The recent thread about how high-magic Alphatia should be and a post there about the writer's conception of druids and paladins got me thinking.
Alphatia's social classes are based upon one's being a "spellcaster" – not necessarily a magic-user. Clerics and elves are explicitly afforded the same respect before the law as magic-users; King Sildreth II of Greenspur is a cleric; King Drushiye of Limn and King Acroshiye of Shiye-Lawr are elves – even if they probably would never become emperors and probably rarely become kings in practice.
This makes me wonder about the rôle and treatment of other spellcasters in Alphatian society and politics, including:
- Paladins, Avengers, Bards, Druids, and Druidic Knights
- Shamans of the Shadow Elves
- Shamans of Ethengar & Shamani of Atruaghin
- Wiccas (or Wokani, if you prefer) & Shamans; this could include classes available as players-characters such as Gnomes; Centaurs; Humanoids (Orcs, Goblins, Etc.); and, in Aquas, Sea Giants, Merrow, Kna, Etc.
- Spellcasting Fairies (Sidhe, Sprites, Pixies, & Leprechauns)
- Characters with innate spellcasting or similar powers. These vary widely from, e.g., Sphinxes, Dryads, Hsaio, Tritons, & Pegataurs (who innately cast true spells much as elves do) to Harpies, Kopru, Nagpa, Gremlins, and Nixies (who have innate powers very similar to spells but are much less similar to conventional models)
Glantri's mores are more restrictive, but perhaps there is a question even there of how magical (as opposed to clerical or druidic) spellcasters besides human magic-users and elves would be treated (e.g., wiccas who are gnomes, centaurs, ogres, etc.).
Now, in some instances practical considerations decide the matter. For instance, we probably need not consider the status of tritons or merrow in Glantri, despite the Kingdom of Aquas and extensive coastlines making those questions more important to Alphatia. I also realise Ethengarian shamans and Atruaghin shamani may be unlikely to become landed nobles in Alphatia, but it's worth considering how they would be treated when travelling in Alphatia as visitors or immigrants, and whether they might even become landed or otherwise important nobles for exceptional service to the empire.... Likewise, the adventure "At the Spottle Parlor" is set in Glantri and has both a lizard-man and hobgoblins as non-player characters, so, are such beings, if spellcasting wiccas, treated well in Glantri? In addition, players' actions can mean needing to address improbable questions: Brute-men, Hutakkaa, or Beastmen adventurers (maybe player-characters) may well wind up in Alphatia or Glantri. If they do, how does their ability to cast spells (or lack of it) affect their treatment?
Further, it may be important to consider what would be formally accepted versus what would be possible to get away with using chicanery and discretion. For instance, might a sidhe, dryad, or even a very clever thief (remember, they can cast spells from scrolls with some success as they become more powerful!) be officially precluded from consideration as a noble in Alphatia but able to maintain such a position by convincing others she is in fact a human magic-user or an elf?
Dryads are special in that we know from the case of Queen Mellora that a dryad may be a noble there, and, indeed, Dawn of the Emperors suggests any spellcaster is a noble in Limn, presumably including wiccas, shamans, spellcasting fairies, etc. – but this information leaves open the question whether the rule applies to other parts of the empire. May the explicit differentiation about Limn be taken to mean that exception does not hold in other parts of the empire, or does its emphasis on ostensibly montrous beings like humanoids only mean that those beings are treated as citizens in Limn, while they might have no rights elsewhere, be they spellcasters or no. If the latter, then perhaps Limn is only unique in its acceptance of such monstrous sorts, but that, e.g., fairies, gnomes, and dryads are treated as normal citizens and, when spellcasters, as nobles throughout the empire....
I'm raising more questions than I answer, an d I may be overlooking answers already provided in canon materials. I'm interested in others' thoughts, especially what folks have done in practice to implement those thoughts, and how things worked out. I'm also keen to be pointed to any answers in canon I am overlooking. I hope others find this topic interesting and I look forward to reading others' ideas.