Magic is powered by belief and is center around the idea of who and what we are. Harming another mortal with the use of magic leaves a stain on the soul or psyche of both the perpetrator and the victim. The use of magic in a way which causes harm can be a corrupting influence. Practitioners who regularly cause harm through magic become twisted by the experience, gradually growing more power-hungry and insane, until there is no spark of humanity left in them. Wizards who do so are termed Warlocks. All of the Laws carry the death penalty, to be carried out by a Warden of the White Council. Wardens are the enforcement arm of the White Council who patrol and protect the wizard world. This protection can also extend to more minor practioners and the mortal world, basically if you are a mortal who uses magic the White Council and the Wardens see you as under their sphere of influence.
The Laws of Magic are both metaphysical and political in nature. This means one can be labeled a Lawbreaker by the White Council without actually having done it; where as one could metaphysically break a law and be a “Lawbreaker” without the awareness of the White Council. Not all Lawbreakers suffer beheading, in rare moments the Doom of Damocles is invoked instead. There are seven of these laws and they are as follows:
The First Law of Magic
The first law prohibits the killing of humans with magic. A plea of self-defense is allowed in mitigation, though it seems to work only rarely. Wardens often wield swords when detaining and executing warlocks to avoid a technical infraction of this Law. The use of magic to kill non-human beings, on the other hand, is lawful; a wizard may, for example, use magic to kill a ghoul, a vampire or any being of the Nevernever without breaking this Law.
The Second Law of Magic
This law prohibits the shape shifting of other beings. One may change one’s own shape, for further reference see Shapeshifters.
The Third Law of Magic
This law prohibits the forcible violation of a person’s mind. Because of its outlaw status, research into mind magic is remarkably limited and as a result, training to resist such invasions is very basic.
The Fourth Law of Magic
This law prohibits the magical domination of another being’s mind. Enthrallment is the term used to describe this action.
The Fifth Law of Magic
This Law prohibits both research into and the practice of necromancy, described as the summoning, binding and exploitation of the unwilling dead. The Law applies specifically to human necromancy, but the Wardens (and, by implication, the rest of the Council) still frown upon any form of the practice. Communicating with spirits of the dead who are willing to do so is stated not to be a violation of this law. This law was made infamous by Kimmler, a powerful necromancer, who had engineered both world wars in order to provide himself with a fresh supply of human corpses. The entire White Council (not just the Wardens) banded together to hunt him down and kill him, twice.
The Sixth Law of Magic
This law prohibits any attempt to change the past through temporal manipulation for fear of paradoxes. Even magical prediction is frowned upon except in the vaguest, most general forms. It is noted however, that some beings exist in the past, present, and future at once, and that such beings can be dangerous for this reason. It is also stated that paradox is “an overrated threat” due to a property of temporal inertia that gives events a strong tendency to occur the way they already have once, regardless of interference.
The Seventh Law of Magic
This law prohibits wizards from researching or dealing with beings from outside the universe, known as Outsiders.
The Doom of Damocles
Instead of being beheaded, there are, in some instances, a form of probation, referred to as the Doom of Damocles, is rendered instead. Under the Doom, a wizard is openly under the suspicion and scrutiny of the White Council and any further infractions will automatically warrant execution. A wizard under a Doom is placed in the custody of another wizard. In the case of another infraction, both wizards are killed. The Doom of Damocles is rarely invoked as few wizards are willing to take this risk. Most Warlocks are given a brief trial and killed.