Mage laws are enforced rules set by a governing Mage Order, local authorities, or a nation's reigning powers that restrict, oversee and punish the improper and reckless use of magic, as well as any criminal transgressions performed by mages. Every Mage Order, city-state or nation generally has its own set of rules, but generally their mage laws are on average very similar to each other, with smaller variations between them.
Mages are expected to obey the mage laws, and those who don't do so (so called Illegal Mages, commonly called Black Mages) are hunted down and punished. Most punishments depend on the severity of the crime; ranging between paying a compensation bill, relinquishing their Right of Magic, severing of hands, Magical Castration, or a death sentence.
The Sanctum Laws are mandatory in all the governing Sanctum Orders, and most of the nations where their influence is widespread strictly enforce these rules to
all practitioners of magic in their respective realms.
Every Mage Order within the Sanctum Orders have small variations of the Eight Strictures, since (despite the say of the Arch Sanctum) leaders within those Orders might disagree with either the laws themselves, or the proposed general punishments. For example, the Sumarad's punishments regarding breaking the mage laws are highly severe, whilst the Thaven Hand's are more lax.
is necessary to have the strength and knowledge to control the powers
of magic; to avoid fatal consequences to not only the wielder, but to
the world and those around the wielder, as well as to ensure a minimal
connection between the wielder and the corruption of outsider beings and energies.
Magic must not be used to manipulate for one's own personal gain and benefit.
with the balance of the world in the form of distorting time, space or
the natural order on a large scale is to be considered dangerous not
only to the wielder, but those around him or her, as well as to the
entire existence of the world itself. Similarly magic is not to be used
to control or otherwise immorally enthrall minds of sentient beings.
Magic must not be used unwisely or unnecessarily.
Magic must not be used to use energies to alter soul or being in corruptible ways.
unwilling resurrection and enthralling of the long dead, as well as the general control
over beings, spirits of undeath and necrotic energy is not permitted. Doing so
is an affront to all living things and the greatest disrespect to the
forces that maintain the afterlife.
Magic must not be used in connection with planar or otherworldly beings.
Believed to have stemmed first from ancient anti-mage practices many thousands of years ago, Magical Castration is a way of severing an individual's mana from the energies around them. Simply explained, this means that the individual can no longer replenish their mana pool, and as such they can't wield magic. An additional step of Magical Castration drains what remaining mana is left.
Magical Castration will strip a spellcaster's ability to use magic, although depending on the techniques used or on the skill of the castrating person, some small remains of mana might linger still in the targeted individual's body; though typically not enough to be a meaningful spellcaster.
Magical Castration will also remove an individual's connection to the world and universe's energies, and their soul will likely not manage to reach the afterlife when they die, due to their weakened state from having been starved of energy nourishment. There have been some studies in the effects of Magical Castration and whether it does more evil than good, but few books or papers find anything conclusive; needing more concrete evidence, or citing that Magical Castration is nevertheless for the greater good of society.
Various Mage Orders and anti-mage groups might employ Magical Castration techniques to be used as punishment for breaking mage laws; although it is typically reserved for when there is no other option, save for death. It is a form of punishment that is meant to neutralize dangerous magic wielders, or wielders who are simply too unstable to become proper, responsible users of magic.
The different techniques of Magical Castration grew in places of the world where mage presence was always high, and the techniques were especially developed in lands where mage hatred is very evident. It is believed that the Caed'Kadri was the first Mage Order to use Magical Castration, which they call Khel'Sai, meaning "Mindbreaking". The kafari Clan Castes have always been afraid and wary of magic, and so it makes sense that they would be the first to develop techniques of neutralizing those who could use magic.
By using powerful crystals the Caed'Kadri drain a person's mana from their body, then implant a smaller, inert crystal in the back of their head. This has proven to be the most effective method of blocking the flow of mana entirely, but it has a side-effect of causing incredible strain on the individual's mind. The affected individual's mind is torn in pieces, and they either go insane or become mindless husks that can only follow simple commands.
Other techniques throughout the world might do similar strains on the mind and cause mental trauma. Techniques like using spells to completely neutralize a person's emotions, implanting a painful brain beetle to absorb magical energy, or committing magically powerful runic tattoos that contain mana and energies within the body, without any way of escape or release. Magical Castration is a very painful, yet necessary evil to maintain the safety of innocents from those magic wielders who are too powerful or too dangerous to be left alone.
There are stories that tell of how individuals who were Magically Castrated managed to undo it and regain their mana, although experts say that only very mentally and magically powerful individuals could ever hope to even try to do such a thing, and there is no academically known techniques that can Uncastrate the Castrated. Those experts mostly agree that once Magical Castration is performed, there is no safe way of undoing it.
The use of magic is often terrifying and uncontrollable; causing destruction and instability to lands and the fabrics of reality alike. In the past mages would be used in war very frequently, which would inevitably end in consequences that left desired lands undesirable. As such mage laws would eventually come to include paragraphs pertaining to the use of magic during wars.
In most Mage Orders, there are written rules that forbid mages from joining the wars of non-mages, and those Mage Orders aren't allowed to wage wars themselves. These laws are especially present in the Sanctum Orders and the nations of the central continents.
The Convocation of Mages, after it lost against the first Chanter's March and became a subject to Valaís and the Anorian Sacellum, had restrictions put on them for how much magic they could use during wars; as determined by the Calastar Treaty, which limits the use of mages in wars between all Avanorian nations.
Come the forming of the Sanctum Orders after the Caldum Treaty was signed, all mages within the Sanctum Orders are now officially forbidden from joining wars (unless if entirely necessary to end them), and the use of magic to aid one side over the other is considered to be a highly treasonous offense.
At most one side is allowed to raise or hire mage advisors (for supervision) and might be allowed to recruit a dozen mages; depending on discussed terms between the warring nations, and the Arch Sanctum. And even with mages in war, their spells are closely monitored to limit the amount of destruction they might cause. These so-called warmages are specialized units that are meant to be used for last resorts and the treatment of injuries.
Priests, shamans, druids and other spellcasters also fall under these war laws to some extent, and their involvement in war is only permissible depending on the deities or orders they serve. Also, wielders of basic magic are less inclined or expected to follow laws regarding magic in war, since their magical power is less likely to cause any large-scale harm. Additionally, Freemages can't legally join wars, as they have no rights to do so, except for in very rare occasions.
In other parts of the world the laws regarding magic in war are more liberal, and warmages are often used; although still under some limitations (often because of a difficulty in amassing sizeable units of warmages). Over the many thousands of years, civilizations have learned that the use of magic in war is often more a detriment rather than a favourable option, and so the use of magic in war is usually discussed between the warring sides before forming official terms of war-conduct. Warmages are far more common in Ashanor and Korash, where laws on magic are less restrictive, and the magic used by warmages is less supervised.