The Laws of Magic
The White Council’s Wardens are the main law enforcement body of the supernatural world— at least as far as mortals go. For the Wardens, the Laws of Magic are sacrosanct. The Laws of Magic are clear, concise, and offer little in the way of “wiggle room”—at least in the views of some Wardens—but are very much written to communicate the spirit of the law, which is the mode in which they are enforced. (This stands in contrast to the other major body of supernatural legalese, the Unseelie Accords, where there is no spirit of the law—only the letter of it.) In practice, the Accords and the Laws are polar opposites. The Laws are clearly spelled out, but there are some grey areas where flexible standards of enforcement are seen. The Accords, meanwhile, are incredibly Byzantine, but absolutely iron-clad when enforced—often to a fault.
Breaking the Laws of Magic
While the Laws of Magic may seem more like a guide for living right as a spellcaster, they exist for a very serious, very palpable reason: whenever you make use of true black magic— using your talent in spellcraft in a way that breaks one of the Laws—you change yourself, darkening your soul. Whenever you choose to break one of the Laws of Magic, you’re crossing a very real line. By taking such an action, you’ve altered your self-image and your beliefs—the very basis of you—to be the sort of person who breaks that Law. Often, once you do that, there’s no turning back. Are you the kind of person who reads thoughts, twists minds, and kills with magic? There are many who believe that if you cross that line even once, you will be. Inevitably. Forever. In this way, the Laws aren’t a legal entity at all; they’re a set of magical principles that, when broken, lead to a fundamental change in the nature of the person who broke them. The White Council also enforces them as laws, but that’s in addition to this fundamental change. You could say that the Laws exist as two separate concepts with 99% overlap—the Wardens of the White Council enforce one concept (law), while reality metaphysically enforces the other (nature).
The White Council has made clear that their Laws don’t apply to entities that aren’t people. The Laws of Magic are strongly oriented on protecting the lives and rights of mortals. Creatures and folks that the Council might classify as “monsters” are fair game. With that said, this is a rule of thumb where it’s easy to stumble into the grey area, with things open to interpretation by the Warden on the scene—and given that Wardens have a lot of latitude regarding the whole “judge, jury, and executioner” bit, it’s a grey area that you want to avoid stepping into as a spellcaster.
The LawsFirst: You’ve taken a life with the use of magic, turning a little bit of your soul dark.
Second: You’ve transformed someone with the use of magic, destroying your victim’s original body and, quite probably, mind.
Third: You’ve invaded someone’s thoughts with the use of magic, violating the privacy of your victim’s mind.
Fourth: You’ve enthralled or otherwise laid a compulsion upon another being with magic, likely causing long-term psychological trauma to your victim.
Fifth: You’ve reached beyond the borders of life and death with your magic, upsetting the natural order of the universe.
Sixth: You’ve swum against the flow of time, upsetting the natural order of the universe.
Seventh: You’ve sought knowledge from beyond the Outer Gates, or otherwise drawn power from that forbidden source, upsetting the natural order of the universe.