An organizational post, for some ideas I have about shit you may have to put up with if you live in fantasyland. Some of these will get more fleshed out posts. Others might not.
Invisibility is immediately addictive, as are the various crime you can commit without impunity. Most communities have no way to deal with the depredations of an invisible person, and thus the burden of dispensing punishment to such criminals falls on a roving gangs of sanctioned lawmen, with all the issues that would entail. Expect a visit is you brag about using invisibility, or use it in an obviously inconspicuous way. Expect harassment if you belong to a school of wizardry famed for illusions and invisibility, or even a highly successful criminal.
Magic Artifact Preservationists
You’ve found a magical artifact. An obviously evil one. Possibly also very very dangerous if it runs into a pre-industrial society. Because you’re a responsible citizen (and also because the thing cursed you), you elect to destroy it through whatever means necessary. You take your treasure and retire to town, flush on financial and moral victory.
A week later, wizards break down your door, burn the tavern down, and drag you to wizard jail (jail run by wizards, not jail for wizards) where they magically torture you to death. Many of them are die-hard art enthusiasts, but they’re not entirely frivolous. Some obviously evil magic artifacts were made to contain evil magicks, and some creations serve a cosmological/metaphysical purpose as a byproduct of existing. The release of such concentrated, ordered magical energies can and have led to devastating consequences. By destroying an artifact, you may be releasing worse things into the world.
All this means you may have to live with the personal, containable consequences of unearthing terrible objects, as opposed to the far worse results of you “curing” yourself.
The issue with cosmic law is that it, like all laws, was actually written by humans. And like all other forms of law, it is fallible, prone to erroneous interpretations, and subject to catastrophic oversights. Unlike other laws, cosmic decree can not be easily overturned or amended. The text is fixed. In it are fixed punishments. There is no hiding your transgression, no reduced sentences for extreme circumstances, and above all, no exceptions. But the methods to circumvent the law go unaddressed, and so true ne’er do wells go unpunished, while the unfortunates faced with impossible circumstances are cursed and outcast.
The mixture of genetics and magic is very rarely a pretty one. Wild floes of magic pass through the womb, and every year some mutants are born. Entire communities can be mutated in a single day by wild outbreaks of unrestrained magical energies. For the most part, these are cosmetic but some can be dangerous to ‘baseline’ humanity. Some can also be highly beneficial, and lead to the jealousy and resentment in the baseline population. Almost all of them result in unpleasant side effects. Cancer, madness, radiation poisoning, and most commonly, a continued propensity towards mutation and epigenetic instability, that pushes the survivors and their offspring further from baseline humanity and society.
Most mutants are harmless to human, but they almost without exception live separately from humanity. The existence of these people is a good indication as to the circumstances that led to this. Humans tend to be intolerant of mutants in their midst – associations of uncleanliness, fear of moral corruption, and the decline of property values all play a part. But these guys are true fanatics, and the real reason. Closeminded eugenicists is about the nicest way you can describe them. You could also easily describe them in many far worse ways. “Mass murderers”, “insane genocidal freaks” and “complete fucking madmen” all jump to mind. For normal humans, the main fear is reprisal for housing mutants, but some groups specialize in finding invisible or ‘spiritual’ mutations and are known to prefer that a few innocents be lost if it means no mutants get away. Once the skull calipers come out, chances are it’s already too late.
What are the limits of teleportation? A few thousand feet? A few thousand miles? What about a few million or billion? What about lightyears and parsecs? Centuries ago, wizards and astronomers teamed up to find out these limits, and the result is several invasive species from Earth-like planets wrecking the local ecology. Over generations this became part of normal ecology, but in the short-term this can devastate agriculture or human populations, and some super-predators stay inimically, unbelievably dangerous to even large communities of humans forever.
And of course, that isn’t even accounting for the Greys. Just because magic works doesn’t mean advanced alien technology doesn’t. Incidentally, I would play the fuck out of middle ages x-com.
Consciousness is a disease, not in the sense that it’s necessarily harmful (although it may well be) but in the sense that it is contagious. In the presence of large number of humans, and especially large numbers of psionics (another reason mutants are chased off), their consciousness can rub off on dogs, deer, livestock, and various natural predators, and spread within the species. Overnight, crows peck out the eyes of scarecrows and perch mockingly on their shoulders, herds of deer retreat into the deepest forests, schools of sea bass drag fishing boats down to the depths. The stray dogs of the city form into bands and hunt children in the night. The wolves of the rural areas hunt men in broad daylight, while the pigs plot murder at their troughs. The phenomenon is so common in meerkats that most packs now practice pastoral insecticulture, and a few have discovered agriculture and formed early burrow-states. And that’s the say nothing of the primates…
Humans are still the best at murder, and thus most of these “wylde rebellions” that survive the emergence of their own internal politics and increased caloric demands meet their end at the hands of enterprising hunters, adventurers, and occasionally large-scale military operations. Some decentralize and avoid forming visible communities (exception some meerkats) to fight the humans. Many are unhappy with their lot in life, and choose to congregate, fight, and lose. The survivors meld back into the general population, holding on bitterly to their intelligence and hatred of humanity, and tend to die off after living unfulfilled, doomed lives.