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Battle Magic, Part 2 of 2

There are two aspects to battle logistics. The first is getting to and from a battle site, making sure the army has what is needed and leaves nothing behind. The second is the movement of men and supplies during an actual engagement. Both involve communications, transport, and construction.

Engineers of every type—though mostly dwarves and elves—are found engaged in this activity. In early centuries, these were hardly more than ordinary people with certain abilities, employed ad hoc rather than as permanent professionals. Roads, bridges, camps, points of production (arms and armor), siegecraft, all required specialized skills and experience.

Smiths, for armor and weaponry, but also for a thousand ordinary items, and a hundred magical ones. Artisans generally: carpenters, coopers, and so on. Any of these can have a magical aspect, especially with enchantments.

Transport could include magical animals, portals, and other. Elves were adept with animals generally and with magical animals particularly.

Pixies are attracted to armies, even down to modern times. They’re a pest, sometimes bad enough to require specialists to handle them, known colloquially as pixie patrols.

Leaving aside diplomatic intelligence, which is its own realm, we look here at battlefield intelligence. The enemy’s numbers, movements, plans, and resources. Spycraft is the means by which such intelligence is gathered and transmitted.

The crux of spycraft is to put a man inside. He is hidden, or else he poses as one of the enmy. He observes. He might steal objects (reports, plans, artifacts). And he must report in a timely—and secret—manner. This could be as simple as sneaking back to report in person, but could also be some magical means: a portal, crystal ball, magic pigeon. The spy might be single-purpose, sent to learn something specific and return; or, he might be permanently embedded or stationed. [3 - for example, the observing stations during the Great War]

The spy might need special qualifications. Experience in estimating numbers, ability to recognize magic weapons and preparations, and of course skill in concealment and duplicity and silent combat. Unless some form of telepathy is involved, or an invisibility spell, none of this requires a mage, but only requires someone familiar with magical aspects of warfare. A mage who also had these skills and knowledge might be far more useful in another, less risky service. But maybe you could have a good spy—a soldier first—then send him to a kind of spy training. Give him magical tools if he has no natural abilities. An experienced man could become a sort of spymaster. He has survived. He knows what is needed.

All this naturally implies counter-measures, to stop spies, to mislead them, and to capture them.

Historical Examples

To be provided at a later time. When I think of them!

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