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This is kind of a follow up to my last question as i kinda realized this was the question i actually wanted to ask. So you have a setting where everyone is capable of using magic to some degree. Arcane, Divine, Etc.

However, I want to imagine a main rebel faction that is vehemently anti magic, believing the use of magic to be the cause of a catastrophe that happened thousands of years ago. The only magic they would employ would be ones that inhibit or flat out nullify the effects of all other types of magic aside from that they would do everything they can to live as mundanely as possible.

These individuals would be heavily armored either by armor of their own making or through an experimental armor stolen from the Arcane nation. And I'm going off the assumption that swords have the capacity to cut through mail even without the use of magic(A good example of this being the dadao. Look it up its absolutely beautiful.) but full plate would be difficult to deal with, and with them being as focused on anti-magic tactics as possible. Simply put the anti-magic faction's strategy is to force the fight to be on their terms, which would be a similar scenario as to how it would be in our time.

This is why I've been asking around about this sort of thing. Because even though this is a worst-case scenario, I still wanted a general strategy.

As it stands now I can only think of 2 strategies.

Either "Knocking him prone" you still have a sharp pointing thing in your hands. So if you can knock them down you can still jam the sword into the exposed joints and manuvers like a back kick would be useful in
that regard. Is it risky? yes. But given the situation you can't
really afford not to take risks.

Or...Give em the Jujutsu Kaisen treatment" Also known as jumping them. Always have a partner with you at all times. One of you deal with him from the front while the other attacks from behind. A coordinated tag team. I mean hey if he doesn't wanna play fair, why should you?

What other tactics could be employed in this situation?

Edit: People asked for more clarity on how magic actually works in this setting. The details would take a long time but to sum it up magic works by taking energy from both you and the world around you (I.E Mana) and molding and shaping it in various different way either to blow something up, enhancing one's abilities, conjuring constructs, Transmuting things, etc. Mana exists in all living things so said mana can be taking energy from all sources and shaping it into various effects.

It's kind of like using solar energy to power the spell and the hand gestures is you shaping it into something else.

So, let's say you run into one of these anti magic guys and you fired a fireball at them, since the spell is made from energy rather than actual fire, the spell itself kind of just...disperses unless you are incredibly powerful, so direct spells won't work.

You could just buff yourself up, but even then, it would probably be rough since in a pure melee this knight is likely better than you "You know of battle, I was born of it" is a line they might say.

Thankfully these knights won't have an anti-magic barrier around them but if they did anything made of mana or fueled by mana would either disperse or shut down respectively. So, the best way i can describe this is magical EMP.

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    $\begingroup$ Is this question just "how do unarmored men with swords beat men with late medieval armor and swords of their own"? $\endgroup$
    – g s
    Commented Jan 13 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ Lightly armored. Fighting unarmored in any situation is frankly kind of stupid. $\endgroup$
    – Masakan
    Commented Jan 13 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ What can and cannot be done with magic? Anti-magic armour will not protect against an act initiated by magic from a distance, eg levitate a heavy rock to a distance above the head of the plate-armoured target (who can't see it due to rubbish peripheral vision) and let go - the rock is unaffected by magic and only by gravity when it hits. Without knowing what magic can do and the environmment that fights occur in, this question is so broad as to be unanswerable. (And, yes, I know you want a way to use swords effectively, even when almost every other choice make more sense.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 14 at 2:54
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    $\begingroup$ Unless you better elaborate on magic, and anti-magic, and how it works in your world you are unlikely to get a useful answer since you are forcing us to guess way too much about your world to give one. $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Commented Jan 14 at 3:21
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    $\begingroup$ I do not understand this question at all. One side has magic, the other side has anti-magic magic. Should we understand that the anti-magic magic works? And in this case, why mention magic at all, when it plays no part? And then, the question speaks of "rebels", which suggests a situation of civil war. War is not a collection of one-on-one duels, so that it is utterly irrelevant how one or two swordsmen would go about fighting one armored knight. But the question says nothing about the military situation. (And in real history, heavily armored knights were always heavy cavalry, obviously.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jan 14 at 4:24

6 Answers 6

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Magic may be powerful, but physics is a very cruel [redacted] [censored] [innapropriate].

Just be creative. You can use magic to levitate a metric ton of stuff above the anti-magic luddite, beyond the reach of their nullifying field. Then dispel it. Gravity is not magic and neither is a ton of rocks once the levitation spell is gone.

If they are invading your turf, you can dig an immorally large moat with magic - I don't think that casting Dispel Magic on the moat will cause the dislodged earth to come back. Then fill the moat with magic sand. Watch as the charging enemies fall into a chasm as their own anti-magic field dissolves the ground beneath them.

You can replace the oxygen in a room with magic oxygen. That will give them a breathtaking experience.

And the funniest trick I can think of right now: regular grenades, but their pins are not removable by hand, and are summoned from the elemental plane of lolz. They only explode when close to anti-armor magic. They also double as mines if you just bury them shallow. Best thing about this is that steel plate may protect against shrapnel, but it does not block shockwaves from explosions and might even make them worse by acting as a resonance chamber, so take that!

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  • $\begingroup$ One good thing i got from my research is that while swords have a hard time against plate, they can deal with mail. It's resistant to sword, but that just means there's a limit to how much they can take. So, a spellsword, given enough breathing room can deal with someone wearing mail armor in a head on fight. Plate is just that much of a different breed. $\endgroup$
    – Masakan
    Commented Jan 14 at 6:43
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The simplest way would be the same way people dealt with heavily armored people in the real world: Strike hard at the soft spots of the armor with a piercing implement, possibly after making them fall down. Non-magic full plate armors must have unarmored sections, if only because they need to be articulated somehow.

You already considered what that entails, so I'll skip to the other historical way to deal with plated enemies: Fast projectiles. If your setting's magic is able to rapidly accelerate a steel spike (or ball, for simplicity) in a given vector, you have guns (you said it can create explosions, so at the very least magic-powered hand cannons are feasible). If you have guns, heavy armor is irrelevant.

This would mean that in order to take their opponents down, the spellblades would need to be outside the anti-magic field and they wouldn't be using their swords, yes, but when your opponent has the exact protections to negate your only means of attack (plate armor for sword, anti-magic for magic) you have to resort to something else.

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  • $\begingroup$ Counterpoint, if you can accelerate any object to high speed in a direction of your choice using magic, they could use their swords. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Commented Jan 16 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ @jdunlop Technically true, but I'm not sure they'd be thrilled to just throw their sword away. Without knowing how large the anti-magic fields can be and how far and accurately they can project their magic I can't recommend that course of action. $\endgroup$
    – Vilarinof
    Commented Jan 17 at 8:49
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Idea #1: Summon (Mundane) Oilslick

enter image description here

The man in heavy armor is strong and tough. But he is clumsy and top-heavy. He is vulnerable to falling on the ground and cannot get back up. Enter the oilslick.

As the knight charges you, simply summon (nonmagical) grease under his feet. He falls down and his sword falls out of his hands. As he flounders about like a fish out of water, create a hole in the ground under him. Now he's super stuck. Then push the oil into the hole on top of the knight. Then set it on fire. Job done.

As mentioned in the comments, the effectiveness of this will depend on exactly how anti magic fields work. Best case you just summon nonmagical grease and the field has no effect. Worst case it makes the grease disappear, or somehow renders the grease inert.

This is something for you to think about as you construct your world.

In the worst case you need to carry around flasks of oil on your person and use your magic to launch the flasks with precision at the knight's feet and hands, from outside his antimagic bubble.

Image source

Idea #2: Spam Mass Healing

enter image description here

Mass Healing is a simple spell that heals everything in a 100ft radius. Everyone knows that the more precision your spell has, the more mana you need. In other words it is easier to heal a group than to heal just one person. Mass healing usually has zero battlefield use because Friendly Fire is always on and it rejuvenates your enemies as well as friends.

What's that you say -- your enemies are immune to magical healing? Well, that changes things.

Counter the enemy men at arms with your own men at arms. Take advantage of the enemy knights' immunity to magic by spamming healing spells on your front line. It doesn't matter that you are outnumbered and outskilled when your soldiers never tire and their wounds magically close every ten seconds.

Idea 3: RUN AWAY!

enter image description here

The knight's antimagic field cannot effect you if you caste Cantor's Run Fast on your boots and peg it over the nearest hillock. For best effects follow this by casting Samantha's Invisibility.

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  • $\begingroup$ Simply put. A head on fight isn't an option, you gotta outsmart the guy. $\endgroup$
    – Masakan
    Commented Jan 17 at 0:41
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Plate armor hates the 3 B's: Burn, Blub, Bonk.

Burn

Even if your plate armor ir very resistent to magic, the guy inside it isn't. With the proper amount of flammable chemicals - say, pitch - and a torch, you can cook any enemy of your choice reasonably fast. Even if the flames don't reach them directly, the heat would be enough to cause quite a bunch of damage.

Blub

Plate wearers can't exactly swim, and they are quite heavy. Making them tumble back-first into a puddle with reasonable depth has the potential to be lethal if you manage to hold their heads underwater - a not so difficult feat when your enemy is already with their movements hindered.

Bonk

Hit them hard with a hammer. Bonus points for targetting the head.

Plate armor might be good against slashes, but it really, really dislike big concussive blows or really spikey things. A good pickaxe, a crow-bill mace, or a good ol'fashioned hammer can make quick work of a plate wearer.

Bonus B: Ballista

You can always use a ballista, too. It's a bit of an overkill, but there isn't much in the realm of infantry that can survive a shot from a ballista, or similar equipment.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could a punch from a cestus glove dent the armor or at least discombobulate the guy in armor? $\endgroup$
    – Masakan
    Commented Jan 17 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Masakan probably not. You need s heavier weapon for this. $\endgroup$
    – Mermaker
    Commented Jan 17 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ Kicks with greaves then? $\endgroup$
    – Masakan
    Commented Jan 17 at 9:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Masakan Way more mass. You need a proper war pick or a warhammer, or other weapon designed for this. Going "unarmed" isn't your best bet, even if you're using gauntlets or gloves. $\endgroup$
    – Mermaker
    Commented Jan 17 at 14:08
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With a Knife, While They Sleep

Kind of a variant on Daron's Idea #3. Why face someone who needs special equipment to offset your advantages in fair combat at all? They're the ones wearing really recognizable fullplate, you're the one who could be dressed in civilian garb.

Wait 'til they're asleep, magic poison gas into their bedroom/tent. Magic yourself into their bedroom and stab them. Transmute 2% of their ale in the tavern into arsenic.

You only have to meet someone "on the field of honour" if your honour means anything, or if you're presented with no choice, and when it comes to single combat, there's always a choice, particularly against an enemy who has dedicated their equipment and training to countering your preferred means of combat.

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  • $\begingroup$ True. I mean if they aren't willing to play fair why should I? $\endgroup$
    – Masakan
    Commented Jan 17 at 0:40
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The environment

A magically thrown rock is still a rock moving at high speed.

A fireball setting the whole forest alight will still burn him to death.

The summoned tidalwave will still wash him out to sea.

Summoning a herd of real elephants will still trample him to death.

Even sitting on your magic carpet out of reach dropping Molotov cocktails on his head would work.

Basically, magical energy won't affect them but once that energy is transformed into another type of energy, they're fair game. Magic energy to kinetic energy. Magic energy to thermal energy. Magic energy to potential energy.

The wizards will still win every time.

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