equal to a magic weapon.

General grade experts are equally matched on both sides.

Clarification about abilities:

Rankers need catalysts to use magic. Catalysts can only be procured from dungeons. So most of the times rankers has to learn magic compatible with available catalysts than vice-versa.

Depending on the method of usage of the catalyst, rankers are generally two types. Warriors who embed the catalyst in some kind of melee weapon and mages who use catalyst directly.

Warriors use magic as an enhancement to their strength, so they use magic spells with little or no activation times and spend lot of money on making a perfect weapon for their catalyst.

Mages on the other hand design complicated magic spells to extract the maximum output from the catalyst.

These are only rough styles and every ranker is a mix of the two styles. Warriors also have flashy and powerful abilities and mages can cast instant spells.

Clarifications about stamina and other requirements for magic:

In this world there are three kinds of energy good, bad, neutral (called rajas). Gods and demons use good and bad kinds of energy. Humans manipulate rajas using catalysts. This is called magic, with different magic systems corresponding to different methods of manipulating the rajas.

Every mortal ranker (i.e not a singularity) has some kind of limit in usage of rajas. If a general grade ranker used too much magic for too long he/she would need some rest before being able to use magic. If they forcefully try to use magic in that time it will cripple or even kill the user.

Also Catalysts also have limits on their maximum output and will be destroyed if overloaded.

Info about magic weapons:

People need training before using catalyst or they would go mad. That is one the reasons soldier grade rankers use magic weapons (contains traces of catalyst) to get used before using the real thing.

Magic weapons are made from materials mined from dungeons. Even normal resources contains some traces of rajas. For example iron ore found in a dungeon can be extra hard or super light.

As said earlier, magic weapons are just slightly stronger than normal cold weapons. They generally don't rust or break down easily. May have resistance to temperature changes etc.

Only nations with huge manpower can take control of dungeon and mine resources from it.

Relative strength of grades

A General level is not invincible (A next grade of rankers called Singularities would take that honor). A group of twenty champion grade rankers can battle a general by attrition. Especially if the champions have abilities that counter General's domain.

As I mentioned generals are very rare and are treated as strategic assets. Every loss of a general grade expert will be a blow to nation's overall strength. In fact, most of the noble clans were headed by a general grade expert.

About tech level

Very crude guns with a need to reload manually after every shot. Mobile cannons were recently invented but not well received as most of the champions can do the same thing much faster.

It should be noted that the backwardness of technology is not due to lack of knowledge but rather lack of interest in the field. So no large scale assembly lines and standardized equipment. Magic can do what science can do and even what it cannot do. Especially since dungeons are a constant source of fear to the society, the powers that gained from dungeons are source of admiration.

Medical field is developed but is a hybrid between science and magic. In fact, dungeons were ingrained so deeply in the culture that development of technology mostly means finding new methods to use catalysts.

About Singularities:

The singularities (above general grade) are legendary existences in this world. They can reportedly even bend space and time. Legends about them inspire every youngster to become a ranker.

They are bound by an restriction to not fight in this world. If they break the restriction a heavenly tribulation will descend from sky.

It is said that singularities are resistant to passage of time. The possibility of immortality is another reason many people take the path of magic.

A related question which can make this question more clear. Warfare-in-the-presence-of-magic-users

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Nov 2, 2019 at 16:00

2 Answers 2


Due to the proliferation of firearms (even if they're primitive) and their effectiveness against sub-champion level opponents, I don't think you'd see any "traditional" battle tactics with battle lines, cavalry charges, shield-walls, etc. Instead, I'd expect such a world to have military strategy be more akin to a modern military conflict, where small squads of soldiers move from cover to cover and it's essentially a deadly hide-and-seek game.

After the invention of modern firearms (notably rifling), the "stand in a line facing your enemy in a field and shoot" style of combat died out very quickly. For example, during the American Revolution against the British, the world saw how one of the most powerful military forces in the world was defeated by farmers with muskets and guerilla-tactics. While there were still some "stand in a line and shoot" conflicts after that, the practice quickly died out when weapon accuracy improved above drunken dart-throwing accuracy.

Modern combat is often about small squads of soldiers (groups of 10 ish) who move from cover to cover and attempt to seize control over valuable areas such as tactically important points, important infrastructure, or civilian locations. I imagine your world could be quite similar except:

  • Substitute armored vehicles, tanks, or air support for "champion grade" fighters

  • Substitute destroyers, tank regiments, or aircraft carriers for "general grade" fighters

In this situation, I'd imagine that a "squad" could consist of a dozen soldiers who are led by a champion. This would allow rapid movement and high combat effectiveness and still prevent the group of soldiers from being instantly slaughtered by an opposing champion. Other champions could be called in in "support roles". For example, in a modern battle soldiers could call in air support to deal with enemies in an entrenched positions, In your world, groups of soldiers could call in "champion support" who rove around the engagement area and solve problems that regular grunts can't.

General rank individuals would most likely be in a heavily "support role" and be the center of bases and represent FOB's or airfields. Their role would be to provide a safe place to retreat to and counter other general rank individuals from striking at "home base". In rare situations, they'd take to the field themselves but as they're quite valuable, direct combat would probably be kept to a minimum.

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    $\begingroup$ I would imagine that the Battle Maniacs (warning TVTropes) who believe in fighting to gain experience and power might want to leave the cushy home base job. It would make an excellent point of motivational conflict between defending a homeland and trying to reach singularity level. $\endgroup$
    – IT Alex
    Sep 28, 2020 at 19:38

This is a resource war above all else, when you control dungeons, you control a region which gives you new soldiers, revenue, and labor (which is vital to mine the dungeons). In this world, manpower is everything. The entire conflict is a quest for enough military might to overwhelm Champions or Generals to force them into using rajas when they are exhausted. Armies have developed ambush and deception strategies specifically to begin a battle with expendable cold weapons, saving their rajas for the final blow.

In the generic composition description below, replace the word “National” with the name of your protectorate or empire.

  1. Military organization:

$$ \underleftrightarrow{\hspace{32 pt} \fbox{Emperor} \hspace{32 pt}}\\ \tiny \fbox{Imperial Ministry} \hspace{80 pt} \fbox{Homeland Ministry} \\ \Downarrow \hspace{2em} \Downarrow \hspace{2em} \Downarrow \hspace{6em} \Downarrow \hspace{2em} \Downarrow \hspace{2em} \Downarrow \\ \hspace{1em} \small \text{501 401 301 201} \normalsize \{Legions\} \small \text{ 501 401 301 201} \\ \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \hspace{6em} \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \downarrow \\ \swarrow \hspace{1 em} Battalions \hspace{1 em} \searrow \\ \fbox{Conquest Brigade} \hspace{3 em} \fbox{Defense Brigade}$$

A nation has Imperial and Homeland department, for conquest and national defense strategies respectively. Each Department is led either by a Singularity who holds the position of Supreme Minister (if you’re lucky enough to have one), or a Ministry of National Supremacy (a panel of at least 3 elite generals). This means each Nation has at least two Ministries who report directly to the Emperor, and only the Emperor can direct them.

The National Army is divided into Legions of 8,000 to 12,000 troops. The number of legions a Nation has depends on their size and population. A small nation of 10 million may have up to 50 Legions to secure their borders and conduct conquest campaigns.

Legions are specialized to their region, with knowledge of the unique mountains, forests, coasts, or desserts in their area. Normally a General Grade (lower) commands a Legion, with one Champion serving as Chief Security of the General to protect the general and arrange his safe passage into battlefield arenas. Attacks on any General will have to get through this Champion first.

Each Legion commands several Battalions of 1,000 to 4,000 troops. Battalions are lead by Champions who hold secret conferences with their Legion generals (using magical telepathy, like the Force). This ability allows Champions to remain on the battlefield, get instructions, and give situation reports without bringing the General into the fight. As long as the Champion is not directly involved in combat he can use his raja this way.

Battalions command their brigades of any size depending on the special mission. Brigades are specialized first into either Conquest operations or Homeland operations. Within each of these each Battalion has a special warfare skill, commanding troops trained in their areas.

Infantry Battalions

  • By far the largest force in your army is the Infantry battalion. 80% of your forces are in the infantry, and of these more than 75% are using cold weapons. The advantage of cold weapons is they are cheap to produce, they don’t need catalyst, and they can overwhelm an enemy running low on raja. The cold weapons are always the first to attack, forcing the enemy to burn all their raja on defending themselves. Forcing a champion into overloading on raja is a key strategy, and once that is accomplished you can come in with your own Soldier Grade with magical weapons.

    Infantry is divided into specialized divisions based on terrain. There is a Mountain Division, Dessert Division, Woodlands Division, and Coastal Division. They each have weapons, skills, and tactics unique to fighting in these environments. A Legion may not have all

Airborne Battalions

  • These troops include falconers, seers, and rarely wyvern riders. Their primary responsibility is to provide reconnaissance of enemy movements and to scout for safe passage.

    Falconers send falcons over a territory and their soldier’s basic raja skill is communing. The falcon is their magic weapon, when the bird is adorned with an amulet made from catalyst.

    Seers are Champions who can commune with nature and use wildlife to scout for them. Generally birds are better suited for this. Although a Seer can not control the birds like a falconer can, there are usually very many birds they can use, especially in woodland regions. But seers are not normally used in dessert campaigns due to the lack of wildlife.

    Wyvern riders are Champions who have communed with a Wyvern and bonded with it. The Wyvern is a large dragon-like animal which can fly, but has no magical powers and has an average animal intelligence like a horse. Some airborne Battalions can use Wyvern riders for field command, allowing the Champion rider to see the entire battlefield when making decisions. The Wyvern can fly above the lethal range of most guns. If they do get hit, the bullet has slowed down so much it cannot break the scaly armor. Wyvern are also valuable to carry messages from the battlefield to Legion commanders quickly and securely without using raja.

Marine Battalions

  • These troops are equipped with magical weapons with specific strengths in water. They do not corrode, they can fire underwater, and so,e can even allow the soldier to breathe underwater for short periods. Marine Champions also develop special aquatic skills. They have normal sight underwater, as if they were in land. They are extremely efficient swimmers, and can assault a ship from the water. Their primary mission is overtaking coastal regions by surprise from the sea.

Police Battalions

  • One of the smallest Battalions, but also the most magical troops will be in the police battalions. They will either be Sentry class or Guard class, depending on what they are protecting. A sentry protects friendly assets, such as catalyst ore, hideouts, fortress gates, or treasure rooms. Their mission is to simply control access whatever they are protecting so no enemy can take or even see it. Their weapons and skills include things which can hide or lock the thing they are protecting, and fight off anyone trying to pilfer it. Guards are protecting dangerous assets such as war prisoners, captured generals, or anything else which could be hostile to the Nation. They have the same mission as a Sentry but also must be skilled in controlling the hostile prisoner. They have some very advanced weapons which will subdue their prisoner and prevent escape, without killing the asset.

    Films often show guards and sentries as the weakest fighters but in real armies they are the most difficult to defeat. Several failed real attempts to break into Fort Knox demonstrate how tough these soldiers are. Your Police Battalions will use Champions to move high level prisoners around, and sometimes a Champion may dress as a regular Soldier and stand routine guard duty, surprising enemies who try to rescue their prisoners or steal your goods.

Intelligence Battalions

  • These elite troops include spies, interrogators, and tactical specialists. Legion commanders rely on the Intelligence Battalion to get the information needed to plan attacks on enemy fortresses or camps. These soldiers can look and speak like an enemy, use special language skills to collect information, and interrogate prisoners. Champions in this Battalion combine all their intelligence and form plans to maximize the effectiveness of the ground battle.


A Legion is in command of a certain region. They will be numbered according to their location and territory. They can contain as many Battalions as they need to cover their area, and may or may not need every type of battalion. For example, a Legion in the Mountain region will not need dessert infantry or a Marine Battalion. Legion commanders report directly to their ministry. Conquest legions have missions involving expanding the empire and capturing new dungeons. Homeland legions have a mission to prevent loosing any Territory or Dungeons to enemy fighters.


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