The Cobwebbed Forest

Rank Equivalence in Dragon Warriors

Define Combatant

Additional Combat Flags (Click to Reveal)


Rank Equivalence is one of the more mysterious numbers in Dragon Warriors - to what are we suggesting equivalence with this number? An equivalently ranked knight, assassin, sorcerer, or some other profession? And doesn't armour make a bigger difference to combat survivability than one or two paltry ranks? What about two otherwise equivalent heroes with wildly different Strength or Reflexes scores?

This application cannot take all of the guesswork out of calculating rank equivalence - so many factors are at play - but it can pit an enemy with combat characteristics you enter in the above form against an average knight or barbarian of each rank hundreds of times to gauge the rank equivalence of that enemy.

Equivalent to What?

For the purposes of the simulated combats, this application takes an uninjured completely average knight wearing plate armour (AF 5), wielding a sword (d8, 4), and carrying a shield and an uninjured completely average barbarian wearing chain armour (AF 4) and wielding a battleaxe (d6, 4).

If the hero triumphs over his enemy 50% or more of the simulated combats, that is indicated as the rank equivalence of that enemy (indicated in bold in the summary results table).

Special Cases

This application takes no account of possible special abilities of creatures, such spellcasting ability, ranged combat, etc., just as it doesn't take account of the special abilities of the hero (for example, skills of the mighty, ranged weapons, and so on). One could further argue that there is no such thing as an "average" knight or barbarian above a certain rank, but this is just one of the (many) limitations of an application like this.

Multiple Opponents

A first rank knight, a peasant, and a rat all have a rank equivalence of 1. However, the first rank knight will easily despatch the peasant and the rat. So how many rats are equivalent to a first rank knight?

This application allows you to specify a group of creatures to determine how a group of enemies may fare against the hero. To represent multiple creatures, this application takes some shortcuts:


Some creatures inject poison with each attack and the strength of this poison can be indicated in the form at the top of this page. Note that this is only for per-attack poison, not one-off poison-based attacks that may be caused, for example, by approaching the enemy.

For the purposes of resisting poison, the hero is assumed to have a strength score of 12.

I am not a fan of deadly poisons, so by default poisons only cause damage over time if the strength check is failed (damage suffered each round is indicated by the strength of the poison on page 122 of the main rulebook) or no damage if the strength check succeeds. However, selecting the 'Deadly Poisons' flag will mean a single failed poison check will kill the hero and damage per round if he does succeed, as per the canon rules.


Initiative order comes into play if both the hero and the enemy die during the same combat round - the default initiative order is that the knight strikes first and would therefore consider that combat a win. However, giving the enemy initiative would mean any combat round in which both hero and enemy died would instead be counted as a loss. Important for creatures like the Fang Warrior that will always strike first!

Magic Items

According to the Weapons and Equipment Table on page 133 of the main rulebook, the average knight will have magical arms and armour from rank 8 upwards, and a barbarian will have a magical weapon from rank 8 and magical armour from rank 10. However, in the interests of a more reasonable distribution of magical items, it is assumed that magical items will be received at one, two, or three ranks above when a Mystic is able to prepare them, depending on whether it is a +1, +2, or +3 item. That is, +1 items at 5th rank, +2 items at 8th rank and +3 items at 12th rank. Knights gain magical shields one rank after they receive a magical weapon of the same magical strength and barbarians receive magical armour one rank behind a knight.

An enemy that can only be injured by magical weapons will mean the hero is doing zero damage if they have not yet achieved a rank at which they have a magical item.

When a hero obtains a magical item, all the commensurate bonuses to his combat scores are included in the combat simulation.


If the enemy carries a shield, tick the appropriate flag and 1 in 6 of the hero's otherwise successful hits will be blocked.