OFFICIAL XSWAT MEMORANDUM: MAGIC
Over the last ten years there has been a marked upswing in magical activity world-wide. Sorcerers existed prior to 2113, of course, but their numbers were a much smaller fraction of the population. Usually, young sorcerers were trained among family lines, traditions passed down from Father to Son, Mother to Daughter. Some few magical circles of spell-casters gathered in the larger cities around the globe, but true use of magic was a rare (and according to the media of the time, wonderful) thing.
Ever since 2113, however, the use of magic has been on the rise. Incidents involving spell-casters or spirits escalated over 500% from 2112-2122 according to XSWAT reports. Most of these encounters have been with accidents or untrained use of magic, but the significant use of ritual magic (especially with regards to the Yakuza—see Chapter 6 of the XSWAT Officer's Handbook) and curses or death magic have added serious complications to any encounter with the supernatural. The study of magic remains far more art than science, and new disciplines or variations on old traditions are cropping up all the time. Officers are encouraged to stay current via trade publications and monthly seminars.
Michael’s Addendum: I am going to presume that this trend has continued. Breaking the Destiny Engine in SA II actually helped increase the magical ‘background count’, meaning there are even more mages (of various skill and power levels) in existence than ever before. And much like espers, mages tend to pass on their talent for using magic, leading to family bloodlines of magic-users. Rick has stated that Jack’s CO is a magician, so it also seems likely that other police departments (and the like) around the world have started to recruit and use espers, magicians, and other paranormally-powered individuals.
Some basic elements of magical use remain constant and are highlighted here.
- Magic is based on ritual and tradition. All spells at their heart have some structure they are based upon—usually religious or pseudo-religious in nature. Hermetic sorcerers seem to be the most commonly encountered tradition, but that has been slowly growing less true over time.
- Magic is incredibly versatile. In short, properly applied spells can produce nearly any effect. The primary limits of magic are:
- The imagination of the spell-caster.
- The amount of power available.
- Magic power is based on four major components.
- The first component is a sorcerer's own personal energy. The more powerful the spell-caster's personal connection, the stronger spells he or she can cast. This factor appears to vary and may have some genetic factors involved.
- The second component is based on numbers and position. Ritual sorcery is accomplished by utilizing several spell-casters working together to accomplish a greater goal. Ritual magic often involves very time-consuming and elaborate rituals, hence the name.
- The third component is based on sacrifice. Often termed "Blood Magic", there is a significant power boost in utilizing the energy released by the death of another being. Animals provide far less power than a human being, and the sacrifice of a spell-caster or spirit can provide even higher levels of magical power.
- The final component is based on symbology. Names and symbols contain great power when utilized correctly. The so-called `true name' and runic traditions are often considered among the more potent forms of spell-casting among the sorcerous community, but this claim is disputed.
There are over 39,000 registered sorcerers in Angelus. This number, of course, does not take into account apprentices, latent spell-casters, spirits, or any other sundry problems with trying to take an accurate census of the supernatural. It is merely meant as a guideline for field officers.
Michael’s Addendum: By 2132 that number could be around 60-75,000 individuals. Please note the line about “registered” sorcerers. We can presume there are penalties of performing magic without being properly vetted by some sort of board, council, or other governing body. For example, XSWAT hermetic magician Natasha Weischlange started out being arrested for spell-casting without a license before being recruited into the ranks. Also note the word “spirits”. I think it is safe to assume there are various forms of magical manifestations that take various animal or humanoid forms. They can be intelligent and free-willed or nearly mindless and in servitude, and anything in between. The Graveyard Shift has Aino, a free-willed spirit of the air, who appears as a young winged woman, as one of its members.
Dealing With Magic
Considering the above factors involved, a spell-casting perpetrator or magically-powered suspect may be very difficult to apprehend. Lethal force is authorized once supernatural elements become evident, but officers are encouraged to use their own judgment. Consultation with XSWAT magical resources or contacting the Occult and Supernatural Division are standard practice when faced with a magical situation. Director Renuka has been very pro-active about assigning each field squad a sorcerer in order to have an expert on-scene. If the squad has no such expert, SOP is to fall back and call in for further instructions.