Official Restrictions on the Use of Magic
Official Restrictions on the Use of Magic:
The origin of Felusian laws regarding magical restriction comes from the time before the Tyrant and the Regency, in what could be considered the middle period of the old Empire. These rules came about as those who could wield magic became more commonplace.
The primary worry among the majority non-magical population was originally economic in nature. Magic users were seen to hold unfair advantages, being able to read and control minds, create illusions, and could use an unstated threat of sinister force to give them leverage. Just as much a product of paranoia as from actual abuses, these rules tended to be more localized in nature, and many times the local population would take matters into their own hands.
Being that the actual offenders were few and far between, there didn’t seem to be systemic enough of a problem to warrant creating sweeping laws against magic use. Also, any Empire-wide law would make many activities of the Emperor’s Royal Magistrum, and the advantages the Emperor enjoyed through them, illegal. The Magistrum was allowed to self-police through oath to the Emperor, and history does bear out that for a time, it was a system that did work sufficiently to curb abuses.
That is, until mages secretly sympathetic to the Ilum became the majority in the Magistrum, eventually facilitating the Tyrant’s rise to power.
During the time of the Tyrant, magic became the rule of law, with the wizards of the Ilum dominating the ruling caste. No amount of cruelty or depravity was considered too excessive in order to preserve their place of power. Their only limiting consideration was the worry that exercising too much brutality might disrupt efficiency, and create a pesky rebellion among the general population.
Still, the Ilum were never content unless they were pushing the boundaries of their abilities. As the sanity of the Tyrant continued to decline, combined with his growing seclusion as he focused on achieving what he believed would be supreme power, he became too distracted to rein in his subordinates. Eventually their abuses became so widespread and horrific, that risking rebellion became the only remaining option for the subjugated population.
The War of Restoration featured the use of magic uninhibited by any code or convention. Armies were decimated, cities laid to waste, in a theater of bloodshed on a scale not seen before or since. Though outnumbered, the Tyrant’s armies held the offensive, possessing more mages numerically. The forces of the nobles in rebellion did have one notable advantage; the healing and protective magics of the underground Holy Orders. The war became a bloody game of attrition, its cost in lives on the side of the rebellion being quite high. The end of the war only came when the Tyrant himself was destroyed, apparently a victim of his own unstable magic.
Following the fall of the Tyrant, the survivors were deeply distrustful of arcane magic. The brutality of the Ilum convinced people that its practice, no matter how benign at first, would inevitably lead to corruption and unspeakable evils. The mages that sided with the rebellion, ones that probably played a crucial role in the rebellion’s eventual victory, were now seen by many as possible threats that the Eimar might be better off without.
Many within the nobility were more pragmatic. They saw the need for the arcane arts, and the pursuit of academic knowledge its practitioners promoted, to be preserved. Otherwise, they envisioned the Eimar plunging back into a dark age. A compromise was met between the nobility, the Holy Orders, and the mages themselves, which would hopefully guarantee that magic would not usurp the rule of the non-magic using majority again.
As the laws of the old Empire were re-adapted and altered to fit the new Hegemony, laws codifying the limits of magic use were drafted, and installed as an integral part of them. The recent memory of the Tyrant tended to promote more rigorous enforcement of the codes in the first few decades, and became an integrated cultural norm by the time the fears and memories of the War of Restoration had faded.
Even during the Felusian war, there was a sizable minority that opposed Regent Sellor’s motion to suspend the restrictions, considering it a highly irregular move. To the majority, and to most Regency Mages, the codes were only outdated restrictions from a time long past.
Within two years of the removal of the ‘Royal Restrictions on the Use of Magic in War’, the Eimar had experienced exoplanal incursions and the scourge of the Nether.
The Felusian War broke the nobility, and destroyed the old order created by the victors of the War of Restoration 300 years earlier. With the collapse of organized government in Felusia, the Holy Orders became the only respected central authority remaining in Felusia. Later, the Holy Order’s leading role in the Hordewars would cement their place as the most influential faction on the Airle.
As the fears of Orcs subsided, an anti-mage sentiment began to reemerge that needed to be dealt with. This time, the Holy Orders would be free to unilaterally determine the laws that would keep magical use in check.
The Magical Codes:
In part to placate the population, and in part to help reinforce their own position of power, the rules created by the Holy Orders were drafted to be quite restrictive. However, an effort was made to enlist mages as advisors, to ensure that at least a modicum of dialogue and cooperation would be officially recorded. The mages knew the score, and the still volatile environment of the time dictated to them that compliance was their best chance at survival. In some cases, perhaps through guilt or rationalization, mages were completely supportive of the stringent restrictions enforced by the Holy Orders.
The codes still exist today, virtually unchanged and unchallenged officially, though Order oversight of the restrictions has been supplanted to an extent by the self-policing of the various academies. Through mages academies, these rules become a major subject of study for each student, requiring near perfect scores in testing for advancement and final certification. In most of the Airle, the only mages that are allowed to practice the arcane arts are certified Academy mages, who also wear specially made bands to prove their status.
The rules come in sections, outlining the ‘Restrictions on the Use of Magic in War’, ‘Peace’, and ‘Commerce’. Telis’ouvania and the Japsen Free Coast have their own complex methods of self-regulation which usually meets the nominal requirements of the codes.
Inquisitors of the Holy Orders, primarily the Cifae branch in Dulzport, serve as enforcers of the code. These Inquisitors are given sweeping authority to capture, arrest, or kill mages breaking the code, regardless of where the mage is found. Even though the nature of the violation usually tempers the Inquisitors actions, it serves as no guarantee that lethal force will not be used in response to a transgression. Within areas holding to the code, this enforcement is assisted by Academy Mages as well.
The Free Towns of the Mouth does not possess any organized central code of law, and has thus become somewhat of a haven for illegal mages. The Prusci Consortium and the Free Settlements of Southcoast also have no laws governing the mages, but usually do not interfere in the actions of the Holy Orders if they enforce the codes within their borders.
‘Restrictions on the Use of Magic in War’:
Based on the earlier ‘Royal Restrictions’, its basic purpose is to keep destructive magic from being used in a conflict between nations who also respect the restrictions. There were two major motivations behind the original creation of these restrictions.
-To keep the destructive use of magic from escalating to devastating levels.
-To keep the waging of war mainly the under the control of the ones who had the reasons to fight, and were most affected by it, the non-magical majority.
Most of the code boils down to this rule: “Mages are not to use offensive arcane magic, in declared wars between states which adhere to the code either by oath or by practice.”
This code prevents all offensive magics, or magics which may cause the death of enemies through ‘unnatural’ means. The obvious restrictions would make illegal things like fireballs, shocking grasps, or the Nether. However, it also includes passive applications. For example, there could be a conventional explosive mine left in a field of battle. Using telekinesis or some other remote magical means of activating the trigger would be considered illegal. Casting spells on an allies’ weapon which would trigger and damage an enemy is also not allowed.
Mages are allowed to take part in combat in a limited fashion. They must be in the field of battle, and can only cast defensive or passive spells. Shielding spells would be acceptable (though damaging shielding spells would not be), as well as spells which might enhance the natural abilities of their allies. Magically enchanted weaponry is also acceptable, unless they are used to cast spell-like abilities.
Otherwise, a mage on the field of battle is limited to using only generally conventional weapons and means for offensive action.
Conversely, the code does address protections for non-combatant mages. If a mage is not on the field of battle, and not engaged in aiding any active combatants, their use of magic would be governed by the more liberal ‘Restrictions on the Use of Magic in Peace’. Thus, a mage could use more potent magics if they were protecting wounded soldiers removed from the field of battle, and being attended to by a neutral Holy Order hospitaller unit.
It is no accident that the code subtly attempts to convince mages from avoiding the battlefield altogether except in the most desperate of circumstances. This lack of involvement in conflicts had led to the present cultural conception among the ruling powers of the Airle that Academy mages as a ‘loyal but neutral’ faction, not expected to work against the nation they reside in, but also not to get heavily involved in the conflicts of the nation either. This privileged status is one the Academies work hard to preserve.
‘Restrictions on the Use of Magic in Peace’
Though rules governing magical use in ‘peacetime’ have been around for millennia, the one created by the Holy Orders during the colonization of the Airle is the first universal code ever implemented. The Holy Orders saw a need for a common code to calm the fears of the citizens of the Airle, by giving them a measure of protection and equal footing with magic users in day to day affairs. In practice, this protection actually works both ways. In the present day, a mages power is more respected than feared, as restraint is the cultural norm, and incidents involving abuse of powers are far and few between. An Academy Certification denotes that they have made an oath to comply with the law.
The use of magic ‘in peace’ is intended to mean ‘in normal discourse’. This code allows for a magic user to use more potent magics, though still only for the purpose of protection and self-defense. Also, if the mage is forced to use offensive magics, they are to only to use the force necessary for the act of protection, as to minimize any collateral damage that may occur. Although any unprovoked aggressive acts, magical or not, are usually deemed illegal, the use of magic in such a situation would invoke the wrath of the Inquisitors if reported, and grizzly fates that a mage would probably want to avoid.
There are also provisions which allow the use of offensive magics for constructive purposes, education, upkeep of personal proficiency, and even sparring and dueling between mages or willing parties. These rules also attempt to reduce the collateral damage to unwilling or unknowing bystanders. Collateral damage occurring at mage academies “during normal study” is one exception.
The code also outlines stiff penalties for attacking Academy Mages without just cause, providing those attacked act within strict compliance with the code. Bias against mages has mostly disappeared from its former height right after the Felusian War. Travist Cale’s role in helping defeat the Incursion of 609 AT single-handedly rehabilitated the image of mages in many people’s minds, to the point where they willingly and popularly appointed one as their leader. Fear and mistrust of mages still does exist, and there are even radical sects violently opposed to all magic use. These groups are responsible for occasional acts of premeditated murder against mages. Though an uncommon occurrence, the Holy Order’s Inquisitorial branch investigates the murder of any mage, in an attempt to determine if it was motivated by their status as a magic user.
‘Restrictions on the Use of Magic in Commerce’
This code was created to cover all the non-combat related infractions, to ensure that the commerce and economy of the states of the Airle would not fall under the domination of a cartel of arcane magic users. The code forbids the use of mind reading and mind control spells during any sale or trade, though passive appearance altering spell use is allowed. Using magical powers to enhance a work force, to aid in construction, or for other industrious purposes is fully legal. Also, the use of mind-control spells on slaves or indentured servants is fully authorized in the places where slavery is legal.
Though not implied by the code’s title, it also outlines the proper and improper use of magic during official negotiations of any sort, such as treaties or surrenders. Mages are also prohibited from magically affecting the votes of councils or assemblies, swaying officials through advisement, or in attempts to evade lawful prosecution.
The code does not disallow mages from holding political office or titles of nobility, notable examples being the Cale family of Westhold, and the Holy Order’s toleration of Mage Advisors of the Jaspen Free Coast. However, in practice most mages avoid political office entirely, understanding that there will always be people who assume the temptation to use their powers illegally is impossible to overcome. Usually, their call to service comes in the form of a commission from a noble house or government, which results from a lengthy review process. Initially, the function of a house mage is administrative and protective, though if considered trustworthy, they commonly serve in an advisory role.
Application of the code to those besides Academy Mages:
Any person who can use magic is bound by the same code. This code does not cover the legality of who is using the magic in the first place, which falls more under the Heretical codes (inherent magic use being illegal, trained use tolerated, etc.).
These codes do not apply directly to members of the Holy Orders who are considered ‘in good standing’. However, members of the Holy Orders are trained to use their divine powers with similar restrictions and restraint as the codes dictate. This has led to the culture of the combatant branches of the Holy Orders to hold the martial skills of their aspirants in equal importance to their magical training.
Members of the Holy Orders are allowed to use mind reading or mind affecting techniques with greater latitude with matters deemed critical to the defense of the people of the Airle. This includes, in Holy Order’s definition, enforcing magical restrictions and combating heresy. The most feared, if not visible, example of this policy is represented in the form of the Inquisitorial branches of the Holy Orders.
Application of the code to non-compliant combatants:
Any state, when attacked by another state which does not demonstrate respect for the code, is free to use its own magical resources against them. Currently, no Felusian nation in the Airle would be willing to risk the wrath that would be incurred by engaging in total war with another nation, or at minimum being labeled as ‘not in good standing’ by the Holy Orders. Even the Jaspen Free Coast and Telis’ouvania, probably the predominant magic-using states on the Airle, restrained from using its formidable offensive magics in the Settlement Wars. Westhold’s conditions for ending the conflict were quite reasonable, probably in deference to the ‘honorable’ conduct of war by their opponents.
The forces of the Hordes, in their unofficial skirmishes with Easthold patrols, have shown no effort to restrain their magical users. If war was to break out between the Orcs and Felusian Airle, it would probably feature unrestricted magical use.