Imagine what the effect of a wizard would be in a large scale battle of swords and spears. The result depends on what that wizard can do, so here are the rules for my world and the battles of the Ceniac Island.
- Battle Wizards are rare, so at most you have 1 or 2 per side.
- Their power (think of it as mana) is limited, so the most senior wizards can throw fire maybe twice
- The extent of the flame varies a lot. The generals will assume a senior fire wizard can throw a flame a hundred strides long (100 yards), and a couple of strides wide, and it lasts two to three seconds.
So, given those rules, how much of advantage is a fire wizard? What kind of defenses would generals use to counter a fire wizard?
- A wizard is a valuable resource, so he/she/they need to be protected. In one the battles in “They Came By Night” (TCBN), the wizard Amsten is only brought into battle when victory is almost complete. He is hidden behind a wall of shields until the last moment when he throws his fire to destroy the last remnants of the defenders.
- Once the wizard’s position is revealed then every archer will try to take it out, so after the wizard’s power is spent for the day, they are prone and are quickly ushered away.
- Imagine the effect on moral if a wizard is killed. It could be enough to cause a rout.
- If a fire wizard is present then fire resistant shields would be brought forward. These shields will be large thick and insulated with layers of leather. Every archer will be aiming for the wizard while the fire is pouring against the fire shields.
- How many people could die from the fire. Worst case, it could be hundreds. But on a battlefield with tens of thousands, would it be a deciding factor?
- In my battles the generals are used to wizards being a distraction rather than a deciding factor, but they know there are situations where the wizard can be critical. When the battle is confined to a small area, and the wizard is unexpected then the effect could be devastating.
The Ceniac island is also home to wizards that do not sling fire. Not much is mentioned of these other wizards in book 1, but they are a big factor in book 2… but no spoilers.