Magimundi: The North American Magical World
In North America, the hidden world of magic and the arcane is known as the Magimundi (magical world). Magimundi is plural because it acknowledges that there is no singular type nor tradition of magic. The term came into use in the late 17th century, as wizards from various European and African continents took up residence in North America, where diverse magical traditions among the First Nations and indigenous peoples had existed for centuries and continued to flourish. Magimundi is often used to refer to the magicians within the world. It is a term that encompasses the magical culture and norms among magic-practitioners in North America, and is a unifying word.
The world of the Magimundi co-exists with the Mundane world, and mages may patronize Mundane establishments, though they seldom see need to. Much of the Magimundi is not visible to non-magic users, who are simply referred to as “Mundane” or “Mundanes.” Mundanes do not see, or interact with, the world in the same way that mages do, making certain knowledge and even certain structures and beings largely invisible to them. In addition, magical structures, buildings, farms, and communities are protected with wards, charms, and creatures (such as scarecrows and golems), to keep them away from Mundane senses. These wards must be maintained, and this is the duty of employees in the Bureau of Mundane Separation & Secrecy.
Magimundi tend to live near each other, in communities or subdivisions or urban buildings comprised solely of magic users. This makes it possible to practice magic more openly within these zones. It is forbidden by the Edict of Separation & Secrecy to practice magic on or in front of Mundanes. A New York City skyscraper full of hundreds of Magimundi families, living in individual condos overlooking the Hudson, might look to Mundane eyes like an warehouse, an empty lot, or a statue garden. A hidden entrance would allow access to the Magimundi residing there. Likewise, Magimundi primary schools, known as the Primascholae, are also warded. Flower Mountain Escuela de Mágia, for example, appears to Mundane eyes to be desert rock formations, and Great Plains Institute is a group of grain silos rising from the prairie, according to Mundanes.
Anyone can manifest magic at any time in their lives, though it typically appears during adolescence. Once one manifests magic, their eyes are opened, and what was hidden before is revealed. The fact that magic can spontaneously appear in any person tends to thwart Unsoiled Heritage arguments that magical ability is passed through bloodlines, but that doesn’t stop them from steadfastly adhering to that idea. Unsoiled Heritage families have the inherent advantage of having always been aware of the Magimundi, of access to Leeuwendaalders, and of early access to magical education.
The mage’s natural lifespan is thought to be approximately 300 years, though this is a figure based on taking reasonable, lawful, and affordable measures to prolong one’s life. For a variety of reasons, mages may forgo life extension, in which case, they are thought to live to be approximately 150 years old. Mages’ appearance, in terms of age, vary wildly. A venerable appearance by a Wizard of any gender commands respect.
The Magimundi defaults to using them/they/their pronouns. The title Wizard is only used for those who have graduated from Magischola, everyone else is merely a mage. In general, they are less concerned about the gender or sexuality of one’s romantic interests than mundane society.
The Importance of Heritage
The idea of “Unsoiled Heritage” is one that was put in place in North America after the European settlers arrived. It’s a privileged idea that is perpetuated by those of Unsoiled Heritage that certain families of magical users are inherently better or more powerful than others. Inter-marrying with non-magic users, or Mundanes will “soil” your heritage. A mage of Unsoiled Heritage grows up in the Magimundi and has all four grandparents who are magic users. Some Unsoiled Heritage families have maintained longer lines, and the longer the line, the more prestige they accord themselves. A nepotistic culture still remains, with Wizards from Unsoiled Heritage families having the tendency to obtain more lucrative and powerful contracts and positions, granted to them, of course, by other Wizards of Unsoiled Heritage.
When the Unsoiled Heritage rules were put in place in the Magimundi, the unifying governance was still young and the agreed-upon rule seemed to make sense at the time, but is proving to be rather short-sighted. The rule is that to be Unsoiled, you must have four grandparents who are Unsoiled themselves (e.g. both of their parents were magic users). “Nouveau Unsoiled” are families claiming Unsoiled status by generational attrition. Eventually, Mixed Heritage mages who form partnerships and have children with each other will generate an Unsoiled Heritage offspring once the criterion of four magical grandparents is reached. The “True Unsoiled” families do not take kindly to these “Nouveau Unsoiled,” accusing them of exploiting semantics.
The Nature of Magic
Magic exists as an energy source all around us, in the air, water, earth, stones (elemental magic), in the transmutative power of light and fire, in the cells of living plants and in the bodies of humans and other creatures. This energy may exist in the natural world of this reality, or wizards and magic-users may draw in magical energies from other planes of existence. To access magic, one must be attuned to it, to recognize it and sense it, then focus and channel it, drawing it into the body, then directing it with intention and finally making it manifest and tangible through speech, thought, or gesture, or a combination of these. Magic is wielded by causing it to produce an intended effect at the behest of the wizard. Mages are able to use magic, while Mundanes are not, because mages have first become attuned to the magical energies, then have trained themselves to access it, focus it, and control it with intent and will.
Magical energies can be bound to and stored within objects and artifacts, such as wands, staffs, orbs, or other talismans, amulets, or clothing. Most mages and wizards use a favored artifact such as a wand to enhance and direct their magical power. Magic often is directed in the form of a language — words that carry the power to manifest intention, such as an incantation. However, magic may travel through music, rhythm, touch, or in the most powerful wizards, through thought alone.
Magic resides within the mage and is deeply personal. No other magic-user has the same talents, perceptions, and abilities as you. As you live your life, the experiences you have and the choices you make affect your magical ability. Some choices — to use dark magic to harm others, for example — can irrevocably damage one’s magical abilities and close doors to gifts that may not have been yet explored. Magic can be honed and developed throughout one’s life, and a continuously curious approach leads to greater and more efficient magical powers. In the same vein, magical ability can be harmed or lost through curses, maladies, and trauma. It may be possible to recover from these, at least partially, through time, healing, and dedication to re-learning.
The Magimundi is also not a world of scientific rigor. Brilliant discoveries are hoarded rather than shared, seemingly contradictory ideas appear to produce documentable positive results. Mages often know that a spell or potion or artifact or ritual produces the desired effect, but do not know why it does so. Among the theories for why this is only half-jokingly called “The Arrogance Property.” That since a mage exerts their will upon reality to create spell effects, the mage intuitively places more trust in their own point of view than in any objective reality.
Mages’ gifts and abilities are varied and inconsistent. No one way has been found to be better, more powerful, or more efficient, though most mages tend to believe their own preferred techniques are obviously superior to all others.
Magical ability can consistently be improved by training and education. Likewise it can be debilitated by catastrophic effects like Lycanthropy and Vampirism, which usually require a mage to relearn much of their techniques. Those who complete their Magischola education are given the title of Wizard, and only Wizards are considered sufficiently well-trained and powerful to hold official roles in the Magimundi. Magic users who have not attained the title of Wizard are generally known as mages or sorcerers and can hold lower-ranked, lower-paying jobs that still require magical use. A table of sample Magimundi salaries is found elsewhere in this document.
Sanctioned Magic and Unsanctioned Magic
The Five Provinces of the Magimundi would describe their government as a Federal Republic or Commonwealth, but in truth it’s an obvious Oligarchy. The Arch Justices of each Province have risen to that position from a combination of wealth, status, and magical power, and hold those positions for life. They are styled as Judges, but one where the cases they decide become the law of the Province. There is no legislative body. All government authority is delegated directly from the Arch Justice, who has no real check against their power. Provincial Law is limited to that province, with the exception of Edicts from the Council of Five which apply across all provinces and require unanimous support from the Council of Five. Apart from those covered by Edicts, what spells or potions or artifacts are legal depends on which Province you are in. Punishments for crimes are likewise variable depending on the circumstances and opinions of the Justice hearing the case.
The Magimundi seeks to create and uphold a society the protects its citizens from persecution, harm, and want. As members of the Magimundi, we believe that each person contributes value to society, as a unique and autonomous being who should be free to pursue their life in a manner which suits them. No Magimundi citizen shall go without a minimum level of comfort: food, shelter, access to education and healing, the ability to use public transportation, and to be defended from those seeking to do harm. Those who breach the social contract of Magimundi society will find themselves held accountable for their behavior through the swift work of provincial Marshals and the equitable judgment of the Regional Justices. Appeals may be brought to the Council of Five, whose edicts become Magimundi statutes. Those, and Magimundi case law favors these values:
- Life is precious. Attempts to wield magic to deprive someone of their life or to harm their life are against the ethos we uphold together.
- The dead are to rest. Members of the Magimundi do not take kindly to their relatives being disturbed, let alone commodified.
- Individual autonomy is paramount. Magimundi citizens are free to make their choices and face their consequences. Magic should not be used to require or compel beliefs or behaviors.
- Truth and goodness are values of the highest order. Magimundi citizens display trust, respect, and compassion to fellow citizens and do not take measures to deliberately obscure facts and truths, nor do they seek to harm another.
The following types of magic are either forbidden by edict or by the law of Destiny Province, where Imperial Magischola resides.
- Spells and magical effects that cause the death of a person, regardless of whether the spell itself is forbidden.
- Spells and magical effects that deprive a person of their individual will, or compel them against their individual will are forbidden.
- The “Soul Searing Curse” (incantation is not to be documented by Edict of the Council of Five), is forbidden to even cast unsuccessfully.
- Spells and magical effects that compel or manipulate deceased persons (or sapient beings) are forbidden.
- Using deceased persons as resources, components, or reagents in the creation of potions or artifacts, or in the use of ritual magic is forbidden.
- Possession of potions or artifacts with deceased persons used as resources, components, or reagents in their creation is forbidden.
- Participation in ritual magic that uses the resources, components, or reagents of deceased persons is forbidden.
- Spells and magical effects that destabilize ley lines to disrupt standard reality are forbidden.
- Spells and magical effects that destabilize tectonic plates or create seismic activity are forbidden.
- Spells and magical effects that bring harm to or exploit protected species are forbidden.
- Spells and magical effects that destabilize the Leeuwendaalder or the mundane economy are forbidden (e.g. attempting to transfigure other items into money, attempting to curse or counterfeit money, etc.).
- Spells and magical effects that erase or alter memories, including the creation of false memories are forbidden, though accredited Marshals and Healers may use select spells and/or magical effects under certain permitted circumstances.
- Spells and magical effects that threaten the secrecy of the Magimundi, up to and including casting spells on mundane persons, allowing mundane persons to quaff potions, or allowing mundane persons to use magical artifacts or to have magical artifacts used on them, are forbidden.
Council of Five
- Destiny Province: Arch Justice Herodotus Forsythe
- Solaris Province: Arch Justice Archibald Snodgrass
- Mishipeshu: Arch Justice Montgomery McBride
- Baja: Arch Justice Luna Chavez
- Thunderbird: Arch Justice Fidelia Windwalker
Noted Bureaus, Institutions and Edicts
Bureau of Alchemical Ingredients and Reagents Control: The Magischola bureau responsible for the analysis and control of magical ingredients and reagents. This bureau was designed to relieve some of the responsibilities of the Bureau of Metallurgy, Alchemy and Crystallography by taking over the duties of magical materials control. Whereas the latter bureau is mostly responsible for the commerce of magical materials, this bureau is mostly concerned with the safety and indication of magical ingredients. For the most part, these two bureaus work in concordance with each other, but there has been some history of rivalry between the two agencies.
Bureau of Commerce and Mercantilism: The bureau is chiefly concerned with the value and commerce of Leeuwendaalders within the Magimundi. This bureau is not only responsible for minting the gold coins that serve as the monetary representation of wealth within the Magimundi; but also control stocks and bonds of magical artifacts and other forms of wealth. There has been some degree of controversy with this bureau, as it has been accused of sometimes serving the interests of the pure-blooded Eligeri, rather than the interests of the people of the Magimundi.
Bureau of Environmental Affairs: Responsible for developing policies on environmental protection, nature conservation, and enforcing environmental edicts.
Bureau of Magical Agriculture: Specializing in leadership on issues of natural resources, nutrition, and rural development.
Bureau of Magical Fauna: This bureau was created in the late 17th century as a scientific body to explore, examine, and quantify the arcane animals of the New World. They are chiefly involved in the taxonomic classification of living things in the Magimundi, but are also responsible for the conservation and protection of arcane creatures. Occasionally, they do function as something of a game and wildlife commission for magical creatures that are considered too dangerous to be allowed to roam free. Many of these dangerous animals are permitted to be captured for study in the Magischolae or other scientific institutions.
Bureau of Magical Flora: Like the Bureau of Magical Fauna, this department was created as a scientific body tasked with the examination and taxonomy of magical plants and flowers. The taxonomical department of this bureau is also tasked with ensuring that certain magical plants are not mislabeled; since many of the flora of the Magimundi possess animal-like characters such as teeth, eyes, and even feet. As with the Bureau of Magical Fauna, they also perform conservation duties to ensure the preservation of these plants for future generations.
Bureau of Conduct and Consequences: This bureau is the law enforcement arm of the Magimundi. Operating out of Avernus Prison in the Mishipeshu province, the bureau of Marshalry and Law Enforcement employs a garrison of marshals specifically empowered to investigate crime and offenses in the Magimundi. Many justices are also in employ of the bureau, and are tasked with the determination of which offenses even qualify as a crime within the purview of the Magimundi.
Bureau of Metallurgy, Alchemy, and Crystallography: The governing body of magical materials and craftwork within the Magimundi. This bureau oversees the commerce and trade of magical materials and their use in magic. While the bureau is chiefly focused on conservation, they also have departments to ensure the ethical use of magical materials in spells and rituals. It is rumored that the department houses the world’s largest collection of forbidden spells and formulae, though many believe that to be merely a rumor.
Bureau of Temporal Continuity: The governing body that monitors and maintains the flow of temporal cause and effect. With so many wizards and mages who are able to alter/control the flow of time itself, an entire bureau has been convened to ensure the elimination of paradox and inconsistency. This bureau was created shortly after the defeat of the ArchWizard Thanatos Akeldama, in which the Magnolia Sun School of Magic was temporarily placed in a liminal zone out of time in order to protect it from attack. The headquarters of the bureau is placed in a similar zone where it is able to safely monitor the temporal flow.
Magimundi Bureau of Trade and Innovation: This bureau is responsible for the regulation of trade and patents within the Magimundi. Unlike the Bureau of Commerce and Mercantilism, this agency does not control the value of goods and services, but is rather focused on the commerce of magical artifacts and artificery. A large part of this bureau involves the safety testing of magical devices, ingestibles, or wearables, before they can be released to the market of the Magimundi.
Bureau of Vampires, Lycans, and Revenants: This bureau is designed to handle the affairs of magical creatures which are considered to be on the edge of human existence. This bureau is the subject of considerable controversy, since it seems to monitor the existence of some sentient creatures as less than “human”. It was only recently that loup-garou have been removed from the purview of this bureau, and even that decision was met with much conflict. Despite the controversy surrounding this bureau, they are still very much involved in criminal investigations concerning these creatures.
Bureau of Magical Training & Tutelage: The governing body of magical training in the Magimundi. All magical institutions of learning, from the Primascholae to the Magischolae must be certified with the Bureau of Wizard Training & Tutelage. The Bureau is also responsible for educational assessment and performs frequent audits of the various schools. Every province within the Magimundi has its own office of Magical Training that reports to the Magimundi Bureau of Wizard Training and Tutelage.
Magimundi Department of Secrecy and Clandestine Affairs: It’s no secret, much of the Magimundi is forced to work in secrecy from the mundane world. This bureau of the Magimundi is responsible for maintaining that secrecy. While many of the affairs of the Magimundi may be obfuscated by the natural mundane disbelief in wizardry and sorcery, this bureau occasionally steps in to address magical events that strain the human suspension of disbelief. While there is a widely held belief that this department also maintains clandestine operations from the Magimundi; such speculation is often dismissed as the ramblings of conspiracy theorists.