As the World Burns
Arcane magic is dangerous and uncommon. Without taking special care by using the technique of preserving an arcane spellcaster can defile the immediate surroundings bycasting a spell. Fundamental vitality is leeched away: Plants wither, animals and people suffer crippling pain, and the soil at the site of the casting is drained such that nothing will grow in that spot again. Because of this harm done to the world, those who use arcane magic are hated and persecuted across Athas. They must practice their arts in secret or seek the patronage of a sorcerer-king and gain the rulers sanction for their spellcasting.
Primal magic is more widespread than arcane magic, although it is rarely practiced in the cities. Out in the barrens, wielders of primal magic serve as healers and defenders of their villages or tribes. Shamans, druids, wardens, and other primal wielders are regarded with deep suspicion by the templars, who dislike the notion of magic that lies outside the control of their tyrannical overlords.
Divine magic is virtually unknown on Athas. The gods ofold have been silentfor dozens of centuries. The ruins of ancient shrines and fragments of crumbling texts in the sorcerer-kings libraries suggest that the gods were more active in the past. In the absence of true divinities, Athasians turn to other types of gods. Some sorcerer-kings pretend to godhood and build false mythologies, encouraging their subjects to worship them. Other Athasians venerate the primal spirits of the world or turn to cults of demons or primordials. Unfortunately for worshipers, a primordial makes for a grim and uncaring deity, taking little notice of its mortal servants.