Military: Armies, Soldiers, and Tactics, Oh My!

M is for Military...
M is for Military…

I’ve met a lot of people who, for some reason, think writing fantasy is all about… being a peace-loving hippie. No offense meant to any peace-loving hippies out there, I’m a borderline hippie myself, since I think environmental conservation, organic eating, and self-sustainability are very important. 

But I still know how to defend myself, and my husband and I own some items that could be considered deadly weapons. Like a bow and arrows, a machete, etc…

I’ve read very little fantasy that didn’t deal with the horrors of war in some way.

Unless your people groups are literally perfect, there will be wars. There will be crimes. There will be senseless deaths.

So how do your people deal with them?


Are there any enemies?

Why are there enemies?

  • Family feud gone very wrong?
  • Limited resources?
  • Differing opinions?

Do they keep a standing army during times of peace?

What kinds of borders would need to be defended in case of an invasion?

How technologically advanced is the military?

What types of transportation are they able to rely on?

How quickly can they respond to threats?


What is your military most well-known for?

  • Cavalry
  • Infantry
  • Scare tactics
  • Etc.

Who has something they want?

What are they willing to do to get it?

What happens when they fail?


What was the first incident that required them to defend their lives?

  • How did they deal with it?

What was their worst loss in battle?

What was their greatest victory?

When was an official military force established, if ever?

Who is allowed to join the military, who is not, and why?

To Conquer!

Since many fantasy and general speculative fiction stories deal with literal conflict, I’d also recommend knowing the basics of your command structures within the military. Feel free to steal ranks and titles from existing armies, just make sure it makes sense within your world.

Header Image: The Battle of Orsha, public domain.

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About Rebekah

Rebekah Loper writes character-driven epic fantasy featuring resilient women in trying and impossible circumstances who just want to save themselves but usually end up saving the world, often while falling in love.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (...chickens. They're chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she's not writing, she battles the Oklahoma elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.