As The Chips Fall
The Fifth Law - Never Reach Beyond the Borders of Life
Necromancy has all sorts of applications, from keeping someone from crossing over Death’s door (or pulling them back from just stepping across the threshold), to reanimating a host of corpses as your bodyguards, waking the ghosts of the Civil War for one last assault, or wrapping ectoplasmic flesh around the bones of a dinosaur and taking it for a ride to save the city. It’s all bad news, and most of it clearly breaks the Fifth Law.
This is all about preserving the natural order of things. To everything there is a season, right? When magic is used to confound Death, the cosmos sits up and takes notice like a doctor noticing a heart murmur in a patient. Left unchecked, such an event has every chance to make a bad situation worse. The things out in the world that want the natural order disrupted are sure to come knocking, bringing all the baggage that comes along for that ride; after all, when nature is confounded, the reality mortals call home gets just a bit weaker, and what’s not to love about that?
The Fifth Law marks the beginning of the section of the Laws of Magic that address the mortal desire to confound the conditions of his own mortality. In a word, death sucks, even if it is a part of the natural order, and ironically it’s only natural to want to do whatever you can to avoid it. While the first four essentially address the rights of the victim, the Fifth Law and the ones beyond it are basic “that’s just wrong” principles.
Undeniably, death itself contains an incredible amount of power thanks to the significance of the ending of a life (the bigger the life, the more power it offers—dead wizards make powerful ghosts). But ultimately it’s power that belongs to the dead. While it’s true that “you can’t take it with you”, the power of your own death is something you can take with you into the afterlife. And when some upstart necromancer comes along to snag some or all of that power for himself, what does that mean for you, the dead guy? No one really knows for sure, but when it’s pretty clear that the big nasties of the supernatural world get all excited and positive about mortal spellcasters trying such a thing, it’s probably a phenomenally bad idea. Call it a hunch.
And like any Law of Magic, breaking the Fifth puts a stain on your soul, changing you for the worse. This could be anything from taking on an exaggerated arrogance about your power over life and death (think of it as a medical doctor’s God complex with the dial turned up to eleven) to taking on the belief that death is a better state of things than life (with the side benefit that the more death you soak in, the more power you can draw from it). Necromancers run the gamut here, and have proven to be some of the White Council’s most dire and tenacious adversaries.