Echoes of Heaven
The Case Against Magic
Three times in history, the use of magic has brought the Mortal Realm, the entire Mortal Realm, to the brink of destruction. These are known in the Church as the three Great Disasters. They are the Vortices, the Great Ulcer, and the Chaos Gate.
In the days after the fall of the Empire, with the near destruction of the world and the creation of the Great Fiends, Faerarch Paur the Visionary made a new decree. He stated that while magic might have once been a pure art, it has since been hopelessly corrupted by Bamon and the Nopheratus. All one had to do was look at the world. It teetered on the edge of destruction. The dead walked the earth with startling regularity and magic had just created abominations that rivaled even Bamon in power. Obviously, magic was no longer holy.
Paur then decreed that only magic of directly Divine origin, that is those cast by the Church, were still divine. While the Mortal Realm was Divine in origin, it was no longer Divine in practice, and its corruption, its worldliness, and its insidious evil had distorted the magicks attached to it.
Thus were the first Witch Laws created.
For the most part, magic is forbidden (considered illegal and/or immoral) throughout most of the civilized world. As such, arcane spellcasters must tread carefully. As far as the Church of Angenus and the Law are concerned, there are two types of spellcasters – Church Sanctioned or Banned. To be sanctioned, a spellcaster must submit their spellbooks for annual review by the Church to ensure they contain no “evil” magic (a subjective term defined by the Inquisitor’s personal opinions). Additionally, the spellcaster must swear under Zone of Truth (or similar discernment spell) that they have provided all their books and scrolls for review and that they are not hiding anything. If a spellcaster is caught with an “evil” spell, the Inquisitor has a variety of options ranging from destruction of that spell (tearing out the page and burning it – usually the punishment if this is the spellcaster’s first known offense) to confiscation of all property. If the spellcaster is determined to have not provided all spells, the Inquisitor has the right to imprison or potentially even execute under the Witch Laws.
Since submission of actual spellbooks are required for sanctioning, this poses a problem for spontaneous casters. In general Wizards make up the vast majority of Sanctioned spellcasters although other classes have alternatives (see the Classes Wiki for more information).
It is important to note that the negative views of magic are held primarily by the Church of Angenus. Non-Human churches, Atavistic churches and Pagans tend to be much more open-minded (to varying degrees). However, since The Faithful (followers of the Church of Angenus) make up over 55% of the population in the civilized world (over 70% of the human population), this is a safe generalization.