Severing Magical Ties

If a mage goes mad with power and starts terrorizing the citizens with lightening bolts and other powerful spells, what can be done to stop the mage?  Well, the obvious answer is to put the mage to death.  But what if the mage is more subversive – using his powers to glean information, for instance, and then using that information to further his goals?  He’s not harming anyone – at least not directly – and what can be done now?

The concept of a process which removes the ability of magic user to cast spells is occasionally mentioned or used in fantasy fiction.  It is usually done to protect the world from a corrupt mage, but sometimes it is done to control or otherwise limit those that have a ‘dangerous’ power.

The process invariably has a name that sounds somewhat dreadful.  A ‘silencing’ or ‘stilling’ – perhaps a ‘quelling’ or a ‘quenching’ – a process that permanently prevents a caster from drawing upon the source of magic.

How to deal with a insane mage?
How to deal with a insane mage?

A process that permanently prevents a caster from drawing upon the source of magic

How the actual process works depends entirely upon you.  Perhaps it takes a ritual and the involvement of a handful of the other casters.  Maybe it is controlled by the gods and a gathering of high priests from various orders?  Perhaps it only requires a very special poison, one which gives the caster the choice between death or being forever cut-off from magic. The specifics are up to you.

It can be easily blended into your campaign – a mission to capture a mad mage so he can be stilled while sparing him his life could be challenging.  Perhaps a player has been a bit wild in his castings and learns that orders for his silencing have been issued – that the academy of mages has judged him and will cut him off from magic in order to save the academy further embarrassments.

Implementing a background or lore for this doesn’t take a great deal of work and is another little way to make your campaign special.  And having a background for a warrior or thief of having been a quelled mage would just be pretty cool and would open the door to a lot of potential tales.


This article is a part of a series on how to customize your campaign without really doing too much laborious work.  Each article outlines an idea or a series of related ideas or concepts, each of which when fully considered and blended into your campaign will help to make it unique and more fully realized. 

Author: Kilgore

Long-time gamer, alpha techno-geek, and former infantryman

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