The Role of Magic

Crime and Punishment

Author Keith Baker

Series Campaign Style

Publisher Atlas Games

Publish date 2003

In a high magic setting, most representatives of the church will be clerics or paladins. An acolyte may only have one or two levels, but nonetheless, the representatives of the gods have the ability to use magic. If arcane magic is uncommon in the society, the spellcasting power of the church may be one reason that it’s a theocratic society in the first place; the mystical power of the clerics may give them a stranglehold on society.

In a typical setting, only high officials will be paladins or clerics. Divine magic is accepted and recognized as the power of the gods, but it’s something that must be gained through years of pious devotion. Other religious officials will simply be dedicated experts with levels in Knowledge (religion).

In a low magic setting, actual spellcasters are an anomaly – saints, avatars, or others who have been touched by the gods in some way. Church officials are skilled orators and dedicated to the teachings of their gods, but cannot call on magical powers. An actual divine spellcaster would be seen as a miracle-worker – or a heretical witch, depending on the circumstances.

Your GM will need to decide how a society views arcane magic. As a general rule, you should be able to obtain this information with a successful check with any of the following skills or abilities: Bardic Lore (DC 10), Gather Information (DC 15), Knowledge (Geography) (DC 20) Knowledge (local) (DC 10), Knowledge (religion) (DC 15). If the nation in question is your homeland or if you are a follower of the god of the land, you should be able to obtain this information without making a die roll.

High Magic

In a theocratic society, magic is a gift from the gods. As a result, spells like zone of truth and light of truth are almost always used during any sort of serious trial.

Typical Magic

In a typical setting, only high officials will be paladins or clerics. Divine magic is accepted and recognized as the power of the gods, but it’s something that must be gained through years of pious devotion. Other religious officials will simply be dedicated experts with levels in Knowledge (religion).

Low Magic

In a lawful evil society, an inquisitor may use his powers and determine that a victim is innocent – and lie about his findings in favour of his own personal agenda. A chaotic good priest may choose to suppress the truth in order to protect a community from emotional trauma.

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