Songs of Varen
Magic in the Realm
When talking about magic, the most important distinction to make is the source of the magic. Divine magic (that wielded by clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers) is rarely categorized alongside arcane magic (that wielded by wizards, bards, sorcerers, eldritch knights, and arcane tricksters). In fact, calling the former “magic” will often raise eyebrows and lower respect; divine magic is seen as divine will, with the caster being a conduit for a greater power. Such spellcasters (especially clerics, druids, and paladins) are well-respected and cherished in a society to which they deity is accepted. That is not to say that a cleric acting in a way that contradicts his deity’s teachings will not be punished as a false prophet or evil despoiler, but gods don’t bestow magic upon such people, so this rarely surfaces. Wielders of divine magic tend to be leaders and guides in society. Much of this respect is undoubtedly due to their spells not causing the ruckus and panic that, for example, a wizard’s fireball does.
Arcane magic-users tend to be tolerated in the more civilized areas of the world. Magic is rare, but is it known by those who are at least somewhat educated or well-traveled. Illusions and enchantments are viewed with the most hatred, and in many cases, merit gory punishments if performed within city walls; no one likes losing control of their faculties or their hold on reality. Necromancy is feared for lack of understanding and tampering with the natural order of things, and the more extreme spells are outlawed. Other schools tend to be tolerated in city walls, though they are usually illegal for safety reasons outside designated areas (the Fivefold Corner in Ebos, for example). Hesbard is the exception to this rule; there, magic is cherished and welcomed as another means of self-defense, livelihood, and artistry. Beyond the reaches of cities, towns and villages have drastically different views of magic. In many, it is a folktale used to scare children. Obviously, in such settlements, it is viewed with distrust and disbelief, and typically fear too. In others, it is a part of everyday life, and the villagers won’t bat an eye when sparks fly from the sorcerer’s fingertips (though high level spells will always be viewed with awe, fear, respect, or some mixture thereof).
Occult magic is a broad category that tends to border both the arcane and the divine: this is the domain of the warlock. This magic is the work of some ultra-powerful being, very much present and demanding obedience of its pawn (or so it’s typically viewed). Most city-dwellers, when faced with a warlock who works on behalf of a patron that may or may not be demonic, turn away or run. There is an intense fear among many people of warlocks, mainly because they are unsure of the desires, motives, and (importantly) location of the patron. A few warlocks work to fight this stigma, arguing that they are essentially clerics devoted to beings other than gods and goddesses, but this paradigm has not quite caught on in central locales. Most warlocks living in these areas pass themselves off as sorcerers or wizards if they can. Less civilized locations may see warlocks as priests, shamans, or witch doctors; here, the attitude towards these spellcasters varies widely.