In my world a Magic High Nation is fighting against high tech level Nation about the same level as one of the nations in our world. I'm trying to decide what sort of magical creatures can replace a modern air force and make the magic side able to stand up to Modern military weapons.

Note: The conflict will be mainly a guerrilla war in forested, mountainous environment with some spill over into the cities.

As a guerrilla general fighting for the magic side, I can only afford to choose two magical artifacts each of which will give me power over one of the two magical creatures below.

Which combination of creatures would be most effective in closing the gap against a nation with a modern air force?

List of magical creatures available:

  1. Dragons

    • Size: equal to that of a large dinosaur.

    • Speed: dragons use magic to help them fly and can move very quickly through the air about 1/2 as fast as your average jet plane.

    • Firepower: Dragons use elemental magic to breath fire, elemental fire can easily melt stone and steel.

    • Powers: Dragon can go into hibernation when not in use so you don't need to keep feeding it.

    • Intelligence: A little lower than that of a human.

  2. Griffins

    • Size: Somewhere between a horse and an elephant.

    • Speed: Magic assisted and almost as fast as a jet plane.

    • Powers: Lion level strength, bite that will transform victim into a griffon on the next full moon. The effect is permanent.

    • Firepower: Sharp teeth and claws

    • Intelligence: slightly below human

  3. Phoenix

    • Size: Three meter wing span.

    • Powers: can turn into a fire elemental during the day.

    • Speed: as fast as a regular fighter jet.

    • Firepower: Elemental fire on the same level as dragons.

    • Intelligence: bird level by night, greater than human by day.

  4. Gargoyles:

    • Powers: Made of stone, but only active at night must remain unmoving for the day.

    • Speed: magic assisted and about 1/4 as fast as your average jet plane.

    • Size: twelve feet tall when standing up straight.

    • Intelligence: equal to that of a human.

  5. Unicorn

    • Powers: Provides healing for its rider and short range teleports but is unable to directly hurt a living creature.

    • Intelligence: Beyond human.

    • Speed: magical assisted and slightly faster than a jet plane.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ May wanna change the title to "guerilla war" too. Unless you plan on King Kong battles. $\endgroup$
    – Lu22
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanMcClure Are you sure about unicorns? Normally they don't have wings. Could you mean Pegasus/Pegasi? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexandervonWernherr, modern unicorns can fly for some reason, not sure when it happened $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 8:15
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    $\begingroup$ Another issue. If these creatures are intelligent, and some of which are beyond human's intelligence. Why would they actually participate in a battle between humans? Or does the opposing faction pose a credible threat to these creature to coax them into siding with the humans fighting them? $\endgroup$
    – Hyfnae
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 10:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You also may want to specify what's the level of commitment of the modern nation. As in, the amount of resources (material and human) sent, the time frame and the attitude. $\endgroup$
    – Faerindel
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 11:01

11 Answers 11


I'm going to say right idea, but wrong creatures.

Modern warfare by high tech military forces is based extensively on the identification of targets and the precise application of force. You can see how low tech armies and insurgencies deal with this just by looking at the news.

The best way to prevent yourself from being splattered all over the countryside is simply by not being visible to the sensors of the allied forces. Insurgents typically hide in jungles, or nowadays in the urban jungle, where separating them from the civilian population is difficult. Traditional high tech devices like thermal imagery and laser guided bombs are not affected in any physical way, but the commander cannot accurately determine if he has the correct target, or even if he does, must balance the ability to destroy the target with collateral damage to the civilian population and infrastructure.

Large creatures like dragons, griffons and even unicorns are large and distinctive enough that they will be rapidly identified, even in dense urban environments, and can be targeted by snipers or precision munitions, depending on the circumstances.

Only the Fey people or shapeshifters will be able to successfully blend into the civilian populations, and they will be able to successfully evade the precision weapons, high tech surveillance systems and even (to a certain extent) human intelligence services tasked to find them.

  • $\begingroup$ you have a good point $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ Werewolves. Ordinary civilians at day, but at fullmoon they go and attack checkpoints, and make the soldiers into fellow werewolves. $\endgroup$
    – b.Lorenz
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ I was going to mention Fey but you beat me to it. Anything small and magical would work. Being able to turn invisible is always a plus. $\endgroup$
    – ShadoCat
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 23:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Ghosts. Incorporeal make them really hard for a modern army to stop $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 23:16

Puppies, Unicorns and Griffins

Note that this will only work once, but that might just be enough

It's well known that soldiers in the field are suckers for orphaned puppies so we're going to use this against them. The griffin bite is apparently non-species specific, so get your griffin to give a little nip to a puppy (or the whole litter), then the unicorn heals the puppy so no damage shows. Leave the entire litter of puppies somewhere sheltered near the enemy base and wait for them to be found and adopted by a patrol.

Come the next full moon, you have surprise griffins in their base, happily chomping away on their sleeping soldiers. Time your frontal assault with this event.

  • $\begingroup$ I like this trojan horse puppies approach. Very sneaky. $\endgroup$
    – Durandal
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ You are scary... How about having the Griffins nipping small urban scavengers ? After a month of hard work, the fateful night where half the rats, stray cats, pigeons and the like in your enemy's capitol will wake up as Griffins to have fun. $\endgroup$
    – Seretba
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 13:47

Going through your list, the only thing that is as fast or faster than a jet is the unicorn and it can't even do any damage.

Depending on your how your world works, raising a dragon or phoenix should take a long time so I'd imagine that you wouldn't have too many of them. Though their fire power seems top notch their speed would be a problem as the jets could kite them and I imagine that missiles and bullets would travel farther than their fire attacks.

Gargoyles would be even worse as their speed is terrible, they would be used as an anti personal force that sneaks in under cover of night to kill troops and then flees.

If I had to pick a force it would be griffons and unicorns (can't believe i said that). I'd use the griffons to turn all captured enemy soldiers and use the artifact to control them, there by making a massive overwhelming force. I'd then use the unicorns to heal the griffon swarm as best as they can. Only hope would be to fight a battle of attrition.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not quite, unicorns can't directly injure people, that doesn't mean they can't teleport at, poke holes in, and destroy the jets with people in them, their plunge to the ground and subsequent death is merely a technicality. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 16:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Ash That's cheating. It would be like me firing a gun at you and saying "I didn't hurt you, the bullet hurt you!" $\endgroup$
    – NomadMaker
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 15:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @NomadMaker To paraphrase new Spock " I embrace technicality". $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 14:52

Since this is about guerilla tactics and not open combat, this is not about what works best against the enemy's aircraft. Worst case scenario the attacking force is discovered and enemy jets are scrambled - the attacking force then has to escape.

The Gargoyles and Unicorns are your best bet.

Gargoyles are great for night raids on enemy positions, and the unicorns (I assume OP means teleport instead of "heliports") can make for quick in and out surgical strikes, before escaping at speed, healing to keep casualties to a minimum. (They only serve as transport for a team of soldiers).

If the enemy mobilizes during a raid the unicorns will be able to get the team out to safety, read to raid another day.


With no way to really compete with modern aircraft I would use dragons and gargoyles. Once the planes are in the air you have to seek cover rather than fight s losing battle. Using the cover of night you can blitz attack the enemy with the dragon and gargoyle force to hopefully cripple whatever aircraft you can find before the planes can launch.



Destroy the enemy completely, by exhausting and terrorizing the humans. Gargoyles provide protection. Griffins try to create griffon army by biting.


Gargoyles can be dispersed through the forest. They look like stones during the day, so they can be sneakily everywhere. The humans must destroy either every stone or be really scared.

During nights the gargoyles provide tank like protection for griffins. The animals that move at speeds comparable to jets (I think that this is pretty unplausible) are so fast, that they can easily reach the enemy camps. At the camps it is hard to destroy gargoyles, as you would need explosives. Griffins then come and bite as many humans as possible. The humans will then need to execute the victims, which has a huge effect on their morale.

When it's close to full moon, they can also capture bitten humans to get more griffons to be used in attacks.


First of all, you mean a Pegasus. A Unicorn cant fly and it will never fight. I would choose Dragons. I Think that they cannot be harmed by machinegun fire and maybe they are movable enough to avoid air-air-missiles. Dragonfire will be deadly to planes and other war machines, including tanks. And according to Terry Pratchett, the can travel at sonic speed by blasing dragonfire under their belly.

  • $\begingroup$ According to the thought exercise. 1. Dragons. Size: equal to that of a large dinosaur. Speed: dragons use magic to help then fly and can move very quickly through the air about 1/2 as fast as your average jet plane. They are huge so agility should be low and they are half a jets speed. $\endgroup$
    – Snowlockk
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 14:27

Griffons and unicorns are probably one of your best bets.

What you want to do is get the griffons to bite as many enemy combatants, or neutral parties as possible. The limitation of the predictable full moon means that quarantining a griffon plague is far easier- unless you can bite and spread the gift before you transform.

One viable tactic might be to create clinics that heal people with unicorns, but ensure that everyone is passed out or entirely sedated the entire time. Then, before you heal them, have the griffons bite them. If the griffons don't need to be told that they're on your side, this might prove to be highly effective.

If you are unable to sedate them, just say that the healing process hurts a lot, to convince them the bite is a normal part of it, and keep them blinding for similar made up reasons.

Direct force isn't what you want to get at here, so being creative with the unicorns and griffons is probably one of the best approaches.


There really aren't many good choices there. Modern military strategy depends on the precise application of force, and an important part of that is identifying targets. Dragons, griffins, phoenixes and to an extent unicorns don't really hide that well, and a phoenix would light up every sensor within a kilometre (given that it's a flaming bird with a 3 meter wingspan). If you have to choose, gargoyles are your best bet. They can hide under the jungle canopy, they're stone, so there's no heat signature, and although they're a bit large, they could evade the military well enough, I believe, assuming that they are careful (i.e. if one pretends to be a rock it had better not move until it's sure it isn't seen and it had better go back to the exact same spot in the daytime).


The three which sprang to mind before I read the list were all undead related.

Vampires for their sagacity and ability to infiltrate buildings. They can also use mind control allowing them to turn enemy personnel into their pawns.

Ghosts for recon.

Zombies for attacking enemy supply lines and bases. They can walk under water, require no supplies, can be used similar to mines in laying a defensive perimeter. Lay them just below the surface where they can rise once the enemy walks over them. They could even be fitted with explosives or poisonous gas for added effect.

From those listed I'd choose phoenixes and gargoyles.

Phoenixes are fast and can burn supply columns and patrols. Assuming they're classic phoenixes then if killed they produce an egg to replace the creature lost. The danger there is that the enemy could get the egg and then use these creatures against your own forces.

Gargoyles are night fighters. Deadly hunters at night, during the day they're undetectable as they appear as rock. Con is that the naked eye would spot them and the enemy would take a policy of destroying every statue it found. Best bet during the day would be hiding them in a building or cave, lying flat perhaps to make their identification more difficult.

  • $\begingroup$ Just from the list given. Gargoyles seem like the least powerful out of all of them. Griffins are better in every single way. $\endgroup$
    – Muuski
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Muuski The point was guerrilla warfare which makes a night fighting creature capable of disappearing during the day better than a much larger creature that is active during the day. Griffins are too big and rely on flight making them visible. Also the Griffin's bite makes your enemies into super soldiers once a month, how does that help? $\endgroup$
    – Daniel
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 4:34
  • $\begingroup$ I read it as their bite converts enemies to your army which means griffins are basically human intelligent zombies that fly at speeds comparable to jet planes. They could demolish a ground population easily. Also, just because griffins are "day creatures" does not mean they can't operate at night. Humans do after all. However, gargoyles are both slower, and incapable of operating or defending themselves half the time. $\endgroup$
    – Muuski
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 17:31

Given that you haven't specified the amount of protection that any of your creatures have I'm going to assume the highest level of armour I've ever seen on a dragon in a fantasy setting; 18 inchs of natural scales that are "as hard as steel" and wearing, and flying in, articulated full plate armour that "makes their natural armour seem a pale thing by comparison" and go with dragons, dragons and a side order of dragons. Very few weapons in our modern arsenal stand a chance of damaging what is effectively a flying titanosaur wearing a nuclear hardened bunker and by the time the ones that can are deployed the damage will be effectively total.

  • $\begingroup$ Indulging in a bit of Threadromancy, are we? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @MorrisTheCat Yeah it popped as a "similar" on a question I'm working on posting, which will have to wait until my tomorrow, and I just couldn't resist, especially with that big loophole dying to be exploited. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure your dragon is as impervious as you're assuming. While the armor in question would certainly prevent thermal and penetrative trauma, it would not protect the dragon from the shock waves caused by high-yeild explosions in close proximity. I think you're also neglecting to take into account the vulnerability of the dragon's wings, which aren't armored at all. While low-velocity projectiles a dragon might face in a midevil setting aren't a threat, the high-explosive fragmentation warheads in missiles as well as the high-velocity anti-aircraft rounds would shred wings pretty quickly. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ @MorrisTheCat Yeah I'm not sure about the exact effects of high explosives, it was a high medieval fantasy setting. Ah these dragons only use magic assisted flight, they have to use their wings as something other than extra armour/weapons, that will be a problem. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ Supersonic shock waves are no joke when they're travelling through your body. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blast_injury $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 17:08

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