Crime and Punishment
Author Keith Baker
Series Campaign Style
Publisher Atlas Games
Publish date 2003
If the talent for sorcery passes through the blood, then each clan could have certain specialties; one village might have a knack for necromancy, another talent for enchantment or divination. These specialties might form the basis for arranged marriages, as the elders try to bring new talents into their community. Certain clans might consider marriage to foreigners – or even members of other clans – to be a serious crime, potentially weakening the divine blood.
If a village does have a range of talents, then an individual’s magical abilities could determine his role within the community, as well. A villager who can cast mount might serve as a farrier; magic missile and acid arrow would be the tools of hunters and soldiers, while illusionists could serve as spies or entertainers.
A society of sorcerers does not have an inherent bent to any particular alignment. An evil society might lean more towards the attitude of a warlord state; instead of ruling by the sword, a sorcerer-warlord could dominate a region with her band of mystical warriors. An alliance of peaceful clans would have more in common with a traditional society; as such, the inhabitants would lean more towards lawful and neutral alignments.
While it would be a very different sort of society, it’s easy to imagine a neutral evil monarchy in which the sorcerer elite maintain a tyrannical rule over a population of powerless slaves. Or a theocracy dedicated to a goddess of magic might see sorcerers as the blessed children of the goddess. Or perhaps a ruined society collapsed due to a magical catastrophe; now horrible aberrations roam the blighted landscape, but those refugees who survived the disaster have begun to develop mystical powers.
One critical difference is that whatever its system of law, a sorcerous society will use magic in its trials. detect thoughts, charm person, read the guilty face, detect magical residue, and agony will all be brought into play as the elders search for the truth.
Sever from the source would be a common punishment for members of the sorcerous community; the duration of this magical ‘imprisonment’ would vary based on the nature of the crime. The loss of her mystical powers would be a terrible blow to any sorcerer.