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In Dresden files, say you have a Changeling with Seelie Magic. The Changeling has a positive refresh, and thus has free will.

If the changeling uses Seelie Magic to kill another mortal, have they broken the first Law of Magic, and thus gain the Lawbreaker [1st] stunt? Or does this not apply to the Changeling? What about other kinds of Sponsored magic?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

There are two things to consider:

  1. What the White Council considers breaking the laws and
  2. What the rules consider breaking the law towards the Lawbreaker 'Power' YS182.

This view is enforced in the text on YS232, i.e.

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 first one is pretty well set out in terms of targets on YS232, i.e.

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.

This doesn't seem to indicate casters, but in truth, I think it does. It falls into that 'grey area' mentioned in terms of targets, i.e. if it is possible that the Seelie Court (or Sponsor) will step in to take exception to their subject having their head removed from their shoulders and it can be proven to be so (Marked by Power, anyone?), then that will give Wardens pause. Then again, if the Laws of Magic don't apply as a caster- they also don't apply as a target, making the caster a valid target outside of White Council influence under the case of 'aggressive self-defense' or somesuch.

In terms of the second part, it becomes even grayer, but I think it can be solved with a judicious look at aspects. If the changeling has not made the choice, they count as mortal for purposes of the game. The same with Sponsored magic users. So I'd think that the rules part would apply in both of those cases.

Again looking at YS232:

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.

Though this is flavor text, it does point to the view that its based upon what the psyche of the character identifies as - mortal or not.

Now, if the mage is an Emissary of Power because he's explicitly not mortal, that's a different story. A lesser demi-god of some long lost power is decidedly not going to have the same worldview as the mortal emissary of the same.

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+1, except for one caveat: there's no such thing as "just flavour text" in FATE—it's all in-game relevant. –  SevenSidedDie Jul 12 '12 at 2:56
@SevenSidedDie - point taken. I meant flavor text in terms of it's not hard rules as the later bit about as soon as you commit such an act you gain the Lawbreaker power. –  wraith808 Jul 12 '12 at 3:50
Even then, FATE doesn't make the rules hard-and-fast, exactly for dealing with unexpected game situations. I just cringe when people make the fluff/crunch distinction for games that don't separate them—they're only relevant terms for games that have already abandoned the connection between rule and fiction in order to go chase the "perfect balance" will-o-the-whisp. –  SevenSidedDie Jul 12 '12 at 16:43
Makes sense to me, Changeling would gain stunt, and would maybe have to deal with the White Council depending on how the Unseelie accords handle that particular transgression. –  Cthos Jul 13 '12 at 18:57
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