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“It is a horrible fate we find for ourselves when we are beset from three sides by the walking dead and the fourth side by our living gods.”
–Varyon, the last Arch-Mage, 47 AA, at his execution.
Magic users have little freedom in this new world. Sorcerers, always rare, have all but vanished. Wizards, those who seek the magical arts through learning, have only three choices open to them. Become slaves to the Order of the White Cloth, become renegade and die by their hands along with all of those you love, or hide the powers of magic deeply and vanish into a solitary existence.
With the decree of 45 AA, the Order of the White Cloth effectively outlawed the use of magic unless under their direct license. The magical colleges which had risen to such status in the past had dwindled and now found themselves cast out of society. Individual sorcerers and wizards could either make themselves known to the Order and practice their arts under the Order’s suffrage or face dire consequences.
Shortly after the decree of 45 AA the order declared that they would withdraw their protection from any communities harboring unlicensed magic users. Not only would those communities be cut of from news of the world provided by Order couriers, but the Order’s clerics in residence would be withdrawn. Even many small communities relied on their local Order priest for healing, and more importantly the ability to turn or outright destroy the undead that would daily besiege them.
As the game opens 55 years later this has had a definite effect on human culture and their views of magic users. They are viewed at best with suspicion as both wielders of the arcane arts and puppets of the Order of the White Cloth. At worst, they are viewed as anathema if unlicensed. A practicing magic user who has not reported themselves to the Order and is found (and they are often found) brings death not only on themselves but those around them. The Order’s will first send a team to arrest or kill the magic user. Once this act is accomplished, that team will escort any members of the Order out of that settlement for a set amount of time. A day, a week – in severe cases, for a decade, leaving the settlement essentially without a magical means to destroy and repel the undead.
With this cause and effect relationship firmly entrenched in society, many people take it on themselves to report anyone even suspected of being a magic user or having magical abilities. False reports are common and usually politically motivated or motivated by revenge. The Order takes some precautions but generally have a “arrest first, ask questions under the knife later” policy.
The Order of the White Cloth has created its own order of mages, known as the White Magi. Often, they are known as ‘pet mages’. They are tightly governed by the Order and are told what magical arts they may research and use, where to use them and to what end. Mostly they order uses them as tertiary soldiers in the fight against the undead, as enablers and creators of magical items and potions and lastly as a research arm. Within the White Magi there is a strict hierarchy, with the head of local White Magi groups often filling the dual role as magic user and ordained priest in the Order.
White Magi are required to be registered with the Order, to wear at all times a white gold forged bracelet with their registration credentials stamped in to it along with the Order’s seal, and to swear an oath of obedience and fealty to both the Order as a whole and their direct superior. White Magi are required to wear white robes as a symbol of their fealty to the Order, as well.
There are known enclaves in the deep wilderness where magic users are said to practice freely – however not a lot of creedence has been given to these rumors by the Order. Either the enclaves are so far outside the realm of the Order that they simply cannot be bothered with them, or they have been investigated and the rumors found to be false. In the wilderness where mere survival is a full time occupation, the ability to study the magical arts with enough intensity to move forward in them is virtually unheard of.
Recently this anti-magic stigma has spread even to the Elves and Dwarves where the Order plays an increasingly large role in their politics. Converts from both races have been numerous and in the past decade the order has seen a number of temples built in both Elven and Dwarven enclaves. Attitudes towards magic users is shifting in both races towards the paranoia and fear that is the current norm in the human realm.
Another theory is that the Order works very hard at suppressing these rumors, true or not and the truth may not be known.
Despite this rumor control, two rumors persist. The first is that a society of ‘wild mages’, humans – probably naturally born sorcerers – has risen in the far north. Further speculation has this group associating closely with the newly powerful Orc kingdom.
The second rumor is that some part of the older Colleges of Magic, working with underground elements of the League of the Earth have resurfaced. Speculation places them somewhere in the south, most likely on one of the thousands of islands surrounding Aruneus’ southern continent. Not only are these magic users said to be freely practicing their arts without the restrictions of the Order but they are said to be working on a cure, or solution, to the undead that roam the world.
[tags]aruneus, rpg, role playing games, magic users, zombies[/tags]