Author Topic: Monsters using magic  (Read 1332 times)

Offline SpoonR

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Monsters using magic
« on: June 23, 2011, 05:32:27 PM »
Let's say you are a monster (red or white court vamp for example) that can use magic. Are the laws of magic any different for you?

For example:
  • You are a vamp wizard using your vampire powers to kill someone. Break any laws?  What about the same vamp using wizardry to kill someone
  • You've made a thrall with your natural powers. Now you use wizardry to do some specific tinkering. Do they have enough mind left to count for the mental law?
  • Can you use wizardry to feed? Say using magic to induce the appropriate emotion, or just to rip out psychic energy for a white court.  Does using magic affect your Hunger?

I have the impression that magic is magic and vamp power are vamp powers, magic can break laws no matter who you are, natural powers never can. Hence why red courts are so crazy. But then again, magic-using reds don't seem significantly crazier than non-magic reds.  Ditto Sidhe

Offline Khalis231

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2011, 05:51:52 PM »
The Laws of Magic apply only to mortal spellcasters. Vampire wizardry isn't quite the same thing as what mortals do, same with the Sidhe. Metaphysically speaking, breaking a Law changes you in a small way, on the idea that you are, to a greater or lesser extent, defined by your choices. It's described as staining your soul. No mortal free will? No Lawbreaking.

So to answer your questions, vampires never break Laws when killing using magic or by any other means. Ditto for making thralls.

WCVs are a hazy area, they seem to possess some qualities of both mortals and supernatural creatures. I'm not sure if they should be subject to Lawbreaking.

Using wizardry to feed is a different question altogether. I would allow the use of magic to induce the appropriate emotion for an Emotional Vampire, but I wouldn't let the vampire feed using a spell. I would also rule that magic doesn't affect Hunger, as it already causes mental stress, and it doesn't seem to be an innate physical ability fueled by the Hunger in the same way that Inhuman Recovery is, for example. OW's examples of spellcasting vampires don't have their spellcasting abilities linked to Feeding Dependency, so I'd say this is supported by the books.

Offline InFerrumVeritas

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2011, 10:05:24 PM »
I've got no good answer for this in the gray areas like White Court Vampires, but typically monsters who spellcast don't have to worry about Lawbreaking and Hexing.  Some or all forms of Sponsored Magic are this way as well (depending on flavor).

Typically, in a metaphysical sense, I say anything that's not human doesn't have to worry about Lawbreaking.  They also can't get the bonus to spells that Lawbreaker gives because magic doesn't have that slippery-slope, pulling on your soul thing that it has for mortals.  One exception would be Were-Creatures.  They're basically humans.  Lycanthropes are probably the same way.

Note: this is not the same as my "What can be soulgazed list?" and my "What counts as breaking the first law if I kill it list?"

Offline sinker

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2011, 10:11:16 PM »
Keep in mind though that were creatures killing with their teeth and claws (that they obtained using magic) does not count as lawbreaking. This has been well established by both Jim and Fred. If were creatures are throwing spells around then you could run into lawbreaking issues.

Offline Slife

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2011, 09:24:21 AM »
How about sponsored magic?  Like, the winter knight killing someone with winter ice?
Rule one of magic:  Never, ever, under any circumstances, trust someone named "Morningstar".

Offline UmbraLux

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2011, 11:34:03 AM »
Let's say you are a monster (red or white court vamp for example) that can use magic. Are the laws of magic any different for you?
The Laws aren't different in a metaphysical sense, but the individual is different. 

The reason mortals have issues with magic is their mortal nature.  They're often conflicted and seldom acting in 100% alignment with their nature.  The monsters have less choice - being a predator is in their nature and they follow it.  Consequently, they're affected far less by their actions with magic.  They don't necessarily gain a Lawbreaker stunt and they won't cause tech to die. 

So yes, a monster may well break one or more Laws of Magic.  But he's usually* not significantly affected by breaking said law. 

*I would allow for exceptions if it seems the entity is acting outside of its nature.  A fae dealing with entities from beyond the outer gates for example.
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Offline sinker

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2011, 05:08:53 PM »
How about sponsored magic?  Like, the winter knight killing someone with winter ice?

That's pretty debated here. Personally I feel that it's the sponsor's will/power and that the sponsor covers the mortal (I.E. no lawbreaking), but other people will tell you differently.

Offline InFerrumVeritas

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2011, 06:22:12 PM »
That's pretty debated here. Personally I feel that it's the sponsor's will/power and that the sponsor covers the mortal (I.E. no lawbreaking), but other people will tell you differently.

As long as they don't have mortal magic (and thus aren't using sponsored magic to boost it), I'd say that they're free.  However, that'd probably depend on the sponsor.  Hellfire?  Probably be taking Lawbreakers because the sponsors want to corrupt the individual anyway.  Soulfire?  Using your soul to break the laws of magic would probably result in a Lawbreaker.  Winter/Summer Magic?  Probably not.  You're a tool of the Sidhe's will.

Offline Drachasor

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2011, 04:32:33 AM »
The rules hint that the principle you might want to use is "does it have positive refresh?"  If so, it can get lawbreaker.

Frankly, I'd probably go at this from a purely mechanic standpoint.  Trying to figure out "what makes sense" is not really going to get you anywhere.  It'll lead to a metaphysical black hole.  "Free Will" as most people understand it is a nearly impossible to define term, so trying to figure out what creatures it applies to via rational argument is just not going to work.  However, going with the idea of positive refresh seems congruent with the spirit of the system -- it also means all PCs are going to have to deal with Lawbreaker if they start killing things with magic.

And I think it is a pretty slam-dunk argument that killing someone with sponsored magic gets you a Lawbreaker.  You use conviction, lore, and discipline for sponsored magic, just like any other magic.  It is your WILL in charge of the important aspects; as the rules say the sponsor just sometimes handles some of the details (and that's ONLY with thaumaturgy at the speed of evocation).  Beyond that they've given you a mystical credit card and you use that to purchase magical power to fuel your spells; but they are YOUR spells.  You decide the targets, you decided the area, you decide the lethality, you have to WILL all of that into being.  You still have to believe yourself capable of killing or breaking any other law in order to do it -- the sponsor doesn't cover you on belief*...typically.

On the other hand, if a Sponsor uses a Debt Compel to make you break a law of magic, then you are off the hook.  At that point they are enforcing their will on you and making you do something.

It would be different if a sponsor gave you something like a Breath Weapon or the like.  There your beliefs and convictions don't enter into it when you use such an ability...but that's not how sponsored magic works.

This seems to be pretty thoroughly backed up via lore as well, though it isn't precisely covered. 
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*That's why they are going to be picking people that generally agree with them.

Offline sinker

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2011, 07:11:55 AM »
The rules hint that the principle you might want to use is "does it have positive refresh?"  If so, it can get lawbreaker.

Frankly, I'd probably go at this from a purely mechanic standpoint.  Trying to figure out "what makes sense" is not really going to get you anywhere.  It'll lead to a metaphysical black hole.  "Free Will" as most people understand it is a nearly impossible to define term, so trying to figure out what creatures it applies to via rational argument is just not going to work.  However, going with the idea of positive refresh seems congruent with the spirit of the system -- it also means all PCs are going to have to deal with Lawbreaker if they start killing things with magic.

This could lead to some weird circular problems. Consider a warlock breaks a law. He gets lawbreaker. Now he breaks enough laws that he has many different lawbreaker powers. He goes into negative refresh land. Does he then lose all of his ranks in lawbreaker?

It's pretty well established that lawbreaker only applies to mortals.

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And I think it is a pretty slam-dunk argument that killing someone with sponsored magic gets you a Lawbreaker.  You use conviction, lore, and discipline for sponsored magic, just like any other magic.  It is your WILL in charge of the important aspects; as the rules say the sponsor just sometimes handles some of the details (and that's ONLY with thaumaturgy at the speed of evocation).  Beyond that they've given you a mystical credit card and you use that to purchase magical power to fuel your spells; but they are YOUR spells.  You decide the targets, you decided the area, you decide the lethality, you have to WILL all of that into being.  You still have to believe yourself capable of killing or breaking any other law in order to do it -- the sponsor doesn't cover you on belief*...typically.

The thing I look at (that has some basis in the books as people describe how the laws work) is that the lawbreaker power is acquired when you take the innermost living part of you (your magic) and use it to pervert the life around you. That's why I think that when you're using someone else's magic it's not something that changes you nearly as much. Just my thoughts, though.

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This seems to be pretty thoroughly backed up via lore as well, though it isn't precisely covered. 
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is a pretty poor example of "Guy who only doesn't break the laws only because it would twist him." He pretty much follows the laws because he believes strongly in them and is unlikely to break them even if the opportunity presented itself.

Offline Drachasor

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2011, 11:24:14 AM »
This could lead to some weird circular problems. Consider a warlock breaks a law. He gets lawbreaker. Now he breaks enough laws that he has many different lawbreaker powers. He goes into negative refresh land. Does he then lose all of his ranks in lawbreaker?

At the point he becomes an NPC, the GM determine how he wants the guy built.  If the GM decided to stat up a Fae with Lawbreaker because that would provide the mechanics he desired, then he should do that.  If he wants to keep the lawbreaker status on a Warlock that is now at negative refresh, then that's his call.

I was only saying a GM doesn't have to give lawbreaker powers to the above Warlock if he breaks a new law after reaching negative refresh, imho.  Might want to though.  Then again, he might want Chronovores, a time monster he just made up, to have Lawbreaker: Sixth Law, to give him the mechanics/flavor he likes.

It's pretty well established that lawbreaker only applies to mortals.

Is it?  Doesn't quite seem clear to me that Angels can't get Lawbreaker.  Of course, we don't really see them fighting (but that's a good way to resist any lawbreaker issues).  Beyond that, I don't think we see any non-humans that are said to have free will.  The game associates "free will" with positive refresh.

The thing I look at (that has some basis in the books as people describe how the laws work) is that the lawbreaker power is acquired when you take the innermost living part of you (your magic) and use it to pervert the life around you. That's why I think that when you're using someone else's magic it's not something that changes you nearly as much. Just my thoughts, though.

Lawbreaker is fundamentally about Belief.  To kill someone with magic, you have to BELIEVE they deserve to die and you have a right to kill them because otherwise the magic won't work.  There's nothing in the game remotely indicating that belief isn't necessary for Sponsored Magic.  If you have Summer Magic, and you want to burn someone with fire, you still have to fundamentally believe that is your right.  That's represented in the game by the magic working off YOUR Discipline and YOUR Conviction and YOUR Lore.  You aren't buying the spell effect with your Sponsored Credit Card, you are just buying the magical juice to power it and granted you get access to some know-how as well  -- your will, however, is still what shapes it.

Granted, this is purely a game mechanic argument, so there's a potential problem there.  The books really don't go over sponsored magic that much so we can't really go off of lore.  However, letting someone with sponsored magic go around killing without a problem isn't a great idea either (few sponsors would care about the ethics of it).

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is a pretty poor example of "Guy who only doesn't break the laws only because it would twist him." He pretty much follows the laws because he believes strongly in them and is unlikely to break them even if the opportunity presented itself.

I grant the lore argument is problematic.  The books don't give us much to go on.  That said, they don't treat casting Sponsored Magic as a fundamentally different PROCESS than other magic.  Hmm,  Soulfire probably provides the most detail, and it is very, very clearly treated like any other kind of magic; it is just powered by different batteries.

Offline InFerrumVeritas

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2011, 11:55:37 AM »
It works that way for connivence and elegant rules design sake. 

Here's another way to look at that mechanic with a different flavor:

Your conviction represents your belief in the sponsor.  You have to believe that you can ask for the power, that you have a right to it, before you can use it.  Your discipline is because you still have to direct and control it once you call up the power.  Your lore is because you have to know what to ask for.  Ultimately, if you need more than you can handle, the sponsor is willing to step in and help, but you'll owe them.

Sponsored magic is a somewhat simple mechanic designed to represent a variety of things in the books that come up in the game.  These things are basically unrelated other than providing extra power.  From Harry's perspective, all magic is the same and the sponsors just provide different batteries.  But Harry was raised as a wizard.  He has a ridiculously strong belief in what he is doing and how he sees the world.

While in game you have control over the sponsored magic, that's just so you don't become an NPC.  It would suck to take a power and then have the GM control your every action, hence why there is the debt mechanic.  I still play it like I'm beholden to the sponsor (possibly begrudgingly or whatever). 

Ultimately, the rules are not clear.  The text isn't clear either (like sponsored magic hexing).  I think it depends on the type of sponsored magic you have.  Once you establish that, talk to your GM.  Work it out. 

To me, magic granted by old gods (like the Olympians or Norse) wouldn't cause Lawbreaker.  Neither would fey magic.  From demonic powers?  Sure, unless otherwise negotiated.  Soulfire?  Definitely.  Kemmeler?  Totally.  That's basically just a representation of extra power not coming from refinement. 

But I think there are compelling reasons why sponsored magic wouldn't.  Ultimately, think about how your casting works.  Then talk it over with your GM.  Be prepared to play with either answer.

On the issue of monster lawbreakers: I really don't like the idea of "if it has positive refresh, Lawbreaker."  Humans and other mortals (such as were-creatures).  Lawbreaking only applies to mortal magic.  That bit is clear in the text.

Offline Drachasor

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2011, 12:14:14 PM »
Your conviction represents your belief in the sponsor.  You have to believe that you can ask for the power, that you have a right to it, before you can use it.  Your discipline is because you still have to direct and control it once you call up the power.  Your lore is because you have to know what to ask for.  Ultimately, if you need more than you can handle, the sponsor is willing to step in and help, but you'll owe them.

There's nothing in the rules that backs up that interpretation, or in lore, frankly.  Of course you can play it that way at your table if you want, just like you can play anything any way you want at your table.

While in game you have control over the sponsored magic, that's just so you don't become an NPC.  It would suck to take a power and then have the GM control your every action, hence why there is the debt mechanic.  I still play it like I'm beholden to the sponsor (possibly begrudgingly or whatever). 

And guys with Sponsored Magic in the lore have control over it (except perhaps if a Sponsor is forcing a particular action).  It isn't like there is any lore character with sponsored magic that doesn't have control over what their magic does.  There's not one example in the books of a being with sponsored magic that is totally in the control of their sponsor.  Not Harry, not the Former White Knight, not the current Summer Knight, not anyone.  The Sponsor can force the issue on some things, but not remotely everything.

Ultimately, the rules are not clear.  The text isn't clear either (like sponsored magic hexing).  I think it depends on the type of sponsored magic you have.  Once you establish that, talk to your GM.  Work it out. 

The rules actually ARE pretty clear.  They say "magic used to do this, that, or the other thing is breaking a law of magic."  Sponsored Magic is a type of magic, and there's no exemption given to that.  Of course, if you aren't human then you won't have Wardens on your tail, but the rules are clear that the Lawbreaker consequence isn't about Wardens at all (heck, you can break the Laws of Magic as a human without getting Wardens on you if you are careful).  It seems like some people like to pretend these things aren't really magic, but they totally are.  That's why they are in the section going over magic.

Again, anyone can play it anyway they want in the game as long as the group agrees.

On the issue of monster lawbreakers: I really don't like the idea of "if it has positive refresh, Lawbreaker."  Humans and other mortals (such as were-creatures).  Lawbreaking only applies to mortal magic.  That bit is clear in the text.

Actually, that bit is NOT clear in the text.  If anything the rule is "if you are a PC with magic, then you can break the laws".  Nothing they talk about says it only applies to humans EXCEPT whether you'll get Wardens chasing after you.

In fact, the text really only talks about wiggle room here regarding acceptable targets and such things as intent and so forth with regards to breaking a law.  It never even hints the laws don't apply to all PCs (who, incidentally, must all have positive refresh, which is why I consider it a good guideline).

Offline InFerrumVeritas

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2011, 12:54:35 PM »
There's nothing in the rules that backs up that interpretation, or in lore, frankly.  Of course you can play it that way at your table if you want, just like you can play anything any way you want at your table.

And guys with Sponsored Magic in the lore have control over it (except perhaps if a Sponsor is forcing a particular action).  It isn't like there is any lore character with sponsored magic that doesn't have control over what their magic does.  There's not one example in the books of a being with sponsored magic that is totally in the control of their sponsor.  Not Harry, not the Former White Knight, not the current Summer Knight, not anyone.  The Sponsor can force the issue on some things, but not remotely everything.

The rules actually ARE pretty clear.  They say "magic used to do this, that, or the other thing is breaking a law of magic."  Sponsored Magic is a type of magic, and there's no exemption given to that.  Of course, if you aren't human then you won't have Wardens on your tail, but the rules are clear that the Lawbreaker consequence isn't about Wardens at all (heck, you can break the Laws of Magic as a human without getting Wardens on you if you are careful).  It seems like some people like to pretend these things aren't really magic, but they totally are.  That's why they are in the section going over magic.

Again, anyone can play it anyway they want in the game as long as the group agrees.

Actually, that bit is NOT clear in the text.  If anything the rule is "if you are a PC with magic, then you can break the laws".  Nothing they talk about says it only applies to humans EXCEPT whether you'll get Wardens chasing after you.

In fact, the text really only talks about wiggle room here regarding acceptable targets and such things as intent and so forth with regards to breaking a law.  It never even hints the laws don't apply to all PCs (who, incidentally, must all have positive refresh, which is why I consider it a good guideline).

Dude, chill.  There's nothing in the rules that backs up either interpretation.  Fate is a pretty freeform system, incase you're not familiar with it and its design mechanics.  And, like anything, flavor and mechanics are somewhat mutable. 

We see very few guys with sponsored magic in the lore who don't have mortal magic (by the way, I refer to text as the novels and rules as the game books, which I think caused some...misinterpretation on your part).  A good example is that we don't see the former Winter Knight with Lawbreakers in OW.  The only ones we see with Lawbreakers also have mortal magic.  Oh, and Mavra's entry doesn't say anything about Lawbreaker despite her having some pretty dark magic (so dark Harry comments upon it).  And there's a whole paragraph talking about the ambiguity of the "positive refresh rule" and how its only "one way" to interpret things.

I'm not pretending anything, so stop being so offensive.  The rules talk about "true black magic." Oh, and the series of stickies on YS236:

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Technically, the Laws of Magic only apply to mortal spellcasters. I haven’t seen either of the Sidhe Knights at the meetings or ice cream socials.
But I think this could be a fertile ground for stories in someone’s game. like one of the Knights whacks a council-allied mortal, and there’s a movement inside the council to apply the laws to the situation, but the Accords get in the way...Sort of the reverse of what happened in the deAtH mASKS case.

That seems pretty ambiguous. 

Offline sinker

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2011, 06:36:36 PM »
At the point he becomes an NPC, the GM determine how he wants the guy built.  If the GM decided to stat up a Fae with Lawbreaker because that would provide the mechanics he desired, then he should do that.  If he wants to keep the lawbreaker status on a Warlock that is now at negative refresh, then that's his call.

I was only saying a GM doesn't have to give lawbreaker powers to the above Warlock if he breaks a new law after reaching negative refresh, imho.  Might want to though.  Then again, he might want Chronovores, a time monster he just made up, to have Lawbreaker: Sixth Law, to give him the mechanics/flavor he likes.

Not arguing about mechanics. The GM can use whatever they want to represent their vision however they feel it should be. That's not really a great argument for how it should be always, and isn't really applicable to the OP.

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Is it?  Doesn't quite seem clear to me that Angels can't get Lawbreaker.  Of course, we don't really see them fighting (but that's a good way to resist any lawbreaker issues).  Beyond that, I don't think we see any non-humans that are said to have free will.  The game associates "free will" with positive refresh.

See InFerrum's sticky. GM Fiat can do whatever, but the rules say mortal spellcasters.

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Lawbreaker is fundamentally about Belief.  To kill someone with magic, you have to BELIEVE they deserve to die and you have a right to kill them because otherwise the magic won't work.  There's nothing in the game remotely indicating that belief isn't necessary for Sponsored Magic.  If you have Summer Magic, and you want to burn someone with fire, you still have to fundamentally believe that is your right.  That's represented in the game by the magic working off YOUR Discipline and YOUR Conviction and YOUR Lore.  You aren't buying the spell effect with your Sponsored Credit Card, you are just buying the magical juice to power it and granted you get access to some know-how as well  -- your will, however, is still what shapes it.

Belief is part of the equation, however if you read some of what Jim has said about the laws you realize that these are actual physical laws. Laws of the universe if you will. When you use your magic to change the universe in these ways it changes you. Physically (or metaphysically). If you accidentally kill someone with magic it doesn't matter if you believed you had the right to do it or not. Someone's dead and you used your innermost being to do it. Lawbreaker.

The weapon definitely matters too. This doesn't happen with a gun or a knife, even if you believe you have the right to take a life, no lawbreaker. This only happens with magic. The way I see it sponsored magic isn't that sacred part of you, thus it doesn't work the same.

I can agree that there's definitely evidence to support either side. This is the way I choose to view it. There's intentionally some leeway in the text so that each table can decide what kind of game they want to play. Do you want to play a game where the laws are brutal and it's all too easy to slip up and wind up in a dark place? Great, do that. Do you want to play a fast and loose action game where everything explodes and it doesn't matter at all? Have fun.

To me, magic granted by old gods (like the Olympians or Norse) wouldn't cause Lawbreaker.  Neither would fey magic.  From demonic powers?  Sure, unless otherwise negotiated.  Soulfire?  Definitely.  Kemmeler?  Totally.  That's basically just a representation of extra power not coming from refinement. 

As a random side note, this is a really unpopular opinion but I've always thought that the way we see soulfire today is only because it's viewed through a wizard's bias. Why wouldn't someone be able to directly access the fires of creation themselves (I.E. not their soul, but the source of souls) and manipulate them in any number of different ways (I.E. not fire or force, like a certain someone). Then again the agenda of the sponsor with soulfire is such that I would think that it would be tough to break a lot of the laws anyway.