Gods and Empires
Council of Mages
The Council of Mages is one of the governing bodies of the Imperium, responsible for the daunting task of regulating the use of magic, specifically arcane magic, within the borders of the Imperium. The Council was formed by the First Imperator, during the early days of the Imperium, as an advisory group on the subject of magic. At the time, the use of arcane magic was a contentious issue. For centuries after the fall of Valoria, the use of magic was outlawed in many places, but over time it had slowly begun to regain acceptance in certain cities and kingdoms. With the expansion of the Imperium, many different regions, each with its own set of laws, traditions and prejudices, were now gathered under a single government. The First Imperator desired unity, and so began the process of determining what role magic would play in the development of his empire.
The first Council was selected based upon the recommendations of a Wizard named Caius Venator, a close friend of the Imperator’s family and first Archmage of the Council. Unsurprisingly, the majority of his selections were members of the wizarding Enclave to which Caius belonged, along with representatives from other allied or like-minded groups. The Council initially was composed of nine members, all wizards, who worked together to convince the Imperator that magic should be allowed to flourish throughout the Imperium. Although he heeded the Council’s suggestions, too many people throughout the Imperium still feared the use of magic, and so he commanded that magic would be permitted so long as it was also regulated to prevent the use of dangerous magic. In response, the Council drafted what are now called the Seven Principles of Magic.
The Seven Principles were not popular at first. In some places this represented a new set of restrictions, where before magic had been both accepted and unregulated. In other places, this meant that magic was now permitted, where before arcanists had been outlawed on the penalty of death. It took some time to restore order, and the Imperator came to rely increasingly on the Council to aid him with enforcement of this new doctrine. Ultimately, this resulted in the establishment of the Council as a permanent regulatory arm of the Imperium with broad powers of enforcement. The Council established Towers throughout the Imperium, trained Arbiters to aid in legal cases involving the use of magic, and even developed a system for registering magic users and identifying them with the use of a special Mark.
Today, Council Towers can be found in most large town and cities in all of the Provinces, though it is still based in the Imperial city of Caer Modan. The Council is governed by nine Councilors, the head of which bears the title Archmage, with at least one representative from each of the Provinces. The local Council Towers, found in large towns and cities throughout the Imperium, are headed by Mage Commanders who report directly to the Council. Stationed in each Tower are one or more Arbiters, responsible for dealing with legal cases, registration, Council Marks and other bureaucratic functions. Also stationed in each Tower are the Wardens, who serve as the enforcers of magical doctrine and work closely with the local City Guard, Watch or other law enforcement groups. The remaining inhabitants of a Council Tower make up the minor Functionaries and support staff required for daily operation.