Hello there. I’ve tried to ask you questions before, but they never seem to reach you. To the point: how effective would it be to fight mounted on flying beasts? Like pegasi and wyverns in Fire Emblem. Would it be practical? What weapons would be better suited for the task? Thank you for your attention!

Neither of us have any experience with the Fire Emblem series. Michi’s not much of a strategy fan, and I haven’t owned any Nintendo hardware since the original NES. Meaning this is a franchise that completely slipped by both of us.

So, if the lead in went something like, “Is X in Fire Emblem realistic?” The question probably got overlooked.

In general, when you’re looking at flying mounts, the problem that come to mind are, “how does the rider/mount attack?”

If you’re looking at something like a wyvern or dragon then you need to worry more about the flying, armored, deathlizard with a 50ft wingspan, rather than the person clinging to it.

When you’re talking about something smaller like a pegasus, griffon, (or, I guess, potentially a wyvern, depending on your setting), then it’s a little more about the rider.

The biggest question, ultimately becomes, does the rider or animal have some means of ranged attack. If the answer is yes, then they can attack from the skies, and can pose a serious threat to anyone on the ground. If they have to get into melee, then flight isn’t really that much of an advantage. They can land where they want (more or less), and enter melee from the position of their choosing, so they can be useful for flanking infantry. But, once they’re on the ground, you’re dealing with an unusually large, and possibly fragile, mount.

I’m actually going to ignore the physiological questions inherent in a pegasus; we’ve had that discussion about grafting bird wings onto people before, and it’s easy enough to wave this one off as, “magic.”

If your horse simply has wings, and those fold up around the rider, then they’ll be the first thing to take a hit, when someone goes after them, meaning they’re very likely to be injured in melee. So, once your pegasus is on the ground, it’s probably not going anywhere. Also, I don’t think you’d be able to slap barding on those, and still be able to fly. Even if it’s not injured, it will still require a lot of energy to just get back up into the air after landing, which will be more difficult to achieve while you’ve got infantry pounding on it.

Depending on your murderlizard, or even (potentially) a griffon, it might actually use its wings as an additional weapon in melee. In these cases, you’re talking about a mount that is as, or more, dangerous than the rider. This also means you’re looking at an animal that’s better suited to creating an opening so it can take off again, if it chooses. Though, it’s still going to take a lot of energy to get airborne again, so once it’s down, it’s probably going to stay on the ground for the remainder of combat.

At this point, it’s probably worth remembering that all mounts are, in fact, weapons. These are animals that have been trained for use in combat. (Depending on your setting, some mythical creatures may be closer to additional soldiers than animals, but the distinction holds.) Rather obviously, a dragon will be more dangerous than a horse, but warhorses are still weapons, and dangerous.

-Starke

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